My friend Jake is exhausted – he’s got two young kids, a beautiful wife and a full-time job that he hates. He’s got a house that is crumbling down around him and badly in need of repairs, along with a bunch of social and civic obligations that he signed himself up for. Yet on top of all that, and in spite of his insanely busy schedule, Jake has a goal. And that is, to one day leave working for ‘the man’ and start something on his own. His biggest problem is – where can he find the time in an already over packed schedule to learn, do and teach something along the way?
Sadly I know Jake is not alone and that millions of people are just like him, silently screaming out with desperation and desire to get out of their current life situation but just can’t seem to find the time to do so.
I also understand the situation on a personal level because it’s exactly how I was when I got started and what lead me here today. When I first decided to quit my job I was working fifty-plus hours a week, along with a two-hour daily commute that was slowly sucking the life, energy and joy out of me.
So here’s how I went from working a 9-5, having a two-hour daily commute, and being stressed beyond belief with my time stretched in a million different directions to being able to – slowly but surely – build something part-time and then full-time that turned into a successful six-figure business that now does four figures per day, each and every day.
The first thing I did was eliminate distractions. I had to create a 90 day plan and get rid of everything that didn’t help me towards my goals.
Make a 90 day plan
When it comes to goal setting, I don’t suggest setting goals for a year – a year can seem like a really long time and a big commitment. So what I like to do is break my year down into 90 day cycles so that I can focus on one thing at a time over that 90 days. If at the end of 90 days, it’s going well and I want to continue, I’ll do so. If things are going badly then I can scrap it and do something else. I’m not investing a ton of time or a ton of money – we’re only talking about 90 days. This really works well.
So what I’m going to have you do is make your own 90 Day Action Plan.
Grab a pen and paper (yes, get off the computer, it’ll be okay) and ask yourself these questions – write down anything that comes to mind:
- What am I interested in learning more about?
Maybe you know how to make products but don’t know how to get traffic, maybe you know how to get traffic but don’t know how to make products.
- What do I need to learn more about right now?
Maybe you’re an absolute beginner and wondering where to start, my personal recommendation is to learn two things from the beginning – product creation and copywriting. These skills, even at an amateur level will be invaluable to anyone starting their own business.
- Where do I get started and/or improve?
Maybe you’ve already got an existing business but you could add a perfect webinar, a completed funnel or a live training class.
Come up with a plan and know that’s the one thing you want to focus on for the next 90 days, that excites you and takes you another step closer to your bigger goals.
Once you have your plan you have to eliminate the distractions
Clear out your inbox and unsubscribe from lists that don’t support your current goal – don’t worry, that person will be there when you get back! A great site for helping with that is unroll.me – it allows you to enter your email address and then shows you all the newsletters you are subscribed to. You can then unsubscribe, all through their dashboard, easily and quickly.
Maintain a Singular Focus
With a clear plan in place, the goal is to remain fully focused for 90 days – this eliminates ‘shiny object syndrome’ and gives you a clear path to follow. Setting the project into manageable chunks like this means that your goals seem achievable and it gives you a clear direction to follow. This allows you to best utilize the time that you do have.
What can you get others to do for you? One of the things I did, even when I had very little money, was I had someone come over and mow my grass. I hated doing it, it provided me no value or joy and it cleared up time for me to focus and work on my business.
So go through your life real quick, ask yourself what you could get someone else to do for you. Could you have someone else wash the car? Change the oil? Go grocery shopping? You might be thinking that you can’t afford a luxury like this but it’s cheaper than you think – especially if you use a service like Craigslist, where you can find people to do things for super cheap. Or try something like Fancy Hands or Task Rabbit if you’re not comfortable with craigslist.
Delegated and Eliminate
A lot of times we feel obligated to be actively involved in the community – the bottom line is, you’re not. If you’re trying to increase something in your life, you’re going to have to decrease something to make it happen. If you want to achieve something new then you’re probably going to have to get rid of something old. I know it’s harsh, but it’s true.
So you scale back on your outside commitments – maybe you don’t do something you normally do over the summer, maybe you don’t volunteer as much, maybe you give a little less of yourself to others so that you can be “selfish” – there is nothing wrong with being selfish.
This is your life and you get to live it on your terms. It doesn’t matter what other people want, it matters what you want. If you truly want this enough then you’ll learn to use the most powerful word in the English language – “no”. If you learn how to delegate and eliminate commitments and responsibilities, you will free up time.
Speed Up Consumption
Most people in this business are lifetime students, I don’t want you to be a lifetime student – I want you to get in and get out when it comes to learning something. Out of those 90 days, I don’t want you to spend more than two weeks at the beginning doing research and getting up to speed. The reason behind that is simple – your real learning, your real growing and your real opportunities are going to come when you stop learning and start doing. You make no money as a consumer, you make all your money as a producer.
To help speed things up, find a singular course (or maximum two courses) to follow – don’t try to follow 15 people at once, find a single teacher and commit to learn from them exclusively for the first two weeks of your 90 days. It doesn’t mean you won’t have some brush up periods or a day here or there that you might have to spend studying. But for now, we’re committing two weeks for a learning period.
