Do we all need to take time off to recharge? How do you build grit?
Today I want to share my thoughts on why a lot of the advice you have received from people who “mean well” is BS for a lot of people when it comes to the needs and benefits of “vacations”.
We are going to dive into what grit means, how to build grit, and finding out what a grit training schedule is. Based on my own experiences, I believe that how we define entrepreneurial grit and how we build it within ourselves are keys to success.
The analogies I share here helped me finally put a framework around my work schedule and the passion to continue to train and build grit.
As I write this, I am on a trip (aka vacation) with my kids and wife, who are all dead tired and asleep. Time for me to crush out some work.
I want to point out that we are all obviously different and the type of work we do varies based on personal preferences, talent, goals, and passions. However, understanding your goal in business is critical to what everyone needs to build mental toughness and also recover efficiently.
The structure I outline below are what I have found works for me, but I understand that my strategy won’t be optimal for everyone based on what your “optimal” is. The same way a training schedule for an Olympic rower is going to be different than an Olympic weightlifter – both have a talent that they need to build but do it in different ways (but more on that analogy later).
While reading this, be sure to keep in mind what your work and personal goals are and how they fit into my grit strategy.
Grit can be defined in many ways, especially as an entrepreneur. However, I like to think of it as the level of perseverance someone has along with their combined efforts and passions to reach a goal. Obviously there is no quantitative way to measure the amount of perseverance someone has. Instead, we look at our external efforts and achievements to determine our grit.
Grit matters. Why? It not only shows others our level of perseverance and resilience, but it defines our work ethic, helps build a growth mindset for our everyday lives, it develops our mental toughness. Most importantly, grit molds our passion and purpose in life. Having a purpose in the work you do will help avoid failure.
Grit is a growth mindset. People have created their own definitions and strategies on how to achieve grit, however along the way, strategies have become convoluted and confusing, especially when it comes to rest and recovery. Let’s jump into it and go over how my strategies for building your entrepreneurial muscle can help with your short-term and long-term goals.
We live in a time where efficiency is one of the most talked about and researched topics in business. However, the general consensus around rest and recovery is not optimal for success. Those of us who put in A LOT of hours on our business have always been told..
Granted, I used to hear this more when I was working much crazier hours: 12-14 hour day job + 3-4 hours/night on my online business, with absolutely no days off for 2-3 months at a time.
It was also a lot harder to respond to these points when the income reports where pretty brutal! Have a look at the original income reports! Needless to say, it was very hard to listen to the risks and warnings about burnout, work/life balance, etc when the data didn’t yet support it.
In many ways, the noise around this topic has gotten more confusing. For instance, discussions and research around mental health has, at times, blurred the lines between a very serious issue plaguing people in today’s society vs. strategies around optimal work/rest balance.
Of course, the two are related and while there is overlap, there needs to be better discussions differentiating both topics. Many articles/interviews discussing mental health is coming from the standpoint of reducing the risk of mental health, but seem to be biased towards recommending rest over work as the lone solution to reduce this risk.
While having a proper work/life balance is important, maximizing rest is, of course, not the end-all-be-all solution to mental health issues. This topic is much more complex than this, and obviously, I’m not qualified to comment further on these issues, nor will I. My intent here is to share my strategies for increasing mental toughness and perseverance as it pertains to achieving optimal work performance. I can only speak for my own situation, but we don’t live in a risk-free world.
One important thing to remember is that if you enjoy the work you do, the work isn’t necessarily a sacrifice. Clearly the amount the work drains you mentally will dictate your ability to be able to build your grit and execute the work.
I always find it helpful to have an analogy to reference on any topic … in this case, I like to think of it as a muscle: the GRIT muscle.
Many of the same principles of improving your physical fitness apply to your GRIT muscle. Whether it be setting a goal to claim a starva KOM (for the bike geeks) or hitting a new PB (Personal Best) at the gym, the basics for training any of the body’s systems remains basically the same…
If a sprinter trains their legs to achieve strength and explosive speed, think of training your mental toughness and resilience to be gritty. When I came to grips with this and realized that those periods where my schedule was insane were moulding and building my GRIT muscle, it was easier to continue pushing through and turn work into a passion.
