Yearly Review, Lessons, New Goals and Plans


Whew! 2017. Seems like the years always just fly by right?

Last year was a unique one for me. Very bad in a lot of ways, but plenty of good too.

Was a really rough year for me. I ended up having some health issues(adrenal fatigue + more) which pretty much wiped me out half the year. Even the months when I was working on stuff, it was not me working anywhere near optimal levels. I can remember trying to write early in the year and it was like I was cutting through a cloud of brain fog, dizziness, headaches and fatigue just to transfer my thoughts through the keyboard. Was rough. At first, I thought I just had this recurring cold or something that was making me feel ‘off’. Plenty of days I’d wake up after a full 8 hours sleep, get up, and instantly just want to lay down. Not a lazy type ‘just stay in bed’ thing, but a ‘completely drained and exhausted’ feeling. Definitely not normal. So, I spent a lot of the year ‘laying down’, and trying to get my energy back. Obsessively healthy eating, and getting as much rest as I could get.

If I didn’t believe in Maslow’s hierarchy before, last year was a good reminder. When health goes, everything else becomes completely irrelevant. My goals switched from ‘accomplish XYZ’ to ‘do whatever is needed to get health back’.

Even when I was feeling ‘okay’, the year threw me interesting curveballs just for fun. My life literally felt like a Seinfeld episode. Luckily I write weekly update/accountability emails so I can remember some of the funny moments…well, let me just walk you through how last year got started:

How last year started

I arrived in Bali on New Year’s Eve. Caught a ride to my hotel and crashed early, so I could kick off the new year with an early writing session.

The writing session went great, and I headed off to Ubud later that day.

As I was chatting with my driver, upon hearing I liked coffee and had recently lived in Colombia he told me they had some of the best coffee on the way.

“You drink coffee? Best coffee in the world close by I’ll take you!”.

A short time later he pulls off the road and we walked back to this hidden garden and just hung out trying different kinds of coffee. I got to see how the famous luwak coffee was made.

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An hour later we got back on the road.

Good start to the new year, as I headed off to Ubud to go look for a good place to live.

Kind of went downhill in Bali in humorous fashion from there:

(excerpt from my week 1 update):

I’m in Ubud. I got bit by a cat at the gym in Bali(I know, I should have been watching for cats in there!), so some of my time this week got eaten up by learning about rabies/seeing doctors. Besides that just trying to get settled in here. People are unbelievably nice and happy here.

So… ya, there was randomly a cat in the gym I went to. Welcome to Bali! Every time I travel I learn how different the rest of the world is from the US. Like, you wouldn’t accidently step on/near a cat while hitting up the gym in the states. I walked up to the front desk to ask a question, and all the sudden…“Wait, wtf is on my leg?”. Oh, just a cat. I guess he had walked below me and I either stepped on his paw or stepped near him enough to scare him. He was attached to my leg for 1 second and then sprinted away.

Normally if you get bit by a cat, probably not a big deal. But in a country where rabies is a real concern, I learned you’ve gotta be on top of that.

I went to the doctor and they put something on the wound to prevent infection, but they told me I had to try and go find the cat.

“Find the cat?”

“Yes, you need to see if it dies. If it dies, within a week, it has rabies, so you need shots. If it doesn’t die, you’re okay.”

Say what now!?

So, I was basically tasked with trying to track down this random cat that was in the gym, and periodically check in on him to make sure he wasn’t dead. Solid. I’ll add it to my to-do list!

I went in the next day and it turns out through the limited English I could speak with the employees, that one of the people at the gym owned the cat. We found him and told him what happened with the cat, and I asked him if it’d had a rabies shot.

“Oh yes, had shots.”

“Are you 100% sure?”

“80%!” followed by a Balinese chuggle which I loved, but it was a more beautiful sound when my potential death wasn’t a side effect.

They could tell I was still skeptical of the 80% vaccinated cat.

“It bite my friend too, he fine!”, as he motioned to his friend.

His friend excitedly showed me his scar and said, “ya it bite me here, and I’m still alive!”.

I didn’t know what was more humorous, his comforting line about not dying of rabies yet from the same cat, or the fact that these guys just kept letting this random cat that keeps attacking people in the gym, haha.

Anyways, I figured I’d follow doctors orders and keep checking in on the cat just to be 100% safe.

Week 2:

I continued my search for a great long term spot in Bali, which turned out to be much harder than I thought for what I wanted. Each place would have amazing photos online, I’d book a 1-2 day test run, and the place kept turning out to be nothing like the place in the photos, and/or not in an area I wanted to be in.

The good news of the week was that the cat was still alive more than a week after our encounter- rabies free!

Week 3:

Finally found a good long term spot- a quiet villa out in the ricefields:

eliminate distractions

Since I’d moved away from the touristy areas, I was a bit of a trek from any gym. In Bali the only efficient way to travel is by motorbike, which I didn’t know how to ride. So, next task up was learning.

I walked around and found a small covered stand on the side of the road with motorbikes for rent.

“You want rent bike?” the man sitting inside asked.

“Yes, but I don’t know how to ride I need a lesson”, I replied.

He said, “You go like this(motioning with his hands what someone riding a motorbike looks like) real slow, and then faster later. You want bike now?”

He wasn’t even showing me on a bike, he was just sitting at his desk.

I think that was my lesson.

Class complete.

I ended up heading somewhere else to get a few actual lessons, but let’s just say I wasn’t the best.

Combined with the fact that it often rained in Bali, getting around to the gym and other spots made it not super optimal for me.

Week 4:

(excerpt from my weekly updates):

Bali continues to own me. Have felt like I’ve been on an episode of Punk’d the whole time I’ve been here. Small motorbike accident the 2nd day riding solo. The 3rd day got bumped from behind by a car. The next day while I was riding a bicycle back from a cafe a bat bit me.

I got rabies vaccines and now I’m packing up to go get immunoglobulin. After initially hearing I didn’t need it, spent all day yesterday getting more opinions from doctors and the embassies and I need to get it to be on the safe side. Was already ready to be done with Bali, so I’m just going to go get the immunoglobulin and book a flight to somewhere else from wherever I get the shot.

Week 5:

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Flew to Thailand for immunoglobulin shots and then headed off to Cape Town, South Africa. You can read the whole ‘bat bite’ story here if you want some entertainment: https://foreverjobless.com/bat-bite/

I started the search for a good long term spot in Cape Town.

Week 6:

Cape Town was awesome.

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But I learned that if you didn’t book super early during high season, it was hard to find a good long term spot.

Week 7:

Final rabies shot + finally found a great long term spot that just opened up.

Recap of my first 7 weeks of last year:

Week 1: Bit by cat. Tasked with tracking the cat to make sure it didn’t die of rabies.

Week 2: Still moving around Bali looking for a decent place. Found out I’m rabies free.

Week 3: Finally found a decent long term spot + learned to ride a motorbike(kind of).

Week 4: Small motorbike accident then got bit by a bat.

Week 5: Flew to Thailand for immunoglobulin shots then traveled to Cape Town.

Week 6: Searching Cape Town for good spots.

Week 7: Finally found legit long term spot in Cape Town. Final rabies vaccine.

Despite my year getting off to a chaotically bad start from a productivity/not getting distracted standpoint, I hit my Q1 goal, which was mainly how I was rating my success for the year. Not by a one big goal, or by monetary rewards. Quite the opposite.

I wasn’t overly concerned/committed to one big goal like normal, and like many of the last several years, I didn’t really have aspirations for a monetary goal:

From ‘How To Set Goals if You Don’t if You’re Not Sure What You Want’:

I decided my goal for the new year was to not focus on making any money, and to put out content that I thought was important, and helpful for people. Money can be a distraction, and lead us to unintentionally do things for that purpose. If money comes as a byproduct, cool, but I’m putting zero focus on making money this year. If I make $0 and release the content I’m planning on releasing, it will be a good year.

Pursuing a path that purposely avoids better financial rewards is definitely an uncommon path. Like I mentioned I’m more concerned with life/happiness optimization than monetary optimization at this point. It may lead to monetary gains in the future, but it’s not the focus so we’ll let it play out and let what happens, happen.

I was rating my ‘success’ for the year by my quarterly goals:

The priority goal will always be what the quarterly goal is. So, there’s a chance I double down on a specific goal and a victim could be one of the yearly goals, but that’s okay. As long as I ensure accomplishment of my priority goal(which at this point will be re-set each quarter for me), I’m happy.

My 2016 Q1 goal:

My priority in the first quarter will be releasing an average of one article per week to the blog. So, by the end of the first quarter I’ll have 13 new articles posted. However, even though it’s a number goal, the focus is on quality, not quantity.

I ended up publishing over 50,000 words in Q1:

Blog post 1: How To Achieve Your Goals (9,605 words)

Blog post 2: Sunk Cost Fallacy (3,739 words)

Blog post 3: The Packed Gym of Failure (1,948 words)

Blog post 4: Dream Life (3,242 words)

Blog post 5: 4 countries in 4 days, with a ‘94% chance of living’ (4,467 words)

Blog post 6: How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want (11,638 words)

Blog post 7: Arnold Schwarzenegger Infrastructures of Wealth (2,200 words)

Blog post 8: Learned Helplessness (2,524 words)

Blog post 9: Easy Business To Start: The ForeverJobless Free Business Idea Edition (4,685 words)

Blog post 10: Don’t Cap Flow State: Extreme Hyperfocus (1,991 words)

Blog post 11: Entrepreneurial Quicksand (2,313 words)

Blog post 12: James and the Giant Bamboo (2,710 words)

Blog post 13: The Penny Stakes of Business (1,819 words)

After hitting the Q1 goal, I planned to significantly ramp things up in Q2 with a focusing on marketing. The articles had gotten a great response from readers, but they were mainly just reaching ForeverJobless readers, so I wanted more people to see them.

But, besides getting through the comedy that was my life to hit my Q1 goal, there was something else I was battling. I was basically feeling extremely tired most of the time. Not tired like woke up too early, tired like no energy even when I got plenty of sleep.

I’d been dealing with it before when I was in Colombia prior to Bali, but figured it was some cold I couldn’t kick or something. So, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it returned strong in Q1 and I was constantly tired for no good reason. Like, ridiculously fatigued. I’d wake up after a full night’s sleep, and just want to lay down. Not only that, as mentioned I had constant headaches, brain fog and dizziness.

When I got back to the states after South Africa my main goal became: figure out what the heck is up with my health/energy, and fix it. Q2 and 3 were basically a lot of resting/recovering for me. As mentioned other goals became irrelevant pretty quick once health became an issue.

If I look at my ‘goal accomplishments’ for last year, it’s hard to say if I’m happy with my performance or not. When I was functional, yes. The 2 quarters I had half decent function I hit my goals. Crushed Q1 writing goal, and my Q4 goal of helping a certain # of people in the Incubator 2016 class blew past the initial goal significantly, enough so that I had to stop accepting signups to make sure everyone got enough personal attention. Much of Q2/3 I wasn’t functioning, and my main goal became: get health back. So while I can’t say I crushed 2016 because I basically took 2 quarters off, the two quarters I was on, I hit the goals I’d set those quarters- I even finished writing an unreleased book(actually ended up deciding not to publish). I would have loved to accomplish much more in 2016 but randomly chopping away 50% of the year made more aggressive goals pretty difficult. Obviously fitness and dating goals went out the window(no lifting weights or dating since April).

Energy levels have mostly come back, but it’s still a work in process, not an overnight thing. The goal is to prioritize continued rise of energy(so I don’t risk reverting back to same issues) until I have superhuman levels, while being aggressive with goals at the same time.

What did I learn last year?

There was a lot of good takeaways from the year, and things that are good to think about and review.

For starters:

  • Having money is goooood. Very good.

I was incredibly thankful to have money when dealing with the health stuff. I usually don’t appreciate it much since I don’t spend it on a lot of things. Like, I didn’t care what anything cost when I wanted to make progress. The only question was, “what is the most optimal thing I can do right now based on the information I have?… okay, I’ll do that”. Most times the optimal thing will definitely not be the lowest cost. I could pay to get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th opinions and run whatever extra tests I wanted, and spend whatever money I needed for the optimal foods and supplements, on top of everything else. I’m sure I spent $10,000+ out of pocket just in ‘extra’ expenses for health stuff that insurance doesn’t cover. I’ll likely spend at least as much this year just for continued health optimization.

Having the health issues last year actually motivated me to want to make more money once healthy, something I haven’t cared much about the last few years. If I ever ran into a serious, serious health issue it’d be nice to be able to pour unlimited amounts into whatever I needed to find a solution.

Another thing I learned through the process was that people betting their entire welfare/health on traditional health care are a bit naive. It was a little scary how behind the times some things in traditional medicine were. If you’re only getting advice from traditional docs, you’re definitely operating suboptimally. I was up until last year, and feel like a total newb for doing so. I’ve learned a lot since. Based on my still novice opinion, a mix of traditional + non-traditional is likely a much better route to go for your health and overall well being.

It’s very freeing to be able to make decisions based on what is best for you. I think money is more valuable than most people think, as funny as that sounds with how much value people place on it. I think the ‘mental freedom’ it gives you makes it worth significantly more than people realize.

I’d kind of dismissed the need to go out and make a lot more money and not really given it a lot of thought the last few years, but the health stuff combined with some overly analytical exercises I did on how much money I’d want in different future situations(family, kids, impact, etc…), I plan to at least have some focus on turning up the flow of the money faucet this year.

moneyfaucet

Most of the last 3 years I haven’t had a huge focus on business or a desire to ‘go make more money’. I think some clarity from my time away + my regaining some energy from my fatigue issue has made me more motivated in those respects.

If my desire was to make ‘real money’, clearly writing/ForeverJobless is not the optimal route, but I’m enjoying it at the moment and feel I have unfinished business. I have a book in progress that I think people really need to read + I want to help more people start profitable businesses like I have in the last two Incubator classes. And much like last year, enjoyment is still at the top of the list for me. I don’t want to dislike something I’m doing just because I can make a lot of money with it.

When I was really wiped out this summer energy wise, and just laying around a lot trying to recover from the fatigue issues, I would do little exercises on certain companies I was interested in starting, and found one that looked like a perfect fit for my skillsets, seemed fun, and would be extremely profitable. The ‘entrepreneur addict’ in me wants to just start it up, but I know I’d be unlikely to hit any of my goals if I tried to do them all at the same time. Sometime later this year I may bring on the ideal project manager, and get it started up.

One of the things I’m putting focus on this year is in trying to set up the most optimal life possible. I think that we all try and ‘save’ money on things and say we don’t ‘need’ more money. We don’t, but we do if we want life to be more optimal we just often dismiss the fact that money makes an optimal life much, much easier.

Creating a more efficient and optimal life frees up as much time as possible to do more of the things you or I want to do.

You can never be what you want to be unless you delegate everything except for what you love

I hired a personal chef and a 2nd assistant, and may be hiring some more help to bring in people who are great at what they do, so I have more time to do what I’m great at.

This helps make my life more optimal, which means I can spend less time doing things I don’t like, and more time doing the things I do like. That = a more enjoyable life.

It allows you to spend your day chasing antelope instead of mice:

A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In the short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?

Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up  

Besides eliminating the chasing of mice, you must also eliminate headaches.

I ask myself the questions:

What drains me? Eliminate these things

What gives me energy? Do more of these things

Something I did last year was that I completely stopped trying to help those who won’t help themselves.

Cutting out tire kickers = one of the best things I did. It was way too draining.

Only working with action takers = way more fun/fulfilling.

I used to try and help those that said they wanted certain things instead of showing with their actions they wanted certain things. You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.

I used to try to help too many people who needed me to hold their head up to keep them from drowning. That is an energy suck and keeps me from doing great work and giving value to those who will put it to use.

The people in your life are either giving you momentum, or they are taking it away  – Alex Charfen

If you’re helping someone who won’t help themselves, you’re just lighting your time on fire.

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As much as I want to help people, I’ve learned you can’t negatively affect your own life to do so.

Large guaranteed decrease in present quality of life doesn’t justify a large speculative return – Tim Ferriss

It’s amazing what happens when you only help action takers and eliminate all headaches. Life’s a lot easier and much more enjoyable.

I look at the people we accepted into the Incubator vs. a lot of the cold emails I get, it’s just a completely different level of player. It’s people who want to make a significant life change and who put in the effort to do so. Time going towards action takers instead of tire kickers makes a much bigger impact, and is much more fulfilling.

I get the most excitement from helping others succeed. I get pumped when I hear from people like Jordan or Corey about how they’re doing with their businesses, or Incubator 2.0 members and how their launches are going.

Knowing you’re helping people is the best kind of drug. Tire kickers/energy drainers deprive you of your high.

It works the same with employees.

Most entrepreneurs who struggle to manage people think they need to spend forever trying to get better at management. I’ve learned the hard way that an easier fix is just working with people who need less management.

Get people who already do good work and don’t need much hand-holding. Less time holding hands = more time doing what you’re good at and/or enjoy.

