Back in August of 2005 I wrote an article that outlined what a typical day in my life was like. I linked to the post in my about page as I see it as a subject people are very interested in – what’s it like to live each day when you make money from the Internet?
You can read the original article here – A Day in the Life of an Internet Entrepreneur (August 2005)
I wrote that article after just over half a year of blogging and it represented what my life was like at the time. Now, four years later, things have changed and it’s time to update what a typical day in my life is like in August of 2009.
My Business Is Different
At the time I wrote the original day in the life piece, my main business and income source was BetterEdit.com, a proofreading service I started and built up over several years.
One of the major roles I performed to maintain the business was controlling the email communication system, connecting each proofreading project with an editor and providing customer support. This role was literally the main “work” in my life back then, taking several hours per day on average.
I eliminated the email management role when I hired an assistant, my good friend Angela, who to this day is still in charge of the day-to-day operations of BetterEdit and is also admin manager for my current business too. If you’ve ever sent me an email, chances are you have communicated with her.
I still have to deal with email of course, but the time pressure is no longer there and I only deal with emails that are about things only I can deal with. About 80% of my email is filtered away by Angela, meaning I never see it. She either responds with the appropriate template we have set up, or answers using her knowledge of my business and her supreme customer service skills.
If you want to know more about the systems we use to handle customer service, you can read the articles here
In 2007 I sold BetterEdit, leaving me to focus just on my blogging and information publishing enterprises. I also sold off all my non-blogging related websites, narrowing my focus to the aspects of my business I really wanted to grow.
I Don’t Do The Same Things Anymore
Back in my original day in the life post I mentioned that I spent quite a but of time on marketing online, doing things like posting in forums and studying search engine optimization. I no longer actively focus on these activities in as structured a manner as I did back then, and there’s a good reason why.
Four years ago I was building the foundations of my business, primarily attempting to increase traffic to whatever were my income producing websites. I personally was learning a lot, both from actively studying resources online, and conducting experiments.
This knowledge became part of my subconscious, so I simply “know” now a lot of what I found out thanks to the activities I did years ago, and no longer need to study it or practice it to the degree I did back then. It has become part of me and it’s a big reason why I can do what I do today with so much less effort.
Similarly, my websites (and business) is in a different situation now. My blog is an authority site, while back then it was becoming an authority. I needed to repeat certain processes that were appropriate for the stage of business development I was in at the time, which I no longer need to do as regularly.
It’s important to note the difference between now and then, especially if you are looking to emulate my success. You should look to copy my successful behaviors from the time in my past closest to the current situation you are in presently, taking into account for any conditions that have changed that could impact what you do. For example social media wasn’t prevalent when I built my blog, so I didn’t use it four years ago, where today it’s a good idea to use social media to help grow a new blog.
Another major change is that I no longer have a part time job and I haven’t had one for years now. At the time I wrote the original day in the life post I could have left the job, but I wasn’t in a situation in my mind that I was ready to leave. The job was relatively easy and paid well, so it was hard to quit, but eventually I did, leaving me with complete control over my most precious asset – time.
How Do I Spend My Time Today?
Today my life structure is still based on the same fundamentals as they were four years ago, which are essentially the key principles that have motivated me since the very first day I started in business.
Everything is derived from one core concept: Freedom
Freedom to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, where I want to do it with whomever I want to do it with (assuming they want to do it too of course!).
To achieve this outcome I’ve needed to define a few things, or at least take a solid guess through the process of elimination, since it helps to know where you are going before you start the journey there. These are some of the questions I’ve asked myself and are no doubt very relevant to your journey too –
- What am I good at and what do I enjoy doing in terms of creative output
- Where can I deliver value to other people
- What can I make money from and how can that money be derived from the previous two points
- How much money would I like to make
- What kinds of people do I want to surround myself with
- What environment do I want to work in
- How much time do I want to spend “working” (let’s call it creating instead)
- What do I want to create
- How much variety do I want in my life and how will I create it
All of these things can be drilled down into very specific elements, but for most people they start off blurry. In essence, the last ten years of my life have been about further refining and moving towards my ideal combination of the variables in the above elements. First I identify what I want, then I take the steps to get closer to it.
