READY, FIRE, AIM: 4HWW Berlin Meeting Recap

Damn our meeting is sexy.

The weekly 4HWW Berlin group met again this week, and it was the first time since Tim Ferriss showed up at our meeting.  This meant we had several new members, which was super exciting.  Here’s a recap of how it went:

We’re all at different stages of building our businesses, so everyone went around and gave a 30-second summary of where they’re at, what they’re hoping to get out of the meetings, and what they could teach.

We spoke about:
- Email marketing.  Good examples of successful email marketers given by Maneesh were Frank Kern and Eben Pagan.  To make your own email marketing campaigns, Maneesh recommends Mailchimp (free!) and aweber.
- Affiliate marketing.  Rachman suggested signing up for commission junction to get started.
- The use of odesk and elance to hire virtual employees.
- Maneesh praised using the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach to business instead of “Ready, Aim, Fire”.  That is to say, just try something and fix it later.  Don’t stress out about perfection, just take action and then make adjustments accordingly.  Just another way of using the “Quick and Dirty Technique” mentioned in the previous post.  :)

I’m inspired by all of you!  And for those of you who have been thinking about coming to the meeting but haven’t done it yet, come next week :)

The Beauty of Doing It Quick and Dirty

Meeting Tim Ferriss, The Creation & Explosion of our Weekly 4HWW Berlin Meeting, and A Surprise Mentorship from a Car Thief (Juicy Stuff at the End)

Maneesh, Tim, Rachman & Me. Photo stolen from Rachman Blake.
Maneesh, Tim, Rachman & Me. Photo stolen from Rachman Blake.

What a fucking month.  Four weeks ago I made a post in my local Berlin couchsurfing group to ask if there was anyone in the city working on their own “muse” (a self-sustaining automated income business designed to earn money with minimal time investment, so that people can spend more time living and less time working, as described in the book “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss).  I had recently finished reading this book and was basically using it as a Bible to guide me through the steps to make my own business.  I was working alone every day which was boring and lonely, and when I did take the time to meet people, it seemed I was only meeting people who were unhappily but steadily treading down the traditional 9-5 job path.  Every time they asked me what I was doing in Berlin and I replied that I was making my own business, they nodded and smiled and assumed I was “just another starving artist” sitting at home watching Scrubs all day.  This was disheartening.  I’ve read that it’s best to surround yourself with likeminded people, so I gave it a shot with the couchsurfing post… although to be honest, I really didn’t think many people would respond.

On the same day I receive 11 responses, including two from people who had already successfully created their muses and were already successfully living the “digital nomad” lifestyle that I’m working towards!  Even more surprising was the fact that they reached out and offered to help me and the other people who posted that they were interested!  And so began a weekly meeting.

4HWW Party in Berlin

4HWW Party in Berlin, Photo by Axel Jack Metayer

A steady group of about 6 or 7 people headed by Rachman Blake (one of the already-doin-it lifestyle designers) began to gather every week and it has really been an inspiring experience: to know that there are likeminded people in a vicinity, to bounce ideas off one another, to get direct and appropriate feedback and advice.  I look forward to it the entire week, and when I leave, I’m absolutely buzzing with excitment to work on my muse (though the meeting ends on Friday night, which means we’re obliged to party and work must wait… damn life sucks).

I toiled for three weeks brainstorming ideas, re-reading the book, outlining my goals, and creating and adjusting my first muse experiment.  I launched the website last week with a live google adwords campaign and everything, and heaved a big sigh of relief and joy: it was far from perfect, but I had something to show for all my blood sweat & tears (and seriously there were a lot of the last two).

As if it weren’t enough excitement for 3 weeks, I woke up the next morning to find a new post on Tim Ferriss’ blog (read by at least 18 gazillion people) which showed videos made by the entrants of his latest competition.  I was hardly surprised but utterly amped to see that both Rachman Blake and Maneesh Sethi (the two successful 4HWW muse creators who had been helping me) had made it into the semifinals! Equally exciting was the tidbit at the end of the blog post: Tim would be coming to Berlin that very day!  At this moment, I knew I would meet Tim Ferriss.  Imagine a child tasting Nutella for the first time, then riding a pony to the moon, and winning an award for being the world’s best Astronaut.  This was my glee.

