This is what my schedule looked like last week, pretty hectic isn’t it. I managed to work on my online business ever day, work at my 9-5 job, and go to a class at a local community college two nights per week. I had a few different groups of friends that were either visiting or spending their last week in the city so I went out for dinner once, to one MLB game, drinking twice (including clubbing until 4 am once), and for a 2 hour walk in a park near my apartment.
I loved it, I got a fair amount done and had a lot of fun.
The downside was that I did not spend a lot of time on my online business, only 14 hours in total. Not terrible, but by no means a good amount. There is a balance that need to be made between work and life, and if you want to be successful you need to sacrifice more than I did this week. I can tell you my next week there will be a lot more work and a lot less socializing.
Focus on the few, not the many
Successful businesses don’t get built in a day, but you will not be successful working 14 hours per week on a business. If your weeks look as busy as my example, and have your energy split between a job, school, business, and friends you will be spread to thin to succeed. You never hear of successful entrepreneurs working 14 hours a week because it is not enough to succeed.
I had to play the long game with my relationships, some of my closest friends from my hometown and my college were in town. I had to mix it in.
But my personal life is usually not this busy. I’m taking three courses at this college which will take 4 months then I will have an 6+ hours per week to work. I will usually socialize 1-2 times per week, but when the winter comes this will drop to 0-1 times per week, and I will enter more of hibernation mode and focus on hitting my goals at the gym and in my online businesses.
I really have no interest in hanging out with most people very often, this includes many of my close friends and family. Therefore I only see many family members and friends every six to 24 months. I moved halfway across the country for university, and I still live away from home so this is easy for me.
It would be hard for a lot of people to cut out the superfluous things and people in their life. Thankfully I never poisonous people to distance myself from because I never gravitated towards them in the first place. If you hangout with loses you will need to cut them out of your life if you want to be successful, as Machiavelli said, “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
Take a hard look at the people you associate with, if you don’t want to end up like them you should find a new crowd. You need to keep a simple personal life to be a successful person, watch the video below but replace trader with successful person.
Keeping a simple life is even more important for internet entrepreneurs. Successful internet entrepreneurs have the ability to work from wherever they want in the world with their laptops. They often don’t need employees, and if they have them they are virtual assistants that they can “manage” from their laptop.
If you have a good online business that is making you 5- or 6-figures in profit per month and you can live anywhere in the world, you need to have laser focus. You have to contend with ultimate freedom to do whatever you want offline, as well as the numerous distractions online. This takes a ton of discipline, and if you are in it for the long-run with an internet business, meaning you still want to be making money online in 5, 10, 20 years from now you need to simplify your life.
If you read biographies of the most successful entrepreneurs and businessmen in the world, they live very simple lives as they launch and build super successful companies. You never read about them going on vacation or hanging out with friends, but you do read about the sacrifices they make. They do once they are successful, but when they are working hard on whatever they are building the idea of a vacation is absurd.
A lot of successful entrepreneurs even move away from their home town or emigrate from their home country to begin a new life. It’s hard to become super successful hanging out with the same people in the same out town. To quote the Bible, ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town’.
Burnout and Increasing Maximum Effort
Once you have all of the time wasting activities, and negative influences (doomsters and gloomsters) eliminated you can really test yourself by seeing how much you can work. You can’t work for 24 hours a day, but you do need to push yourself harder than you have ever worked. In all likelihood you will burnout at some point or you will experience some failure that feels like it is insurmountable.
But you can bounce back from anything that doesn’t kill or cripple you. As Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” If (when) you have a burnout or a failure it will provide a learning experience for you. In the case of burnout you will either figure out that you are running a business that you do not have enough passion for (you should sell it or shut it down) or you need to change your lifestyle/mindset. Fixing your lifestyle or mindset is something of a moving target.
You need to have goals and ambition, and you need to constantly test the limits of how much you can work. This can be done by working as much as you can until your stress levels are too high for you to sleep. To “recover” you decrease the amount of work you do and make the lifestyle and mindset changes that will allow you to work longer. Then you increase the amount you work to test your limits again, rinse and repeat.
Through this process you will increase your productivity more than you could ever imagine. You will realize that your perceived limits were the ones you created for yourself.
The Long Game and Discipline
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The tortoise wins the race while the hare is sleeping.
More haste, less speed.
You need to work hard in the present without seeing the full benefits until the future. This is tough for a lot of people in the internet age. The age of instant gratification. A lot of people are unaware of it, but one of the best predictors of success as an adult is a child’s ability to delay gratification.
This was shown vis-a-vis The Marshmallow Test, a study that was done at Stanford University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this study a child was given a choice between a small reward immediately (one marshmallow) or twice as large a reward (two minutes) in 15 minutes time. The researchers would leave the child alone for 15 minutes and then return, in a follow up to the original study researchers discovered that the children that waited longer for the larger reward had better life outcomes based on several measures such as SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index, etc.
Big time success takes discipline, long-term thinking, and the ability to delay gratification. You also need to be able to follow your intuition and trust your gut because if you follow logic and conventional thinking you will never achieve great things. The statistics say that 96% of businesses fail, and 80% fail in their first year. If you are the type to get scared by statistics like this you might as well not even try.
But if you are willing to work hard and make the sacrifices then you will at least have a chance at success.