This will be the final blog post I publish on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com in 2010. Like most of my articles that I’ve written in the past six years, this one is being constructed in a coffee shop in downtown Brisbane Australia as I sip a lemon-lychee iced tea.
Tomorrow, likely the day you read this if you’re one of my more dedicated readers, I will be on a plane to Melbourne, catching a two hour flight down to ring in the new year at a big event. I will be in Etihad Stadium when 2011 dawns, along with many thousands of other people, all joining together in one groovy moment spent with our DJ, Armin Van Buuren, who is bringing his “Mirage” show down under.
As is custom at this time I year I like to look back at what I’ve done during the previous year and what I’ve got planned for next year.
I had a look at my calendar for the previous 12 months to see what, or should I say, whom was in it. I use my calendar for both personal and work related appointments, so you will find anything from a reminder to send an email to promote a certain product, a group or private coaching call, a scheduled interview, my plans for the weekend, coffee shop meetings with friends or a date with a lucky lady.
In December of 2008 I came back from traveling around the world for the previous eight months. It marked the beginning of a transition period. I was going to take my business in new directions in the new year, and private coaching and speaking on stage were on the cards. I decided to postpone both and take 2009 “off” from anything significantly new. Instead I focused on building a better social life and bringing new and interesting people into my world.
I did one final opening campaign for my Membership Site Mastermind coaching program at the start of 2009 (and it’s about to close at the end of this year), but I pretty much just sat back and kept the machine running for the rest of the year, giving you content through my blog and newsletter and occasionally promoting an affiliate launch.
Despite not focusing on any new projects my finances stayed on track and I even managed to crack the half million mark in revenue that tax year for the second year running, meaning I had generated more than a million dollars online in 24 months. You can read more about this milestone in this article – 7 Tips To Help You Become A Millionaire
As the year 2010 began, I finally introduced my private coaching program (The Elite Entrepreneur). I only took on one student at the beginning of the year and another couple at the half way mark, although more than ten people applied throughout the year. I kept the numbers deliberately low so I didn’t have too many commitments in my schedule and because it was challenging to find people I believed were in a position benefit from working with me.
Besides private coaching I didn’t start any significant new projects until towards the end of 2010, three of which you will see come to fruition in 2011. One of these projects I will reveal to you later in this article.
I was going to run my first live event, Million Dollar Blogging Secrets, with my friend and million dollar blogger Alborz Fallah this year, but we decided to postpone what we had planned for New York for many reasons, one of which being we simply started organizing it too late.
It’s now three years since I created a training product. My first one, Blog Mastermind came out in 2007. Shortly after that I created Membership Site Mastermind (though it didn’t become available to the public immediately) and in 2008 Gideon Shalwick and I created the Become A Blogger Premium program. They’ve all been tremendous successes, and I’m very pleased so many people have benefited from these programs.
Although I continue to write to this blog and my email newsletter, create videos, do interviews and run coaching calls, I haven’t done any concentrated teaching and creation of new training materials for a long time.
That’s about to change.
In 2011 I’m releasing a new training product and I’m calling it the “2-Hour Work Day“.
Yes that is somewhat a throw-back to Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek, and deliberately so. However I’m teaching a course and not writing a book, and I’m teaching what I’ve done for the past ten years to live a 2-Hour Work Day lifestlye, which is quite different to Tim. I also think a 2-hour work day is a bit more realistic for the average person to aim for and just about the perfect amount of “work” for a given day.
Tim and I are, as he put it when he gave me a preview copy of his book, “kindred spirits” when it comes to many of the principles we live our lives by. Obviously I love his work and admire his success. I’ve been in touch with him about my program so he knows what I’m up to.
What I have done and currently do to enable my lifestyle is unique, and I’m looking forward to giving people not just an education, but an action focused coaching course on how to make it a reality in your life, as I’ve done with all my courses.
This new course is going to be many things, here are a few teasers…
Oh, and one last thing, the course is going to be very affordable, not the typical $1,000 or $2,000 price points that most Internet marketing products are nowadays. I’m hoping to reach a lot of people with this program, and I don’t want price to be a prohibitive factor (but I do want to make money from it, so no, it won’t be free.)
