What I say to people who are looking for a job

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I took a turn in my career, not a complete 180°, but around 60°.

I started off in corporate finance doing analytics on budgets, and now I’m in the world of data science doing analytics on user behavior.

After I got my new role, I did a video explaining my process on how to get a job. Today, a lot of people have questions about their journey as they try and navigate a new career for themselves.

Most questions follow the same format. Here are my responses to the most common:

“Greg, I don’t know what I want to do”

  • Ok, no problem. Make a list of the top 30 specific activities you’re interested in, yes 30.

    • “Building things” isn’t an activity. “Building furniture” or “Building a web app” is an activity.

  • Rank them in order of most interesting to least interesting (prioritization).

  • One by one, spend a week on the top 6 items learning everything you can about the topic.

    • Google, “[this activity I like] for dummies” and learn for a week.

    • Hint: If you can’t get through the whole week, you probably didn’t like it that much.

  • After each week of an activity, rank it 1-10 on how much you still like it.

  • Take the top 3 you still like and then do those for 2 more weeks.

  • Goal: Find what gives you energy. Following your energy (not a specific task) is the key to finding what you’re stoked on.

“Hey Greg, my job is lame, I would rather be doing XYZ”

  • Greg: “Awesome that sounds great. Don’t leave your job yet. Take up XYZ as a side project, and continue with it until you can’t possibly do both.”

  • Goal: Make sure you have energy for your XYZ ambition. Make sure you do before you go for it.

“Greg, I know what I want to do, but I don’t know how to get there?”

  • Talk to as many people as possible in the field that you want to get into.

    • What do they say about your next step?

    • Here’s a “cold start” process from a programmer's perspective. It applies to anyone

  • I have no idea what’s the next step for the thing you want to do, but I know where to find the answer, and it’s through people already in the field.

“Greg, I want to leave work and go travel”

  • Been there done that. It’s fun while it lasts, the re-entry can be hard. It’s takes a lot of work when you come back.

  • Do you already have something lined up for when you come back? If so, then yes, get offline and leave now. I’ll buy you a bottle of champagne when you’re there.

  • If not, then it still sounds fun, but understand it is going to be tough coming back.

“Hey Greg, I want to do data science”

  • First off ask yourself, “what is data science?” Once you understand there is no right answer move to the next step.

  • Then, read this entire PDF (it changed my life) if you’ve done all the exercises and it still calls to you and, then...

  • Start a side project and make it marketable online, send it to as many people that will look at it.

  • Along the way you’ll find The Path

Writing is fun, hard, occasionally embarrassing, and the most important thing for your career

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I have a real estate agent friend named Andrew. Hey Andrew!

He writes monthly about the housing market in San Francisco. I think it’s interesting material, so I forward it to my network.

I’m sharing his words, which builds up his authoritative voice, which builds up his brand.

He tells me some of my friends follow up with him. I hope one of them buys...it’ll be due to his newsletter.

Writing is a good idea because your words last longer than you do.

Your words are able to travel and be heard more than you ever physically could.

I also have a few friends who want to get into creative writing or comedy. I tell them to write (no matter how good/bad) on a weekly basis and send it out to friends for fun. Remember, lean into vulnerability.

I think it’ll happen one day, hasn’t yet though.

Here are resources I use while learning how to write:

Writing is for the long game and will take time, but when it comes to fruition, whatever it is, you’ll be stoked that you did it in the first place.

Send me 250 words on anything. I’d love to read it.

Top Reads of 2017

Here’s a list of the top books I read in 2017. In favorite order 10 to 1

10. In Search Of Excellence - Tom Peters (1982)

Where May, Watts, and Frankl lay philosophical foundations for your mind, Tom Peters sets the stage for the organization.

At a time when IBM, General Motors and other dinosaur power houses reigned the scene, Peters goes deep into the underpinnings of assembling a massive collection of people working together. Keep in mind that research for this book started in 1977 and the principles still hold true today.

Who should read this book? The business nerds and students of organizational philosophy. I know that’s all of you right?

“Many of the innovative companies got their best product ideas from customers. That comes from listening, intently and regularly.”

Amazon

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9. Hardball - Chris Matthews (1988)

This was standard reading in highschool, but of course I didn’t appreciate it enough. With a couple years of work and exposure to corporate politics under my belt, the 2nd reading of Hardball was a lot more gripping.

Chris Matthews goes into details of political maneuvers he’s seen over the course of his career. Better yet, he backs each one up with real world examples.

Who should read this book? Anyone gearing up for corporate politics or a life in the public view.

“I’ve lived across the street from you for 18 years…I shoveled your walk in the winter. I cut your grass in the summer…I didn’t think I had to ask you for your vote. He never forgot her response. ‘Tom, I want you to know something: people like to be asked.’”

 

Amazon

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8. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey (1989)

Stephen starts off 7 Habits with a section on “paradigms.” Simply, how do you look at the world? Through what lense do you evaluate your experience?

