My Travel Tips

I think it is safe to say that my job includes a fair amount of travel. After recently visiting 8 countries in 10 weeks, I wanted to impart some of my wisdom to those planning a trip in the future. So here I have just a few tips and tricks that I use or have learned over the years of travelling.

I think it is safe to say that my job includes a fair amount of travel. After recently visiting 8 countries in 10 weeks, I wanted to impart some of my wisdom to those planning a trip in the future. So here I have just a few tips and tricks that I use or have learned over the years of travelling.

Making the bookings

If you are planning a trip in advance, subscribe to a few airline or travel websites’ newsletter. That way you will get notified of all the specials and deals and you may just get lucky!

If you are planning a holiday and you don’t need to be in a certain city on a specific date, look for flights around that date as there may be a more affordable option.s You may have wanted to fly on a Friday but opting for a Tuesday may save you quite a few pennies! When you do your search for flights online, there is usually a little button that says “flexible dates”. Click that one and explore the different rates.

Don’t travel light? Look for airlines like Qatar that allow up to 45kg per person instead of the usual 23 kg.

For holidays, try Airbnb rather than a hotel. The first time I used AirBnB was about 2 years ago in New York. It was a bit daunting not knowing what to expect from a service like this, but the experience was amazing and we ended up paying almost a third of what we would have paid for a hotel in Manhattan. Booking on AirBnB means you can have an entire apartment or house to yourself where you can cook and go about your business. It usually also ends up being more spacious than a hotel room. Airbnb also has many amazing discounts for long stays. In some cases it is cheaper to book for 4 weeks than 3!!

Getting Ready

After you have booked your flight, you can choose your seats as well as a meal preference beforehand. The different meals range from low calorie, low salt, vegan or vegetarian, gluten free and so much more. If you do have a dietary restriction, there is a good chance you will be covered.

The back of a flight is usually emptier, so you are more likely to score an empty seat next to you. If you are travelling with someone or a group, book your seats in such a way to leave single seats open in between each person. Chances are, if the flight is not full, a single person will not squeeze in between two other people and they would choose another seat. If the flight is full and that open seat gets taken, simply ask that person if you could swop to sit with your friend or significant other.

Are you hot or cold blooded? The window seats tend to be warmer than the isle, especially on local flights in summer.

Always pack a small umbrella! I have been caught off guard a few times with rainy weather in a foreign country, even outside their rainy season.

ALWAYS leave room in your suitcase for shopping, even if you think you won’t be shopping.

Make sure you know what is allowed in your carry on. There isn’t much room for negotiations at airport security. So, if you accidently packed your favourite big bottle of cologne or perfume in your carry on, and you can’t go check it in, you can say goodbye to that item!

Travelling Internationally:

Withdraw a large some of spending money and exchange it to the currency you will be using. Each time you swipe your card internationally you get charged a sometimes-hefty fee. You will also need cash at some shops, as well as for tips and so on.

Go on, get that sim card! Most tourists think they can get away with just connecting to wifi, but believe me, being connected in a foreign land is so much easier. If you need to find your way or translate a sentence, you will be able to. Most countries’ data fees are lower than what South Africans are used to. Also, you will need your passport when purchasing a sim card so don’t leave that in your room.

If it is a country that speaks a foreign language, learn a few sentences to get by. The locals will also really appreciate it.

For the best, most authentic meals, stay clear of the tourist’s spots. Ask some locals which places they would recommend, and where they eat. It will most often than not also be cheaper.

And then my last and most important tip is to just have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. Safe travels!!

Know Your Target Audience

An attempt to appeal to everyone is a prominent and commonly made mistake in the marketing of a product or a service. The ideal route begins by discovering your specific target audience and appealing only to them.

What is a target audience?

Your target audience consists of different people with shared interests and characteristics, all of which are interested — or are potentially interested — in indulging in what you have to offer.

Why is it necessary?

