If you could sit down with someone you really admire and interview them about whatever you wanted, how do you think it’d go? Would it flow like a casual conversation between two friends? Or would it be fast-moving and direct, with a series of specific questions? What would you hope to walk away having learned, after this interview? These are things you should be considering before you try to pick the brain of someone you look up to, or they may end up looking down on you. Talking to someone whom you hope to learn from isn’t as simple as just reading off a list of questions; there is actually a professional way to go about it that will benefit not only you but that expert you’re trying to learn from. Andrew Warner is an accomplished entrepreneur who wants to give other entrepreneurs something he wished he had years ago; an easy way of talking to each other. Because when you’re building something yourself, few things are more valuable than talking to someone else who already built something successful. And why stop here? Talk to several people who did what you’re trying to do, because different success stories have different beginnings.
In this podcast our CEO Daniel Ramsey sat down with the highly successful Andrew Warner, to talk about the art of, well, talking! And to plug his amazing new book, Stop Asking Questions, which drops on October 18. Watch above, or read the breakdown below…
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Andrew Warner got his big break when he founded a successful electronic greeting card company which he later sold for millions. After doing so, he learned a valuable lesson that is worth passing on here: don’t be afraid to take a break. The entire experience of managing an exit from a successful business completely wore Andrew out. He had been operating at 100% around the clock, constantly in that mindset of “the hustle never sleeps”. They say if a shark stops swimming it dies; he was in the mindset of some kind of entrepreneur great white! But that isn’t the way. Taking time to yourself, to reflect and grow outside of the daily grind is incredibly important. So after closing that sale he finally had the opportunity to step away. Andrew took the time to ride his bike all over, read more, and travel. He came back from this time-off refreshed, energized, and with a whole new idea. An idea for something he wished he had back when he was getting his start.
“Life is full of moments that have more value than we can imagine.”
Knowing =/= Doing
Enter his new venture, Mixergy. A platform he started in 2004, specifically for entrepreneurs to get together with other entrepreneurs and help each other. The business had its ups and downs, it wasn’t an overnight success. But it found its footing eventually, ironically with a bit of helpful advice from a fellow entrepreneur. Today it’s a place for successful entrepreneurs to teach other ambitious upstarts. They do remote interviews, podcasts, and even teach courses. It’s a stark contrast from those entrepreneur coaches that often leave a lot to be desired. Andrew recalls paying one of those business coaches for lessons in how to grow a million-dollar business. He didn’t find it as helpful as he’d hoped, largely in part because this coach had never made a million-dollar business themself! How can you teach how to do something that you’ve never done yourself? If you wanted to learn how to rock climb, would you pay someone to teach you if all they’d ever done was learn about it on YouTube? Heck no. The future of your business is no different from climbing that mountain, so don’t trust it to someone who’s never even gone hiking.
Another interview tip Andrew mentioned, was actually something he noticed Daniel was already doing himself! And that is being prepared, with a clear direction and goal for your interview. This doesn’t simply mean having your questions written out in a list. While that helps, if you rely on that too much then the interview starts to feel mechanical. This leads to people feeling bored, and might be less forthcoming and natural with their discussions. It’s good to know what you’re going to ask, but you should also know how you’re going to ask it. You sound needy and come across as whiney if you keep pestering your mentor with questions. For example, instead of “How can I grow my sales team?”, reword that to something like “How did you grow such a successful sales team?”. You’ll get virtually the same answer, except it’ll probably be even more informative and helpful. A simple rephrasing can go a long way towards getting the answer you need, not the answer you think you want. It should be clear from the start what you hope to accomplish from this talk. Where is this conversation going? What are we teaching each other and possibly others with this discussion? Who benefits from this and why? If the conversation feels aimless, or robotic, you’re not gonna have a good time. Motivate this person to want to engage with you and give you the answers and content you want. An entrepreneur who’s hustled their way to the top of their respective business doesn’t want to sit and answer 21 questions to give some other entrepreneur a shortcut. Give them that “motivated moment”. They have to have a reason to want to be there, answering your questions and talking it out with you.
Pro Tips for Pros
There you have it! Pro tips from actual pros. We hope this advice anyone out there, entrepreneur to otherwise. Sitting down and talking to someone in a professional capacity is something almost everyone has to do at some point. Be it an interview for a job, a podcast, business research, etc. No matter the case, these tips should prove beneficial to all. We at MyOutDesk love opportunities like this, to talk to other experienced professionals and learn from them. And in some cases just simply validate what we already know! We pass this knowledge onto our followers, our customers, and even our own employees. Because offering a wide variety of virtual assistants means having a wide variety of skill sets and knowledge. If a company wanted to hire a virtual assistant to help them conduct interviews of any kind, these very lessons would be common knowledge to any VA we provided them. If you’d like to talk more with us about how virtual assistants fit into this, and how they could benefit your own business, follow the link below. We’ll schedule a FREE one-on-one consultation whenever is convenient for you. Thanks for reading!
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