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Well, looking through my draft posts here I figure it is time to post a 3 month update… at about 9 or 10 months…
You guessed it! I have been very busy. Here’s a summary of what I have learnt over the past 9 or 10 months. Take into account that this has been happening whilst I run two offline businesses, work fulltime and help nurture our son, who is now 1!
What have I learnt?
- Focus on the big stuff – Don’t spend time tweaking the colour of a button, just get the content out there.
- Get stuff out and online – Faster you fail the faster you will succeed.
- Validate ideas before spending too much time on them
- Build an email list that will help you convert more interested people into customers long term
- Make sure that list has people that are actually interested in your product/service
- When running Facebook ads – use retargeting to increase engagement
- If you listen to podcasts, stop and take note of the key items as you will forget them!
- Be everywhere, once you are somewhere well. Do each channel well before moving onto the next.
- Use cleverly designed opt-ins to increase conversions
- Have fun and be yourself. If that comes out you will seem like a person and people will be happy to be associated with you and eventually may purchase from you.
- Persuade customers, don’t manipulate them.
I could elaborate on all of the things above, probably a blog post on each one, but no one reads my blog posts, (If you do read this please let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org You will probably be the first person to do so…)
What have I done?
- Affiliate Marketing – Sounded like a really simple path to revenue and helping people get the info they needed.
- Found niche – get domain – build site – get affiliate status with suppliers – launch site – launch on facebook
- Paid for Google ads – watched people click and ad spend increase – saw some conversions but not enough to overcome affiliate minimum payment thresholds…
- Learnt that I should spend less time refining and investigating something that was not going to work. Backlinks for major (only competitor) were in the hundreds of thousands so I was never going to beat them to the front page of Google…
- Built business with my brother – great website design for weddings but nobody can find it. Again, focused on getting the product out there and “perfect”. Not on how to get it in front of the right audience.
- Pricing structure and automation of product seem to be the key.
- Dealing with customers challenging when they don’t send the correct details.
- Determined that the businesses I’d been sidelining and was expert in were probably the best way forward, with a slight change of tact. Now focussing on mailing lists, opt-in lead magnets, ebooks and courses.
- Networking more and hoping to give lots of info out in return for some additional consulting work.
- Looking at options for making online courses in my field.
That’s the bulk of what was achieved. THE BIG NEWS is that through doing a lot more consulting towards the end of 2015 I decided that I’d back off the full time work early! My current employer agreed to a three day work week for 2016 and I now have time on the two additional days to grow my businesses and spend time with family.
More to come and I might start to post more here and put details up of some other ideas I’d like to test. Webinars, ebooks etc… Watch this pace!
Don’t forget, sign up to the mailing list and once we have a bunch of people I’ll sort out some promos and you guys and girls can let me know what you want to know. Anything I might have done that can help you would be awesome to share!
Thanks for reading…
Many people have the unrealistic dream of not working again…ever. Not me though. I love working on projects and developing new ideas and products. As an aerodynamicist for a Formula One team I designed and tested some pretty amazing things in big expensive wind tunnels. As my own boss previously I have designed numerous aerodynamic packages for race teams outside of F1. I’ve built up other businesses since including bike shops, wedding websites, and dabbled with starting a hosting company, an importing business and a classifieds website. Now though, I am working for someone else and I’ve decided it is time to change.
I don’t think I could sit still and not work. My goal is to develop a lifestyle that allows me to work on the things that I want to work on, the things that I am passionate about (which can change very quickly!)
This blog isn’t about quitting your job, nor is it about bailing on your current situation. We are trying to follow a process that will allow us to build towards our goals so that we have an easy transition into our desired lifestyle. You don’t want to just walk into work and quit one day, then try and figure out what to do the next day! Odds are you’d be throwing in a good job and before you can gather your entrepreneurial-self, other factors will dictate that you’ll need to get a normal 9-5 job again!
We should make the most of the current stability we have as an employee and build our desired outcomes during this time. There will be a natural “break-free” time that may be dictated by income or time factors that you are happy with. Our goal is to get to that point. It is the point where risk is limited and you will likely have the most success transitioning into your new role as Chief Entrepreneur of Me Industries.
5 simple things to be sure of before speaking with the boss and taking the plunge!
