Category Archives: Challenges

In Partnerships. Don’t Make The Plans Yourself, Make Them With Everyone Involved.

If you’ve been in a partnership before, you may have come across this dilemma before.  Over the course of days by yourself, you have come up with a brilliant plan for your business.  You have thought of everything in and out.   You have layed out the perfection execution strategy for reaching the intended objective.   The plan you put together can surely not fail, and you think everyone on your team will just love it.   

 

And then you goto pitch this plan to your associates, and immediately the do not see eye to eye with you, and are no-where near as passionate about executing the plan as you are.  And this plan that you’ve spent so-hard-and-long on, and got so passionate about, was not being seen in the same-light as your partners.  And this new plan you’ve spent so long and hard on, that you thought would be so highly regarded, isn’t looked upon at all.  It’s like the hours of time you took to write it, seems to have been pointless because it feels like your partners read it just in the course of a few minutes if that. 

 

Or your on the other side, and your partner brings you this plan he has developed, and thinks so highly of, and you look at it and don’t think its great at all.  And he was so passionate about it, but you don’t really see it.  And so the plan that they worked so hard on is really disregarded. 

 

So if your someone who has been in partnerships before, I’m sure you’ve come across the above scenarios many times before, and it sounds familiar to you.   We’ve done that many of times in our startups, and after many trials and errors I believe there is a much better way of planning.  And it is simple, but extremely powerful, and will save you lots of time in the future.  Instead of building theses gigantic plans yourself and then trying to pitch them to your partners, instead build the plans with your partners.

 

When you plan out everything with the people you work with a-couple things will happen.  Not only will the plan most likely be better because you’ve involved more smart minds, if the plan is good everyone on the team has contributed and said together this is a great idea, and everyone will want to execute it.  And along with that, because everyone is involved, and if everyone likes the idea, together, your teams will all be passionate about doing what everyone has just layed out.  And this plan will now have a significantly higher chance of success to being completed, and done faster than it ever would have if you made the plan yourself and then just tried to pitch it to your partners.

 

Effective partnerships are directly proportional to the amount of effective communication going between the two partners.  And trying to plan something big, by yourself, which is really for everyone, should really involve everyone during the plan.  So its simple, next time when your working with someone else, together, collaborate and build out the plan, and think of ideas, and then together lay out the execution plan.  Now instead of only you spending time to develop a plan that your motivated about, now you will have a plan developed with the team, that everyone will be passionate about executing, because everyone together has agreed that this plan is a good one, and no one has to be sold to get to work, and make things happen.  

Having a ‘Balanced Life’ Is Over-Rated.

It seems everyone likes to preach to others, “live a balanced life-style”.  It’s more the idealistic way of thinking, and a lot of book gurus will preach the idea of being ‘balanced’ as something to ‘strive for!’.  And although there may be some merit in it, a-lot of people are justifying extra wasted time as being balanced, and enjoying life instead of just getting what they should be getting done…

If you take a look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs, most, if not all were did not live a ‘balanced’ life-style when building their businesses.  They were, building their businesses.  A lot of them had to work 80 hours a week for several years to get to where they needed to be. They had their goals set out, and if something wasn’t relative to what they needed to do, they diddn’t do it, and just sticked to their guns and did what they needed to be done.  And in result, they did not live a balanced lifestyle like most people would preach is a great-life-style.  And that has made all the difference.

YouTube, sold for over a billion dollars.  Do you think the co-founders were balanced at all?  Absolutely not, if you’re geeky like me and watched the video on how YouTube scaled their infrastructure to support their millions of videos being uploaded and streamed daily you’ll understand that there is absolutely no time for balance.  And that balance goes out the window, and instead what produced amazing wealthy and prosperity, and soon-to-be-happiness for the co-founders, was their ability to be extremely biased in their activity and doing what they needed to do, Scale, and forget everything else, forget being balanced…

And what happened after their months of burnout, of extreme hard work, it paid off, and for those being balanced for that month, not much happened… we don’t hear about those stories.

The developers of YouTube were daily having system crashes, and they could not keep up with their growth.  What do you do when you have 2 days left of storage for videos to be uploaded?  What do you do when you find out your folders can’t hold any more images, that you spending money on hosting like crazy.  You have so many scaling problems you can’t even sleep, because when you do something goes wrong.  Day in and day out problems occur, there is no time for being balanced, and this is the time, where you are so concentrated on your work and focusing on it, that extreme wealth is created…   The result of how-ever long it took them to build YouTube to a billion dollar buyout exactly I do not know, but I do know that entire time they weren’t living a balanced life-style at all.

Although I agree living a good-life and having some fun is important, and of course being healthy.  I see way to often, a-lot of ‘want to be successful people’ preaching their doing activities for fun, because they live a balanced lifestyle, and can’t work all day.  And theses are the people more often that not that don’t make much money, doing many things that don’t produce a-lot of results. 

