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Focus on work which satisfies your long term purpose and vision rather than trying to depend on luck to give you the dream life you always wanted. While short term gains will help, long term business growth should be the objective of everything you do.
You're sitting at your desk or on your phone and searching for business ideas and you come across something that looks like it is going to pop. Your gut feeling tells you that this opportunity is hot and that you have to get in on it right now. You scramble your resources to put up a website, string a few marketing pieces together and launch. You make a bit of money and then a few months later the business tanks. You move onto the next thing. Your ego was lifted for a short time.
What I have described above is the dream. The ideal situation. You may be satisfied with the result, but deep down you know that finding another one hit wonder is going to take some time.
The truth is that these types of situations are not always successful. In fact 90% of these ideas will fail. Unless the 1 idea makes you an absolute fortune, which it usually does not, in the long run, that type of business mindset is not a healthy one.
The question to ask yourself is, are you building a business, or just dabbling in ideas hoping that you strike gold.
We all know the adage, 3 feet from gold. In Neapolitan Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich, he tells a story of a man who bought a farm thinking that the land was rich with gold. He spent years searching for the gold, digging the ground on his own until one day he admitted failure and sold the farm. The new owner hired a few experts to survey the land and discovered a vein of gold 3 feet from where the previous farmer stopped digging. The land made him rich.
Most of us can relate to the farmer. In fact most of us will give up, just like he did. We may not think to hire experts to gather all the information before we get to work.
So, how can the farmer still ‘mine his gold’ and achieve his dream?
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a trend as “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving.”
The definition hints at the fact that trends are seen as long term, slow shifts in the way things happen.
In order to build a business that is successful over a period of time, let’s say your lifetime, you should focus on trends which may span 20-30 years. I’m not saying that a product needs to have a shelf life of 3 decades, you need to think of the overall goal, big picture of what your legacy, vision, or purpose is. Then create products and services that would align with those greater objectives.
The problem with the internet today, is that it lends itself to instant gratification. More and more people are fixated on getting more likes, more shares and being popular in the moment.
Everyone can have their 15 minutes of fame, or better yet their 15K instagram followers and their one great sale. But few can build a brand and a relationship for years to come.
The truth is that like drugs, the journey to the high may feel fantastic. The moment the attention goes away, you sink to a new low which leaving you in despair feeling desperate for the next fix. Business fads are the same. You come into money fast, feel the high of success, then fumble around for ages looking for the next fix. This is also known as the lottery mentality.
While you may not be participating in an actual lottery, your mindset is fixed on obtaining a quick win for little to no effort. Actively seeking the easy way out.
Success comes from taking the initiative and following up... persisting... eloquently expressing the depth of your love. What simple action could you take today to produce a new momentum toward success in your life?
What I have found in business and in life, is that there are a few ways to be successful in the long run. These concepts can apply to both your personal or professional life.
This is a very simple approach.
How you can you make small improvements to push your work, personal life, fitness, relationships or other priorities forward by just 1% each and every day?
A quick evaluation at the end of the day to ask yourself this question sets you up to succeed. Even small improvements can add up over time that lead to overall long term success.
What actions are necessary to achieve the 1% goal daily?
These actions may form part of a greater project, or goal which you want to achieve. If you plan on writing a book, a daily action may be to write 500 words a day. To grow an audience online, you may set a target to publish at least one piece of content per day. The content could be a tweet or a comment on a video which speaks to your niche and target customer.
In order to develop consistency around daily actions, you will need a system and tool to document and manage actions that are needed to achieve the 1% goal which leads into the projects and overall purpose.
Perhaps you choose to use an app to manage your action items and plan them into a calendar. Simple pieces of paper, Post-it notes or even a sophisticated tool like Asana may work for you. Don’t get hung up on the tool, focus on the process of ticking the boxes on the actions on a daily basis.
Every week, evaluate your week and identify areas where you were not able to apply the 1% daily target. Be honest with yourself on where you are falling short. Then ask yourself what needs to be improved or changed to achieve those targets.
Some areas may progress faster than others, and that’s fine. What’s most important is building consist forward momentum. We don't need to go faster each day, just that once we are operating at a certain pace, that we maintain momentum to keep the wheels turning.
Ever heard the term shiny ball syndrome? This is what happens when you constantly change focus from one goal to another every time you see a new opportunity. Building a business online lends it’s self to this a lot. Marketers are constantly pushing their latest and greatest product, techniques, tactics, tools, widgets and strategies into the market. They make bold promises that their _“thing”_will solve all your problems with just one swipe. If only we could download an app to solve world hunger.
While there certainly are tools and techniques that have proven to work time and time again, one should maintain focus on the bigger picture, your overall mission and vision of where you are going with your business, career and life in general.
When confronted with a shiny ball, ask yourself if this thing solves a problem which is causing you to lose momentum towards your goals. If not, ignore it. If there is a possibility that it might, set yourself a task in the future to evaluate how this shiny ball does in fact check the boxes to solve the problem and then work on an implementation plan to incorporate it into your overall strategy.
I am not saying that you should not use new techniques or strategies that are available. I’m asking you to evaluate if this new thing contributes to your 1% goal and also fits into the overall objectives.
It is important to evaluate your current situation objectively, while also remembering the bigger picture of what you want to achieve in your life. Often times the minutia of day to day activities takes our attention away from what is really important to us. If you are fighting for survival, then short term strategies are necessary to act upon, but even those short term decisions must form part of an overall goal to achieve something greater.
Instead of seeking fast money which may solve your problems immediately, work your way into the solution by mapping a plan for your future. It may involve flipping burgers, or $5 gigs from Fiverr (Use the link to get 20% off your first purchase) as a freelancer. Everyone starts somewhere. Small wins which happen frequently has far more value than hoping on a one hit wonder.
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
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