059: The hard part

It's easy to have an idea. It's hard to turn that idea into a business... 

Early in my entrepreneurial career, I had endless ideas. Some of my most ridiculous include:

  • A sock subscription service

  • An affiliate tattoo site (not quite sure how that one was going to work)

But I also had decent ideas:

  • A virtual physical therapy company

  • A bulky mail company for high value customers

Yet they all failed... 

At the time, I thought it was the "idea" that was the problem.
But the truth is the problem was me. 

"Idea's are easy... marketing, scaling, and monetizing your ideas is hard." - Russ Perry

Ultimately, I was a weak marketer and entrepreneur at the time. I did not know how to market and sell well enough, so I failed at bringing my ideas to market.

Those last two ideas I mentioned both have massive potential. I know because other people ended up doing them, and seeing great success. 

But I failed, simply due to my inability to produce at that stage in my career.

"When you master marketing, scaling and monetizing your best idea... you can produce when you want, how you want and where you want." - Russ Perry

Today I realize that the idea only matters a small bit.
What really matters is you, your entrepreneurial skill sets, and your commitment to making an idea work. 

058: Rich vs Poor People

"I can't afford that." - This is the poor persons mentality when they encounter something outside of their current spending ability.

On the other hand, a rich person would say...

"How can I afford that?"

This simple change of statement makes a world of difference.

Instead of saying "I can't afford to buy a house in my dream neighborhood." you reframe it and say "How could I afford a house in my dream neighborhood?"

One is a statement that closes the door of possibility.

The other is a question that forces your mind to think about alternative solutions.

So how could you afford a house in your dream neighborhood?

Could you launch a second business? 
Could you add a new service line to your existing business?
Could you ramp up your sales and marketing? 
Could you find new resources to help you afford that home?

There are endless ways you could afford it, but it all starts with reframing the question.

Instead of closing your mind off to the possibility.
Just reframe it with a different question. 

Credit to Robert Kiyosaki for the concept behind this post. 

057: Don't chase money. Chase the process.

It's easy as entrepreneurs to get focused on the money.
And to some healthy extent we need to be.

But as an individual, just chasing the money can get mentally unhealthy.

It's like running a marathon and just thinking about the finish line, instead of the act of running.

You see, money isn't what you are trying to achieve.

Instead, you are trying to build a process to deliver value, which then yields money.

It's a subtle shift in thinking, but a powerful one.

When you spend all day thinking about "I need to make $10k this month" then you are focused on the wrong thing.

Instead, when you wake up and focus on doing the work that you must, day in and day out, then things change. 

You do the work.
You create value.
And as a result "$10k hits your bank account" 

You can't just will money into existence by chasing it.
Instead, you must focus on the process and do the work.
When you stay focused on the work in front of you, the money will come in time. 

056: I'm a fuck up

8 months ago, I had racked up $22,000 of credit card debt, I had to lay off 6 people and I couldn't pay myself for over 2 months. 

4 years ago, I was doing consulting and I lost all of my retainer clients in the same month (because I was smoking too much weed), and I almost got my wife and I evicted from our apartment. 

8 years ago, my business partner asked me to step down as CEO because he thought I was doing a poor job (which I was). 

All of these experiences hurt. 
They are scarring.
But they ultimately make you who you are.

Every time I had one of these huge crashes in my entrepreneurial career, I learned from it.

Now it is not to say that you want to keep having these crashes...
But the truth is that in some level, these pits are inevitable.

But when they happen, make sure you learn from them.
Amidst all of the chaos, reflect on "How and why did this happen?"

Learn from it, otherwise you will find yourself repeating it over and over and over again.

055: Have faith in your business

Whenever you are starting something new, you don't know for sure that it is going to work.

You think it is going to work.
Your research signals to you that it could work.
But your not totally sure. 

At the moment, I am launching a new business.

I've had about 40 people tell me it's a stupid idea, but I've come across 4 people who say "This is exactly what I've been looking for."

That's scary.
It would be amazing if all 40 people loved it and bought from me. 
But that's not quite how it works when you are launching something new.

There are a few early adopters who are ecstatic about your new thing. 
And the rest either are not your target buyer, or will wait 6-24 months to adopt your solution.