Most, if not all of the young-entrepreneurs I personally know & met who are millionaires under the age of 25, are all extremely un-balanced.  They work extremely hard, and don’t care about being balanced, because they know being balanced in many different aspects of life doesn’t produce much money.  And the major difference to understand is this, perusing money isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But ‘a lot of people’ who want more money in their lives, go about their days saying they are balanced as an excuse to not get real work done.  While the others who as well want money, and really make it happen are the ones, the few who really go to work and don’t care about-balance and infact don’t want it.

I think being-balanced, personally, is over-rated, for us to get to our next stage, ( a new version of our software coming out soon ), we need to be extremely un-balanced and just get 80 hours of work a week done, to get it done, as soon as possible.  And that’s all that’s really important, most people I know who are really balanced, who do a-lot of fun things, aren’t really that successful from my personal experiences.  That being said, to each his own, if you want to be balanced go for it! But being balanced doesn’t produce much net-worth?  Do you want to be rich? Or do you want to be balanced? What do you think about being balanced? 

Grabbing the Tab At Dinner (all-the-time) Can Sometimes Create Tension

Yesterday I noticed in slightest of forms of how I can sometimes generate tension between other people trying to be as nice as possible.   I have a bad challenge of sometime wanting to grab the tab every time I go out and eat with other people, and although it may seem good in nature, and does have some benefits, there are sometimes drawbacks as well.  I’m not taking about the money aspect, I’m talking about building relationship tensions.

I’ve noticed if done repeatable it can create a slight bit of tension between I and the other person with whom I’m eating with.  Now let me forewarn you, this isn’t like a hating tension, we are all still good friends in nature, but by covering sometime and not allowing the other party to it can create the slightest bit of tension between you and the other person. Because now they feel like they owe you, and weren’t able to ‘clear the deck.’

The main reason that I try to grab is that we are in the relationship building business, we are in the entertainment business, like most of the companies in this industry we like to take very good care of our customers, and it isn’t that they are just our customers, in what we do relationships are huge in this business, it is a small industry of very powerful individuals.  So anytime we can do someone for someone else we work with, we will always go all out in trying to do what we can to serve. 

So naturally we want to cover the costs for whatever it is, especially of course when it is at one of our own-hosted events.  But what I noticed yesterday is that doing so repeatbly, over time can create tensions.   For instance if someone wants t pay, we should let them because it allows them to clear their deck, and feel like they contributed, and allow them to not feel like they are indebted.  (which they aren’t really, but I can see how the other party may feel that way.)

See I think, (I think) it’s fine, if you want to grab the tab at the first get-together with new people, but if later that day, so you eat again and do it again (for instance going to dinner) and you want to grab the tab again, you may be (and may not be), in the slightest of way building tension with the other party because they might want to chip-in too, and your not allowing them to do so.

Only after reading the book by Guy Kawakasi, which I reflected on a short chapter here, I was able to see it.   Last night we were at the Seattle Meetup, we had grabbed lunch and paid for everyone to go to the gaming place, which really isn’t that expensive and we were planning on hosting it because it was our event naturally.  But at the last dinner James paid for the dinner, which was cool, that allowed him to help as well.  But what I noticed (seeing it from the other side, of not paying) that another member was interested in chipping in, but James went ahead and grabbed the whole tab.  Which is what I’d normally done, but now sitting in the other persons’ shoes, even though I didn’t want to grab the tab, I could feel the other person really wanted to chip-in, because they felt like they owed us for the previous stuff we did.  But only after a day I realized it, and noticed that it does cause some tension and that the way to do it is to simply allow them if they want to, to chip-in.   Now James is a great guy! And I’m not saying anything bad about the situation, everything at the dinner was good, everyone is good, but I noticed that it can cause tension with others (but not everyone), depends who it is, but now seeing that it can cause tension with certain people.  It was my fault for creating that atmosphere, of ‘I got it, don’t worry about it’ and paying for dinner in the first place.

But again, everything is fine in our relationship, James is awesome and did nothing wrong, and of course I’m not calling out, but this post is more about ‘reflecting’ and noticing ‘the smallest’ of improvements that can be made, and challenged to see if we can’t improve upon them.

This post is about having more finesse in your relationships, even though everyone is in good standing, as an entrepreneur for someone who wants to be really successful we need to look at the smallest of improvements we can make.  It is about trying to become a master communicator, and not that I’m one, but I will try my best and study it, and notice even the smallest of areas which were we can improve upon.  Even though grabbing the tab is good and its doing favors, it’s more the best way to build relationships, a higher-level of more sophiscated relationship mastery is needed, and that’s what I hope we are all trying to achieve. 

The athletes receiving medals this year at the Beijing Olympics didn’t earn their medal when they crossed the finish line.  They earned their medal in the gyms and working out everyday, in the gym where they practiced their sport everyday is where they became a gold medalist.  Only in public everyone saw they were a gold medalist, but they became a gold medalist in the daily workout routines they had. 

Remember.  It isn’t the big things in life that matter, it is the smallest things in life, the things that don’t seem to matter at all, the things we did every day that   make the big differences in our life.

Getting More Unproductive As Your Business Grows.

Although it may appear from the outside looking at a company as it moves forward, and becomes more successful that stuff is now getting done faster and faster.  And in some respects they are, but in a lot of aspects they really aren’t.

