How Tim Ferris And Scrabble Changed My Life

My book “Ask” came out in 2015, but it was actually back in 2006 when I was on a trip to Malaysia with my wife that I had found a book that changed my life.

That book was the “4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris. Up until this point in my life, I had been a corporate wage slave! Boy, did 4HWW rock my world.

Everything Tim spoke about opened my eyes to a new paradigm of life and business. He was selling freedom and I was buying it!

Believe it or not, my first online 4HWW style business was teaching people how to make jewelry from Scrabble tiles. I ended up growing this business with what was an early version of the Ask methodology.

Eventually, I moved into teaching my methodology full time and that’s how I got here.

Which bucket do you fall into?

Most of my students fall into one of a few buckets. The first bucket consists of people just getting started. For this group, the ASK Method is a great tool for validating your idea before you take a huge risk.

The second bucket is for people who have a business and are trying to build their email lists. This works well for them because the ASK Method leverages the power of surveys and assessments. In other words, bringing people into your world.

I have students who’ve gone from zero email subscribers to 20,000 subscribers or more inside of a year.

The third bucket is for people with established businesses doing 6-figures a year and want to grow into 7-figures. Many of these people are caught in a “launch roller coaster.”

They’re making money but only when they’re actively pushing a promotion.

The ASK Method can stabilize their lead flow and turn their revenue into a predictable number. The last bucket is represented by marketers who work with clients who may be in one of the other 3 buckets.

The ASK Method is all about using a very specific series of online surveys that help you learn exactly what your customers want to buy even before they know what they want themselves.

It’s counter-intuitive and some people think you simply ask your customers what they want and then give it to them. Not exactly! Everyone knows that Henry Ford quote about what people wanted was faster horses. Well, there’s certainly some truth to it.

Learn how to speak to your audience

If you want to get deep insights into the needs of your audience, it really comes down to the types of questions you ask.

Subtleties revealed from these surveys can improve your overall messaging dramatically. This is where you learn how to speak to your market – what words that describe their pain points and how you can sell to them most effectively.

A lot of people ask the wrong questions. Customers are great at answering questions about past behavior. They know what they did yesterday and even a year ago. They are, however, not very good at projecting into the future – we have no idea what’s going to happen next.

We might think we want tuna fish for dinner, but then we come home and see there’s a fresh pizza waiting on the counter. Sorry tuna, you just lost the sale!

When you ask questions around what your customer’s biggest challenges are you can frame them in such a way that turns them into past behavior questions.

By nature, frustrations are something that have already been experienced in the past.

I teach a concept called the “specificity sweet spot.” This is the range between questions that are too fine-grained and ones that are too generalized. That’s exactly what you’re looking for, the sweet spot in between.

A framework I like to use in conjunction with the sweet spot is the SMIQ (Single Most Important Question.)

It goes like this: “When it comes to X, what’s the single biggest challenge or frustration you’re experiencing right now?” (X being the transformation you provide for people in your business, e.g. training your dog, or caring for your orchids.)

This structure works wonderfully for hitting on that specificity sweet spot.

Try it out in your survey and see how your responses begin to shift!


Action Steps

  1. Ask customers about their past behavior and biggest challenges when it comes to your business.
  2. Frame a SMIQ that works on your service proposition or a specific pain point.
  3. Notice the shift in response and use the information you’re getting from the specificity sweet spot.


Result You Will Achieve

Ask better questions to your customers and receive answers that reveal deep insights as to what they want and need for your business.

Mentor: Ryan Levesque

CEO of The ASK Method, co-founder of® Ryan has used the Ask Method to help build multi-million dollar businesses in 23 different industries, generating over $100 million dollars in sales in the process. Ssince then, his student entrepreneurs have used the Ask Method in thousands of different industries to launch and scale their businesses online. Ryan is also the #1 national best-selling author of ASK, which was named by Inc. as the #1 Marketing Book of the Year. His latest book, CHOOSE is set for an April 2019 release.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.