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Growth Hacker Marketing Announcement & Giveaway

September 8, 2014 — 19 Comments

Last fall I teamed up with my publisher to produce a $2.99 mini-ebook called Growth Hacker Marketing. It was short—about 10,000 words—and was intended to serve as a basic introduction to the subject. The e-book was more successful than any of us had thought, and so my publisher has decided to publish a print edition, to which I’ve added a ton of new material and updates (it’s now over twice as long, has a bunch of updated stories and anecdotes, and explains the lessons I learned with the book)

But wait. I know what you’re thinking. Ryan, if I already bought the $2.99 version, do I have to shell out again to get these updates? Isn’t that kind of punishing the people who helped make the e-book succeed in the first place?

The answer is no. Because I am giving away a FREE copy of the revised and expanded paperback edition of Growth Hacker Marketing to anyone in the U.S. who has already bought the $2.99 e-special edition. Not only that, I’m going to be signing as many of them as I can. It’s my way of saying thanks and creating a “wow” factor.

All you need to do is fill out this form and we’ll send you a free book in the mail.  Only continental U.S. residents are eligible*. Offer ends Friday, September 19.

*I know this is unfortunate but it’s just not feasible any other way. And before anyone complains, I have to commend my publisher for supporting (and in some cases, actually coming up with) these ideas. Nobody else is allowed to do this and it’s awesome they’re doing this with me.

**Also for the contest posted earlier this month, a winner has been selected. Info to come**

Every Day A Saturday (Or, The Life You Want)

September 2, 2014 — 16 Comments

The feeling I feel on a Saturday. Just enough work to be creative and motive. But slept in first and didn’t have to do any of it. Solid exercise without a deadline. Next to no email, no phone calls. Relaxed, productive, at peace, happy, quiet, unburdened. This is how I want life to be. Every day a Saturday.

But what’s more: this is possible. At least most of the time in my case it is. I choose for it not to be.

What would one pay for a life like that? Am I willing to put up the money for it? That is, to say “No” to things, to lucrative opportunities or potential business. I hope so.

Because now is the juncture.

My 2014 Mid-Year Writing Roundup

August 5, 2014 — 11 Comments

Its already past mid-way through 2014, so I thought I’d put together a post containing all the articles I’ve published so far this year. I’ve written a lot this year and joined some new publications, which I’m very excited about. If you’d like to keep up to date with everything, join my reading list and follow me via Twitter. Enjoy!

The Obstacle Is The Way Launch

Betabeat.com: Behind the Book Campaign: How To Sell 30,000 Copies in 6 Weeks Huffington Post: How Dr. Drew Pinsky Changed My Life Cracked: 7 People Who Overcame Huge Obstacles To Become Famous Copyblogger: How I Wrote Three Books In Three Years FastCompany: 7 Ways To Turn Your Opponents Into Opportunities Art of Manliness: Finding the Opportunity Inside the Obstacle 800-CEO-READ: The 3 Stoic Disciplines: How to Turn Your Obstacles Into Triumphs Upstart Business Journal: Why Amelia Earhart’s 1925 Gamble Should Inspire Entrepreneurs Thought Catalog: How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything Thought Catalog: Should I Drop Out of College? Medium: Hey Millennials, It’s A Good Thing Things Are Bad Psychology Today: The Importance of Negative Thinking RyanHoliday.net: A Lesson From The World’s Worst Week RyanHoliday.net: A Practical Philosophy Reading List Beliefnet.com: Nine Ways To Turn Your Obstacles Into An Advantage Entrepreneur.com: A Leadership Lesson From Eisenhower’s Stoic Reversal at D-Day

New York Observer

A Burglar Stole My Engagement Ring — And It Made My Proposal - Feb. 18 Certified: Why It Feels Good When Your City Hits the Big Screen - April 4 Trading Up The Chain: Mainstream Media Takes Cues from Blogosphere - April 23 Dear Graduates: Lessons From a College Dropout – May 26

