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.

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“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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James and the Giant Bamboo


Two neighbors had big plots of land right next to each other. They’d just purchased them. James, always a friendly and outgoing guy, saw his neighbor out back and decided to go introduce himself.

James: Hey neighbor, I’m James

Derek: James, nice to meet you, I’m Derek.

James: What are you planning to do with all this land?

Derek: Well, since we’re in a great area for it, I was considering bamboo trees.

James: That’s awesome, I was thinking of doing the same.

Derek: That’s great. Let me know if you decide to do it, we’ll go grab everything together.

A few days later James headed over to knock on Derek’s door.

Derek: Hey James, I was thinking of heading to go grab all the supplies, want to join?

They both hopped in James’ truck and went to grab all the stuff.

Neither knew much about the trees, they just thought they looked great.

Over the next week or so each of them planted their seeds.

They were both ecstatic. They couldn’t wait until their land was full of bamboo trees.

They would always see the other out back when they were watering the soil.

They’d excitedly share their vision.

James was planning a walking path surrounded by all his bamboo trees, and towards the back of the bamboo forest it would lead up to the small pond that was on the back of his land.

James1Derek planned to cover a lot of his yard, but to use a portion of the trees to produce income for him. Bamboo trees were in high demand, so he figured he could sell off a portion of them each year to make money.

 

Derek1

James couldn’t wait for his vision to turn to reality. He even had a vision board collage up on his office wall about how his yard would look when his bamboo trees had grown. He envisioned walking with his kids back to the pond.

James2

He was out there all the time making sure to consistently water and fertilize them. He used fresh water, and made sure they had nitrogen so they had the greatest chance of success.

When he saw Derek, he’d usually be using tap water.

James: Derek, don’t forget they’ve got a better chance to grow big and healthy if you use fresh water. The fluoride from the tap water doesn’t do as well with them.

Derek: Ahh, it shouldn’t made that much of a difference. Cheaper doing it this way.

Over the few months, James started to see a little less of Derek.

When he caught him out back one day he went over to make sure he was okay.

James: Derek, where you been man? Haven’t seen you out here as much.

Derek: Nothing’s happening man. They’re not growing.

James: They told us it would take a long time, remember.

Derek: Ya, but I mean, there’s NOTHING. I don’t know if it’s even working.

James: It’ll still be a long time before we start seeing anything. It hasn’t even been a year yet. Remember what they said at the nursery. These things are really slow to get started. Just keep at it, it’ll work.

Derek: Ya, I guess you’re right. I should probably fertilize them it’s been a while.

Over the next few weeks James saw a rejuvenated Derek out back watering and fertilizing. He was still using tap water, but hey, at least he was back at it.

Then just like before, he saw him less and less.

Eventually, he didn’t really see him at all. Finally one day he bumped into him.

James: Hey, where you been man! Good to finally see you back out here.

Derek: Ya man, I’m planting some apple trees.

James: Apple trees, oh nice. What about the bamboo, haven’t seen you out here much.

Derek: Forget the bamboo trees, they didn’t work at all. I see it didn’t work for you either.

James: But Derek, it hasn’t even been two years yet. We’ve still got a ways to go.

Derek: Ahh, I don’t even know if it’s going to work. I’ve heard stories where people spend all sorts of time watering, fertilizing, and it doesn’t work. I’m not even sure if the soil is good here, that’s why I’m planting these apple trees in a different spot over here just to be safe.

Besides, apples are hot right now. Because of all the droughts, buyers are paying a lot for them. I figure I can make more off these than I would have for the bamboo. You should do these too. There’s a lot of money to be made with them.

James: I think I’m just going to stick to my original plan.

Derek: Dude there’s nothing growing. It might not even be working. What if you never get any bamboo trees? You would have spent so much time for nothing!

James: They told us how long it would take. If I just keep doing what they suggested, I should get the results.

Derek: Ya, but if you don’t, you will have wasted all this time.

That kind of frustrated James.

“What if Derek was right”, he thought. “What if I spend all this time and nothing ever comes of it.”

It was demotivating to think about.

“Maybe Derek had a point. Maybe I’ll look into apple trees.”

The next morning when he woke up, James went into his office to research apple trees. When he sat down at his desk, he couldn’t help but look up at his vision board. The amazing bamboo tree forest he’d been envisioning for years. He knew he couldn’t stop now. He closed down his browser and decided to stick to the plan.

Derek was often out of town for work, so James didn’t see him much.

They’d occasionally bump into each other when Derek was back in town and make some small talk, but Derek was often making negative comments about James’ bamboo dreams, so James liked to keep his distance. He’d joke about him spending so much time on something that might never pay off.

On the second year after planting his apple trees, Derek’s trees started to bear fruit. He boasted to Derek about how much money he was making from selling the fruit.

Derek: Man, I told you that you should get into apple trees. There’s so much money to be made. You’re missing out.

This made James want to look into the apple business again. Derek said he was making a lot of money, so maybe it was worth considering.

This time he didn’t let his vision board stop him from doing some research. He spent many days looking into it. He called some nurseries to get pricing, and strongly considered making a big purchase.

He called his business mentor Zach and told him of his potential plans.

Zach: Wait, I don’t understand, why do you want to get apple trees?

James: My neighbor does is and is making a lot of money. He told me he’s crushing it right now.

Zach: Ya but, you don’t even like apples. You’re probably the only person I know that literally hates apples.

James: I mean, I don’t eat them, but I could sell them.

Zach: But why do you want to sell them? I mean, your business is doing pretty well you don’t need the money. Why apple trees? Plus, what about the bamboo trees?

James: The bamboo trees might not even work. Plus, apples are hot right now bamboo trees aren’t.

Zach: I think you’re getting distracted. James, let me ask you a question. Why did you decide to plant the bamboo trees?

James: I’ve always wanted to have them for as long as I can remember.

Zach: Right. It had nothing to do with them being “hot”. You had a deeper vision. You’re letting the potential short term money on something you don’t even like distract you.

James: Ya know what, you’re right. Thanks Zach. I knew there was a reason I called you.

After he hung up the phone he decided to scrap all the apple tree research that was taking up the room on his desk, and stick to the plan.

James3

He continued taking care of the bamboo trees, and patiently waited for his vision to come to fruition.

Every time he saw Derek he’d hear about what an opportunity he was missing out on.

Time continued on, and still no signs of progress in the backyard.

His anniversary with his wife was coming up and he wanted to do something nice for her. He planned a several week vacation in Europe for them. They took off on their trip together, and had such a great time while they were there he didn’t spend much time worrying about his business which operated pretty well without him, or the lack of progress in his backyard.

When he returned home, he was excited to see the kids, and to get back to the office and see how the team was doing. He pulled up the driveway and his kids excitedly ran out to the car to greet them. His parents, who’d been watching them while they were away, followed behind.

“Mommy, daddy, we have a surprise for you! Come quick!

They sprinted out to the back of their house as they tried to keep up after their long journey back.

He was shocked when they reached the backyard.

“Oh my god!”

The bamboo trees had come out of the ground. They were everywhere! He realized it had been over five years since he planted them, around the time they told him they should start to show. He couldn’t believe it.

“It worked!”

He even saw some next door at Derek’s house. It didn’t look like Derek was home though. His car was gone, and there were apples all over his lawn.

james4

“That’s strange”, James thought. I hope he’s okay.

Each day the bamboo trees grew more and more. He had his boys stand in the same spot in the yard once a week, to show how fast they were growing. They loved it.

A neighbor down the street came by to see. “Wow neighbor! Man, you’re so lucky! I wish I had bamboo trees in my backyard. It’s like they popped up overnight. Lucky you man!”

A few weeks later Derek returned back home. James saw him pull up and headed over.

James: Derek, you’ve got to check it out, the bamboo trees are growing.

Derek: Really!?

Derek headed in back of his yard with James.

Derek: Holy crap, they are.

His yard didn’t quite look like James’. His were a lot smaller, and many of them were yellow.

James: What’s up with the apples Derek, they’re all over the place. You’ve got a lot of money rotting on the ground out here, where you been? Everything okay?

Derek: Ya, but I found a new opportunity, that’s why I’ve been gone for so long. I know of some guys making a ton of money. I’ll make even more than I was on the apples.

James’ wife called over to him because he had a phone call.

James: Oh, looks like I’ve gotta run. Let’s chat soon man, I want to hear about your new venture.

He said goodbye to Derek and headed back home.

As the months passed, the bamboo trees grew taller and taller. It was amazing. It was looking more and more like his vision board every day.

The next time he bumped into Derek, he wanted to find out how his new project was going.

James: What’s up Derek, how’s the new venture?

Derek: Didn’t really pan out man.

He was pretty short with him, he could tell he didn’t want to talk about it.

James: Sorry to hear man. At least you’ve got the apple business though.

