Thanks for reading despite the lack of images, I’m currently on an island in Indonesia (here) and the Internet isn’t great.
If you’re going to succeed in business, then you’re going to need to further your abilities. Educating yourself is the easiest way of increasing your value to others, and increasing the amount you can charge for your services.
The only difficulty in this is your ability to manage time, and selecting the right forms of education for yourself. Similarly, you can’t (and shouldn’t) spend all your time focussing on progressing yourself.
Financial freedom requires that you lead a balanced life. There’s little point in becoming an expert in something if you neglect your physical health or social life to do so.
1. Your business needs to address something you’re passionate about
The primary reason that so many success coaches tell you that you need to be passionate about your business is because of how laborious educating yourself can be. You also need to be passionate because if you want to use the time when you’re not at your 9 to 5 to do more work, you need to be motivated to do it.
One of my passions is (obviously) writing. This website is currently something I do in my spare time, and although at times it’s stressful, when I have a spare moment I love writing helpful, engaging articles for you guys. It is only because I enjoy doing it that I’ve stuck with it and continue to improve and develop my knowledge.
Conversely, when it comes to building and operating a business you can’t expect everything to be fun. You’re going to need to learn about stuff that you find tedious and boring, and it’s only through being passionate about something that you’ll be motivated to slog through it.
I find reading and learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) so, so boring. However, it was my love of this site that kept me researching and implementing lessons about it. Incredibly, now when you Google “five years to financial freedom” we’re on the first page! A small victory, but one I wouldn’t have achieved unless I’d been passionate about persevering with the site.
2. A baby step is still a step
If like me, you have little experience running and building a business then you can’t expect to be a genius overnight. In the same way, cramming your head full of knowledge will leave you frustrated about all the things that you’re not doing to improve your business. The key to this is a lot of a little. When it comes to educating your book smarts, you only need to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day to see a big result. If you’re looking to speed up your progression, then you can up that time to an hour a day. The importance isn’t how much you read, it’s how often.
Once you’ve developed the habit of reading books, listening to useful audio, or watching educational videos every day, you’re 99 per cent of the way there. Keep a journal, and each day list three to five points that you learned from whatever media you consumed. When it comes to developing your physical abilities, the same principles apply. For example, say you want to work on your ability to communicate effectively, set yourself the task of using active listening skills in three conversations.
3. Your business is equally as important as the rest of your life
In the early days of building a business, you can get by with working on it for an hour a day. Once the ball starts rolling, you’ll find yourself actually wanting to spend more time on your business than your schedule allows. This is a great sign! However, remember that you’re effectively now working two jobs; your 9 to 5 and building your business.
A trap I often fall into is working long into the evening, writing pitches for clients, finishing an article, or performing general site maintenance. When I work into the evening it impacts other aspects of my life, and that is never healthy. After a particularly long work session, I went to bed early in the morning, I then woke up late and couldn’t do my morning exercises. My relationship with my girlfriend also suffers when I work late, as although we’re physically together, our minds are in very different places.
My relationship with my girlfriend also suffers when I work late, as although we’re physically together, our minds are in very different places. When she wants to talk with me, I’m not focussed on her, I’m focussed on whatever task I’m doing at the time. She gets annoyed that I’m not listening, and I get annoyed that she’s interrupting me.
Until your business is making money and other people are relying on you, a realistic amount of time you can spend on your business is two hours a day. Once the business starts being a dependable source of income then you should start spending a bit more time on it, and cut back on the hours that you work at your “real” job.
4. Relaxation is as important as the rest
Everything that you would consider “unhealthy” won’t actually kill you. It’s when the “unhealthy” things are done excessively that things become a problem. Actually, if anything is done excessively it’s a problem.
Sometimes it’s worthwhile kicking back and letting yourself relax. Do something that you genuinely love to do. Ironically, when you allow yourself to relax properly is when your brain is at its most creative. Taking a break from something means that you can return to it with more energy and ideas.
I used to work till I became frustrated that I had to go to sleep. Now I consider relaxing as an integral part of work. Watching a film, or listening to music is part of human nature and also gives us an increased likelihood of connecting with another individual. You also stimulate your brain in other areas and make connections between things you previously thought unrelated.
One of the best, most creative times, is when you’re talking nonsense with your friends. After binging on reading success books for a month I decided to take a break and just listen to music, or use my time socialising. Incredibly, the majority of the articles I know write for this site are inspired by conversations that I have with people.
Through relaxing and doing this that you enjoy, you bring to a project new perspectives, directions, and potential revenue streams.
5. You can have too much of a good thing
Another thing that I learned from my success book binge was that an overload of information is both useless and a waste of time. I was reading about one success book a week and realised that I had basically been reading the same book over and over.
Through my constant hoovering of information, I had become a literal vacuum of knowledge; I sucked it all up, and was still empty. Now when I read success books I read them very slowly. Once I’ve completed a chapter in a book, I spend one or two weeks implementing what I’ve learned into my life. Some things work for me, others don’t.
Instead of just tricking yourself into thinking you’re making a change in your life by reading loads of success books, integrate their teachings into your life. Changing patterns of thought is never easy, and requires you to unlearn a lot of things your brain takes to be sacred. Yes, you should read every day, and yes, you should be consistently trying to better yourself, but without physical action then there will be no reaction to your learning.
Another thing I learned from binging on success books, is how overwhelming it can be. I was reading these amazing, life-changing books, at it made me unhappy. The sheer amount of positive changes the books told me I needed to make made me feel trapped: Where would I start? Why wasn’t I already doing x,y,z? Should I prioritise x, over y?
Change is typically a slow process, and you need to allow it to be. Financial Freedom is such a nebulous term, because it’s not just a goal, it’s a lifestyle. Diets often don’t work for people because once they hit their desired weight they scrap the diet. They failed to realise that the change they needed to make wasn’t their weight, it was their lifestyle.
Financial Freedom/Success/Wealth works in exactly the same way. Those who go on a financial “diet” and reach their goal, will often lose what they had. Instead of making the end goal a priority, focus on the habits and techniques that wealthy people have and emulate them. Once you’ve built the foundations of a wealthy mindset, then you can bear any financial challenges that the world will send your way.
If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends on your social media channels. We’ve set up a FREE coaching community here, if you have any questions about wealth or success you’ll find someone who can answer your questions there.
Here are some more articles to help you with your journey:
- 7 attitudes that cause complete success paralysis
- 5 things you should be spending more money on (and how to do them for free)
- How a £2 investment saved me a staggering amount of cash