Unfortunately I have noticed a decrease in overall productivity in the last 1-2 months and only until now I’ve really started to ask myself why and found the root core reason why it is.  I’m staying busy sure, but being busy, and being productive are two completely different things.  The core reason I’ve found now that I’ve been unable to develop as much as before, as the company has moved forward there are a lot more obligations to take care of, and we are actually a smaller team than before as well.  But even as general, there are more people to talk to now than ever before, and all of that takes away from what I need to focus on.

At the early stage of any your startup there is won’t be much demand for your time.  Your flexible and you don’t have any customers to respond to or big contracts you need to keep track of, and because of that you can just focus on doing that one thing you need to do, for me it was programming the first beta of Tracking202.

I moved to San Francisco on about a passive income of a little more than $1,000, barely enough to live.  But it forced myself to succeed, because I had to, and not knowing anyone in the city and not yet having any customers to talk to, or anyone else really for that matter, I was able to go to work, and be productive and not just bus.

But now the complete opposite is true, as we have moved forward it has been becoming increasingly difficult to get even just the simplest of things done.   Where as before we were bootstrapping and all we had to do was code all day, now, we work with many people, we have customer support posts/twitters/aim/emails to respond to, affiliate networks want to work with us, we are going to events, we are putting on events and simply talking to a lot of people.  After we have gained momentum the world load, more so the relationship maintenance has gone up considerable and has taken us away from our business, which is developing software products.   Going on AIM any more is a disaster, as with over 400+ affiliate marketers on a single AIM name you can expect to get nothing done when logging on anymore.  That is why starting next month I’m going to probably remove AIM completely and switch entirely to email.

There are many distractions attacking for our time every-day.  I’ve only now in the past two months realized the core reason that I wasn’t getting anything done, its not that I haven’t been busy, I’ve been working, but talking with everyone has replaced programming, which is what I should really be focused on.

So what is the point of this post?  That as you start to move forward your going to get distracted, more things come up to do, and you are only one person, you either have to scale out the team, or go-back in a cave and focus on that one thing you do best, which is generally the best route.  Make sure to focus on what you can be the absolute best at in the world.

Stay focused on what your doing, you can really get 200% of the work done, in ½ of the time, lately I’ve been distracted, but starting next month all AIM is going off, and we’re going to launch a new product.  That is what we need to do.  And I hope you can focus on what you need to do, I’ve lost 2 months of productivity, maybe this post can share some insights into the future distractions that will arise for you and you’ll know about them in advance and be able to adjust better than I was.

Should I Program Myself, Or Pay Someone Else?

Have you asked yourself this question before? “Should I program myself, or pay someone else?” It is a question asked every day by internet entrepreneurs, and it is a good question. I too had to figure out what direction I would take years ago. In this video I will share some of my thoughts on which direction is best to take, depending on certain your situations.

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To sum it up though, learning how to code can never really be a bad thing for your business. In that knowing an extra skill like PHP and MYSQL for instance will only be benefical to you in the future, and is probably not a bad thing to take a step back and learn some time.

Really if you have a small project, it is general ok to pay a freelancer. But if you want to build a web 2.0 company with some really innovative software unless you plan on doing it right, don’t do it at all.  And if your going to pay and fund a large web 2.0 startup you need to invest alot of money, and hire a team of programmers, and potentially an IT consultant, and vest ownership over several years.  See if you really want to build sometime long-term you’re going to need long-term people, you can just pay someone in another country for $500 to build you something that is going to be bought out for millions of dollars.  Sorry its just not going to work, and I have seen people try to outsource big ideas to cheap freelancers and it almost fails every, single, time…

Trust me a $500 freelancer can’t just build a Tracking202.com and I can’t scale and keep making a better tracking system by paying some rent-a-coder online whenever I need them.  You need long-term employees who will build it, or you need to build it yourself.  If it is a big project, either do it right, hire a team of full-time employees to do it, or build it yourself so you are the system artitect, and later on hire other coders to build off your existing platform.

Before its to late. It isn’t until you lose something that you realize how important something was.

Sometimes it isn’t until we lose something that you then later realize how grateful we should have been to have what it is we had in the first place.

What I mean is, there are many things we take for granted, and the things we take for granted are exactly the things that will be taken away from us!  And it isn’t only until it is taken away from us that we then realize that what we had before was incredible.  Although this could be applied to many things, that we only realize how important something is and how important we should have made it until we almost lose it, I will put in relationship to health.  It is like health, when you have it before, we take it for granted, and it isn’t until we almost lose our health and vitality that when then look back and say WOW, what did I have before and now I’ve lost it, when maybe I could have prevented it…. 

Life and Business are like the ever-changing seasons. That being said, this month will go down as being a winter in my life.  There are times in our life where everything seems to go bad, one bad thing after another and they accumulate on-top of each-other, bad thing-after-one-another.   If you’ve ever had a bad month you’ll know what I mean, I like to call theses the winters’ of our lives, when everything goes smash.  Although on the bright side, like the seasons which are always consistent, after winter is summer, so I look forward to next month as things can only get better from here on out. 

