“Hello there,” I smile down the phone. “How are you? Have your lectures started again yet?”
“Hi,” the Mentalist replies that morning. “Not yet. I am working on it though. How are you?”
“Good. Very busy,” I answer. “The usual, house still not sold, need new clients, more projects, more money… Maybe this deal with Steven is just what I need. Have a screen sharing session with him next week. What should I look out for? Costs and revenue? Contract? How we work together? Share of profit…? Also bumped into an investor acquaintance last week. He said he is into body shopping nowadays and maybe we can work together for some clients in 2019.”
“Doing something you can’t do or don’t want to do,” the Mentalist cautions me. “You should consider that.”
“I should stay away from things that I know nothing about,” I repeat what he said in my own words. “That’s what you mean.”
“Yes,” the Mentalist confirms. “Give me a while and I will explain. Just driving now.”
“Okay,” I acquiesce as I am curious to hear his take on this exciting new project.
“Asking about things requires an answer based on more info,” the Mentalist points out that in fact I still don’t know enough about the project to make a sound decision. “But however trust is important. Ask yourself what does Steven need and why? What do you need and why? As you are useless at cold calling how will you effect success in sales? If you could find the right profiles of freelancers and were not afraid to call up IT managers and ask if they use freelancers you too could body shop. It’s a very good business.”
“Steven needs me for my language skills, my digital marketing skills and my good looks,” I answer in defense. But in fact, the Mentalist has immediately put his finger on the sore spot. I hate cold calling. If I didn’t, my business would be in a much better state today than it is. “I need Steven for the product he has made, which I could help him sell and market.”
“What do each if those things mean?” the Mentalist wants me to consider the details thoroughly.
“He also has contacts and that is very interesting for me,” I tell him everything that appealed to me from our meeting. “I speak Dutch, French and English fluently. Steven only speaks French. I speak and word things better. I know digital marketing and digital psychology and all that stuff. Steven has made several tools to help people simulate a loan or an insurance online. We could sell this to brokers. We would do the marketing and get paid per lead the tool generates. The body shopping is just to get me a new job at a better rate than BNP. I want to charge 750 per day instead of 665.”
“I see,” the Mentalist answers patiently. “So you will do marketing, branding and sales cold calling to sell this tool right, in three languages? How are they different to what’s available now?”
“Small brokers don’t always have access to these tools,” I repeat what I believe to be true. But I admit I have a doubt. Small brokers surely rely on a larger overarching company who obviously have plenty of tools available. “Not on their own website. So we could bring them leads directly. If I pay 12 euro per lead to marketing and get the client to pay me 70 euros per lead then that is a great profit.”
“Does he also have an investment tool or dashboard?” the Mentalist wants to know all the details. “Are you contracting out sales?”
“No we will do the sales ourselves,” I say as I realise this is one of the greatest stumbling blocks in the story so far. “Don’t think he has an investment tool but can’t be hard to make. Will ask him.”
“Who is marketing at 12 euros per lead?” the Mentalist is fast at picking up the nitty gritty details.
“Me,” I answer proudly. “I will set up and fund the campaigns.”
“I see,” the Mentalist answers with growing aggravation in his voice. “Have you done any market research yet? Have you made a business plan to see if it’s really viable or is it all based on guess work. Your first statement about brokers don’t have access to a simulator program is based on what?”
“No. No market research,” I admit that I haven’t done my homework. “I could ask a friend of mine who owns her own bank branch. No business plan either… Statement is based on Steven’s observation and experience in the field, and my own recollection of working with banks and small brokers. So okay it’s not well investigated.”
“Fiona what are you doing now?” the Mentalist scolds me. “Again greed and the easy road. Each time you do this you just end up paying and paying.”
“That’s right,” I say with a sinking feeling in my stomach. The idea of selling leads of 12 euros at 70 euros to the client comes from Steven. It suddenly dawns on me that he would not be sharing such big a profit if it were so easily done. More likely, and if we’re lucky, I would get the cost per lead down to 50 euros. Making the whole process not so much worth my while. “So predictable. So if I make a business plan first and do the research it will be better?”