Derek: Ahh, well the apple business isn’t so hot at the moment. The droughts from the last couple years stopped, and so many people are selling them now. So, prices dropped a lot, it’s not even worth it to deal with. You can barely make anything on them anymore. Besides, mine are smaller and less valuable than a lot of the others who are doing it. It’s a waste of time.

James: Oh, that sucks Derek, really sorry.

Derek looked out at his yard, then at James’.

Derek: Man, I should have just stuck with the bamboo trees. If I had, my yard would look like yours right now, instead of this mangled mess of half assed bamboos, half of them rotting, and dead apples all over the ground.

Derek’s yard was a mangled molehill compared to James’ massive mountain of a bamboo forest.

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James had built the trail back to the pond that he’d always envisioned.

He finally took his vision board down, because his backyard looked even better than the portrait he had initially hoped for.

His persistence had paid off. All those years of watering, fertilizing, and making sure the bamboo trees had the best nutrients. It was all worth it.

He placed his original vision board in a poster tube package, along with a big photo of his family standing on their trail new the pond, their giant bamboo trees towering over them.

He sealed it up, and sent it off to Zach.

See, Zach had been mentoring James for years, and was the one who initially told him to put the vision board of his bamboo forest up in his office. He was glad Zach had been there to keep him on track when he got pulled away. He knew Zach would get a lot of satisfaction from seeing his vision become a reality.

How does James and his story relate to yours, or someone you know?

Probably more than you think.

Do you have a big vision that you want, that may take a while to pay off? It feels like it’ll take forever, and “what if it doesn’t work?”. Usually that’s enough to pull you away. You might take shortcuts, or you might get distracted with new opportunities that pull you away from your goal. You let naysayers persuade you to quit.

You hear about other people doing great at something, and you don’t realize that they’re loudly proclaiming their wins, but they stay quiet when it’s not working out well. The temporary noise from temporary successes of others distracts you into chasing the hot markets, rather than the good markets, and opportunities you actually want to be involved in.

Do you have a mentor like James did who can help keep you on the right track? Help you find good opportunities, and stay away from bad ones? Keep you focused on the prize when everyone else is falling victim to the shiny object syndrome?

If not, get one.

If you go after a big goal you truly want to achieve, and you stay committed to it, you’ll likely attain as much success as you envision. Maybe more.

None of it will come to fruition if you chase shiny objects that pull you away from that vision.

If you do stay committed to the plan, and it’s a good one that’s been approved by someone who’s been where you want to go, you’ll likely get what you want.

When that happens, people will see your achievements as an ‘overnight success’, as they won’t see the day in and day out commitment that went into it. Like the bamboo, results that seem to show up overnight just appear publicly in that way. People will see the end result and assume you were “lucky”. It helps them feel better, as it gives them a reason to justify why they have not seen the same success.

If they really took an honest look at themselves, or had a mentor who could help them do so, they’d realize they were too busy jumping from idea to idea, quitting way too soon, working on things they shouldn’t have been just because it was the latest ‘craze’.

To use the bamboo tree analogy, success comes from picking an optimal route for you, and despite setbacks and naysayers, just continuing to water and fertilize your initial idea.

There’s no payoff in a bunch of half done projects.

bambooblogL6


Entrepreneurial Quicksand


If you’ve been reading ForeverJobless for a while, you’ll know that I used to be a professional poker player. I started playing in college, got pretty good over the next few years, and then became a full time pro, which I did for 3-4 years before switching my focus to business.

I got better as a player from reading all sorts of poker books, poker forums and talking strategy with other players, and coaches.

I started my poker journey with just $50, and did whatever I could to learn the game as I went. If I played against a player who seemed good, I’d message them and start asking questions.

Slowly I got better and better. I still remember how exciting it was as I started to grow my initial $50 deposit. I was excited about the money, but probably moreso just learning and beating the game.

It was fun to learn to outthink people, and profit for doing so. That skill translated well over to business. Not just from a competitive standpoint of outthinking competitors, and having them call you “lucky” just like they did at the poker tables, but in the sense of evaluating opportunities and thought processes. Is this +EV? Is there a more optimal opportunity to consider? Why isn’t anyone else considering that? Hmm… why is everyone doing this type of business when it’s -EV? Don’t people know this is a bad idea?

I have a very analytical mind. It probably helped me quite a bit in poker.

Not only did I learn from those who knew the game when I started, but I also ask “why” a lot. If something doesn’t make complete sense to me, I want to know why it is. “Wait, why would you bet here, but not there?” … “Why is folding correct, why not re-raise if he’ll fold X % of the time?”.

I questioned a lot of “correct” advice, and learned that while it may have been profitable at the time, it was not actually optimal. I’m glad I questioned some of it, because once I started implementing some things into my game I started making more money, even though the books I was reading wouldn’t have told me to do that. My style became more optimal than the books I’d read to initially learn the game.

I can’t take credit for coming up with all the ideas on my own. Many weren’t mine. Some were strategies that were working for friends I talked poker with. If the strategy made logical sense to me, I tested implementing it into my game. Some were from poker forums, or coaches I’d hired.

But a lot of my playing style was very different than the books I read that were written by the experts. As a matter of fact, it became almost the opposite.

“If everyone is playing the popular way, why not just play a style that would beat that style?”.

Over time my winnings skyrocketed. Players thought I was crazy because I played a very, very aggressive style. They assumed I was just some wild player.

While many of my opponents were playing “correct” according to books, and in a way where they could have been a profitable player, I played a style that would obliterate a “correct” style of play, so all they could do is sit back and wait for a big hand as I kept collecting their chips, or try to play back at me out of frustration, but that would only make them hand me their money faster since no one had taught them how to play against that style. As you’ve learned from the ForeverJobless blog, emotional decisions are obviously -EV. They’d call me lucky, and plenty of other names. The emotional thought process didn’t lead them to think about WHY they were losing.

Internally they probably thought, “I’m doing exactly what the books said, this crazy guy is bound to lose his money at some point!”. So they’d put more money on the table, and a usual result was them losing more of it. Why? Well, they weren’t really thinking about why they were playing the way that they were. Again, their mindset was emotional. A logical mindset is the one that could have helped them. An emotional one just led them further astray.

They didn’t stop to ask if the strategy they were using was actually optimal, they just did it because that’s what they had been told to do.

Often the ‘good’ players who’d read all the books were actually easier to beat than the amateurs. You could tell exactly what they were going to do.

It’s often just assumed that if someone is an “expert” on a subject, you listen to them. We grow up listening to our parents, teachers, bosses, idols… people rarely question why they say what they say though.

I was probably an annoying kid for my parents or teachers. I asked “why” a lot.

“We need to go to the store.”

“Why?”

“Because we need to pick up some bread”

“Why?

“So we can eat.”

“Why can’t we eat something else that’s in the house?”

“Let’s just have a quiet ride to the store okay honey?”

“Why?”

As I grew up, I’d occasionally get in trouble in school for challenging what a teacher said and asking too many questions. “That’s just the way it is” or “because I said so” are not a very logical answers, and I let them know. In a strict private school, let’s just say that’s frowned upon 🙂

Should I have been in detention for asking questions? Maybe they should have been in detention for not having answers.

How are you supposed to trust someone’s advice when they can’t even explain why they’re telling you to do what they’re telling you to do?

If someone is illogical, whether it’s the way everyone else is doing it or not, doesn’t make it right just because everyone else is doing it wrong.

If something doesn’t make sense and when questioned on it, someone can’t give a logical response as to why they are doing something, authority figure or not they probably don’t actually understand why. So, instead of just doing the same thing “because we’re supposed to”, the better use of time would be figuring out if it’s actually an optimal thing to be doing.

Let’s look at how this applies in the business world.

Everyone starting out wants to make money. It’s exciting. I get it.

yamoney

A better initial question than “can I make money at this?” is, “is this the optimal thing for me to be doing?”.

See, much like poker was when I got started, most people just blindly followed whatever advice was out there, and maybe they got some temporary results, but over the long haul they wondered why it didn’t work.

“I don’t understand, the gurus said to do this, it’s not working for me!”

I see this with most entrepreneurs. The average question equates to them just wanting to be told what to do. It’s like they’re waving a flag that says, “I plan on failing!”

failing

They don’t plan on thinking for themselves, they just want someone to tell them what to do.

startablog

You must learn to think for yourself if you want to be successful in this game, or any other. I cannot stress this enough. Blindly following the advice of someone you view as having the answers is. So. Ridiculously. Bad.

You must understand why.

Why are you working on the business you’re working on? What made you choose that route? Did you choose it blindly because a guru told you it was a good way to make money? What was their incentive to do so? Were they incentivised to show you the optimal route, or were they potentially incentivised another way?

Classic example in the ‘info’ space online. “Start blogs, sell books!”

The huge majority of people telling you to do those things are monetarily incentivised to do so.

Are they the optimal ‘business’ or money making ventures? Hell no. People should definitely not be starting a blog or writing a book the majority of the time. It is unequivocally a suboptimal decision for 99%+ of people.

