Alex has a video production company in Germany. He started using video to save his own time, by using simple clips instead of telling the same story many times. Today he helps his customers to save time, build trust and be found. His personal record was shooting 8 Videos in an hour.
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- Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited – JLD refers to this book
- The Freedom Journal – Set and Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days!
- The Mastery Journal – Master productivity, discipline and focus in 100 days!
- Trello – Alexander’s favorite online app
- Richard Dawkin’s book The Selfish Gene – Alexander’s favorite book
- HebelZeit – Alexander’s podcast
- The Skimm – Alexander’s refers to this newsletter
3 Key Points:
- It is important to identify your mistakes, so you can address them directly and effectively.
- Knowing how to say “no” to people can be valuable for you and your business.
- Freedom is about being free to make the decisions that you want to make, not those you have to make.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:03] – When Alexander was a small kid, he realized adults believed everything they saw on television and wanted to tap into that
- [01:13] – When he was 23, he achieved his goal of working in television advertisement
- [01:33] – He decided to make his own videos after realizing that people watched the clips more than the commercial advertisements
- [01:48] – How did you manage to do 8 videos in 1 hour? “It comes with training.”
- [01:57] – Alexander produces about 600 to 700 videos a year
- [02:38] – We tell stories through video
- What was your goal for The Freedom Journal and how did you crush it? “I heard about it from your newsletter. My goal was to make videos and The Freedom Journal helped me learn from my mistakes.”
- [03:35] – International shipping of The Freedom Journal is quite expensive, but there is also a complete digital pack
- [05:18] – JLD reiterates the importance of nightly reflection on the struggles you faced during the day so you can find solutions
- [5:55] – How do you define productivity? “Whenever possible, do anything twice. If you can do it in a way that you can have leverage afterwards, do it that way.”
- [06:39] – Alexander’s struggle is in working too deep in the business
- [06:58] – His biggest problem is saying “no” to other people
- [07:16] – JDL talks about Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited
- [7:59] – How do you define discipline? “For me discipline is not so hard. My only problem with it is focus and doing the wrong things.”
- [08:27] – The Freedom Journal helped in focusing on the things that matter
- [08:35] – How do you define the word focus? “It is important to see my goal in the future. I visualize my long-term goal.”
- [09:27] – Alexander wants a life where he is free to make decisions and to be there for his family
- [10:05] – Alexander has a lot of ideas, so he created an email where he can send all his ideas
- [10:31] – The Freedom Journal is about giving you the ability to Choose Freedom!
- [10:46] – JDL has sold 16,000+ copies of The Freedom Journal
- [11:00] – The Mastery Journal is about productivity, discipline and focus
- [11:22] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Nothing. I started my first business when I was about 15 years old. The problem was with being a successful entrepreneur. I thought that money was evil and I had to get over that.”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Focus on things that don’t change”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? “I never watch news. I listen to podcasts or audio books.”
- Share an internet resource, with Fire Nation – Trello
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene
- [13:16] – There is a newsletter, The Skimm: they send news highlights to you
- [14:13] – For German listeners, Alexander has a podcast called HebelZeit, which is Leverage Time in German
- [14:29] – Contact him via email
- [14:39] – Invest your time to learn things that will be valid in the future
Alexander: Yeah! Yeah!
John: Yeah. Alex has a video production company in Germany. He started using video to save his own time, and by using simple clips instead of telling the same story many times. Today, he helps his customers to save time, build trust, and be found. His personal record was shooting eight videos in an hour. He’s like the JLD of video. Alexander, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Alexander: Yeah. When I was a small kid, I realized that the adults believe everything they see on television. So, I decided I want to go there. And when I was 23, I achieved this goal. I worked for television and for, especially, television advertisement. But in 2008, I realized that I got more interviews for my zero-budget silly clips than for the six-figure TV commercials. And yeah, so I switched and decided to produce my own videos. And yeah, it took me another four years until I learned how to earn more money with my own little clips than with TV commercials or as a freelancer in TV.
John: Now, how did you manage to do eight videos in one hour?
Alexander: It comes with training. I’m producing about 600-700 videos a year for me and my customers. And so, I just need a basic idea to make a two-minute clip on my own. And then, do one video after another. I don’t edit it. There’s not much editing involved. But basically, that’s it.
