Our Guest Today: Darius Foroux
Darius lives in Holland, where he was raised. His parents are immigrants from Iran. Dutch is his first language but you’ll never know through his writing. English has been an official language taught in schools and universities in Holland.
In short, his work focuses on four main topics:
- Productivity: How can we achieve more without sacrificing our well-being?
- Habits: What habits will make our lives better, and how can we form them?
- Decision Making: What ways of thinking lead to better decisions?
- Personal Finance: How do we build wealth without sacrificing our integrity?
Darius’ favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said:
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
In this episode, we talk about the power we have within us, which we often overlook. You will learn how Darius persuades and influences millions of people through his writing.
Favorite Quotes & Hidden Gems
Where Darius seeks and finds inspirations for his writing
“I get inspirations from just listening to my readers and also just being open and being aware. Right. This is the thing I think a lot of creators miss. And I also sometimes catch myself missing. It’s very easy to get distracted by views, or by income.”
“At times I find myself just looking at stuff that’s not really important. Your awareness goes down. It’s very dangerous because you might miss the stuff that people are giving you and I think this is a lot of people say, ‘hey, I don’t know what to do or I don’t like. People are not listening to me. I write articles and nobody cares.’ Right? That can be the case, but also. Are you really paying attention?”
How to Pay Attention:
Are you reading the comments? Are you reading and replies, well, maybe you don’t get any replies in the beginning, but are you reading other people’s posts? Are you reading peoples reviews of books? That’s one of the things that I really enjoy doing. I like I I read Good Reads and on Amazon, I just go through the reviews. I don’t care about the book blurbs. I don’t read those. Because it’s all advertising.
How to Ask the Right Questions:
What’s your core business? What was your cause? What’s the thing that makes you do what you do? What’s the number one thing that’s important to you? To me, that’s writing articles [to reflect the questions people ask]
My Favorite Articles Written by Darius
- How I’m Getting Richer Every Day
- Transform Your Life By Transforming Your Habits
- Don’t Compete. Create!
- Other best articles by Darius: https://dariusforoux.com/best-articles/
Feisworld Podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I’m your host, Fei Wu, and I’ll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics. Nuggets can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We’re not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have non-interview based miniseries releasing throughout the year to help deep dive into topics such as freelancing marketing, even indie filmmaking that will benefit creators like you. Show notes, links and ways to connect with the guests are available on Feisworld.com. Now on to the show. Hello there. This is Fei again from Feisworld. Thank you for joining us this week on the Feisworld Podcast. I have a guest named Darius Foroux. In English, it translates to rich and kindly, and that’s the first name of our guest today. And this name is originated from Iran. But Darius was born and raised in Holland and his parents were immigrants from Iran. Dutch is his first language, along with Iranian, not English. But you never know through his writing.
As I learned during our conversation earlier, english is an official language used by schools and nearly all the universities in Holland. And Darius also worked in England for a few years. Don’t we all love these amazing origin stories? So why interview Darius? Like, who is this guy Darius? A name not as familiar to you, perhaps compared to someone like Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell or Tim Ferriss, he is the most read author on medium. But how darius shows no jazz hands during our recording. It’s truly a step by step, drip by drip process of how he build his company, which includes writing books, workshops, and he showcases many drawings of his own on his website, which makes it intimate and memorable. I couldn’t help but purchasing an iPad pro for myself recently to get started doing that for Phase World Media, whether it’s podcast or who knows, our new YouTube channel, because I’ve always loved drawing. In fact, I pop into his website and constantly recommend his content and style writing to my friends and clients I work with. It’s incredibly personal, no nonsense and to the point. He’s also the author of six books, including the most recent release, Think Straight and also what It Takes to Be Free.
There’s one question that is at the core of his work how can we live a useful life that matters? In addition, Darius also writes about productivity. How can we achieve more without sacrificing our well being? Habits? What habits will make our lives better and how can we form them? Decisionmaking. What ways of thinking lead to better decisions? Last but not least, personal finance. How do we build wealth without sacrificing our integrity? In this episode, we talk about the power we have all within us, which we often overlook so learn to write, to persuade, have a point of view is really critical in the 21st century. And I want to take a moment and thank you for listening. It’s been five years since we started this podcast. I won’t be here without you. So I’m also thrilled to announce that we have started a YouTube channel. You can find us simply by searching for Phase World Feisworld, where share more tips and tools for independent creators to help them thrive financially and creatively. Without further ado, please welcome Darius Furrow to the Face World Podcast. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. I’ve subscribed to your email list for a long time and getting, like, weekly, at least two articles and reminded me today that your writing is, like, similar to Seth in a way.
Do you read a lot from Seth Goaden? Like, who are some of the people you follow and that you like and enjoy and respect?
Yeah, so I do read Sets work, and I remember because I studied marketing, that’s my background. So here in the Netherlands, you have university colleges and you have, like, real universities. So I did both, and I did both of them. I specialized in marketing, so I graduated in 2011, and by the time Seth was already, like, well known all over the world, even more so the last few years. But Purple Cow was the number one book that everybody in marketing knew. So just reading his work, I got a couple of things out of it. Like, you have to stand out. And also, I always enjoyed his very clear way of explaining things and not using more words than is absolutely necessary.