To refine your audience down to a core group permits efficient scaling and more cost-effective marketing. Furthermore, your target audience opens doors for improvement; through this core group, you will receive an accurate analysis of what is working, what isn’t working, and what will potentially work. Taking this into consideration will allow you to not only improve the marketing aspect of your company, but the actual product and service as well.

On top of that, discovering your target audience aids the process of delivering, proposing, and advertising your product or service. Do not overplay your hand and expect to win; narrow your audience down and play your cards right.

How to find your audience:

Prior to a show, Larry Soffer surveys and researches his audience; this allows him to discover what interests and disinterests his audience and gives him the opportunity to analyse the results after each show.

Remember that your audience can be anyone from a single private client to one thousand separate clients.

1) Conceptualize your audience:

Create an outline of your ideal target customer(s) and identify the target demographic. Imagine this customer to be a fictional character and consider different characteristics: age, education level, income, etc. You can “create” different target customers as your target audience will likely consist of different personalities. Now work towards attracting the particular target customer.

2) Research your audience:

Market research — this is the first thing you should do after you conceptualize your ideal audience. You may believe you’ve identified your target audience, however an in depth market research might highlight potential issues with your concept of the target audience.

Through the market research, you will ensure that the demographics you have selected are indeed the most optimal to move your brand and product forward.

3) Engage with your audience:

Build a relationship with your audience. If you can get to know your clients personally, then great! But chances are that you may have a target audience that is a little too large to know everyone on a first name basis. So, work on understanding them, their needs and desires, and how to serve them successfully. Analyse individual clients as well as your audience as a group. This can be done through surveys, one-on-one conversations, forums, social media, and blog comments. Then, act on what you learn from your audience and use everything you are told to improve the client experience.

Moreover, analyse their social media activities: their likes, shares, retweets, and comments. Identify patterns by studying these statistics and over time you will learn a great deal more about your audience.

4) Analyse social trends:

Employ the tactic of social listening: that is, you should explore social media, the web, and local groups to discover what other topics interest your target audience. This provides the opportunity to uncover new trends that may be of interest to your target audience. Implement these trends or use them as an alternate angle to gain a firmer understanding of your audience’s needs and wants.

5) Branch out:

Don’t just stick with your current target market. Aim to branch out as much as you can. The larger your target market, the more your brand will be recognised. Thus, selling more products and bringing more money in. However, it is important too not let your target market get too broad or you may lose your core audience. Learn about related niches by seeing what captures your audience’s (and related audience’s) interests.

Find the link between audiences in which your product has gauged an interest and the other products they tend to purchase. Find that product and see what you can do to bring that core audience over to your product. With enough facts, research, and statistics, you can walk away with a much larger target audience.

Experiment with your audience:

The same routine grows old fairly quickly. Maintain the same level of quality, but change things up to prevent losing members of your target audience as a result of sheer boredom and continuous repetition.


At times Larry will experiment with his own crowd during performances. He might throw in a cheeky new effect or jest now and then to test the waters before introducing a major change. This is also an effective way of steering his performance into a new direction without great risk.


This is not only a career tip, it can also be implemented into your personal life — discover how to react to new topics and learn to steer a conversation in a certain direction.


Lastly, remember that client feedback is of utmost importance! If it is clear that your audience isn’t reacting positively to changes, you should revert back to what worked in the past and try again when the time is right.


Without the audience, there is nobody to indulge in your product or service, so consider their comments and criticisms and aim to provide them with something they will enjoy. With time and experience, you will come to know what will work and what won’t. Work with your audience. Knowing who your clients are allows you to provide a much greater service.

The Show Must Go On!

Career success is derived not only from workplace effort, but out-of-work effort as well. One never knows when an opportunity may arise, one should always be prepared. It has little to do with luck and more to do with equipping a proactive mindset and maintaining constant vigilance.



During our career odyssey, we may feel deprived from real opportunities. We may feel that our friends and coworkers are advancing faster than us. We may feel that we never get the “big break” that we deserve. This is a mentality that is consistent among all professionals regardless of the career path. And as such one should not just give up, sit back, and let things be. It may take years for the right opportunity to show up, but one should always be prepared to seize it when it does.