“Maybe he has a good tool that brokers will buy a license for if you advertise it to potential broker customers,” the Mentalist recaps. “Or it just somehow becomes popular and everyone looking for insurance wants to use it. Customers want to compare rates and save money. That would be worth investing in if it doesn’t exist already. Here brokers could buy leads from you or something. I am not trying to be sceptical about this as I haven’t seen the tools. Yes you need to do your homework first.”
“Yes I think he has a comparison tool too,” I answer in recollection to my meeting with Steven, but I am upset and annoyed that yet another idea has gone down the drain.
“Take the same tool and show it to a few potential clients,” the Mentalist encourages me. “Discuss the benefits and price of using it and see what their response is. Then you can invest if it’s positive and sign an agreement with Steven. But be aware of being used please and ignore your ego and greed. They don’t work for you.”
“Yes Steven probably is using me for something,” I retort all hurt.
“That’s OK if it is reciprocal,” the Mentalist soothes me.
“Well yes,” I snap. “It’s just not happening though.”
“Think hard,” the Mentalist pushes me. “Do the due diligence or pay and pay to find out no one is interested.”
“Don’t have a specific idea or plan how to get there, to success and riches etc,” I realise the idea is out of my reach. “Yes.”
“Is this tool Stevens only income?” the Mentalist asks again. “Where has he tested it? Who is using it? Success and riches take time and hard work. No easy path.”
“Oooh I am just going to swallow it,” I complain. I am in a mood again. I hate it when things just continue to fail for me. “Steven is a developer. He saw a lot at Generali when we were working there, and he is applying that now for other clients.”
“Swallow what?” the Mentalist asks confused.
“How come Nisha got her restaurant?” I spit out, jealousy rampant. “It all worked out for her and I am still struggling.”
“Ok,” the Mentalist soothes me again. “Test the market.”
“That’s what I wanted to swallow,” I explain still hurt and now even more so because I have given voice to my stocked-up frustration.
“Ok once you have done that let me know,” the Mentalist carries on in a business like manner.
“Grumble,” is all I have to answer to that. This is a dead end and he knows it.
“Don’t grumble,” the Mentalist attempts to set me straight. “Do the research and become successful.”
“Bet Nisha didn’t do a business plan or market research,” I hiss still feeling very down. “But okay will do.”
“Yes she did,” the Mentalist retorts. “I forced her.”
“She is stupid,” I shout back at him. I don’t believe one word he is saying and I find it so unfair. Where is my lucky moment, my golden ticket to success? “She didn’t. She just got Krish and Suzi to invest. Besides Suzi had been looking for a second place for some time.”
“Krishna helped her and her partner also did it before they went to the bank,” the Mentalist sets me straight. “No she didn’t. Krishna invested a small amount.”
“Yup exactly Krish did it,” I point out. “She did, I know. And Nisha had no money.”
“Ok if you say so,” the Mentalist warns me not to assume things based on what I had been told.
“Whatever,” I shrug more annoyed now than ever.
“Stop comparing yourself to others,” the Mentalist orders me. And I know deep down that he is right. This is a sure way to feel very bad and unhappy about yourself.
“I am not,” I lie blatantly.
“You need to succeed on your own,” the Mentalist tells me firmly.
“Yet at the same time it is frustrating that I get no help and others get offers,” I tell him. I don’t want to be jealous and I do feel grateful that things go well for others too. But there are moments when I wonder why others are getting all these offers and clients and opportunities, and here I am struggling away all in my lonesome. “I want offers too. I am not succeeding on my own.”
“They are well connected or involved in a community,” the Mentalist points out one of the starter principles to get offers and opportunities: you need to be interacting with people closely and on a regular basis. Well I am a lone wolf, a lonely rose. I work by myself. Keep myself to myself. But I thought that that’s why I was networking.
“I think that is pretty clear by now,” I admit more to myself than to him. “Yes right.”