So how has this manifested itself in my current reality, or more simply put – what exactly do I do each day? Read on to find out…
I wake up somewhere between 9 and 11 am currently and go to bed between 12 and 2 at night. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is still absolutely vital to me in terms of being productive during the day – but it goes deeper than that – I just don’t function very well without sleep.
This is one of the reasons why I don’t like traveling so much and I try and avoid moving around too rapidly, I prefer to move and stay, then move again after some time. I do love seeing new places and new people, but the disruption to my sleeping pattern is the biggest downside for me.
That being said, in recent years I’ve become more relaxed about sleeping (don’t you love that sentence). I’m better at taking naps and am less disturbed by things around me.
My sleeping schedule has also allowed me to participate in one of the things I really enjoy – listening to live trance music at local clubs – which is something I couldn’t do previously because I’d be tired by 11pm and the good DJs don’t usually even start until midnight at best.
Anyway, back to my schedule…
After waking up I go through a hygiene routine that includes tongue scraping, teeth brushing, light stretches and drinking almost half a litre of water. We can blame Eben Pagan for some of these rituals, especially the water one. I used to drink water first up, but not more than a couple of mouthfuls. After sleeping for eight hours, drinking a good amount of water makes sense, so I’ve upped my dosage.
Breakfast happens about an hour after waking up and begins with either porridge with goji berries, raw cocoa nibs, honey and oat milk, or scrambled eggs, toast and veggies, or a blended fruit and protein smoothie.
My online day starts when I turn on the computer and do some quick scanning for fun things like tennis news, facebook, twitter and blog comments. Then I knuckle down to whatever major task I have for that day.
My major task for the day is usually something from the to-do list and could be…
- Conduct an interview or be interviewed by someone else
- Prepare an email newsletter
- Write a blog post
- Clear the email (I do this one or twice a week now)
- Respond to forum questions
- Lead a coaching call for members
- Work on a component of my current project in development
I have other non-business things on my to-do list too, but I won’t bore you with things like “get a haircut” and “buy toilet paper”.
Previously my afternoons may have had a shift at work back when I had a casual job or some time spent at a cafe doing some work just for the sake of getting out of the house.
Today I still go out to cafes to write, but I’m not writing as often. Instead I find myself having more face-to-face meetings, whether that’s with friends, or for example with Gideon to talk business or even just to have a hit of tennis or get something to eat.
I’ve managed to surround myself with people who “work” a similar schedule to myself (none of us work 9 to 5 or have “normal” jobs), and although this wasn’t consciously intentional, I definitely was lacking a socialization aspect in my life four years ago, which today I am pleased to say has changed somewhat for the better.
I still do similar things in the afternoon as I did four years ago, such as collect the mail from the post box, go for a skate for exercise or head to a cafe in the city to work, or even just watch a DVD at home, but I don’t put up posters around campus anymore, nor is there any form of “real world” marketing that I need to do, it’s all online today.
I eat out a lot for lunch and dinner, but I also cook my staple meals at home. I tire of eating out all the time and enjoy the simplicity of basic foods at home, but as always variety rules, so I like to mix it up and eat out as well.
My evenings are longer now since I go to bed later and may include work similar to earlier in the day, such as interviews, leading coaching calls, writing new content or non-work activities such as eating out, catching a movie, going to a party or social event (some networking events), or staying home and watching DVDs or listening to music, or educational training or working out.
I’m actually having a lot of trouble defining my life into these three structures of morning, afternoon and evening as my days are so fluid and lack boundaries. This is true to the essence of my goals – seeking freedom – as to live in freedom means you create as dynamic a lifestyle as you like, and in order to do that, you need to remove any constraints.
Perhaps it would be more relevant if I listed out the various activities I do throughout a given week and told you at some point in time I will do these things, but it’s random, rarely planned very much in advance and is based on going with the flow above all else.
I still have commitments of course. I value my subscribers and my members and understand how much you mean to me. I don’t want to damage these relationships and I want to continue to bring more people into my world online, so I work towards that at a comfortable pace.
