I posted some comments on Facebook earlier today and it got a response from some friends, so I thought I’d follow it up with a longer blog post with some thoughts.
Some of the questions that came up were:
- How do you realise what you want to focus on?
- How do you find something that you love?
- How do you go from first-sight passionate love to committed relationship?
- How do you find business partners?
- How do you stay focused?
To begin, I certainly see what I’m doing right now with Walter Analytics as a journey, and I’m certainly still a fair way off achieving my goals for it. I’ve ticked a few things off the bucket list, but I have a long way to go.
To bring about my process of finding something I love, I might reflect a little bit on the journey that got me here. To begin, I created my own browser based online game around 12 years ago. I ran this for most of my teen years, actively until the end of High school/early Uni. This brought me some passive income, took a lot of time, and made me many friends. It also taught me a little bit about business and what it meant.
In Uni I got involved in Leadership activities, mostly AIESEC. I ended up going overseas to Malaysia to help run a conference and do an internship on the side. Here I got to apply some basic internet marketing skills. I ended up staying in Malaysia for 3 years, traveling and learning more about what I wanted to do. In this time, I ran a games consulting business focusing on marketing, addiction and helping clients make more money Random Ramble, mostly working with clients from the US and doing business through Skype calls. It paid the bills and for some travel, although it was never hugely successful, and I felt like I was in cruise mode.
Once I came back to Australia I got involved helping a client grow his business and setup his internet marketing structure. In this time period I also had discussions with a friend about partnering in a business which would later become Walter Analytics. The big change in doing this business was getting the opportunity to work with bigger clients, meet and pitch in person, and also apply some cutting edge ideas that were making a difference in online engagement. As we have worked with different clients, I’ve learnt what is most valuable in the marketplace and the ideas and systems that can make a difference to revenue growth and online positioning.
To address the questions of the post:
How do you realise what you want to focus on?
Through trial and error mostly. However I believe it is much easier to focus on things that you enjoy doing. Work for me doesn’t feel like work, it just feels like I’m adding value to others, and that feels good. The great thing about doing consulting on topics you enjoy is that you could talk about it all day long and it doesn’t get boring. See clients change their strategies and create more success makes me happy. The money received is just a side benefit.
I believe adding value to others is something we are naturally drawn to, so finding something that fits with your natural skills and motivation will give you something you will actually focus on.
How do you find something that you love?
You experiment. You deviate from the “normal” path. Hopefully you have enough resources to travel a bit. You go outside your comfort zone. I believe many people have an idea of what they love doing, but either lack the confidence to do anything about it, or have the wrong supporters. Too often we get pushed into things we don’t love due to the expectations of others. Breaking away from this pattern for some can be challenging, but doing it can bring a lot happiness.
You can also ask the question: “If there were no consequences or limitations, what would my average ideal day look like?”, or “If every job in the world paid the same, what would I do?”. Go from there =)
How do you go from first-sight passionate love to committed relationship?
I assume this is a work related question. I believe commitments to yourself are far more important to consider. For example, if you refuse to let yourself down (don’t break resolutions, deadlines etc.), then having a commitment to a business or an idea is easier to handle. There are a couple of considerations though:
- If you want to be committed to a business, then you should give yourself a time-frame and single overall goal. For example, I want to earn $100,00 in the next 12 months. To earn $100,000 in a year, you need to earn $273 a day, or $1911 a week. If you can figure out a way to charge $100 an hour for your time, you can work 3 hours a day. If your goal is monetary, work out if it is realistic to earn that amount on a daily/weekly basis and work out how to scale it.
- I believe you can maintain this commitment by tracking yourself on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. I personally do both, and I have a list of weekly benchmarks for myself and my business that I track every Sunday night. This makes it much easier to see if the ship is sailing slightly off course and make adjustments.
- Every “opportunity” that comes up, I ask myself: “Will this contribute to my primary goals?”. If the answer is no, then I say no. Even if it is shiny and the person promoting the idea is oozing with charisma, a quick objective check will prove if it is in line with goals.
- The reality is that the world is full of people who want to take your time away to push their idea. The “entrepreneur” club is full of them. It’s easy to sit around talking about ideas and making an impact on the world, it’s hard to pull the trigger and put in the hard work. This doesn’t mean the groups are not useful, but you need to moderate your participation.
- The most important point above all above is cutting something if it fails for a certain period. You cannot get your time back, so if it is obvious through your tracking or planning that it won’t work, then don’t spend more time on it. There is a certain truth to persistence being an important quality. There is a quote on my wall that reads “When riches begin to come they come so quickly, in such great abundance, that one wonders where they have been hiding during all those lean years” – Napoleon Hill. What I believe now is that if you’re not having an expected success, then it’s better to get advice and examine what is it about your method that is not working. Usually it’s something obvious to someone wise on the outside, but invisible to you because you’re in the middle of it.
How do you find business partners?
Network and become vulnerable to others. Be willing to ask for advice and take it. Find people you can provide value to and do it. Decide what you need a business partner for (time, resources, leverage, reputation) and what you’re willing to give to get it. If you are going to find partners that are working alongside you in something then make sure you have a steady set of rules of how things work and how disputes are handled. Have clear provisions that cut out people when targets are not met, avoid working with people you don’t know well.
- How do you stay focused?
I added this one in because I believe it’s very important to create anything meaningful. I’ve touched on various points in this post, so I’ll just summarise here. I believe that focus is a result of having staggered goals and rewards. It’s much easier to focus on something when you have a clear expectation of what will happen when you reach certain points of progress and reward yourself appropriately as you achieve goals along the way. Focus is also much easier when you work effectively for a time period then have a rest. Relaxation, getting enough sleep and having time to pursue hobbies is extremely important in putting your best energy into something meaningful. I stay focused by reminding myself that what I am doing daily is just a tiny part of the bigger picture, and once I’ve reached a certain milestone I’m able to relax knowing I’ve inched forward. Of course, this doesn’t always go perfectly to plan, so I’ve developed daily habits that help with it, such as ticking off each successful day.
I just want to finish by saying that I’m contributing this piece because I believe I have some experience, but I’m still extremely humbled by what I learn everyday. I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to pursue something meaningful and I’m excited where it is going. If you’ve got this far, consider that finding something you’re passionate about thats fits into your life will take some exploration and some failing. It will also force you to risk things that may otherwise be comfortable to you. I certainly believe that we should make the most of our lives and time which is why I am determined to pursue things outside of the norm. If you feel a similar way, I hope this post helps you achieve that =)
Feel free to contact me via the contact page if you would like to discuss your individual situation further.