“Ok,” the Mentalist acknowledges where I am at right now. “Go back a few steps and fix the blockage.”
“Which steps and which block?” I retort not wanting to cooperate at all anymore.
“Make friends with people that can help you,” the Mentalist repeats one of his known secrets to success. “Mix with successful people. Meet people who are in positions to employ your service. Start networking and be nurturing to those people.”
“Yes,” I nod trying to save my sinking mood. “I have an Adobe-after-work event tomorrow evening.”
“Get that right and the rest will fall into place,” the Mentalist tells me, but I know it is not that easy. He is just trying to suss me.
“Didn’t want to go but seems like a good thing to do,” I ponder out loud.
“Yes,” the Mentalist agrees. “Do that as much as you can stomach.”
“Well…” I trail off still looking for all the loopholes now. “The successful people just aren’t on my path.”
“Ok then get on theirs,” the Mentalist corrects me. “Stop making excuses. Make money or make excuses. You can’t do both.”
“It’s not that easy,” I throw back at him. “I don’t have a brother-in-law who will pay me a consulting firm.”
“It is that easy,” the Mentalist tells me. And I am just guessing and assuming here from what I know about what people say and what the t-shirts read. But once you know how and what to do, it must indeed be very easy. “It is all related to how you think. Ask Wim. What do you need a consulting firm for? The sad this is you act as a freelancer in a subject. Independent but not a wealth builder. You are selling your time for money. You will make nice living but never get rich. I suggest you start an investment portfolio and buy insurance or something that will pay you interest on your investments over twenty years so you can retire rich. The way you are working and all the excuses you make will keep you where you are now. Or you can change and grow rich. You need multiple income streams running next to your main income. Then you become rich. To sell your house. Move your bedroom into a real bedroom downstairs. Turn your bedroom into a work station and entertainment room. Put your TV up there. A desk or two etc. Then ask 5.000.000+ for it. Put Winston’s play station up there. Your house is good for a family with young teenagers.”
“Okay so he has a rough business plan which he will send me,” I am still holding on with all my might to the deal Steven was proposing to me. “And he has contacted me because there is demand for this product and he needs my help, plus potential to do more on the Dutch side. As for the house, yes probably right.”
“I think I will come and sell Stevens product,” the Mentalist teases me.
“Haha you would probably be better at it than me,” I agree. “And that would be nice. I miss you. So you’re saying I will never be rich? I might retire comfortably but that’s it. And I won’t sell my house at a profit? Just a break even if I am lucky. Which I am obviously not.”
“No I am saying if you continue to refuse to change your thinking and continue doing the things you do then yes you will die well off but not rich,” the Mentalist is adamant on not being misunderstood.
“So you keep saying,” I tell him. “Thing is I don’t know what needs to change to start with. Nor how to do it. I do know though that jealousy is quite ugly.”
“The estate agents will begin to put pressure on you by October to reduce the price,” the Mentalist predicts. “I am telling you move everything out the upstairs bedroom and make that into a TV and work station now. Do it tonight. Don’t wait. Take some good photos and send them to your agent and load them onto the immo website as a house for families with noisy teenage kids who sleep during the day and play at night. You know what to change.”
“I know what to change?” I ask bemused. “I do?”
“First think rich. Second behave rich,” the Mentalist spells it out for me. That doesn’t mean show off or spend. Quite the opposite. Rich earn money. They don’t make excuses.”
“A hint?” I ask him even more bewildered and trying to make sense of this. “The rich earn money. Okay.”
“They look for opportunity to make more money,” the Mentalist explains further his secrets to success. “They never give up. They never choose the road well travelled. They always take the hard road. They expect to be lonely.”
“Hmmmm,” I ponder for a moment as this is in stark contradiction with being in a tight community to get offers and opportunities. As I am a lonely type of person, I guess I am alright after all. “Okay so part of me is rich. Haha.”
“They guard their reputation like it’s gold,” the Mentalist goes on steadily.