Although there have been a lot of challenges this month, the worst thing was going out hiking last week.   The coastline of San Francisco is incredibly beautiful, a-sight to be seen, HWY-1 is a great drive, especially with the S2000 with the top down and enjoying the sun and looking out over the beaches of California.  But what lurks in this coast-line is an incredible vile plant called the Poison Oak, and this plant is quite possible the worst thing you could ever encounter while hiking.  

I ended up getting poison oak all of my body, I had shorts on, and a t-shirt, with sandals.  I got the poison oak on my legs and got it all over my arms as well.  Poison Oak is one of the worst things you can ever get on your skin.  If anyone has encountered it before they know the horror stories of what comes after you get poison oak on your body, and if you have never encountered it, let me share with you how bad it is so hopefully you will never have to run into it yourself!

Poison Oak is all-over the coastline of California, surprise to me!  If you touch any leaves you have to get the poison off from your skin within 5-20 minutes, after that it seeps into your skin and it is now in your bloodstream.  After it is in your system 2-10 days later you will start noticing a break-out of what first appear to be bug bites, but they are blisters in the skin.  They just sorta appear, and the poison says Hello, I’m blossoming in your skin, that’s probably the best way to describe it.  After the poison starts coming out it also develops into rashes and pretty much just makes it way throughout your body until all the poison is gone.  If you have the guys, you can see some pictures here.  Now if you want to see my-pictures, I’m probably not going to show you, but it isn’t as bad as some of those on there, but it isn’t good either.

For the last several days i’ve been unable to do any work, there was a spree that in the first 70 hours I was only able to sleep for 2 hours because the irritation was so bad.  In fact, I don’t even know if I could consider that 2 hours of sleep because I was pretty much waking up every second while just trying to sleep.  I’m now on some pills from the dermatologist, I’m on a heavy regime (top one modified slightly if you want to see it) trying to remove all the poisons from my body.  It has been some of the worst days of my life this past week dealing with this poison oak, fortunately I believe it is finally starting to heal after spending all-days trying to do whatever I can to heal myself.  There was even a point that it got so bad, if I could spent $10,000 to get raid of it I would have, but of course there isn’t any way to do this, which brings me to the point of this blog post.  

Although I have generally been happy that I’m young (21) years of age currently, and don’t have any serious problems, I only realized really how good my youth is (and yours) on a highly appreciative level after I lost it this week.  In that I’ve been grateful before, but now I’m super grateful because I know what it is now like to not have my health and I can now say that I’m much more grateful now than I have ever been that I’m able to have the energy and vitality, everything that goes with being young right now.  I don’t know if you ever encounted a bad-health problem in your life, maybe its breathing problems, maybe its back-problems maybe its something else, I don’t really know, but if you have, you’ll look back on yourself and say wow I had it really good before, and you’ll really have a greater appreciation towards being healthy than you ever had before.  

Because you had it, took it for-granted, and then you lost it, and then after losing it realized that wow, what I had before was really great, and I WISH I could have maintained what I had before, and I could have, should have, but.. diddn’t..

What I mean to say is, things like HEALTH we take-for-granted, but there are many things like health that we take for-granted, and it isn’t until you lose it that you realize how important it was before.  And the problem is, that just when you realize how good you had it before, just when you really appreciate what you had, and WISH you still had it, it is at that point when you lost it that you realize this, it is that point when you lost it and you now can not go back and fix it, and that you COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE, but DID NOT.  

Don’t wait till its to late, to do what you wish you would have done.

Don’t take your health for granted, it isn’t until you almost lose it like me this week that you will look back and say wow how good did I really have it, and WISH you had it back. (and you could have done something to stay healthy, but only now realize it, to late.)

Don’t take your family for granted, it isn’t until you LOSE someone that you realize Wow how important they were, and wish you could have gone back and spent more time with them, when you could have.  

This post is to serve as a warning.  There are things you have right now, that are extremely important to you, but you might not realize it yet.  There are things you have right now that you will lose, and it is only after you lose them you’ll wish you would have realized how grateful you were before to have it, and that you could have done something to keep it, but didn’t.

So don’t let it be to late, your going to be old one day, and lose your health for instance.  And when that day comes you’ll say two things.  One I did a great job in keeping myself healthy and there isn’t anything I could have done better, and I’m glad I did it.  Or two, I was so healthy before, I wish I had it the way I had it before, but i lost it, and I only realize now… that I had it really good but there isn’t anything I can now do to return myself to the way it was before.

Or it could be family as well in another instance.  Someone you know and love is getting older and you might not be able to see them later.  Come the day they will pass, just like you and I, and you’ll say to yourself two things.  I’m so grateful that I took the extra time out of my life to spend it with my relative and I can’t think of anything better we could have done in the last years of our life than what we have spent our time doing together.  Or two, oh my, it isn’t until now, that I realize how important they were in my life and I should have spent more time with them, I wished I would have, but did not, and now it is to late, I only know realize how important they were to me after I have lost them, and I wish I would have spent more time with them had I only realized back then, how important they really were to me.