So that has been an inspiration to me, but I never applied it because I always, like, a lot of creative people feel that they have to be very original, and if someone is already doing something, they feel like, oh, I can’t do it because then I’m not original anymore. So when I read Steal Like an Artist a few years ago, Alison Clown, I was like, screw all that. I’m just going to steal stuff. But other people also steal stuff. And you can call it inspiration, you can call it stealing, but if you’re honest about it, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s very beneficial. So that’s how I got really serious about creating my own voice. But once I started stealing some stuff, some bits and pieces, set’s work, I enjoyed Ryan Holiday’s work, especially reading Ryan Holiday’s work was beneficial to me because he’s the same age as I am. So reading his work, I was like, okay, this guy’s my age, and look at him publishing books, being successful. Why can’t I do the same, right?
That’s how I got started.
Yeah, he’s young. Now I realize how young you are. Wow, this is incredible. So it’s interesting sometimes after I find myself interviewing people whose work I’m very familiar with. And I find myself to be like my head just draws these blanks of feeling that I know you really well through your writing. And I think that’s the feeling that I’m getting from you. And I know you write about that quite a bit too, of someone. Your readers feel like they’re already your best friends. How did you develop your own voice?
So one of my goals when I started writing was just to write the way that I talk. So one of my core values is authenticity for me, that’s I think one of the most important things, not only in my work, but also in life in general. I prefer to be myself, if that makes sense.
Because a few years ago so before I started my writing career, I was a little bit thinking about, you know, what direction should I take with my what direction should I go in with my career? And I also have a family business that we started in 2010, which has nothing to do with things that I’m passionate about. It’s a wholesaler of industrial laundry machines. Right. It’s great because people have to wash their linen and clothes and whatnot, but I wasn’t passionate about it. But I learned a lot of business skills, persuasion skills, all those things. But when I started thinking about what should I do, I was like, okay, I want to try working for a corporation. So that’s what I did. I moved to London, work for It research firm, and then at that stage, I was like, okay, a lot of people are not being themselves. And I noticed that with myself as well. I was like, whoa, I’m starting to change a little bit. And I didn’t like that. So at that time, I really made the decision like, I’m going to be myself and in whatever I do. So I decided to pursue a writing career, and I was like, I’m going to do this the way that I want to, and if it doesn’t resonate with people, I was okay with that because I made the decision, and it kind of gave me peace.
So that’s how I really found my voice. It’s just to accept who I am.
I know that you started writing consistently and really taking a serious in 2015. Were you writing a lot before then as well or literally the year 2015 when you developed your voice, your formula, and your content?
Yeah, actually it was at that time that I started writing consistently. And before that, I had thought about writing years earlier because I remember when I graduated, I thought about giving writing a try, and I was always passionate about it, but at the time, I had nothing to write about, so I was like, I don’t have anything to share. So at that time, I can’t remember exactly whether I made a conscious decision or not, but I remember just quitting writing and I was like, okay, I’m going to just explore the world and I’m going to travel. I’m going to give a family business my best and I’m going to say yes to a lot of opportunities and that brought me to a lot of places. I spent like almost a month in Shanghai working with a partner of our family business, working on a software system for industrial laundry machines. That was very interesting. I spent some time in the US outside of New Haven, also working with a partner, and traveled a lot in Europe as well because it’s a very international business, it’s a small industry and it’s very connected all over the world.
So that brought me a lot of new lessons in terms of just working with people from different cultures and different mentalities. And I think that was very beneficial to me as a person and it helped me to develop a lot of emotional intelligence.
I think traveling really helps and I always encourage people, especially when they’re younger, ideally before 25, to go move to a country for a while, six months to a year, and speak a completely different language. So meaning if you’re English, then yeah, come to the US is very convenient, but it would be really awesome to have to explore and learn something from the ground up. How many languages do you speak, if I may ask? You clearly speak Dutch english?
Yeah. And farsi as well, my parents are Iranian, so speak language. I took Spanish class when I was in college, but my Spanish is not good. But it is one of those things that I want to do a little bit more of. I’d like to learn more languages and I really agree with what you said. And also I think from just a mental point of view, just acquiring new skills. I’m a real believer of acquiring new skills and I think it’s just good for your own development and even if you don’t use it all the time, just the process of acquiring a new skill is just so almost like strength training for your brain.
Yeah, I mean, this is for many, many years. We’ve been running our podcast for five years now and that’s why I find your stories to be fascinating because you started writing actually later than I started podcasting. But your consistency, the quality of your content, it’s really up there, which we’re going to COVID in a second. But we started interviewing people from all walks of life. I call them unsung heroes and selfmade artists and creators. I found myself ended up interviewing a lot of doctors and there are very few doctors in my family, to be honest. But I learned things about Asher Syndrome and to break down certain diseases and how doctors able to and how they choose to communicate with patients once they’re diagnosed with a very serious illness. And I was able to share those episodes with my friends and family who discover when their friends are hospitalized and what they can do and how they can initiate the conversation. And truth be told, for when I don’t talk to with someone like you, you clearly have a very expansive mindset to say it’s okay for me to acquire a skill even if I don’t need it every moment of my life for the rest of my life.