“No seriously,” I find this hard to believe because I have worked with so many stinking rich people when I was doing asset management over 10 years ago, and I can tell you, I have heard of so many scandals.
“They always do what they say,” the Mentalist continues laying out for me who to think and act rich.
“There is nothing to be said about my reputation,” I answer in defense.
“Your reputation must improve at a constant pace,” the Mentalist goes on. “Your history must be forgotten. Your reputation is your history.”
“Yes but they are rich not from working but from investing,” I point out where I don’t agree about the rich getting richer. “My reputation is strong enough.”
“Not true,” the Mentalist argues. “They work. Extra money is invested. They get up at 5 am to have me time. The rest of the day is devoted to their daily demands. They plan their day. They action it. They achieve their daily goals come what may. Their goals are always achievable.”
“Just a few questions,” I ponder as I take this all in.
“If they stumble they go back to find the cause and fix it,” the Mentalist tells me.
“It won’t work to move the PS upstairs,” I point out why I can’t rearrange my furniture.
“They don’t procrastinate,” the Mentalist continues lecturing me. “Why not?”
“If I do, where will the kids sit?” I ask very annoyed with this idea. “Upstairs?”
“On poofs,” is the Mentalist’s simple answer.
“I can’t move my sofa upstairs,” I tell him. “I don’t have poofs.”
“On bean bags,” the Mentalist offers.
“What about Willem?” I argue again. “No more TV for him? I don’t have bean bags.”
“Go and get four,” the Mentalist says lightly.
“Now that is wasting money,” I state if I hear a silly idea this has to be it.
“He goes upstairs with the au-pair,” the Mentalist replies.
“Yes right,” I am really not buying this idea and am getting irritated the more he keeps repeating it. “And what about making dinner? Getting homework done? The washing and the ironing?”
“No it’s not,” the Mentalist defends his plan. “When you move you take them and put them in your lounge. Plus it’s an investment. Then Willem is with her.”
“I can move the bed out, no problem, but the TV can’t go up,” I remain put on my final decision here.
“It must,” the Mentalist insists.
“Big sigh of frustration,” I answer in my most sarcastic tone.
“Or drop your price to what you paid plus 7%,” the Mentalist answers.
“It can’t,” I insist in turn.
“It can,” the Mentalist booms back. “Teach the kids to read instead of TV.”
“Let me mull this over,” I tell him as I do believe there is value in his idea, it just isn’t feasible for me and my family.
“Buy a small TV for downstairs if it breaks your heart teaching your kids imagination,” the Mentalist goes on riling me.
“Funny cause that’s how it was set up when we bought it,” I think back to us visiting that house 4 years ago and falling in love with it.
“Exactly,” the Mentalist is triumphant he has made his point.
“Haha yes I might actually,” I answer as I see a plan forming in my mind’s eye. “I could put my outside furniture upstairs. And buy a small TV for up there.”
“People buy houses based on what they see and how it makes them feel,” the Mentalist tells me the psychology behind selling and buying a house. “No logic applied. Yes ok.”
“So do that and drop the price?” I want to know. “It is now at 549k.”
“Don’t drop the price,” the Mentalist insists which confuses me as I am sure he had just told me the opposite.
“Oh okay,” I let it go for now.
“Negotiate the price,” the Mentalist corrects me.
“I would if only there was an offer,” I sigh. “Nobody is coming to visit. Like nobody.”
“There will be if you change things,” the Mentalist is optimistic about this plan.
“We have had 2 visits in total,” I tell him quietly. “Just 2.”
“Kick the agent or change them,” the Mentalist points out the obvious blockage here.
“What difference will that make?” I want to know. “Immoweb is immoweb.”
“Change your advert,” the Mentalist encourages me. “Be more subjective.”
“Like what?” I want to know. I can’t think anymore. Too many things to take in all at once.
“Hang on I want to start cooking,” the Mentalist interrupts me. “I will be back shortly.”
“Bon appetit,” I smile my mind filled with new ideas.
What I learned from this is that you create better success when you believe in something, rather than when you are against an idea.