“You’ve known all long it’s tough to be successful. But you’d rather hear the fairy tales” – Dan Peña
Financial independence is a dream for many people. They want to wake up and have the freedom to do anything they want. It isn’t an exaggeration to say you can achieve this in a few years time. It simply takes consistent effort week in and week out. The best way to do this is to build and scale and online business while keeping your day job. Once you have an online business that pays your bills and more you can decide whether you want to quit or keep your day job.
Don’t use the excuse that you don’t have time to build an online business. The people with the busiest schedules in the world are the most productive and people with all the time in the world (no job and no responsibilities) never achieve anything. If you think you don’t have enough time you need to think about the pointless activities you engage in.
If you take the time you waste surfing the internet, watching Netflix, watching sports, scrolling through social media, swiping on Tinder and add it up you will be astounded by the amount of time you waste. If you simply took this time and put it into something productive you could achieve incredible results. If you focus on being consistent over the long-term you have a higher chance of being successful than if you focus on quick results.
Your work day-in and day-out will lead to massive results over months of time. Your positive actions will compound over time and lead to even greater results. Think of your effort building a business like pushing a snowball down a hill. The snowballs starts slowly and starts to build up momentum and grows more quickly as it picks up speed. This is the power of compound interest.
Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe – Albert Einstein
In every area of life people that focus on the long-term win and people that seek short term gratification lose. This is more true in online business than any other field I have ever seen. People start an online business because they hear a guru tell them they can make $10,000 a month working a 4 hour work week. They are super motivated but slowly get discouraged and eventually quit before making any real money online. These people quit because of two reasons:
- False expectations. Is there any area of life where you can get results without putting in effort? If you think about it for five second the answer is obviously no. Somehow people think they can spend a week building a website and make hundreds or thousands of dollars per week with no previous experience making money online.
- Inability to delay gratification. A certain type of people look for quick results in everything they do instead of putting in the work. They want a magic pill to help them lose weight instead of exercising or eating healthy. They want to get a girlfriend by using pick-up lines instead of putting in the effort to build the life of an attractive and well rounded person.
That being said, some people do get rich quickly online but it is becoming rarer. The people that run successful websites and online businesses do it by providing consistent value over the long-term. It’s a cliche websites that provide value to their visitors will outperform low-quality websites every single time. If you look at certain internet marketing forums online many people say that the golden age of online marketing is over. These people are losers and should be ignored, they made their money by spamming and using other parasitic money making tactics.
We live in the era where high-quality, authority websites consistently have record profits year after year. Websites such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google are having record profits and continue to grow at a record pace. Why? Because they provide the best services in their industry.
The prerequisite for success
There is one specific thing you need to do to ensure you have success when you are building an online business and working a day job. You need to take responsibility for everything in your life. Once you accept your life circumstances and realize the situation you are in was created almost exclusively by your choices you are ready to change you life. That means you need to let go of your excuses.
You can no longer blame politicians.
You can no longer blame your parents.
You can no longer blame your teachers for not teaching you useful skills.
You can no longer blame your boss for not paying you enough.
And you definitely can’t blame “the system” for causing you to go into debt.
In psychology the attitude of blaming the outside world for events in your life is called an external locus of control. People with an internal locus of control believe they control their own choices and can influence the outcome of their decisions. It’s an interesting phenomena that almost every successful entrepreneur has an internal locus of control.
Why have a career AND an online business?
Having a career and an online business is a form of hedging (a strategy in finance to decrease risk). A career is low-volatility and low-reward, and online business is high-volatility, high-reward. Think of balancing a career and online business like a weightlifter lifting a barbell. The opposite sides of the barbell balance each other out and make it easier to lift than if all the weight was on one end of the barbell. By having two complete opposite income streams it can be easier to create a balanced financial plan.
In finance a barbell strategy is to balance a high-risk and a low-risk investment to make a balanced portfolio. From Wikipedia:
One variation of the barbell strategy involves investing 90% of one’s assets in extremely safe instruments, such as treasury bills, with the remaining 10% being used to make diversified, speculative bets that have massive payoff potential. In other words, the strategy caps the maximum loss at 10%, while still providing exposure to huge upside.
