Goals

This post is quick.  It’s 9:55 on a Friday night, I’m the only one left in working at NextSpace.   Life and Entrepreneurship are all about goals.  A clear, concrete goal is very scary, but nothing is quite so effective either.

Setting goals:  Too low and it’s uninspired, too high and it’s crazy. I want my goal to be somewhere in between for now.

 

Deadline:  First amazon affiliate site (curated in a niche) online by April 15th, 2012.  Expect to lose money.

Deadline:  First affiliate campaign (using my shiny new VPS and Prosper202) by April 11th, 2012.    Expect to lose more money.

Deadline:  Finish Ca$hvertising by April 3rd, 2012.   This book is all about copy writing and marketing psychology, will be invaluable

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Don’t know what affiliate marketing is?  The graveyard of Aff marketers who never made profit is large indeed, so be warned.   But if you have skill and a stack of chips to risk, here’s a guide to get started:  http://www.nickycakes.com/newbie-guide/.

Bottom line:  NO GURU PRODUCTS, LEARN BY DOING.   As an info junkie it’s going to be hard for me to stay away.

So what are the milestones?  Turning a profit on the Amazon Aff Site, and Turning a Profit on Aff Marketing in general, and finishing the book is an easy one.   Flip the last page and it’s over.

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Any questions about aff marketing or how I set up my Virtual Private Server and installed Prosper202?   Hit me up in the comments.

4 Reasons Quitting Makes You A Winner

Never, never , never, never give up

-Winston Churchill

I’m usually a Churchill fan, but this quote isn’t so great.

Why not?  Follow this advice and you’ll end up in the same place you started!   Ridiculous.  I prefer another Churchillism instead:

If you’re going through hell, keep going!

Don’t stick around–get the hell out of there!

“Quitters never win!”  It’s true.   Quitters don’t win that game, but that doesn’t mean they can never win.   It’s a tactic to win in the future.  Your goals are important– get rid of your time sinks to focus on what matters.   Deciding to quit is scary, but it’s usually turned out well for me

Quitting gets a bad rap.  The Freakonomics Duo talk about the upside of quitting here.

Am I saying quit every time things get tough?  Absolutely not.  The rewards for perseverance need be worth it, though.  Losing fat is tough, but being lean feels amazing.   Learning  something new is tough, but the personal growth is satisfying.  Conquering anxiety or fear is tough, but nothing feels better than becoming a better person.  Similarly, the burdens and joys of mentorship and giving back are tiring, but they’re rewarding.   

The key is to quit when you realize there is no upside to what you’re doing.   Emotions and ideals can cloud our judgement in these things, but if something is hurting you you should quit!  Moral superiority or macho points don’t count for much if you’re unhappy.

Here are 4 reasons you should consider quitting frustrating or useless commitments, and why it could change your life:

Reason #1: Quitting frees up time and money

Building anything meaningful requires time and money.  Commitments don’t always involve money (though some do), but almost always are time intensive.   Take a look at how you spend your time.   Take note of demanding commitments you have.   Could be a side project, a fraternity, a weekly meetup for drinks or sports.  It might be a relationship.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I enjoy this is?
  • If not, is it making my life better in some other way?
  • What would really happen if I stopped?

I was the treasurer of my fraternity until September 2011–one of the top positions.  I spent over 10 hours per week on Frat life.  I don’t regret anything, and I’m still friends with many of my brothers, but as soon as I stopped enjoying my position I decided to quit.

You might think it’s selfish to quit when ‘the going gets tough,’ but frat life isn’t a commitment like parenting or marriage to be toughed out.   It should be fun.   It costs money.   But worst of all, it was very time intensive with meetings, meetings, and events involving plastic handles.    I quit abruptly and some people were angry, but they got over it.   I didn’t apologize.

When you quit, you shouldn’t apologize either.  You’re just ensuring your limited time on this planet is not wasted.

Back to fraternity land.  It worked out well.  The brothers got a new treasurer who was more excited about his job than I had been, and I saved $750 in dues.  Most importantly I reclaimed countless hours I would have spent in meeting, judiciary boards, and stressing.   I’d do it again.

 

Reason #2:  Quitting Keeps You Focused

Many people believe they can juggle multiple commitments.   I’ve met a few who claimed they can.   In reality, they are rare.   Most people do better by limiting their goals and attacking them with a vengeance.     Quitting will help you get good at things instead of becoming mediocre at many.

