It’s a common theme in entrepreneurship, taking things to the next level is always exponentially more difficult.
This has to do with the definition of entrepreneurship: “Capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit” So the ‘next level’ is by definition, bigger, more complex, and certainly more risky. If you’ve established revenue streams and have the machine running well, why would you shake things up?
Over the years you develop an strong understanding of risk. To level up your current business is easier than moving into a new business. For me, I saw that I needed to change industries three times.
First, I was in the corporate world. This was far from entrepreneurship, but I know I had to change my path. I started modestly, designing template websites on the side for small business owners. But that allowed me to get established with semi-online businesses which led to the next career overhaul… into affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing I grinded for over 270 days without turning a profit!! Finally I turned things around and my final campaigns made over 170k in 15 months. That was all on autopilot (once they were set up I just let them run)
But another career evolution was around the corner. I knew affiliate marketing had a limited life cycle, so my revenue wouldn’t continue for long. I could have stayed focused on building the affiliate empire, but other than the money I wasn’t learning much and it was dreadfully unfulfilling. So to take things to the next level I took around $60,000 and worked 80 hours a week for 14 unprofitable months to build our sex toy eCommerce store. THAT was the biggest risk I had taken yet. And very lucky that our persistence paid off.
So we can see at each stage of evolution I had to take bigger risks, bigger start up investment to get started.
Why do entrepreneurs take these risks? Is it because they are risk tolerant gamblers?
I believe it’s because entrepreneurs have the unusual talent to see into the future. They experience their vision and have manifested it, every time re-enforcing this belief.
Why does this lead entrepreneurs to take risks? Because they will always have two visions for the future; one for if I keep doing what I’m doing now, and two what will happen if I start doing this other thing?
I could look down the decades long career of my accounting career and see what was ahead, I simultaneously saw the possibilities if I made a BIG change in my life TODAY how amazing my life could potentially be!
This is the same rationale that led me to make BIG life decisions. Once the decision is made, the final step is to go ALL IN. That’s what separate’s the achievers from the false-believers
BTW, if you want to see what we’ve been building over the last two years, checkout My Bedroom Spice our online adult toy store! We’ve poured our hearts and souls into the brand, enjoy
I’ve just merged onto a super highway after a lifetime coasting country roads. What I learned is personal development is not an end goal destination. Personal development is the foundation for everything else in your life. Once your personal development is handled it’s what you do after that matters. If you’ve optimized your energy, finances, or life situation to perfection then what?
If you had everything you wanted then what would be your end goal? Do you hedonisticly indulge your every impulse, or do you altruistically give your resources to help others in need? Is the end game consumption or contribution?
Meet Dan Blizerian and Elon Musk.
Dan Blizerian – Trust fund baby, inherited several million dollars. Spends his days playing poker and hanging out with models:
Elon Musk – Self made billionaire. Renowned for inhuman work hours:
Dan vs. Elon. Each has enough money to do whatever they want, one lives a leisurely life of consumption while the other endures a stressful sacrifice of his being to projects that will benefit the human race.
This demonstrate conflicting positions – with all the money in the world is it about what you can get? Or what you can do for others?
Comparing Dan and Elon demonstrates a deeper truth about the end game in life. The contrast shows the journey to success will shape who you are. You can get lucky or you can have it rough – that’s out of your control. But what you can decide is how you handle things, whether you cut corners or do things the hard way – and hopefully you make the right decision because you know its not what you gain but who you become.
So what would happen if you did nothing? If you sat on your ass and did nothing – for a year. You didn’t answer a call, you never checked your email, just did nothing?
Dan could disappear and the world wouldn’t blink. Elon dies and the world would mourn as the course of humanity curves for the worst.
So, do you really want full financial independence and zero accountability to anyone (or anything)? Is that really a position you want to be in? Where do the people that rely on you, look up to you, or love you fit into your world? Do you view your duties as irksome obligations or a reason for waking up in the morning?
To regular readers of this blog
How are things? Follow ups on the biographies and habits experiment will be posted, and they will be epic. I still reply to every email so go ahead and fire away if you have any comments, suggestions or trolling criticisms. I’m crazy busy but if you want to learn more about what i’m doing you can read a hilarious piece I wrote for a different blog (on american sexual behavior…image below links to article)
Anyway, If you enjoyed the article please share / comment. Thank you!
