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What if you could double your business? Sounds good, right? But what if you could 20x your business? Sounds even better, no?
Most people aren’t even doubling. They find something that works, but then for some reason they move on to something else. Why? We’re not sure, but everyone seems to do it.
In this episode, Matt and I share are most crucial business habits and mindsets. These are what we have observed to be the 7 most important factors to our business success.
This is an extremely fiery episode. If you want to get motivated, this is 100% for you. Be forewarned: no excuses are allowed. We embody the word hustle to inspire you. It’s not about working as hard or harder than someone else: it’s about being the best you that you can be.
We’re going to teach you the importance of focus. We talk about why age doesn’t matter. You’re never too old or young to start and you’re never allowed to make excuses. You will always find excuses if you’re looking for them. Choose not to look for them.
Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins
- You can be successful as a night owl, but you can be more successful as a morning person.
- It all starts with writing
- Doing something daily makes you more disciplined. It makes anything you do on a recurring basis that much easier.
- No matter how young or old you are, if you look for excuses, you will find them every single time.
- The secret is to 20x what’s already working.
- Always be open to learning from competition and other industries.
- Hire proactively and hire people, not positions.
- Hyper-focus is the key to being highly successful.
- Multitasking is a myth—you need to focus and eliminate distractions and the possibility of interruptions.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people’s success or level of hustle. Look to where you’re at and take one step at a time.
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1. Wake Early
- 06:22 Sean: I’m naturally more of a night owl. That’s what I would tend towards if I could do what I wanted, but the work you do at the beginning of your day is the most important work. You just had a charge from sleep and you’re using that energy to focus on the most important thing. If you’re checking email or browsing your feeds, you’re squandering that charge and wasting that precious energy. I used to not like morning people that are all peppy while I just need my coffee, but when I started waking up early, I couldn’t argue with the results.
- 07:13 I simply got more done. There’s something about that first charge from sleep and doing the most important work at the front of your day. If you show me someone who’s successfully, like a millionaire, who stays up late, works late, and sleeps late, I’ll show you ten more multimillionaires and billionaires who wake up early. I’m not arguing if you say, “I can be successful if I don’t get up early.“
You can be successful as a night owl, but you can be more successful as a morning person.
- 07:57 I’m not saying that being a morning person is super easy for me now because it’s not, but now I identify as a person who wakes up early. I don’t do it because I enjoy it, I wake up early because I like the person I am when I do.
- 08:15 Matt: I would like to wake up early every single day, but some of my employees are in Europe so their times tend to screw with me and I have to be up at night. When I wake up early, I feel so much more focused. The adrenalin kicks in and you just get going. When I’m not checking email or my Twitter feed first thing, I can focus. Especially if you have kids or a wife, if they’re still sleeping in the morning, you can focus and get ahead of the day.
2. Write Daily
- 10:24 Sean: If you want to make a name for yourself, write daily. We were talking about discipline when we were coming up with these seven key habits and one of Matt’s was discipline, which I totally agree with but we decided not to include because it wasn’t a specific habit. Discipline is huge. Writing daily can do tremendous things for you, but the fact that you’re doing something every single day is huge. Whatever it is, like running or working out, that discipline is something you can attach other things to. You do this thing every day, now what can you do after that? You associate things with what you’re doing daily and it helps you get more done. If my Apple Watch tells me to stand up, I could do something else too like five pushups, drink water, or stretch. It’s adding things to these little habits you’re creating.
Doing something daily makes you more disciplined. It makes anything you do on a recurring basis that much easier.
- 11:56 Matt: Especially if you’re in the beginning stages of entrepreneurship, the more you can get discipline about anything, the better off you’ll be. As time goes on, you’ll find you have to work 18 hour days sometimes and it’s going to help you mentally if you’ve already broken your mind into it. When you’re an entrepreneur, you work hard and you have to mentally prepare yourself for that. I find that a lot of young entrepreneurs struggle with that. Some new partners I’ve brought on haven’t been able to mentally keep up because they’re so used to shutting down work at five o’clock. They’re just not used to this disciplined mindset. Writing early in the morning every single day will help you with things you wouldn’t even think would come up.
- 13:22 Sean: Fulfilling that commitment, sharing what you know, and teaching that solidifies your own understanding too. It solidifies the things you know and what you believe. Sharing with other people and teaching helps you discover what your true values are, what you believe, and how you do business. Sure, it’s stored up in your mind, but that’s not a good place to store things! You think you have a process, but what is it? If you don’t have a process written down, then you don’t have a process.