So in this moment, there is a lot of fear. 
There is a lot of doubt.
And you can't change that.

All you can do is keep your sights focused on what matters, and have faith in your business. 

054: Focus on process, not results

When you have a goal in mind, it's easy to spend all your time just focusing on the goal. 

And practices like "Daily affirmations" or "visualization" tend to encourage you to just "focus on the outcome that you desire".

But you see, there is a problem with that approach...
And I know because I tried it for years... 

The problem is that you cannot "will an outcome into existence".

You can't just keep visualizing, or repeating something to yourself and make it true. 
In fact, the more you just focus on the outcome, the worse off you become over time.

So what is the alternative?

Focus on the process. 

Instead of spending time visualizing your desired outcome, spend time working on the process of achieving it every day.

Build daily habits into your life that work toward that outcome, and hit those habits EVERY SINGLE DAY. 

Eventually, the habits become part of your daily routine and you don't even think about them any more.

You wake up.
You do the work.
And eventually you look around and say "Wow, look how far I've come. I'm going to hit that goal."

It doesn't come through visualization or affirmations.
It comes from a daily focus on the process and doing the work. 

053: Set your intentions

More often than I would like to admit, I will start a project without clear intentions.

Ironically, I don't intend to start with loose intentions.

But it often happens...

Yet, if you take the time to ask a few simple questions at the start of any project, it can completely change your experience with the project. 

What it is for? 
Why are you doing this project? 
What is the goal and outcome that you are actually wanting to accomplish? 
What are the success criteria for this project? 
Why is it important that you do this project? 
What are the costs of not doing this project or failing at it?

At first you may look at this as a waste of time to stop and answer these questions.

But I would challenge you to consider how much time is wasted when you embark on a project that does not have clear intentions or outcomes.

Set your intentions.
It makes all the difference. 

052: The Balance Sheet of You

Imagine for a moment that you have a balance sheet. 
Not of your money. But of you.

On the left side are your assets.
Your mindsets, your skill sets, your resources, your unique talents and strengths. 

On the right side are your liabilities.
Your destructive habits, your lack of skills, your areas of weakness. 

And the output of this balance sheet is not the value of your bank accounts.
The output is the value of you! 

And the output of this value is directly tied to your ability to create more value, wealth and money in the world. 

The better your balance sheet looks, the more value and wealth you can create.

It's an interesting concept to wrap your head around, but powerful none the less.

And the most powerful thing about it...

Your liabilities significantly impact your ability to produce value and money. 
Your destructive habits.
Your lack of skills.
Your areas of weakness.

Each of these are liabilities that hurt your personal value.
And when your personal value drops, your ability to produce value and money drops.

Just like you work on your business balance sheet.
Work on your personal balance sheet as well. 

051: Learn your numbers

Early in my business career, I told myself a story that "I'm not good with the financial and numbers aspect of the business."

So I just ignored this area. 
I let my ops guy handle it, and I just looked the other way.
This is a huge mistake... 

You see, unless your an accountant, most entrepreneurs won't naturally be "good with numbers".

But that doesn't mean you can ignore them.

Understanding your finances, your accounting, and your taxes is a crucial skill to growing your business.

It's not optional.
It's essential.

While you can hire a bookkeeper and CPA to handle the paperwork part, you can't hire them to make tough financial decisions for you. 

You can't hire them to build out a financial model of your business as it grows.

While you could try to hire someone to do these things for you, it's not a viable long term solution to growth.

Because if you really want to grow your business, you need to level up your financial skills. 

You need to build new financial systems that let you see your numbers.
You need to learn to read those numbers so you can make hard decisions. 
And as you build or launch new businesses, you need to be able to create your own financial models.

Don't ignore the numbers. 
It will hold you back. 
Learn your numbers. Inside that is a key to your growth. 

050: You suck at sales and marketing

You suck at sales and marketing... You may even be offering marketing services and want to deny that statement.

But here is a test to know how good you are at sales and marketing.

Look at your bank accounts. 

Are you happy with what you see? 

If your numbers are amazing beyond your wildest expectations, then maybe you are actually pretty good. 

But if like most of us, you look at your bank accounts and desire to have more... 

