019: Steve Sims – The Art of Making Things Happen

Don’t Be Easy to Understand, Be Impossible to Misunderstand

Steve Sims is the author of Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen. Today, he talks about the concept behind Bluefishing and utilizing different platforms (outside of email) of reaching out to people. He talks about the things he’s afraid of (yet how those fears drive him to success) and the power of asking why!

[01:48] What is Bluefishing?

Steve describes Bluefishing as using technology to benefit you but not using it as the be-all and end-all. It means going old school and a state of mind, and also about how you can be unique and how you can brand yourself. It teaches how you can focus on those positive people around you.

The book contains simple, raw, and ugly tips that Steve believes anybody can do just by sticking to the basics. Sadly, people easily get distracted by the next shiny object.

A brief background on Steve, he owns a high-end concierge and consulting company that deals with the rich and famous. Contrary to his image of being a 230-pound guy with tattoos and earrings, Steve focuses on what he does over what he looks like.

[02:56] What Are the Basics?

Steve explains that going to the basics teaches you to go to the market you want. It’s about building relationships and how you can utilize this crazy thing called, communication.

In a world where we think we communicate with people, with all the social media platforms around us, Steve stresses that these are are not communication. In his own words, “those are 9 times out of 10, you yelling a statement, waiting for them to respond, and then they yell another one back to you.”

So you need to go back to the old school where you use a walkie-talkie and have that conversation. This being said, Steve seeks to bring people back to old school.

[04:05] If You Hide Behind Emails and Tweets, No One Will Ever Hear You

Steve actually gave out a presentation to a marketing group, talking about how email is dead. Quickly running through the facts, Steve cites that a lot of the servers and posting platforms block you off or filter you. Out of that, a good open rate is about 20%, and out of this, a good click-through rate is 7%. What does this mean?

It means that only 7% of the people that opened your email actually read it. So out of 5,000 people, only 70 people got your message. So if you think you’ve reached thousands of people, well, think again.

Hence, you should be able to not only focus all your efforts on email marketing, but also use every other vehicle of communication per day. This includes video texting, audio texting, phone calls, voice mails sent through texting platforms. Send them magazine subscriptions or whatever kind of platform outside of email.

What good is your email list when no one even reads or listens to you? You might have thousands of people on your email list, but if you can’t even get to call them and reach out to them, then it’s useless. As Steve puts it, people put too much value in stuff that has no value.

[07:00] No one Drowns From Falling Into the Water, They Drown From Staying in There

Steve describes how the educational system teaches you to avoid rejection and failure. He considers himself as an educated man, but school had nothing to do with this education. His father, being less educated academically, he was educated in the elements of looking after people and his family. Looking back, he realizes how educated his father actually was, just not in the schooling system.

Steve mentions the Singularity University in Palo Alto, where everything you know is now completely available because the technology in life has just gone in a completely different direction. This is built by executives from all the large companies you can think of (Google, PayPal, SpaceX, etc.). They went to the education board to get registered as an .edu but they couldn’t. Why? Because they didn’t do a syllabus that would last five to ten years. In their words, “none of the technology we’re utilizing today will exist in five to ten years, so why teach something historic and antiquated.” So they never got registered as an .edu, but they focus on technology and they change appropriately.

Steve adds that in school you’re taught that unless you got the answer correct or you color the box, everything that comes up is wrong. But in the entrepreneurial world, there could be 20 yes’s and even the wrong may send you down the path that gets you to a better yes.

This being said, Steve describes the current education system as “incredibly flawed,” teaching people to be scared of asking questions and to avoid rejection and failure at all cost. How many times did Elon Musk or Richard Branson ever got laughed at?

[12:50] The Decision to Change Based on Fear Over Opportunity

Steve shares how everyone in the planet is scared. We’re all scared of something – it’s that reptilian brain that we move faster on fear than we do on opportunity. True enough, when someone stands up on the stage and screams, Fire!, the whole auditorium would escape. Hence, we run more on fear than we do on opportunity.