Sharpening Your Edge – New Mastermind Group and Looking For Serious Entrepreneurs

During the 18th century two brothers walked out to the forrest, both had axes in their hand.  They planed on cutting down as many trees as they possibly could within six hours.  The two brothers, Abe and John are about the same age and have the same physical build, they are equally strong.  It is a bright early morning, and they figure there is about six more hours of sunlight, so they will see how many trees they can cut down within the six hour time period.  

As they walk to the cutting area John decides to challenge his brother Abe to a competition,  “Brother Abe, I bet you that I can cut down more trees within 6 hours than you can.”  Abe replies, “Oh really? We’ll just have to see about that.” The two brothers agree to see who between them can cut down the most trees within the six hours.

At noon they arrive to the area where they are supposed to start axing.  John starts right away and beings axing immediately.  After about an hour he cuts down his first tree and looks over his shoulder to see that his brother Abe has not cut down any trees at all.  In fact, he notices Abe isn’t cutting at all, instead he is just sharpening his axe.  John shrugs in disbelief that his brother is sharpening his axe, so he continues to axe himself and after another hour he cuts down a second tree.  After he cuts down the second tree he looks over to his brother Abe again whom he finds is still sharpening his axe!  

“What are you doing Abe? I’ve already cut down my first two trees in two hours! I’m going to beat you,” yells John laughing at Abe. Giving no attention, Abe continues to sharpen his axe. In disbelief John turns around to the trees and begins cutting down his third tree.  After another hour John has cut down his third tree, he is cutting about one tree down per hour.  John feels confident that he will win, because he has already cut down three trees so far, and his brother Abe has not even begun axing yet.  

As John starts to start cutting down his 4th tree, he sees his brother get up and start axing.   Within 20 minutes of cutting John hears a big thud, he turns around to see a tree was just cut down by his brother Abe.  Abe had cut down his first tree within his first 20 minutes!  

“He must of just got lucky,” John thinks to himself.  But then another 20 minutes passes and Abe cuts down another three, while John is still working on his tree. The next 20 minutes Abe cuts down a third minute, he has now just cut down three trees within an hour.  John finally cuts down his forth tree.   So on the the fourth hour, John has cut down four trees already, and his brother abe has cut down three! 

It appears that John is cutting down a tree every hour, but his brother Abe with the sharper axe is cutting down 3 trees an hour!  Six hours finally comes out, and John’s total is six trees cut down, and his brother Abe who spent the first three hours sharpening his axe, cut down nine trees in the last three hours.  

Who cut down the most trees? Abe did.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.” Lincoln was a smart man.

Even though John spent the whole six hours cutting down trees, his axe was so dull that he was only able to cut down one tree every hour.  While on the other hand Abe invested the time sharpening his axe and was able to cut down three trees per hour.   So what’s the point of this whole story?

The point of the story is to cleary show that someone who invests the time to develop their own personal skills has a great advantage over someone who doesn’t take the time to invest in-themselves.  The person who avoids studying and becoming a better entrepreneur fails to someone who has taken the time to invest in themselves and become a better entrepreneur.  

It shows the dramatic difference between entrepreneurs, that for example, in ten years two people starting out at the same spot can have completely different levels of success because one person took the time and invested in himself, learning how to be a great entrepreneur from people have already done it, when the other simply just put hard work into his business but never learned the best possible way to build his business. 

Now the actual story that I told you was a fake one, I made it up.  Although the quote by Abraham Lincoln is a real.  Then why the story?  Using stories is a great way to teach a piece of philosophy.  Philosophy by itself is somewhat boring and engaging, but throwing it into a story makes it fun!  Rich Dad Poor Dad the book is basically about two things, number one, we should increase our financial intelligence, and number two, buy assets and not liabilities.  But it was his story he told that you remember, and the story that taught the lessons which made it a new york time’s best seller.  So that is why I embed the lesson with a story, you’re more likely to remember the story.

How do we sharpen our axe?  There is two primary ways of learning new things, and becoming better, stronger and wiser.  Simply broken down they are: Learned Knowledge and Activity Knowledge.

Learned Knowledge is more passive knowledge that you gather from reading books, going to seminars, listening to audio books, reading quotes and learning from other people.  The other, Activity Knowledge is knowledge you acquire by doing and learning things sometimes the hard way.  

We need both types of knowledge to really excel.  If you just try activity knowledge all day you are learning the hard way, you don’t have to read any more.  You’ll figure out what works by trial and error, and you’ll learn new things.  And if you just read all day, what good would that do?

The sharpest and brightest people in life, in my personal opinion are those who are constant learners of good information, but then apply the knowledge immediately.  They switch off between learned knowledge and activity knowledge daily, and do both, and excel at what they do.  Each day they do what they do better.