Besides elimination of headaches, elimination of remaining distractions is incredibly important:

Eliminate all noises/notifications from your computer and phone- it’s a game changer. I don’t have many apps on my phone- I highly recommend deleting most. I use things like News Feed Eradicator on my computer for Facebook which eliminates your news feed, so you’re less tempted to visit an insanely distracting site. I’ve probably only averaged one FB post per month on my personal page which has helped too- because many people have the constant urge to go seek out more dopamine from new ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. In addition, I spend much of the day with my phone on airplane mode. Eliminating situations where you’ll seek those things out is super helpful.

Keep in mind this is not stuff I’m naturally good at. That’s why I eliminate opportunities for me to suck at it. The reason I point this out is I think sometimes from a reader perspective people often get the false belief that the person who’s writing is just magically good at X, Y or Z. Quite the opposite. I’ve always naturally been unorganized/easily distracted. Similar to what I mentioned about managing, it would be hard to completely change how you respond to certain things if you keep the same situations- that’s decades worth of habit built in. Much easier to eliminate the situations that distract you. If you have less to organize/be distracted by, it’s much easier to be better organized/focused.

Fail more/learn more about flaws

You’ve got to be experimental to accomplish anything important. That means you’re going to be wrong a lot. – Jeff Bezos

Changing your mind a lot = good in some respects.  It’s like poker… you make the best decisions you can with the information you have in front of you. When you have new information, it may change what the most optimal decision is.

I learned that finding out what is true, regardless of what that is, including all the stuff most people think is bad—like mistakes and personal weaknesses—is good because I can then deal with these things so that they don’t stand in my way.- Ray Dalio

Most people are really unaware of what they’re not good at. They don’t like to hear about their flaws, so they try not to listen, and by trying not to listen they can’t improve. Getting better at this, means getting better at life. Just temporarily learning you’re not perfect, which no one is, will only make you better.

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I learned that being truthful was an extension of my freedom to be me. I believe that people who are one way on the inside and believe that they need to be another way outside to please others become conflicted and often lose touch with what they really think and feel. It’s difficult for them to be happy and almost impossible for them to be at their best.- Ray Dalio

This is something I used to be horrible at. I used to try to please people and/or not upset them, and the result is you basically get stepped on a lot of times. You say “yes”, then you say “yes” more… And each time get slightly more frustrated getting taken advantage of.

Now when I don’t agree or don’t want to do something I just let it be known. Someone’s frustration about me saying “no” doesn’t affect me, that’s on them. HUGE life benefit – why get frustrated at them getting frustrated? The only people who won’t like it are people you don’t want to associate with anyways.

You have enemies? Good. that means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life – Winston Churchill

‘Enemies’ is a strong word, but if you are basically making decisions just to please/not upset others, what will happen is you definitely won’t be happy yourself, you’ll make your life harder/less enjoyable. You can still be very nice and not be a pushover.

Again, if you stand firm that you’ll do X, and someone wants X+Y and you say no- sure some people will be temporarily frustrated when they don’t get their way. But if you start sticking to your guns and don’t do things you don’t want to do, it = you being MUCH happier. The amount of mental space free once you stop sweating people’s responses = super freeing.

While most others seem to believe that learning what we are taught is the path to success, I believe that figuring out for yourself what you want and how to get it is a better path. – Ray Dalio

One way to ‘figure out what you want’ is to stop looking for validation from people. I think most people are subconsciously operating for others, instead of themselves. They feel so much need to impress others that they make decisions they think others would like. It sounds absurd, and it is, but that’s the way most people operate even if they don’t realize it.

People ask me why I never post pics on Facebook while I’m traveling. This is why. I feel like most people unintentionally do things to impress others. While I live a very good life, I feel like posting daily pics about it as I live it would make me desire certain things more than I might actually want them. It’s hard enough for us all to figure out what we want, and having the unintentional influence from the dopamine we get from others telling us how great our life is isn’t needed- no sense making something that’s already hard, more difficult.

After a lot of recent traveling, I learned that for me I don’t desire to travel as much as I have in the past, at least for a long while. I like my life in Austin. I still enjoy traveling, I’ll just probably scale it back significantly.

I liked this short post from Sol Orwell about how you should make it harder to go on vacation:

http://www.sjo.com/different-way-new-years-resolutions/

What should I do this year that would make me less likely to want to go on vacation? – Sol

Now that I’ve settled back in Austin I feel like I’ve quickly set my life up so that a vacation doesn’t look super appealing, since my normal life is already set up with so many things I like. Plus it’s much easier to hit goals when in routine.

I read this somewhere and thought they were great lessons from obviously genius people, and echoes what I’ve slowly figured out the last number of years:

Lessons from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger:

  1. find what turns you on
  2. don’t worry about what everyone else is doing
  3. know your strengths
  4. fewer and higher quality
  5. know what you like and forget the rest

Slowly you’ll chip away and become closer to the version of yourself that you want to become.

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Similar to last year, I reviewed my strengths + things I would enjoy when thinking of what I would spend time doing this year.

My strength results(from test):

  • Choose work in which you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas.
  • Find the best way of expressing your thoughts: writing, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, perhaps lectures or presentations. Put value to your thoughts by communicating them.
  • You might excel in entrepreneur or start-up situations (hey would you look at that!)
  • Seek audiences who appreciate your ideas for the future
  • You inspire others with your images of the future, yet your thinking may be too expansive for them to comprehend. When you articulate your vision, be sure to describe the future in detail with vivid words and metaphors.
  • Your futuristic talents could equip you to be a guide or coach for others. Unlike you, they might not be able to see over the horizon. If you catch a vision of what someone could be or do, don’t assume that he or she is aware of that potential. Share what you see as vividly as you can. In doing so, you may inspire someone to move forward.

Since what we’re extremely good at often comes natural to us, it’s not easy to realize what you’re incredibly good at isn’t so easy for others. You don’t think of a normal skill of yours as incredible because it’s not difficult for you, which actually makes it incredible.

If you were to give yourself advice, what would you advise yourself to do? (You often know the answers but don’t step out of your own busyness to come to what may be obvious conclusions for you.)

“Seneca called euthymia—”The belief that you’re on the right path and not led astray by the many tracks which cross yours of people who are hopelessly lost…

The sense of our own path, and how to stay on it without getting distracted by all the others that intersect it.

Each one of us have a unique potential and purpose.

It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go and accomplishing the most you’re capable of at what YOU choose.

Only you know the race you’re running – Ryan Holiday

At the end of the day, I don’t know if I’ve necessarily ‘solved’ this problem of mine, in finding what I’m uniquely meant to do/brings me maximum happiness/fulfillment, but educating people how to think about things in a more optimal way and help enable them to live the life they want is definitely something that pops into the discussion for me quite a bit.

This has remained true for me

ForeverJobless Incubator:

Last year’s Incubator was supposed to be the final one(of two total). I didn’t plan to do it after the 2nd, as I was just doing it because I had enjoyed it/liked helping people. I initially expected to bring in X amount of people, help them crush it and then I was going to launch a new company. Then… I had even more fun than the first time after adding weekly calls and more to the mix. It was a blast.

Plus, seeing the results has been super fulfilling. Someone from our 2015 Incubator class is doing 7 figures/yr. Someone from our 2016 class that just ended already had a $10,000+ week during the initial 10 weeks. I think I get more excited about it than they do!

We kind of didn’t want it to end so a bunch from this year’s class are flying out to Austin to give updates on their businesses since the Incubator and work on them together with me in person.

There were also a lot of people who wanted to participate that we couldn’t fit in- we got bombarded with requests to join, and had to shut off signups fast. I’ve consistently got emails since asking if I’ll run another. After talking with friends who thought I should do it again, and thinking more about it, it was like… why are you stopping doing stuff you like?

After considering how much I enjoyed it and the number of people who’ve made incredible life changes out of the program, I’ve decided to launch a 2017 Incubator in April.

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This year’s goals:

  • Energy 100% back to normal + back to ‘fitness model’ shape(at least 5.5% bodyfat(calipers) while putting muscle back on)
  • Incubator: have the highest % success rate to any program in the space
  • Find girlfriend material girl and see how a legit relationship goes
  • Write X book
  • New business project launched
  • $ increased by X

(x = name or amount not shown)

We all make New Year’s goals, but most of us don’t make goals for things like more conversations with people who matter. Here’s some personal things I’m doing in 2017:

  • Make a list of people I want to do a better job of staying in touch with through the year, and either see them in person, or call/email on regular basis… and don’t be such a hermit.
  • Spend more time/effort working to make a positive effect on people’s lives- whether it’s being a positive influence on people I come across that I can help, helping Incubator members make a positive life change through a new business and new way of thinking, being a ‘good dude figure’ as “Uncle Billy” to my nieces and nephews, etc…
  • Vacations with family and friends: My mom sent me this link a while back and it’s super interesting/thought provoking: http://seeyourfolks.com/. We all probably have only X years to do certain things we want to do. I’m not just talking about seeing family or friends. You can think about this for other things too- how long are you going to be single? Or without kids? Or your friends being in those situations, etc… Meaning, you likely don’t have as long to live life a certain way as you think. “Someday I’ll do X” is a good way to never do it. Do the stuff you wanna do with the people you want to do them with now.
  • Mansion Mancations: If the things you want don’t exist, just create them. I’m putting together a group of 10-20 great guys/entrepreneurs in March and just spending 3 days hanging with good people, many of who I don’t get to see enough. Way better way of hanging with people I want to see than attending conferences.

mancationnew

I used to attend a lot of conferences, but it was just too much ‘conference’ and less of the stuff I wanted, so I haven’t really been to conferences the last couple years. This year I’m just doing this- basically sending invites to the people I’d want to hang with if I went to conferences, and just eliminating the conference aspect and all hanging, having fun and masterminding together. I attended one a few years ago and it basically made me not want to attend conferences anymore. Much more quality time with people you want to hang with, much deeper conversations, much more in depth strategy talk and big idea sharing, and way more fun time since all the conference stuff(speakers, etc…) is eliminated. Highly recommend.

Expanding my network in other areas:

I’m making an effort to network even more outside of my normal business circles. I think it’s easy to always think about the same stuff if the majority of people you know do X. Most of my thoughts/ideas are in a much smaller window than I’d like them to be because 80-90%+ of my friends are in that window. Being obsessively focused on one space is great if you’re only doing that, but with me eyeing the pursuit of a new project in the near future, I plan to explore other industries and strategies a bit more.

Kind of along the same lines I’m focused on connecting with higher level people. I remember when I was just starting out, I did whatever I needed to get around people smarter than I was so I understood how they were playing the level of game that they were. Even when I didn’t have much money as a kid I flew across the country to go meet people- since I knew I could learn a lot from people already investing and starting businesses. Now that I’m at a different stage and have the desire to get new projects going again, I need to do those kinds of things again.

Optimal life/energy choices:

Even as my energy continues to return to normal, I plan to remain obsessively focused on optimizing health to an extreme level, which means very strict diet, no alcohol, etc… I’m sure I’ll maybe have a glass of wine or whatever sometime in the future, but for now doing zero alcohol, bad foods, etc… I’m not opposed to drinking/eating ‘fun’ food, but I’m opposed to not feeling highly energized at all times. I want to feel as optimal as possible.

Previously flawed content plan?

I realized I had a flawed content plan- I was writing more blog posts on FJ, but not reaching enough additional people to help knock down other goals- reaching more people who the book will help, + more people I can help start profitable businesses in the Incubator.

So while I’ll still be putting out content on FJ, it will be more sporadic, but when I do they’ll tend to be very unique pieces of content(you’ll see). The main content creation time will go towards my book- I think that will have a significant impact on the people who read it so it’s important for me to get that done.

Things I’m doing to accomplish my goals/keep improving

I eliminated TV(never hooked it up). I got used to not ever using a TV when traveling. I used to put my remote behind my TV just so I really had to think about it if I was going to turn it on, but even though I get it/pay for it through the building I live in, I’m just not going to hook it up.

Got a 2nd assistant to help with day to day stuff.

Got a chef so I can eat as healthy as possible + not waste time figuring out what I am going to eat each day/where I’m going to get it, etc…

Got an accountability coach + got in a high level mastermind with people outside of my normal network.

Inbox Zero – I used to always be at 5,000+ emails and got to inbox zero before the new year. Did a perfect job of staying at 0 until I was out of town for a few days, and plan to get it back and keep it all year. I’ve very seriously considered just eliminating email completely, and may possibly do that in the future. Warren Buffett and many other insanely successful people do not use email. Not surprisingly, they are less distracted by the requests of others and can focus on doing great things.

Weekly emails to a friend- Every week going on almost 2 years now I email my friend what I did in the last week, what my plan is for the upcoming week and why, and other small things- it kind of morphed into a mini blog with an audience of one, with random thoughts/lessons intertwined. He asks really good questions + is smart/successful, so it’s been super helpful as he often challenges me on things and we go back and forth on most optimal paths- not just with business/money, but life stuff. Probably would be a fascinating exchange for someone to read. Highly recommend doing something similar.

Something I haven’t done yet but plan to is to stop working earlier in the day. I used to just work until ‘whenever’, but what happens is while you sit at the computer for a long time, it’s not super productive time. Similar to how many people have a ‘start time’, I’d like to start having a hard ‘stop time’.

I can do this if I’m strict about not capping flow, by pushing morning meetings/calls, etc… back into the middle of the afternoon at the earliest, so that all main work is already complete by early afternoon.

Business people in Silicon Valley (and the whole world, for that matter) have speculative meetings all the time. They’re effectively free if you’re on the manager’s schedule. They’re so common that there’s distinctive language for proposing them: saying that you want to “grab coffee,” for example.

Speculative meetings are terribly costly if you’re on the maker’s schedule, though.

… At this point we have two options, neither of them good: we can meet with them, and lose half a day’s work; or we can try to avoid meeting them, and probably offend them….

Those of us on the maker’s schedule are willing to compromise. We know we have to have some number of meetings. All we ask from those on the manager’s schedule is that they understand the cost.Paul Graham 

How my days/weeks look

Sunday: I always plan the following week.

Morning routine:

This is continually evolving as I test what works/doesn’t work for me, but as of right now I usually wake up and get some writing related stuff done, meditation, cold shower and walk.

Evening routine:

I plan the following day, which is usually just small tweaks to what I already set up during the Sunday planning session.

Something I haven’t implemented yet but plan to shortly is an evening review.

Evening review:

Planning to read this at the end of each day to make sure I’m staying focused/on the right road:

Was I happy today?

Why/why not?

Was I productive today?

Why/why not?

If anything needs ‘fixing’, how will I do that to be happier and more productive?

weeklyschedule

I used to just randomly work on stuff sometimes every day, even if it was a ‘free day’ for me. This year I basically almost never work on Saturday.

The mind must be given relaxation – it will rise improved and sharper after a good break. Just as rich fields must not be forced – for they will quickly lose their fertility if never given a break – so constant work on the anvil will fracture the force of the mind. But it regains its powers if it is set free and relaxed for a while. Constant work gives rise to a certain kind of dullness and feebleness in the rational soul. – Seneca

Hopefully some of what I’ve learned/done in the past year, and what I’m currently doing helps you think through some of what you’re doing.

If you’re a new ForeverJobless reader and haven’t yet read How To Achieve Your Goals, I highly recommend it and guarantee it’ll give you an edge this year and help you accomplish the goals you really want.

I often get emails from some of you asking how you can help me. I love you guys and you’re the reason I haven’t eliminated my inbox 🙂

I usually haven’t had an answer, but now I do. Here’s a few ways you could help:

  1. If you’re someone who writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider, Success, Fast Company, or another similar publication, I have a few interesting stories/angles I’d love to have someone write about with some things we’re working on. Would make for a very unique article.
  2. If you have a large audience of entrepreneurial minded folks and would like to promote the Incubator, I plan to work with 1-2 additional people to do this(we cap the Incubator to maximize success rates + quality of the group, so would be selective about the audience/promotion)

Ways I plan on bringing you value this year:

I plan to put out some limited, but unique content this year for FJ. One project we’re working on will be very different than anything on the market, and will be entertaining and highly valuable. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter you’ll be notified as soon as we release(likely next month).

If you’ve been wanting to start a profitable business for a while but still haven’t made it happen, I’m going to open a 2017 Incubator class in April. It will be unlike anything else you could join and I guarantee you that I care about your success more than anything like it. I’m obsessive about the process and insanely committed to the group- ask Incubator members. Those who are serious about wanting my help in launching a profitable business, I’ll do everything in my power to help you launch one.

As mentioned I’m planning to write the book I’ve been wanting to write for some time this year. The goal is to complete it by year end, so I’ll have my head down creating something much more impactful for you than my articles.

Like I mentioned last year, what I put out is only successful if it positively impacts your life in ways that others could not produce. I want to help those who are taking the action to help themselves.

Leave me a comment letting me know what your big 2017 goal is.

Also, if you want to include your favorite FJ article from 2016 and why, I’d love to hear about it.