Steve grew up fearing not knowing what he wanted to do but he knew it wasn’t where he  would be now. Sadly, he spent the first ten years of his life jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. He reached to the point that he didn’t have any income. Then he had that fear that he didn’t want to be in that state, he wanted somewhere else. But he had to establish that first.

As a young person where things don’t really matter yet to you (no kids, no mortgage, etc.) then jump! Steve believes that you should be jumping. What he scares him until now is being in the exact same position of growth, education, challenges in six months time than he his today. What he strives for is that in six month’s time, he started something new.

Whether it’s to create something or learn a new language, he needs to know that he’s not in the same place every six months. This is what terrifies him. It’s that fear of standing still.

[17:15] Sharing Your Thoughts with Your Kids

Steve says there’s nothing tougher and more challenging than raising kids. Your kids will look at you like you’re an idiot. In fact, another person could come up to your kids and they’d listen to them rather than listen to you. Why? Your kids don’t want to look at their parents as knowing the answers. They want to discover it themselves. The funny thing is that everyone discovers the same thing. Instead, it’s about allowing your kids to discover stuff. Challenge them.

Steve lays out this interesting scenario that as kids of entrepreneurs, they’d be in school the whole day, learning stuff and going through the basic educational system, while here you are, lounging around with an iPhone closing a million-dollar deal. He says how this can be very confusing for kids, as entrepreneurs’ kids to go to school just because they’ve got to and because America says they have to go to school. You go tell your kids to study their math, while you go and hire an accountant because you’re no good at math.

Personally, my son got out of art school five weeks later into it, realizing he didn’t want to end up in debt and then be told on what to do and be a slave to them. And for, this was the best decision he could ever make. You see, you will be happy and successful if you don’t agree to live by anybody else’s terms, regardless of what you’re doing. Do what you want to do!

[21:35] Don’t Overcome Fear, Use It!

Quoting this from the movie Point Break, Steve shares that fear will cause hesitation and hesitation will cause your worse fears to come true. With that said, Steve explains that when we’re young, we tend to overcome or challenge our fears. Instead, you don’t want to overcome fear. Because it’s that fear that keeps you alive. You just want to translate them, utilize them, and use them as fuel. If you’re afraid of something, get better at it. But don’t lose the fear.

Getting up on stage still scares Steve, but being on stage, lights him up with passion because he knows there’s one person out there that’s going to take one of these nuggets and transform what they’re up to. We’re all afraid of something, so just learn to respect, adapt, and utilize it.

[24:15] The Power of Listening and Asking Why

Steve iterates that because of our school system, we get embarrassed to say what we really want. We’re afraid of asking why. Most people are scared of telling you what really turns them and what they really want to do. And Steve found that one of the most powerful words in the language is WHY.

He adds that as when you ask people why the first time, they’d give you what they think you want to hear. But by the time you get into the third why, you get deep into their soul of what lights them up. They will now tell you why it’s important to them. But you’ve got to challenge them a couple of times to get to their core.

[27:45] The Book Writing Process

Steve has always been told to write a book. But he knows a lot of his clients value hi for his integrity and by the fact, he keeps all the secrets. So he couldn’t think about writing a book. Until two years ago, he was asked to write a book which he rejected, thinking he had to spill the beans about his clients. But they wanted to know how he does it. Ultimately, Steve got a contract with one of the largest publishing houses in America. Steve spoke to a couple of people he knew that did write books for a living. Aware of the “squirrel disease” or shiny object syndrome, he realized he was left with a contract. But he didn’t really know what to do about it.

So, he got a good advice from his friend, Jay Abraham, to ask himself as to why write a book and what you want to do with the book. He realized that the most important thing about writing a book is to ask yourself, what do you want it to do for you. It could be a flash business card or to give you more credibility or to get some speaking gigs. Whatever it is, you need to know that because your book can’t cross many of those platforms at the same time. You can’t just spread out to infiltrate different markets. Otherwise, you end up diluted and being taken for granted.