Just like a weightlifter that does progressively heavier squats gets stronger and has the ability to lift weight, a person that balances an online business and a career becomes more efficient and able to get more done in a week than if they only focused on either a career or a business.
If you haven’t started making money online I highly suggest you take the online business quiz I have created. It is designed for beginners and there are just a few questions to discover the best online business quiz for you to start. Of course if you already know what online business you want to start I have full guides for creating an eCommerce website, and creating an affiliate marketing website.
Finding Your Balance
I have found a great way to balance my career and my online business ventures. I am able to put in 40-45 hours per week on my career and 25-45 hours per week on my online businesses every single week. I believe anyone can work these hours as long as their online business and career are doing what they love. They don’t need to be your “passion” like the cliche says, but you do need to love what you do.
You won’t be able to work long hours every week if you don’t love what you do. I have outlined a typical weekday and weekend in my world. This is a reliable schedule that you will likely find success if you replicate. It’s also a manageable schedule that will give you time to spend on hobbies, and a little free time for friends and family.
5am-5:15am: Get out of bed, meditate then make coffee.
5:15am-8:15am: Start drinking coffee and take a look at my to do list for my businesses. Start working on the biggest task first, and then the second biggest, etc. This productivity technique is called called eating your frog. Your “frog” is the biggest and most important task you have and the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do it.
8:15am-9:00am: Get dressed, brush my teeth, and commute to work. On my commute I relax and usually read a book or listen to a podcast.
9:00am-5:00pm: Work my ordinary 9-5 job, and appreciate the steady income it provides me. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to have a comfortable, relatively stress free job.
5:00pm-7:00pm: Commute back from work, go straight to the gym and crush a great workout. Leave the gym, come home to eat dinner.
7:00pm-8:15pm: Handle the admin & marketing side of my businesses. Answer emails, and schedule some automated social media posts with Hootsuite, post on Reddit to create a traffic leak. Write down my to do list for tomorrow.
8:15pm-9:30pm: Do laundry and read fiction before I go to sleep.
9:30pm-5:00am: Enter the dream world so my energy recharges for another day of savagery.
This is a sustainable lifestyle, I have a fair amount of time I spend doing activities that help me decompress and destress – e.g. going to the gym and reading. Most of my time is obviously spent working on my career or online business, because it’s impossible to succeed without putting the work in. You can work like that during the workweek and have what I call a “lazy weekend”, which allows you to have more time to do recreational activities or spend it with family.
Example Lazy Weekend:
If you are lazy this is an example of what both days of your weekend will look like
7:00am-7:15am: Wake up, meditate, go make coffee.
7:15am-12:00pm: Start drinking coffee and take a look at your to do list for your business. On the weekend I like to do the biggest tasks I have for the whole week, for example if I have to write a 4000 word article I will take one day on the weekend and write the full article.
12:00pm-sleep: This is free time, you can do whatever you want with it. This is 10-12 hours of free time that you can take twice per week. That is more than enough time to get all the socializing or recreation you need to do out of your system.
That being said, this is a lazy weekend, if you are more ambitious you can (and should) work harder on your business. However if you use this as your bare minimum you will work (5 x 3) + (2 x 5) = 25 hours per week. 25 hours per week will allow you to have your cake and eat it to. It is enough time to make significant progress with your business, week in and week out. You will also have money coming in from your 9-5 that you can use for growing your business, buying content, spending on advertising, or outsourcing menial tasks.
You may have an issue with working early mornings, and decide to work longer in the evenings instead/nights instead. If you can balance working evenings/nights on your business as well as working a 9-5 more power to you. I have serious doubts that this can be done as productively as working on your business in the mornings.
In the mornings you are fresh and can work hard and then go work at your day job. When you work in the evenings you will be tired from working all day at your career. You will be less productive and fall into the trap of thinking you are getting important things done when all you are doing is staying busy.
The issue here is that
Can’t wake up early? No energy?
This will be an issue for many people. I will tell you how to solve it, and if it remains an issue it is simply down to you not having enough willpower. If you can’t get up early and don’t have enough energy to do everything you need to here are some solutions:
- Diet: If you eat junk you will feel like junk. Cut out sweets, sodas, processed food and eat more lean protein and vegetables. Dietary needs are very personal so you will need to tweak your diet until you find something that works for you.
