I don’t want to win my first million. I want to earn my first million.
I wholeheartedly agree. I have the same mindset as well.
But just because you’re smart, talented, experienced, have all the right connections, and have access to resources abundant, doesn’t mean success is guaranteed.
I don’t care how hardworking you are. Failure is never off the table.
Even in entrepreneurship, which is all about playing the “long game,” it’s possible to succumb to shortsightedness.
The reality is, there are only a few possible scenarios. Best case, you will sell your business for a small fortune. Worst case, it will collapse (most do). Of course, there are shades of grey in between.
But most entrepreneurs haven’t even stopped to consider that revenue is not wealth. And to retire and live on your own terms, what you need is wealth. Revenue won’t be there forever – it’s more of an insurance policy than anything.
Project yourself 20 years into the future and consider a reality where your financial situation is the same as it is today. We’re usually prompted to envision the opposite but trust me when I say it’s not a remote possibility that you will be in the same financial situation 20 years from now. I have hardworking, ambitious friends who are. So, imagine that future.
The sad part is that if you didn’t invest, you missed a huge opportunity. You could have started saving up 20 years earlier, earning compound interest on your investment vehicles. You would not have been considered any less smart, self-made, or entrepreneurial for doing so – quite the opposite!
Instead, you’re 20 years older, can’t retire or live on your own terms, and still need to keep up an impossible work ethic to sustain your income. Your health is suffering, and so are your tired relationships.
Again, I know you’ve probably read all the personal development books that told you to envision and create your desired future, but you’re not thinking accurately if you’re not planning for worst case scenarios. A little stoicism doesn’t hurt when it comes to setting and working towards big goals.
After all, we’re often told:
Dig your well before your thirsty.
But this doesn’t just apply to expanding your network. It applies to expanding your wealth too.
Even if you are playing the long game, don’t be shortsighted. Don’t attribute superhuman qualities to yourself you don’t possess. You’re not too good to fail. And you’re also not too good to start investing either.
Time will pass anyway. Use this to your advantage. Bet on yourself, yes, but also plan for worst case scenarios. Your worst case scenarios can end up being best case scenarios if you’re shrewd with your income.
On Saturday night, I experienced the early warning signs of burnout.
I have been “gunning it” for the last nine months, so it’s only expected that, at some point, I would start to feel a little worn down. And yesterday, my body let me know as I was standing in an elevator.
It’s obviously better to catch this early because recovery can happen much faster. I can adjust my schedule, turn my attention to the few revenue-generating activities that matter, and get more rest.
And more than ever, what I’ve recognized is that more work does not mean better results.
As ambitious creatives and entrepreneurs, we often assume a godlike work ethic will propel us towards our dreams, not realizing the sheer stupidity that follows as we seek to put revenue above life.
Let me show you my work…
Do You Recognize the Hustle as Endless?
When life becomes about revenue, the hustle is near endless. There is always more that could be done if you just had more energy and the willpower to do it with.
In that state of mind, it’s easy to forget that working at a breakneck pace should only be done in spurts. Never in a marathon.
Which basically means this – hustling and grinding is pointless unless you have a specific goal in mind.
If there is no goal, and you’re nowhere within the ballpark of achieving it, you’re hustling and grinding indefinitely, until your body says “stop,” or worse…
You can always find something more to fill your schedule with. But to what end? Is it even worth it? Is it producing any revenue at all?
You’d better take a cold, hard look, because the extra work you do is usually the 80% that’s just taking up time and producing no results. 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.
Are You Really Prioritizing Revenue?
When you’re in the constant fog of hustling and grinding, it gets harder to distinguish the activity that’s producing results from the activity that isn’t.
At some point, you start creating labels for your work – work that you find fulfilling and enjoyable, work you don’t, and shades of grey in between.
Before you know it, you’re prioritizing work that’s fulfilling and enjoyable, not realizing that this work doesn’t create revenue, at least not compared to the work you say you don’t enjoy.
The labels, then, become completely meaningless. Why hate the work that’s bringing an income and instead put all your time and energy into the work that’s producing hobby level results?
You think you’re putting revenue over life, but upon closer examination, you’ll realize that you’re just putting work above life, not revenue above life.
Are You Sure You Aren’t Comparing?
“I will not be a victim to comparison,” you may say. But you don’t realize just how much you are comparing yourself to those who have a bigger following, are making a greater income, or you feel are more accomplished than you are. It’s why you keep striving for more thinking you don’t have what they have.
“They did it, so I should be able to do it too. Why am I not as far along as they are?”
It’s important to realize that, if you have a vehicle that helps you make a living wage and covers your bills, while it might not appear sexy, it’s much better than a lot of people have it.
You have no idea how many entrepreneurs have a seven-figure revenue with a thin profit margin.
You have no idea how many so-called “influencers” with a massive following essentially live in a yurt.
Look, some people think the Lambo and mansion are what it’s all about. Some of your potential clients might even be fooled by it.
But if you do it right, you’ll be well-positioned to save their neck when they lose their shirt from the $12.95 book, $97 home study course, $997 conference, $1,997 coaching program, and so forth, they bought from the charlatan who was supposed to have a foolproof method for success.
Unless you’ve locked yourself out of the internet, you do compare yourself unfavorably to others. And it’s affecting your judgement severely.
When Will You Stop & Enjoy Life?
For most creatives and entrepreneurs, financial freedom is but a concept – some random, far-off date, with some random, astronomical figure of money.
But assuming it an inevitably, most will soldier on, day after day, thinking that they will one day wake up to be bombarded with sales orders.
The opposite is just as likely and plausible, though, that their business stagnates, gets on a downward curve, or collapses entirely despite their best efforts.
It’s one thing to find out your idea isn’t going to work six weeks or six months in, quite another to discover six years or 16 years later that your ladder was against the wrong wall.
Working harder assures nothing, as I’ve demonstrated before.
I have no doubt that you derive a certain amount of joy and even fulfillment from the work you do, just as I do. But life is happening now, and if you don’t head out your door to enjoy the weather, the beautiful mountains and beaches, the new restaurant that just opened in town, you may never get around to it.
Even if you don’t have your financial freedom yet, by your own estimation, you do have a certain amount of freedom available to you today. And today is the time to start enjoying it.
The Bottom Line
Revenue over life is stupid because when you put income ahead of your wellbeing, you begin making stupid decisions that aren’t in line with your goals. All you end up doing is wasting hours of your life you’re not going to get back.
Limit your working hours. There will always be more to do tomorrow, and it will be right there waiting for you. When you have a start and end time for everything, you will necessarily be more effective, because there will be no other alternative.
See what else I’m up to.