However, it is an ‘easy’ business with no barriers, so people are confused into thinking it’s good for them. Easy and optimal are very, very different things.

blogbooksoptimal

A guru says, “start a blog”, “write a book”, and you trust that it’s what you should be doing because they say so.

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Many people never stop to ask “why”, but if you did, they would likely say, “to build a platform”, “because then you can become an authority”, “then you can sell things to people”, “to get a name for yourself”. Now, while these all sound like reasonable answers to a question like that, they are not logical reasons to do so. Since most people don’t think logically, they blindly accept guru answers and go about their way.

 

platform

Well, you’ve got to go a lot deeper than that 🙂

Have you broken down the EV(expected value) of having a platform for what you intend to do if your goal is to make money from it? Why didn’t you do so? Because the guru selling you the course or having you click on their link didn’t tell you to? Of course they didn’t, that would be a barrier to them making money.

links

They either don’t understand that it’s important, or don’t have goals aligned with teaching that to you. Is putting up a barrier to get money from you good for their profits? No, that would be a foolish thing to do if their goal is to maximize their profits.

notaguru

 

Have you insured that your offering will check off the two steps to building a profitable business? If not, why are you doing it? Because a guru told you to follow your dreams and that “you too can be like them.’?

sheep

If they became a guru in the first place it’s likely that at some point in time they passed the two steps. That is what allowed them to be successful.

Why wouldn’t they make sure you did the same?

Again, it’s not good for their bottom line, and/or they don’t actually understand that you need to do it.

If you aren’t thinking for yourself, you’re going to continue to get hustled left and right. It’s not always the gurus faults, some of them actually think the medicine they’re selling you will help.

The side effect of the potion may be a road that’s filled with capped income and struggles, because you didn’t fully understand why you were doing something. If you play follow the leader sometimes you’re lucky just to pick up the leader’s scraps. Good for the guru, bad for you.pillsPeople are confused into thinking that the success of one person doing something a certain way can be replicated the same exact way and expect the same success. That’s flawed logic for a number of reasons.

If everyone is being told to do the same exact things, it is unlikely to be optimal for very long.

In other words, if something is optimal, and then everyone starts doing the optimal thing, it is not likely to be the optimal thing anymore. 🙂

Much like poker, once everyone is playing the game the same exact way the books say to play, even if at one point that was a very profitable way to do so, after a while the only one profiting from that advice is the author. The gurus have the choice to become the student again, and learn why their optimal strategy is no longer optimal, or do everything they can to maximize profits before people learn it’s not very good advice anymore.

In poker many of the old time gurus would talk down about the internet phenoms and claim they hadn’t been around the game long enough to be good. “We’ve been in the game for decades”, they’d say, and try to make it seem like the new ideas and new strategies coming from higher level thinkers were incorrect, as if time was the reason. About as illogical as you could get, and why they were starting to get crushed in their own games. If they’d really thought about it, they’d realize the 20 years worth of hands they’d seen could be done in 1 year online from a college kid, and not only that could be reviewed in depth after.

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Many of the old timers got crushed, and often resorted to becoming coaches, or teaching seminars instead of playing because they couldn’t make money in the games anymore.

Some of the ones who evolved and realized there was a more optimal way to play remained in the games because they adapted to the improved play.

Take an honest look at your current path. Why are you on it? Is it because you’re playing follow the leader? If so, you better be 100% sure you’re following the right one. It’s a very unlikely probability that you are.

Have you asked why you’re doing what you’re doing? Is it because someone told you it was a good idea? When given reasons for why it was a good idea, did you think deeply, and logically about those reasons? As mentioned earlier it’s easy to come up with practical reasons why to do something, it’s significantly different for those practical reasons to make logical sense for you to be doing. Often practical reasons are distractions that take you off a more optimal path.

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.

Think on this: the most optimal path to be on, is not what everyone is already telling everyone to do. When it’s at that point, it’s likely become a suboptimal path, or has been for a long time.

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Don’t Cap Flow State: Extreme Hyperfocus


Ever find yourself in flow state(being in the zone) and then something comes up to pull you out of it? Most often it’s by our own design. We structure our lives in a way where flow state is limited, so our results are too, as an accidental byproduct.

In this article I’m going to share why hyperfocus is so important, and give you an idea to help increase the amount of time you spend in flow state.

What is flow state?

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

Most people’s lives are set up in a way where it’s difficult for them to even get into flow. They work on things they don’t like, get distracted a lot, and the occasions where they are in flow, they have something on their schedule that will interrupt it.

Why does this matter? In short, because flow state, or being in the zone is directly tied to your success, and your happiness. So, when you limit flow, you’re limiting your own success and happiness.

When you limit flow, you’re limiting your own success and happiness

As you know I like to integrate things into my life that make success and happiness easier. Want to know one interesting way that I do this?

I don’t cap flow.

I know what you’re thinking, “what does that even mean Billy?

Well, I set up my life in a way where the times I’m in flow state, I maximize the time that I’m able to stay in it.

If you already follow my blueprints for how to achieve goals and how to set goals even if you don’t know what you want, then a side effect of that is you’ll already have a decent structure in place for getting into flow state.

But I want to share a simple flow hack that’s much easier than what everyone else tries to do. So many people are obsessed with how they can get in flow state more often, and all the tips and tricks that might help them get in the zone easier.

flow focus trick

A much easier strategy to being in the zone more and maximizing flow state, is just not to pulling yourself out of it once you’re already in. Seems obvious but almost no one does it.

Let me show you what I mean.

Here’s a personal case study of extreme hyperfocus I shared with the Incubator a couple months back:

Results that can be achieved with extreme hyperfocus

Over the last month or so I’ve been slowly eliminating things on my to do list. Basically, trying to have as little as possible to do, so that all my time only goes towards doing what I want to do.

The last week or so I’ve been sick, so not only did I not have much on my to do list because of my elimination spree, but I also didn’t go out at all, didn’t go to the gym, etc… Basically all I did was write. The results:

The results:

2,172 word blog post

3,919 word blog post

2,447 word blog post

3,522 word blog post

2,268 word blog post

1,462 word half written blog post

This doesn’t include a handful of other 2-300 word notes/ideas I wrote down on other topics. I might have written close to 18,000 words on the week.

Now, if you’ve been a ForeverJobless reader for a while, you know I’m a relatively slow writer. However, with extreme hyperfocus, pretty absurd results were possible.

Now, I can’t not do anything all the time, but this is a good example of what’s possible with extreme hyperfocus, in a very short period of time.

So, maybe it’s writing, or finding a good supplier, or vetting out a business idea, or whatever it may be for you- if you tried eliminating everything else even just for a brief period, you would amaze yourself.

It’s in large part due to flow state.

Do not cap flow, and you will find the results from being in the state of flow for a longer period of time significantly more beneficial even if the only thing you changed was not capping flow.

How did hyperfocus allow me to get into a state of flow?

With something like writing, a lot of the time is figuring out what to write, then jotting down some ideas, starting to write some, and then a lot of times you’re already on to the next task before you really get anything great going. Then next time you come back you’ve got to figure out what you were writing, and try and get re-engaged with where you were trying to go, start brainstorming again, etc…  If you’re lucky enough to hit a flow state, you cap it by jumping to your next task and starting the process all over the next time.

With the example above, I literally did nothing except eat, sleep and write. Whenever I reached the state of flow, results came very fast. Before being in the zone, they came very slow. For example, sometimes the first hour or two I had a couple crappy paragraphs, but then magically 3,000 words appeared on the page- that’s because of flow state.

Flow Focus

When you have no other distractions, your mind will constantly figure out solutions to what it is you’re trying to do. Flow state is right around the corner. If instead you have things constantly pulling you away, either before flow comes, or when you’re in the state of flow, your amount of time in flow state is significantly impacted.

Flow Graph

non Flow

 

 

Flow Schedule

Flow takes time to reach. So why would someone want to limit flow state? Well, it’s not that you want to limit it, but setting meetings and calls at times you may be in flow unintentionally takes you out of flow state, day after day.

Remember my simplified schedule I shared in how to set goals:

  • 4:30 wake up
  • 5:00 writing
  • 9:30 main task
  • 10:15 gym
  • 12:30 other tasks, entertainment, or more writing
  • 8:00 read in bed
  • 8:30 sleep

You’ll notice I don’t have things like “calls”, “meetings” or any set schedule activities right after my priority goal task. You may remember time blocking from The One Thing, where you don’t schedule anything during your time block so that you can give focus to your main goal. Well, I take it to the extreme and don’t even schedule anything after my time block.(the things after it are simply delayed if I’m in flow state)

Why?

The reason is so that the times when my time block is up and I’m in flow state, I just keep going. I remain hyperfocused. There’s no alarm. There’s no pressing things I need to get to. There’s just flow, or no flow. Hyperfocus, or unfocused. If I’m not in flow state, I just go about my day after my time block is done. When I am in flow state, I keep going. Everything else gets pushed back until I’m no longer in the state of flow.