- Know that it is the right thing for you, not anyone else. You need to be 100% committed to this new adventure! If you are, it will be a very straightforward conversation and if your boss is human they will be happy for you.
- Make sure you have a plan and you’ve tested the waters (I’ve done this before, gained a huge amount of business and after I got all of that done – nothing for a while!)
- If possible, have some kind of backup plan, for me I have many local options that I’d be happy to do, not financially but at least I feel I’d be closer to my ideal working day (see Refocusing)
- Leave on awesome terms with your current employer! This is extremely important! You never know, you just might want to get back there, and not necessarily because things don’t go to plan!
- Be calm and ready to focus. It will be a huge amount of work (after you’ve spent the first week in your pyjamas). Be confident that you have a plan and that if you focus on getting things done efficiently it will help you to grow your new venture.
We all have thoughts, we all have things we need to do, and we all have a desire to get these things done, hopefully in the most efficient way possible. I was just like you, letting these things ramble around in my head.
I was a big believer in David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system when I came across it and I still implement bits and pieces of that today, but I found that I was getting way too bogged down in creating “next actions” for each task and whilst feeling like I was going to maximise productivity, I was wasting time and NOT getting things done!
During this process I came up with an idea for an app I could use on my phone that would sync with my desktop and have all of my tasks in it. After I defined what it would be, I spoke with a developer mate of mine and he was keen to help me make it happen.
I searched the web and app store for other similar things and came across Wunderlist! This was sometime in late 2012/early 2013 from memory. I started using Wunderlist heavily and we used it collaboratively to outline the features we would add to our own list application.
Life got in the way (mountain biking specifically!) and we never got around to building the app. Since then I’m sure Wunderlist read through our list as they’ve implemented most of the features we wanted!
Here are the top 10 reasons I still use Wunderlist today (three years later) and how it can help you!
1. Never miss an idea
I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, be driving and thinking, be at my current 9-5 job, be out for a bike ride, basically anywhere and I can have a moment of brilliance. When this happens, I can very quickly unlock my phone, click on the Wunderlist app in my Android dock, press the big + button for a new item, type in what I want, usually a keyword that will serve as a reminder, press Add and that’s it! It has added that item to my inbox.
If I have some more time, and am awake, I’ll probably go into the appropriate list and add it in there, but as long as it is captured in my inbox I can always sort it to the right place later.
Get your tasks and ideas out of your head and into a place/system you trust. Trust me, it frees you up for many more ideas! Everyone has moments when they say “what was that thing I was thinking about before?” Be smarter and lock it away in your list!
2. Different lists for everything
This is so important for busy people. If I want to focus on one particular project or business I am working on, I can go straight into that list and see all of the items relevant to that project. This saves me from being distracted and doing other things which do need to be done but may not be the most productive use of my time for the goals I am trying to achieve at that particular point in time. If I have something that I have to get done, but right next to it I have something totally unrelated or more fun, then I might be inclined to “Watch new bike video” instead of “Proofread Report”. Having different lists allows me to focus!
3. Shared lists – Best one is my shopping list with my wife!
Wow! What an awesome feature. This is the reason this was the one app that made the cull when I was looking for similar apps to my original idea. I use shared lists to allow my wife and I to keep track of a number of things. We have a shopping list which we both update for example. I can be at my current 9-5 and get notified that she’s added a bunch of things to the list and I’ll grab them on the way home.
We both actively use this and it means the simple things you normally forget until you get home are always on there. If I’m getting ready for work and I realise that toothpaste is getting low, I’ll add it to the list. If I’m taking the bins out and I realise the bags are getting low, a few taps on my phone and it’s on the list.
When one of us walks around the supermarket and adds things to our cart we can use the list to shop from and tick the items off as we get them. So effective! Occasionally I’ll buy chocolate and leave it on the list, that way she’ll buy it too!
4. Collaborate with partners/clients
The first shared list I made was with my developer on ways to make an app like Wunderlist but be better. We could throw down ideas and build up our list of desired features.
I’ve recently used this with my brother whilst developing TheRSVP.Co, to make sure that we have a list of tasks required for completing the product, marketing, launch etc. The app enables us to assign tasks to each user, comment to discuss aspects of a specific task and mark things off when they are done. We literally built this whole product via Wunderlist tasks/comments and about 3 hours of phone calls!
