When Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were working to get “Chicken Soup for the Soul” published, they had a very particular goal in mind: getting on The New York Times’ best-seller list. They didn’t know how to do it, because it was their first book, so they asked 15 best-selling authors for advice. They also visited a book marketing and publishing guru named Dan Poynter. Finally, they read a book called “1001 Ways to Market Your Books.”
Pretty soon, they were overwhelmed and going a little crazy with all the advice on what to do, what not to do, and how to do (or not do) it. Interestingly, they got some fascinating advice from Ron Scolastico. He said, “Guys, if you go out every day to a very large tree and take just five swings with a sharp axe, eventually it’ll come down.”
That one gem sparked something in our aspiring best-selling authors. From that anecdote came the Rule of Five, which means taking five small actions every day in pursuit of a bigger goal. If you recall Stephen Covey’s habits, the seventh one is “sharpening your saw.” Well, it’s the same concept here. You should always be sharpening your axe to help you chop down that massive tree, but if you never start taking a swing at the tree, it won’t matter how sharp the blade is.
So, back to the story. Mark and Jack took their new principle to heart in attempting to make their “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book a best-seller. They did so by committing to five things per day, Monday through Friday. They did simple things like
- Interviewing for radio
- Calling editors to review the book
- Calling network marketing companies for them to sell the book as a motivational tool
- Sending copies of the book to ministers to use as the basis for their sermons
- Selling the book at the back of the room after giving seminars
- Sending copies to celebrities like Sidney Poitier and Paul McCartney (which served them very well)
- Sending copies of the book to all the jurors of the O.J. Simpson trial (another huge publicity win)
They did five things a day for two years. Was it worth it? You better believe it! Their first book sold over 20 million copies in 47 languages!
But it didn’t happen overnight, even if it seems that way to all of us. In fact, their book didn’t get on the best-seller list until more than a year after it came out. Their success happened because of persistent and consistent effort — thousands of individual activities that added up to one huge success.
What does this have to do with real estate investing and attracting private money? You can apply the Rule of Five to your own big goal or goals. In your business, how much more productive would you be if you did five important tasks each day?
At the end of each work day, I want you to make a list of five important tasks to accomplish the next day. Maybe it’s sharing that 16-minute CD of yours with someone new, or identifying a new person to reach out to on Facebook. What’s important is to take small and simple actions every day, because that consistency is what eventually leads to big successes. Even five small swings every day can take down a giant tree.
Here’s one more important point: You don’t have to do all of these things yourself. You can delegate them to someone else, as long as it all adds up to at least five! Try hiring a virtual assistant as one of your important tasks. Most importantly, keep implementing the Rule of Five in your business and your life each day!
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