To succeed on your career path, there are two categories that should be considered: the things that can be expected and prepared for, and the things that are unexpected and can be there is a limit to how prepared you can be. If there is an upcoming meeting, agenda, or assignment, you can prepare for it completely. This is the easier category to deal with, because you know what is to come. But that doesn’t mean you should disregard the unexpected. Even though something is unexpected, you can do your best to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Always be ready. Whether you are in an expected or unexpected situation, in the workplace or outside of work, the show must always go on!

Unfortunately, a great number of people who do not prepare for such situations tend to blame their failure to be ready on and different circumstances: “I didn’t have time”, “too much competition”, “unfair expectations”, etc. Don’t offer up any excuses. Do what you can do, and work towards learning to do what you can’t. Excuses don’t help anyone.

Here are 6 ways to keep the show going:


1) Give it your all:

Larry’s performance never ends. Whether he is on stage or off stage, he’ll always be giving his best performance in everything he does. His focus isn’t only on his work and career; if that were the case he would be missing enormous career boosters and his competition would supersede him.

2) Always be ready to perform:

One should always be prepared to give a quick demonstration. Larry tends to carry around items that can be used to catch someone’s attention. In his case it may be a pack of cards, a pen, or a dice. But for the non-magicians out there, a personal website, a short brief/speech, or a business card should do the trick.
You are your biggest asset for your own brand/company. Be ready for anything.

3) Impressions Last:

You may have a business card or a proposition ready at hand, but that doesn’t mean you will make a good impression, let alone a lasting one. Everyone carries around a business card and simply doing that means you are like everyone else. An average, typical working person. As is commonly known, first impressions are vital; so do something that is memorable and interesting, something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

4) Be ready for the curve ball:

Things may come your way that will knock you down. Be ready and be prepared. Don’t panic; stand your ground. A curve ball could be anything from a tiny workplace error to being demoted. In Larry’s performances, there may be a microphone malfunction, he may even stumble on his words, or he may drop his deck of cards. However, he will maintain a calm and positive persona. Once he gets his thoughts organised, he’s act will come back together. He’ll go with the flow and proceed to deliver a fantastic show.

5) Take care of yourself:

Career success is not only about being prepared for workplace situations. Yes, opportunities may arise outside the workplace and you should be proactive and work towards using those opportunities to your ultimate advantage. However, this goes even beyond that. Your personal health is just as important (if not, even more important). Eat healthy, stay fit, and get enough sleep. Work on improving yourself, and the other benefits will naturally follow.

6) Stay updated and well-read:

Equip yourself with skills and knowledge that is relevant to your career interests. Use these to advance your way on your career journey. If you are a mentalist, study the works of other great mentalists and see what you can learn and input into your own performances. As a computer scientist, you may want to expand your skill set by picking up some new languages. As an entrepreneur, conversation and public speaking skills are an important addition to the business logistics. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace the new and use it to your advantage. With a growth mindset, keeping your knowledge and skills relevant and up to date becomes second nature.
One of the most significant parts of career success is being prepared for whatever situations that may come your way. The more unexpected the situation, the more challenging it will be. But there is always power in experience. Regardless of how many times you fall down, learn to pick yourself up and not fall down in the same spot again. You have an obligation to yourself, your company, and your family to be the best you can be. So dive right in, and be prepared to deliver.

The WOW Factor! Giving More Value than Expected

There is more to making people happy than simply meeting their expectations. One needs to exceed expectations to truly satisfy another person’s desires; this is what we call the “WOW Factor”.

The moment you leave someone — your friend, a client, a coworker, your dentist — saying “wow” or looking like they’ve been wowed is the moment you have truly become impressive and successful in your task.

Instead of solely satisfying someone, try raising the bar a little: throw all your joy, energy, ideas, and helpfulness at them; whether you are at work or at a coffee shop with a friend; aim to not only satisfy them, but to WOW them!