It’s refreshing. But others may have talked to me is like, why do we find that interesting? Why do you want to talk to doctors like you crazy? I love fighting my own tribe.
Yeah, it’s really funny, to be honest. I get that type of thinking as well because at times I feel that way as well. For example, the whole podcast thing as well. So I have my own podcast and I was very interested and passionate about it. And I learned some skills that I’m probably never going to use outside of running my own podcast in terms of just audio editing and all that stuff. But I don’t know, there is something about I really like how you maybe you can relate to this as well. When you started your own podcast, it’s like you get so absorbed in figuring everything out.
And that’s a good feeling.
It feels great. And recently, the same thing happened to me for the second time, which is for my partner and producer to start exploring YouTube. And I know you have a YouTube channel. I actually watched a lot of your videos, including like, the setup of your studio and Whiteboard. Right. I find it really fascinating. I wanted to watch a video from you because I love your content and I find your content to be so much more relatable than someone to say, you should really have a $50,000 camera. And this is a perfect lighting system for another $20,000. Like, you’re all about, hey, let’s get raw. That’s create and this is how you do it. And I wake up. I think people like us go to sleep happy. Wake of vibrant and ready to tackle and to learn new things. I can feel it like in my blood. It’s like I’m dancing to a piece of music I love.
Yeah, definitely. I feel the same. And it’s just this thing I was talking to. I was talking to somebody this week who was really surprised. Someone, I think, at the gym who I got talking with him and he was like, let me look at your website. And immediately looked it up and it was like, yeah, who does this? Who does the drawings? Who did the design? And who did this? I did that. Who did it? And after a while, it’s like, dude, I do everything myself. For some people, it’s weird, but I don’t know, to me, it’s the first thing that I think of is, how can I learn to do this? And to be honest, I accept that at some things I’m not as good as somebody who’s doing that for their whole life. But the good thing is, for everybody who’s now who wants to do some creative work, there are so many tools, and there’s so much information out there that you can relatively easy learn most of the things. If you really want to build a big corporation, of course you need a staff. But if you want to do something creatively, you can do everything yourself, and there are no gatekeepers anymore.
So I think that’s very exciting.
It’s very liberating, and I love your artwork. Nearly my entire family are artists and musicians, and when I see your artwork, it’s just so refreshing. Some are funny. Some are very kind of bold strokes, very clear. I know you use some stock images as well, every once in a while, maybe on medium or something, but nearly all your blog posts come with these original drawings. May I ask what kind of tools that you currently use today to kind of create those things in those drawings?
I use an iPad Pro with a pencil.
So I was pretty lucky as well with the whole blogging stuff. I think my blog really took off in 2016, and, you know, the iPad Pro came out as well, I think, around that time.
So it was a great tool for me because I could really establish a true identity for myself creatively. And if I didn’t have that too, it will be very difficult because before that, if you look at my very early posts, it was also stock images, but I never liked that. I really hated using that because I don’t know, I was like to me, a lot of blog posts because we’re visual, right? Most people think visually, and if I see a post and I see an image, I connect the post with the image, and if I see the image popping up somewhere else, I’m like, Whoa, what’s going on? Right. I just can’t place it in my brain. And I was thinking, like, okay, what if other people have that as well? My readers. It will make it difficult for me to stand out if people share your stuff on social media. I just want people to look at my stuff and instantly recognize, hey, it’s Darius.
Wow. I regret for not drawing myself because I actually grew up drawing, and I have my iPad Pro, and I think that’s why your work resonated with me. And people ask me, why don’t you draw the featured images for your blog post? Or just be creative with the podcast, guest posts and things like that. That’s brilliant. And before I forget, I have to ask, your English is right to the point. If you didn’t call out the fact that you’re from Holland and you went to school here and there, how did you choose English as your primary writing language, as opposed to that your normal language?
A lot of people are often surprised by this, but I think here in the Netherlands, they made a very good strategic choice. I think around ten or 20 years ago. I can’t remember exactly I read somewhere, but so all business schools and all business degrees in the Netherlands are English.
Right. So I’ve been studying English or studying material in English since I was 17. So that’s when I got to university, college, and when I got my graduate degree, not only was the material in English, we had to speak English as well in class and during the presentations. So at that time, I really improved my English a lot because reading academic English is a lot different from reading Fight Club novel, right? Or catch you in a riot or whatever. Right? So at that time, I also was all in with that decision of, hey, the Netherlands is a small country. It depends on international relationships, and the service industry is very big here. So I was like, okay, I’m going all in with this. And the next step that I made was in 2013 or 14 when I moved to London, obviously, I had to speak English every day. I started thinking in English as well after a while, and for me, that was really the turning point of I’m just going to go all in with English because my goal with writing is to reach as much as many people as I can. So to me, it wasn’t a very difficult decision, and I’m glad that I was always interested in English as well.
So I remember reading English books when I was 16, so that came quite natural to me. Fortunately.