Then I would invite you to consider that the reason you don't have enough money in your accounts is that you need to level up your game at sales and marketing. 

Many people assume they can just read a book or study sales and marketing for a while, and then they earned a nice blue ribbon. 

But these are skills that you can study and go deeper into for your entire life. 

The deeper you go.
The better you get.
The more value you create.
And the more money that enters your bank accounts.

If your not happy with what your bank account has to say, then level up your sales and marketing. 

049: Working hard doesn't work

16 hour days... that was my my norm of working life for years.
I worked my tail off, and assumed that in working hard I would make more money and achieve success.

But ultimately, I was being held back... 

I was held back by my lack of the proper skill sets and mindsets for growth.

You see, if you just work hard, you can only go so far. 
Because the output of your work is multiplied by your skills.

Think about it this way.

Skills X Work = Results

So if you just keep working hard, then you are going to hit a ceiling unless you level up your skill sets. 

BUT if you choose to level up your skill sets, then the game changes. 

Because there is no ceiling to how far you can grow your skill sets. 

You can always keep expanding skill sets.
While you can only work so many hours in a day.

So instead of working harder to producer results...
Choose to work harder to acquire skill sets.

There is no ceiling to the growth you can achieve with this approach. 

--- This post is inspired by content from Garrett J. White of Wake Up Warrior 

048: Don't count on luck

One of the most toxic mindsets that holds people back from achieving the results they want in life is a belief in luck.

It's easy to look at a celebrity, entrepreneur, athlete and say "Oh, they are so lucky"

You reverse engineer their story and say that they had a "Lucky break"

But the truth is that is bullshit. 

Anyone who has made it in this world works their ass off to create that opportunity for themselves. 

When I was younger, I had the opportunity to work with the band Paramore. This whole band was basically a bunch of teenagers when they first hit it big. 

A lot of people could call that luck, but while working with them I saw something different.

These band members worked their tails off. 
Even though they were young, they operated like mature business men and women. 

They had a vision, and they hustled to turn that vision into a reality.

There was no luck in their success. 
There was simply hard work to create incredible music and a following of fans.

Don't count on luck.
Create your own success. 

047: Don't do it alone

After I left the first company I started, I decided that I was sick of having to deal with a team. 

It was a lot of stress to make payroll every month.
I was responsible for a lot of other people. 
And it was ultimately a lot more work, or so it felt at the time.

So for several years, I went the solo consultant route. 

I worked alone, and I loved it.

I was dead set on never hiring anyone again because I didn't want to have to have that burden or weight on me.

But over time I realized something...
No one has ever built anything great alone.

Even when you look at great authors, or artists. 
They don't operate alone.

They have a team of people around them who support them in the areas that they are weak. 

And so eventually, I got over this hump and slowly I started adding members to my team again.

And what I realized is that your team is there to help you go further, not to old you back.

Don't go it alone. 
Because you can go much further and faster with others. 

046: Reflect on your growth

It's easy to focus all your energy at your targets of where you want to go.
It's easy to compare yourself to others and feel small.
But too much time on each of those is toxic to your mind.

From time to time, you need to reflect on your growth.

Look at where you were 3 months ago...
6 months ago...
2 years ago...
5 years ago... 

Look at the progress you have made in your life personally and professionally...

When you can do that, you start to see how much you really have grown and changed. 

And that comparison is not toxic to your mind, but instead motivating to help you continue growth. 

045: The problem with saving money

There are tons of books and thought leaders out today who preach the idea of saving money at all costs. 

That the way to get ahead is to spend less, and save more. 

And for someone who is an employee on a fixed salary, this is probably a good course of action. 

But the problem is that this mindset is actually negative for the entrepreneur.

For years I operated from this place of saving every dollar that I could. 
I was afraid to spend money to hire people, or invest in myself. 

And unknown to me at the time, this was stunting my growth. 

You see, frugality in business is driven from a place of scarcity. 
In scarcity, you are saying "If I spend this money, we will run out."

And while frugality is good for the employee, it's toxic for the entrepreneur.

Instead, you must shift your mindset to one of an investor.

"If I INVEST this money, it will generate more." 

That subtle change in mindset of how you look at your money can drastically change your life and business. 

Frugality is for the employee.
Investing is for the entrepreneur. 

