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1 Year Quit Anniversary – What Has Changed?

It has been one year since I left the day job and pursued my online business activities full time.

I wrote a very in depth post on how I got to the point of quitting my day job – http://authoritywebsiteincome.com/quit-my-job/

This post is going to cover…

How Have My Results Been Since I Left the Day Job?

I will break the results down into 3 parts…

  1. Have I achieved my 2 main reasons for quitting?
  2. Financial Results since I quit?
  3. Have I successfully mitigated my concerns about quitting?

My Main Reasons for Quitting:

I had 2 MAIN reasons for quitting…

  • See What I Can Do on My Own – Online entrepreneurship has a lot of opportunities I am excited to explore. I may or may not regret this decision but I am 100% certain if I never took a shot at building something on my own I would always regret it! (from my post 1 year ago)
    • Results after 1 year – I am definitely aligning the pieces of my business between projects and people on my team to be able to make a bigger impact. I would say that I haven’t achieved as much here as I would like but believe the combination of building an amazing team and getting heavily involved in some BIG projects has me moving all pieces of my business in the right way to make a big impact.
  • Ski/Bike/Hike With My Family – My oldest child will be 36years old if I were to retire at 65 (3 years older than I am now) and the number of hours I work per day between now and then were not going to go down based on the path I was on. But the main reason is I simply wanted to ski, bike and hike with my family in my hometown! (from my post 1 year ago)

Results after 1 year – I have without a doubt massively increased the amount of time I get to spend with my family since leaving the day job. Now being home routinely between 3:30 & 4:00 vs 6:30 (on good days) we are able to do an outing almost every day depending on the season (beach, hike, bike or skiing). Plus flexibility to take time off for activities whenever it makes sense for the family. I do believe I still work too much to have a proper balance on the health side and see opportunities for improvement here.

Overall both of the main reasons I wanted to leave my day job to pursue my online business full time have been moving in the right direction. I am especially proud of the amount of time I get to spend with my family.

Financial Results:

“enjoying” working online full time is certainly great but how have the businesses results been? They have been solid, hitting my stretch targets (barely) and having a lot of success with a few new projects.

Have I successfully mitigated my concerns about quitting?

I had been working insane hours (80+ combined day and online job) and pushing myself VERY hard in the couple years before I left the day job. I had some concerns that the loosening of my schedule and the loss of a single clear goal would negatively impact my business. Here are my thoughts on the results…

  • Getting Mentally Soft – For the last few years my schedule has been a little bit insane. Approx schedule… wake 6am, leave for work 6:30am, work 7am-5:30/6:00, Home at 6:00/6:30, family time until 7:30/8:00, work from 8pm-11pm(sometimes much later). Following this schedule was TOUGH and it, like training for anything, resulted in me being able to be disciplined about working. Will I now go soft since I won’t be working the same number of hours?
    • Results After Year 1 – I would say I definitely have gotten softer. My crazy dedication to working EVERY night no matter how tired/sick I was has slipped. Now I take nights (even the occasional day) off. Some would say this isn’t a bad thing but I do think I am getting softer as a result!
  • No Single Inspiring/Driving Goal – Achieving my goal of leaving the day job had become an obsession and now my current goals are less tangible… will my business not have a stimulating goal and as a result be directionless?
    • Results After Year 1 – The goals have become a little more project/business specific. There is a central overall goal for myself which I don’t discuss publicly but am working towards. Because of the new focus on building a business I am continually inspired to build something awesome.
  • Playing Not to Lose – For those that play/watch sports we all have experienced/seen a team take the lead and then play not loose vs playing to win. Will I now play not to loose vs take bigger swings?
    • Results After Year 1 – This one I am very happy to say is not a problem. I would say I am becoming less risk adverse and need to have the controls in place to make sure I don’t risk too much. Over the last 8 months I have put more money to work, hired more staff and started more projects.

What have I done?

Here are the major changes I have done over the last year…

  1. Grew my in house team from 0 to 2 full time and 3 summer interns
  2. Started a couple big new projects
    1. ContentRefined.com
    2. One investment vehicle I will talk about more later
  3. Increased my rate of site building
  4. Focused more on education and extending my time horizon from only a few years to much longer

Summary

I can say with certainty that leaving my day job was a great decision for my family and so far 1 year out my pocket book as well.

However, the fears I had around getting soft and not having a crystal clear goal I don’t think I have sufficiently mitigated. But overall I am extremely grateful for the world we live in where running this type of business is possible. The ability to both throw myself at a business and not sacrfice time with my family is pretty amazing I am extremely grateful for that!

