Entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, online marketer and speaker.
Elevator Pitch: Who is Steve Olsher?
Steve Olsher is an entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, online marketer and speaker. He’s known as a “reinvention expert”. He believes that there’s one thing that keeps us from living a life of happiness – not knowing your “what”, that one thing you were born to do.
What vs. Why
You can choose your “why”, the driving force behind what you do. That is external. Your “what” is written in your DNA, in a way it has chosen you and not the other way around. It is internal and needs to be uncovered. Your “what” is comprised of three elements – your core gift, the vehicle you use to share that gift and the people you’re most compelled to serve.
Steve helped a man by the name of Johnny Imerman. Johnny was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer at the age of 26. After treating the cancer Johnny went into remission only for the cancer to return, this time on his spine. What stood out to Johnny during his process of recovery was that he was surrounded by people who really loved him and that it was their support that pulled him through this experience. While walking through the cancer ward he saw other patients suffering alone. He promised to do everything in his power to ensure that those inflicted with cancer never had to endure it alone. After he beat cancer for the second time he started an NPO called Imerman Angels and they focus on matching cancer sufferers with cancer survivors. This is an example of a person who found their “what” and how his life is changed for the better by it.
Life-altering experience to uncover the “what”
Steve mentions that some people are born with the clarity of what their purpose in life is. He calls them “birthers” and says that we’re often jealous of them because there’s never been any doubt in their mind as to who they are and what they do. But the vast majority of the world isn’t that lucky. More often than not it takes some sort of life trigger to lead them to ask these types of questions, it could be a divorce, a death or just being fed-up with your job. Some people just wake up one morning to the realisation that they’re not happy with where they are in life.
Pursuing your “what”
Steve suggests not quitting your day job just yet – rather use the outside hours to pursue your “what”. Use the hours after work, on your way to work or on the weekend. That way you let someone else fund that transition. At the moment 100% of your income could be derived from something that you don’t want to be doing. Once you start utilising your outside hours to generate income from what it is that you really want to do, your income could now change to 95% from your job and 5% from you “what”. Over time that ratio will change and at some point you will be able to do away with the job to fully pursue your “what”. The timeline on this can vary greatly.
85% of those who graduate with a four year degree do not work their field of study within five years of graduation. That is why Steve believes that tertiary education isn’t the best investment for a parent to make. It’s only when they enter the “real world” after college that adolescents discover what it is they want to do. More often than not their degree is not related to their purpose at all and could very well be seen as a waste of money. If the onus rests on them to pay their own education and they are held accountable in that way they’ll get a lot more out of it.
Monetise your “what”
Taking advantage of the technology that is available to you, here are some ideas for you to get paid for doing what you love: having a social media following, building an email list, having a podcast and driving traffic through that show, creating online courses, writing ebooks, selling services, etc. Once you’re clear on the third piece of the puzzle – finding the people you’re most compelled to serve – you’ll gain more clarity as to what their needs are and be able to create products, programmes or services to meet those needs. Steve feels that instead of just showing people what to do, many people would actually prefer that you do the job for them. They will pay a premium if you’re able to do something faster and save them time.
Differentiate Yourself from Competitors
Marketing and promotion is about sharing who you are and what you do in a way that’s most comfortable for you. You get to choose the platform. If you like to talk, podcasting could be the right platform for you. If you’re more inclined to write try starting a blog. If you love videos then shoot videos. Ultimately the way you market yourself should be in a way that you love and that you’re most comfortable with.
Fastest Way to Pay the Bills
Put something forth for the world to consume as soon as possible. Whether it’s a product, programme or service, create an offer and offer it! Market it, get it out there! You may not find many takers initially, but the first buyer is guaranteed to inspire you to reach more. Before you throw in the towel or change your strategy, you need to give it your best effort. For everything to really fall into place, you may only need to subtly adjust your approach.
Reset Button: If you had to start over in a different industry, what would it be and why?
If Steve had to start from scratch today, he would probably look for a corporate job. He envies those who work from 9-5, especially since he has two children. He says he would be pickier about what he does with his time and focus more on those things that bring him joy – in his case this is speaking, teaching and being with people as opposed to sitting behind a computer.
If people are still wondering about their purpose, Steve suggests they get their hands on a free copy of his book, a New York Times best-seller. The sooner you come to realise that you are the solution to someone’s problem, the sooner you can start to discover and ultimately monetise your “what”. Be willing to take the first step and set the example for other to follow.