Last year I performed a 23 day experiment touching on three extreme forms of consciousness exploration. Sensory deprivation, isolated meditation, and psychedelic drug use. I documented the entire experiment both through private journals and video. After a final marathon sitting (18 hours) I have completed my assembly and compilation of personal footage and clips from some of the worlds leading thinkers in business and spirituality. The contents of this post have been over a year in the making.
The nature of this film has made me hesitant to release it publicly on the internet, but this is who I am and what I believe; and I am here to that share with you. I have created this film to document my journey, but also challenge some beliefs and raise consciousness around the role of business in a sustainable model of the future (and identifying who’s responsible)
Quotes from Above Video
“What are the things that need to happen in order for the future to be an exciting and inspiring one?” Elon Musk
“… you can stand back and look at this planet and see we have the money, the power, the medical understanding, the love, and the community to product a kind of human paradise” Terrence McKenna
“If you have enormous wealth, then enormous responsibility goes with that too” Richard Branson
“It’s one of the extraordinary things we can do […] to reach into our own highest and deepest capacities – and do so with a sense of a responsibility. Because believe me, nobody likes being at the forefront of anything.” Ken Wilber
“You think small business is the backbone of this country? Wait for micro small business. You know who’s scared? Corporate america.” Gary Vaynerchuk
“Attitude and lifestyle diseases. They are cultural diseases.” Tom Cambell
“How many people want your seat? Do you know how many people want the trust you have? And the leverage you have? And the authority you have? The resources you have? The connections you have? You don’t have a job. You have a platform.” Seth Godin
“Because all your efforts in the direction of liberation are phony. They are based on your desire to boost and continue your ego, and that will never lead to liberation.” Alan Watts
The 23 Day Experiment in Consciousness Exploration
8 Days Going into Isolation Tanks
11 Days of Silent Meditation in Isolation
3 Days in the Rocky Mountains Experimenting with LSD & Psilocybin (+1 Travel Day)
‘We spend all our time collecting dots, but none of our time connecting dots’ Seth Godin
Commerce sells products and services. School teaches you the culture of commerce.
BUT WE ARE AT A REVOLUTION.
When products and services were scare, experience and connection was rich. And now that products and services are abundant trust and connection are scare. If all the consumers of the world added up to 100 arbitrary points of trust and connection and the world has 10 brands, companies, channels, or places to connect – then on average each channel would have 10 points of trust and connection with the entire globe of consumers. There are no longer 10 channels; there is an infinite number. Every brand, email address, personality, business, blog, or bistro you connect with dilutes your availability for every other channel – the math is simple. The new economy will be built around the quality of connection and experience your business delivers not the quality of your product or service (It’ simply assumed your product or service will be 100%…)
I graduated with a business degree in 2012. I was taught that business was commerce. That currency was used in exchange for products and services.
Currency, Products, and Services are no longer the variables of commerce in our economy.
Currency will flow to the businesses that deliver the best experiences and maintain the strongest connections and trust with their consumers.
We no longer sell products and services. We sell experiences using products and services as a means of delivery.
And this – the death of the industrial economy – is the redistribution of wealth (and responsibility) from the few mega-corporations to many micro-business owners. A faceless nameless corporation can no longer deceive, destroy and dissuade in the name of profit. A national boycott is here. Watch as the empowered individuals rise up to take control and shift the direction of our planets future.
The positive evolution of our collective consciousness is reflected by this shift in how we do business.
The insight I share with you in this post took over a year to assemble.
There’s not much available at English bookstores in Indonesia but I think these six make a good mix of business and political leaders. I’m going to publicly commit to reading all 6 of these biographies in a 30 day period (april 14- may 14) and will do a write up about what I learned and how they influenced me when I’m completed reading them.
Maybe I never saw the utility in biographies but I’ll soon find out. My aim is to finish going through them by May 14th, then I’ll post an epic (or not epic) write up about them.
Have you read any awesome biographies before? Pass on your recommendation to me in the comments!
Or how about you join me? Share or tweet this post and publicly commit to a biography reading bender’
I haven’t posted in a long time so I wanted to reconnect with subscribers in the most transparent and interesting way possible – by giving an open book breakdown of my last month of earnings and sharing the struggle I went through to get here. I’m fascinated with internet entrepreneurship and I wanted to post some insight into the 500 days of skill building that got me to this point.
