Dec 272014
My PT Cruiser

Every year I learn new stuff, everyone does, or rather should do, however not everyone lays it bare and tells others what they have learnt. I have done it three times now, I focussed on property in 2011 and you can see it here. In 2012 it was more general and you can take a look here and then repeated the dose with a much more personal and introspective one in 2013 which you can view here. So this year it is back for your delectation. There are now threads running through this each year and you can see that at times I learn the same things which sort of suggests it maybe isn’t being put into practice right?

1) Video still kills everything else in terms of giving people the message and helping them to stick with you and for the third year on the run I say that I am still not making enough of them despite the ease of use of smartphones and the utility of the videos themselves. DO MORE VIDEO GRAHAM!

2) Having 10 ideas is a day is at times difficult, exciting and daunting. James Altucher preaches the Daily Practice and one of the most important aspects of that is the ten ideas a day thing. I do it every day and come up with some doozers. It is not always easy to do and some days it can be very daunting to try and get to ten, others I cannot stop and write down even more. The problem is of course that when the good ones inevitably appear (And I freely admit not every idea is a great/feasible/unique or even clever one) then there is a huge temptation to drop everything to move towards the bright new shiny thing.

3) The thrill of a new business gives a surge of adrenaline which means that old businesses should always be innovating to keep them interesting otherwise they wither on the vine and go away. I have this problem often because of number 2 above. At the moment I am fighting a battle with three new potential businesses complementing two current businesses. Outsourcing maybe the answer but first some things need doing.

4) Big decisions mean so much more than a small ones as they create that direction for your time and efforts and rewards. Therefore outsource the small decisions and let somebody else take them. I find that letting go of the decisions makes life easier and stops me being interrupted on the much more important stuff.

5) Collaborations don’t always pay off. When something isn’t working give it up. When something has the potential to work then work on it. When something is working give it more time, more resources and more energy. Just don’t expect everything to work out in every endeavour.

6) There is always more time available but it is necessary to become more efficient. I have said before that there is not enough time, I take it back now. I can pack so much more into a day now through automation and efficiency. I could do even more if I could kick the Facebook habit into touch a bit more 😉

7) Three weeks holiday in the middle of summer is an excellent way to get away from everything that is bothering you but might not be the best way of keeping a business ticking over if done on a regular basis until everything is working like clockwork without your own input and that is difficult. It is also a great way to have some quality time with the kids. Road trips rock.

I Love Paris in The Summer When It Sizzles

I Love Paris in The Summer When It Sizzles

8) When you see somebody benefitting massively from something you have done for them it only makes sense to try and emulate it for yourself doesn’t it? That can lead to better collaborations and fantastic outcomes.

9) Innovate, iterate and perfect. The first way of doing something new may be interesting but it is seldom the best way. The iteration will make it better but changing just one aspect of it will not make it infinitely better. Iteration should be constant until the process is perfected (And be aware that this may never happen)

10) Giveaway ideas to people and they want to work with you. I giveaway a lot of ideas to a lot of people and two of my new businesses coming up in 2015 are due to doing just this. Both are collaborations as the ideas were given away but, in the opinion of those who the ideas were given to, putting them in place requires some input from me.

11) Do not be afraid of people stealing your ideas because if you have ideas regularly then more ideas will be created from the initial ones and it doesn’t really matter if you give one away. You will have a lot more that you may wish to carry out (or even give away in the future. (By the way if you want some ideas for your own business just drop me a line explaining what it is 🙂

12) The 250 coffees a year idea for networking is an interesting way of creating more business and the tips in that post of the best question you can ask and the use of Rapportive are excellent. When you ally this to the ten ideas for the people you are meeting then it becomes a very strong platform

Coffee In Spain

Coffee In Spain

13) Writing on a larger platform creates more eyeballs for your own stuff. It is getting more and more difficult to get traffic to your blog as the noise of the internet gets more and more. Twitter is becoming more of a news source and echo chamber and Facebook is restricting the reach of your posts if you don’t pay. Your blog is a miniscule dot in the middle of the Pacific ocean however big it is in your niche so you need to go to where the eyeballs are. Platforms such as Medium, Linkedin, Thought Catalog, Guest Blogging on bigger sites and more can help you to target your message. The Facebook advertising platform can be an excellent way of targetting even down to a single individual for your message. Make sure you try to bring people back to your home ground though, even if it is just a miniscule dot in the Pacific ocean. Remember it’s your own miniscule dot and that is important.