If I do have any calls or meetings, I always schedule them much later in the day so that there’s no chance a potential flow state is interrupted.

What is something that would allow you to make significant progress right now?

What do you think would happen if the only thing you did was not capping flow state once you reach it?

I know you might be thinking, “but I have too much on my daily schedule”.

Okay.

I understand you can’t just block everything else out of your life if you’ve got a tight schedule already. Some of you have jobs, families, and other obligations. That’s okay. Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Do your best to limit the amount of scheduled activities immediately after your time block period. So for example if your time block is in the morning, try not to schedule morning meetings directly after. If it’s in the afternoon, don’t force yourself to go run errands at a certain time, or some other task that doesn’t need to be done at a specific time. May not be milk in your fridge, will be massive flow happening!
  2. Flow TasksPick a certain number of days you can block everything out and do nothing else. Go rent a cabin for a long weekend, or do something as simple as hanging in the library for a day.

You will likely get more done during this period than you could have if you had 5x the days, because you’ll spend 5x of your time in flow. Flow is where the best work happens. Days you can completely eliminate any distractions allow you to be hyperfocused.

Now, if you’re a really busy person, I know it sounds too simple and not to sound dismissive, but I’d recommend trying not to be so busy. Look at the things you do each day and ask yourself if are really getting major life benefits from all of them, or if they’re acting as more of a distraction from the things that would get you major life benefits. Now, ask the same question if you were in flow state for the goals you want to achieve.

What benefits am I getting from my list of to-do items?

What benefits would I possibly achieve from spending that time in flow state for my priority goal?

The upside of being in flow state longer will often significantly outweigh the downside of not getting some of your to-do list done.

The writing example I shared was just one example.

I usually have a don’t cap flow rule when I’m pursuing a goal, I just didn’t have a term for it before.

I did the same thing with my podcast. It helped me get over 58,000 downloads my first month with a very tiny audience at the time. I wasn’t even spending more than an hour or two usually, but the days I did reach flow I would just keep going and script many episodes in a row, where if I had capped flow state, I wouldn’t have been able to.

When I had fitness as my priority goal, I would go to the gym first thing in the morning, and not plan anything after. So I could take my time in my workout and be in flow state. It was literally impossible not to make significant improvements because I was there every day, and never in a rush to leave. There was no possibility for something to distract me from it, or cause my workouts to be rushed and less than optimal. Hyperfocus. Guaranteed flow state. Results were a guaranteed, expected byproduct of not only time blocking it first thing in the morning, but not capping flow state when I was there.

Flow BusyFlow Busy Productive Goals

 

If you just commit to yourself to having zero distractions for limited time periods, you will achieve life changing results in a very small period of time.

The goal is hyperfocus. It will lead to flow state. Embrace the flow. Do not cap it.

You will be surprised at the results you will achieve if you will just test extreme hyperfocus with your goal.

 

No activity can be successfully pursued by an individual who is preoccupied … since the mind when distracted absorbs nothing deeply, but rejects everything which is, so to speak, crammed into it. – Seneca

 

Being in flow is +ev. Especially if in flow while working on your priority goal. Do not cap flow state. Cap time needed for activities that do not bring you flow state, so you have more time for priority goals and/or activities that bring you into the state of flow. Stopping flow to work on unessential activities is goal achieving/flow state producing suicide. Flow leads to places for growth. Growth leads to happiness. If you cap flow state, you unintentionally limit your own happiness.


Easy Business To Start: The ForeverJobless Free Business Idea Edition


 

Business ideas are easy to come up with. Yet, so many say the opposite.

“If only I had an idea I would work so hard…”

Uhhh, no you wouldn’t. If that were true you’d already be working on something since there’s an endless amount of ideas out there for the taking. Since it isn’t gift wrapped up like a pile of money people pass over them every day.

gift

 

Business ideas are EVERYWHERE. I mean, literally everywhere. If I had to I could come up with a completely new one in the next couple minutes. But, instead I’m going to write this article for you about an easy business to start.

You’d start a business if only you had an idea, right? ‘Cool story bro’. By the end of this article you will.

easy to start business

I may start a series just giving away good business ideas to start. So, depending on the response to this article, and if people go and start the idea, there may be more to come.

I’m not just going to give you a free business idea.

“Awwww, come on Billy!”

I’m going to do better.

“Oh, phew.”

I’m going to give you my money if you do it, and do it well.

“Ahh, shit. Now I’ll need to come up with another reason why not to do it.”

Then I’m going to show you how easy it would be to market to get other customers. So, you really won’t have any excuse not to do it.

“Well, you see I don’t have money so….”

Not only is it an easy business to start, it doesn’t take any money.

canihavethatback

I’ve actually tried to give this idea away many times.

Why? Because I wish the service existed. I am a customer. I want you to take my money.

Business doesn’t have to be hard.

Step 1: find a problem someone has

Step 2: solve that problem for them

Step 3: collect money

haha

Here’s how most people operate:

guy 1: man, i wish someone would solve this for me

guy 2: love to help man but i’m too busy looking for business ideas

 

Stop following all the ‘rah rah you can do it’ blogs who’ve sent you in the wrong direction looking for random hacks. Start solving needs instead.

What business should I start?

I know you’re wondering, “okay, so what kind of business should I start?”

Here’s an easy business to start:

Article marketing.

“Ohh, that sounds simple, but someone’s probably done it so you probably can’t make much from it.”

Phenomenal limiting belief! Let’s just eliminate your learned helplessness so you can get off the sidelines and make some money.

Some of the best business ideas to start, are the simple ones. Most people have the mindset of, “if it were easy someone would have done it already.”

That is why a lot of really obvious, easy business ideas still exist. Everyone’s sitting on the sideline waiting for some super complex idea that they have to feel like a rocket scientist to solve. You’re making it hard on yourself for no f*$king reason.

There’s numerous services out there that offer to help you write new articles on sites, or get you interviewed, or a lot of similar services to help you get promotion, but I’ve yet to find a good one that is specifically geared towards getting your current articles more exposure. If you’ve read my article on how to set goals you’ll know what my goal is this year- to produce extremely high quality content for you to help you to think more optimally in business, and in life. The services that currently exist would only equate to me doing more work, which would take me away from the work of achieving my goal. Essentially, any work to promote content I’ve produced, takes me away from producing more of it for you. Thus, a service that takes that off my plate is doing me a great service. That’s valuable to me. Value = money. Money goes to the person that solves that problem.

Again, not complex at all. It’s actually a really easy business idea to execute. It’s a 100% hustle business. That’s it. You don’t need intricate skills. You don’t need to program or do any sorts of hard shit that a lot of people think you need to start a business. You just need to hustle. This is literally all you would need to do:

  1. Study what works
  2. Copy/paste proven strategies

Someone else has literally done all the hard work already. There’s plenty of guys who are good at marketing. A lot of them have already written how you could do exactly what I’m talking about. Places like SumoMe, SocialTriggersVideoFruit and Neil Patel. A lot of guys who know how to do this stuff are just doing it for their own businesses instead of turning it into a service for others.

“So, you mean I could literally just copy what others have already proven works, and people will just hand me money?”

This shit ain’t rocket science.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to actually be good at it. Shitty work won’t win you business.

Plus, if you’ve read all my articles(you’re bleeding money and life EV if you haven’t), you’d know the first two steps to starting a profitable business from this article: Cash Cow Business

Step 1: How can you create something of value in a market better than what’s currently out there?

Step 2: How can you reach your potential audience?

The thing is, if you solve step 1 in a big enough way, step 2 becomes significantly easier.

In other words, you don’t have to spend all your time trying to convince people to buy your shit. Why? Because it’s actually good and not some ‘rah rah’ nonsense you’re used to in the internet marketing world.

Most people spend all their time convincing people they need to buy their shit, rather than creating something no one would need convincing to buy.

When you create a product or service that is a need for people that hasn’t been solved, or has been solved but has no marketing at all so no one knows it’s solved, the marketing side of it is really easy.

marketingishard

Marketing is hard if you start a crappy business. Not if your product or service is good.

I posted this on twitter the other day:

Free business idea:

  1. get REALLY good at marketing articles
  2. collect my money
  3. get exposure on FJ
  4. collect more money from that exposure

If you did a good job for me, it’d be very easy to get more business. I’d be happy my problem was solved. I’d give props to the person who solved my problem. I mean, shit… if someone had solved my problem already maybe this article would be about how awesome this person was and how you should immediately sign up for their service.

theman

Truth is, you probably wouldn’t even have to pitch this.

People talk.

Just overdeliver.

 

The value of your service IS your marketing if you overdeliver. People will talk about it and word will spread.

People get confused about this because they’re usually offering shitty products or services so they falsely assume marketing is hard. Again, it is hard if your offering sucks.

cantfindpeople

 

Neville writes good, high quality blog posts. I bet he’d want more exposure.