John: So, let’s kinda talk right now about what you consider your area of expertise, which, probably, is video in some way, shape, or form. What is something that we don’t know about this area of expertise? And what’s something that we should know about it?
Alexander: I think the most important part of video – or why video and podcasts is exploding at the moment – is we always share information by telling stories and by watching what other people do. And only in the last years, we had to print the written word – or the last 500 years. Okay, it’s a long time, but compared to how long mankind is existing, this is a pretty short time. So, that’s why everyone loves to watch videos, and I’m pretty sure it’s getting more and more and more.
John: So, Alex, let’s talk about your Freedom Journal journey. How did you first hear about the Freedom Journal? What was the goal that you set? And then, how did you crush it?
Alexander: In the beginning, I heard about it from your newsletter. Then I signed up, and I bought it online. I would have bought it on paper, but it was way too expensive to send it to Germany.
John: It’s so sad, how expensive international shipping is. But that is the great part about the complete digital package, right?
Alexander: Yeah, it was really great. And in the beginning of the journey, I looked up my first reading journal. And I found out that I changed my goal ten times in the first sprint. So, every day, there was a different goal. So, this was the hardest part. But after I figured out what I really wanted to achieve, it became easier and easier. So, it was really good. In the beginning, I wanted to do different products, different stuff. Then I decided, “Okay, I want to find an editor for my company. And I want to find someone who does the video [inaudible] [00:03:35]. But because these are two important parts, and if I want to do more videos, I need people who will help me with this.”
And I started to look for people. This wasn’t that hard. I was really impressed that I found people really early. But it was really hard to give good instructions. And your Freedom Journal really helped me to learn from my mistakes. So, every morning, I stayed focused by answering the question, “How will this help you to achieve your goal?” And every evening, I made at least two mistakes. And I reflected on my mistakes and learned how I can do it better the next time. And when I did the same mistake twice or a third time, at least then I figured out an idea how to fix it.
John: Right. That’s such an incredibly valuable part of the Freedom Journal is that nightly reflection where you say, “Hey, where are two areas that I struggled?” Because we all struggle every single day, Fire Nation. Let’s not just forget about those struggles. Let’s identify the struggles and see if they’re a common theme in our life. And then, try to find a way to find solutions for those struggles. I mean, that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about is finding solutions to your day-to-day struggles so that you can move on to bigger and better things.
Now, with that being said, Alex, we’re gonna move into the next section, which is all about the productivity, discipline, and focus that you’re able to implement in your life to, for instance, be able to shoot eight videos in an hour. I mean, you need those skills to be able to do something like that. How do you define the word “productivity”? What does that word mean to you?
Alexander: For me, it’s just one simple rule – whenever possible, do anything twice. So, I just came to it in a way that has leverage afterwards. Just do it this way. For example, instead of explaining something, I record a video and give it to my freelancers. I sent them the video. Or my customers – I wrote them an email. If it’s good, they can recycle this email again and again.
John: What’s one way that you struggle with productivity? Give us an intra-day example.
Alexander: My struggle is, most of the time, I get sucked too deep into my own business, so I’m working – in my business, I’m my No. 1 freelancer – I’m still my No. 1 freelancer. And sometimes, it’s really hard to get something done for my business, to work on my business. I think the biggest problem is it’s really hard to say “no.” “No” to other people, “no” to my clients. Just tell them, “No. I can’t do this.” Or, “I can’t do this fast.” And because this is so hard for me, I always have to do more than I want to.
John: Yeah. Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited, is so key about this, about working on your business, not in your business, all the time. Now, you do wanna get your hands dirty and be in there sometimes, Fire Nation, because that’s how you learn and make sure that things are working. But also to your other point, Alex. It is hard to say “no.”
But Fire Nation, every time you come up to an opportunity where you’re like, “Oh, it’s so hard to say ‘no,’ and it’s so easy to say ‘yes.’ Just remember – when you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re saying ‘no’ to everything else you could be doing instead of that task.” So, if that still makes you wanna say “yes,” then great. That passed a good litmus test. If you’re like, “Well, I don’t wanna say ‘no’ to everything else because I have other things that are really important I could be doing right now.” That could really help you get over that hump. Now, Alex, how do you define the word “discipline”? What does that word mean to you?