2017GOALS


The ForeverJobless Podcast, Season 2 Launches!


The ForeverJobless podcast has officially returned! Due to popular demand I’ve decided to launch a new “season” of the podcast.

“Season 2”, is here.

To celebrate the launch of season 2 I’ve decided to run a contest where you can win free coaching calls with me, instagram shout outs, join me on an episode of the show, and even win a $1,000 mystery box.

podcastimage

Check out the prizes, and steps to enter below:

You can check out the podcast here in iTunes.

Or, here on the podcast page.


The Value of Time


There’s an old story I heard about Picasso. He was sitting in the park when he was approached by a woman who asked him to make a portrait of her. He agreed and quickly drew her portrait, and handed to the woman. She was very pleased. “Wow, this is perfect. How much do I owe you?”. “$5,000”, Picasso replied. “$5,000, but it only took you a few minutes to draw this!”. “No mam”, Picasso replied. “It took me my entire life”.

paintingsWhy is this story important? Well, most people fail to realize the price of mastery. Once mastery is accomplished, others don’t understand the value. They view the value of time incorrectly.

If you desire someone’s time, you’re not desiring their current time, you’re actually desiring the value of all of their past time that went into making their current time desirable. It took them a long time to learn the things they know how to do that make you desire access to their current time.

So, the “just 5-10 minutes of your time!” you desire from someone, likely took them at least 5-10 years to produce the result of such valuable time that others crave to have it.

They likely did not work so hard to give it away to those who value it the least- those people who would like it for free. That’d be essentially giving it to those who really don’t understand the value, or who appreciate it the least. So, besides losing that time forever, it is not likely it will be put to use.

The price of something helps separate the people who it is valuable to from the people it isn’t. Giving away time to those who just want things free, only de-leverages the person’s time they’re taking from, and gives it to a person who is significantly less likely do anything with it.

Do not ever let anyone make you feel bad for not giving away your most valuable asset for free. The one you made more valuable by hard work and sacrifice, which is why they desire it. All they are saying is, “I do not value your time, can I steal it from you?”.

These are the only places you should be spending your time:

  • With people who value your time
  • With people you enjoy spending it with
  • Doing things you enjoy
  • Continually learning(which increases your value, and your ability to spend it how you want)
  • Ideally some combination of the above

Giving value to others would be included in “spending it with people who value your time”, but it’s important to understand that if you give to those who don’t value it, you would not actually be giving value because they will be less likely to use it. To better explain what I mean, take this experiment I ran:

Hundreds of people write me asking for free things- often involving my time- calls, advice, etc… I usually respond requesting that they read all of my articles first, and follow up with me in a week. ZERO people have followed up. It’s a good indication of how little they valued the time, but would have gladly taken it from me if it was “free”.

Since the time you are burning is not in the form of actual dollars you don’t realize they’re being stolen from you. Every time you are considering a time burning activity, picture your money going up in flames, it will help you realize the robbery that’s about to take place.

burningmoney

Even if you only participated in time burning 2 hours/week, let’s say your time is worth $100/hr, you realize you’re giving away $10,400/yr?

Valuing time

Now let’s talk about some of the other times you may be inadvertently making bad decisions based around flawed understanding of the value of time:

How many times have you spent lots of time doing something, that could have been time saved if you’d paid an expert to teach you how to do it better/more efficiently, or just paid someone to do it for you in general?

How many of you attempt to do your own grass, or clean your home, or fix your car, or learn how to start a business on your own?

It’s likely you’re misapplying your time.

Have you heard the parable about the plumber? My dad used to tell me this story as a kid, and it’s similar to the Picasso story. A man is having a problem with his pipes so he calls a plumber. The plumber looks around and listens to the pipes. He walks over to a pipe, and hits it with a wrench. The man is thrilled until the plumber hands him a bill for $200. “All you did was bang the pipe with a wrench, I want to see an itemized invoice!”, the man demanded. The plumber broke down the itemized invoice and handed it back to the man. It read:

Hitting pipe with wrench: $1

Knowing where to hit it: $199

knowing-where

The value didn’t come from hitting it, it came from the mastery he’d acquired so that he would know exactly where to hit it. The man clearly could have hit the pipe himself, but there’s no way he would have ever known where to do so if he had.

How many times do you find yourself getting angry at a high bill because you don’t place value in the proper place?- the knowledge for knowing how to do something.

Successful people often find themselves paying for the expertise of someone else to help save them the time to progress faster towards their goals. The unsuccessful let the emotion of the high cost for something they can’t see as tangible(the person having spent so long to learn the craft), so they let it hold them back. It takes them much longer to do it themselves, if they ever get around to being able to do it at all.

In case you hadn’t had enough stories for one article, let’s apply it to business with the story that’s been told about Henry Ford:

“Ford, whose electrical engineers couldn’t solve some problems they were having with a gigantic generator, called a man by the name of (Charles) Steinmetz in to the plant. Upon arriving, Steinmetz rejected all assistance and asked only for a notebook, pencil and cot. Steinmetz listened to the generator and scribbled computations on the notepad for two straight days and nights. On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side.

xmarks

Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.

Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice from General Electric in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.

Steinmetz responded personally to Ford’s request with the following:

Making chalk mark on generator $1.

Knowing where to make mark      $9,999.

Ford paid the bill.”

(source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/charles-proteus-steinmetz-the-wizard-of-schenectady-51912022/)

It is a poor mindset(literally) when you relate how expensive something should be based on time.

Learning a valuable skill from someone who’s worth $500/hr doesn’t cost you $500/hr, it either allows you to become worth a certain % of that value, or to free your time to make up that value by doing things you’re good at.

Let’s look at both.

Allowing you to become worth a certain % of that value:

If you have a business coach, maybe learning from a $500/hr person teaches you to be worth $200/hr over time. Instead, many $20/hr people talk about how expensive the $500/hr is. If you understand math, you’d realize it’s significantly more expensive to remain a $20/hr earner.

 

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There’s plenty of people who’ve been talking about starting a business for years. They make $10/hr, or $20/hr, or whatever amount they make, and they don’t want to “risk” investing to learn how to start a profitable business. Well, let’s see how flawed the math is.

Poor mindset person:

Makes $20/hr at 40 hours/week, so $41,600/yr. They desire to start a business but hiring someone for $500/hr for 10 sessions(random example) is “too expensive”.

So, they “save” $5,000 and remain a $20/hr earner. They continue to talk about how they will start a business “one day” but to learn is “just too expensive.”

So, over the next 3 years, they earn $124,800(41,600 x 3) from remaining the same person, with the same skillsets. They’re proud of themselves for not spending $5,000 for something that “might not have even worked.” Then they would have only made $119,800 over three years. Phew!

Now, take another person who consistently invests in themselves to become more valuable. They spend $5,000 out of their $41,600 salary(or from savings), but after implementing the changes they’re not a $20/hr earner anymore, they’re likely a significantly higher earner. For the simplicity of this example let’s just say they’re now a $50/hr earner after learning from someone who’s a $500/hr earner.

They’d have went from making just $41,600/yr, to $104,000/yr. Over a three year period that’d be $312,000 in earnings.

math

They would have increased their earning ability by $187,200 over that time period. The $5,000 investment seems trivial when you actually get into the numbers. Most people think so short term they don’t really understand what they’re passing up when they decide not to invest in themselves. They’re not just giving up a short term investment, they’re giving up long term returns.

chart

Don’t try and “save money”, maximize your expected value. Instead of “saving” your money as a $10-20/hr earner, invest in yourself to learn from someone else. The portion of knowledge you extract from the investment often aligns with the portion of income your value increases by. Your investment of paying $xxx/hr pays you back a dividend in the form of increasing the value of your own time, by more valuable knowledge and skills you then possess.

Free your time to make up that value by doing things you’re good at

If you make $20/hr and would spend 5 hours trying to figure out something you hate and/or aren’t good at to “save $50”, you could have been doing your $20/hr work and made double that anyways.

Example: You don’t know how to fix your car, so you’re going to spend 5 hours attempting to figure it out, rather than paying someone who knows what they’re looking for to fix it. It happens all the time. In these scenarios a lot of people don’t want to “spend money” so instead they waste time(which is often much worse than spending money). They could have been making xx/hr doing something they already know how to do and/or enjoy, that would have more than paid for the cost of the mechanic to just get the job done.

Don’t let your emotional decision making overtake your logic that would allow you to make the correct decisions.

Realize that if you’re learning from the right people, you’re not getting 1 hour of information, you’re getting 10 years of information. If you’d like to save that money, go spend 10 years, but you’d learn it’d cost you much more as by saving pennies you’d avoid dollars.

If you calculated an honest hourly rate for yourself you’d realize you’ll be working for 10 cents/hr for every $100 you save. So, let’s say you have an hourly rate of $25/hr, you’re spending $20k to attempt to save $100. Think about how absurd that is.

The sooner you invest in yourself, the faster you start getting paid the dividends of those investments. Some simple math will show you the attempt by most people to “save money”, costs them more than they could ever imagine.

Invest the time and money in yourself to get the results you want.

Those who remain poor year after year are usually the result of not betting on themselves because they attempt to save money instead of just grabbing the Treasure Map.

You can set vision boards of all the million dollar houses and cars you want, but if you fail to correctly understand the value of time, and refuse to pay for the information that would enable you to learn how to do something, you’ll be a vision board expert, but not much else.

Broke people think about how much they can make and keep today. Rich people think about the long term expected value. Contemplate this question: Do the poor not invest in themselves because they’re poor, or are they poor because they don’t invest in themselves?

bambooblogL6


The Treasure Map


Imagine you are tasked with finding a treasure buried in a field. You and one other person, with the same skills and starting at the same time. Now imagine the other person has paid someone for a map that will lead him to the treasure.

treasuremap

You are not going to get the treasure; he is- because he got wise advice from someone who knows how to find it. If you do not want to invest money for the map, you are thinking about money wrong. Not spending the money to find out how to get to the treasure ends up costing you the treasure.

searchingfortreasure

It’s the same with business. If you try to save money by not hiring people who can help you get exactly where you want to go, you actually lose money, and will watch all your competitors who do invest in themselves pass you by.

findtreasure

Like I talk about in much of my writing, we’re wired to fear loss and avoid risk. So, our initial natural reaction to spending money, is the feeling of having a loss of money. We fear spending money, and possibly not getting anything in return for it.

Ironically if we go to the store and buy $300 in clothes we feel good about it because we immediately receive the $300 clothes we purchased.

storeclothing

But if we can invest $300 to potentially improve our business, we don’t get the instant gratification of the results.

whatifitdoesntwork

That’s why coaching and courses and books that promise overnight success often sell better. Even though that’s the wrong treasure map to be buying, sold from people who play on the emotions of instant gratification rather than having the optimal thought processes to be following. The chance of having an immediate payback makes you feel better about the risk.

When you buy $300 worth of clothes you know what you get… $300 worth of clothes in return. If you were to hire a consultant, or buy a course, or a book, or whatever it is, since the result is uncertain, most people don’t like that risk.

There’s no guarantee. Investing in yourself is a series of bets. You can read about some of my bets in this post.

Some work out, some don’t, but you want to make bets in a way so that the ones that do work out pay you back significantly more than you invested.

I think you may view me as a “risk taker” just because I talk about how important it is to take risks and make bets, but keep in mind I’m just making bets I believe are +EV. I don’t think that’s risky, as the risky option would be taking the -EV route by making no bet at all. I’m relatively conservative compared to a risky person.

I just had lunch with a friend who is definitely a “riskier” person than I am, but they’re +EV risks so he reaps big rewards as a byproduct when they pay off. He just did 7 figures… in a month. He’s got multiple mentors and has invested in all sorts of consultants and coaching. The people on the outside just see the end result and want the same “luck”. They don’t see the time and money that was invested.

You can’t get those type of returns if you’re afraid to spend money to talk to a coach, or on a mastermind, or going to a conference. Is it any coincidence a lot of highly successful people know each other? Not really, they’re all making similar time and monetary investments so they cross paths and have a similar network in common.

I get so many emails from people who want all the results that they see people getting who take risks, but they don’t want any of the risks.

makeamillion

That’s not how it works.

You don’t have to take huge risks. In this post I talk about how small of a monetary amount I risked to get some pretty significant returns.

Now, if you want to make bets, it’s +EV to have someone in your corner who’s been where you want to go and understands the roadmap that’s necessary to get there.

Many people get confused when I talk about the silliness of the ‘business/make money’ space online. I get a lot of emails asking if it’s bad to invest in coaches/courses, etc…

Of course not! It’s bad to invest in the wrong ones, and there happen to be a lot of them. People advising to go one route, when that’s not the route they actually profit from, and/or temporary income streams that are no longer optimal. I’ve mentioned a number of them in past posts like Infrastructures of Wealth, The Apple Stand Empire, The Penny Stakes of Business, Entrepreneurial Quicksand.

People who don’t invest in themselves to save money are just proving they don’t have an understanding of simple math.

If you’re trying to start a real business, and you could hire someone who’s started a real business to advise you, how much is that worth?

You could try to do it on your own, which is less short term ‘cost’, but it’s definitely -EV.

Example, let’s say you paid a mentor $5,000 to help you start your first business. That’s a big investment.

They say 80% of businesses fail, but most people go in blindfolded and hope for the best. It’s not really a surprise that they failed.

savemoney

They “save money” from not hiring people who know what they’re doing to help them succeed, and instead waste years of their time and money, because they wanted to save the “risk” of a +EV investment.

Anytime I want significant results from something in my life, I take the risk to increase the probability of success as much as possible.

Trying to re-invent the wheel every time would cost me significantly more time and money. The better play is to find someone who’s already been where you want to go and knows how to get the results you desire.

Study their blueprint, and you can always put your own twist on it later. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

When I started in poker, I got poker coaches. I spent thousands of dollars on coaches. But I made hundreds of thousands in return.

If I hired them and poker didn’t work out, fine. I move to the next bet. When the bets pay, they pay well. Remember, capped downside, high upside bets.

When I decided I wanted to get in incredible shape, I sought out someone who was in incredible shape to help me.

I didn’t just hire some random trainer because they said they were a trainer, I found someone who’d already had the results I wanted. Then I made a bet.

I paid $750 for the initial 10 sessions.

It was getting me the results I wanted, so I continued. I would go back to my trainer once/week to check in and get a workout in. So, I made lots of $750 investments. However, I got the body I’d always wanted. Small bet, ridiculously high payoff.

trainer

If I’d tried to do it all myself, I’d still be struggling, and not have the results I wanted.

When I started in e-commerce it was the same thing. I got guidance from someone who’d already ran several successful e-commerce businesses. If I’d gone in blindfolded it would have been very difficult to have success.

No matter what you do you’ll have some risk. Getting guidance from the right people help lessen the risk, as well as maximize the upside.

I’ve hired multiple business coaches. Some end up being bad investments, some end up being good ones. The ones that don’t get a good return, the downside is capped. The ones that work out pay me back for any of the ones that don’t work 10x.

Same with business conferences. Some are horrible, and you leave feeling like you wasted time and money. Some are good. Some are great, and the great ones pay back for any of the others 10x.

As I’m writing more, I’ll either hire a writing coach, or pay a highly skilled editor. Maybe both. It’ll be almost impossible not to get a return on doing so. I’m investing in something I want to be better at, and will get better results for doing so.

The results you or I or anyone else have over the long run is a clear indication of if we’re willing to invest in ourselves.

The people who try to do everything themselves… they can succeed. It’ll just be less likely, and if they do it’ll be a lot slower road. Because the road they take to the end result they desire is filled with constant turns down the wrong road trying to get to the most optimal path. Someone who’d already been down the optimal path could have saved them a lot of time and money showing them how to find it.

Let’s say you’re trying to start a $100,000/yr income business, and it costs you $5k to hire a business coach to help you along the way, what’s the risk? Well, $5k, but that’s not the way to think about it.

Let’s pretend you fail 80% of the time without a coach, and 50% of the time with a coach.

Without a coach:

$100k/year business 20% of the time:

It means 4 times out of 5 you just fail and just stay on the same road you’re on right now. This gives you:

An additional $20k income(in expected value) year 1

With a coach:

50% of the time you succeed. This gives you:

An additional $50k income(in expected value) year 1

(note: This is obviously a very simplified example, but shows that even if you only made a slight increase in your chance of success and still failed 50% of the time, an investment in yourself is still a no brainer).

So not only do the people who attempt to ‘save’ $5k go way slower whether they’re succeeding slower, or just failing, they also lose a really obvious bet.

They lose by not betting at all, since they choose the -EV route of not investing on themselves.

In this scenario, a $5k investment would make them an additional $30k in year 1. That’s only including year 1, it doesn’t include the fact that for the times you succeed you continue making money. Money and knowledge compounds. So the 600% increased return in EV year 1 is just the initial return.