Yeah, I interviewed Eimeway, who was going high school with me, and she’s from not Amsterdam, but she’s from Holland. And I remember her as a 15 year old with very fluent English. And at the time I was 17, I couldn’t even detect any accent. We both attended American high schools, so I noticed that. And then I traveled to Amsterdam in 2010, and I realized out of all the European countries outside of the UK that I traveled to, definitely Dutch people have the best English and are the most comfortable speaking the language. Like, you can barely even notice there’s a switch. They look at you, they know that you’re from elsewhere, and English comes right out. And I know that this was originally the first question I wanted to ask you, but I’m kind of curious for you to I don’t know, when your parents immigrated to Holland and what was it like for you to grow up and were your parents considered as immigrants and was a dynamic like well, I was one.
So basically I adopted all the Dutch values and just way of thinking because the Netherlands are very focused on the individual, the culture. People don’t have a group mentality like you see in the east, so it’s very focused on the individual. And my parents were also really on board with that. So I was raised very liberally and I think that really helped really influence my writing. Right. Like my last book, or my latest book is called What It Takes to Be Free.
Yeah, I love that title.
Basically all about the philosophy that I have adopted and that’s influenced by Dutch culture, but also American philosophy. I really like Emerson and Thoreau, but just growing up, I was also surrounded by a lot of Dutch people. So what you also see here and in European countries and also in America is that actually everywhere where immigrants are, a lot of people decide to surround themselves with their own people from the same country. Right. And I think you can notice the difference because what we did is we say we go in more, we merge ourselves into the Dutch culture and you adopt a more Owen video. And I think that’s one of the key decisions I think that we made. Obviously, I wasn’t involved with that.
But I am glad that we did.
Hi there. This is Fawu and you were listening to the Phase World podcast. Today on Phase World, I’m joined by Darius farew, who is an author of six books, including Think Straight and What It Takes to Be Free. There’s one question at the core of his work how can we live a useful life that matters? I think that was the mentality I had as well. I came to the US. From China when I was 17 and kind of thrown into the American high school culture. It was really exciting and a little bit nerve wracking at the same time. But choose to not only be friends with them, but even pick up a lot of these American sports. Softball and ice hockey really helped me kind of immerse into the culture very differently than some of the other Chinese students. So I love that. And then I ended up staying, which made it even more important for me to keep growing my community outside of my comfort zone.
So, yeah, I think just being open minded and because you can learn great things from all different cultures and I think that’s one of the things that sometimes this is one of those things that a lot of people don’t really think about. Most people just go through their lives like, oh, this is the way it is. But I don’t know, somehow, even when I was young, I always thought about, like, why is that? You know, just asking why? And I think you see that with children, but then when they get a certain age, they stop asking why. And this is one of those things that I also picked up from Set Golden, is how he talks about how the current education system is basically very still for the Industrial Revolution. Right? Yeah, right.
That’s his thing right now. He’s very focused on that.
Yeah, I agree.
Yeah. I had the opportunity to sit down with him and put him on the documentary we’re shooting. Finished shooting last year, so it was a pretty phenomenal experience. And to actually do the interview with him and to realize how different he is in person, in a good way, and how super professional he is, like, 45 minutes on the dot, sign the paper out. It’s incredible. Yeah, he’s fun. I can’t wait for I mean, if that will ever happen. He turned out to be a really amazing cook, almost like a professional chef level person. So people are blown away. Unfortunately, he doesn’t talk about it or write about it too much. But recently on his blog post, he finally shipped and he started writing about recipes. So yeah, check it out.
How did you guys connect on the documentary? Because I saw some stuff online as well.
Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah, it’s pretty incredible. I mean, he does accept some of these offers from students, and for me, I was part of that ELT MBA Eight group. Eight, I think, is down to, like, 30 something now. So I’m, like one of the OGS attended the session. I was ready, like, one. But I was also starting that business, you know, when he sells you at the time with $3,000 for Ltmba, I cannot tell you how quickly I pull up my credit card. And just like, 84. I didn’t even think twice from that group. And I moved on to the marketing seminar, but I didn’t go crazy and sign up for, like, all the other things. I need some other influences, including honestly, including you, other than Seth Goen, you are my number two blog content. I read the most.
I appreciate that. It means a lot.
It honestly surprised me, too. Darius, I didn’t quite expect, like yeah. And then I reached out to him about the podcast, to be honest. The first many, many years ago, he said, not right now. And then I said, you know what? I’m going to come up with a more unique offer for him. So last year, we out of the blue, we said, okay, we have a video production service for Face World, so we’re a business as well, and why don’t I work with the people I already love working with, but this time, instead of for clients, why don’t we do it for Phase World? And they all said yes. We traveled from Boston to New York to Vegas. La. Back to New York. Seth, I remember emailing Seth to say, this is what I want to do with very detailed email, like bullet points. He replied, sure. What time? Oh, my God. That was pretty funny. So we drove to a Hastings on Hudson. That’s where he doesn’t even live in Manhattan. So we had several people we had to interview and film in Manhattan, and we ended up driving this massive van with all the professional camera equipment.
Two Hastings on Hudson rent an Airbnb there set up a hotel room and put them in there. So I was like, please call. Meet me a Marriott, room 114. I know it sounds really creepy, but I need you. And he showed up. I was like, oh, thank God. Yeah, that was cool.