If you are working towards a similar goal please know it is possible and can be done faster then it took me 7years to reach. BUT… it is not easy… I want to stress that it took me 7+years from when I first started and ~3 years after I got serious about building my business to hit the numbers I needed to hit.  Good luck to anyone looking to do the same!

5 Simple Rules To Evaluate Ideas and Control the Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

This post is about a handful of rules I have tried to adopt when evaluating new opportunities. I don’t want to “fight” the bright shiny object syndrome as many new ideas are worth pursuing but this post is about how to “control” the urge to start too many different things!

Chasing the bright shiny object is a big part of what I do but I can’t endlessly pursue every exciting opportunity.

So this post is about a handful of tricks I use to try and determine if an idea is worth pursuing or not.

First Step is Admitting We Are Not Rational! In a perfect world I would put each new project on a list and use some calculation of NPV or IRR and determine the priority of the project. However, my brain is not that rational… the emotional side will skew the assumptions to the point that these calculations will turn into highly precise but inaccurate BS so I have made a handful of rules that try to trick/use my emotional brain to come up with an efficient way to get to the right decision on pursuing an opportunity or not!Continue reading

The Downside of a Single Focus in Your Entrepreneurial Journey No One Talks About

Like most of us with an entrepreneurial leaning I enjoy listening to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts related to business and self-improvement.

There is one recurring message from wildly successful people and many success guru’s… FOCUS!

In this post I am going to argue why I don’t think the focus on a single business is the optimal strategy for many. It may be the right strategy for some but based on my goals (and depending on yours) I don’t think it is the right strategy for everyone.  Continue reading

The Day I Forgot My Sons Name – Work Life Balance and My New Schedule

The day I forgot my sons name was a wakeup call that my work/life balance, or whatever you want to call it, was seriously out of whack!

It was a few years ago and during one of my VERY busy times at my previous day job  (80+hrs/week for 2 months) my wife was 3 weeks from her due date with our first child and I was hoping to be done the project that had me busy before she popped.

We were woken up very early that it was go-time and baby was not waiting for 3 weeks and was on its way now.

It was an incredibly exciting day having our first child born! Even during that day there was still time I put into the day job with calls from work needed to keep the project moving in the field.

Doing a little work in the delivery room wasn’t the embarrassing part (although it should have been) the embarrassing moment/wake up call came the next day…

Everyone was doing well and I was heading back in to work with the intent of getting some critical information handed over to the team, grabbing my computer and heading back home to spend a couple days with my wife and son.

My plan was to slip into work quickly get done what was needed and get out.

However, as I rounded a corner several of the ladies on my floor swarmed asking questions, I got most of them…

“boy”

“yes everyone is doing well”

“7lbs 6oz”

Then…

What is his name….

(oh crap – I draw a blank!)

So feebly I say…

“we haven’t named him yet”

A blatant lie, maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe it was my wife convincing me she thought we were having a girl or maybe my mind being focused on the 10 critical things I wanted to get done quickly before getting home. But regardless of my weak excuses the fact is that in the first 24hrs of parenthood I had a serious parenting fail!

Reflecting on it shortly after it was clear that for me to be the parent I wanted to be devoting as much mental energy as I was to my day job would always leave me with less capacity then I wanted/needed for my family!

It is tough to say when the idea of working for myself running an online business became more than an idea and turned into an obsession but I think this point is likely as good any!

So ~3 years later I quit and am now running my online business full time. (full story here)

It didn’t happen overnight and took many years of working the schedule outlined below but the goal was achieved…

Day Job vs Full Time Online Entrepreneur Schedule:

Below is a side by side comparison of my schedule when I had my day job and now when I am working online full time.

I still work a lot of hrs but I am able to shift a good chunk of hours to spending time with my family in the afternoon to do fun activities!

 

Breaking down the hours by activity this is the result…

I don’t intend to say that my current schedule is better than my previous one for everyone or even that my current schedule is ideal for people. Many people would still think I work too much and don’t have enough fun/socialize time in there but for me the ability to have the freedom to design the schedule that is best for my family and me is a very clear improvement in quality of life!

If you are working towards a similar goal hopefully this post shows the level of effort that needs to be sustained and for how long to give you an idea that it won’t be easy but it is possible!

3 Steps to a Productive Work Day for Entrepreneurs

As I have talked about I recently left my day job and started working from an office on my online business full time.

With my new schedule I have tried to make myself as productive as possible.

This (intentionally short) post is the 3 keys I have found to ensuring I have a productive day…

  1. Do the most important/biggest/ONE task first thing in the morning
  2. Have a plan for the day
  3. Have a schedule for the day

Continue reading

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