A snapshot of my last 30 days of earnings:
The breakdown I’ve shown above is about 75% affiliate earnings, 15% product sales, 5% consulting and another 5% to random immaterial revenues (such as donations, at about $15 for march) The costs formula is wonky due to time zones and how I was recording costs so I balanced one column to zero on March 16th. There’s a few remarkable things about how I’ve been earning money – most interestingly is that nearly all the money I made in March was from work done in February and before…
Why a dollar isn’t a dollar
1) Business income has advantages over employment income. Also, I’m a non-resident of Canada earning income from non-Canadian sources giving me a tax exempt status.
2) I live in a third world country and keep my monthly expenses around $1,000 USD. I no longer have a commute, living expenses are extremely cheap, and I enjoy a higher standard of living at a fraction the cost (relative to Canada) This arrangement also allows me to completely outsource all my domestic necessities – (I never cook, clean my room, or do my laundry)
3) Perhaps most importantly: 90% of revenues were ‘passive’ or payouts on assets I built in previous months.
I still work a lot – about 60hours/week, but interestingly all the work I’m doing now is for projects that won’t materialize till next month (or even next year) It’s not ‘passive’ income – it’s assets I’ve built in the past paying out. You don’t just ‘get’ money. You have to build something first that provides value and benefits others in the future. The asset building part is very hands-on but once complete the fruits of your labour are often automated (thanks mostly to online systems)
Over 500 days ago I set my goal for total freedom and now I’ve managed to get off the hamster wheel. I’m completely out of the rat race. I don’t know if this is a chicken / egg situation but work wise I’ve changed – almost everything I do day to day sees nearly ZERO immediate reward. I’m involved almost exclusively in long term projects. The best part of diligently plugging away at long term goals is experienced in their manifestation. That’s what I’m going through now.
Short terms goals like health and fitness are now rewarding me energy and vitality.
Mid term goals for money are rewarding me with daily passive income.
Finally, long term goals for skills and assets are beginning to reward me with competencies, financial security, and a growing circle of influence.
Seeds were sown days ago and soon I’ll enjoy their harvest. (after some tumultuous periods of farmer-like work ethic)
How did I get to this point?
I made the decision I was going to fully earn my income through the internet 500 days ago now. Since then I’ve undergone the most intense learning curriculum of my life. This was much different then the four years I spent at university earning a business degree; for some perspective:
If someone asked me how valuable my 4 year business degree was, I’d say, “$10’000”
If someone asked me to value what I’ve learned in the last 500 days of self-directed education, I’d say, “$100’000”
In other words self education has given me 10x the value a university degree in half the time. That’s powerful.
As Jim Rohn said:
What you study in school has a low relevance factor. You also have a low level of applied learning – literally meaning you don’t apply what you learn. This leads to pointless memorization of stuff (stuff which you could google in the future anyway). Compare formal education to a self-directed regime where your curriculum is dynamically constructed to help solve your most pressing issues. Then everything you learn becomes applied. Everything you learn becomes relevant. Everything you learn becomes valuable.
My journey began approximately 500 days ago. I had set a very specific goal: to earn at least as much as my salary from sources entirely on the internet, giving me the freedom to travel and live anywhere in the world. From inception it took 500 days to get there. I remember vividly when it started, a month into my at my tax accounting gig right out of college. I was working with people I didn’t know and was living with people I didn’t like – just to make make ends meet. With a stressful 9-5 time for things like quality R&R, a social life, and hobbies were laughable. What little spare time I did have was reserved for maintaining a sliver of connection with the people I loved. The rest of my time was spent recovering and preparing for the next work day, so I could pay the bills and keep working the next day, and so on and so on.
Above all I wanted to be free. But with most of my time and energy spent working a job to afford survival… I needed to find a way out. And I did,
The way out
My life changed when I went full hardcore with my time. No more going out. No more boozing. All my free time to getting something – anything off the ground and going. The last month at my corporate job I was sneaking away on lunch breaks to meet web design clients at a Bistro down the street. I’d come back to my desk with a $1’000 cheque in my pocket feeling pretty pleased, knowing that my final day to quit was approaching.
All or nothing
This is my new home office in Bali, Indonesia….