Knowing Who the Book is For

Another thing Steve realized is that you don’t make money on writing the book. Most people make money on the auxiliaries of writing a book. When you realize that, then you can tune the book to the person you’re writing it for. This means having one person in mind, an avatar, so to speak. This is what Steve did. He had “Bobby” in mind and he imagined how Bobby would become after reading the book – becoming instantly smarter in a more direct and ugly fashion. It would be impossible to understand, which makes him incredibly positive to action.

Once he had that in mind, he literally wrote a book for “Bobby.” Again, write to one person. But also know why you’re doing it.

Steve also mentions having a great retainer. He got involved in a stuff because of his publishing house but looking back, he could have thought of it as a second contract. He basically illustrates the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing and that you should be able to make an argument as to why choose one over the other. First, why do you want to do the book? However, ego should not be one of those answers.

[36:50] Asking an Educated Person vs. an “Uneducated” Person for Feedback: Being Easy to Understand vs. Impossible to Misunderstand

Steve explains that the person who really knows what you’re doing and knows the industry you’re getting into, is not the person you ask to read your book. Instead, you ask them to position you book. That being said, when you start doing a couple of chapters, find someone you loosely know and get them to read the chapter.

Now, you’re getting an unfiltered, “uneducated,” unrefined response to that book. Steve actually gave  his book about entrepreneurship to his mechanic and asked him to read it. He knew he wanted it to be an easy read, not too challenging to consume, but to be rewarded in the consumption. Then he gave the book to ten other people.

Steve draws the line between being easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. So he wanted people to read the book where people would find the book as the latter. There’s no rocket science in the book, but simple, actionable steps being pointed out to “uneducated” people so you can get their opinion. If 8 out of 10 come back with positive feedback, then keep working on your book. But don’t go to the educated people to read it just yet.

By “uneducated,” they’re the ones who really don’t know what trying to do or what the project is, then they will be more enlightened. Then they will give you a better feedback. You want people to get curious. You don’t send them to people you know whom you also know will praise you for the book.

[41:57] Writing Your Story and the Power of Having a Ghostwriter

Steve believes that everyone has got a story. But the bigger question is why do you want to bring it out. Also, Steve is a great advocate for a ghostwriter. When he got a contract, hiring a ghost writer was never in his vocabulary as he wanted to create something out of his own. But he eventually realized that ghostwriters are not there to write your book. But they’re there to translate what you know and dig it a little bit deeper.

If you get the right one, ghostwriters can get into the tiny nugget or source that you’re going to want to put in your book.

As opposed to an educational system where they always want you to create things on your own, you really shouldn’t think you have to do this alone. It’s not a solo sport. In fact, writing takes a lot of people working on it. Your ideas are uniquely who you are. But school has taught us that we’re only supposed to do this all by ourselves.

[45:25] Steve’s Advice to His Younger Self and More Nuggets of Wisdom

Steve considers himself as a very educated man now because he’s not afraid of failure. But if he could only tell his younger self one thing, it would be that experience is only gained two seconds after you need it most. But it’s ready for the next time.

Steve also underlines the difference between being rich and being wealthy. The former is monetary. but wealth is friends, loyalty, love, being able to sleep peacefully.

Ultimately, Steve talks about being better today than yesterday. Don’t be in the exact same position every six month’s time. In every opportunity, challenge yourself to grow. Try new things. Also, go to a networking event that specializes in a certain industry and already find out what knowledge you want to leave with. Try something different today. Do that five days and do it more and more until it becomes a habit.

Get to know more about Steve by visiting www.stevedsims.com and subscribe to his newsletter!

Episode Resources:

Singularity University

Books Mentioned:

Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen

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019: Steve Sims - The Art of Making Things Happen019: Steve Sims - The Art of Making Things Happen

019: Steve Sims - The Art of Making Things Happen