He goes on to explore foundational traits of people who get things done while bringing it home to each persons personal mission.

Who should read this book? Anyone who wants a strategic view, rather than tactical, for finding your life’s “Northstar” metric.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Amazon

7. Tools of Titans - Tim Ferris (2016)

“Wow that was great advice”…pretty much what I thought every page of this book. It’s long (700+ pages) account of 100+ people who’ve done amazing things and experienced extraordinary growth. Tim distills the most juicy nuggets of information from years of podcasts and interviews into this books three sections: Health, Wealth, and Wisdom.

No matter who you are, you’re going to find a new role model somewhere in these pages.

Spoiler alert: The common thread behind every successful person I’ve ever read about comes down to two words: energy & action

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Who should read this book? Anyone who wants to hear about the least common denominator of success through various endeavors.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” —Pierre-Marc-Gaston”

“Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life… . There’s no financial investment that’ll ever match it, because if you develop more skill, more ability, more insight, more capacity, that’s what’s going to really provide economic freedom… . It’s those skill sets that really make that happen.”

Amazon

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6. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life - Walter Isaacson (2003)

Ben Frank, where do you begin? The guy left behind a legacy filled with adventure, discovery and a firm grasp of life.

I enjoyed that while learning about BF, you got a great view into what life was like in the 1700s as well as an alternative view of the American Revolution.

Who should read this book? The history buff.

“Knowledge, he realized, was obtained rather by the use of the ear than of the tongue.”

Amazon

5. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig (1989)

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A long and difficult book that I couldn’t put down. The topics were as high up in the alpine meadows of philosophy as the metaphors laid throughout the story. Many people told me this book was about “quality” but it was so much more than that.

Phaedrus simply had his mind turn inside out. A circle that inverts, a hand that grasped itself, a mind that broke through consciousness.

“You look at where you’re going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you’ve been and a pattern seems to emerge.”

“Is it hard?’ Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.”

Amazon

4. 100-Year-Old-Man - Jonas Jonasson (2012)

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Cute fictional read about an old man goes on an adventure and decides not to return home. This one reads like Forrest Gump, a likable oblivious main character traveling the world while playing cameos in major historical events.

Who should read this book? Someone looking for an easy break from their slew of business non-fiction reads.

“Never try to out-drink a Swede, unless you happen to be a Finn or at least a Russian.”

“…you’ll see that things will turn out like they do, because that is what usually happens - almost always, in fact”

Amazon

3. Zen In The Art Of Archery - Eugene Herrigel (1948)

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After a bunch of Alan Watts and Zen/Motorcycle, Zen In The Art Of Archery was a natural next step. A german professor goes to Japan to learn the ways of Zen from a master.

This book blew my mind with the language of a feeling that happens when a person connects with the oneness of the world. A feeling that goes beyond words.

Don’t go into it dry, warm yourself up with other philosophy reading beforehand. It’s hard to connect with this book cold turkey.

Who should read this book? Anyone on the tail end of an eastern philosophy phase.

“Don’t think of what you have to do, don’t consider how to carry it out!“ he exclaimed. "The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise.”

Amazon

2. American Kingpin - Nick Bilton (2017)

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Real life racketeering, drugs, murder, Bitcoin, cybercrime and…San Francisco. What else could be better than that for someone in the Bay Area? This book will leave your on the edge of your seat as you watch Ross create a business from his bedroom that ended up doing $1B+ in sales of illegal items.

Bilton does a great job keeping the reader engaged through movie-like scene transitions and build ups. I’ll be surprised if this story doesn’t become a movie in the next 5 years. I hope Christopher Nolan or Scorsese gets it.

Who should read this book? Anyone remotely interested in cryptocurrency or rag-to-riches crime stories.

Extra: Here are two internet breadcrumbs that got Ross caught. 1. His first promotion of the site in Jan ‘11 2. Him asking a coding question on stackover flow about Tor/php

Amazon

1. The Autobiography of Malcom X - Malcom X (1965)

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Absolutely amazing book that shows how Malcom X came to be through his own words. While you can’t take everything he says for truth, this book is an amazing perspective that connects many dots throughout the civil rights movement.

Malcom X was ~90% done with this book before he was assassinated in New York. The amount of passion that flows through his words tell a tale of energy that always found an outlet, either through crime, development, or civil rights.

Who should read this book? Anyone ready for a heavy read on the transformational story of a civil rights leader.

“The main thing you got to remember is that everything in the world is a hustle.”

“So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise.”

“The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.”

Amazon

Passive Income In One Days Work

I know you’ve heard about those guys who would create a website in a day, sell a product, automate the process and sit back and relax. The Tim Ferris pipe dream right? I told myself and others that this was easy and all you needed to do was sit down and do it. Here’s my story of PhotoshopHacks.com.

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TD:DR In one Saturday day I created a Top 10 Photoshop Hacks PDF, put it up on PhotoshopHacks.com, advertised on YouTube, sat back and relaxed while passive income flowed in. Spoiler: I’m not quitting my day job. 

