Stefan James (Stefan Pylarinos) is the #1 bestselling author of several books including Life Mastery. As an entrepreneur, publisher, and high-level personal success trainer and coach, Stefan has achieved a lifestyle most authors and entrepreneurs only dream about.
His company, Project Life Mastery, provides life-changing information, advice and tools for people who want to achieve great things in life. The purpose of Project Life Mastery is to be a source of inspiration and change for those who refuse to settle for anything less than an extraordinary life.
In today’s show, Stefan shares his journey of going from broke and desperate to being one of the leaders in the personal development community using the power of the internet and new media like YouTube, self-publishing, blogging, email marketing and social media. He also shares some powerful advice and tools for overcoming procrastination and creating a highly profitable and meaningful business as an author and entrepreneur.
We also discussed self publishing, overcoming perfectionism, getting started, creating super-valuable products, constant and never-ending improvement, managing your emotional state, some tips he learned from Tony Robbins, and more.
His Big Business Started Small
Stefan’s journey begins in his friends living room as he’s searching for ways to make money online. He had just read The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris.
Stefan learned everything he could about information product marketing. He was successful in that market place. When Amazon debuted its self-publishing platform, he decided to learn everything he could about it. He quickly became successful in that arena as well.
Amazon is a massive marketplace of customers searching for books and information. These customers are willing to buy now. That’s what makes Amazon such a powerful force in the world.
Stefan wrote some books himself and hired ghostwriters to write books for him in different niches.
He’s also launched online courses for authors, including Mastering Book Marketing, a course where he teaches people how to market and promote their books to increase their sales.
Focus is the Keys to Success
“I’ve always believed that success is focusing on one thing until completion. You have got to give it a chance, at least 4 to 6 months. The beginning of anything is always a little slow, but once it is completed and automated, then I can move on to the next project.” – Stefan James
The first thing you have to do in order to succeed at selling things online is choose your path. Pick one project and focus on it until the project is complete. After Stefan has one income stream completely automated he’ll start to build the next one. Most people give up before they ever get one thing done well.
Another important key to online marketing success is building the right team. No one can do everything on their own. You have to have the right team around you, especially if you want to build multiple streams of income.
You need to find ways to leverage your time. Whether that be by virtual assistants or software, one of the keys to success is to have a system for managing your actions.
Think of a professional sports team. The owner of that sports team makes far more money than any individual player on the team does. That’s in part because they have the time to think about the overall direction of the team, and they make sure the most important things get done that lead to long-term success.
As you build a team of your own, you will find you have more time to make strategic decisions about the direction of your company and your life.
Stefan’s Morning Rituals
“How you start the day is how you end the day.” – Eben Pagan
The more you take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically, the more you’re going to be able to give and do in every area of your life.
By spending time with yourself first thing in the morning you’re investing your most valuable resource in yourself, which is the best investment you can make.
First thing in the morning Stefan likes to:
- Reflect on what he’s grateful for
Our behaviors come from our mental state. Typically when you’re more calm, confident, and centered, you’re going to make better decisions about what to do in the moment and the direction of your life.
It’s best to put yourself in a peak state before you do anything of importance. Stefan puts himself in a peak state before he:
- Meets with clients
- Makes a video
- Sits down to write a book
- Does anything related to his business
Stefan has several techniques he uses to put himself into a peak state.
Jump on his trampoline.
- Go for a walk
- Listen to inspirational videos
- Listen to music that pumps him up
- Focus on what his outcome is
- Focus on who he’s going to help with this project
Stefan likes to plan out his week in advance. He plans his days hour by hour. When you proactively plan your future in advance you aren’t reacting as much to things that don’t matter in the big scheme of things.
When you start the day without a plan, you find yourself reacting to whatever shows up during the day. At the end of that day you’ll find you haven’t made much progress on your long-term goals.
Use a Timer to Escape Perfectionism
Stefan uses a timer to limit the time he spends each day on certain projects. If he has a huge project, he’ll allocate a certain amount of time each day (say an hour) to completing it.
At the end of the hour whatever he has done is what he has done. He’ll set the project aside, committed to working on it again during the next planned time block.
Put Yourself in a Peak State
You’re much more productive when you’re in a peak state. It’s worth your time to check in with yourself and make sure that you’re in a positive emotional state before you decide to tackle a project.