044: Where to invest your money

As I started becoming an adult, I became committed to this idea of learning how to invest properly. I studied books on investing, RothIRA's, 401ks, and all those fun things.

Yet all of this studying and reading was pretty pointless...
Because I didn't have much money to save. 

And so despite reading book after book on money, it didn't seem to help me grow at all. And I would just save a little each year.

Then something changed over the past two years...

Instead of investing that money into RothIRA's...

I invested in myself.

I hired a mentor for training. 
I invested in programs to level up my mindsets and skillsets.
I purchased tickets to live events.

And my ROI on these investments? 

24.9% increase on my income 

Thats more than any stock could have brought me.

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy stocks or invest in RothIRA's to protect your cash. 

But what I am saying is that FIRST you should invest in yourself.
Into developing yourself as a stronger person.

Because you will give yourself a strong ROI than any stock ever will.

And once you have invested so much in yourself that you have extra cash, then start putting that into tax deferred investments. 

043: Your bank account reflects value

Look at your bank accounts... both personal and business.
What do you see? 

At first glance, this may just look like a number.
But in reality it is much more.

You see, the amount of money in your bank accounts is not some lucky thing that you willed into existence.

The amount of money in your bank accounts is a reflection of value. 

When you create value in the world, people pay you money in return. 
And so if you are not happy with your bank accounts, don't ask "How can I make more money?"

Instead, ask "How can I create more value, for more people, more frequently?"

Because if you are not happy with your bank accounts, then consider that you are not as good at solving problems as you had once thought.

And if you are not happy with your bank accounts...

Then it's time to level up.

If you want to solve more problems, to create more value, to make more money...

Then you need to improve your skill sets, mindsets and systems to be able to do that. 

042: Invest in your people

There is this famous business book called the E-Myth that most entrepreneurs have read. It has a lot of great concepts, but there is one concept that gets taken too far.

The E-Myth shares the concept that your business should become so systematized that you can swap out a person and easily train someone new into this role. 

This concept is great, and is very true for business.
But many entrepreneurs interpret this the wrong way...

Because they build a business where they can replace a person easily, they stop valuing their team. 

They get into the mindset of "Well I can just hire someone new if they leave."

And so they treat their team like crap, and don't invest at all in developing their team members.

I'm sure this wasn't Michael Gerbers intent when he wrote the book, but I see this attitude among so many entrepreneurs. 

They treat their people as replaceable things. 

And sure, you can run a business this way, but consider something different...

Your people are assets that you can develop.

Instead of just hiring them as a cog in a machine, you can train and develop them. You can promote them to new roles that are harder to replace. 

And when you invest into them, they will give you their heart and soul in their work instead of just showing up for a paycheck.

Just because a role is replaceable doesn't mean the person is.
Invest in your people. Grow them into assets. 

041: Small Daily Wins

Up until about a year ago in my life, I was always aiming big. 
My beliefs and stories about life told me that I was going to make it big and build huge businesses by making big bold risky moves... 

And so I was constantly searching, looking for that next move that would solve all my problems.
And I constantly would make 180's in my plans and business because I believed that is what would help me hit my goals.

Well... after 10 years of the entrepreneurship game and not seeing any huge successes, I had to come to terms that "swinging big" wasn't working for me. 

Instead, I had to learn to play a new game.

Small DAILY wins... 

I've come to realize over the past year that getting the results that I want in life is not a result of making some big bold move...

It's a result of deciding what I want, and working toward it every single day.

That sounds simple, and it is.

Every day, I wake up at 5:30. 
Every day, I work on improving my skill sets and mindsets.
And every day, I take steps toward my goal. 

As a result, 2018 is set to be the highest income year I have ever had.
It wasn't from swinging big.
It was from focusing on small wins every single day. 

040: Teach what you learn

Everyday, I write these short daily articles.
You may think they are for you, but the truth is they are for me.

You see, every time you teach something, it reinforces the concepts and ideas in your own head.

If you just read, read, read... well you won't retain much.

But if you read, and then teach. Then that reinforces the concepts. 

So everyday, as I study new content, I write these posts.
And everyday, the content I study is further reinforced in my head.

Teach what you learn. 
Others will gain, but so will you.