Ben Greenfield knows more on health/fitness than almost anyone on the planet. I’m sure he’d like more people to read what he writes.

Jeff Rose isn’t just known for his good looks, he writes a massive amount of content that has helped grow his business.

Noah the master of marketing himself writes articles. Nothing this guy likes more than tacos and marketing, He’d eat that shit up.

Joel Runyon writes good stuff.

Bryan writes good articles.

Steve Chou made $700k each last year, in large part due to writing articles. If he’s not too busy counting his money he might have a few bucks laying around to try a service like that.

Richard writes epic articles on e-commerce.

Victor’s site runs on the no nonsense articles he writes.

Glen was one of the initial guys who focused on high quality content.

Paula writes some monster posts.

Charles Ngo puts out good stuff.

When Derek isn’t yelling at people on video, he’s yelling at them through his writing.

If your service is good and you make it +EV for them, these are examples of people who produce real content and would be potential customers.

I mean… shit. You don’t even have to pitch that. Here’s your marketing pitch, “pay me”.

I’m sure Neville could help you with the copy but that’s pretty close to all you’d need.

Business does NOT have to be hard.

I’m not saying all these guys will buy your service. I didn’t ask them. Maybe they won’t like you.

But it took me like two minutes to think of examples of people that might be interested in a service like this.

An easy way to start something like this would be to absolutely crush it for one person, and then just show your results.

Some people enjoy talking about what they will do.

That won’t make someone buy.

If you’re trying to sell an action taker, they’re going to buy on results, not talk.

No one cares what you’re going to theoretically do at some point in the future. Except maybe your mom and dad but unless they’re giving you money you should probably just take action and stop waiting for a magic pile of money to fall in your lap.

goingtobeamillionair

Once you have the results, you don’t have to talk anymore.

What’s here in this article might get you motivated to work on this for a couple days, or a couple weeks. That’s how it usually goes. The excitement wears off and you go back to looking for the easy million waiting right around the corner somewhere.

lookingformoney

To avoid the non action that’s likely to pop up once you lose your initial motivation, I’m going to take this further for you. See, the bag of money around the corner is never wrapped up like a bag of money. It’s often a road filled with limiting beliefs, self doubt and roadblocks which makes you stop before the opportunity turns into the bag of money that it is. So, I want to eliminate these for you.

One major roadblock that may come up is customers.

“But Billy, I thought you said it would likely be easy to get customers if we offered great value.”

This is true. However, the interpretation of great value is going to differ per person. You may have one idea of “great value”, and someone else may have another.

I want to show you what an entrepreneur will be thinking about.

Let’s say you became an absolute beast at article marketing. Great. Now let’s say you go around pitching people $5k/month for your article marketing service. Okay. Well, an entrepreneur is going to want to know what their ROI is. So, if you are awesome at marketing articles and increase someone’s income $3k/month, it’s still not a +EV(expected value) service since you’re trying to charge $5k/month. Now, if you charged that person $1k/month, that might be a good deal. $500/month, a great deal.

I want you to think about this for a minute: Whatever you’re selling, you are not actually selling that. You are selling the results from it. So, if you’re offering someone $3k/month for $5k/month, that’s stupid and you won’t get customers and you’ll complain this doesn’t work. Example of a limiting belief, followed by self doubt, and a barrier that’s likely to put you back on the sideline waiting for that bag of money to appear around the corner. If someone started an article marketing service and claimed people didn’t want article marketing, you’re doing it wrong.

You are NOT selling article marketing. You are selling increased profits for their business. So, if you can’t increase profits, that’s a problem with your offering, not that no one wants the service.

People could give a shit about you marketing their articles. People give a shit about you marketing their articles in a way that it increases the profits of their business after paying you for your service.

I’m not saying short change yourself and charge $50/month or something. You must create win-wins. It should be +EV for you, and +EV for the client. Understand, that you’ll sometimes have to sacrifice short term income for long term EV as an entrepreneur. That is often how successful businesses are built. Everyone looks at something and says, “meh, I don’t want to work hard marketing articles, that’s not the greatest pay.” It won’t be while you’re proving yourself out. When you start crushing results for people your rate will increase. Once you get systems in place your EV will increase since you can take on more customers while spending the same time. Once systems are in place you can then leverage having other people execute the systems you’ve put in place, increasing your EV even more.

So many people are stuck in the ‘I want to get rich overnight’ mindset that they fail to realize that the reason a lot of simple business ideas still exist is because they take work in the beginning, and people don’t like work. So, people either never start them, or they stop during one of the lower paying steps, when the high paying steps were right around the corner if done correctly. Note: done correctly is important, and what most people in this ‘industry’ aren’t teaching you. Rah rah ‘you can do it’ shit that people are putting out is not helping you, and you’ll never achieve your dreams if you are following that nonsense. You must learn how to think. This is the difference between people who achieve success, and people who just talk about achieving success so that you’ll buy their info products and click on their affiliate links. 

You CAN do it… if done correctly. Some questions to ask yourself, with this, or any other business you’re starting:

“Is this a great deal for the customer?”

“How can I make this more valuable for them?”

“If I offer this value to them, long term will this business have a chance of helping me achieve the results that I’d like to achieve”  – note: I’m not talking about tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. I’m talking about AFTER putting in real work for a while.

Let me give you an example of what to expect:

  1. “this is hard work, and i’m not making much money”
  2. “it’s still hard but this is getting a little easier now that i know what i’m doing, and a couple more people are paying me.”
  3. “now that i’m really good at this and people are talking about the results i’m getting them, i’m charging even more for the same work.”
  4. “i have too much work i need to bring on more people to help me grow.”

Maybe income sucks for you at level 1. Maybe it still sucks for you at level 2. Maybe it doesn’t even interest you until level 4. It depends what situation you’re in. Most people will quit at the sucky levels because they haven’t learned to think bigger picture. They still think in the 9-5 income box… “how much do I get today?”.

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

When I was playing poker I played for pennies at first. I’m not exaggerating, literally pennies. Then as I progressed, I made more money, and eventually started printing money where I couldn’t believe how easy it was. If I expected money to come right out of the gate, I would have stopped and never reached the ‘printing money’ levels.

Poker looked something like this for me:

  1. playing for pennies (1-3 months)
  2. “hey look, you can actually make some money at this” (3-12 months)
  3. “wow, you can make real money at this” (12-36 months)
  4. printing money stage…”what do i do with all this money?” (36 months+)

I’ve had several businesses where I literally made close to $0/hr for the first many months, and then ‘wa-lah!(voila), I make 6 or 7 figures after the hard work starts coming to fruition and getting to the ‘print money’ stage.

Stop trying to get rich by tomorrow. This ain’t the lottery and this blog isn’t for stupid people.

If you put the work in, you’ll reap the rewards that follow the hard parts that everyone wants to skip.

You can look at ForeverJobless as a live example of this. As you know from this post this is the first time I’ve really focused on ForeverJobless. You know that I’m not really monetizing much, so outside of things like a private mastermind I run, I’m basically making close to $0/hr on ForeverJobless.

Over time if it was my goal, I could probably turn ForeverJobless into a cash cow just as a byproduct of putting out higher value work than what exists in the market. Traffic/subscribers will grow even with little to no marketing as a byproduct of people talking about the content, and people who read the ‘rah rah’ blogs will realize the real shit is over here, and make a +EV life choice about the content they’re consuming.

If I theoretically made $0 this year, and then overnight turned on a money faucet next year people who don’t understand would look at it as an “overnight success” as if some stroke of sheer luck caused all sorts of people to come check out my articles and purchase high value products or services.

Why would people change what they’re reading? Higher value. What sacrifice does it take to produce higher value? I don’t know for others, but personally I often spend dozens of hours per article, that I release for free. If we related articles to business, the way that most people think about business is they’d attempt to release their first article, try and sell it, and wonder why no one is buying. Then day two they’d quit claiming that “no ones interested in reading articles”. That sounds ridiculous, and it is. But that is how most people attempt to be an entrepreneur though, and why they think it is difficult. Low value + expecting overnight results or they quit.

I’m not telling you someone is going to buy your service. I’m telling you someone is going to buy your service is it’s +EV for them to do so. Your job is to make sure that it is.

“Oh, but how do I do that?”

Welcome to entrepreneurship. Your job is to solve problems.

Let’s break this shit down.

I’ve already given you the idea.

I’ve already given you examples of how easy it would be to find potential clients, and even given you examples of ideal customers(obviously don’t bother them unless you can offer them value).

You understand that you not only need to be good at it and offer high value, but need to price it in a way that makes it +EV for them too.

“Ya, but how can I make sure it’s +EV?”.

Glad you asked!