I imagine the same approach could be used with clients to keep them up to date on progress without the need for constant phone calls/harassment!
5. Organise ideas
Once you have all of your ideas in Wunderlist, you can drag and drop to move them to different lists. You can combine different lists into different folders. It is a very intuitive application and allows you to save time and focus on the tasks at hand.
I have an inbox where I put most things straight away, then lists for shopping, stuff to do at home, a few lists for specific businesses I have running or am working on, other shared lists for stuff we take when we travel, and stuff I take when I travel for work/consulting. I then have a folder called Business Ideas, which has over ten more lists for concepts that I am not working on but that I’ve had time to break down into more detail. One of those lists is a single list of ideas that has currently 28 ideas (a few words each) for businesses that I haven’t even had time to think about yet, just a fleeting idea!
6. References and Bucket List
I also keep a list of references and a bucket list. So many times in my life I’ve come across something that was really intriguing or something that I say “I must do that at some point”. I pop out my phone and add it. Sometimes I just save a link to a website, or a word or two and a screenshot. I honestly couldn’t tell you what is on these lists right now but when I do look at them I know I remember these things straight away!
That’s the beauty of these lists, it frees your mind from having to remember everything and you can focus on the task at hand which may be “Enjoy Life!”!
7. Starred Tasks and Reminders
Some days I am not entirely focussed on a few key things and I decide I’ll just crush my way through various items on various lists. To do this I’ll go through the different lists and I’ll click the Star next to each item I want to select. this adds these items to a “Starred” smart list and I can then work from that during the day.
Sometimes (like today), my wife stars the shopping items just so I don’t forget them! I currently work in the big smoke and we live in the middle of nowhere so if I don’t get things one my way home our local supermarket will be closed before I get there! This is where reminders come in. We can add reminders that give me a popup notification at a specific time/date. Another awesome feature. They now also can sync these to my Google calendar!
Under each task you can add subtasks. I find this most useful for keeping sublists. Generally true subtasks I add as a normal task, as it is something I have to do and want to tick off anyway. A simple example would be under my home list, I have a task for Movies. In the subtasks of that task I have a list of movies that people have told me I should watch. Whenever I am out and someone says “you have to watch this”, I’ll whip out my phone and add it to the list. I would definitely forget what they said otherwise! I should also start to add in the person’s name as I’ve watched some awesome movies on that list but can’t remember who told me about it to say thanks!
9. Add files
This one is awesome for adding screenshots or photos. If I see a design or something I like I can add a task and then add the screenshot or photo so I can remember. I can also add the hyperlink to the webpage etc. This never used to be in Wunderlist, so I’m glad they read my list of ways to make an app that is better!
10. Simple to use and a free version. And, it works/syncs on everything I use!
Finally, Wunderlist is so simple to use. It also has a free version so no need to pay up. At the end of the day, if something is so simple that you can easily integrate it into your life and see immediate massive benefits from using it then why wouldn’t you. It works on my Android phone, PC, Laptop, Workstation, MacBook, iPad, wife’s iPhone. It is a great example of a product done right!
Please share this with anyone who you think will find it useful using the buttons on the left of the page and also comment below to let me know a few of the ways you use Wunderlist to make your life better.
Thanks – Scott
The purpose of the 48weeks.com website is to share my experiences whilst I try and reinvent my working life in the hope that at least one of you out there finds a little bit of gold and is inspired to lead a better life (by you own definition).
It’s quite personal but here is a (very) simple visual tool I’ve used to help me take action to get on the path of a day to day workday that I’d love to be doing. Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the main thing to do when pondering something is to “take action” but what action should you take? This is a simple technique I’ve used to determine those first steps towards the lifestyle that I desire by identifying what I do now and what I want to do each day.
Evaluate your typical current day.
1. Open up a spreadsheet right now and write Monday through Sunday across the top of the sheet.
2. If you have a typical week, like my example below, write a list of the typical things you do on the left hand side. If your week is more flexible than mine, then list out each day under the day heading.
3. Think about your ultimate every day, not the very best day of your life, just the ultimate “this is what I’d be happy to do every day forever” kind of day.
4. Thinking about the ultimate day, colour each cell with green if you are happy with this part of your day currently. Anything that you are unhappy about with your current day should be coloured in red.