How you use your body affects your state. Here are things you can do to change your state anytime you need:
- Taking a walk
- Jumping on a trampoline
- Turning on music and dancing
- And making funny faces
What you focus on is how you feel. Stefan makes the point to concentrate and focus on:
What he’s grateful for.
- What makes him happy.
- What he’s excited about.
- What he’s proud of.
- The outcomes he wants to achieve.
- His goals.
Ask Better Questions
Tony Robbins says that your focus is determined by the questions you ask. If you want to change your focus, change the questions you ask yourself.
If you find yourself in a negative emotional state, change the questions you ask. This will change your focus which will change your emotional state.
When you’re in a better emotional state you can be more productive and creative.
In the Netflix documentary Please Subscribe, you’ll hear about how the most successful YouTube creators give themselves one day to produce a video and upload it to YouTube. They don’t obsess over the little details.
The most successful YouTube creators also love what they do. They are creating from a place of passion and love.
How to Accomplish Big Goals
The way to accomplish your goals is to break them into smaller daily goals. You eat an elephant one bite at a time.
Make sure you set daily goals you can accomplish in a day and that those goals allow you to feel measurable progress on your bigger goal.
The Truth about Perfectionism
Stefan published several videos on YouTube in 2012 that he is embarrassed by. He decided to publish those videos anyway. Thousands of people have messaged him over the years saying those videos helped them.
Perfectionism is entirely in your head. It’s all about your hangups. It’s what you see as a perfect creation. It’s entirely subjective.
Stefan made a conscious decision to publish all he could in an effort to help as many people as possible. He’s become a massive success as a result.
Stefan looks at every book that he publishes as a draft. If you don’t like a sentence in a Kindle book, you can update the published book and it will take about 12 hours to update to all your readers.
You can’t possibly create a perfect book or product. All you can do is the best you can do at that moment in time. Release the book or product and move on to the next. Remember in this new world you can always update the book or product later.
“As long as it helps people and people benefit from it, it’s worth publishing. You might not think it’s perfect or that great but as long as it’s helping people that’s all that matters.” – Stefan James
Perfectionists focus on the medium or the way the message is being presented. It’s far more important to focus on the message itself.
If the message is good it doesn’t have to be presented in a specific way. People will remember a good message far more than they’ll remember a perfect presentation or novel.
The Truth About Reviews
People are much more motivated to leave a review if they’re upset about something. They’re much less likely to leave a review if the product you’ve created has a positive impact on them.
Some people do leave very positive reviews.
Many people just use the ideas you publish without reaching out to tell you the impact those ideas had on their lives.
Everyone gets criticism. Harry Potter and Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People both have many one star reviews.
No matter who you are you’re always going to have people that don’t harmonize with your message.
The Creative Process
Everyone grows and improves over time. The stories, books, and videos you put out today are going to look different to you 2 or 3 years from now.
You’ll get better at producing and publishing content as you practice producing and publishing content. That doesn’t mean the videos you made 2 years ago had no value.
You become a better creator by creating.
Understand What Your Audience Wants
There have been times when Stefan has published a book for $0.99 on Amazon to see what his audience thinks of it. Based on audience response he’ll either invest more time into making it a better product or he’ll take it down and go in a different direction.
50 Shades of Grey is an excellent example. The first version EL James published wasn’t the version that became the world-wide bestseller. She changed a number of things from the cover to content to improve the book for a wider audience.
It’s entirely possible to create a best-selling book with the help of your audience.
There is no failure, only feedback. If you continually improve with your end goal in mind, you’re bound to get there eventually.
How to Deal With Criticism
It’s important to address negative reviews in your work as quickly as possible. If you get a negative review on Amazon that says your Kindle book has a typo in it or there’s something factually inaccurate, fix the problem immediately.
Another thing you can do is proactively survey your target audience about something that you’re going to launch.
The main thing is to put the needs of your audience first. That’s why responding to constructive criticism is important. Your primary goal should be to make the best content that you can for them.
The only way you can absolutely know what needs to be improved is to listen to the feedback from your audience.
“If you help enough people get what they want, you can have what you want.” – Zig Ziglar
As an added bonus if you take care of your audience they will be the first to defend you against unfair negative reviews.
People and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
Tim Ferris and The 4 Hour Workweek
EL James and 50 Shades of Grey
https://projectlifemastery.com/ – Stefan’s business and primary website.
Mastering Book Marketing– Stefan’s course on how to market your books.
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.