Funny few things, right? So, like, the fact that he initially said no, and then you were thinking about how can I get him to connect with him on something else. And I think that’s when you reached out to me as well, I can really sense that you’re real. And when I checked out the website and the stuff that you’re doing, I was like, oh, that’s really cool, because I get quite a lot of requests of people say, hey, do you want to come on the podcast or do you want to do this or do you want to do that? Often you don’t even have to look at the website. You can just tell by the email.
Yeah. It’s like, who is this?
Yeah, it’s just the way that people communicate, how you get a sense of what people like, I can tell if somebody’s not really interested in me. It doesn’t really come across as somebody is really interested in sharing the world or your message. And also, I really like just connecting with people who also have a mission.
So that’s why those one of the things that I also kind of picked up from studying guys like Seth Golden is that a lot of authors, they just go on book tour, actually, podcasting tour, and they just go everywhere.
And I don’t know. I’m not really a fan of that.
I know a lot of the same content. Right. And it’s like recycled content and the bullet points they go through. Yeah, it’s interesting that you notice that as well, because I tell some of the younger podcasters, everybody, we really waited until we interviewed Seth, and we use it very strategically, and we’re not trying to prop him up as he is, like the you know, he is the goal. He is the end goal or the most celebrated guest we’ve ever had. We don’t talk about him that way or any anyone else who are, quote unquote, famous in tier one. I tell people just by interviewing someone like Sass, like Tim Ferriss really doesn’t do much for your show. Like, we should all be aware of this. Yeah, you might see a little spike, but they are everywhere. There’s an information overload on these people. But when I interview a mom who’s willing to talk about postpartum depression and how she raised her kids, some of those episodes go viral because they’re willing to share, and they pour their heart out and then their stories you’ve never heard. And that resonates with people.
That’s a very, very good point, and I hope that people who are listening to this really can resonate or just it has to click at some point, because often. You just think, oh, if I do this, then I’ll blow up, right? Or I’ll get a lot of attention, or if I can connect with this person, maybe something will happen. And like you say, the chances are that nothing will happen.
The big chances that nothing will happen. I think my advantage of when I started my blog was I was already kind of going through the whole starting a business phase and connecting with people and doing a lot of sales and persuasion. And by the time, like, even though I have a message with my bargain and I try to get as much as I can, it’s also a business, it’s a career. So I realized that it’s not a popularity contest, right? Like, if I can, I don’t know, interview some prolific name like, what does that do for me? Or what does it do for my listener or reader? I don’t know, what’s the point? Most people just try to engage in a pissing contest or so look at me, look like I never cared about that kind of stuff. And I think if we let that type of thinking go, then you can focus on your message and what you’re trying to create and what kind of value that you can bring to the world. And if you spend most of your energy on that, then the rest will come, you know? Yes. One of the things that really meant a lot to me recently was that another guy that I have studied and also see as an inspiration is Derek Sivas.
And I’ve been in touch with him through email for a few years when I actually got started. And he’s famous for just replying to everybody. And that’s one of the things when I saw initially, I was like, I’m going to do that as well, so I, you know, make that like a job of mine as well. Like, I try to replies to almost everybody unless they’re assholes, you know, and that guys, I won’t. But so last week, one of my readers read my latest book and emailed Derek by himself and said, hey, I think you will like this book, go check it out. And I already sent my book to Derek previously, and then he emailed me and he forwarded the email and he was like, I think you really like this. And I read the email and I was like, wow, that’s what you want? You want that people will share your stuff because they want to and not because you push people that you try to somehow, I don’t know, fabricate some kind of, I don’t know, look at me, I’m cool.
Yeah, I mean, you’re hitting the nail on this head. It’s about creating content that’s worth sharing. And another term you like to use is you want to be usable, you want to be useful and helpful as a human being. And how do you go about creating content that will resonate with people. And I know you write in your email marketing, email marketing, as in your emails, about how to write better titles. And I use some of the tactics when I remember very clear, such as in your email subject line when you include the word you, when the person opens up the newsletter, it’s more the open rate will go higher. And I’ve tested that out and it works 1000% all the time. But how do you do you ever find yourself kind of formulate create titles all the time? Do you use like these additional tools like TubeBuddy or something to kind of create the perfect keywords and tag? How do you go about creating things that we’re sharing?
So in the beginning I use those tools like headline analyzers and that kind of stuff. And I teach that in my writing course as well. But at the same time, I do mention that only use those tools in the beginning when you’re trying to figure things out and you want to have some guidelines and it’s like riding a bike. You don’t ride a bike forever with those wheels attached. Right. I don’t know how you call those things.
The support. Yeah. At some point you want to be a grown up and you just want to just ride the bike by yourself. But there’s nothing wrong with using tools. So that’s basically my approach. I started using the tools tools. I started stealing headlines from other people looking for inspiration. But the last two years or so, at some point you get a lot of readers, right? Or listeners. And if you ask for their feedback, or if you do surveys, which I do once or twice a year, and also if you welcome people replying to your emails, then at some point you’ll get the input from your audience. And I try to talk the way my readers talk and use the same words that people reply me. One of the best examples is, I don’t know, like two years ago, something like that, somebody emailed me and said, hey, I’m really thinking about my next big move. Right? And I was like, oh, wow, that’s a great because you hear it often. But I didn’t hear people really actually saying that to me. So I wrote an article of something, I can’t remember exactly the title, but something like, read this if you don’t know what your next big movie?