It should look something like this but with your own colour breakdown:
Now, that we have dealt with what you currently do, lets focus on what you want to do each day.
5. To the right of your current coloured in section, Write out Monday to Sunday again at the top.
6. Write a list of the typical events in your ultimate day.
7. Colour happy activities in green, and unhappy activities in red. (Note that everything should be green!!!)
It should look like this:
8. The most important step! Sit back and look at the screen. Get emotional, it is allowed. Allow yourself to realise that you may be doing a lot of things on a day-to-day basis that make you unhappy, or at the very least don’t make you happy.
Think through the following thought process at this time:
- Realise that you are doing things that really aren’t what you would choose to do.
- Realise that you will probably be doing this for many years to come (in my case another 30+ years!).
- Realise that unless YOU take action nothing will change.
- Accept that last point. Nothing will change. That should scare you!
- Slap yourself, everything CAN change.
- Realise that by accepting that things are not ideal you have made the first step towards your freedom.
- Realise that what you have been doing up until now was ok, but you’ve just assessed your day-to-day goals and made the conscious decision to do things differently from here on in to life the life you want to live.
9. Refocus your energy to doing more of the things that make you happy. Slowly start to implement the desired activities into your life. Obviously for me, leaving my current job will be one of the last things to change, but if I can start to do some of the other things on my list, even once a week now then I’m on my way!
They divide between your red list and green list will seem to be huge and that’s ok. Mine is massive! But, day by day, week by week, small changes are being made and I know what my end goal is. I have refocussed my life and am striving towards my goal. I’d encourage you to make slight adjustments and implement them slowly, so that they are achievable. We’ve all tried running every morning before work. This usually lasts only for about a week because we were not ready to make such a huge change to our lives and we lose motivation. Start with one thing, do it occasionally and over time ramp it up. I promise that you will feel like this is achievable. Each sense of a win will make you strive to do more, and before you know it, you’ll start to be able to get more “green” into your current day.
As you can see, my end goal still includes a fair amount of work per day (on average). The difference is that I’ll be happy and I’ll be working on things that I love to do. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my working life!
I’ve given myself 48 weeks to “green” up my day. Make a commitment with yourself and comment below to keep yourself accountable.
If anyone else has ever done something like this or has a similar tool you’d like to share, please let me know!
Thanks – Scott
The best entrepreneurs are those that continually take action. We often hear about them when they are far down the road to success and it may seem as though they’ve all been doing this in this way forever.
In reality though, they are human. We all have the same potential for success. We just need to embrace the fact that we can do it too.
Here is a list of some of the people that have taken the leap and poured their heart and soul into their businesses. They are examples that we can all look to for inspiration as we develop our own businesses and a life beyond the normal 9 to 5.
1. Pat Flynn
Pat is an accidental entrepreneur. He had a promising career in architecture laid out in front of him and during the last financial crisis was let go from his position. I’m sure he’d join me in saying that this may have been a tough time, but was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. Pat is like myself. I can tell that family is by far his number one priority and I have a lot of respect for that.
Pat’s experiences since have involved earning passive income from a website of his (that he built for himself for exam study) which he saw had a lot of external traffic. He monetised the site by selling a guide to passing the architecture exam he wrote if for and started seeing the money come in, without any further action required. This is termed passive income. Pretty “smart” hey!
Since then Pat, being the great guy he is, has been blogging about his experiences and helping others develop a passive income through his blog Smart Passive Income. He shares amazing content for free and continues to grow his audience in this space. He has built his brand into a profitable business whilst providing so much inspiration for his followers (including myself).
2. John Lee Dumas
John has been a bit of an overnight sensation. Starting out as an officer in the US Army, he returned from service and dabbled in a number of career paths. He then poured some cash and invested a huge amount of his time into the world of podcasting. He put so much work in upfront that he is now a shining example of how to launch and grow a podcast business. He is well known for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire where he interviews inspiring and successful entrepreneurs, providing an insight into their mindset and giving audiences actionable advice that they can use on their own entrepreneurial journey.
John has also shown that community is what matters most, especially when you are giving away such amazing free content. John refers to his listeners as Fire Nation, a group I am proud to feel a part of having started listening from episode 20ish on my 2+ hours of daily commute (out of now 960 episodes today – with a new podcast each day!). He has built a community of loyal followers and now also runs Podcaster’s Paradise, a membership community where people can learn how to build a podcast and launch it for success.