I personally know older entrepreneurs that have small businesses that they have grown to 1-5 employees.  They have been working for 10+ years in their business, their business now looks about the same it did years ago.  The reason the business is about the same is because as of today entrepreneur of the business is the same as they were years ago.  In other words, the entrepreneurs businesses haven’t experienced any growth because the owner hasn’t changed himself.  They have the same old ideas and tricks they had years ago and use, and doing the same things they did before are getting them the same results.  In other words even though they are working hard at their business, they aren’t getting any better at it, so they find themselves after 10 years at roughly the same income level as before and frustrated.  They think they know everything there is about their business and refuse to accept the idea that there is anything else they can do, so they fall into the trap.  They fall into the trap that there business won’t grow any further because they won’t grow personally.  They are so busy chopping away with a dull axe, they completely forgotten to sharpen their axe, and if you give them a book, they say their to busy.

Here is a key note to remember: “Your income seldomly exceeds your level of personal development,” Jim Rohn.   To receive more in life, we have to become more.  

So let us together, not become someone who works all day with a dull axe.  Let’s put in the time axing away at our business, but lets spend time also sharpening our axe.  So that each day we become better than the next and really grow.  

I myself have been failing in some aspect on sharpening my axe lately.  Studying personal development has become like a roller-coaster, one month I will read 3 books, and then the next month none.  I tried once to read a book every week but I failed, miserably.  

Although I just received my Kindle in the mail today, probably one of the best devices for learning I have ever come across of.  I liked it so much I bought one for my dad the same day. Now I have access to all the best business books and books on philosophy in a second, I can download through the air instantly and read them immediately.  All my library is now on a single device which is must easier to read than a single book, I strongly believe now with this tool I can really read one book a week.  I’m going to give it all to start this up, if I can read one book a week that is over 56 great books on entrepreneurship in a year.

I plan on sharing as many ideas from the book with you as I possibly can, it’s good for you and me.

I would also like to extend an open invitation to anyone who is serious about entrepreneurship to join me a new mastermind personal development group.  I thought about putting together one over a year ago, and now were going to do it.  If anyone here is interested in reading one great book a week and discussing them each week please comment here and we’ll get together a group of 10-20 serious people who are interested in seriously sharpening their skills.  

In order to read a book each week you will be probably have to dedicated an hour to two hours per day in order to accomplish this, it is a lot of work, and it is not for the light-hearted, reading one book a week is extremely hard, yet I believe, it will be extremely rewarding if we can get it down.  I need your help,  sometimes the best way to get big things done is to get work-out partners who help each other get through.  If I find you slacking on reading I’m going to get on you, and I’d expect you to get on me.  So if your interested in joining me in a new reading mastermind mind group, please let me know and we’ll do this.  I might require everyone to have a kindle, as a serious requirement, its $359, but the best money you can spend is money invested into self-development.  Don’t short-change yourself when it comes to your own education.  I’m not asking anyone to buy a piece of junk, I’m asking you to invest in something that if used, will earn you literally millions maybe billions if you are really sharp, in the near future.  

I hope you again found some value in this post.  Remember the story and the quote by Abraham Lincoln, “If I had six hours to cut down trees, I’d spend the first three hours sharpening my axe, and the last three cutting down the trees.”  How many hours this week did you spend sharpening your axe?

Do What You Said You Were Going To Do

Do you open up your email inbox, read the emails and then think to yourself, “I’ll just reply later?”  And then 50% of the time we never reply with our follow-up email?

Why does this happen so much?  Well if you want to know the real reason, it is mainly because a lot of us simply lie to ourselves.  Think lying to others is bad?  How about lying to yourself, that is just as bad, if not worse.

For example, we are lying to ourselves every time we say we are going to do something and we don’t do it.   The reason we accidently lie to ourselves in most cases like this is because we generally try to do way more than we actually can do.  For instance, you get 10 emails, you tell yourself, “Oh I’ll reply to them later.”  In good faith, you do honestly intend to reply to them later, however, later on you have a less chance of replying to the emails, especially the somewhat unimportant looking emails. 

What happens later is that some of them done get replied, and as you told yourself earlier you would reply to your emails, we didn’t, and we lied to ourselves.  We lied to our self because we tried to do too much than we actually could do, and then of course we failed at it because we set unrealistic goals that couldn’t be accomplished.

Lie to yourself enough, and you’ll become a liar.  I’m sure we’ve all been there, lying to ourselves, telling ourselves were going to do things and then they just don’t get done.  Soon it gets bad and whenever you tell someone your going to do something, it generally never happens.  How many times have we told someone we would do something, and then don’t?  Ouch, to many of those and your in trouble.

Hey, I’m not perfect either, but I do try to remember, to do stuff, and I will say No, I can’t do this because I know it can’t get done, so I won’t lie to myself telling myself I can get it done when honestly I won’t be able to.  So lets be honest.  To ourself.  Be honest to yourself and get the things you said you want to get done, done.  The more we fumble the weaker we get, and the worse we become at getting thing dones.

That’s why I like to say, if you set goals month after month, and they don’t happen.  I bet none of your goals are hit.  Your goals just become words and fun things to think about, but nothing gets done, there is no momentum, there is no accomplish.  It is just one weak goal after another, over and over again.  And then nothing gets done.