You can get an idea of what my new work life looks like in the video below. We did a 24 hour time lapse work session that I put together for another hobby site of mine here:
People you meet, experiences you have and books you read all contribute to your world view. With an open mind reflection on life’s experiences expands your perspective. I find it interesting I was more arrogant when I was younger, knew less, and was less capable. But now that I am more capable and know more than ever I feel the least so – after being repeatedly chewed up and spit out, failing hundreds of times over, humbled again and again. It’s a more accurate map emerging.
I’m 24 years old and I can honestly say that I experience my day to day life peacefully. I consider this my greatest accomplishment to date. Good things, bad things, all just things. Pleasure, pain, all just sensation. I’ve detached from classic objects and ownerships of success and come into touch with the things that truly make me happy. The two biggest being:
Surrounding myself with loved ones and having a wealth of time to not rush – but enjoy – the activities I love with some tender love and care (Read this book to really get the concept of having a ‘wealth of time’). Through understanding my happiness I can furlough the superfluous fluff typically ‘sold’ as a ticket to happiness; those percentile moments of existence defined by hedonistic consumption – vs. the TLC moments of doing what I love for hours a day and sharing life with people I love for hours a day.
And this is pretty much what growth looks like. It hasn’t always been easy. I have some serious problems with pills and alcohol, I can’t seem to manage my sleep, I frequently slip into 2 or 3 day long modes of lower consciousness, and I consistently fall short of the goals I set out for myself.
I guess that’s it for now.
What would you like to see? Comment/email me if any of this resonates with you. I’ve done a couple fairly ‘off the wall’ things that people might be interested in hearing about, let me know if you want me to write something up or do a video – I have lot’s of spare time here in Bali 🙂
• Last year I did an intense 23 day experiment in consciousness exploration. The first 10 days going into flotation tanks for increasing amounts of time (up to 4 hours) Next I spent 10 days at a vipassana retreat meditating in silence at a Buddhist sanctuary in the wilderness, I then went deep into the rocky mountains – several hours down dirt roads – where I rented a cabin to experiment with LSD and isolated meditation. I have a few interesting things to say on that subject
• Right now I live in Bali. I’ve been ‘habit’ hacking for a long time and I was thinking of posting a video of my daily routine and things I do to stay on top of my game.
• There’s a few life altering books I’ve read this last year that I definitely think are worth sharing
• Anything else you would like to see?
Please Like/Share/Tweet. Post in the comments if you have any thoughts on the relevance of a University degree nowadays –
I posted this on my other hobby site (www.thestartuptakeoff.com) where I lay it all out – it’s the dirty word and sometimes we all want to avoid it. WORK! I also go into some important paradigms to understand starting with:
The Sphere Of Comfortable Action: Take the time to clearly identify what lies within your sphere of comfortable action. Explicitly lay out all the steps you need to engage in to succeed in your business. Then prepare, practice and execute to make what was previously uncomfortable to comfortable – giving yourself the ability to focus on streamlining and growth.
The 3 P’s of Productivity:
PREPARING – Organizing, making lists, and learning the things you need to succeed PRODUCING – Time spent creating – not consuming! PIMPING – Time spend promoting what you’ve produced. Time spend directly engaged with your end user, clients or potential clients.
The Pyramid of Productivity: Understand the foundations of your focus and motivation. Learn to master and control your environment and habits.
A fortunate gift of evolving through several generations of thought (as opposed to one mainstream consciousness your whole life) is you don’t get attached to beliefs. You recognize them for what they are, beliefs. Assumed truisms. Times when you feel shaken, as if you’ve lost all bearings, are good – this indicates the sands are shifting and a new (more accurate) concept of reality is emerging.
Your mind is a distillery of information. In goes the content of your experience – whatever that may be – and out comes your concept of reality with all the subjective understandings you’ve come to believe. Your day to day life is filled with signals and noise – useful and useless information. Most of us cannot distinguish signals of valuable information from meaningless distraction. The masses indulge a panoply of stimulus so disrupting and entertaining it drowns the signals and raises the noise. The sage will consciously filter their environment to improve the signal to noise ratio of their minds exposure:
Knowledge is information we’ve acquired through our intellect
Knowledge is not understanding
Understanding is based on first hand experiences
Garbage in – garbage out. The way you take in the world is the way you experience the world.
You have the ability to limit what you expose yourself too. Do it.
When you’re ready to grow cut the bullshit from your life. Focus on improving the quality of your daily experience (stop consuming and start producing). Focus on your knowledge and where its sourced. Read books, expose yourself to great minds. Plug in to communities. Find mentors. Get coaching.