This restriction on learning time means we have to speed up our consumption. Here are some tips on how I like to do that…
- For Video: I use the free to download VLC Player along with the program MySpeed to do this. The reason I like these is that they allow you to speed up video to a hyper level – watching a 30 minute video now takes me 15-20 minutes.
- For Audio: The same can be done with any audio content. I like to use Audipo (available on both Apple and Android), along with the VLC player for all my audio content. This significantly speeds up listening to podcasts and other audio learning materials.
- For Text: It comes down to simply trying to speed read. There are some great resources for this – have a look at Tim Ferris’ YouTube video. If you don’t want to invest time in that, there is plenty of software that can help, but here are few quick tips that helped me improve my reading speed:
- Use your finger to guide – whether you’re reading from paper or a device
- Only ever go forwards, keep your finger moving and never go backwards
- Move your finger slightly above you current comprehension level to keep the forward momentum and keep your eyes focused
Another tip for audio content is transcription. Now you may think that’s kind of expensive but you can go to a place like Fiverr for a transcriber. The reason that I get transcripts for a lot of audio content is that is saves me a ton of time – I can spend a few dollars to get an audio course transcribed and I can read through that in 60 minutes rather than spending 3-5 hours listening to it. That’s a good investment. As a bonus, you can do this for products you are thinking about promoting and giving it away as your exclusive bonus if people buy through your affiliate link. Not only will you have been paid to learn but you’ll also be paid for the transcription.
Don’t forget your mobile classroom. As I mentioned, when I started my business, I had a two-hour daily commute. I had an old tape deck and I got one of those tape deck converters that plugged into my phone and I played my mp3s through there. The point is, you’ve got time right now. Instead of listening to morning radio or music, find a way to turn your car into a mobile classroom. I promise you, the time you invest listening to training instead of the wacky FM DJs will come back to you ten-fold.
What are you watching right now that doesn’t need a commentary? For me, it’s hockey. I’m a huge hockey fan and I watch every game I possibly can – it doesn’t matter the team, the standing etc. What I do to justify that is, while I’m watching the hockey game, I mute TV and listen to an audio or video program as I watch the game. For text learning, hockey has two 20 minute intermissions that I silence the TV for and speed read through. This all means that I can further my education while I enjoy hockey.
What is that time for you? Maybe it’s grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, or working out. Find times where you don’t have to be actively engaged or participating and instead, you can actively participate in some sort of training.
Now here’s where the going gets a little rough and we separate the men from the boys. The bottom line is – if you want increase one area of your life, you’re going to have to make a sacrifice in another.
I’m not going to hit you with platitudes – we all know we have the same 24 hours as anyone else is this world. No one has an unfair advantage when it comes to time. What I did when I decided I’d finally had enough of my day job and I wanted to make changes – I started to make sacrifices.
The first thing I did was print out every single Gary Halbert Letter ever written and I used to read them between 6pm and 2am every single night. That means that I missed hanging out with friends, I missed going to bars, I missed watching TV shows. But I did this because I knew that, no matter what, time would pass. And if I really truly wanted this, then this was how it was going to happen – it wasn’t going to happen by luck or by chance, it was going to happen by me putting in the work and sacrificing. Because I had a day job and outside commitments, 6pm – 2am was the only time I could find to work.
If you can’t do that because of your schedule then commit to just doing one night per week. Tell your friends and family, not to bug you on that night because it’s your study night or your small business night. Or tell them it’s ‘guys night’ and then make it your night – whatever you have to do! Shut off your phone, get off the internet – stop surfing and start doing. Again, we make no money as consumers, we make all our money as producers.
The bottom line is this, you’re going to have to choose commitment or regret because the time is going to pass no matter what. Are you committed to getting the thing that you say that you want? Or are you going to regret not taking action and letting another 90 days pass you by?
There will be bad days. You are going to suck at first. There will be times when you think about giving up – that I can guarantee you. What separates the adults from the children are those that get up, dust themselves off and keep going.
Ultimately, I loved when I had a bad day at work or I got really angry about something because I used that as motivation to push me forward. Motivation to force me to work when my boss upset me, when I got a crappy review, a lame pay raise or when I had to deal with an irate customer. I used to internalize that anger and use it to fuel me to work even harder on my business – to build it up so I could get to the point where I could eliminate the need for my full-time job.
Time is progressing no matter what. 90 days will pass, with or without you doing this. The question is really, after 90 days, will the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, have grown bigger or smaller? That’s up to you.
As Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else”. If you can delay the need for instant gratification and want for a short period of time, then later you can want or have anything you desire.
It was not easy for me to stay up reading 6pm until 2am every night. I was not easy for me to get started, to take the time, to reduce my commitments and to say no to friends and family. But I focused on one thing for 90 days. That turned into 180 days, into a year, into three years. It was not easy for me to start my own business but it was worth it. Little by little and inch by inch I grew stronger, I grew more self-reliant and I grew more successful.
It takes less time that you think to start a business and have it pay you part-time. I now have a business that constantly brings in four figures a day, every day, with or without me. But that all took time, motivation and sacrifice.
If you truly are committed and you really do want to get the result that you say that you want – all you have to do is eliminate your distractions, speed up your consumption, sacrifice when necessary and keep yourself motivated. Just put one foot in front of the other.
If you do all of that my friend, the only thing that you can do, is succeed.