Here are 4 methods on how to go the extra mile and WOW someone:


1) Stay Focused on One Thing:

In this modern generation, there is nothing easier and quicker to take us off track than the tiniest distractions; whether it is the buzz of your phone, a coworker’s fingers tapping on your shoulder, or running out of coffee; distractions take you out of the workflow and once you get out of the workflow, it is difficult to get back into it.

Retaining your focus on a single task will keep you working throughout the day without significantly losing any productivity along the way. This focus does not only apply to the workplace, but to your friends and family, health and fitness, and hobbies and entertainment too.

To leave a lasting impression on both others and yourself, you need to put in the hours and get the work done. That means no distractions. Take a mental and physical break when necessary, but keep in mind that your tasks only get fully accomplished when you put in the hours and persevere.

2) Deliver More Than What is Expected:

Consider what it takes to keep customers and friends happy. There are a multitude of personality characteristics involved, such as:
Trying to be beneficent, transparent, and ebullient.
Avoiding being onerous, monotonous, or cant.
Now by all means do not take this as an invitation to become a people pleaser, for the reason that people appreciate honesty and authenticity and generally see right through a quasi-friend.

When it comes to your work, more is always better. Doing more work is better; assisting coworkers is better; going out of your way to be helpful to clients is better. Exceed your clients’, your coworkers’, and your boss’s expectations; and who knows, maybe you will be rewarded with a promotion, a raise, or just a simple token of appreciation. But don’t aim for the reward; aim to impress; aim to exceed expectations.

This applies to your social and out-of-work life as well: aim to be a better friend, a better lover, a better stranger, and a better person overall.

3) Get to Know Your Audience:

As mentioned previously, this post does not only apply to the workplace, but to your entire life as well. So consider your audience to be anyone you are currently engaged with, conversing with, or assisting in some way.

Getting to know your audience isn’t as easy as it may seem. It comes with time and effort. Imagine you are a mentalist performing on stage. As a mentalist, you will have to analyse your audience to get an understanding of their mood and the atmosphere. More importantly, you have to consider their reactions to your performances: which illusions worked and which didn’t; why they worked and why they didn’t; and what can be changed and offered in the future to better accommodate the audience.

Moving forward, equipping this information about your audience will prove to be exceptionally valuable for the next encounter with said audience. It will greatly improve your in-person interactions and it will act as a guide for the next first date, family dinner, or client communication.

4) Be Early:

Arriving on time is one thing, but arriving early is a whole other story. A better one. Now it may seem unnecessary to arrive earlier than expected and in some occassions you shouldn’t, but when it is appropriate to do so, it becomes a sign of respect and enthusiasm.

And although this may not always be necessary, it certainly does fall under going the extra mile. Again, this applies to anything: whether it is arriving a little bit earlier to the workplace meeting or a little bit earlier to your friend’s party.

Just because there is a specific time, it does not mean that you cannot go out of your way to do more in that time. If that means arriving early and leaving later, then so be it. Furthermore, people will catch on. When they notice you doing this multiple times, it will symbolise your dedication and passion.

As Tony Jeary beautifully explained in his article, “The expectations you exceed today become the seed for new opportunities in the future.”

Give more than is expected from you and others will reciprocate. You will stand out like the sole sunflower in a field of grass. People will want to spend more time with you; and in exchange, they will strive to give back to you. Furthermore, this will set a new benchmark, not only for yourself to aspire to, but for those around you as well.


Always give it your all.


Mastering Time

At some point or another all of us have given the potential of time manipulation some thought — “if only I could slow down time or reverse time or pause time, then I would be more productive...” Unfortunately, none of us appear to wield such powers, so we have to make do with real time and realistic time manipulation.


There is a great significance to perfect timing and perfect planning. Now Larry Soffer may be a marvellous mentalist, but even he cannot pause time, not even for one second. If he were to only delay the finishing touch of his grand illusion by the slightest second, his entire performance may crumble to the floor and be left in ruins. Although the rest of us might not be magicians, the importance of such a performance is a great metaphor for our lives.