Let me give you an example:

For simplicity sake, let’s say someone has one product, that they charge $100 for. They write good articles, and they convert roughly .5% of visitors into buyers. So, every new visitor is worth roughly 50 cents to them, obviously varying per traffic source, but you get the idea. Let’s say you check out their articles and realize you could probably get them an extra 500 visitors per article. That’d equate to around 2.5 sales per article assuming the sources of traffic were as high quality as their current traffic. If they expected around 2.5 sales per article they’d expect around $250 since they charge $100 per sale.

As much as they like your article marketing service, if you wanted to charge them $300 per article, they’d kick you out the door(more likely out their inbox), since they’d be losing money. Now, we’re not factoring some things in such as the EV of traffic that turns into subscribers that buy sometime the future, and the EV of articles potentially ranking higher for specific search terms due to the marketing that was done, but again just for simplicity we’re looking at it from a high level 300 ft view perspective for someone who wants to make sure they’re getting an ROI.

If you charged them $100 per article they might give you a shot. For $50 they’d almost definitely give you a shot. So, let’s pretend you decided to charge them somewhere between $50-$100 per article. If this person publishes 8 articles/month, a good price point to charge might be in the $400-$800/month range. Maybe when you start out you charge less just to make sure you can over deliver, and knock it out of the park for them.

Maybe you quote them at $600/month, and tell them for being one of the first three customers you’ll only charge them $300/month for the first two months to prove how much you’ll crush it for them. Now, obviously you’ve gotta back up what you say or they won’t be interested in renewing, but that would eliminate the worry of having difficulty getting customers, and might give you some more inspiration to push through one of the hard work steps knowing there’s people with money that will pay you for doing things of value for them.

barrier

Make it so good they don’t have to think about it. After I posted the idea on twitter, a number of people emailed asking how much I would pay them. It’s not the best question. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a normal and completely reasonable question, but maybe just better to call it suboptimal. It’s making someone else work to have to figure out how to make it +EV for themselves without even knowing the level of work you’re going to provide. Someone will want to pay you a lot if you make them a lot. They might pay a little if you make them a little. They won’t want to pay anything if it’s not going to make them anything.

Don’t make it hard for people to give you money. Make it easy. The fact that some guys are attempting to get paid well on the first job without ever having done article marketing is showing they aren’t thinking about it correctly. I think free work is +EV if you’re doing things right, but you don’t even have to do free work. Just charge someone an amount where it’s +EV for them and you learn shit. Your goal is not to make as much money as you can in step 1. That’s flawed thinking that keeps you on step 1, or back to step 0, thinking there’s no good ideas out there.

Now, obviously one of the things you need to be asking yourself is if it’s +EV for you as well. However, remember the important part of that. EV, not income. Your goal is not to have good income day one. Your goal is to have good EV.

So, for example let’s pretend each article takes you 10 hours to promote. So, if you land one customer that releases 8 posts/month, and you charge them a discount of $300/month so that you can prove yourself, that’s only $37.50/article. Eww, sounds yucky. Let’s figure out the hourly. Well, if each article takes you 10 hours, you’d be making $3.75 per hour. Ballin! Now, when most people figure this out, they would do one of three things.

  1. They would quit.
  2. They would raise their prices.
  3. They would do shittier work.

#1 is where most people would end up.

“$3.75 per hour! I’m worth way more than that! I’m not working for pennies.”

And they wouldn’t. They’d sit on the sideline and make $0/hr instead.

#2 is how a lot of people try to operate. They want to maximize what they think they’re worth on day 1. Maybe they even are worth that much, but if no one knows about them and they have no results yet, that’s going to be a really tough sell. So, they might get no customers because of their higher pricing, and claim people aren’t paying for their work even though it’s good. So scenario #2 often leads to #1, quitting.

#3 is another choice. Instead of working 10 hours per article they work 2-3 hours, so they can get the boost to their hourly rate that they desire. Well, like many short term income decisions, it’s a bad EV decision, because people won’t want to keep working with you if you can’t deliver the awesome results they were expecting, and are cutting corners to boost your temporary profits instead. So, clients will leave, and you’ll claim, “no one stays on, customer retention is low”. Customer retention is obviously going to decrease significantly for you if you’re putting in 1/4th of the effort.

So, let’s take the person who decides to forgo these easy outs, and actually puts in the work. Let’s say they take on 3 clients at $300/month. For simplicity we’ll say that everyone produces 8 articles/month, so in total you’d have 24 articles to promote. So, you’d work roughly 240 hours in the month. That is hard work. Straight hustle to earn $900/month. That’s not much.

Now, if you got the results you said you could get them, they’d likely renew at a higher rate. $900/month might become $1,800/month by month two or three.

Once you realized where the most +EV clients for you were and each article started taking you a bit less time as you improved, $1,800/month might become $5,400/month by month four or five.

Once word started to spread about an article marketing service that increases your profits, and you had your systems in place, you may hire a few people to help execute those systems for the new clients that wanted your help.

Maybe instead of just you, there’s three others helping you provide the service. By the end of the year the $5,400/month turns into $21,600/month. You pay $3,000/month for your employees to just follow your systems promoting the articles, so your profit is $12,600/month.

You start year two off on pace for a $150k+ year, and finally realize that getting through the hard parts to get to the payoff was totally worth it. You realize you were never working for $3.75/hour in the first stage of the game. You were being paid to learn and test a $150k+ profit business. You now realize that you’re actually happy the $3.75/hr stage exists. It’s what keeps most of your competitors out, because they don’t realize the payday is around the corner. You collect checks, while they talk about how lucky you got. You didn’t get lucky, you played the game at a level that will be hard work and likely won’t even pay you well per hour for that hard work, but playing at that level allows you to get to the next levels.

I’m not saying you should charge $3.75/hr, and I’m not saying the business is definitely going to make $150k+/yr.

My goal is to teach you how to think so that you realize what’s possible if you put in the work while doing things the right way.

You may or may not make a lot of money in the process. But I guarantee you won’t make any if you don’t try. For something that is a need that isn’t well offered right now, that doesn’t cost any money to start, if you’re someone looking for an opportunity, now you have one.

If you’re already working on a project, hopefully something in this article made you think about something you’re doing in a different way.

If you like the free business giveaway series idea, let me know. More importantly, if you’ve been looking for an idea, execute on this.

Leave a comment if you like the idea of this series.

Leave a comment if you’ll be starting this idea.

Leave a comment if you have questions about it.

And if you don’t have an idea to work on, and aren’t going to try this, definitely leave me a comment explaining why you aren’t.

how to set goals


Learned Helplessness


What is learned helplessness?

Learned helplessness is when people feel helpless to avoid situations they perceive as negative or painful, because previous experiences have made them believe they will be unable to avoid them. This perceived lack of control makes them fail to even attempt escaping a similar fate in the future. They’ve trained themselves to believe they are helpless, and so they don’t even try.

“Learned helplessness is the giving-up reaction, the quitting response that follows from the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

Martin Seligman is known for discovering learned helplessness during an experiment he was performing on dogs. He would ring a bell, and give a light shock to a dog. After a while, the dog would react to the bell as if he’d already been shocked. The interesting part of the study came when Seligman gave the dogs a chance to avoid being shocked. Here’s what he did:

He would put a dog in a large crate divided by a small fence that they could easily jump over. What the dogs didn’t know was that only one side of the crate would give a shock, and the other side would not. The dogs didn’t even attempt to jump over the fence because learned helplessness made them believe the shock was unavoidable.

He then tried the test with dogs that had not previously received a shock. When those dogs heard the bell, they quickly learned that they could avoid the shock by jumping over to the other side of the fence.

Have you ever heard how to chain an elephant?

As a baby, if you chain an elephant, the elephant will learn that it cannot break free from the chain. It will also be uncomfortable if they try. So, the elephant stops trying, and accepts the fact that it cannot break free from the chain.

Even once the elephant becomes an adult, they will not attempt to break the chain, even though it would be very easy for them to do so. They have conditioned their mind to believe they can’t break free from the chain, so they don’t even try.

Learned helplessness psychology

Most people are like the elephant and the dog.

They’ve conditioned themselves with limiting beliefs of what they think they’re able to achieve, and therefore often never even attempt to achieve anything, as they’ve trained their mind to believe they aren’t capable. They assume that it would be uncomfortable to even attempt, due to the risk of failure. They accept a lifelong fate of mediocrity, to avoid the possibility of some temporary discomfort trying to achieve something that again, they haven’t even allowed themselves to believe they can achieve.

Like the elephant, most people are living with a chain attached. It’s attached to their mind, and until they break free, the chain keeps them held in mediocrity. If they just tried to break free from the mental chain, they’d realize they can literally have everything they want, they just need to be willing to break free from the chain, the one that only exists because they allow it to.

You need to uncondition yourself from thinking that failure= pain. Failure = growth. Growth leads to the ability to achieve the goals you want to achieve. So, technically the worst thing that can happen to you if you break free from learned helplessness, is the failure you so desperately seek to avoid, which would lead you exactly where you think you aren’t capable of going.