Yet, the people who don’t want the “risk” of losing $5k in this example, instead choose the -EV route of a path that’s 600% less expected return, just to avoid a short term monetary risk. They keep it safe in the bank making 1% a year, and wonder why they never get ahead. It’s because they constantly choose -EV routes to avoid temporary “risks” of betting on themselves.

If you’re getting the right map, it’s a smart investment.

roadmap

Stop being cheap and pay for the map.

Your attempt to “save” money, is costing you massive amounts of income and success in the long term.

What’s the treasure map you need? 

Why haven’t you invested in yourself to get it yet?

One of the smartest bets you’ll ever make in life… will be the bets you place on yourself.

Investing in your own success will reap you the greatest returns.

bambooblogL6


Burn Your Boats


I’d like to start this post by sharing a little piece from Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich with you: 

A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision that ensured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers in the boats, sailed to the enemy’s country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, ‘you see the boats going up in smoke. That means we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win. We now have no choice. We win or we perish.’ They won. Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win, essential to success.

Let’s look at how this might apply to you and your life, and the likely outcomes of either burning your boats, or not.

Should you burn your boats and go all in?

Most choose not to, but the decision is often absent from good thought or reason.
reasons

It’s easy to come up with reasons, it’s entirely different to have logical, justified reasons.

“But what if it doesn’t work?” … a great example of an illogical emotional response.

Good reasons not to burn your boats

Despite that fact that most reasons will not be good ones, some of you reading this will have a legitimate excuse in needing to postpone going all in. Notice I didn’t say never do it.

If you’ve got a family to feed and no financial cushion, it wouldn’t be a very good decision to go all in without downside protection of having an income source in place in the possibility of failure. You’d put your family at risk.

You don’t have to make stupid decisions to be successful. You have to make logical decisions.

If this is your situation, your immediate plan of attack isn’t going all in, it’s mapping out a plan that would put you in a situation that will allow you to go ‘all in’.

Maybe that’s cutting expenses to enable you to save more money. Or picking up extra work. Or both. The more cushion you build up, the more runway you give yourself to go all in.

Maybe it means starting your business on the side so that once you start getting traction, you can more confidently go all in knowing you won’t put your family at risk.

(Note: When I say “all in”, I don’t mean gambling every last dollar, I mean deciding what type of cushion you want based on your situation, and going all in with your time/money, excluding the ‘cushion’ money.)

 

“But entrepreneurs don’t have jobs!”, you might say.

I think this has become popularized by people selling info about entrepreneurship, and it’s often regurgitated without proper understanding.

In most situations a job is not optimal. However, it’s not wrong to hold onto a job to cover expenses while putting yourself in a better situation to pursue an all in play.

I often hesitate to suggest jobs to people as many just latch onto it like a life vest instead of an income generating stepping stone to fund a cushion, which would fund your ability to burn your boats.

I didn’t suggest getting a job and then hoping something will magically change one day. That’s what most people do, and why nothing changes for them.

You should be hustling picking up skills, money, and anything else to enhance your cushion, as well as your probability of success.

Be careful not to get comfortable continuing down a route that won’t result in your desired income, or lifestyle.

Example: If you’ve got 2 months of living expenses saved and a family that depends on you, having a reliable income source is probably a good idea.

If you’ve got a 2 year cushion, you might be fooling yourself if you’re still not pursuing what you want.

couch

I get a number of questions from readers asking if they should quit their jobs to pursue their dreams. Some of them have no dependents and are in jobs that aren’t even providing a significant income for them.

If you’ve got limited to no downside, and a job that isn’t producing you with significant capital, it’s a no brainer to burn your ships and pursue your goal without distraction.

Even if you aren’t entirely sure how to do what you’d like to do, committing the time and mental energy will give you the skills and knowledge to figure it out. No one knows what to do when they’re first starting a journey. Those who commit figure it out. Those who don’t commit because they aren’t sure what every step is, will never find the roadmap from the sidelines.

I remember back to when I was just getting started, and I made the decision to bet on myself and burn my boats.

I’d moved across the country and was living in a studio apartment. I didn’t really know anybody, I was focusing entirely on poker and making some real estate bets.

I didn’t even have a bed. I had a pull­out couch and a little wooden table and chair I found on the ground outside when I moved in. I would literally do nothing but play poker, look for real estate deals, and sleep. That was all I did all day. With the dedication to poker I started consistently making a lot of money each month.

I wasn’t “poor” when I burned my boats, but I definitely didn’t have a lot of money.

An “easier” route would have been to get a job like everyone else and convince myself it would magically lead me to the life I wanted.

But, instead I burned my boats because I knew it wouldn’t.

My downside was pretty limited.

You can’t really go down from living somewhere you don’t know anyone in a tiny studio apartment with nothing but a pull out sofa.

There was no downside at all.

A lot of people with limited downside are choosing the incorrect route for their goals. They wait until they’ve skyrocketed their monthly expenses with houses, cars, kids, etc… before considering taking a risk, and then say “well it’s tougher for me because I have more expenses”. Ya, it definitely is but no one but you set yourself up to play the game that way.

There’s nothing wrong with having more expenses, I just want to give realistic advice- it’s not optimal to have significantly higher expenses before you start investing in yourself if your ultimate goal is to do your own thing and be ‘ForeverJobless’. Each decision you make changes the way you’re going to have to play the game going forward. Higher expenses just means a higher cushion is likely needed.

A lot of people with limited downside convince themselves they need to “wait for the right time” to bet on themselves, and they often put themselves in a significantly tougher position to burn their boats. Increased expenses and/or the comfort in having a stable income makes it harder for them to leave and make the right bet.

And while you can absolutely start something on the side, and many people do, make no mistake it is more difficult than if you were all in on it.

Anything I’ve had real success in, whether it’s poker, business, fitness… at some point I was ALL IN on it. The focus from burning my boats to be fully committed is what allowed me the extreme results.

Reasons You Should Go All in

It sounds simple, but you need to decide what you want and do that.

There’s a very small percentage of people who go after what they want and don’t make any excuses. Those are the people you read about all the time and are inspired by. You don’t hear about ‘dabblers’ who never commit to anything. Why? Because they can’t get the results people who burn their boats get.

There’s plenty of people reading this right now who have ridiculous potential to do amazing things in the world, but they won’t because they are dabblers, and back up plan artists.

backupartist

 

If they fully committed to what they want, it would be near impossible to not have significant results. They’re just passing through life dabbling at shit they don’t really want to do just so they can avoid committing to something they’d actually want to do. Their pulse might tell them they’re alive, but everything else inside is dead, because they know they’ll never be what they’re capable of.

timeline

Decide what you want and set up your life in a way so everything you do is related to accomplishing that goal.

In most cases there’s little to no downside. On the flip side, there is zero upside to playing it safe, as the safe routes and backup plans will not result in your desired outcome. The only thing they will do is slow down, or completely eliminate the chance of you achieving it.

It’s the simplest EV play ever. If you don’t know what I mean when I refer to EV(expected value), read my “Millionaire’s Math” post.

When I think about anything I’ve failed at, I can’t say I’ve ever been “all in” on them.

If there’s an aggressive goal I want to accomplish, I know I have to burn the boats and focus on it if I really want to achieve it.

Imagine if you had two runners. One ran hard the whole race. The other runner ran, but would consistently stop to do other things along the way. No matter how difficult the race is for either, one of them is essentially guaranteed to reach their end goal at some point, where the other probably never will, and if they ever do it will take a very, very long time.

Even if the person that burned their boats was significantly slower than the person that didn’t, they will reach their goal at some point, because they know which race is important for them to win.

running

Your competition has the same fears and doubts you do, so if you’re the one that fully commits while they’re dabbling, you will win.

And for the most part you’re not competing against anyone but yourself, but once you get to the point where you have competitors, and you’ve burned your boats and they’re dabbling… good luck to them.

Burning your boats will give you an advantage that many of your competitors will not have.

Is going all in risky?

Everyone talks about the downsides from going all in.

They talk about the fears, the risks.

Want to know what they don’t talk about:

When you’re all in on a meaningful goal you’ll have the best time of your life. It’s hard to understand until you do it. It’s like you’re playing the video game of your life, and no one knows you’re playing. It’s just you. Everyone else is just trying to survive at level one, but you’re trying to win the game. You’ll stay up all night to get to beat the game. It’ll take you a while to figure it out, but each step is exhilarating. And the prize for winning is life changing. Literally a life that changes.

How well do you think you perform dabbling?

To explain the ludicracy of it, try this:

Go apply for a job and tell them you’re going to dabble at it.

Will you get hired?

Of course not. Because you wouldn’t be able to perform very well dabbling at it. You won’t learn what you need to know quickly, you won’t execute quickly… you’d get destroyed by other candidates who made the job their focus.

 

interview

Business is not any different.

Think about it, the same questions you’re wondering about or worrying about or have fears about, your competition is thinking the same things, but guess what? They’re probably not going to go all­in. So if you decide to make the leap, the chances that you’re going to win go up significantly.

allin

Winning can be whatever you’re focused on.

It might be having a best selling book, or creating a top product or service in the niche you enjoy, etc… You don’t write a bestseller or dominate your niche dabbling.

You work all day and night if that’s what it takes. There’s a lot of entrepreneurs who say they want it bad. Yet, somehow they still have time for doing super low value activities like watching TV and going to the movies or bars and just kind of hanging out. I’m not saying everyone needs to give up those things, but if someone really “wants it bad”, I think it’s comical when they’re still spending a lot of time doing those things instead of going all in and burning their boats. They’re only fooling themselves if they think they’re working hard.

A lot of people’s response is “well if this fails, I can always do this, or I can always do that”. That means you still haven’t burned your ships, and it’s probably your backup plans or the fact that you’re dabbling with a lot of safety nets are making you comfortable enough to waste the time that should be going towards the thing you really want.

safetynet

If you actually burn your ships, it’s a totally different mentality you have going into a project. The confidence you have from knowing you’re going to do whatever it takes to make things work, with no fallback plan, will give you an edge that’s unbelievably powerful. Your competition will not have this edge.

My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent. – Elon Musk

If you think about any of the richest people in the world, and/or anyone making huge impact(often correlated), they’re usually “all in” and have burned their boats to achieve what it is they’d like to achieve.

I’ve dabbled with ForeverJobless on the side for a while, doing it alongside other things I was doing.

Now that I’ve committed this year to writing I know the results I’ll get because I’ve already decided that’s what will happen. I put in that $0/hr work and bet on myself, and work backwards to my goal.

It’s not going to be magic when my results come to fruition, it’s an expected result based on deciding and committing, instead of dabbling.

If you don’t have what you want, stop telling yourself a story because you don’t have the money, you don’t have the time. That’s bullshit. It’s because you haven’t committed yourself where you would burn your boats. If you want to take the f**king island, burn your f**king boats, and you will take the island because people, when they’re going to either die or succeed, tend to succeed. But most of us give ourselves a way out and that’s why we don’t have what we want. – Tony Robbins

Decide what you want, and set up your life in a way so everything you do is related to accomplishing that goal.

If you dabble and constantly give yourself backup options, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve your desired result.

Most people dip their toes into the water instead of getting in all the way, and wonder why they never learn to swim.

bambooblogL6

 


Betting on Yourself


People often wonder why they haven’t caught their “break” yet. They’re waiting for that moment when they’ll hit it big and everything will be like they dreamed.

I wanted to give a brief look at why it’s not some random occurrence. Breaks don’t just come along and say, “welp, I guess it’s Tommy’s turn today!”

tommy

In this post you’ll see why continually placing bets and investing in yourself is the only way to play the game.

I’ll share some of my successes and failures so you can understand more about how the specific roads I chose led to any breaks that I got. I’ll also talk about the other roads I could have chosen, which would have clearly led to different outcomes.

Let’s look back to high school. When I was in high school I didn’t understand why all my friends were getting jobs.

“Wait, you’re going to make $5/hr? Why are you doing it then?”

“Well, I need to build up my resume, plus I need the money.”

“Build your resume? What college is going to want you because you worked an entry level job?”

college

I always asked my friends why they didn’t work for themselves. “I don’t know what to do,” they’d answer.

“It’s easy”, I’d say. “I’ll help you”. While intrigued, most didn’t want the “risk” of going outside the traditional route.

I had started a sports card business in high school. It kind of started by accident initially, and eventually became a business where I made significantly more than I would have made in a job. The obvious side effect of that was I learned some things about business pretty young, and the benefits of taking “risks”. I mean, it was mainly a hustle business- buy for X, sell for Y. So, my business knowledge was still pretty novice, but it was a good starting step.

Occasionally I’d hire one of my friends for an extra job when I needed help transporting a collection.

“UPS is going to charge $600 to get it by next week!? F that, me and my buddy will have it to you tomorrow for $400.”

roadtrip

I remember one time when I had just sold a collection for like $5k. I cashed the check because cash was way cooler than looking at the number on a bank statement. Then when I went to school the next day, I was like, “wait, what if someone robs the house while I’m at school? No one will be home.” So I threw the money in my pocket and went to school.

pocketchange

I remember talking to a buddy at lunch and showing him.

wthmoney

It always interested my friends, but besides the perceived risk, the first step was always what kept them out.

“What would I sell?”

“There’s lots of stuff you can sell.”

“I wouldn’t even know where to start”

The first step is the step that would often teach people the most, but it’s the one they refuse to take.

There’s always opportunity.

Heck, I remember several years later when elmos got hot.

At that point in my life I was busy with college or poker or something, so I called my brother up and told him to go buy out every store that had them and we’d split the profits. The prices on ebay were significantly marked up because stores couldn’t keep them in supply. So he drove around everywhere buying up all the elmos he could find, and I’d market them on ebay.

Opportunities are never hard to find, it’s just that you see a lot more of them when you’ve played the game before.

It’s less about opportunities existing, more about you recognizing them and knowing what to do so you can capitalize.

I learned that quickly as a kid. “How is everyone else not seeing all the ways they could make money?”.

Again, most of the opportunities I saw at that age were just opportunities based on hustle. But still, opportunities nonetheless.

Plus you learn quickly.

“Oh shit, I paid $2k for this collection and I may not make a profit on it?… Hmmm, did I pay too much? Am I marketing it poorly?”.

Feeling the lessons, and reading about them in a book or blog are completely different.

That’s why people with ‘book knowledge’ who have never played the game can sing the song all they want, but they don’t actually understand the lyrics they preach, which is why many of their lessons are flawed.

In college the whole ‘get a job for small pay + resume’ game went up a notch.

People wanted to pad their resumes with things that would look good to a potential employer. Me? I wanted to make money and get smart. Not school smart though, money smart. I spent more time reading ‘get rich’ books than I did textbooks. Entrepreneur biographies, real estate books, poker books, whatever I thought might help me get where I wanted to go.

While other people were working some job for pennies to get a better resume, here was a sample summer for me:

I was interning for free for the Philadelphia 76ers, playing poker for money to pay for it, while learning to start a new business in my spare time(opportunity I saw in the poker space), while occasionally using my off days from the internship to do things like auditioning for The Apprentice.

Who do you think is likely to come out ahead in the long run? The guy who spent his summer like that, or the guy who got a job where others told them what to do and gave them a small sum of money for the privilege.

How most spent their summers:

 

normalsummer2

mysummer

What happened from these things:

  • Learned I didn’t want to work for an NBA team like I thought I did. That’s not a bad thing, it’s a great one. I learned I likely wouldn’t make the money I wanted to make for a much longer time than I hoped. So, I would have had a cool job that I liked, but not be able to afford the life I wanted to live.
  • Standing in line for The Apprentice auditions for hours allowed me to meet the first entrepreneurs I’d really ever met in my life. One of them introduced me to Rich Dad Poor Dad, which was the first book I’d read like that which got me interested in owning assets. I never got a call back from the audition, but the education I got from standing in line for hours was awesome.
  • Learned a lot about business from getting, and then losing an exclusive licensing deal on a new poker product I wanted to bring to market.
  • Got even better at poker and starting making decent money(which would give me more confidence in going pro later on)

Each of these lessons lead me to being closer to the path where I wanted to go, and gave me knowledge for the next times I bet on myself that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Some people would look at a summer like that and think I wasted it away failing 75% of the time. I saw it as four out of four lessons. I learned all sorts of things I never would have known had I not made attempts at those opportunities. The knowledge I picked up allowed for more optimal decisions moving forward.

More optimal decisions either lead to successes, or more education from failure that continues to compound your knowledge, which will eventually lead you to successes.

Example life of someone who achieves success:

  • Failure
  • Failure(but smarter)
  • Failure(but even smarter)
  • Failure(but REALLY smart)
  • Success(NOW I get it!)

Example life of most people:

  • Traditional route
  • Traditional results
  • Seeing results they’d rather have… “I wish I was lucky!”

When people see any level of success their initial thoughts are often: “Oh you’re so lucky you’re good at poker”, “Oh you’re so lucky you’ve started some businesses that printed money”, “Wait you started 20 e-commerce stores? Omg could you be luckier!”, “You travel anytime you want? What I would give to have your life!”.

The truth is, all your decisions in the past have answered exactly what you are willing give. It is often not much, which leads to you not having your desired life.