Timing. Planning. Efficiency. Productivity.


It all comes down to being resourceful. That is an enormous contributing factor as to why the greatest of our time are in fact the greatest of our time — the reason why Michael Phelps holds the world record for the 200m race — the reason why Elon Musk is running several companies simultaneously — the reason why Stephen King has published over 50 completed novels. They all use their time wisely; they are resourceful.


One cannot divine what the future holds; but one certainly can prepare for it. The preparation is a menial task, not requiring much effort or toil, but it is incredibly important if you desire to keep your life and work from falling apart and actually improve it beyond expectations.
So how can we use our 24 hours more wisely?


1) Sleep:

When discussing time management, the worst thing you can do is not sleep enough. Getting work down effectively and quickly is extremely unlikely when you have deprived yourself of sleep; the only thing sleep deprivation will bring is decadent productivity.

At this point, every adult is aware that 6 hours of sleep is a minimum; ideally one should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. The internet is full of successful people who sleep 4 hours a day, wake up at 5am, and work work for 20 hours straight. That is nonsense; and if it happens to be true, they will be requited with the appropriate health issues in the near future. So you should not be intimidated by them, nor should you follow in their weary footsteps.

Sleep is a must, both for the body and the mind to function at its maximum potential. You may believe that by sleeping less you are opening more slots in your schedule to work — on paper this seems accurate, but in reality one gets exponentially more work down when they are refreshed and energetic, even if they have less time in the day to tackle their tasks.

However, this isn’t an invitation to sleep 11 hours a day; that is the antithesis of what is being suggested. Oversleeping will not only cut down your free time, but it can actually make you more drowsy and lethargic than undersleeping, thus costing you both time and energy.

Take care of your body. Eat right and sleep right: wake up with ardour.



2) Time Allocation:

As important as planning may seem, it is not nearly as important as actually getting the work done. Thus it is important to get this note out of the way right away: spending hours on planning is not productive work!

Take a few minutes out of every day, or even better, spend an hour once a week to write up a time allocation schedule and be done with it. The whole point is to get you up and moving, working and producing; don’t get carried away with the scheduling.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, you need to assess what matters in your day: what needs to be done compared to what actually gets done. Sleeping isn’t the only activity filling up your day; there is your job, eating, dressing, socialising, entertainment, fitness, etc. Consider what tasks take up your time and the significance of each task. If it is insignificant, get rid of it or reduce the time allocated to it. If it’s extremely significant, you may want to increase the time allocated to it.

Tony Robbins believes these tasks can be assessed in two ways: enjoyment and value. For example: take the task of practicing guitar. Consider how much you enjoy playing guitar vs how valuable it is for your everyday life. Obviously for a musician, daily practice is extremely valuable, but for an accountant or a entertainer, it is less valuable.

But simply because a task isn’t valuable does not mean that it isn’t useful — you need to find the right balance between value and enjoyment, and not lose track of what will be moving you forward in your career.

Furthermore, there is a 3rd type of activity: the necessary ones. These include: sleeping, eating, self enhancement, showering, etc. These are tasks that are fundamental to your day, every day. You need to plan everything else based on the enjoyment/value scale around the necessary tasks.


3) Indecisiveness:

Stress and a lack of decisiveness play a huge role in day-to-day productivity. To dissipate time worrying over matters is not only wasteful but incredibly frustrating as well.

To prevent this, you should arrange a block of time everyday or every week to let all your anxious thoughts about upcoming tasks, meetings, due dates, and important events stack up in your head. Then you should codify these tasks from most urgent to least urgent and work towards completing them. Once you do this, you should not think about changing the to-do list; your time to worry has already been used up.

This will alleviate the stress that comes from indecisiveness and prevent precious time being wasted on questioning the next task to tackle.

The result of being an efficient time manager, a Master of Time, is a more productive, calmer, and worry-free you. The best time to begin is NOW.

“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.” ― Tony Robbins