Once you understand that anything is possible for you, the scariest thought I can imagine is for you to stay shackled to the chains you voluntarily keep in your mind.

Overcoming learned helplessness

What might you be holding onto in your own life that is nothing but learned helplessness?

Are you avoiding starting a business because you tried something in the past and it didn’t work? Is learned helplessness convincing you that the next thing you try won’t work either, so you may as well not even attempt it?

Are you not asking for help because you’ve been ridiculed sometime in the past, and are holding on to the false belief that it might happen if you try again? You’re so worried that someone might think your question is stupid, instead of being more worried about the fact that learned helplessness is keeping you from ever getting the answer.

Are you not asking a girl or guy out because you’ve been rejected in the past? You assume it’ll happen again, so learned helplessness keeps you single.

How is learned helplessness affecting your income? Are you holding onto a job because of the learned helplessness that comes from accepting a paycheck? The belief that you must depend on someone else to put food on your table. You’ll lie down like the dogs and just starve without it?

foreverjobless like a dog

 

It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail. – Lech Walesa

Learned helplessness experiment

Charisse Nixon did a study with her class that proved how easy it is for people to have learned helplessness. She gave her class three different problems to solve. What she didn’t tell the class beforehand was that she had given them two different sets of problems. One half got an easy set of problems, the other received a list where the first two problems were impossible to solve. The third problem was the same for both. What happened? Well, she was able to induce learned helplessness in the group of students that received the unsolvable first two problems. Even though the third problem was easily solvable, most of them didn’t even try. They falsely assumed they couldn’t do it. This is learned helplessness at work.

You can watch a video example here:

Now, if she could get students to exhibit learned helplessness in only a couple minutes, how ingrained do you think it is if you’ve been operating under certain assumptions for years? It’s not difficult to realize that a lot of the things you do, and often don’t do on a daily basis are due to learned helplessness.

Learned helplessness examples

Imagine all of the things you aren’t even attempting in your life because learned helplessness is making you avoid them like the plague, because of some tiny little thing that happened sometime in the past, that might even be totally unrelated to what you’re currently avoiding.

Don’t even go to the gym because you assume you can’t take off the weight? Why, because of some extremely weak attempt sometime in the past?

Won’t write an article, or a book because you’re afraid you might be negatively judged because of what someone once said about your writing, years, or even decades ago? You succumb to being helpless just to avoid the same pain. You let the opinion of those who do not matter determine your future actions. Your future actions determine your future happiness. So, in essence, I would venture to bet that the majority of us are in some way allowing learned helplessness to negatively affect our happiness in certain aspects of our lives.

“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality” – Jim Carrey

Is the path you’re on a path you’ve consciously chosen, or is it a path designed by your subconscious due to learned helplessness? Is it creating a desire to avoid situations that you perceive may include something painful or negative for you?

If dogs and elephants can so easily succumb to learned helplessness, it’s likely to assume that as humans it’s going to be significantly stronger within us due to our worry about what others think. Dogs and elephants could give a shit what others think, yet learned helplessness still controls them. Learned helplessness is multiplied within us because we don’t want to look foolish to others. Our ego is gasoline on the learned helplessness fire.

Foreverjobless ego

You must take action to overcome this flaw.

Let’s take a look at a relevant example:

Many people refuse to start a business with the common excuse of not having money.

That helps them to justify not having to start a business. It’s learned helplessness. If they really wanted to start a business they’d start without money, or work hard to earn the money to start. The learned helplessness keeps them from ever starting. They view themselves as ‘hopeless’ without money. They must start, or remain in learned helplessness. They must do the mental work to push through the bullshit they’ve built up in their minds. The mental work is often the hardest.

Same with not knowing what to do or not having a mentor. If someone really wanted it they’d invest in a business coach, or at least go work or intern for someone they could learn from. It’s easier to let learned helplessness take over and just stay ‘hopeless’ on the sidelines. There’s no pain there. There’s obviously no success there either, but learned helplessness has trained them to desire this hopelessness over success. It’s easier to assume they just can’t do it, instead of training their mind to realize they can, and taking the actions necessary to do it.

I’ve learned that some of the hardest work we can do is mental work. Our mental conditioning is so unbelievably important, yet because it’s below the surface most people fail to understand when it’s negatively controlling their life. Most of us understand that our outcomes are very closely tied to the goals that we set, and the habits that we form to achieve those goals. What many people don’t do is the work to both understand, and to overcome the fact that many of the goals that we have are being set based on what we do or do not believe. We may set goals lower than we should because we do not believe we are capable of more. Or worse, we may eliminate certain goals all together, because of learned helplessness.

When I help people with goal setting, I often tell them that the first step is figuring out exactly what it is that you want, so that we can work backwards to reverse engineer those results and expect achievement of the goal. Well, what is maybe an even more important step is to really take time to think about what you want, and ask yourself if there might possibly be something else, but learned helplessness is keeping you from it. This is difficult, but extremely important.

If you don’t really believe you can do something, you won’t overcome learned helplessness. If you struggle with this, attempt to find your learned helplessness with simple logic.

“I can’t start a business, I don’t have money!”(learned helplessness)

Well, what could you do to make money?

“I could get a job/an extra job but I don’t have time”(learned helplessness)

Where does all your time go?

“Well… I guess I do watch a lot of TV and go out a lot.”

If you stopped watching TV and going out, would you have time to get an extra job?

“Ya, I guess I would.”

How long would it take you to save up enough money for the business you want to start if you did that?

“Probably forever, I never have much money.”(learned helplessness)

Well, how about we just calculate the actual answer. How much extra income could you pick up if you really wanted to. How much per hour, and how many hours?

“I should be able to make $15/hr at restaurant XYZ. I could get 15-20 hours/week if I had to.”

Okay, so how much is that per week?

“I guess around $300/week, but if I did that and my other job I’d be working all the time, I couldn’t do that.”(learned helplessness)

Well, you wouldn’t be working all the time. Maybe working a lot temporarily in exchange for exactly what you want.

foreverjobless work hard

Let’s be conservative and say you get $200/week. How long would it take you to start your business?

“My business would take around $1,000 to get going.”

So how long would that take?

“I guess I’d have enough within about 5 weeks to start my business.”

Great!

“Ya, but then I wouldn’t know what to do, so it’s probably not even worth it.”(learned helplessness)

What would allow you to know what to do?

“If I had someone who knows how to do it help show me what to do. But the guys who know what they’re doing cost money, and I would have spent it all on the business so I’ll never be able to afford them!”(learned helplessness)

Why would you never be able to have them? How long would it take for you to make an extra $1,000 and sit down with a business mentor a couple times to start off on the right foot?

“I guess another 5 weeks.”

So, in a total of 10 weeks you could save enough money to not only start your business, but hire a coach to make sure you’re doing things in a more optimal way?

“Ya, I guess I never realized that’s all it would take.”

—–

Once logic was introduced, this person realized it was very simple to overcome their obstacles. This same person will often spend 10 years in learned helplessness, rather than 10 weeks easily obtaining what they need to solve their problem.

Learned helplessness means assuming that a new situation has the same limitations as an old one that resembles it, when in reality there are lots of positive alternatives. These new possibilities may exist because the situation is different, or because the person has changed, or both…   Learned helplessness drains motivation and energy. When we learn our own potential to positively influence our own lives we can’t help but become more fulfilled. – Mark Tyrrell

Personal example of learned helplessness

I spent decades with the learned helplessness that I couldn’t have the body I wanted. I can specifically remember a time when I was much younger and I asked a trainer in the gym how to get muscle and a six pack. He told me some people just didn’t have the body for it. I’m sure he said something else too, but that’s the part I remembered. Who needs to be strong and ripped if you’ve got the limiting belief that it’s not even possible for you. Way easier- how convenient!

I let learned helplessness keep me out of the gym and under the false assumption that I was born to be small, based on my genetics.

The first step of getting out of that mindset was realizing that I could have the body I wanted, and setting the habits in place that guaranteed accomplishment of the goal.

The reality is that some level of learned helplessness is controlling many of our lives.

People operate under the same learned helplessness that dogs do.

If you’re a human, which most of you reading this article are, you’re even smarter than a dog.

So, realize that any helplessness you feel is created by your own mental prison. Rip off the shackles you voluntarily keep in your mind. You’re the warden and it’s time for parole.

 


Arnold Schwarzenegger Infrastructures of Wealth


Building infrastructure is one of only three ways to lock in a benefit from a dollar one hundred years in the future. Number one is to build public works that will last for that long. Number two is to use your dollar to invent something that will still be used in a century. And number three is to educate your children and grandchildren so that they see the benefits of knowledge and educate their own children and grandchildren in turn. Do any of these successfully, and you’ve invested wisely. You may even be remembered for it.  – Arnold Schwarzenegger

I was in Medellin a few months ago reading Arnold’s biography, Total Recall:

IMG_4310

He’s had incredible success in a variety of different areas. Bodybuilding, real estate, acting, business, politics, etc… In the quote above he was actually referring to government spending, but to see into the way he thinks about things, can give you a glimpse at how to replicate success in whatever area you choose. In this article we’re going to talk about how the quote can be applied with how entrepreneurs should be spending their time, and aren’t. Most go against the infrastructures of wealth that Arnold or just about any other wealthy person would advise.