The analogy works well with other comparisons …
Any athlete who is serious about building their skills and physical fitness would never leave their training to chance. This is the same approach we need to take when building our GRIT muscle and entrepreneurial drive. We should have a purpose to our “training” (aka work) schedule.
So how do I try and find balance of building my GRIT while balancing other things I want to enjoy in life?
I try and break down my work in a somewhat fractal way where my day mirrors my week, which then mirrors my year. During the day/week/year timeline there are peak work periods and lighter rest periods.
Similar to how a well-rounded athlete needs to train both strength and endurance, the all-around entrepreneurial grit muscle needs to be trained for both the short and long-term efforts needed. If you have a highly specialized talent and at the point where you only need to be exceptional at a few things in your business, then your schedule should reflect that.
The best strategy I have found to both be productive and manage my effort throughout the day is the pomodoro technique. This method was first developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s and has since been used as an excellent work hack to increase efficiency.
The concept is simple (and VERY effective). You use a timer to break down your work into intervals, usually 25 minutes long, separated by short breaks. The purpose is to reduce external interruptions from everyday life and work, by focusing hard for a short period of time, leading to effective intervals of work.
I used a couple of mini sand-filled hour glasses I got off Amazon until Kelley broke one! She says she wasn’t throwing it at me but all I saw was exploding glass and sand everywhere! Now I use a simple online timer like e.ggtimer.
Weekly I try to have a couple days that I push myself as hard as I can to be more gritty. I call these my “work all day” days and they are great for getting lots of work done and pushing myself to my limits, in turn helping grow the GRIT muscle.
The luxury of being able to sit down before 8am and know I won’t be stopping work until 9pm-11pm allows me to put things on my to-do list that I wouldn’t otherwise get to for months!
I realize there are many people with 12-14 hour days as their routine, however, this is how I choose to structure my week and it works very well, keeps my efficient, and allows me to balance my work/life schedule.
I wish I had 4 phases to my schedule so it lined up better with quarters, but the reality is I phase my year in 3 blocks: build, stabilize and recover.
A slightly larger than normal week with some very long days at the computer
So what are the key points you should take away from this post?
Hopefully after reading this, you don’t have a fixed mindset on how to achieve grit. This outline is simply my method, which I hope can help you create your own structure for growth. Remember, we all have different goals, passions, obstacles, and talents, so align your strategy to what works best for you. But make sure your pushing your limits and getting out of your comfort zone. Face adversity head on and don’t be afraid of failure – in the end it will help develop resilience and grit!
Finding online success is never easy! But what I am always amazed at is it is rare to find someone who has truly dedicated themselves to this craft over the long term and doesn’t achieve life changing success.
Today’s post is another great example of the fact that there are many paths that push us to achieving our financial freedom goals online!
The other day I was able to connect with Nathaniell from onemorecupof-coffee.com and we discussed his journey.
What fascinated me about the call is the impact a few seemingly insignificant at the time decisions had on his entrepreneurial journey!
Hope you are able to take something away from his story!
Nathaniell – Thanks for sharing with us!
Nathaniell is an internet marketer who started his first business back in 2010. Here we are, almost a decade later, and he is using his success to help others learn the same methods he used to make money online and gain the freedom and financial security he felt he couldn’t find with any other career choice.
Like many others, he had his fair share of jobs over the years. But he always kept going back to internet marketing, and it turned out to be the career that he loved and one that would start his entrepreneurial journey.
Nathaniell grew up in California and traveled to Europe after graduating. He grew bored of the United States and wanted to see more of the world. In the beginning, he stayed with a friend in Prague and did some freelancing as an English teacher when he needed money. He then began working as a kindergarten teacher.
But again, he wanted to travel more and further expand, so he moved to China. After spending some time in China, he felt it was time to start thinking about his future and his career.