See, if you take the standard road, how can you possibly think you will get anything but standard results?

 

April29_6

If you look at my poker career, playing poker to earn an income was anything but standard.

I started out playing for pennies. Literally pennies. I had a notebook I was supposed to use for taking notes in class. I used it to track my poker results.

+$0.13

-$0.21

+$0.25

-$0.06

Eventually I got better as a result of spending a ridiculous amount of time playing and studying the game. I did the $0/hr work that no one wants to do. When I wasn’t in class or playing sports, I was playing or studying poker. I’d play in between classes, after classes, at lunch, before bed. After a while it started paying off. I started making decent money. I’d hear “beginner’s luck” from anyone who didn’t understand how much time and focus I was investing getting better at the game.

The internet in the dorm sucked sometimes, so I’d go over to the library after classes, giggle to myself surrounded by people working hard on class assignments, load up some poker tables, print some easy money and head back to the dorms. I remember I jammed up the printers one time with hundreds of pages worth of poker hands I printed out to review.

“Dude I’ve got to print my paper how long is that gonna take? What is all that!?”

“Uhh…. homework!”

Using school resources to gamble and then review my gambling strategy… Let’s just say I wasn’t up for valedictorian.

Similar to how the feedback for entrepreneurship goes, poker went something like this:

Just learning to play: “That’s risky. You’re going to lose your money”

Starting to make a little money: “That’s what everyone says in the beginning. It’s beginner’s luck!”

Making good, consistant money: “Hey, can you teach me!?”

While I was learning to play for pennies, slowly moving my way up while risking my own money, and studying how to get better when I wasn’t playing, other people were doing the normal small hourly job stuff.

We were both ‘working’, but as you’ll notice I have a pattern of betting on myself, instead of asking others to rent my time.

In doing things for myself I get significantly greater rewards when things work out, and more importantly, much greater lessons. When you’re the one taking the ‘risk’, you’re committed. If you lose money on something, you’ll want to figure out why you’re losing it pretty quick, or you’re just going to lose more.

You know how many ‘can you take me under your wing and teach me everything you know for free’ emails I get? How committed do you think those people will be? They won’t be at all. The first barrier they run into they’ll quit, because they have nothing invested.

In consistently betting on yourself you develop a pattern of understanding that bad things don’t happen when you take calculated risks. If you never play the game, you have a false assumption that everything is risky and “omg what if XYZ happens?”.

Well, what if it doesn’t?…

Significantly better results than others, plus significantly more learning and higher level skills you acquire. Those will continue to snowball into significantly better results in the future since you’re able to think on a higher level than the people who have never taken risks and never acquired certain lessons.

After college when everyone else got their ‘safe, secure’ job, I got a 100% commission based job as a loan officer. So, I got paid $0 until I sold something. I was able to use my poker and sports card profits to fund the risk. Well, this one didn’t go so well. It felt like boiler room. I love the movie but didn’t want to live it. 12+ hour days of dialing for dollars. I had to hustle up my own creative ways to get leads once I realized the leads I got from the company were worthless. The company was giving us ‘penny leads’ instead of the high quality leads we were promised. I guess they figured any sales generated were pure profit for them since we were on 100% commission. Not exactly long term thinking, and definitely not what I signed up for.   

This situation wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go.

There was one point I was driving 1.5 hours each way everyday plus working 12+ hours, so I literally wasn’t doing anything except for working, driving and sleeping. I don’t mind the grind if there’s a payoff or purpose, but this wasn’t it.

Despite doing ‘well’ compared to others who started at the same time as me, it was still pennies. Besides not getting the leads we were promised, there were a lot of extra “fees” outside of the normal fees that were taken out of deals by sketchy bosses. A call to corporate confirmed I was getting hustled.

Those five figure months I was expecting straight out of college were nowhere in sight. After finally realizing I was sold a dream that wasn’t reality, I got out. At the time I only felt anger at the false promises and getting taken advantage of, but looking back it was a great lesson in the necessity to perform proper due diligence and be able to reverse engineer what someone is saying to understand if it’s feasible, or if you’re being sold bullshit. It’s probably part of the reason I’m passionate about helping you learn how to think more optimally, to avoid the BS and avoid falling victim like I did when I was just starting out.

Most people at this point would lick their wounds and get into that ‘safe, secure’ game. Let’s go grab a job and X off the next 30 years on the calendar.

F that.

Was time to bet on myself again.

I wanted to see what was possible for myself in poker. I remember when I was about to quit the loan officer job I was chatting with one of the veterans of the office. He was a real slick talking, smooth selling guy. Talked fast, and talked a lot- he was like the Conor McGregor of mortgage brokers, minus the hustle.

conor

He showed up like once or twice a week for a few hours here or there, closed a deal and then went out chasing girls. He’d built enough leads up over the years that he didn’t have to hit the phones, and didn’t seem to have higher aspirations.

“I’m probably going to quit and play poker full time”, I told him when the bosses weren’t around.

“No you’re not! How are you going to make money?”

“Playing poker. I’m working for pennies here, I’ll make more going all in on poker.”

“You can’t make real money at poker!”

“I guarantee I can. I’ll make 6 figures year 1 if I do it full time.”

“Bullshit, you’d already be out of here if that was true.”

A few days later I was gone.

The beginning of my ‘pro poker’ journey didn’t start like I’d hoped. I made $0 my first month. Literally no money. So, not much of a “pro” at that point. I was rusty and the games had gotten a bit tougher since I’d last played regularly.

So, despite the ‘normal’ tendency to quit and start renting out time, I went the opposite way and bet even more on myself- I hired a coach to help me raise my game.

I’ve been shown “you can give up now” signs over and over, but have always kept betting on myself because I understood that not betting on myself was the worst bet of all.

giveupsign

It’s important to note that a lot of my willingness to continually bet on and invest in myself is because of the experience in doing so in the past, all the way back to when I was a kid.

Why is most people’s natural tendency to avoid risk, and mine to make the optimal decision? I think a lot of it has to do with most people never having experience betting on or investing in themselves, so it feels uncomfortable and unnatural.

Many people assume that “one day” that will magically change, but it won’t. It’s always going to feel unnatural the first time.

My 2nd month as a pro, and I guess you could really say it was my first since I didn’t make any money the month before, I made over $17,000.

A lot of people hear that and say, “oh, so lucky!”. Well, want to know where the “luck” came from? Putting in a ton of hours in college not just playing but learning the game, hiring people who were better than me to train me how to get an edge in the current games, and putting an ungodly amount of hands in.

What would seem like an “overnight success” to the outsider, was anything but.

What I didn’t have yet in skill, I made up for in hustle. To make the $17k, I played over 88,000 hands that month.

At the time, it was more hands than just about anyone had played. I wasn’t gambling massive amounts of money to try and win a few big pots, I was playing small stakes, and a lot of tables at once. I was just hustling harder than anyone else, and pushing my small edges over and over and over and over… 88,000 times. A decent chunk of my profit was in bonuses and kickbacks from the poker rooms for playing so many hands.

I may have made $17k, but I still failed a lot that month. There were plenty of hands I had no idea what to do and felt lost.

I lost a lot of hands I shouldn’t have. I would send any hand I struggled with to my coach, and throughout the month got better and better.

I wasn’t just interested in what to do. I wanted to know how to think.

“Did I play this hand right?”, “why did you recommend raising here, but not here?”, “are you sure I should fold in that position?”, “why wouldn’t you call and make a play at him after the flop?”.

I grilled him in every which way, because I understood that memorizing answers would only get me so far. I needed to understand the thought process behind it so that I could continue to reap benefits with or without a coach.

This is something most aspiring entrepreneurs fail to do. It’s comically bad in the entrepreneur/make money space online.

“Ohh, I should start a blog? Oh I should start a podcast? Okay!”

People wait to be told what to do, not understanding the real upside or downside of the route they’re choosing. They never learn to think, and because of that blindly follow whatever advice is given to them, even if it’s crappy advice.

blogisntworking1

blogger

The blind pay the blind to lead them, never understanding why they’re going the route they’re going, and most never even stopping to question it.

Throughout poker I hired many coaches. Sometimes it was just to get a different perspective, sometimes it was raising the level of coach I was hiring as my own level rose, sometimes it was higher stakes players who were crushing a certain game I was moving to.

Poker was a bet that paid off big. Many people I knew were struggling with low paying jobs they didn’t necessarily enjoy and no vacation time, while I got to play poker and was taking off for weeks at a time to travel if I wanted, and had given myself the capital to make more bets on myself.

Once I got rolling with poker, I can remember thinking of potential real estate goals…

“If I can keep hustling at poker, I could leverage and try to buy a new house every month!

Hmm… should I just keep my money safe and sound in a bank?

Lol, mediocrity thoughts.

Let’s bet on myself!”

Well, despite negotiating some very good deals, my real estate bets happened at one of the worst times in real estate history.

In your mid 20s and taking a six figure hit on an investment… I didn’t love it!

Many of the people I’d went to school with were moving along with their jobs, being promoted, and here I was losing close to their career earnings in one shot.

Just another bet that went heavily against me.

Stuff like that can be hard to shake off.

 

 

bank

 

Logical Billy doesn’t let that Billy out much.

“Keep betting on yourself.”

From being in poker so long I saw gaps in the market that others weren’t filling well. I wanted to launch something to fill one of those gaps.

I had multiple people tell me before I started the venture that it would fail. The same way many did when I started playing poker. If I hadn’t bet on myself in the past I might have let those opinions scare me away.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

― Theodore Roosevelt

I launched the poker ventures and quickly turned it into a 7 figure business. I’d obviously had the sports card business as a kid, and multiple other ‘hustle’ ventures, but this was probably my first “real” business.

I heard how “lucky” I was from many different people.

Some of these were the same people who told me I wouldn’t succeed if I tried.

Want to know where the “luck” came from?

I identified gaps in the market based on understanding the current market extremely well and doing massive amounts of due diligence. I’d been putting in hours upon hours upon hours for a very long time in that industry so I knew the ins and outs, and decided to place a bet that I was right. It was the same bet that anyone else could of made, but they either couldn’t see the opportunity, or didn’t understand how to make it happen.

This isn’t me stroking my own ego at all. I’m sure some other entrepreneurs might have been just as successful with it. The ones that would have spotted it and known how and why to pull the trigger were probably just not in that market, or were just busy making other bets.

I’m just trying to enunciate where any success comes from.

“Luck” seems like an easier answer though, and is something that will make people not betting on themselves feel better about sitting on the sidelines. They don’t see the losses and the lessons behind the scenes that teach you the necessary skills to get to the wins.

“Winners win because they persevere in doing what losers would not even begin doing in the first place… and practice repeated effort even in the face of little or no observable progress in a commitment to systematic practice that yields “instant results” to the unaware outsider.” – George Pratt

As I’m showing you sometimes when I bet I lose, and other times I win. However, it’s important to realize that when you’re betting on yourself your upside is uncapped. This makes all the difference. When you’re not betting on yourself(job, keeping money in the bank, etc…) your upside is ridiculously capped.

I started my sports card business as a kid for I believe $700. I started poker for $50. I started my poker business for around $20k. My e-commerce investment on my initial two stores was around $4.5k. So, if I lose, I lose these amounts. Cool. But if I succeed, my winnings are somewhat uncapped. Even moreso because when you succeed you can pour the income you’re producing back into what you know is a profitable investment to produce even more income. This creates a situation where when you find that you’ve bet on a winner, you can make a lot of money.

If you hit on a winner in a job, and you ask your boss for 10x your salary, what do you think they’re going to say? When they get done laughing if they even bother to give you a response they’ll tell you “of course not”.

Because you’re in a capped income situation you don’t reap the rewards when the upside pays off, the people renting your time do. They made the wagers, so they get the spoils when the bet pays off.

You may have less chance of a ‘loss’, but you have very capped winnings.

Investing in Yourself is Not Risky

“So is placing bets on yourself risky?”

It doesn’t have to be.

As you can tell I barely risked much money at all on some business ventures that have worked out. Most people would view my putting any winnings back into play as a risk, but my bigger risk would be the opportunity cost of leaving ‘safe’ money in a place where I guarantee myself low returns.

Even when you win at the safe route… are you really winning?

You just get the expected result of relatively low upside. You may lose less, but you often lose by default as a byproduct of never even giving yourself a chance to win the game.

I set up my poker ventures in a way that freed up my time to explore other opportunities, another benefit of betting on myself in the past, that continued to pay off in the future.

More time to do what I wanted, plus it allowed me the time to explore other business and investment opportunities.

One of these was e-commerce stores.

“Don’t you want to keep your money in the bank Billy, remember what happened with real estate?”

realestate

 

Logical Billy, “lol illogical Billy!

Let’s bet on myself.

I started off with a couple very small bets, and when I saw progress I bet even bigger. I ended up with around 20 stores.

It was less of a business and more of a micro fund, that I invested in/hired people to run. I learned a lot of lessons. How to hire(often how not to hire), how to manage(often how not to manage), lessons hammered home on why not to diversify, why you should work on things you’re passionate about, etc…

Even though it was mainly passive for me, I really didn’t enjoy it. Despite e-commerce stores being a relatively easy business model, I didn’t like it at all. I had no interest in the products being sold. I didn’t even log into my stores the whole time I owned them after the first month or two.

So despite making some money and having another passive business, I knew that wasn’t the answer for me.

So when things like the Amazon product wave got hot over the last few years, despite the great profit potential I knew I wasn’t interested and would be bored out of my mind.

Even if you can make money at something doesn’t mean you should do it.

And that was a lesson that took me much longer to learn than it should have, but I never would have learned it if I hadn’t been playing the game.

I’ve failed more than just about anyone, but those failures led to growth, and increased knowledge and skills. The increased knowledge and skills made it easier and easier the next time I place a bet on myself.

Continue to Invest in Yourself

If you’re continually investing in yourself, you can predict your own success.

Your success is just a result of the work you’ve done in the past.

ForeverJobless is my current project. If I’d never done anything before and was starting it with no knowledge I might mistakingly follow along with the ‘thought leaders’ in the space, telling people to start blogs and other things they shouldn’t be doing, and trying to get paid for doing so. I’m giving up a lot of short term income from not doing a lot of those things that I know I shouldn’t do, and I’m fine with that.

As you follow along with ForeverJobless you’ll see that not only is the content different than what others are putting out, but you’ll see different ways that I attempt to do things with ForeverJobless. Those bets are easier to make because of experience making outside the box bets on past projects. Some of them will fail, some will succeed and the ones that succeed will have a chance to reap rewards significantly greater than going the ‘standard’ route. Plus it’ll be more fun.

I already know what’s going to happen in the future. I’ll bet on myself when the odds are right to do so and I’ll pick up knowledge along the way that puts the odds even more in my favor … And if I fail along the way at times(which I will) it’s fine. There will occasionally be someone on the sidelines who’s like “ahh see! You shouldn’t have done that too risky!“.

And what does that mean when that happens?

You’ve identified an illogical thinker. Someone who thinks what you should have done is based on results from a sample size of one. Those are uneducated opinions from results oriented thinkers, and should be dismissed accordingly. They fail by default sitting on the sidelines thinking everything is “risky”. You occasionally fail but it’s just a learning experience that gives you knowledge for your next bet on the way to your successes.

Do not let illogical opinions incorrectly influence your path.

Remember the earlier quote:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

― Theodore Roosevelt

If you are not where you currently want to be, answer this with complete honesty:

Where would you expect to be given the cumulative result of all of your bets?

Are you anywhere different right now than where you would expect based on all of the bets you have made on yourself(or failed to make) in the past?

Over the long term, the bets that you have made, or lack thereof, have given you the expected results of those decisions. Usually nothing more, nothing less. In the short term, yes, you can and will get lucky and unlucky. In the long term, it evens out and the life you create as a byproduct of all of your decisions produce exactly what you could expect.

If you take a route that’s guaranteed not to give you the life you want, be careful not to fool yourself into thinking that you’ve done what was needed to have the desired end result.

“I would give anything to…”

As I mentioned earlier, all of your decisions in the past have answered exactly what you are willing give. If what you are willing to give does not equate to bets that are likely to produce your desired life, then you won’t have it. It’s not any more complicated than that.

Most people look for complexity in places where simple equations would eliminate confusion.

For a simple example let’s look at my route versus the traditional route.

When others got their first job, I did sports cards. ‘Safe secure’ job after college, I played poker. When others tried to work up the ladder, I started a company and bought real estate… I kept betting on myself.

I lost some, and won some. I learned a lot and my knowledge and skill sets grew which each bet, where others often stayed the same.

Is it luck?

I bet on myself, and was mathematically proven to win over the long term.

It’s not luck, it’s math. Even with any losses I take when bets don’t go my way, since my losses are capped and my winnings are uncapped it’s going to be very difficult to match the results of someone who’s betting on themselves versus someone who’s not. Plus the knowledge that’s picked up in the process is a completely different set of skills than the ones you get from renting out your time, and increases the payoff on future bets.