Yeah, I remember that, vaguely something like that.
So I actually got that inspiration from just listening to my reader and also just being open and just being aware. Right. This is the thing I think a lot of creators miss and I also sometimes catch myself missing this is it’s very easy to get distracted by views or by income or by you name it. I don’t know. What are some of the things that you, for example, just as an example, look at on a day to day basis. True.
I mean, I will tell you, just like you, I mean, I stopped looking at them just like Seth Go, and I stopped looking at downloads and the likes. But I do pay attention to comments and shares and actual feedback as opposed.
To robotic clicks, but it can be quite luring. At times I find myself just looking at stuff that’s not really important.
And at those times, your awareness goes down. Right. So when you notice that for yourself, that your awareness goes down, it’s very dangerous because you might miss the stuff that people are giving you. And I think this is a lot of people say, hey, I don’t know what to do. People are not listening to me. I create articles and nobody cares. Right, that can be the case. But also, are you really paying attention? Are you paying attention to what’s going on? Are you reading the comments? Are you reading replies? Well, maybe you don’t get any replies in the beginning, but are you reading other people’s posts? Are you reading people’s reviews of books? That’s one of the things that I really enjoy doing on Goodreads and on Amazon. I just go through the reviews. I don’t care about all the book blurbs. I don’t read those. Right. Because it’s all advertising. I don’t care about that stuff. I just go through, what are people saying? And if they give two or three stars, why is this what’s the language that they use? What are the things they were disappointed about? Right. So that’s how I try to listen and remember.
What’s your core business? What’s the thing that makes you do what you do? What’s the number one thing that’s important to you? In my case, that’s writing articles. So, like, when I was creating videos, I noticed that myself as well. Like, hey, I’m kind of being a little bit, you know, I’m missing some stuff when it comes to writing. So I made the decision I need to stop doing this like this frequently with the video, because my articles will decrease in quality if I keep doing this.
So that’s how I think. And I think the way of thinking is you can apply that to anything that you do in terms of you don’t have to be a blogger, but you can use this mentality just to improve any type of creative work or just professional work.
I think that’s great advice, especially for people who have already hit the ground running and maybe someone like myself, creating content on a regular basis. Like, how do you focus your energy? I know you talk a lot about methodologies productivity, so I definitely encourage people to check that out. I also wonder people always talk about finding your niche and your niche, clearly, in personal finance productivity, I don’t even have to look at the habits and decisionmaking, how long did it take for you to find that niche? And some people argue that’s not niche enough, of course. And who do you think you’re talking to? Like, how would you describe your audience? I know I packed two questions in there. Whichever.
Well, that’s good because that’s an important topic, and a lot of people think about it, and I think it’s very complex because it’s difficult to get it right. But once you do get it right, then your stuff will probably take off. I started with only career advice, and the reason was when I was still in London, I’ve been always interested in personal development and career development. So I wrote an article about how I read two books a week. I’ve been doing that for several years now. So at some point, people were asking me some stuff like, how would you do this in terms of career decisions and career choices? So I started thinking, I can do some career coaching. And that’s how I started. Actually, I did some career coaching with a few people that I got to know in the UK and in the Netherlands as well, afterwards. But then I started sharing the things that I talked about with them, mostly like sales and persuasion stuff like, okay, how do I get people to notice me? Or how do I get people to invite me to a job interview? And one of the techniques that I learned over the years was start your email message of your subject line with your right.
It’s one of those techniques. And I started sharing this kind of stuff, and then they got invited more often. They got a job. And then I was like, okay, maybe I can turn this into, like, a website, and started writing for that. But as I was doing that, I kind of got bored with that relatively quickly. And then I was thinking about, like, what you said. People say, hey, choose a small niche. But at the same time, I was like, well, what are some of the topics that a lot of people are interested in? Not only people are looking for a new job because that’s always a very small group compared to people who are, for example, interested in the same topics that I was interested since I was 16, as in, how can I prove myself? How can I get more stuff done in the same amount of time or less time? Right? So that was my mindset of, like, I’m going to COVID the things that I’m passionate about, the things that are really important to me. And I learned through the career coaching as well. It’s like, hey, these are challenges that a lot of people are facing.
Like, okay, you get the job, that’s great. But you also want if you’re ambitious, you’re thinking about, hey, what’s my next move already? I think this is what a lot of ambitious people have, is that once they get a job or when they start a business, they already start thinking about where can I take this. Right. So that’s how I started thinking from small to big. Actually, the other way around, like what most people recommend. So in my case, I’m a good example of the advice that you hear out there is not always true. At least it’s not true for you sometimes, right?