Cal Newport advocates ruthless elimination of un-neccesary classes or commitments in a smart, motivated college student’s schedule:

He realizes that the relationship between reward and skill level is not linear, but, instead, exponential. A corollary of this truth: being excellent at one thing can yield significantly more rewards than being good at many. Even though the former requires much less time than the latter.

Getting really good at one thing is far more valuable than being okay at many.   Professional athletes make millions while amateurs and decatheltes pull in zero.  It’s hard to hunker down and commit to being good at one thing, but it’s the right decision.  Experts are valuable; novices are worthless.  How has putting “good communicator” on your job application worked for you lately?  People seek tangible skills, professional and personally. You need to get those.

If you have too many things going on, you won’t be able to focus.  If you don’t focus, you won’t get good.   And we already talked about what happens if you’re not good.   Quit something now and focus on what you’re good at.

 

Reason #3:   You Won’t Procrastinate Anymore

Having multiple commitments is deadly because you can blame failures on your overloaded schedule.   It’s a convenient excuse and people will usually give you the benefit of the doubt.   But you’re reading this post because you want to win.   Winners don’t make excuses, they win.   And when they don’t win, they don’t BS around about it.

Procrastination is seductive, but taking action is the right course.   Tim Ferris once pointed out that people tend to overestimate what they can do in a short time period, but underestimate what their long term results.   Fat loss, for example, requires time and rewards starting now. You probably can’t lose 10 pounds tomorrow, but you’d be surprised what changes take place over a year.

What can you do?  X out some stuff that you hate and then you won’t be able to blame your failures on too many things to do.   Crunch time, baby.

 

Reason #4:  You’ll be happier

If you think powering through adversity is always the best or most manly thing to do, you’re mistaken.   Endurance is one thing, masochism is another.  Toughing out bad situations can build character, but sometimes you need to cut your losses.

My first two years of college I dual majored Engineering and Economics.  Initially I aced pass the math and science courses, but then Physics for Engineers and Integral Calc came along.   I had a miserable Fall 2010 quarter and had only C’s to show for it.  Would I plod along with my nose in the book, become a shy engineer, or choose a different path more suited to me?  Quitting is shameful, right?

Nope, I quit engineering.   I’ll let someone else who enjoys doing complex math and pulling way too many all-nighters handle it.  Quitting engineering was one of my best decisions.  I realized that my attention to detail isn’t always strong.  You don’t want me building your bridges.

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I encourage you to take the leap and start trimming your unnecessary and stressful responsibilities.   Stand up for yourself.   Only you can ensure your time and resources are your own.  Eliminate commitments or obligations that don’t nourish you.

 

What have you quit in the past?  Do you regret it?  Was it the right decision?   Is there anything right now you want to quit?   Sound off in the comments section.

Who Cares About My Blog?

Frost from Freedom Twenty-Five thinks blogging makes you a better person, even if no one reads yours (yet).

Why should you blog if no one is going to read (yet)?   Frost writes:

  1. Writing forces you to organize your thoughts…
  2. Writing forces you to live consciously…
  3. Writing keeps you accountable to yourself…
  4. You can get rich, bitch…
  5. You might do some good in the world.

Bottom line: blogging is a great way to find your voice.

Welcome aboard my “voice train.”  Maybe you can help out by commenting and giving me feedback.

Points #1 and #2 hit home for me.   It’s easy to forget that no one understands your point of view until you explain it.  And explaining is hard.   Don’t get carried away and assume your assumptions match other people’s.

Example:  I’m making entrepreneurial and social decisions that seem “radical” and “risky” to people who don’t share my set of assumptions.   I want to start a business instead of enduring the school grind and working for someone else;  I want to exercise dietary discipline and sanity instead of gorging and then hitting the treadmill 30 mintues a day, I’d rather read a book by an interesting author than listen to an old professor whose worldview seems outdated.

Why make these decisions?   That’s the million dollar question.   People ask,  ”Why make it more difficult on yourself?  You’ll get by just fine going with the flow.”

  • Getting by doesn’t sound appealing (See Point #2 and #3).  Smoking weed, watching TV and/or Sports 4 hours a day, complaining about my job to anyone who will listen is getting by.   Rationalizations and excuses are getting by.   Fear is getting by.   Putting it off until later is getting by.   Going with the herd is getting by.  Plodding along with the herd is comfortable, but why endure life if you can create one that doesn’t suck?   Is it possible to wake up excited instead of pressing snooze again?