So, if you’re not where you want to be yet, instead of looking for some complex answer just ask yourself how your bets are going. If you don’t make any bets, they can’t pay off.

Over the past couple years if I’d see a friend of mine crushing it on a much bigger level than I had I’d find myself thinking, “oh man I wish I…” and then I catch myself. “Welp, let me look at the bets I’ve been making versus the bets they’ve been making

“Oh, I’ve been traveling the world, spending most of my energy on fitness, dating, and whatever else.” They’ve been trying project after project and testing a bunch of different things out. How could I possibly expect my bets to pay off in a similar way to theirs? That wouldn’t be realistic. Their results were earned by putting in enough bets and picking up enough lessons and occasionally taking some big risks to get the huge payoff.

See results others are having that you wish was happening for you? Calculate the expected value of the bets they’re making versus the ones you are. It’ll likely give you a reality check pretty quick, and show you it’s not “wishing” that’s going to give you those results.

So, the next time you think,  “Why is it easy for you Billy?”. “Why haven’t I found a good opportunity yet?”. Hopefully you realize it’s the bets I’ve made in the past that make the game easier for me. And finding a good opportunity has nothing to do with getting lucky or unlucky, it’s betting on yourself to create situations where you’ll be significantly more likely to understand what to do with opportunities when you come across them.

You probably see opportunities every day, but if you’ve never bet on yourself before you don’t even realize they’re opportunities.

Much like when I was doing sports cards, or elmos or anything else as a kid and thinking, “doesn’t anyone else see all these opportunities!?”.

The game is the same now as it was then. I’m just in different markets, with a lot more knowledge and playing with more zeroes if I see a good bet.

I see opportunities everywhere.

The people who’ve bet on themselves in the past understand opportunities when they come across them and often know what to do with them from their failures and successes in the past.

Those who continually pass up opportunities to bet on or invest in themselves remain blind to the goldmine of opportunities that surround them.

If you’ve never done anything, the odds aren’t just going to magically start shifting in your favor.

If you’re just starting out, here’s how the beginning of the game should be played:

  • Put in the initial work to raise your knowledge up.(reading good books, articles, etc…)
  • Use that knowledge to raise the level of your questions
  • Getting answers to better questions will further your knowledge
  • Higher level knowledge allows you to have higher level success
  • Higher level success allows for even deeper questions, leading to higher level answers, leading to more success and the cycle continues…

Throughout the process occasionally bet on yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s small, just invest in your success.

The cycle never even starts for those who won’t take the first steps.

I can always tell if someone’s put in any work by their questions.

“Hey Billy how can I make some money?” = never done anything.

They’d have a higher level question than that if they had. When I get those types of questions I often suggest reading all the articles I’ve written and then writing me back, and I’ve literally never heard back from any of them(hundreds). It’s often taken as “oh Billy must not want to help me”, instead of realizing that I’m trying to get you off the starting block to enable you to ask better questions to get you to that next step, but I can’t do it for you. You’ve got to want to do something for yourself.

The money isn’t going to just fall into your bank account one day. It doesn’t matter if you take baby steps along the way, those will add up. If you never take the first steps, you’ll spend your whole life crawling along wondering why others sprint by and enjoy the kind of life you wish you had.

Every action or inaction you take WILL lead you somewhere. Just depends if it’s where you really want to go.

Start betting on yourself, and I guarantee you’ll start reaping the rewards of those wagers, even if it doesn’t show up as money right out of the gate.

How?

Think about it like this:

Each one of us starts the game as an entrepreneur out with a coin. You are going to flip this coin every time you make a bet.

Heads you succeed; tails you fail.

The coin will not go your way every time. You will have some variance; the lesson is to get used to it.

Each time you play the game you will be handed the same coin, but it is not quite the same anymore.

Why?

In the game of business, the coin becomes weighted in your favor the more you play. The reason being that your knowledge acquired from past failures, coaches or mentors, gives you an edge you did not have before.

Consider this …

If you knew the expected value of the coin was weighted in your favor, and someone allowed you to flip for money as many times as you wanted, how many times would you bet? You would never stop, and by doing this would end up very rich. It would be mathematically impossible not to be.

It’s the same in business as an entrepreneur. Some people bet once or twice, and give up because the first few attempts didn’t go the way they wanted.
Some never bet at at all.

If you go into business with the understanding that you will occasionally lose, and that it’s okay, you’ll be mentally prepared to endure it. Don’t forget that in the game of business the more you flip the coin, the more weighted the coin becomes in your favor since you are learning as you play.

Once you flip, you will never play the game the same again.

You will be playing with a weighted coin.

So if you’ve never bet on yourself, get started.

If you’ve bet but haven’t hit on a success yet, keep betting.

The best bet you’ll ever make is on yourself, and when the payoff comes and outsiders see “luck”, you’ll know the reality.

It was the expected result from all the bets you placed.

Nothing more…


Nothing less.

 

bambooblogL6


Why $0/hr work is the most profitable work there is


I’m going to introduce you to a concept I call $0/hr work. But first, I want to remind you of something I’ve mentioned in the past to help you understand the concept better.

The game of business doesn’t have to be hard. Most people try to overcomplicate it which is where they run into issues. Here is business in a nutshell:

Step 1: find a problem someone has

Step 2: solve that problem for them

Step 3: collect money

When simplified, it’s very easy. Here’s how most people operate though:

Why does something so simple, elude so many people? Why is the guy above(like most people) oblivious to the fact that when presented with problems he’s being handed a business idea on a silver platter?

I’ll tell you why, it’s because he’s thinking in the time for money trade… “how much do I get today?”.

See, solving a problem doesn’t just pay you money. At least not right away. It’s often hard work, and takes time, and involves some thinking.

thinkingandwork

So, like most people, he sees the person’s problem as a bunch of work and not a goldmine of opportunity. Too busy to help them solve their problem!? You should be thanking them.

If I was struggling to come up with a business idea, and someone told me about a big problem they had, I’d probably just start making out with them. I’d be so excited about trying to solve their problem.

See, the beauty in someone having a problem to be solved, means it likely hasn’t been solved in a big enough way yet- meaning it either hasn’t been solved at all, or occasionally it has been solved but not marketed well enough for them to know about it. So these problems are usually significantly higher EV(expected value) than other opportunities. Instead of attempting to launch “me-too” or even ‘micro improvement’ businesses to already solved problems, solving something that hasn’t been solved optimally yet lets you fill an actual gap in the market.

Now, a logical question to ask yourself might be, “why hasn’t this been solved yet?”.

The way most people think about these opportunities is that if it was a good opportunity someone would have already solved it. That’s obviously a horrible mindset, that keeps the problem unsolved.

The rest of the people assume it’s going to be very difficult to do, and they don’t know exactly how to do it. So they don’t try either. Obviously another horrible mindset, and the problem remains unsolved.

Both of these mindsets will likely keep the people who think this way poor.

Then occasionally you have the outlier, who tries to solve the problem. That guy or girl is going to fail more often than the 99% who never attempt anything, but they’re also going to be the ones that get rich. They don’t get rich because they were chasing money. This is a false belief that most poor people have. Most people who get rich become so as a byproduct of solving problems.

Now, let’s take a look at this reason:

Many people assume it’s going to be very difficult to do, and they don’t know exactly how to do it. So they don’t try.

First, you need to understand that no one knows how to do something before they ever do it. No one. This applies from everything to you riding a bike when you were young, to Elon Musk building rocketships. It doesn’t matter how easy or hard the problem you’re trying to solve is, you don’t magically know how to do it before you research and/or try something.

So take comfort in the fact that any reasonably difficult problem you’re considering solving, is not going to be a problem that anyone else knows exactly how to solve the first time they see it. You’re going to be in the same position as them. You or the next person may have ideas on how to do it, and some of them may be right and some of them may be wrong, but you’re rarely starting out with the disadvantage you assume.

So if you realize that and it makes you feel a bit better about continuing, you may eventually find yourself discouraged by the fact that as you go about undertaking the challenge of solving this problem, you may not make the money you desire to make right away. This is disheartening to most, and it should actually give you the opposite feeling.

I know that sounds a bit strange, but let me explain.

When you have an opportunity that will take time to bring to fruition, the same feeling of disappointment that you’re having about not being able to print money out of the gate, is the same feeling your potential competitor was having, and poof, potential competitor no more because they want that quick money like everyone else. Ideas that have the opportunity to be significantly more profitable than others, often have an invisible moat around them because so few people are willing to put the time into something that might not work, or will take a while to come to fruition.

Everyone wants the easy and quick money. That’s why everyone wants to start blogs and sell coaching or launch courses or ebooks or be a freelancer or join an MLM. It’s ‘easy’, and ‘quicker money’.

It’s even easy to falsely justify your desire of wanting to get into an ‘easy/quick money’ “business” by pointing to the most successful in the ‘easy money’ niche you’re joining and saying, “see, look how much they’re making!”, as if pointing to the top .01% is a good representation of what to expect, especially when you have no idea how and why that’s happening, you just “want that too!”.

You see, the shiny lights of “easy money” businesses are often the wrong businesses to get into. They may be easy, but the rewards and expected value often line up with the ease of the opportunity. The competition of so many others wanting the easy route lowers the EV even further.

For example, it’s very easy to start a blog. There’s thousands of guys out there with blogs telling you to start blogs, and conveniently they’d like you to click their link to get started 🙂 With a click of a button you’re up and running, with the false assumption that you’ve accomplished something. The low barrier to entry means a lot of people follow that path, so not only is the ceiling of the opportunity relatively low to start out, but it’s a low ceiling with loads of competition from others who prefer the “easy” route. The easy route will lead most of them to the hard route, because they didn’t run the math before they started. They’ve likely entered an opportunity that will keep them busy, not make them successful. The opportunity to make quick/easy money is what attracts many there, but because they don’t understand what it takes to create a business that prints money, they’ll go in not understanding that they need to offer something better than what already exists in the market.

If your goal as an entrepreneur is to get into opportunities for quick and easy money, you’re often saying you’d like to get involved in low expected value activities. It doesn’t always equate that way, but it most often does. And again, because almost everyone wants the quick/easy money, it brings the EV down even further.

For example it’s easy to be a freelancer offering web design services, or copywriting, or SEO or whatever you’re a freelancer for. You can get paid quick, and the barrier to entry is low. How high do you think the EV is? It’s not. It’s low.

Ironically, I literally just got this email with this heading as I was finishing the final draft:

freelancer

Marketers know what you’re looking for: fast and easy results. Make money “tomorrow!”. They’ll be glad to separate you from your money because they know you’re more enticed by that than in putting in the effort to find high EV opportunities.

Unless you’re at the top of the industry you’re in or marketing significantly better than your competition, it’s not going to pay well. If it does pay well without doing those things, it will be temporary because others would like the easy/quick money as well. Then you’re competing on price, and welcome to economics, it will even itself out where your income won’t go up like you’d like your pretty graph to look.

whathappend

It will get harder and harder for the income you desire over time if you haven’t passed step 1 of creating a business that prints money.

On the flip side, there are plenty of great opportunities that are just sitting around waiting to be taken. They remain untouched because they’re hard work and/or low pay when starting out.

I mentioned an idea a while back that would take some hard work to get going, but is a legitimate idea that I would personally pay for if the service existed and was well done.  An enormous amount of people who don’t have an idea to work on read the article and didn’t start it.

Why?

In short, because it would take hard work to get started, and they wouldn’t make much for a while. They didn’t have to tell me that, I can tell by the emails I received, and just based on the fact that no one did it.

If instead I told people you could make six figures starting a blog, and “click my link to get started”, how many clicks do you think I would have gotten? I’d be swimming in affiliate money.

swimming

Why? Because that would be easy for them.

If I did that the people who clicked that affiliate link would be unlikely to go on and be very successful as a blogger, at least relative to other opportunities they could have pursued.

So, why would people choose a -EV decision but pass up a +EV decision?

In short, because $0/hr work is not enticing. At least not when you voluntarily sign up for it.

“Wait, what do you mean by $0/hr work”.

$0/hr work is the work you do when you are working to solve a problem, or create a solution to a problem. You will not be paid for this work, or you will be paid such an insignificant amount of money that it’s irrelevant. However, if you’ve correctly evaluated the opportunity and it provides significant value for many people, you’ll likely be paid handsomely once successful.

The ironic thing is that most aspiring entrepreneurs unintentionally make close to $0/hr chasing the easy money because they don’t understand a good opportunity vs. a bad one.

Yet, they pass up phenomenal opportunities that would likely pay them significant amounts of money once successful.

Why do they pass them up?  To avoid going down a road that would require $0/hr work.

They want “easy” and “fast money”.

Essentially, they pass up unbelievably high EV opportunities because they may not make money right away. So instead they pursue incredibly low EV opportunities because they have a chance to potentially make ‘quick’ money.

Plus, “quick money” opportunities are the ones advertised by people selling info. So people falsely assume the routes they keep seeing promoted are the good ones. High EV opportunities are not advertised because the person wouldn’t be selling info on it if it were high EV, they’d be doing it.

Could you imagine this happening?

 

Broke people think about how much they can make today. Rich people think about the long term expected value 

If we take the example from the easy business to start, as I mentioned this is likely the process someone would go through with a business like that:

what kind of business should i start

Essentially they’ll start out at that $0/hr work trying to figure out a new way to do something, and likely be a poorly paid freelancer at best until they actually figure out the optimal way to do it.

A significantly easier route to go would be doing article marketing the same way people already do it. You don’t need to solve much, you can start making money pretty much right out of the gate. But, there’s a catch. Since you don’t solve step 1, you will not create a business that prints money. You will remain a freelancer, competing on price with other freelancers that have failed to solve step 1.

graphicdesignersupwork

Thus, you’ll find yourself in a low expected value opportunity, keeping you busy, but not getting you very far ahead in the game.

The beauty of $0/hr opportunities is a significant % of the time the reason they still exist is because everyone wants to skip the $0/hr work.

$0/hr work isn’t sexy!

Quick money is sexy.

But again the invisible moat with $0/hr work acts almost like a forcefield keeping potential competitors out because they can’t see past the $0/hr work.

Which of these opportunities has a high payday at the end of the rainbow, and which doesn’t?

$0/hr work is all the hard shit you do without making much money before you get to your payday. It doesn’t have to be $0/hr, but basically a lot of times you’re making peanuts at best. The people that try to skip this step often remain stuck where they are and wonder why that is. Maybe as you’re reading this you realize you’ve been skipping the $0/hr work that you need to do to get to the next level of the game.

I’ve had several businesses where I literally made close to $0/hr for the first many months, and then I bring in six or seven figures after the hard work starts coming to fruition and getting to the ‘print money’ stage. I can remember running the math ahead of time and wondering why no one else was attempting some of the ideas I’ve pursued. Then as I endured many $0/hr months, I understood. However, I also understood the $0/hr moat is what even allowed the opportunity to exist in the first place.

Others would have quit way before, or more likely never attempted because of all the $0/hr work.

I love $0/hr work, it keeps most of my competitors out.

You should get excited when you find $0/hr work, because it often means you’re exploring an opportunity that others have passed up because $0/hr work is not enticing.

Now, keep in mind I’m not saying pursue hard opportunities for the sake of pursuing hard opportunities, I’m saying when you discover a problem that remains unsolved, or something that could be done that would make something significantly better than what exists on the market, but hasn’t, and you find a bunch of $0/hr work, it shouldn’t be a deterrent. It should be a “hell ya” for deeper exploration, because it has likely been a deterrent to your potential competitors which might be why it’s still available.

If we look back at the article marketing idea the way I laid out in the article, here’s four likely phases you’d go through again:

  1. Hard, $0/hr work
  2. Still hard, but slightly easier/making a bit of money
  3. Charging more for the same work, finally getting decent pay
  4. So much work because you actually filled a gap in the market, you get to the printing money stage, and you’ve got yourself a real business

Now, the way most people would go about it would be to skip step 1 in the example, and go straight to doing something easier where they can start getting paid out of the gate. The problem with choosing that route is that you never get to the 4th step. The ceiling is capped below that because you’re not filling a gap in the market, you’re just offering a service that already exists.

If you attempt to fill a gap in the market, it may often require $0/hr work to figure out how to do that, but it is what allows the print money phase to exist. There is often a large payday if you solve it.

fillagap

This is why most people end up in situations where they don’t make as much money as they desire, and they wonder why. They pursue opportunities for how much they can make today, instead of asking themselves if the potential income of the opportunity they’re pursuing matches up with their goals.

Any entrepreneur that’s reading this who’s started a real business before is thinking, “ahh ya obviously you may have to work without making money when you’re starting a business.” But it’s become more and more popular to chase quick money instead of real opportunities because of the fact that most of the people teaching how to make money are doing so with the intention to make money, and info marketers are being replicated at a significantly faster rate than real entrepreneurs who take time to share their lessons. So the real information is getting drowned out by what sounds most appealing, and then regurgitated so that everyone falsely assumes you should be able to throw up (insert info product of the day) and instantly make a bunch of money.