- Exercise: No one can be at their optimal productivity without regular exercise. You can do whatever exercise you want, you don’t need to deadlift 600 lbs. or run an ultramarathon. It could be going to the gym or running (ideally both), but exercise is an essential part of a productive life.
- Hydration: Drink enough so that your pee is clear, if its yellow you are dehydrated. Just make a habit of drinking more water, you don’t need a scientific study for proof and you don’t need to measure how much you drink a day – just make a habit of drinking more water.
- Coffee: You should make a habit of drinking coffee when you do your morning working sessions. Coffee is the best stimulant and cognitive enhancer on the planet. Drinking it when you start working at 5am will ensure you are productive early instead of just sitting around like an idiot. I find it beneficial to take 200 mg of L-Theanine when I drink coffee for the cognitive boost.
- Go to sleep earlier: If waking up at 5am seems impossible and you lack energy to do everything you need to the answer may be more sleep. Point blank if you need to sleep at 8pm to establish a business, do it, it is worth it.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier every day: If you are used to waking up at 7am or 8am simply wake up 15 minutes earlier every day. Within a week or two you will be able to wake up at 5am easily.
Online business vs. online busyness
People glorify working long hours for the sake of it. I remember being in College and people I know would tell me they pulled an all-nighter before writing an exam. Almost without exception these people did poorly on the exam. They chose hard work instead of smart work.
The truth is the work you do is only valuable if you are productive when you work. You need to work hard and work smart. Do not confuse being busy with getting a lot done. If you simply want to mess around and start a website you should focus on creating a hobby blog instead. If you have an online business you need to treat it like a real business, if you don’t failure is almost a guarantee. You need to focus on online business profits, and avoid the trap of online busyness.
To ensure you are productive you need to be accountable to yourself. This is the prerequisite for success – being responsible for everything in your life. To be accountable you need to write down what you do on a daily basis. I take accountability to the extreme and I use two calendars every single day to ensure I am accountable to myself. I use ordinary notebooks, nothing fancy and it really doesn’t matter as long as you use a pen and paper in any notebook or calendar form.
My first calendar is where at the end of each day I write what I have achieved. I split each page into two halves, one half is for what I achieve in the morning, the other is for what I achieve in the afternoon/evening. I do this so I can look into the notebook and I can see clearly the amount of effort I put in and the results I achieved. There is no ambiguity, there is only achievement or lack of achievement.
My second notebook is something different. Surprisingly it is not where I plan my “to do list”. My to do lists are simply scrap pieces of paper that I leave on my desk and then ball up and throw in the trash when I’m done with them. This notebook is where I record my revenue for the day. I simply record the sales I make that day and write down the revenue I earn. The purpose of this is to keep my eyes set on the reason I am in the online business game, to make money. When I write this down daily it leaves no room for confusion.
Find your “Why?”
You are trying to live a more exceptional life than most people ever life.
Most people who start any business quit because they cannot delay gratification and do not want to wait for months or years to see success. These people are better suited for bi-weekly paychecks. Think about why you want to succeed in your business because without a good reason you are very likely to fail. Think deeply about why you will have the success that other people dream of having.
The light at the end of the road
You don’t need to balance on online business and a career forever. I would bet that you want to eventually quit your job and be a full-time entrepreneur. If this is the case, working 1-3 years balancing a career and an online business will allow you to develop two things that can make entrepreneurship much easier. The first is discipline, if you spend months of years successfully balancing a business and a full-time job imagine how much easier it will be to put in the necessary long hours when you are only working on your business. The second thing you have created is savings. If you are making the transition into a full-time entrepreneur it can be extremely useful to have 6-12 months living expenses saved. This “nest egg” is an insurance policy in case your business earnings fluctuate. Fortunately this is not a large concerns because your online business has been growing for years so it should be earning enough for you to live on.
No matter what you choose to do after building an online business while working a career you will be happy to have created an income stream you control. Without an online business if you quit your job or get fired your income would go to zero overnight. When you have a successful online business you can sleep easy knowing you are earning money when you sleep.
“There is no heavier burden than an unfulfilled potential.” —Charles Schulz