As a human I need to grow too, so I need new challenges, hence I’m constantly looking for the next thing and considering what needs to happen to get from where I am to where I want to go.
So How Exactly Do I Make Money From This?
The problem with the description of my typical day is that you might be scratching your head wondering how on earth I can make money given I don’t seem to do much active work.
My first response to you would be to go read my blog archives and all the free reports and content I’ve released in the last almost five years of blogging, especially take a look at my now aging, but still popular post on the 80/20 Rule.
Asking you to study everything I’ve produced isn’t really fair, you don’t have the time for that nor the energy, I understand, time is a scarce resource until you change your relationship with it and eventually make it disappear altogether (that’s another story).
For the sake of simplicity here’s the answer you need…
Every day I continue to grow a loyal audience who I form relationships with based, at the core, on trust, and that allows me to then make money selling my own products, as an affiliate selling other people’s products, and taking a fee to expose sponsors to that audience by selling banners and text links on this blog.
The key terms you need to focus on are attention and relationships. Why I have so much freedom in my life is that I have spent countless hours in the past building a system of resources that all work together to capture attention and build relationships without me needing to actively participate anymore. That last line is so important I can’t even begin to describe why.
There are so many layers to things, but this article is already long enough, so what I recommend you do now if you’ve never done so before, is read my Blog Profits Blueprint. It’s still the best resource I have out there on how I make money and how you can copy what I do.
What Do You Do Once You Achieve Goals?
It’s an interesting time for me to write this article as it’s the first time in the last four years that I haven’t been striving hard towards a BIG goal.
After the launch of my most recent training program, Membership Site Mastermind back in May, I deliberately left my calendar empty of any new major projects. I even pulled out of one big commitment I had coming up to partner in a live event. I am still working on current projects, which included the reopening of Become A Blogger Premium in June, but I haven’t scheduled anything beyond that.
I decided to do this because I wanted to take the gas off the pedal slightly and just sit on cruise control for a month or three or even six to take stock of what I wanted to do next.
Having just moved into a new apartment that’s pretty much the ideal of what I want right now, and turning my previous townhouse into an investment property, I have fulfilled my immediate financial goals that I set for myself. I continue to earn in a month what most people earn in a year using a very simple business model (simplicity is another goal I was striving for), and although I once again have a home loan thanks to buying my apartment, it won’t take long to pay it down. To put it simply, money is not a stress point in my life anymore, though of course it’s still a motivating factor in terms of what I do for future projects.
Outside of business, I have traveled the world for eight months, I’ve got the traditional material possessions most people desire like a house, car – even a cleaning lady! – and I just turned 30 (a good time for reflection), so many of my previous focus points are now attained, leaving me with that wonderful thing we call choice in terms of what I do next.
The idea of “just” writing to my blog for a while appealed to me, so that’s what I did and I’ve been doing up until now, at least in terms of work. I’ve been taking it easy, moving into my new place, and just letting my own internal motivations tell me what to do next.
As I write this I’ve got a feel for what new projects I want to focus on and I’ve even started the initial steps for two of them. Writing this blog is still one of the most fulfilling things I do, and in a lot of ways it’s even better now as the pressure is off to prove certain things to myself – I’ve done them. It definitely feels like it’s time to take things to the next level, but as always I’m not entirely certain how that idea will unfold, but it should be fun to find out.
I have to admit I always find these sorts of posts a little self-indulgent since they focus so much about me, but ever since I started writing the Entrepreneurs-Journey blog I’ve noticed that often these sorts of articles that go behind the scenes are what people enjoy the most. This I suppose, is the essence of why blogging is such a fantastic medium of communication, because bloggers are so willing to share, their audience enjoys the openness and the blogger enjoys sharing. It’s a match made in heaven really.
In the spirit of sharing, I welcome you to write down one aspect of your life you would like to change, stating in the present tense what you would like it to be and what you are doing right now to change it. You can do this by leaving a comment to this post.
Stating an intention publicly is a great way to commit yourself to achieving a goal, which is another great reason to blog openly – it makes you accountable to your audience, which, if you fulfill on your promises, helps you to build trust. By now I hope you know how important trust is.
Over to you,