3. Tim Ferriss
Well, if you’ve made it this far you’ll most probably be aware of who Tim Ferriss is. He’s known for being an author of many best selling books, including The Four Hour Workweek, which if you haven’t read or listened to, you must do this ASAP. I think of Tim as the ultimate human experiment. He doesn’t care what people think, he has good and bad ideas and follows them through just to see what happens and more than that he’s found a way to connect with millions of people that he’ll never meet, like myself, and have a profound effect on their lives. The book “The Four Hour Workweek” really made me sit back and take notice of the priorities in my life and realise that there is a better way. I’ve been striving for that moment when I could take that leap and finally have kicked myself into action. If I break anything whilst going down this 48 week path, please send the bill to Tim! It’s all his fault!
After the Four Hour Workweek was released, Tim released other titles such as the Four Hour Body and Four Hour Chef, other amazing must reads. He’s more recently filmed a TV series called The Tim Ferriss Experiment where he tries to learn some pretty demanding skills in a short amount of time. Tim jumps in the deep end and shows us all that you will fail sometimes (and that he is only human), but sometimes you will succeed and that will blow your mind!
Even if you are not an entrepreneur or don’t have that mindset, I’d really recommend reading or listening to some of Tim’s books, or at the very least check out his TV show!
4. Adam Baker
Adam is a great example of someone who has led a normal life who decided to take action after the birth of his first child, like myself. He was a normal guy working a normal 9 to 5 job and with his wife they decided to leave the USA and travel around Australia (my home). They sold off lots of there stuff and tried to minimise their own debt so that they could undertake this massive working trip around Oz. He started a blog called Man vs Debt and noted ways that they had successfully minimised their own debt which allowed them to set off on their adventure. It turned out that Adam hit a pain point for many people and his blog became quite successful as he continued to share great actionable advice with people.
Adam and his family now live off the monetised site and enjoy the freedoms that we are all striving for. Adam is financially free to spend time with his family and projects that he loves (such as his movie “I’m Fine, Thanks”). Adam’s story is inspiring because without knowing it, he found a huge untapped market, something he was passionate about, and took action. Something we all should be doing!
These are the four people that come to mind as I sit here and write this post. I’ve written this off the cuff, unedited, so you can get a feel for why these people have all helped to get me to this point.
The journey here at 48 weeks is just beginning, so leave a comment listing some people (non-family) that have inspired you and be sure to sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our progress! I look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks! – Scott
My name is Scott and I’ve recently made the conscious decision to change my life and the way my family and I do things.
I’ve decided that in the next 48 weeks, I’ll work out another way of earning an income so that I can live my life doing things that I love to do and so I can be around the people I love to be around.
You may think I am crazy, but you are only reading this because you came here, with a glimmer of hope, as ultimately you know you want the same thing.
What led to this decision. Well, its been coming for a while really. I am a great entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs fail right? I am very good at that.
I’ve come from a background in Mechanical Engineering and have worked at some pretty amazing places including as an Aerodynamicist for one of the big Formula One teams. I’ve travelled the world and ended up settling back in Australia with my wife and 4 month old.
I am very busy at the moment, far too busy to be writing this blog but it needs to happen. I need the motivation to change the way I live and this will keep me accountable.
I’m currently working full time for an employer (please be discrete if you know me as I do enjoy my work and the people I work with – I’d just enjoy being at home more, like everyone else!), I am also running a consulting business, managing a retail service business, have a 4 month old baby, am defining and setting up this website, working on a startup with my brother (see below) and trying to map out my life!
I have a plan, and it involves you. Please feel free to comment on any of our posts and join the discussion going so that we can all benefit and live a happier life.
Please have a look through our blog posts for anything that may help you on your path, please also reach out to us if you want to discuss anything as I’d like to help others free themselves from the standard 9 to 5 (or more).
Sign up to the right and we’ll send you an email every now and then and let you know about the journey to date!
As mentioned above, my brother and I have just launched a new product – amazing wedding websites with an online RSVP. Very sleek and stylish – and low cost! You can find details at www.thersvp.co or skip straight to the demo site www.thersvp.co/jackandjill Tell me I sent you!