Betabeat

Fake Traffic Means Real Paydays – Jan. 16 I Own a Goat: Some Animals And a Mini-Farm Give a Tech Guy Some Peace – Jan. 21 Ryan’s Hope: Why I Took A Job At Betabeat - Feb. 3 Phoning It In: 3 Years of Lessons From Running A Remote Business – Feb. 6 Whats Wrong With Media? This Tech Investor’s Twitter Rant Nails It – Feb. 10 What to Measure? The Question Journalism Has to Answer – Feb. 12 Outrage Porn: How the Need For ‘Perpetual Indignation’ Manufactures Phony Offense - Feb. 26 Sourceless: Online Reporting Becomes a Race to the Bottom - March 5 Get Out Of Town: Why SXSW Isn’t Worth It - March 14 Airbnb Etiquette: A Wake-Up Call to Unprofessional Hosts - March 19 Let Me Come Out and Say It: The Ford Commercial Is Super Lame - April 1 I Was Plagiarized By Arbitrage Magazine, But I’m The One Who Feels Terrible About It - April 8 Personal Science Seth Roberts Passes Away - April 28 Tim Ferriss Publishes Betabeat Editor Under New Audiobook Venture - May 9 The Joke’s On Us: ‘Sharing’ Becomes An Excuse Not To Care - May 21 Skimming Off The Top: Social Giving Sites Take a Huge Cut Of The Check – May 27 Is Google’s Product Strategy Dumb, Brave or both? - June 4 For Giants Like the New York Times, Problems Are Hidden in Plain Sight - June 23 How 3D Printing Is Bringing An Ancient Art Form Back to the Future - June 3 Chasing Ghosts: ‘Attention Minutes’ Are Voodoo, CPM is Still What Counts - July 7

Thought Catalog

The Guilty, Crazy Secret That Helps Me Write - Jan. 2

24 Books To Hone Your Strategic Mind – Jan. 8

The Creative Secret: Quantity Over Quality — And Commitments – Jan. 16

How To Turn Your Day-To-Day, Chronic Procrastination Into An Advantage – Jan. 26

How To Market A Boring Business: PR, Advertising And Marketing Strategies For Regular, Button-Down Brands – Jan. 28

Information Vs. Knowledge Vs. Experience – Jan. 31

A Winner Does… – Feb. 6

I Am The Man Who Honks – Feb. 13

25 Recommendations For Life Changing Biographies For The Voracious Reader In You – Feb. 23

Print Out Good Advice And Put It Where You Work (You Won’t Be Able To Run Away From It) – March 3

Hey, Reading Isn’t A Race: How Speed Reading And Spritz Completely Miss The Point – March 9

Productivity Secret: Never Buy Airplane Wifi – March 17

Loving Los Angeles: 36 Books To Help You Finally “Get” LA – March 24

The Overthinker’s Guide To Launching Your Next Project Without Wanting To Kill Yourself – April 7

Why You Need To Understand The American Civil War -April 17

Should I Drop Out Of College? – April 28

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything – May 1

How The Civil War Was Won – May 9

13 Moral Biographies That Make You A Better Person And Teach You About Life – May 14

We Love Ourselves More Than Other People, But Care About Their Opinions More Than Our Own – May 19

This Moment Is Not Your Life – May 28

A Letter To The Graduating Class Of 2014 – June 3

Things I Learned On The Way To 27 – June 16

30 Must Read Quotes From Icons Of History Required To Turn Your Adversity Into Advantage – June 20

Can You Call Yourself A Writer? – June 23

Sorry, An Epiphany Isn’t What’s Going To Change Your Life – July 1

Confessions Of A Binge Reader (Or, How I Read So Much) – July 8

7 Pieces of Life Changing Advice from Dear Sugar – July 15

The 10 Of The Greatest (True) Stories Ever Written—Read These Books – July 28

How to Get a Book Agent- July 31

Psychology Today

The Surprising Value of Negative Thinking - May 1 Why You Should Embrace Failure - May 12 Domesticate Your Emotions - May 26 Contemptuous Expressions: The Secret To An Objective Mind - June 20

Entrepreneur.com

Turning Crisis Into Opportunity: 5 Ways To Deal With Hardship - April 30 The Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon: Persistence. (See General Grant.) – May 6 How Entrepreneurs Can Read to Lead - May 19 A Leadership Lesson From Eisenhower’s Stoic Reversal at D-Day - June 6

Growth Hacking Gig: I’ll Pay For Your Training

July 28, 2014 — 17 Comments

The most important step in becoming a growth hacker is real life experience. I ended my ebook on the subject with some suggestions of what to do next if you wanted to become one. I was disappointed that I couldn’t offer more. But with the launch of the revised and expanded paperback edition of Growth Hacker Marketing coming up on September 30, I had an idea. Since I’ve written so much about the importance of mentors and practical application, what if I could create a way for at least one person to get real experience, marketing a real product?

