Hard work isn’t the key to success, at all.
Do you have to work hard to be successful? Yes, but there are plenty of people in society who work hard, very hard, much harder than me, but they’re not getting the outcomes they want.
It doesn’t seem fair, does it?
On the one hand, it’s not their fault at all. But, on the other hand, it is their fault because the information is out there and they can, theoretically, use this information.
I’m not one of those self-improvement gurus who will call people mediocre ‘sheep.’ For the most part, people are reasonable, work hard, have great values, and do deserve to reap exponential rewards for their work.
But either they:
- Don’t know-how. They’ve heard of these strategies, but don’t know the details.
- Have been led astray and brainwashed into wage-earning limbo. Falling for this trap isn’t your fault, but staying in it once you know the truth? That’s on you.
- Know there are other options, but feel like their odds of success are low. And they are, but only because people quit far too early.
Regardless of what definition applies to you, understand that there’s only one way to achieve worldly success — financial flexibility, time flexibility, f*** you money so to speak.
Working smart is … part of it. But working smart is just a buzzword people throw around with no real definition to it.
While there are many routes to the proper type of work, they all fall under one blanket definition.
The Solution to All Your ‘Lack of Freedom’ Problems
You want to leverage.
Leverage means you can reap exponential rewards for your work.
Some examples of leverage are:
- I write a book once and continue to get paid for it over and over again with no additional effort
- My following on Medium is self-perpetuating, meaning the size of my profile helps me draw in new readers automatically
- If you own rental properties, you buy them once and continue to get paid the rent over and over again as long as you own the property and have tenants
- Investing is the most obvious example of leverage. Over a long time-scale, you tend to earn compound interest on your money, so your money makes money for you
- If you start a business with employees, you can make money from your business and remove much of your participation from the day to day operations
I could go on here, but the key to leverage and exponential growth is choosing an avenue where the potential payoff is very high.
Most people choose the exact opposite strategy — a single source of income from a job. Not only that, but they also suffer the consequences of being leveraged — letting others earn interest from them. This double whammy is the reason why the one percent keeps getting richer and the 99 percent stays in the same boat.
Is it fair?
I don’t know, dude. It is what it is. Is it fair that you were born in America and people starve around the world in third world countries? Is it fair that some seven-year-old kid made your Nikes? Let’s have some perspective here.
I’ll grant you this. It is unfair that you went through all the societal brainwashing that lead to you becoming what is essentially an indentured servant. I have $70,000 in student loan debt myself. Shit happens. I got over it and decided to pivot into the realm of leverage.
So can you.
The Fundamental Mindset Shift You Must Make
The first step in learning these concepts like lifestyle design — building your own tailor-made business — or even simpler strategies that anyone can follow such as simply finding better employment, saving your money, and putting it into the market or real estate is to rid yourself of this idea that you are somehow special.
Money runs away from self-pity.
There are more than enough opportunities out there for you to choose one and there is someone worse off than you that have pulled it off. Maybe your learning curve is longer because you’re older and ‘not so hip’ on technology, social media, or online business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn.
I’m the first one to admit few people succeed in this area.
So, you’ll just have to become one of those people.
I understand where you’re coming from. It’s not so much that figuring out this whole process is hard in and of itself, but there are so many little micro-steps required that it’s daunting to get through each excruciating little step.
For example, a short-list of things I’ve had to learn to make a living blogging and self-publishing are:
- Professional blogging skills — This category alone has dozens of micro-skills involved.
- Marketing, copywriting, the psychology of persuasion
- Basic HTML
- Email marketing software
- Email marketing messaging and funnels
- Sourcing freelancers to create an e-book and publish on Amazon
- Networking and email outreach
I didn’t learn the skills all at once. Keeps these gradual and simple, focus on what matters, and ignore most shiny objects.
Here are some things to remember:
- Learning how to do this will take time — your benchmarks are 90 days to get a basic understanding, 6–12 months to get slight traction, 2 to 3 years to reach top 20 percent status, five years to have the skills and leverage to quit your job. These are based on my experience.