As Nathaniell worked to find ways to make money on the internet while living in China, he made a few mistakes. Nathaniell says he wasted time taking surveys and even joined a pyramid scheme. Of course, these were dead ends and didn’t amount to anything.
After six months of trying and failing, Nathaniell began researching and came across Wealthy Affiliate. From there, he went on to learn about the industry and made his first sale through his website.
Unfortunately, at the same time, he was also working on another career venture that would ultimately fall through, so he decided to travel back to the United States to see if he missed being there.
After living in China for 5 years, he made the trip back to the United States. He was unsure of his next move and was fearful about putting all his effort into internet marketing because there was no safety net for him if this venture failed.
After visiting, he made the long trip back to China after his visit and realized that during that long flight, he managed to make $500, and that’s the moment he realized that if he tried, he really could make this work.
After seeing that he couldn’t make as much as he wanted with other jobs without putting in more hours, Nathaniell decided this was a lifestyle decision that had to be made. Why continue to work at a job when you can only ask for so many raises and work so many hours? How do you make more money?
With internet marketing, he found that direct relationship between the hours worked and the money he began to make. With this career choice and ultimate lifestyle decision, he realized there was much more choice involved than if he stayed with a more traditional job.
When he started, he was looking for the freedom that this career choice would allow, and now he is finding the work and life balance he needs within the hours he is working.
A typical day for Nathaniell starts by waking up between 5 and 6 and promptly getting to work by 7. He finds he is much more efficient in the morning, and this is when he can get all of his organization done while also completing some content editing.
After these tasks, he moves on to research and answering questions inside Wealthy Affiliate. He then breaks for lunch and some gym time before returning home to complete some writing-related tasks in the afternoon.
He has a full day of work and is motivated to reach his goals of making more money and becoming even more successful in the long term.
Currently, Nathaniell is focused on traffic. He says that you can have a great affiliate program in place, but without that traffic, it isn’t going to make you any money. Traffic is the foundation on which a successful affiliate program is built.
After gaining that traffic, the next focus is optimization and monetization. This involves completing keyword research, figuring out what it is people are on the internet searching for, and learning how to write articles that are going to rank. This is where on-page SEO and monetization come into play.
Nathaniell has found that writing articles in a series of ideas is a good way to go. Instead of paying too much attention to search volume, he is identifying groups of articles he can go into in even more depth.
For example, if you choose a niche in skincare, you can write a series of articles that cover every facet of that subject. When you are able to cover everything on a particular topic, you are essentially becoming an ultimate resource, and this can help you become an authority in your chosen niche.
He also says that SEMRush is a good tool to familiarize yourself with. It is an SEO tool that helps you with your keyword research, tracks the strategies your competition is using, and runs SEO audits on your blogs. It is something used by many internet marketers and other businesses.
By the time 2013 came around, Nathaniell owned his home, a new truck, and even a motorcycle because he started making money online. Now, in 2019, he is continuing to work online as a full-time internet marketer and is running his own online business.
His site, One More Cup of Coffee, is his passion and is how he chooses to help others travel the path to success. He wants to help you bypass the many scams and misleading offers that are all over the internet, and instead teach you how to focus on working hard and taking the time to turn your own website into a successful business.
When asked if he had any advice for himself almost a decade ago, he said that he wished he would have focused more on the long term and didn’t cut as many corners. Cutting corners is a waste of time.
There is a world of opportunities online, and if you have the drive to work hard and learn, then you too can find success as Nathaniell has by making money online.
Have you always wanted to learn more about some of the things we do here or at any of the portfolio companies? Or maybe you are looking to develop your skill set for another company while working on your own project?
Now is your opportunity with the growth of MotionInvest and BrandBuilders and a refocus on other projects we are needing to bring on additional help!
If you are interested in fulfilling one of the jobs below to join our team, we would love to hear from you.
We are currently hiring for 2 positions to help us carry some of the load as we grow.
Job Description: We are looking for someone who is good with words and can create in depth posts specifically around digital marketing.
You need to live and breath this space working on your own sites, follow the usual blogs and play with lots of the tools!