Here’s what I’m doing: Instead of spending the paperback’s marketing budget myself, I am going to turn it over–all $10,000 of it–to the person with the best growth hacking idea for the book’s launch. With my help, we’ll execute that idea, track, and record the results. At the end I will write the whole experiment up as a case study that features you as its star (like I did here with The Obstacle is The Way). For those of you looking to make your splash in this space, this is that opportunity—a chance to lead a high profile campaign, prove your ideas, and establish your credentials. In a way, the ebook was the MVP and now that it’s been proven (sold thousands of copies, gotten 200 reviews on Amazon, been translated in multiple languages), growth hacking can take it to the next level.

No experience is required. The best, most interesting idea/person will get the gig. But I do want BIG ideas, things that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. Ideas that will actually move books in a trackable, scalable way. As I’ve said many times, the best marketing campaigns prove the ideas in the book and I want this to do that.

Qualifications/Requirements/Process: I get a lot of emails from ambitious young people looking to intern for me or work for me. This is the kind of chance I would have jumped on when I was that age. To apply just email: ryholiday@gmail.com with a ONE paragraph pitch for your idea, no longer than 300 words and then at the bottom, include one link about yourself that you think I should see. Use the subject line: GHM Gig. (I will actually be checking these requirements so if you can’t follow them, you’ve already failed). Tell me what you would do with the $10,000 budget, why you think it would work, and a little bit about yourself. The deadline will be August 11th. 

Let’s go!

Ryan

 

**Winner has been selected. Info to come! Thanks to everyone who applied**

The Overthinker’s Guide To Launching Your Next Project Without Wanting To Kill Yourself

July 21, 2014 — 4 Comments

It’s the eve of a big launch.

Maybe a year went into this project. Maybe ten years. Your life savings or your entire reputation could be on the line.

Maybe you’re launching a book (as I did recently). Or a startup. Or a course. Or you work for a company that is rolling out a new product that they’ve put you in charge of.

Whatever it is, the reality is that you’re stressed, worried and overworked. And the closer you get the launch, the harder it is to have any idea of how this whole thing is going to come off. Less than half of all Kickstarter projects are successful. 93% of companies accepted by Y Combinator fail. Most books sell less than 250 copies (to say nothing of getting any significant attention). It’s impossible to tell whether a launch will be a success or not. And even if everything goes exactly as you hope—the results could still be disappointing.

So no wonder it can feel like you’re going to crack up, fall apart and die.

Every person who’s ever been there before you has felt this way at some point.

I’ve done my share of launches—under my own name and for other people. Some have been very successful (millions of dollars in sales, bestseller status, mainstream press and media recognition). Others have been catastrophic failures.

Staying sane is hard, but not impossible. Here are some things to keep in mind as you approach a launch:

-You’re not going to die. Whatever happens, it’s almost certain that the result—good or bad—will not be a matter of life or death. So calm down.

-Friends will let you down. It’s what happens. They’ve promised to help and they won’t. Others will decide this is the time to hem or haw, or nickel and dime you. Don’t take it personally. If it’s egregious, cut them out of your life. If it’s not, just forget it. They don’t know what they’re doing—they’ve never been where you are.

-Just don’t be that guy when it’s other people’s turn. “The best revenge is to not be like that.”

-Hire professionals and support—whatever you can afford and then spend a little more. You will regret cheaping out at this moment in time. You will not regret investing in your project.

-Don’t wait until the last minute. If you did, I have no sympathy for you. You just set yourself up to fail. That was dumb.

-Do your research. Figure out what has worked for other products in your space. For everything people try during a launch, the 80/20 principle still applies: most things don’t move the needle much. Use that knowledge to find leverage for your own launch to create big results. You aren’t reinventing the wheel here, doing your homework will save you time and stress. It will prevent fruitless chasing of vanity metrics.