- What was once hard, will become second nature — I remember fumbling around with my WordPress blog for 12 hours straight just to get it to look awful. Now? I can maneuver WordPress with ease. I don’t even have to think about it.
- Keep your leveraged skill as a hobby — Take the pressure off to become successful. I had no grand plans of becoming a pro-blogger. I just enjoyed writing. Enjoy what you’re doing. Keep a hobby with the potential to pay off huge later for the sake of having a hobby. It’s better than Netflix.
And again. Stop whining. Not because it’s not justified, but because you have no move to make from that position. People often comment on my posts with the “Ayo…but you don’t understand […]!” Narrative.
What’s my logical response? What’s the only response I can give?
Oh well…I guess you’re screwed then? I don’t know what these people want me to tell them.
Your situation might be much worse than mine and your challenges maybe ten times as difficult. This is why I never make promises or guarantees.
But you still have to live your life and deal with the outcomes your lifestyle produces, period.
A Revolutionary Success Tip
The key to making this all work?
It’s quite simple…
Ready for it?
Most people skip steps. It’s tempting to skip steps because doing all the steps are tedious. I remember once I read this article called How to Get 100 Social Media Shares on Your Blog Post. The process? Tedious.
Essentially, you had to do cold email outreach to people who commented on similar blogs in your niche. It included a template to send out that you were to modify and customized for each individual person. You had to keep a spreadsheet and follow up with people after x number of days. A ton of little steps that are insignificant on their own but daunting combined.
I said to myself, “You’re going to do every damn step.” I did every single step. Guess what happened? Hundreds of shares.
I’ve had many moments like this. Buying blogging courses and doing all the annoying customer research it takes to understand what people like to read. Ever wonder why I seem to be so perceptive as to what people want? I looked it up. That’s it.
The only difference between me and you? I’ve executed the steps. You haven’t.
I can’t cover every online niche to learn leveraged skills, but let me share some with you. None of these are affiliates links:
- Self-Publishing School (for Kindle Ebook Publishing)
- Growth Lab by Ramit Sethi — The best online business learning resource you can find
- Freelance to Win — Learn how to become a freelancer and eventually scale it into an agency business.
- How to Start a Lifestyle Business Step by Step — Written by Nat Eliason, who currently owns a half dozen businesses
- Rich Dad Poor Dad — This book is the perfect primer to help you learn how to think properly. This book changed the way I saw money forever.
- How to Start an E-Commerce Business — Published from Shopify, the number one e-commerce platform out
- Sumo Blog — Dozens of extremely high-quality marketing and business articles, published from Sumo — an email marketing software company
You could simply Google “how to start an online business” and dive into the rabbit hole.
But, sadly, 99.99 percent of you won’t do this. You won’t click any of the links above. And you’ll go on talking about how I’m lucky and the one percent are evil.
I’ve had many breaks and advantages in my life, including a high level of natural intelligence, I’ll give you that. Many people who understand the concept of leverage, people in the one percent, do have access to the information you don’t have in front of you right now.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the information.
Hell, you could go to the library, use free internet access to look up this stuff, study all the most important subjects known to man for free with a library card, and run an online business from a blog you host for $3.95 a month — less than the price of a happy meal for my 4-year-old daughter.
But you won’t do it.
You won’t spend a few years of your life figuring this out, but you’ll spend the rest of your life suffering from the consequences of not learning how to do this.
Actually, a few of you will do this. And you’re the people I’m writing for.
I have so many fans, friends, and colleagues who read my stuff that are 90 days in, 6 months in, a year or two in, and even a few people who haven’t done all that much yet but are finally serious about starting.
Stick with the process, friend. Don’t jump from shiny object to shiny object. Spend some time become a ruthless animal in your niche and good things will happen. You’ll start to make money while you sleep. You’ll have less stress.
Most importantly, you’ll be able to look in the mirror proudly because you built something when most others wouldn’t.
Don’t worry. I’ll be here five years from now to congratulate you when you’re done. Because I’m damn sure not going anywhere.
This article first appeared on Medium.