Most people are either selling their time with a boss(9-5ers, aspiring entrepreneurs), selling their time without a boss(people who think they’re entrepreneurs but are freelancers), button clickers(day trading, media buying, poker, fantasy sports, etc…), or making very small advancements to existing products or services enough so that they can make a profit, and if they can, clicking buttons, or hiring button clickers to maximize that profit until it dies and they repeat the cycle.

Building infrastructure is one of only three ways to lock in a benefit from a dollar one hundred years in the future.

Let’s talk about building infrastructure for yourself that will reap you rewards well into the future.

Number one is to build public works that will last for that long.

When applying this to your own life instead of government spending, we could look at real estate investing.

If you invest in real estate there’s a good chance you’ll be making money on it decades from now. My brother invests in a lot of real estate and not only is he making money today, but he can expect the same places he has today will make him cash flow in the future. Not only that, because of the way the math works, he will have built massive equity for himself, with his renters paying him for the privilege.

foreverjobless real estate

Number two is to use your dollar to invent something that will still be used in a century.

When relating this to yourself, we could tweak it to: are you creating a product or service that is likely to be used just 10 years in the future?

It’s hot to create marginally better products these days, or just shitty products in general and then market the shit out of them by being a button clicker, or hiring a button clicker. Arbitraging dollars from consumers until it dies, and then jumping to the next arbitrage opportunity.

For example, look at the new amazon bookselling wave:

“Okay, I’m going to write 50 books this year to create passive income and be an entrepreneur”

Uhhhh…Okay, you basically have a job… a shitty one at that, and that “passive” income you seek is not passive. It’s going to last for an incredibly short time…. if you’re lucky, just long enough to write 50 more shitty books.

For people who aren’t that familiar with the amazon book niche- yes, there’s actually people who use this as their business strategy… a lot of them. People will look at a few people doing it “successfully”, and then copy the model as if it’s a good one. They get distracted by the possibility of having those results- that passive income to do anything they want in their free time. They get blinded by the fact they’re creating shit, and it’s not passive income.

See, real estate income for example remains passive as long as a new kind of real estate doesn’t come in and make the current living options undesirable. So, a house that rents for $1,000/month now, will likely rent for $1,000/month or more a decade from now.

Your shitty book you spent a week writing, or outsourcing, may get you some temporarily “passive” income after your “free giveaway” promotion boosts rankings and confuses people into thinking it’s a great book, and over time that passive income will disappear once they realize it’s not.

There is essentially no chance you will be receiving much, if any income from that book in 10 years, and not only that since you will not have income from the asset in 10 years, it is not much of an asset, so you can’t sell it.

A savvy investor will see the declining income and know that it wouldn’t be a good investment. You may be thinking, “hmmm, how can I avoid that?”.

Well, if your first thought is to pump up sales with more promotions, giveaways, etc… it’s an okay thought, but it shouldn’t take you more than a second to realize than it’s exactly the opposite of a passive income stream if you must constantly be active to maintain, or to prop the income back up. So, you can see the flaw there. Your second thought might be to hope that an unsavvy investor who doesn’t understand that you don’t actually have passive income buys it. A better option would be to just stop producing garbage, and start creating real value.  When you do that, you’ll have real passive income instead of temporary passive income that’s nothing but an illusion.

foreverjobless passive income

You’re making temporary bets and you’ll receive temporary returns in exchange. The problem is you must realize this now, or you’ll be in the same position year after year, getting enough temporary returns to get you to the next temporary bet, but you will have trouble making significant progress. If you’ve been doing things like this for years and wondered why you can’t get ahead despite having many “successful” projects, this is why.

Ask yourself, are you producing something that has a legitimate chance of being around in 10 years? If so, it might be worth pursuing. If not, I’m not saying don’t do it, but you need to consider that the temporary income should make up for the fact it won’t be around long, and realize there’s usually better spots to invest your time for your future.

If you’re thinking about starting a project, ask yourself, “will I be making money from this in 10 years?” or “will this still be of value to others 10 years from now?”. If the answer is definitely “no”, welcome to temporary income land, please spin the wheel again.

And number three is to educate your children and grandchildren so that they see the benefits of knowledge and educate their own children and grandchildren in turn. 

Now, we could tweak this quote to look at self education, as well as educating others. Similar to what we spoke about in #2, you can’t expect to make incremental or temporary improvements to receive long term results, for you or others.

If you’re educating yourself, ask yourself: “Am I learning things that will be important to my success 10 years in the future? Or am I learning a temporary skill that will have no real impact on my future success or happiness?”

You can ask the same questions if educating others. Most people who are educating others have no business in doing so. Why? Well, you can ask the same simple question. Is what they’re teaching going to have a significant impact on their future? Will they be using that knowledge 10 years from now, or have produced results from that knowledge that will be significant 10 years from now?

if you’re teaching someone to build temporary knowledge with your own temporary knowledge source, as a byproduct, you’ll also have temporary income. Now, if you’re one of the best button clickers, hire one of the best button clickers, are first to market for that temporary knowledge source, etc…, you can make significant enough temporary income that will allow you to put your money into #1(investing in real estate), companies that do #2, or have your time freed up because of the money you’re able to accumulate over expenses so that you can take your time doing #2 yourself. You could also invest your time in educating yourself(#3), so that doing any of the three you prefer in the future becomes easier for you.

Many people make the flaw of going from temporary income to educating. This is often a comical decision made by people who don’t understand how to make money. They may have made temporary income from a temporary income source, and will use that to convince people that they know how to make money, because selling the dream is often an ‘easier’ way to make money for them.

Others may be confused into thinking that they know more than just temporary knowledge because of significant results, which will entice them to buy future products/services from them even if those products/services do nothing but offer temporary returns, or dreams, whether it’s an incremental improvement over the competition or not.

If you’re doing this, you’re not only delaying their improvement, and negatively impacting their future, but your own as well. You’re on a temporary ego and money driven hamster wheel that confuses you into thinking you know more than you actually know, but at some point you’re going to get off the ride and realize you haven’t improved much as an entrepreneur or in knowledge(or as a person), as you’ve been going from temporary income source to temporary income source trying to convince others to do the same. You’ve invited them to join you on the hamster wheel of temporary income, knowing that them joining you enables you to continue the ride with their funding, and gives you the chance at escaping the ‘dream’ you’ve sold them.

Instead, if you were to educate people how to be in a significantly better spot for themselves 10 years from now, you’ve done them a great service. Now, the confusing part can be that there is usually significantly more temporary income in temporary education. What’s “hot”, is what’s certainly an easier sell, especially for people who have not been educated past the point of understanding you’re even selling the education of a temporary income source. So you sell the dream, and the promise that “you too, can be like me”, but they can’t… unless their goal is to sell temporary income but if you understand economics 101 you’ll realize that everyone is teaching people to teach people to teach people. If everyone learns to do the same thing, they become useless pretty fast. Case in point- traditional education.

Wonder why your $100k degree from traditional education is now just a $0 piece of paper? Ya. The info space is the new traditional education. “Today class, we’re going to teach you things that will be irrelevant soon. But not to worry, I’ll have more classes selling you more temporary solutions very soon, so no matter how many things become irrelevant I’ll always have more!”

foreverjobless infomarket

 

The real education is in educating people with knowledge that will still be valuable 10 years in the future. The latest amazon trick, or social media hack, or cheap traffic source will make more temporary income, and will make educators of the temporary income source more temporary income, but 10 years from now, neither is likely to have escaped. They’re both likely to be on another temporary income journey, chasing the dollar from temporary opportunity, to temporary opportunity. Or, they may have jumped off that ride and went back to the time for money hamster wheel, claiming entrepreneurship was too risky, and that the job will protect them. It wasn’t that it was risky. Noticing they were not actually an entrepreneur, or at least weren’t operating as one with long term plans would have been the first discovery to lead them down a better road.

What you spend your time on should be significant enough to give you a return 10 years from now. Take that for what it means to you.

Do any of these successfully, and you’ve invested wisely. You may even be remembered for it.

If you want to be remembered for doing something great, that’s cool. There’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t all have to be Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, but if being remembered is a goal of yours, you’re clearly not going to be remembered for doing temporary shit. You’re also more likely to do very well financially if you do one or more of these three things:

  • Invest in real estate(at the right prices), or something else where it’s mathematically likely you’ll reap significant long term returns while remaining relatively passive.
  • Build something valuable that improves people’s lives
  • Help people to think in a more prosperous way

If you can do at least one of these things successfully, your finances will be in a significantly different situation 10 years from now. Most likely much sooner.

Foreverjobless passive income