I’ve taken a very long time to practice goal settings, what if I told you I could consisntely hit every goal on target, every time over and over?  You know when your good at goals when you say your going to do something, and you make it happen on the day your going to do it.  Then you make another goal and it is done exactly when you said it would be.  Then you gain momentum and nothing can stop you.  Is it possible to hit 100% of your goals, 100% of the time?  I tell you yes it is. 

Stop failing goals.  Start hitting goals, every time.  Can you do it, it’s not hard, and that’s why most people aren’t where they are in life.  Let’s stop lying to ourselves, and lying to other people.  Get consistent at being on-target, every-time.  I have seen so many people doom themselves because they always say their going to do this and that, never do it, and they cycle into a negative momentum of never accomplishing any goals over and over.  There words become weaker at each failed attempt and they ultimately give up because they aren’t doing what they said they would. 

Do what you said you were going to do. A very simple concept, like focus.  But it is extremely hard to do.  Try not to lie to yourself even just today, and you’ll see how difficult it is.  Say your going to do something, and do it. 

And think with me for a second.  If you actually mastered the simple concept of being honest and doing what you said you would do, you would have everything in life you wanted.  If you are like the rest of the 250,000,000 people in America who say their going to do something and then don’t do it, you’ll live an average life style.  One simple concept, one person does it, the rest do not. 

Do what you said you were going to do.  

What’s taking us so long?

Distractions are the killers of dreams.  

Why is it that there are so many tasks that we want to do, that we could honestly accomplish a lot quicker than we are trying?  If we look back on a lot of our personal accomplishments, there are many examples of ourselves succeeding at big tasks in sometime extremely short periods of time.  Although maybe not all successes happened quickly, but many of the big successes we we have I’m sure many were accomplished in short periods of time. 

If we look around us, it is quite clear that many of us are in pursuit to do something, but for many reasons we aren’t doing it fast enough, or not at all.    There are many things that we, myself included, are trying to do but we sometimes just do them so slow.  Why is this? Why do we move like snails sometimes, when we could be moving like cheetahs? Is there a good reason for not being able to finish what we want to do in half the time? It better be a good one if so.  Or is it that we just are to lazy sometimes, and that we could really accomplish more quicker if we tried?

Being slow to accomplish tasks that we really want to do is the killer of our dreams.    There are many projects that we wanted to do which we could have done already.  Products that we thought of years ago, and only now started working on which could have been done earlier had we just made a consequence effort to get it done faster.   Goals we wanted to hit, but haven’t yet, but we could have if we really looked back upon our efforts and did more to make our goal happen.  People we wanted to meet, but for whatever excuse we haven’t done it yet?  What’s taking us so long sometime? 

What is the answer?  You can only answer that yourself.  You have to be the one who tasks responsibility of your life.  And look into yourself and find the areas that you could improve, which will help you accomplish your dreams faster.  

The reason I’m posting this is to serve as a reminder to us all, myself included, that what we really want to do, we can really make it happen alot quicker than we ever imagined. And that if we focus on a solution to our challenges and do the work that needs to be done quickly, we could living the life of our dreams sooner than we ever imagined.  

I’m running into people all the time who have wanted to do something for a long time, and now are just getting to it.  What took so long?  Why do we move at snail speeds sometimes?  I mean how is it that we entered in the field of software products and there was already several competitors before even begun starting developing our products and we passed them by developing 2 products, then making it self-hosted, while they haven’t done anything else this whole time?  Is it skill?  Are special or something? No not really.  We are just focused on getting more things done in half the time it normally takes most people to get done.   

I mean, I even ask myself sometimes, why do we only have two products, I could have made four by now?  I need to pickup my personal effort too, and make things happen quicker than they are happening now.   Again this post is to serve as a reminder to us all, myself included, that some of the projects we are working on could be completed faster if we figured out how to make it happen quicker.  My boss once said, “it’s not how hard you work, it’s how smart you work.”  

Let us get 200% more work done, in half the time.  Heres my personal push; I’m pushing myself to launch another product before this upcoming Monday, May 12th.  

Is it possible to go from $0, to earn over $100,000 in three months? Yes it is.

Is it possible to take someone earning $100,000 a month to reach $1,000,000 a month within 30 days?  Is it possible, of course it is.  Is it hard, heck yeah it is.  And that is why most people won’t do the  disciplined effort to make it happen. But you will. 

Why is it that I know someone who just went from $50/day to over $3,000/day in affiliate marketing within 30 days?  When 50 other people I’ve seen stay at roughly the same level in the past 30 days? Is it skill? Is it luck?  No not really, the people doing huge things, in short periods of time, have made a consisence decsion to make it happen, and they did just that, they made it happen. And you could do the same thing..

It is possible to dramatically increase our productivity level if we just put our mind to it: plan it out what you intend to do, break down the goals into smaller steps, focus on doing each step, one by one, limit your distractions, gain momentum after completing each task, and accomplish everything you want to in life, quicker than you ever imagined possible.  

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Veni, Vidi, Vici :: Latin for, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Well it has been a year since I first declared I would drop out of college and move to Silicon Valley to build an internet company to one million dollars a year in sales. A lot has changed since that time, and it took six months after that blog post to actually start the move. I’ve been here for about 6 months now and I’m excited to say, “Veni Vidi Vici!” I have reached a point that I was able to pay off everything and now focus on building an internet company full time and not have to worry about living expenses.