14) Online nervous breakdowns are not a great way to go about appearing on social media. This year I have seen at least three people I know have an online breakdown. All credibility, trust and authority totally sabotaged in a few mad days or weeks or in one case a single post. I will not rake over the embers of that here but don’t do it. Just don’t do it. Oversharing can be burdensome for everyone.

15) Trolling sales people on the telephone is extremely good fun and can brighten up your day immensely. When you are sitting at home after a couple of hours working and you get that call from ONO, Vodafone, Orange or whoever is phoning you despite you having told them to take your number off their database so many times you may as well enjoy it. Trolling somebody who phones you is a nice little interlude in the day. It is even better when you do it to an online scammer. Everyone has to have some fun in life right?

16) Casual encounters can lead to the best results in terms of creating business possibilities and income. The biggest new business I have going into 2015 came from a casual coffee meeting after a message on LinkedIn.

17) Never ever trust SabadellCam. The worst bank in Spain. Of course being the worst bank in Spain is the most competitive race in the world as there are so many candidates. However SabadellCam outdo even Bankia for their incompetence, uselessness and generally their hate of all things with human DNA. If ever a bank needed to have been allowed to die then it was the SabadellCam, the most useless financial entity on Earth, compounding human misery and revelling in doing it for so many people. Did I mention how bad they were there?

18) A bad day shouldn’t be extended beyond the boundaries of the 24 hour period. Do not drag it into the next day. One swallow doesn’t make a summer of course but allowing that swallow into the next day and the next might well make a summer eventually. The same goes for bad experiences. If you carry it into the next day it stops that one from working, and the next, and the next, and so on and so on.

19) Crowd sourcing brings huge opportunities in the market for raising funds. The new business we have going forward from January makes use of the principles of crowdfunding for the cash. Being able to create a win win situation for small investors and large means that there will be more and more opportunities in the market in the future and those who understand the possibilities for crowdfunding are going to make it big and satisfy a lot of people. (If you want to know more mail me)

20) The best travel deals happen by accident and you have to be ready to get them. Big travel companies and airlines make mistakes more often than you think on their websites. If you are aware of this and ready to go then you can take advantage of this. Getting a trip to New York for four people in March for five days for 640 Euros total price was awesome.

New York State of Mind

New York State of Mind

21) There is nothing quite like a great and surprising trip to blow the cobwebs away especially when you know you have paid so little for it.

22) It’s difficult to juggle too many balls at once both in terms of business and habits. Habits and rituals need to happen to allow consistency in life and business. Without them days can drift away and they regularly do. If you take on too many at once then you drop too many balls. It is therefore imperative to say “no” every now and again. There is a limit to the things you can do every day and still leave space for chance and adventure.

23) If you think you cannot change the world a little then look at the example of Podemos which was only formed this year as a political party. Two years ago I mentioned the fact that Spain needed a big change in politics. This year it got it and the change is a hugely positive one as opposed to reactionary, bigtotted and fearful. It could still all go really wrong but currently the signs for Podemos are good, if only to clean up the corrupt state of Spanish politics.

24) Even millionaire tossers with misogynistic tendencies can change their spots and become something useful for society. Russell Brand gets criticised for being hypocritical because he is rich and tries to help the poor. He gets criticised for stuff he did a long time ago when he was an addict and immature. Now he puts his head above the parapet and gets shot down by the vested interests on all sides I suspect he is doing something right even if you don’t like him. I do. Again it’s good to see someone who seems to care making a difference through a different platform. Why run for Parliament when you can lead at least a part of the conversation and attitudes outside it? If you get a seat in Parliament just 30,000 people have voted for you maybe and most of them as there was no alternative, having 9 million followers on various social media platforms allows you to have a much bigger influence.