Hi there. This is Fawu, and you are listening to the Phase World podcast. Today on Phase World, I’m joined by Darius Farou, who is an author of six books, including Think Straight and What It Takes to Be Free. There’s one question at the core of his work, how can we live a useful life that matters? Yeah, no, absolutely. Just like you said. That when people niche themselves in so deep and so early without exploring their own interest, yet I find so many people quitting because they got bored. Just because you’re a salesperson for 25 years, automatically you’re thinking, I should have a sales podcast. And this was actually a real scenario. But you run out of fuel, especially if that’s not even a career that you’re interested in doing to begin with. So definitely open it up before you find something that you really love. Yeah, and by the way, I’m just curious. I know we’re running over a little bit. I knew this was going to happen, but we’ll make sure to pick, like, the best pockets of information. Launch that. Thank you. You’re very interesting to talk to, which does not surprise me.
Who are these people you’re talking to, approximately? You have surveyed them or find out something about that? How old are they? Men? Women? Like, what are they interested in? Where do they live in the world?
Well, funny thing is that 80% of my audiences, united States and Canada. But I think the reason in terms of location, I think is us, obviously, I think has the mindset that I also have, is that you want to grow, you want to improve. I was thinking in terms of opportunity, so I think that’s a very good match from that point of view. You don’t have that as much in Europe. For example, a lot of people here, like, the majority here are like, oh, yeah, it’s fine. It’s good enough. Right? In terms of age, I think it’s funny. I recently got an email from someone who was 94. Honestly, I was like, how is that impossible? Right?
There are some people very yeah. The advance of digital technologies.
And I was like, wow, that’s awesome. Because when I look at the elderly people, I know they are not up to speed at all. But when I get these emails from people like, hey, somebody was 85, someone was 94, I think the oldest was 94. So I was like, well, that’s great. I see that as inspiration. I want to be that way as well. But the group of people who read ranges from people in high school. I get people in high school as well, like, very ambitious people, 5016 years old, email me saying, hey, I really want to make something out of my life. They’re stressing, and all I say to them is, Just relax. Right?
But yeah, from, like, 1516 to 94. But there’s a difference in the people who buy my courses, and there’s also difference in people who I think not the books, not so much. I think the books also is very wide, but the people buy my courses are generally between 25 and, like, late 30s who want to make the next step in their career and looking for information, frameworks, theories, strategies, and actual techniques they can use to get to the next level. And that’s a group of people. And also, in terms of gender, I think it was 52% female, 48% men. And most of my students or most people who register for my classes, the most feedback I get is from the women, actually, in my experience, in my case, more engaged, more thinking about the stuff and asking more questions, and I really enjoy seeing that. And the men also obviously, register for the courses, but what I see is often they either don’t have the need.
To interact or not surprised, because I know that I don’t want to compare two writers, but I didn’t bring up Seth Goen. And there are similarities where, I mean, if you attended one of Seth Goton’s very, like, intimate gatherings at Hastings and Pats, and you’ll notice that there are more female than male, and among the male students, they’re not I mean, I do like Arabies content. I agree with a lot of stuff he says, but you don’t see a lot of super macho headline and making all these jazz hands type of men at his group. Everybody’s very grounded. So I am not surprised that your readers and your students are more even a little more female and love your approach. That’s why we’re talking, right?
Yeah. I’m also not surprised as well. That whole hustle scene is, like, not my scene.
I really enjoy it as well because I get actual good feedback, stuff that I can really use. And also just not only for the courses, but also for my content, like I said with the article that I wrote, and I try to do it as much as I can. Not every week there’s a reader question in my articles, but if you go through my articles, I think every one or two months or so definitely pick up a few questions.
Yeah. This is very helpful. And to respect your time, I’m like trying to filter the remaining questions I have. Well, one of which is I want to acknowledge and really not just congratulate you, but acknowledge the fact that you’re one of the most I think you are the most read authors on the Medium, which is a huge writing blogging platform in the US. And top ten crazy like, top ten, top 20 websites worldwide. I was looking up at least in its own category. And so, like, I wonder how, you know, when did you see that? See your blog, your content really take off. I mean, that is a huge badge and accomplishment. And we’re talking about it without saying it was a hustle and everybody should just follow this path and go viral. But like, how do you think that that actually happened for you?
So I think a lot of things that we talked about in terms of listening and that kind of stuff, that’s really important, but also timing. And this is something that people don’t really like to talk about. Right? But it’s true because you don’t have control over that stuff. So I started posting articles 2015, and at the time it was just starting to get popular in terms of productivity and business and self development. Before that, it was mostly like tech. It was very famous in the tech world, obviously, because of the founder of Williams, co founded Twitter. So it was really popular in that kind of world. But around that time, myself and a few other people started posting articles there about personal development. Now, what a lot of established bloggers were thinking at the time was, why should I spend time on Medium, right? And this is, I think, part arrogance, part just ignorance as well, and also part being distracted. What we talked about earlier, like not noticing things. And I was like, obviously I was just starting out, so I just went all in and I wasn’t afraid of SEO things and stuff that people usually bring up, like, oh, it will hurt my rankings, right?
And I was like, you know what, let me just put articles on there. And there’s a great community at the time already, people responding. And I was like, oh, this is great because I can connect with people, learn more about their challenges and all those things. So that’s how I got started. And the lucky part of my story is that there were not a lot of people who were posting consistently a Medium. So just like Gary Vanichuk had the luck of Twitter, in the early days when people signed up for Twitter, everybody got the suggestion, hey, follow these people. And there were only a few people.