You need to love data, spreadsheets and dedicated to creating useful content.
The approximate weekly output we are looking for is around 2,000 words with times where that will go up.
Job Description: We are looking for someone who is able to make connections in the online marketing / make money online space and line up affiliates for a few different projects.
People seem to obsess over them, making theirs unique, eco friendly, oversized, undersized, made of metal, made of plants, yoga mats etc
But… it doesn’t seem like the same focus has been placed on email signatures. For many of us who send a lot of email (50+/day) and hand out 1 business card rarely any focus on business cards vs your email signature is misplaced.
Today I am going to share a little test we ran at adbank with our email signatures that had some interesting results and how you can efficiently benefit from upgrading your email signature as well.
We wanted to have an email signature that communicated the unique value proposition of BLADE and made people pause so they took the 2 seconds needed to understand it.
The value proposition of blade is install our ad blocker and replacer and receive free crypto while you browse like you normally would!
It takes 60 seconds to do and once done you are setup forever with the ability to use referral links and share with others.
Tyler the adbank UX/UI designer came up with the following design and instructions…
Step 1 – Concept – What simple single GIF animation communicates your unique value proposition for your business?
Step 2 – Creative
Working with an in house designer is handy but UpWork or Fiverr could also be options for getting what you needed done.
Here was the creation Tyler came up with on round 1…
Step 3 – Implementation
Implementation is not as straightforward as you would think. Here are the step by instructions for getting everything setup…
Step 1: Download your signature from the google drive folder
Step 2: Go to your own GSuite accounts google drive and create a new folder titled “email signature”. NOTE: this needs to be its own folder at the top level of your drive.
Step 3: Upload your email signature to your new “email signature” folder.
Step 4: Turn on link sharing and then “sharing settings”
Step 5: in the sharings settings, click advanced in the bottom right corner.
Step 6: In the advanced sharing settings, under the “who has access” title, click the blue “change” button.
Step 7: Turn the settings radio button to “on – public on the web” and press “save”.
Step 8: Now go to your email and click the settings icon and select settings from the menu.
Step 9: Scroll down to the email signature text box and click the image icon. NOTE: make sure the checkbox that says “insert this signature before quoted text” is checked.
Step 10: In the image selector, navigate to the google drive tab
Step 11: Navigate to your signature gif and select it by pressing “select”.
Step 12: Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and click “save”
Step 13: Your email signature should now automatically be embedded every time you compose an email!
We didn’t have all the tracking we could have had setup (should have used link tracking) but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. In the first week several people shared with me…
As a result we are going to be implementing a similar approach across other businesses and setup better tracking to see what works and what doesn’t work.
If you have ever had a clever strategy with your email signature I would be interested in hearing about it!
Over the years I have had a lot of partnerships, some have worked out extremely well building friendships and achieving success for everyone… others have ended in failure and disappointment.
Many people say they like to avoid partnerships because they are always messy! This would be much less fulfilling for me since much of the satisfaction I get from the companies we run is winning together.
It is true partnerships are often messy, but here are some of the lessons that I have learned and structures that have seemed to work for me and some of my business partnerships. Hopefully if you’re putting a partnership together or adjusting one you already have- this might help you avoid these mistakes.
Most Importantly – There is no ONE system that is best for everyone. The key is to understand the motivations of people involved and find a solution that has everyone’s incentives aligned.
I have had my share of painful discussions, but fortunately- I haven’t had any disagreements that I haven’t been able to solve with people.
In the news in just the past 2 weeks and just in Canada there have been a couple examples of partnerships going off the rails publicly impacting in some cases thousands of people!
Here are 5 of the most common mistakes I have either made myself or seen others in the online world make…
Below are 3 of the structures that have worked most consistently for me.
Structures That have Worked:
Stewardship / Structure
No matter how good the partnership is setup there is a need for ongoing stewardship and management. The way this has worked well for me is the following…
This is a work in process and I try to follow the guidance from the book Traction.
Standardized Business Stack
Having some standardization across the different businesses when it comes to the business systems has been helpful