Russell Brand and His Messiah Complex

Russell Brand and His Messiah Complex

25) Never switching off is difficult to maintain for even short periods. I have previously suggested you should always be contactable. Now because of IM, Twitter, Mail, Phone, Facebook etc.. I take that back. You have to switch off at times even if just for your own sanity.

26 The best business invention ever is… the siesta. No doubt about it, my number one trick for switching off, refreshing myself and getting back on track is to crash out for a bit. If you have never tried it then do it. It works like magic. Anyone who says different is simply jealous and in denial because of the brainwashing of society and their bosses.

27) Haters rule. As I have said before they prove you are doing something right. If you don’t have haters then you are too mellow and not pushing the envelope enough. Get out of your comfort zone and annoy someone.

28) Letting go is very liberating. For a few years I have been carrying around some pent up hate and aggression against one particular person. This year I let it go. I am still relatively bitter but I managed not to smack him when I saw him for the first time in ages recently. I call that a step forward in a positive direction 😉

29) Choose your social media platforms wisely as they can eat up loads of time for nothing if you don’t. Addictions to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc… can eat up so much time which could be better spent on Google Plus of course…. OK I am joking. But if you are in business always ask yourself whether you are killing it on social networks or you are just killing time.

30) Don’t worry about the competition because really they are not competition, there is enough cake for everyone and they are more worried about you. If you approach this with the right mindset then they become your collaborators if you want.

31) Grudges don’t work but a couple of them you should keep just for old times sake. As I said earlier  in Nº 28 letting go is liberating, however, hold a few small grudges as sometimes they can help you power forward just to prove people wrong.

Things Worth Bearing a Grudge About?

Things Worth Bearing a Grudge About?

32) Not everything will work but don’t worry if things don’t work, just be prepared to move on and try something new. Do not retreat into a shell when something goes wrong, just keep moving forward and trying something new again. I am not going to repeat the thing about Edison and lightbulbs as everyone knows it and it’s probably not true but what I would say is trying something once and then giving up forever on everything is a tad stupid.

33) Despite the fact I profess that I do, I don’t really know everything about everything and old dogs can be taught new tricks. Always listen and watch. You might learn something.

34) Keep on top of technical problems and get them sorted by people who know what they are doing. There is no point wasting time on sorting something that a technician can do much more quickly and efficiently. As for keeping on top of something it might help if you notice that your main email isn’t working before six weeks have elapsed. I didn’t!

35) Don’t be a shrinking violet online or in life. Give as good as you get but don’t expect others to change their opinion even when you “win” an argument. There is actually no point in winning an argument because even the smug self satisfaction is extremely fleeting.

36) Podcasts rock. Short podcasts rock even more. My in car entertainment is generally in the form of Podcasts (And Rock FM) This year I started a podcast which is just reading out blog posts to give them a different sound and so that people can consume content in another way. Next year it will be developed into something even more meaty.

My Podcast Selection

My Podcast Selection

37) Using music as the background noise to your life requires a full subscription to Spotify and the assiduous making of playlists. Long journeys require good music and an iPad with a lot of memory available to download playlists onto Spotify. Why? Well there are a lot of places in Spain where streaming will not happen and also data plans are not infinite on Spanish Sim Cards.

38) Following a mostly Paleo diet is a difficult choice to make in a land of bread but it opens up so many business opportunities if you cannot find anything Paleo anywhere to eat. Surely making Paleo products and distributing them throughout Spain must be a winner here.

39) Be happy. As Pharrell said. It’s worth it by the way because the alternative is depressing.

40) Forget the ice bucket challenge. When charity jumps the shark. Sure, it made a shedload of money for a charity but once everyone insists on doing it then actually forgets to donate anything it has jumped the shark.

41) Left field ideas are often the most successful for marketing property. People need to be surprised. Expect to see more surprises in the new year as we go into more serious video making about properties and people.

