A couple weeks ago I went to Lithuania to attend a camp started seven years ago by Simon Black and Matt Smith called the BlackSmith Liberty and Entrepreneurship Camp, or Sovereign Academy… it seemed to have a few names.
Why Lithuania? Why the hell not? It is a relatively central location (I was jealous of those from Poland and Germany who only had a two hour flight… mine was 18 hours). It is also a relatively libertarian, business minded, up and coming country, and the Mayor of the capitol city Vilnius is a self avowed anarcho-capitalist!
Simon Black–who could be a character in an Ayn Rand novel, and I mean that as a compliment–throws down $25,000 of his own money every year for no tangible return, to educate and inspire 50 entrepreneurs from around the world all working on different projects, and with different levels of business experience. Some were already successful, some were trying to scale businesses, others only had an idea, and a few, like myself, needed to learn how to market better to grow their audience.
One. The first major takeaway from the camp is that I should always be marketing, and selling is not a bad word. The idea is to have a good product that people want, need, and enjoy. By marketing and making myself available to a larger audience, I am doing them a service by allowing them to gain ideas and inspiration that will help them be more fruitful, happier, and smarter. When people read my novels, they will not only be entertained but also be introduced to a philosophy that could radically change their worldview.
I also got some great information on marketing that I can put into practice in short and long term plans. This post didn’t have to be a list, but more people will read it now.
Two. The second thing that has already helped me is better structure and attitude, thanks especially to Craig Ballantyne. Get ready for some Inception stuff because we are going into a list within a list. Craig suggested we make 5 rules for ourselves in order to live a more successful and enjoyable life:
- Set a time to go to bed and wake up every day, but especially wake up (nap later if needed). If you keep the same schedule, you get more done, and won’t kill a day by not being able to fall asleep when you need to, because you overslept three hours that morning. I have been waking up at 6 a.m. everyday since I got back to the states, and it has been great! It’s cooler outside, I read more, and exercise more, which brings me to number:
- Rule for health: mine is ten minutes of ab workouts every morning directly when I wake up. This way, I can stay laying in bed, and slowly start moving to do some crunches. By the time I fill ten minutes with different ab exercises, my blood is pumping and I am ready to spring out of bed.
- Next is what to do with your time right when you wake up. So yes, I do abs, but then I do 15 minutes of reading, followed by 15 minutes of writing. Craig suggested taking 15 minutes to problem solve with no distractions, before you log onto social media because:
- is one rule of what NOT to do–the biggest thing that derails you. I limited myself to no more than two alcoholic drinks on any given night so that I never wake up feeling groggy or sick. Some people might stay off social media until they accomplish something so that their mood is not thrown off by unnecessary distractions.
- And finally the last rule is a goal to aspire to, or something for personal reputation. Mine is to always stay cool, calm, and collected, and never show anger or become upset. When these feelings pop up, I try to analyze them, to understand why I am feeling that way. That helps subdue any gut reactions, or emotional responses. But your goal could be keeping in touch with more friends, or spending an hour every night engaged with the family.
Three. My third biggest takeaway from the camp is how important network and reputation are. Some people asked Simon and the other instructors some (sort of ridiculous) questions about what they would do if they woke up tomorrow broke, with no money or possessions. The answer: start new businesses, which would be easy, because their reputations allow them to raise capital and team up with friends, and their network allows them to find the people they need for expertise and investment.
Reputation is huge. Networking is crucial. I just so happened to absolutely LOVE most of the people I met at camp, because they are amazing, driven individuals who are going places. (They are also the only group I have met with the perfect balance of fun and intellect). Am I ever going to work for Simon, get an investment from Simon, or become a partner in a business with Simon? Maybe, maybe not. But I know for a fact I will be friends with many of the fellow campers I met in Lithuania for the rest of my life, which will present me with numerous opportunities to work with them for mutual benefit.
Always add value. This ties back into the first point: business is not a bad thing. In a truly free market, two individuals only enter into a transaction in which they both see benefit. Therefore teaming up with others, getting investments, or selling a good product should always be mutually beneficial.
Of course I learned so much more, but these three pieces of the puzzle stuck out to me.
By the way, we had to apply to this camp with a video, and it was free for everyone who was accepted to attend. Here’s the video that got me a spot! (The gardens look a lot better now, this was early in the season. Follow me and you will see plenty of the mini-farm!)
Now make sure you keep up with my blog moving forward! You can help hold me accountable, make sure I am still getting up at 6 and not sneaking extra adult beverages. You’ll also receive exclusive content once a month in a cute little email newsletter that will keep you up to date with my novels, documentaries, mini-farm, and other projects!
I’ll be creating more videos, you’ll see some adorable goats, and hear some book reviews!