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First of all…Proof of sales:

I’m going to outline my process so YOU can go off and do the same thing with your master subject. Shoot, you don’t even necessarily have to know a lot about a subject, you just need to create an authoritative voice on the matter that people will trust enough to buy a product. My goal is that you do a product of your own, fly off to Hawaii, sit on the beach, and have a *cha ching* go off every time you make a sale. Send me a Mai Thai.

My background

I graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, but I had to attend community college for my sophomore year (financial reasons, great decision). While at CC, I had A LOT of free time. I would surf YouTube all day, mostly photoshop tutorials (I loved editing dumb/funny photos of friends). Confession - That year I started to make photoshop tutorials of my own (Look me up, CollegeTut). I was relatively unknown until one of my videos hit. The Erase Clothes Tool. My account exploded overnight and with an arsenal of 60+ videos I was getting 5k views a day of people trying to learn photoshop. Fast forward  5 years and when it came to make this PDF I chose to use this free advertising to my advantage. Throw in a buzz word (“hacks”) and you have it, The Top Ten Photoshop Hacks on PhotoshopHacks.com.

High Level Overview - How I did it (The Process)

  1. Make a hypothesis
  2. Test/Validate your idea
  3. Commit to a product
  4. Facilitate user through Awareness> Consideration > Intent > Purchase
  5. Set up POS
  6. Automate everything
  7. Set up advertising
  8. Launch
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Here was my actual brainstorm document I used for the project

Make a hypothesis

I had youtube views from people trying to learn photoshop. I hypothesized that some of these viewers would pay $10 to learn more.

Test/Validate your idea

The LAST thing you want to go do is put a ton of effort into a project and find out that no one will buy it. I’ve done it, it sucks. A lot of people think “oh I think this is cool and I would buy this, I’m going do a ton of work and sell it online!” I always tell these people, it doesn’t matter what you think or what you like…what action is the customer going to take?

The easiest method is to set up a landing page with a quick “buy now for $10” button that leads to a form. Once the potential buyer fills out the form…you know they were willing to spend that $10 on your product and you’re good to go. I set up a quick site and ended up getting about 10 people to buy in 6 weeks with doing ZERO work. It wasn’t a ton of potential $$$, but I wanted to go through this exercise anyway, so I took the bait and moved on to the next step.

Commit to a product

I didn’t want to deal with any physical products or online consulting (unless it was really worth it)….basically I wanted this project to be scalable without me. I chose to make a PDF that the buyer could download on their own and I wouldn’t need to be in the process. Then I moved on to actually making the product. This involved, ideas, copy, design.

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Ideas - I knew a bunch of photoshop hacks but I googled, “photoshop tips” and took the top ones I saw. Whats stopping you from doing the same thing about about a subject you know nothing about? I’m not advocating misleading business practices, but my point is…if you’re just selling a pdf…the expert and the repackager look the same on the surface. The key is to find demand. 

Copy (the written word of sales) - I recommend you check out NevBlog. He is a great example of someone creating a brand around their skill. He teaches awesome lessons and also points you in the right direction to learn more (taught me about Gary Halbert).

Graphic design - If you aren’t a graphic designer but want to do it yourself, go find inspiration and add your personal touch.Check out Dribbble for ideas. I found a beautiful template that I loved, cool font, and I put them all together. Here is my cover page.

Facilitate user through Awareness> Consideration > Intent > Purchase

Basically, how are you going to advertise and how are you going to guide people to buy? I bought my domain from yahoo, and built my website on Wix. Wix is pretty easy for someone who wants to make a quick site, they’ll try to up sell you on other features but mostly its a great offering. 

Set up POS

I wanted to find a service that would handled the user download for me. A big plus in my book also was a service that would give me a fat csv download so I could check out my data. I went with PixyCart. 

Automate everything

I threw up my annotations and links on youtube, which drove people to the site and lead them to pixycart. Tested it out myself and the process worked beautifully.

For the love of the holy, set up google analytics

Set up advertising

I started off experimenting with some Adwords but my ROI wasn’t nearly what it needed to be for me to keep spending money. I’ve since paused so I can perfect the conversion rate on the site first.

I made additional youtube videos on my channel to try and drive more sales.

Launch

Changed the site status to public and watched the views come in.

Post thoughts

For doing this this all in one day, I’m happy with the result. But if I had more time, I would want to sit down and really work on the conversion rate on my site. Right now I’m getting a sale per 100 views. I know I can do better. I would have to start by offering more free content and build a relationship with customers. Right now its a very shallow offering. BUT I’m covering monthly costs and I’m already thinking about my next site.

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Here is a timeline of all the steps I took in order

BTW I have a couple promos for free downloads, let me know if you want to check it out

The process was pretty easy. Cup of coffee to get in the groove and now I’m writing about the sales.

What subject could you write a Top Ten Tips for?

Check out the finished product, PhotoshopHacks.com

@gregkamradt