At the risk of overdoing it, let me show you another example of a business that could have just gone the easy route, but instead spent time doing $0/hr work solving a problem(and probably not much since they successfully solved it) and offering a service that was better than what existed in the market.

WPCurve

Now, that’s a pretty enticing offer.

How the hell do they even do that? Well, from talking with Dan about it, a lot of freaking work! And taking time to set up the systems that allowed it to happen.

It would have been significantly easier to just start a freelancer “business” offering fixes to your website like everyone else.

odesk

“Easy”, and “quick”, but would have had a very limited ceiling because of the fact that everyone else would have offered a similar service.

To create an offering that doesn’t exist in order to offer more value than what currently exists in the market…that’s hard work. But guess what, that checks off step 1 in how to create a business that prints money. Now, just because you check the first box off doesn’t mean it’s an instant windfall, but it’s no surprise that their business is already doing seven figures/yr.

Starting a “me too” or ‘micro improvement’ business would have capped them to a very small ceiling.

Getting through the “$0/hr work” that they went through gave them a bit of a moat in the space, despite many copy cats coming onto the scene after they learned that there was money to be made there.

That’s kind of the funny thing with the way people’s minds work. They wait for other people to prove that something can make money before they’ll try it, and they don’t stop to realize the fact that once someone else has already proven that it works, they’ve often filled that gap. So, copying the same offering as they just filled puts you in the situation we’ve discussed, where you’re now attempting to launch a “me too” business, or ‘micro improvement’ at best. Thus, your ceiling is capped. The person who goes through the $0/hr work to attempt to solve a problem/pursue an opportunity before it’s been solved is the person that gets the payday.

Are there exceptions? Of course, people who come in and solve the problem in a better way than the initial person, or execute/scale faster, but I don’t want to get too deep to confuse the point.

In short, the point I’m trying to make is the most optimal opportunities are not going to be the ones you already hear of everyone doing. The ceiling is already capped.

The highest EV activities are not going to be you instantly walking into easy money. That’s not how it works. You’ll often have to do a bunch of $0/hr work if you’re passing up the easy money routes, but when successful you’ll also receive a payday that likely didn’t exist if you had gone down the other route.

If you come across an idea that’s protected by a $0/hr moat, that’s not the time to look for easy money, it’s the time to recognize you just might have something.

bambooblogL6


The Apple Stand Empire


I see a very dangerous flaw in most people that are chasing success, and unless corrected they’ll forever struggle to have long term success.  

Look…

Stop doing things because it’s what people say to be doing, and start doing them because they’re why you should be doing them.

We touched on this in Entrepreneurial Quicksand, but it’s so important I wanted to dive further into this entrepreneurial death trap people are on.

The tendency is for people to listen to those having some results they’d like to have, and then follow whatever they’re doing. You’ll struggle significantly for as long as this habit remains. I’m going to demonstrate why with an example:

Let’s pretend someone sold apples. They were pretty much by themselves on a street with their apple stand, selling their apples. They were crushing it.

Well, they started talking about how much they were crushing it selling apples. So, more people started selling apples. They realized this was an opportunity, so started selling those people information about selling apples, increasing their “apple empire” even more.

Now people REALLY wanted to sell apples.

So more people set up on the same block to sell apples. It was basically apple seller after apple seller selling the same types of apples.

Many struggled to make any sales.

Johnny Appleseed continued to talk about how much he was crushing it.

“Dude, Johnny is making even MORE, we’ve got to keep trying.”

Johnny’s apple business growth slowed due to all the new competition but the info business about apples was now raking in loot for him. So, he kept the apple stand and people kept coming to see him because of how well known he was for his apple business. People saw all the attention he was getting and it confused them into thinking they should start an apple stand.

Here’s what they didn’t understand… Johnny did make money on apples. But, once everyone started selling apples his stand was no longer making money because he had apples, he was making his money from telling other people to sell apples. Selling apples wasn’t even a good opportunity anymore.

It should have been obvious to anyone thinking of starting a business that they should not be selling apples. I mean, shit, you could look down the road and see that literally EVERYONE was selling apples. The same f*$king apples.

 

Billy: Why are you starting an apple stand?

Sam: Dude, to make money. Johnny makes $20k/month from his stand.

Billy: How much are you making?

Sam: Nothing yet, but Johnny says I just got to keep at it and follow my dreams.

Billy: Do you agree with that?

Sam: Dude, Johnny makes $20k/month.

Billy: What does that have to do with whether you agree with it or not?

Sam: Well, he makes $20k/month. I want to make that!

Billy: And do you think following the path he’s suggesting will do that for you?

Sam: I sure hope so!

Billy: But, why not figure it out rather than relying on luck?

Sam: How do I do that?

Billy: Well, why don’t you begin by breaking down how Johnny has made his money, and how you’re attempting to make your money.

Sam: Okay, where do I start?

Billy: Well, you say that Johnny makes $20k/month, where does it come from?

Sam: From his apple stand! Look! Don’t you see all the people there.

Billy: Ya, seems like a lot of foot traffic. Very popular stand for sure. Have you thought to look at what they’re buying from him?

Sam: Dude, it’s all about apples can’t you see!?

Billy: So, why are they buying apple related things from him and not from you?

Sam: He’s known for selling apples, so people already know him, and they don’t know me.

Billy: Why don’t they know you?

Sam: Because I haven’t been around long enough, I just need to keep plugging away and get my name out there.

Billy: Plugging away at what?

Sam: Selling apples!

Billy: Why selling apples?

Sam: Dude! Aren’t you listening? I want to make money.

Billy: What does you wanting to make money have to do with selling apples?

Sam: If Johnny makes $20k/month why wouldn’t I start an apple business. Even if I can just get a piece of that market I’ll be so happy.

Billy: Is the only reason you started an apple business because you heard Johnny was making a lot of money from his?

Sam: Ya, I guess so.

Billy: So, let’s bring some logic into this… Take a look down the street

Applestand

 

Billy: Everyone is doing the same thing as you. Some of their apples are slightly different, but for the most part it’s all the same. So, while the apple stand business was probably a great idea when Johnny started, it’s unlikely to be anymore since everyone else is doing it.

Sam: Ya, but Johnny…

Billy: Johnny what? Makes $20k/month, right? How much of that is from selling apples?

Sam: I don’t know.

Billy: Well, let’s go hang by his stand for a little while.

 

Billy: How much of his revenue is from apples?

Sam: A pretty small fraction.

Billy: What’s the rest from?

Sam: Mainly his information on how to set up your own apple stand.

Billy: So, what does that tell you?

Sam: That I should sell information about setting up a profitable apple stand!

Billy: But you don’t know HOW to start a profitable apple stand.

Sam: Ya but that’s where Johnny is making all of his money now! I get what you’re saying.

Billy: Umm… no you don’t. I didn’t say to copy what Johnny is currently doing to make money. That’s what got you into the position you’re in now. Blindly following what someone else is doing because they make money at it and you want to too.

Let me ask you this. Why do you think Johnny made money selling apples initially?

Sam: Why?

Billy: No one else was selling apples on this street.

People wanted apples, and no one was selling them here so he did, and profited for doing so.

Sam: So, should I go to another place to sell my apples instead?

Billy: Well, that’d be one idea. But, people have already started to figure that out. When I drove in I saw multiple people selling apples on streets where no one was there previously.

It used to just be ‘apples row’, now they’ve spread out all over the place.

Why would you want to sell the same things to the same market as everyone else? You’d do much better to sell to a different audience, and/or to sell a different kind of apple to the same audience.

Sam: You’re right! That’s what I’ll do.

Billy: Well, I didn’t say to do that. I just said you’d be much better off doing that. I didn’t say it’s optimal.

Sam: Well, what would be optimal? Selling info right?

Billy: I definitely didn’t say that. Don’t fall into the guru trap. If you’re going to sell information, that information should be significantly better than what already exists in the market. It should solve a need, not clutter up the world with another info seller because you want to make money. That’s what’s leading to your struggles. You’re trying to make money, instead of trying to offer value. This is leading to a blind following of what someone else is doing without understanding why that person is successful with it.

Often someone was successful because they offered value in a certain way that wasn’t being offered when they started offering it. So if you try to offer that same value after they did it, they already filled the gap that previously existed. It’s not there anymore, so expecting to replicate their results from buying a course from them is not likely to happen.

Sam: So what should I do?

Billy: I’d advise breaking down why they were successful in the first place.

Why was Johnny successful selling apples initially?

Sam: I’m not sure.

Billy: Because he was the only one selling them anywhere near this busy street. People wanted apples and no one was offering them so Johnny did. So, he profited from filling a need that people were willing to pay for.

Then he started talking about how much money he was making. So, people started asking Johnny how to do it. He’d created a demand for this information. So, he filled that need as well. This is why you and the other apple sellers are struggling. Johnny already filled those gaps. To do the same thing as Johnny and expect the same success in the same market is ludicrous, because the gaps no longer exist. Gaps temporarily existed in other markets in the same space, but they are often smaller gaps, and once it’s popularized they disappear very quickly.

A more optimal investment of your time would be to fully understand why Johnny has been successful. It has nothing to do with what Johnny is selling, it has to do with why he is selling it, and how he went about it.

Billy: You see, Johnny is not teaching others to think, he is just teaching them what to do. You must learn to think, or you will always be one step behind. That is where the all long term success is.

You should not be asking, “how can I do exactly what Johnny is doing to sell apples?”. That is making Johnny rich, and you poor.

You should be thinking, how can I replicate the success Johnny has had in a completely different market? How can I provide value in a place where a gap in the market currently exists, much like it did before Johnny started selling apples, and before he was teaching other people to sell apples.

neverthoughtaboutit

 

It’s the difference between trying to make something from the leftover scraps off an industry that’s already been tapped, and filling a gap that has not yet been filled. That is where the gold is. You don’t dig for gold where everyone has already mined. The goldmine is where others have yet to stake their claim. 

That is yours for the taking if you spend your time evaluating where gaps like that may be, and then taking action to fill the existing gap in the market.

Your goal shouldn’t be to create another apple stand, it should be to create an empire outside of the apple market by filling gaps in a market the same way Johnny did with the apple empire, in the apple market.

Handing someone money to tell you what to do in a market where the gap does not even exist is nothing but a comedy show. The guru is the only one laughing. They roar loudest on the way to the bank, but all they’re doing if they have not taught you how to think is withdrawing from your account and depositing it in theirs.

Learning how to think is the only way to progress.

Learning what someone did is largely irrelevant unless you fully understand why and how they did what they did.

That is where thinking comes in, and is what no one is teaching how to do.

 

Blessed is he who has been able to win knowledge of the causes of things.  -Virgil

 

Ask yourself, have you been inadvertently following a Johnny Appleseed? How’s that route going so far?

The tips and tricks they’ve shared may in fact be good for your apple stand, but the more important question is, why do you even have an apple stand?

Once you learn to think for yourself, the view of the whole world will change, and the level of your potential success along with it.

bambooblogL6


ForeverJobless 2016 Quarterly Report


When I shared how I was setting my goals this year many of you commented or emailed saying you’d like me to share quarterly updates. So, in this post I’ll share with you how I progressed towards my goals, what worked, what didn’t work, how I’m proceeding forward, and why.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are the only things that matter.

There are many people online that share their goals if they achieve them, but without understanding how and why they worked, and sharing what didn’t work along the way you won’t be able to extract the takeaways that would allow you to replicate the results you’d like in your own life. The successes or failures along the way to a goal and the lessons behind them are what to focus on.

Most people focus on the end result. The end result is irrelevant. The end result is just a byproduct of the actions and decisions that lead to it.

To make it easy to know what I’m referencing for each part, I’ll quote parts of that article where I laid out my initial goals/plans. If you have not yet read that article, I would highly suggest it. Not only might it give you a new perspective around how to set your goals, but it will allow you to fully understand what I’m referencing in this post, so that you can follow along with me this quarter, as well as the rest of the year.

“For this year, my priority goal is less focused on just one specific end result, but moreso on certain actions I’ll take. Instead of one yearly priority goal, my priority goals will be set in quarterly intervals, keeping in mind certain things I’d like to achieve for the year, but optimizing the quarterly goal setting for happiness and enjoyment, rather than progress towards one yearly priority goal…

How I normally operate is to set a yearly priority goal and if I want to guarantee its achievement I just reverse engineer it and let all other goals be secondary… nice to hit, but not at the expense of the priority goal. The big difference this year is that in some sense I have several ‘secondary goals’, although since I’ve eliminated most other distractions maybe I’ll have a chance of achieving them all as if they were priority goals. We’ll see. My priority goal adjusting per quarter allows me to dive 100% into something on a sprint basis, and either eliminate if I don’t enjoy, or double down if I do….

What I’m working on(writing) will be a new challenge for me, and so I’ll be tweaking the ways in which I try it, and going down the path I most enjoy.

So, there’s not necessarily a specific yearly path with a plan like this, but all I know is I’ll enjoy it and it will lead to good things.”

Go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will see farther. – W. Clement Stone

First quarter priority goal

My priority in the first quarter will be releasing an average of one article per week to the blog. So, by the end of the first quarter I’ll have 13 new articles posted. However, even though it’s a number goal, the focus is on quality, not quantity.

First quarterly goal: successful

Here are the 13 articles that were published in the first quarter:

Blog post 1: How To Achieve Your Goals (9,605 words)

Blog post 2: Sunk Cost Fallacy (3,739 words)

Blog post 3: The Packed Gym of Failure (1,948 words)

Blog post 4: Dream Life (3,242 words)

Blog post 5: 4 countries in 4 days, with a ‘94% chance of living’ (4,467 words)

Blog post 6: How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want (11,638 words)

Blog post 7: Arnold Schwarzenegger Infrastructures of Wealth (2,200 words)

Blog post 8: Learned Helplessness (2,524 words)

Blog post 9: Easy Business To Start: The ForeverJobless Free Business Idea Edition (4,685 words)

Blog post 10: Don’t Cap Flow State: Extreme Hyperfocus (1,991 words)

Blog post 11: Entrepreneurial Quicksand (2,313 words)

Blog post 12: James and the Giant Bamboo (2,710 words)

Blog post 13: The Penny Stakes of Business (1,819 words)

I experimented with a few different types of posts, and really just tried to write content that I thought would help you think in a different way or see something from a new angle. 13 posts may not seem like a lot, but I published over 50,000 words in quarter one.  

“My list and traffic is likely to grow as a result of publishing high quality articles, which is something I enjoy, but I’m okay sacrificing significantly bigger numbers for enjoyment”

I overestimated the amount of shares I’d get just from publishing the articles. So, I need to adjust my strategy and spend some time on marketing. I’ll be limiting the time I spend on it so that I make sure I’m still optimizing for enjoyment, but I’ll be pouring some marketing gasoline on ForeverJobless in Q2.

fjgas

“That’s the benefit of having these sprint goals. If I was tied to a certain long term goal without knowing exactly how certain parts of things will play out as I progress/achieve quarterly goals, and learn what I’m enjoying most, I may continue for a year doing something I don’t want to do.”

“if you’re so busy doing whatever takes up all your time, you’re unlikely to realize how little time you spend doing what you should actually be doing.”

In taking a step back and evaluating what worked and didn’t work each quarter, as well as what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy, it allows me to fix what’s not working, keep doing what is, and proceed accordingly.

I even spent a day doing an in depth expected value breakdown, which takes a lot of work but is extremely clarifying and worth the effort. I’ve considered offering that as a service to larger businesses as it’s surprising how many people are fooled by the wrong metrics, and how significantly your upside changes when the right numbers show you what’s up.

Most people blindly continue with whatever they’re doing.

Huge flaw that limits success and happiness.

“knowing your strengths is a very important variable to knowing what you should be doing, and very few people know their strengths well. It’s easy to think you do, but since what we’re extremely good at often comes natural to us, it’s not easy to realize what you’re incredibly good at isn’t so easy for others. You don’t think of a normal skill of yours as incredible because it’s not difficult for you, which actually makes it incredible.”  …

  • “Find the best way of expressing your thoughts: writing, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, perhaps lectures or presentations. Put value to your thoughts by communicating them.
  • Seek audiences who appreciate your ideas for the future.
  • Your futuristic talents could equip you to be a guide or coach for others. Unlike you, they might not be able to see over the horizon. If you catch a vision of what someone could be or do, don’t assume that he or she is aware of that potential. Share what you see as vividly as you can. In doing so, you may inspire someone to move forward.”

The strengths exercises I went through last year made me realize I should spend some time personally working with others. I’ve been spending time each week working with a small group of ForeverJobless subscribers in a mastermind. In some ways it happened by accident. In the calls I did for subscribers last year, one person reached out to thank me, and mentioned he wanted to be part of a mastermind group. I had been considering starting one for serious subscribers, so him and I started doing calls together each week, with the idea that once I decided to officially launch/promote a mastermind, more people would join… but I never publicly launched/promoted it. And… I realized I liked it a lot. It clearly wasn’t about the money I was getting or I would have rushed to fill up a group. I enjoy helping and sharing in his progress.