Upon coming to the bay area I did not have sufficient income to support myself here, I moved with a head full of dreams and with abunch of credit cards! Two months in a row I had to pay my rent using business credit cards. *I avoid placing any un-secured debt in my personal name, so it does not hurt my personal credit score.

My rent is $1,300 a month for a studio apartment in downtown, plus $200/month for my parking space with a $1,500 deposit. So total rent is about $1500 a month, at the end of all the additional random living expenses I was paying about $2,500 a month to live down here with out much of a *positive* net income stream. I’d then spend an additional $10,000 on server equipment I couldn’t really afford at the time, but we needed it so we had to make it happen. Then hosting the servers was also expensive, over $750/month for our full rack down in San Jose, and then additional attorneys at about $475/hour and paying my accountant. All the while I had to also remember if my tenants moved out of my house in Portland, it’d leave my rental home unrented forcing me to dish out an additional $1,500 a month for mortgage when I didn’t have the cash. Luckily they never moved out.

Well after several months of this, I accumulated close to $23,000 in unsecured business debt on my credit cards. Although this may not be a lot of money to some of you reading this, I understand, but appreciate the challenge, not the actual amount. Moving to one of the most expensive cities in the United States without a job and a real steady income stream trying to bootstrap a company isn’t exactly easy. And for those who have done it, I know you all do very well now, and I am happy to join the inner circle with you everyone who has done this before me and made it. Good luck for some who didn’t make it, which there were some switching to full time entrepreneurship who I talked to who didn’t make it work so well and had to go back to their jobs to get income again because their online gig wasn’t supporting it full time yet. However, for all of those who have tried, and are trying, keep going, try again sooner or later you will succeed. You only fail when you stop trying.

So I’m excited to say I have now stabilized all of my living expenses down in one of the expensive cities in the United States, and even a little extra, enough to fly 3 days out of the week! I was able to pay off all of the unsecured business debt and now have money even left over and growing. It is a great feeling to know you’ve made it, or at least made it to the point where you no longer have to work anymore if you didn’t want to, and can do about anything you want to.

The below chart is a Break-Even Analysis chart, it shows the typical cashflow situtation of most businesses. On a personal level I was way in the red down there for awhile, but I’m now in the green zone and life is flying *literally.*

But really the most exciting thing is now that I have enough passive income to live off of so now I can full time build a fortune. Key note to remember, making a living, and making a fortune are two completely different things. The goal is to first make your living, the money you need to live and sustain, and then as soon as possible you want to switch over whenever you can, to start to build your fortune full time.

See when your start out, you might not have the 100% passive income yet to support yourself without working. So you might to work a job to make your living, but on the side, make sure you are working on building your fortune, at least in your spare time. If you are still working on making a living, always always, make sure on the side you are still building your fortune even if its part time. Because building your fortune is what is going to make you successful, and ideally you want to get there as soon as possible *without giving up other important things too, I should add.*

Once you make your living income passively, then you can start to build your fortune full time. What an exciting thing to be able to do. I can now focus on building my fortune full time, with no distractions, and nothing holding me down.

And this is what this post is about, it is about achieving financial freedom to live without working now, so that I now have the time to work full time on building a fortune. It is about getting to a turning point in your life where you can now start to become incredibly valuable to the marketplace. It is time to develop like no other, it is time to work on building my fortune full time.

So where are you on the break-even chart? I hope you’ve at least started in it, if not what are you waiting for? If your in the red good luck, because the next thing after red is green and your already on your way! And if your in the green like some of you are already, lets make it even greener!

So lets make a fortune then shall we? And how long is this going to take?

Making a fortune can take 15-20 years, sometimes less, sometimes more. What is exciting though is when you are truly focused on building a fortune, it will start to grow exponentially after some time. But it takes a long time to get your exponential growth going. At the first it is slow like a snail, and then it picks up pace and keeps building, sooner or later it just keeps going with or without you. Then you know your really in for something good.

If your progress seems slow, just remember, its supposed to be that way. To get to a sprint you first start out slow, and then after some large steps you will start to gain speed and momentum. To many people start the process only to be disappointed with the results after a day or two, or 2 weeks, or even 3 months. Whats with the giving up attitude? Just make it happen, this is for the long run, you need to work your butt off, you really do, and it is going to take some time, alot of time. But I promise you it will take off sooner or later, and it won’t seem like anything is happening for the longest time, and then sometime in the future you will hit it, and you will succeed, and you will be a success. I promise you it if you just keep going! The graph shows the exponential curve, where are you on the curve?

See the curve starts out slow, very slow, extremely slow. And after a long time it starts to build, and then all the sudden you will have so much success you won’t know what to do with it. But it might take 3-15 years to do it. So make it happen, I’m still in the beginning too, I’m not quiting, so you better not neither. Start doing 200% more work in half the time.

And soon you’ll also be able to say!

Veni, Vidi, Vici