As I was writing the introduction to the 2-Hour Work Day report I was thinking over the previous ten years of my life, looking at the different ways I’ve made money. I started out like most people, with nothing, no assets, no website, no money in the bank, yet because of a strong interest in the World Wide Web, a focus on constantly learning and creating new things, and an unbelievably passionate desire to have the financial freedom never to need a job, I always found a way to create income streams online, yet end up with plenty of spare time.
I’m very good at finding ways to make money that require low labor to maintain, or follow a model that can easily be automated so you don’t have to work too much long term (short term work is always required though!).
However that hasn’t been enough for me. Clearly generating this kind of income stream is the first step for you to create a 2-Hour Work Day, and I want to help you achieve this if you haven’t already, but there’s more to it – there’s another ingredient that I have searched for my entire adult life that I finally found recently.
You have to find what you really want to do, your purpose.
The challenge for me came down to not just finding a way to make money, but a way to reach what I call the “holy trinity“. This is not religious, but can have just as big an impact on your life. Here is the trinity –
Over the years I’ve had businesses and projects that have met one or two of these needs, but often one key ingredient is missing.
For example one of my businesses became a solid income earner and I even managed to make the income hands-off to generate, but I didn’t enjoy the subject. As a result I lost interest in growing the business.
I’ve had plenty of websites I created based on things I was passionate about (music, activism) and poured hours into them, only to let them die shortly after launching them when I realized that building an audience and making money from them would be incredibly hard work, if possible at all.
Some things were passions for a while, but over time faded from my interests. This shows me that it wasn’t a true life calling passion, rather it was a strong hobby for a while, but I was always going to move on eventually. However I have made money from several hobbies in my life, which have been fantastic cash sources to use as stepping stones to move on to the next phase, so they shouldn’t be discounted.
One of the key traps that I’ve been lucky (or smart) enough to avoid, is coming up with something you are passionate about and that makes money, but ends up sucking all your time. So many small business owners are in this situation, with 12 hour days being normal. Passion can carry you far, but there is nothing I am passionate enough about to work on 12 hours every day all week long. Life must be about balance.
Bear in mind that the one project doesn’t have to make up all three of the holy trinity. You can set up a project that meets step one and two for automated income, and use the rest of your time and the money to fuel your passion subject. For many people this is the ideal outcome because mixing money with your passion is either ridiculously hard, completely undesirable or down right impossible. However you have to be careful that you have space and energy for the all of the elements that allow you to have a holy trinity in your life. If any one falters, you become out of a balance.
I can honestly say that today I have the balance and the holy trinity in what I do, but it’s been a journey to get here. One of the keys for me, which is perhaps where I differ the most from outsourcing experts and your typical entrepreneur, is that I’ve deliberately kept my operations small. Very small.
I’m yet to hire any person full time, and I only really need one or two contractors to do what I do. In fact I could run the whole show by myself if I stuck to just the one project, maintain a 2-Hour Work Day and make at least six figures a year, though I’d have to do more tasks I don’t enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with having big goals for your business or hiring full time staff – and I may follow this path with a business one day, but for the previous few years I’ve been proud of what I can achieve with so few resources.
The key for me hasn’t been about automating my business or my entire life via outsourcing to people all over the world. I haven’t gone big by becoming a speaker and traveling from event to event selling my training products or pushing my profile. I haven’t even published a normal print book yet. All these opportunities are there for me and I’ve seen many of my peers online follow these paths. I relish in the challenge that they represent and the opportunity to expand my profile and reach, but thus far, I’ve decided to focus on other aspects of my life.
To enable me to do this, yet maintain a consistent and way above average income, I’ve had to make two choices –
These decisions are not easy. It’s hard to pass on opportunities knowing full well they would likely lead to making a million dollars or more. However I know the reality of that path. The more I say yes, the bigger my business will become and the more money I will make, but it will also result in more moving parts and more things to manage. This means hiring good people and going through some fairly intensive growth transition phases, which very likely will see the amount of hours I work increase, at least initially. I’m not against this, but it’s not what I want now.