And meet him I did. Tim showed up to our weekly meeting last week (woah), and our little group swelled from 6 people to about 40.  He gave a great impromptu Q&A about learning Chinese, being an angel investor, speed reading, and other various random questions that his readers had.  It was awesome.  Rachman & Maneesh (who are also DJs) threw a great party yesterday at L.U.X. in Berlin for Tim, and we got to meet him again.  As exciting as it was to meet the man who wrote the book which has seriously influenced the actions I’m taking in my life, I think the most rewarding part was networking with all these amazing people who are bursting with creative entrepreuneurial energy.  Now we have a facebook group (you should join it) for the growing number of people in Berlin who are interested in building their 4HWW businesses.

The Juicy Ending

Like I said, there were a lot of awesome people at the L.U.X. party, and one of them happened to be the renowned car thief, Axel Jack Metayer.  Ok, ok he’s not a car thief, but that’s what his blog, http://autoschieber.net/ translates to in German.  (Check out his recap of meeting Tim Ferris in Berlin.)  Jack has also been successfully running an automated muse for over 5 years: he owns one of Germany’s leading Auto News websites and offere

Don't be a pussy

Life Lesson: Don't be a pussy. Get it done now, Quick & Dirty.

d to help me with my muse.  We met for lunch the next day and did a lot of brainstorming, website research, learning, sharing.  Lunch turned into dashing to a Capoeira class, Capoeira class turned into a mini party, and a mini party turned into Jack Couchsurfing in our living room.  Today he helped me edit and re-launch my website and adwords campaign.  I learned A LOT, but the most important lesson he had to share was what I will fondly name the Quick & Dirty Technique:  The point is just to get SOMETHING out there.  My muse is nowhere near perfect or  finished in any way, and I could spend the next year of my life getting it ready and still not feel ready or done… but I got the basics down in a gritty way and hit “Publish”.  Now I can test it, and improve it in the next step.  And Jack’s not the only one who suggests this: other “successful” people whom I really admire (like Rachman and Steve Pavlina and a zillion other people throughout history–you got links?) have said the same thing. Their advice to me and my advice to you is just to take that step you’ve been wanting to take: it’s never going to be perfect and you’re never going to be ready, but if you don’t do it now then you risk the chance that you never will.  And you don’t want to grow old wishing you had done that thing you were scared shitless to do, do you?  So get out there and send your script to that director, mail your essay to that magazine, quit that boring job, and ask that hottie out on a date.  Don’t worry about the little stuff, don’t waste time telling yourself you’re not good enough, don’t listen to the fear (everyone has it), ignore the small mistakes for now, and start: hit the literal or proverbial “Publish” button.  Just do it!  You might fail, but if you do, you’ll know how to do it better next time.  And it’s gonna work sooner or later :)

So, I will follow this advice today twice:

1. I will publish this post after only 1 edit (for spelling errors), and without second-guessing myself.

2. And I will present my baby muse to my friends, family, and the public via my websites (flickr, etsy, twitter, and facebook) and here to you, right now: http://www.artoutlines.com

Hi Hejorama Reader!

Link

As a thank your interest in me and my projects, I’d like to give you 15 of my favorite illustrations for free.  Use them in any way you want–in a logo, wedding invitation, website banner, love letter, sticker for your pet turtle’s shell, etc.

Who am I?  I’m Melissa Rachel Black, nice to meet you.  I’m an artist, foodie, and slayer-of-dragons.  I dream constantly, then take action.  I’m intent on helping others live out their dreams too.

Some notable feats:

  • Had a solo exhibition at Urban Outfitters for my Gummi Bear art
  • Started a profitable business out of my passion for letterpress printmaking and jokes,  selling “Gangster-Rap Greeting Cards”
  • Hired a mentee-intern at age 23
  • Photographed Snoop Dogg
  • Won a competition for a free roundtrip ticket to Thailand from Tim Ferriss
  • Landed my “dream job” in Germany without knowing the language
  • Quit dream job to be my own boss, moved to Berlin virtually friendless.  Started a group of 160+ entrepreneurs who meet weekly to this day.

My newsletter is all about inspiring you to do great things.  In addition to getting first dibs and updates, I’m excited to share what I know about..

  • Making money while traveling
  • Dreaming big, then making it happen
  • Living as a not-so-starving artist

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!