Your experimentation (actions and decisions you make from your current position of understanding) is the application of heat to your current belief system. The more rigorously and systematically you experiment with the contents of your reality the more profound your realizations and the more accurate your understanding of the world. The clearer your signal to noise ratio – the stricter your decision to choose what you surround and expose yourself too – will determine the speed and quality of your advancement.
Burn off the bullshit and leave behind the truth. Incorrect and false information breaks down easily. The truth is quite sturdy. Separate the two.
When you accept the challenge to live consciously, you must also decide what are acceptable surroundings; acceptable inputs. When you understand how you distill your experience you can tinker the process to control the outcome. And why would we do this? Because we don’t want to live scattered unfulfilled lives. Because we don’t want to be dumbed down drones, easily and unconsciously influenced. Because we want the experience clean and concise thought. Because we want to live a satisfied life by our own standards and not someone else’s.
Prosperity, wisdom, truth, and accomplishment can all be had by tuning the dials. Don’t live an existence of random noise. Choose to cut it out of your life, and watch your mind evolve.
What you think is important – your priorities and how you organize them – says something about your character.
These people operate at the lowest level of our society. They are the scoundrels, the cheaters, and the morally devoid. Criminals have little regard for their purpose in the world and will pursue personal gratifications even if it means breaking the law. The general occupancy of these people’s minds is a self-centered, limited view of the world. The singular focus on the self leads these people to be massively unfulfilled; typically motivated by fear they experience a strong feeling a separateness with other people who are often ‘out to get them’. To permeate in society they must adopt a delusional arrogance – or else accept the truth of their nature and spiral into shame, guilt, and or perhaps even suicide.
People at this level recognize their responsibilities in life although a self centered attitude still dominates. The ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality is at the root of their intentions and although not criminals, they may still put immediate self interests above their fiduciary duties (such as not showing up to work or failing to honor commitments) There does exist a level of concern for other people – those closest to them – but it is often nothing more than asset protection. If there is something to be gained, they will double cross friends for personal gain. Self interest leads these people into a petty reality. They gloat, envy, and take offence easily.
Most people are served the experiences needed to grow into adults. Whether those experiences were a struggle for survival, a responsibility to raise children, or an internally generated desire for security and esteem – eventually they were forced to dethrone the little ‘me’ atop the ladder. When ‘me’ no longer prevails your ladder of priorities space is freed to evolve your self-concept. ‘Me’ is no longer what you can get out of life, but who you can become. Your spectrum of responsibility expands beyond what is required to survive to include what is needed to prosper. The quality of your character becomes important to you and you implement a sense of duty to your vessel of contribution (perhaps your profession, or role as parent)
Life will continue giving you new experiences. At some point you will vindicate a perceived system of values and place their adherence among your life’s priorities. Living with a system of values further dethrones the ‘me’ at the top and marks a fully matured adult. Sometimes this maturity is sculpted into people’s character through dire situations; situations where someone is dealt a nearly incapable level of responsibility. Parentless children raising their siblings, occupations requiring devotion (doctors, judges), and business owners providing essential service to communities… the experience of other people relying on you forces you to grow into a mature adult. ‘Me‘ once again moves down the ladder and again the self concept evolves. Your range of duties expand again as you implement values and traits deemed personally significant. You can’t imagine cutting corners and producing poor quality work. Integrity becomes important. Your capacity to care for other human beings increases and those closest to you are loved unconditionally. There are people in your life you would die for.
Leaders have evolved a sense of personal responsibility to not only a system of values, but the people who share in those values. These are people who’ve grown through extraordinary life experiences, they act with such power and consistency that others are compelled to follow in their wake. A true leader cannot come into being without transcending their own personal desires and replacing them with an extended array of duties and values to uphold. Again the ‘me’ moves down the ladder freeing the space for altruism and idealism.
Approaching the highest levels of human growth and maturity are saints. These people place responsibility and benevolence to humanity above all else. By evolving through all stages of development saints have cultivated a level of understanding that allows them to relate to nearly all human beings. Saints have achieved such closeness with other people they can’t help but feel compassion for everyone, even those who’ve acted against them. Saints are humble, having completely dissolved their egoic identity. Their experience of reality is marked with a peculiar sadness and compassion for people suffering but at the same time they radiate an extraordinary and pervasive joy brought on by their incredible capacity to love other human beings.