Alexander: For me, discipline is not so hard. I get bored very fast, so if I have a vacation, after one day, I want to do something else than just sitting around. So, my only problem with discipline is focus. I’m doing the wrong things instead. I’m always doing things, but sometimes, I do the wrong things. And there, your Freedom Journal comes again because when you ask every day how we’re [inaudible] [00:07:38] of you to achieve your goals, it’s really easy to stay focused.
John: Well, let’s move into that then, a perfect segue into how you define the word “focus.” For me, it’s all about following one course until success. Putting those blinders on, laser focus. And just don’t allow the distractions to penetrate your veneer until you’re complete with that certain session, with that task. How do you define focus?
Alexander: So, for me, it’s really important to see my goal behind my goal. My big goal is five years or ten years in the future, and I try to visualize my long-term goal. I try to see it in front of my eyes. I’m not really sure what my goal will be because maybe I start a family, and my life will totally be different. But at least I know I want to have a life where I’m free – free to make my decisions, free to be there for my family. And in this way – or this is most important, to see this goal. And whenever I do something that’s not leading me to this long-term goal, I’m out of focus.
And my biggest trouble is I’m a creative person. I have more ideas than I have time in my life to do them. And I try to sense – this is how I fixed it. I created a special email address where I can send all my ideas. So, these ideas send to my email address. It’s out of my mind. I don’t have to focus on this shiny new object, shiny new idea. And every three months or so, I log into that account and look if there are some useful ideas there and something that will help me to find my long-term goal.
John: Fire Nation, you heard Alex say “free” a few times in there. And that’s what the Freedom Journal is all about. It’s about giving you the ability to choose freedom, to be free to make the choices, the decisions, that you want to make, not that you have to make. And that’s why I just know the huge impact that the Mastery Journal is going to have on people. Because we’ve now sold over 16,000 Freedom Journals.
It’s just impacting the world and everybody who owns it, that has invested their time in it, in such a very impactful way. And the Mastery Journal is just going to just go to the next level, with productivity, with discipline, with focus – three skills you need, Fire Nation. And if you have those skills, this is how you maximize them. So, visit themasteryjournal.com. And Alex, don’t you go anywhere, brother; because we’re gonna crush the lightning rounds after we thank our sponsors. Alex, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Alexander: Nothing. I was unemployable my whole life, so whenever I worked in a company, I would get depressed after at least six months. And I did my first business when I was about 15 years old. I helped people to copy their CDs. To say it mildly, I was a music pirate. And it’s long enough ago so no one can sue me for this, at least in Germany. The problem was, to be a successful entrepreneur – but because I had to learn to – in some way, I thought money was evil. And I first had to understand that money is not evil.
John: Alex, what is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Alexander: In Antifragile, Nicholas Taleb wrote that you should focus on things that don’t change. For example, how to tell a good story.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Alexander: I never watch news. Instead, I listen to podcasts or audiobooks in double speed.
John: I’m a huge proponent of that. I mean, the news, Fire Nation, is just meant to grab your attention, to distract you. I do, though, wanna keep some kind of finger on the pulse. So, there’s actually a newsletter, Alex, called “The Skimm” – S-k-i-m-m – where they do just send you the highlights every single day, just so you can kind of skim what’s going on in the world. So, a nuclear bomb doesn’t go off somewhere, and I don’t hear about it for, like, a week. So, I kinda keep my finger on the pulse to that small level, but I totally agree. And Alex, can you share an internet resource with Fire Nation?
Alexander: It’s not a new idea, but it’s Trello. I think many people mentioned it before, but it’s the best tool for project management ever.
John: If you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?
Alexander: The Selfish Gene, from Richard Dawkins. In this book, he explains how evolution works, and you understand that everything you see around you is there because it works. And it’s really interesting to understand this concept.
John: Alex, let’s end today on Fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Alexander: Yeah. For my German listeners, for you German listeners, I have a podcast called, “HebelZeit,” or in English, “Leverage Time.” And if you have a video production company, just write me an email, we can discuss about it – [email protected]
John: And what’s that parting piece of guidance?
Alexander: Parting piece of guidance is invest your time to learn things that will be valid in the future. So, you can learn things that are always changing, and there are things that will never change, like human behavior. Always invest your time in learning about that.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you have been hanging out with AB and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type “Alex” in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. The best show notes in the biz. How you can reach out to Alex, connect with him; learn more about the links that we talked about. There are time stamps, and it is just an amazing show notes page. And Alex, I wanna thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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