Strangely enough, even as I’ve gone to hire “cheap labor” outsourcers to work on new projects (I attempted this several times this year, and still have no overseas outsourcers in underdeveloped countries), because everything I do is so simple and I’m wary of creating complexity in my life, I’m still pretty much doing the same thing I’ve been doing for three years now.
Whenever I contemplate changes I ask myself – why exactly do you want to change what you are doing now? It can’t just be for more money, that’s not a good enough reason especially when you are earning enough money already. Money matters, but how you make it matters more. Simplicity has been, and still is, my primary choice.
I want to be clear here that my choices are right for me. They may be a good model for you to follow too and I suspect most people working jobs right now would love to be in my situation, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all opportunity. There are different ways to do things and you will need to figure out what works for you.
I never like to say this is the last of something I will do because I so often change my mind. What I can say is that the 2-Hour Work Day is my endeavor to take all of what I know about making money online and my lifestyle philosophy from my experiences during the last ten years, and put it down on (virtual) paper. I want to pass on this information to you so people can benefit from it and hopefully replicate my lifestyle. I believe how I live is one of the best ways to live, and the world would be a better place if more people were in a situation like mine because they’d have incredible freedom to choose how they live.
Ultimately it is about freedom of choice and I believe we all deserve the financial independence to enable us to choose what we do with our time on this planet. The Internet is a wonderful enabler when it comes to financial freedom, and that’s primarily what I’ve used it for during the last ten years. I hope to help more people do the same, adding to those people I have already helped.
That’s enough about my plans. Obviously I’ll talk more about the 2-Hour Work Day as it gets closer, so stay tuned to this blog and join my newsletter if you want to be the first to know when things start rolling.
Now it’s your turn – What is your focus for the new year?
I’ll end with some sound advice that I keep seeing indications of over and over again in every success story I come across (or perhaps more pointedly, it’s a lack of this ingredient that I see as the cause of NOT succeeding)…
In 2011 you need to focus on being PROLIFIC.
I’ve yet to come across anyone running a successful business who doesn’t have some element of their operation that is prolific. It might be the sheer volume of content you give to people like Mitch does at SportsChatPlace (6,000 articles a year!) or Alborz Fallah and the team at CarAdvice.com.au (average 20 articles per day), or Gary Vaynerchuk (he does video blogs, speaks at loads of events, and is producing books), or Darren Rowse (this guy runs multiple blogs and social media identities for all of them), or Tony Robbins (how many live events has this guy done in his lifetime and he’s still going, not to mention all of his info products, books, late night informercials, etc) or any top blog or personality who keep churning out value in various formats, day in and day out.
These people and entities are tireless, consistent and always give give give. They are action takers for sure, but way beyond the average. They are everywhere thus enjoy the rewards that come with consistent value creation.
If you’re thinking about what you are going to do in the future or how you have so much to share, but you only manage to write one article a week or never put any effort into marketing what you do or stand for, then you’re not going to get there. It’s simply not enough. You’re thinking about all that you can do and maybe even talking a good talk, but you’re not walking the walk… and this walk is a marathon, so you have to start today and never stop until you are done.
I teach the ethos of simplicity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t work darn hard at whatever simple system you are using. Sure I live a 2-hour work day, but that can’t be two hours every third day or once a week, especially when you first start out. I’ve worked more than 2 hours on some days, especially during a product launch or when you begin with nothing and you’re establishing yourself. The reward at the end of hard work is the 2-hour work day!
Anything you want, whether it’s a fit body, a sound mind, a strong spirit, or healthy business, requires daily action. You need to be prolific in all these activities. Even how you rest and recover must be prolific. You need to execute something every day and focus on improving all the time, if you want to meet your goals.
Of course life isn’t a straight line, so sometimes you will need to adjust and be flexible. Marry the concepts of balance, flexibility, fluidity and acceptance with a desire to be prolific in all that you care about and create, then results will come. I know this for a fact because that is how I live my life.
I’ll end with this final kick in the pants for some of you out there…
In my opinion it is just sad when you deny the world all of what you have to give simply because you are too distracted, lazy, bored, lost, or let’s face the truth – afraid – to give what you have to give.
Here’s to an amazing – and giving – 2011.
Ringing In The New Year
And learn how to build a better blog.