So that’s my perspective.  But not everyone shares mine, and that’s because they haven’t had the same experiences.   Maybe I am looking down my nose at the person who asks why.   Maybe I’m being a prick.   I regret it, but life goes on.

I’m sifting through people that aren’t buying what I’m selling, and getting to the people who love it.  Maybe lots of people will read my posts and bounce immediately:

 This kid has his head up his ass.  Entrepreneurialism, feeling great,  reading, writing, and thinking… that’s for no-lifer nerds.

Am I sad to see them go?  The saying goes:   You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Yes, I want to help people with through my writing.  And not in a paternalistic “I know better than you do” way, I’d rather give someone tools and see what they can create.   Plus, that’s more fun.   But I won’t waste time trying to force change before you’re ready.

Still with me?  Back to why I’m blogging:

  • To organize my thoughts and to live life consciously (Point #1, #2).
  • I don’t usually have a problem with accountability, discipline has always been easy (Point #3).   For help on that, look elsewhere.
  • Getting rich isn’t the main goal. Money without happiness is empty, but I won’t turn away dollars when the time comes (Point #4).
  • To do good.   The world doesn’t need me to save it.  Given the opportunity it can save itself.   I’m going to focus on helping people so they can in turn help others.  Is that too idealistic (Point #5)?

Now it’s your turn.   Which of Frost’s points would make your life better?

Do you want to start a blog?  Email me and I can point you towards some resources.

 

“Start a blog, son”

The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step

                                   -Lao Tzu, China

Fall down seven times, stand up eight

                                   -Japanese Proverb

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for man-kind

                                   -Neil Armstrong, United States

Start a Blog.”

                                   -Sean Ogle, travelling entrepreneur

 

Which of these is not like the others?

I really felt like I needed to spice up my cliche debut post with something you guys have never seen before.   And yes, the Neil Armstrong quote might be wishful thinking.  But today is important.  I’m starting this blog!

Why today?  Why start another blog among millions?   Many have implored me to start a blog.  Personal friends sometimes, but mostly people who give advice online.

Here’s a quick timeline:

  • 2009:  What’s the best way to become a better writer?  Start a blog.   Thanks, Nate Green.   (I had an email and phone convo with him the summer of 2009 which led to me flirting with, and then promptly quitting my first blog.  False start, five yards!)
  •  2011:  How can I build a kick-ass personal brand and prove my credibility to people who’ve never heard of me online?   Start a blog.  Thanks, Charlie Hoehn.
  • 2012: How can I change my life?  How can I meet up with people who have the potential to change it, or vice versa?   Start a blog.  Thanks, Sean Ogle.

Sean wasn’t the first to beg, but he finally got through.  Props to him.  But I should be ashamed because it took over two years for me to actually do what I’m supposed to.

Alright Sean, it’s done.  Thanks for the kick in the ass.   Like any great motivator, you helped bridge the gap between knowing  what to do actually prompting action.   Much respect for that.

What makes this blog unique?   I strive to take a different approach.  Sometimes it will seem weird, and sometimes I personally fall on my face.   But this blog isn’t about being weird and falling on my face–that’s just the way I am able to provide different content than thousands of other blogs.   Keyword here is different, but the bottom line is always effective.   I promise not to waste your time!

The John Neil Conkle Approach in the proto-stages still.  I have some preliminary goals, listed below.   Now it’s up to you guys to keep me honest and let me know what you’re interested in.   The canvas is blank and you can help me paint it!   Exciting stuff.

  • Get the theme rounded off and add some pictures.  Who cares about the John Neil Conkle Approach if they haven’t seen who I am and know a little about me?
  • Create short posts that will provide insane value in knowledge, useful tools, referrals to those much smarter than me.
  • Create tabs at the top with small pages focusing on entrepreneurship, travel, lifestyle hacks, and feeling good.   I might be a nerd about these things, but you don’t have to be.   I’ll put in the footwork and make the mistakes for you.
  • Get in touch with you, my readers, and see what you’re all about.

So it’s done.  The blog is up, son!   Now it’s your turn.

Have you started a blog?   Though about it?   Had an idea for one?   Let me know in the comments!