42) Estate agents in Spain repeat the same things over and over again and expect a different result. The absolute definition of madness. More and more agents are opening in Spain now demonstrating that the slump is ending. However most of the new ones are fighting for that same small piece of the market without knowing how to get there. They are also trying out the same old tricks, scamming, overpricing and lying. Good news for those who don’t, bad news for buyers and sellers alike.

43) Working with a hedge fund is interesting if only to see the madness of people, businesses and the finance world. Once you realize that nobody knows what they are doing or really understands major financial processes then you understand that everyone is faking it even, or possibly especially, at the top levels and that realisation gives you so much power to believe in yourself even if you yourself feel you are faking it.

44) There are such things as “gurus” who you should listen to but never refer to them as such and if they refer to themselves as such then they are not. Once they become self important then they lose the aura that makes them interesting. Who are yours?

45) Football causes anxiety. Losing and slips can be a blessed relief. Liverpool’s 2013-14 season was a constant source of anxiety for me (despite it being wonderful) then Gerrard slipped and suddenly that permanent knot of anxiety in my stomach (Which had afflicted me for the previous three months) disappeared. Maybe I am not cut out for being a football supporter (*He discovered probably 40 years too late*)

46) The best way to unwind is with a weekend of cricket with good mates and families and I never thought I would ever say that.

Taking it out on the ball

Taking it out on the ball

47) If your expectations of others are too high then you will be permanently disappointed. Expect everyone to let you down and you are generally pleasantly surprised by how positive your interactions with people can be.

48) Spain continues to be full of “Jamaican Snowboarders” despite everything. The number of start ups, the optimism of founders and the lack of plans continues to be amazing. Long may Spain continue to be positive despite the useless government, business leaders, institutions, religious leaders and traditions. Viva España! (And just in case you don’t know about Jamaican Bobsledders it comes from a quote in the sidebar “BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR IN SPAIN IS LIKE BEING A SNOWBOARDER IN JAMAICA” A quote from Martin Varsavsky on Twitter @martinvars)

49) Apparently a lot of people accept that you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Finally I started surrounding myself with people I wanted to be with rather than those I felt I should be hanging around with and life got so much better.

50) “I write bloody good stuff and my content is the best of anyone in the Spanish property market“. It took being told this various times by various people before I actually felt much more confident about what I produced and this produced the longer form post as the norm on a more irregular basis. Watch out for more long form post, magazines and books in the next year.

51) The network is key in everything. I have a few. This year my #WABAS network grew even more, my Valencia network grew exponentially and my other networks started to develop well. How did yours do? And do you believe that the network is key? If you don’t I am afraid you are wrong but you can try to convince me otherwise.

#WABAS14 In Granada

#WABAS14 In Granada

Oh, before finishing just one more thing. Last year I was open about certain issues and problems and some of you have asked me this year how those things were going. Last year I wrote this:

39) Having a really really bad possibility hanging over you all year brings you down amazingly at times. And when you can do nothing at all about that thing then it depresses. Unfortunately 2014 looks set to be marked by it too.

Well it is still ongoing and still brings me down. I still get down at times and my presentation at #WABAS14 in Granada told everyone there about it. That was a blessed relief although for the attendees it might have been a little gobsmacking!

36) Having a kid with certain problems is stressful and distressing. Seeing others treating him differently and singling him out is not nice. It will not happen again.

This didn’t happen again because we proactively handled it.

42) Confidence is 90% of the battle.

Still 100% true.

35) I still want a PT cruiser but this year the right car never came up at the right time. I now have the frog (Fiat Multipla) which is great as a people carrier but its time is short as I keep seeing PT Cruisers at decent prices now.

I got my PT Cruiser 🙂


My PT Cruiser

My PT Cruiser

  2 Responses to “The Infamous 51 Things I Learnt in 2014 Post”

  1. Always a highlight of the year ….. Graham’s overview of his year. So, 2014. How was it for you? Why will 2015 be better?

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