The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like. – Steven Pressfield

“I decided my goal for the new year was to not focus on making any money, and to put out content that I thought was important, and helpful for people. Money can be a distraction, and lead us to unintentionally do things for that purpose. If money comes as a byproduct, cool, but I’m putting zero focus on making money this year. If I make $0 and release the content I’m planning on releasing, it will be a good year.”

With no focus on profits, I accidently started monetizing as a byproduct of providing value. A number of people started emailing wanting to join the mastermind and I didn’t even promote it. Most people don’t even know I run one. I just casually mentioned it in a post. Provide value, and you don’t have to chase money. Most people have the two reversed and struggle badly.

“I really get excitement out of helping people who will take action. So, it’s somewhat irrelevant to me how many people I reach if I’m not helping them change their lives. I’m less concerned with quantity. If I have a platform of 1 million people and none of them do anything, I’d rather have an audience of just 100 people, who all take action and change their life.”

I never used to spend time coaching. The mastermind group is an awesome group of guys, and they’re killing it. It’s a blast to do. The members of the group are moving towards some big goals, and it’s exciting to hop on calls each week and hear about all the progress they’ve made. It’s fun working with people who are committed to results. They take any ideas they get from the calls, and they go execute. That is fun to be a part of.

“No matter what it is, I learned that no matter how much I want to help, I need to stop getting sucked into investing time if it’s not with action takers.

Non action takers won’t do anything with the time you invest, and normally want it for free, so it’s not helping you or them. Action takers will reap rewards for you and them both now in the future, and I don’t just mean monetarily. It’s fulfilling to share a part in people’s success.”

One of the posts I released in Q1 detailed an easy business to start, and detailed how to think about it in a way that would allow someone to be successful with it if they took action.

I was hoping to get bombarded with emails of people taking action and starting this service. And I did get bombarded with emails…. but mainly from people who wanted me to solve it for them. 🙁

It was really frustrating to see so many people read it who claim to want success so badly, who don’t have an idea to work on yet, not take any action.

Consuming is the opposite of producing – Noah Kagan

Don’t let reading articles alone confuse you into thinking progress is being made. If you’re reading but not taking action you’re missing the most important piece of the puzzle.

Someone who read that article that wants to make more money or start a business, didn’t have an idea to work on, and didn’t take action needs to take an honest look at themselves and ask if they’re fooling themselves.

It’s not me trying to be negative for those of you that didn’t take action, it’s me genuinely wanting to help you.

I won’t lie to you and give you the ‘rah rah, “you can do it” like all the other blogs do because they want you to buy their courses. You CAN’T do it if you don’t take action.

You need knowledge, yes.

But then you need to execute on that knowledge.

One comment that stuck in my mind was from the post about how to set goals:

This really made me stop to think. It’s a huge problem, and one that honestly stumps me. There’s so many people who want their life to change, but aren’t planning to take the action needed to change it. I’d like to think the content is helpful in turning non-action takers into action takers. Based on some emails I’ve gotten, I know it’s working for some, I just wish it was happening with more people.

It’s an interesting problem to solve, but not one I’ll be dedicating a significant amount of time to at the moment.

I know that to achieve what I’d like to achieve this year I need to stay focused on my own goals, and dedicate any additional time to helping those who are taking action.

“What I put out is only successful if it positively impacts your life in ways that others could not produce. I want to help those who are taking the action to help themselves.”

“ForeverJobless has likely been the most undermonetized site in the space, and it’s not really accidental… money and ego don’t really act as the drivers for me.”

I know at some point I’ll need to monetize to grow and have the impact I want to have with ForeverJobless. I want to have a bigger effect on the world by teaching people how to think more optimally not just in business, but in life.

My friends and I joke that right now I spend money to work for free 🙂

When you monetize in some ways the money you make is calculating how much value you’re providing. Obviously that’s not an entirely accurate statement, as it’s easy to pour marketing on something people don’t need and spend your energies convincing them to buy it like many do. But if you’re actually offering something for money and people pay you for it, they’re saying that they believe it’s valuable to them. People vote with their money. If they wouldn’t pay for something, they’re saying it’s not valuable enough to them.

I haven’t 100% decided how yet, but at some point I’ll need to monetize to help grow ForeverJobless, to be able to help more people. My goal still isn’t profits this year. My goals remain the same. I actually plan on putting 100% of any proceeds back into ForeverJobless this year. Creating revenue streams would enable me to hire extra team members if needed, as well as produce a project I’m considering that would take a sizeable investment to make happen.

I think you’ll like what’s in store the next few quarters.

The artist must operate territorially. He must do his work for its own sake. To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution…

When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart.He asks what the market is looking for…

The hack condescends to his audience. He thinks he’s superior to them. The truth is, he’s scared to death of them or, more accurately, scared of writing what he really feels or believes, what he and himself thinks is interesting. He’s afraid it won’t sell. So he tries to anticipate what the market (a telling word) wants, then gives it to them….

In other words, the hack writes hierarchically. He writes what he imagines will play well in the eyes of others. He does not ask himself, What do I myself want to write? What do I think is important? Instead he asks, What’s hot, what can I make a deal for? The hack is like the politician who consults the polls before he takes a position. He’s a demagogue. He panders…

It can pay off being a hack. Given the depraved state of American culture, a slick dude can make millions being a hack. But even if you succeed, you lose, because you’ve sold out your muse, and your muse is you, the best part of yourself, where your finest and only true work comes from. – Steven Pressfield

Whatever I do I know I have to have this mindset.

Despite being an entrepreneur and understanding the obvious, that you make more money if you give the market what it wants, there’s a big part of me that doesn’t care what the market wants. If I learned and started offering snapchat classes right now I’d make a killing, because it’s “hot” at the moment. But I’d hate it.

Teaching you how to think is most important to me, and what no one is doing. That’s obviously significantly more difficult to monetize, but it’s where my focus is at the moment.

Here’s a few questions I ask myself when I’m considering doing something:

Is this valuable for people?

Is this more valuable for them than what exists on the market?

Am I happy doing this?

Does this help me reach my goals?

“Yearly Goals:

  • I will write a book that changes the way people think.
  • My fitness goal is getting to 2.9% bodyfat(calipers) while weighing 150+ pounds.
  • I’ll create a high quality singles event, or something similar that makes meeting high quality people more efficient.”

The priority goal will always be what the quarterly goal is. So, there’s a chance I double down on a specific goal and a victim could be one of the yearly goals, but that’s okay. As long as I ensure accomplishment of my priority goal(which at this point will be re-set each quarter for me), I’m happy.

Book:

The book is being slowly written alongside of the articles. After thinking about it and getting feedback from Jay Papasan, it’s not something I want to rush to get done. I still plan to achieve the year end goal, but blocking off 2-3 months and doing nothing but the book to complete it asap isn’t the way I’ll be going after it.

Fitness:

Fitness was a surprising fail for me this quarter. Little injuries and other excuses kept me from going more than I should, and my eating was okay, but could have been better. I used the minor injuries more of an excuse for days off than I should have. Q2 I’m going to heavily ramp up. Despite being okay with letting secondary goals be a victim to accomplish quarterly priority goals, this is one that with relatively small effort can have a significant impact on your life, so I’m disappointed in efforts here in Q1. In the next three months I expect a pretty drastic body change from myself.

Singles Event:

Reached out to a few people about it, but no real focus here. If it was to become a reality this year I’d have to dedicate some real time to it, as it’s not something I’d just want to throw together, and unless I wanted to just pile money into hiring people to create the event, it’s not priority enough for me to focus on at the moment.

Q2 priority goal:

Double traffic.

As mentioned I spent pretty zero time marketing in Q1. I sprinkled a little marketing on in March, but Q2 I will dedicate enough time to at least double traffic.

For the amount of time I put into content, it’s silly not to get it in front of more people. Since it didn’t snowball into more eyeballs on it’s own like it sometimes will, I need to create the outcome I want. If you’ve read both of my goal posts (How To Achieve Your Goals and How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want), you understand that traffic doubling this quarter will not be something I hope happens. The result will happen because I’ll structure the actions I take this quarter to insure that it does. Reverse engineering your goal simplifies the process. The goal is all but achieved already, the actions just need to be checked off.

The traffic was really small this quarter due to purposely not focusing on marketing. 

Month before I started(when I was not really doing anything):

January was when I decided to give a priority effort to writing/ForeverJobless. Here’s how the quarter looked:

I don’t necessarily want to spend my time marketing, but it’s something that needs to be done.  At the moment, it makes the most sense for me to do it. In the future, I may have someone else handling that focus.

Despite the priority goal this quarter being to double traffic, I plan to publish an additional 13 articles.

My focus will continue to be on writing, while pouring enough marketing gasoline on ForeverJobless so that traffic at least doubles.

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I’m going to try what I’m calling ‘Elon days’ in Q2. Elon Musk is known to split his days between his several different companies. A few days dedicated 100% to Tesla, a few 100% to SpaceX, as well as a little bit to SolarCity. Now, I’m obviously not launching rockets and changing the automobile industry with tens of thousands of employees, but the model still makes sense to try. I’ll just be doing it within ForeverJobless. Here’s an tentative test schedule I’ll be trying:

Monday: Marketing Day

Tuesday: Writing Day

Wednesday: Buffer Day

Thursday: Marketing Day

Friday: Writing Day

Saturday: Free Day

Sunday: (you’ll find out soon) day 😉

 

I’m still living in Cape Town at the moment.

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In a few weeks I plan to head somewhere new, possibly back to Austin for a bit, or to Barcelona. Also considering Vancouver as an option.

To sum it up, here’s what to expect in Q2:

  • Follow along as I double traffic this quarter
  • 13 new articles
  • New projects being released for you

In closing, if you or someone you know would benefit from being a part of the ForeverJobless mastermind, email me for details.(note: it’s not for beginners, mainly consists of 6 figure business owners).

If there’s anything else you’d like to see in these quarterly reports, comment below and let me know. I plan to release another next quarter.

Thank you for all of your comments on my posts, they help motivate me to write more for you.

What are your goals for quarter two?

Let’s do it!


The Penny Stakes of Business


I was 20 when I started playing poker. I didn’t even have a credit card, so I gave my college roommate $50 and he transferred it into a poker account for me. You obviously can’t wager very much with just $50, and I didn’t want to. I wanted to learn the game and try and win. So, I played the penny stakes. Winning or losing a couple dollars was a big swing, or at least it seemed it at the time.

I tracked my wins and losses every day in a notebook. I was supposed to be using it for taking notes in class but tracking poker pennies seemed like a much better use for it.

I remember the account got down to like $35 at one point as I was learning.

Slowly I got better and better. I got back up past my initial $50 deposit. Then I got to $100. Man! Was exciting.

I was reading anything I could get my hands on related to poker. I was talking poker with anyone who’d talk about it. I watched Rounders half a dozen times. I was hooked.

I couldn’t believe you could actually make money at this. $100 turned into $200.

$200 turned into $500.

Then $1,000.

“Is this real? Am I really going to be able to take this money out?”, I wondered.

Seemed unreal that you could profit from doing something so fun.

“Take it out man, you’re going to lose it!” I’d hear from people once they heard I was making money from it.

That’s the thought process for most people. Eliminate possibility of losses, instead of maximizing the possibility of winnings.

Luckily I didn’t listen. I kept learning the game, and kept playing.

Since I was still playing such low stakes, there wasn’t many swings. Obviously I’d still lose some games, but overall my graph went up pretty consistently.

I can remember thinking, “it’s so easy, why would I move up?”.

The easy money I was making down at the penny stakes was too good to be true. Why give that up and risk losing all my profits?

All the other penny players advised me to keep playing for pennies- “it’s so easy man!” 

Well, being ever curious and inquisitive, I wanted to find out what higher level players thought. I didn’t know any at the time. I was a 20 year old kid at a tiny college learning to play in his dorm room.

I’d occasionally see a player online at higher stakes games sitting by himself with a lot of money. So, I sat down at his virtual table, and started a conversation with him.

I’m sure I asked a lot of intrusive, newbie questions like,

“Do you make a lot of money?”, but he was pretty open with me. He was around the same age I was, and supposedly making $1,000/week.

“$1,000/week!”. I was initially skeptical. I mean, I might have made around $1,000 or so off of my initial $50 deposit after a few months. But $1,000/week? Seemed too good to be true.

He gave me some advice for certain forums and books to read, and so I did.

“Woahhh.” It was like I found gold.

There was what at the time was a relatively small community of players. They were openly sharing stories about their adventures, and many were sharing about their wins and losses.

And they weren’t sharing them in an effort to sell coaching or some other ulterior motive, they were all just genuinely interested in exchanging ideas and figuring out the most optimal way to play.

It seemed like a number of people were making good money.

I found a few people who seemed like they were smart, and knew what they were talking about. Then I read as many posts as I could find from them.

(note: It’s the same strategy I used when I was beginning in business, and the same strategy I still use today when I want to quickly learn about a subject.

Find 1-3 people who seem like they really know what they’re talking about. Read EVERYTHING they say. Ignore EVERYONE else.)

There were plenty of people making money at the time, so even if someone was making money it didn’t mean they were any good. Sometimes it just meant they sucked less than the players who really had no idea what they were doing. That’s usually how growing, or hot markets work. It’s easy to confuse someone making money with someone who really knows what they’re doing.

After absorbing as much as I could, I moved out of the penny stakes and started playing higher.

Long story short, after a short learning curve I was making significantly more money playing at higher stakes. Over time I moved up again. Then again. Then again.

If I had stayed at the penny stakes so that I could protect my money and because it was “easiest”, I would have limited my results. It’s true that it would have been “easiest”, but in going with the easy route it would also mean I would not have reaped the rewards I did from poker.

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(the only graph of mine we could find- 1 week of winnings while running hot)

Not only was I was able to make a very significant amount of money for someone in my early 20s, but the challenge of trying to beat the next level kept it interesting, and it was much more fulfilling than if I’d just played for pennies in an “easy game.”

If I’d stayed where it was easy, it would have lacked a challenge, been unfulfilling, and only made me a small amount of money.

I think my path to poker success was made easier because of the fact that I’m a logical thinker, so I only followed other logical people who could explain their thought process behind why they were doing what they were doing in a way that justified their reasoning. It kept me away from following people who may have had decent results, but didn’t actually think very optimally. Incorrectly following the ‘temporary earners’ who make temporary money only because of market conditions means you’ll be following suboptimal advice. It’ll be proven over time as their results fluctuate and often drop hard once the market corrects itself, and becomes more efficient.

Another reason I was able to steer clear of bad advice… there weren’t people selling all sorts of courses on how to extract more money from penny stakes games! 

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I wasn’t distracted at possibly doing better at the penny stakes. I followed the more optimal route of playing a different level of game entirely.

In the business world, and in life, most people don’t have these luxuries so there’s constantly barriers and distractions to getting to an optimal path.

There’s all sorts of illogical thinkers telling you to join them at the penny stakes of life.

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Plenty of penny stakers in business want to make more money, so instead of going to the next level of the game, they teach others how to play the penny stakes. They want the “easy” road of the penny stakes, but they want the profits of the big stakes. So, they sell the penny stake dream.

People who might be the same hungry kid at the poker tables as I was looking for a good path to follow will be bombarded with advice.

“Start a blog!”

“Write a book!”

“It’s easy, click on my link!”

“Just buy this course, ‘blogging the penny stakes’!”

If you follow that illogical path you obviously won’t find a pile of money waiting for you, but the penny stakes salesman might.

If the salesman succeeds, then they’ll be a “success story”, and they’ll market that success even further as if it justifies the path they’re selling. If people thought about the logic, they’d realize the penny stakes dream they’re selling people isn’t even the same way they’re getting paid.

I remember the early days of poker. The community of players I mentioned who really knew what was going on with the games had a secret code. If you were at a table and someone seemed like they knew what they were doing, you’d ask a question with the secret code in it, and based on their response you’d know if they were in the ‘know’, and part of the ‘secret club’(I know it’s super dorky but whatever).

Well, in the current online business space, it seems like very few people are in the know. Everyone’s buying and selling ‘penny stakes dreams’, and no one seems the wiser for it. Behind closed doors there’s a small group of people ‘in the know’ who are frustrated at how many people are being bamboozled into going down a suboptimal path, but no ones saying anything about it.

Like in poker as the games progressed, many of the suboptimal thinkers teach, not because that is their calling, but because it’s more profitable for them to do so. Most of the optimal thinkers continue to actually play the game.

You must recognize what game you’re playing, and who’s profiting from that game. Like they say in poker, if you don’t know who the sucker is at the table… you’re the sucker.

It’s okay to play the penny stakes to learn the game, but at some point you’ve got to start playing the real game, or you’ll be stuck with penny stakes returns forever.

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Don’t let the gurus convince you to play for pennies, as they collect dollars for telling you to play the wrong game.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford

 

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