-Have you run a premortem? In a premortem you look to envision what could go wrong in advance, before your launch. Today everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies and the Harvard Business Review are using it to find big mistakes (and to prepare for unpleasant surprises) before they launch a product. The premortem goes back to the ancient Stoics, who had an even better name for it: premeditatio malorum(premeditation of evils). We can do the same for our launches, not only to find mistakes before they happen, but prepare ourselves mentally to expect the unexpected.

-You don’t control the results, only the effort.

-You don’t control the results, only the effort you put in. I’m saying that twice. I would actually say it more times if I had the space. Repeat it to yourself over and over again. Intention and effort are what matters. A million variables outside your control rest between you and a successful launch.

-But speaking of results, limit your real time accounting as much as possible. I’ve probably refreshed the Amazon rank for the book I am launching this month 250 times. That’s about 10% as much as I would have if I wasn’t restraining myself. Don’t waste time checking how far you’ve come or how far you need to go. Stay in the moment and work.

-Plan.

-Despite the narrative in your head, you’re not releasing a blockbuster movie. I repeat, this is not a Hollywood launch. For some reason we all fall into this temptation and it clouds our priorities and prevents success. You don’t need to get all your customers packed into a single week — no newspaper is going to be printing the scores the following Monday. Instead, focus on what matters: attracting the right people early and satisfying them. More will come if you do this right. Think soft opening, not grand opening.

-Make sure you have something else that you can channel your anger, anxiety, and excess energy into like exercise. This way it doesn’t matter how the launch is going, you know you had a good day at the gym, or in the pool or on your bike. Extra benefit: good ideas will come to you here.

-Remember, all’s well that ends well.

-Having a dog or an animal or something totally carefree that you can focus on is nice too. I am going to go water my lawn in a few minutes. It will help.

-Ask questions from the best people in business. Short questions — mostly about what was most effective and least effective. Don’t ask them to do your job. Just help prevent you from fucking up.

-Know that your life will be a mess. Now is not the time to move, to start a new relationship, to finally address some problem you’ve been putting off. Life goes on hold.

-Hey guess what, launching/promotion/marketing isn’t someone else’s job. It’s your job. Even if you hired other people to help, it’s still on you. No one cares about this project more than you. No one is a better spokesperson for it than you. If you think you can hand all this off to someone and still get amazing results, you’re wrong.

-Do crazy things. I’ve vandalized my own billboards. I’ve had clients give away enormous chunks of their own product. I lied to the New York Times, ABC News and the Today Show. Launches are nuts. The ends—almost any ends—justify the means.

-No one else understands what you’re going through. Launches are unique, even people that have been through them have trouble remember just how crazy they make you feel. Accept it and power through.

-Knock as much easy stuff as you can early. Have interviews? Pre-record them. Articles you’re writing? Do them in months in advance. Have travel? Book it. The fewer decisions you have to do while you’re in the shit, the better. Don’t sit around now when you have free time and then complain to everyone else when you’re overwhelmed later. Take advantage of the downtime.

-If you need a favor, ask. Ask people how they can help you. You’d be surprised how much good stuff comes from this.

-Relax man. If it fails, you’ll survive. If it succeeds, you’ll be happy — but don’t let that go to your head either. Because you should remember how easily it could have gone the other way.

Here are some resources on having a killer launch. Read them.

*The Right (and Wrong) Way To Market A Book – Ryan Holiday

*The Growth Hacker Wake Up Call – Slideshare

*Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise 100,000 In 10 Days – Tim Ferriss

*How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend – Tim Ferriss

*4 Hour Chef Launch: Summary of Week One – Tim Ferriss

*How We Got Our First 2,000 Users Doing Things That Don’t Scale – Fast Company

*How To Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0 – James Altucher

*What Are Key Strategies To Acquire Your First 100K Users With Zero Marketing Budget? – Quora

Look, if you’re about to ship a product or launch a new company, open a restaurant, or make your debut on stage, you’re already ahead of 99% of the population. People would kill to be where you are.

So there’s no reason to add unnecessary stress or be so hard on yourself. If you approach a launch from the right perspective, you will better be able to remain calm and be successful. You won’t be able to control the obstacles that come your way during a launch, but how you approach and view them will determine how hard they’ll be for you to overcome. The important thing is to learn to be comfortable with the inevitable uncertainty and focus on the present. If you keep your head down and only focus on what you can control (your effort) you’ll be able to deal with the results, good or bad.

This column originally appeared on Thought Catalog. Comments can be seen there.