So that is really important. And I had the luck with Medium when I started publishing two articles every single week, they were growing and the new people were automatically shown my content. Yeah, so that was really useful for me.
By the way, did you split the content to publish different content on your website versus Medium, or did you post similar content? Same content?
No, I published the same content, especially in the beginning. And now I do some special stuff, some exclusive stuff on Medium because now they have the membership model where people pay $5 a month. And for that I do some exclusive stuff, but for the first two years or so, two and a half years, I just basically cross posted.
And what I learned was that and this is the thing that a lot of people didn’t pick up, I think was in this case, a lot of readers enjoy just using the app, the medium app. And for them it was already some added value that your stuff is available on the platform. And to be honest, I’m not really afraid of like, say, oh, you missed some traffic, so at least I can reach more people, right?
Yeah, no, this is super helpful to hear that. I will try to wrap up with one last question, which is you are clearly doing a lot. You’re very strategic about going at different things, but without overthinking all the processes or watching carefully what other people are doing. So I wonder your day, your level of productivity, like, how do you currently manage your days and your weeks? Do you supper them to today blog content only, tomorrow YouTube only day after courses? What does that look like for you on a weekly basis?
So the short answer is that I switch things up. Like you said, sometimes I dedicate a whole day, sometimes to writing, sometimes I write every single day. But my main philosophy is, and what I also teach in my productivity course is that I want to do more work in the same amount of time, or at least I want to achieve the same in less time. Depends on how you look at it, right? But what I like to do is I want to get the things that I want to get done that really move my business forward in about three or 4 hours a day. And the reason that I mentioned three or 4 hours a day is because I noticed that throughout my working years, that’s about the best that you can get, right? Even when I worked from nine to five, just after 4 hours of focused work, that was it. Most of the time was spent on drinking coffee and just hanging out with co workers.
Yeah, I think to know our own habits and the schedule around it, it’s really important faking to be someone else or something else.
Exactly. So that’s my overall strategy. So my goal is, okay, I want to grow my blog. For example, I want to create a new course, or if I’m working on a new book, say, okay, I want to finish this book in two months or three months, whatever. And then I think about how can I achieve those goals that I’ve set for myself in about 4 hours a day? And then I start planning my weeks. So that’s one of the key strategies that I have been applying for like very long, as long as I can remember. I think I applied it in college. Just every Sunday I sit down and just think about what does this week look like? And for example, next week I’m also still involved with my family business. We have like a conference for the industry or like a trade show type thing.
No, I think about your family. Yeah, go ahead.
I still try to help out with that stuff. I’m not involved in the day to day anymore, but on strategic stuff. I work in these few conferences a year, but I look at the week and I’m like, okay, how am I going to plan this week? And then I come up with the stuff that you talked about. Okay, maybe this week it’s better to dedicate one full day to writing because I know, based on my self knowledge and based on the way this week is going to look like, I’m not going to write every single day. Right. I have to travel, I have to do this, I have to do that. I’m going to use this strategy of I’m going to work on one specific project that full day. So my productivity strategy is very fluid, very flexible, it’s not very rigid like a lot of productivity experts, teachers or whatever. It’s like, oh, this is a system and you have to do it like this, you have to grab this and put it in this folder or whatever. No, that’s not how life works. At least that’s not how I live. So that’s about the most high level answer that I can give.
So it’s a whole system. It’s like a holistic thing, I think, in terms of energy as well. One of the strategies of my productivity system is to stay fit and to work out every single day. And you don’t have to break sweat every single day, but at least go for a brisk walk. And that keeps me focused. And all those things that influence your productivity.
Yeah, the physical aspects of things. I can agree more. I think listen to your body, like the way you write about and I love how you write about personal finances and I’ll make sure to include all your social links and your website clearly to really address those things. So whenever people write about and talk about and believe in index fund, I know I instantly like that person. I love how simple your personal financial system looks like, as it should be. Instead of tricking the market, like no, you cannot predict the market.
Use your time doing something else way more productive.
Yeah. And also one of the things that I constantly repeat and it’s one of like investing is not to make money. Right. The purpose is not to make money tomorrow. The purpose of investing to me is to build wealth. It’s not to generate cash.
Yeah. Long term.
Yeah, exactly. And that’s one of the topics that I added over the years of just starting out. Productivity and then habits and then decision making. The latest one that I added was personal finance. Based on just listening.
Yeah, exactly. That’s why it’s funny that we recently changed the description for the podcast to how we help independent creators live not just their creative freedom, but their financial freedom. And to live it. I think it’s so important because we know people who make a lot of money but don’t really know how to actually live that freedom, and they’re completely trapped inside that system. But someone like you, you know, I know you write about you go to you go to restaurant, you have fun, you have these things you spend money on, and this is how you enjoy your life. And that’s why I think your latest book is really going to shine among your audience. So I really appreciate the time that you’ve given. This episode of the Face World Podcast is brought to you by Face World LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer website development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up, and create a profitable brand. Face. War podcast. Team. Our chief editor and producer, Herman Sevillos. Associate producer, Adam Leffert. Social media and content manager roasted. Leon Transcript Editor Alina Afmidova, Alaskani Myself, the creator and host of Phase World.
Thank you so much for listening.
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