- 14:03 Writing will change everything; it all starts with writing. It all starts starts with writing—a business plan, a video, a podcast, a blog post, a book, etc. (Related: seanwes podcast e139 It All Starts With Writing (Again)). Some people don’t realize how many things truly do start with writing. If you want to make a course, start writing daily before you even think about doing a course (Related: e020 10 Steps to Launching an Online Course). Writing is a huge habit if you want to make a name for yourself, but it’s also going to help your business out in a ton of other practical ways.
- 16:22 Eric asks, “Can you please define ‘making a name for yourself?'” How many people can you go up to and say the names Gary Vaynerchuck or Casey Neistat to and they’ll know who those people are? Even Gary Vee says he hasn’t reached 90% of the population. Unless you’re a megastar, you’re not out there. Even the people we look up to are all hustling to get their name out there and make their name mean something. If I put a course out, write a book, or make a podcast, I want that to mean something. It’s only going to mean something if I make a name for myself.
- 18:01 That’s not to say if you don’t write you can’t have a successful business. You don’t necessarily have to write a book or have a blog to have a successful business or a bunch of successful businesses, but Matt has 100 Twitter followers. He’s virtually unknown; people don’t know Matt Lopez. I’m exposing him to my audience and together we’re slowly building a new audience. Eric says, “So it’s really when you’re an influencer in your industry.” Yes, it is and possibly beyond just your industry. It means making your name mean something and getting people to have actually heard about your name. That will open up doors—you can sell products, people will ask you to speak, and you’ll be hired at any rate.
- 18:58 Gary was talking about how much to charge for speaking in his most recent podcast. Even before he was as famous as he is now, he threw out $5,000 and the people asking him to speak said yes! They wanted him to do an hour long speech and he said, “Oh, an hour will be $10,000,” and they still said yes! That’s what writing opens up for you.
3. Stay Positive
- 19:48 I want to hear Matt’s take on staying positive because this was his point. He wants to talk about staying positive even when things aren’t good, not just when they’re great.
- 19:56 Matt: It’s easy to stay positive when things are perfect and you’re happy, but the most important time to stay positive is when things start going South. For example, yesterday we were doing some demolition on one of my real estate houses and right as a I hit a wall with my sledgehammer, I hit an electrical box and ripped it out. It was like $3,000 to $5,000 worth of damage. When things like that happen, it would have been easy for me to lose my cool in a situation like that. I know I throw around numbers like $200,000 a lot, but when I’ve got a $30,000 budget for a house and I just lost $3,000 on something, it has an effect. That could have been a nice stainless steel stove or fridge!
- 21:08 It was frustrating because I was going to make more money by smashing down this wall, but I lost some money instead. All my partners and teammates were there and they all look up to me so it was crucial for my reaction to be, “It’s gonna be alright.” Every single day stuff is not going to happen the way you want it to. You’ll have a big task list and you won’t get it all done by the end of the day. You just have to be proud of what you did do and stay positive through everything. When bad things happen for me it’s hard for me to think creatively, but I have to find my happy place in my mind.
You don’t always have to care what others think of you, but you have to stay positive and come up with a solution when there are people looking up to you.
- 23:08 Sean: Just to touch on the money thing real quick: if you think a million dollars is a lot of money, you might get $100,000. You have to change your mindset about money. $200,000 or $300,000 are just numbers to us. You might be thinking that’s several times your annual salary, but we’re thinking of it as a resource.
- 24:03 Matt: It’s just a number and when you start thinking about it as just a number, it becomes a whole lot easier to make decisions. When stuff like this happens and you lose $2,000 to $5,000 it’s not as big of a deal and you can just keep going. It’s going to take time. In the beginning when you’re only making $1,000 to $3,000 a month, it’s difficult to think about making $50,000 or $100,000 in a month. Things evolve and it doesn’t happen overnight, but eventually opportunities will arise and $200,000 or $300,000 isn’t a lot of money anymore.
4. 20x Instead of 2x
- 32:08 Sean: What’s doing well in your business? What’s doing well right now and what could you do more of? Most of us find something that works well and then we move on to something else. We don’t know why. Some of us will go back and do a little more of it and maybe we double our efforts, which is great, but the people who are really smart will 20x their efforts. Whatever it was, whether it’s bringing in money or growing an audience, was working for you and you moved on. You should be doing more of that! Don’t just double your efforts; the secret to success is to 20x your efforts on what’s already working. Go all out on that one thing.
5. Never Stop Learning
- 34:35 Matt: I added this point because I was reminded of when I was a kid: I was 12 years old and my family started a snowcone business. I didn’t think much of it, but my parents put me in charge of one of the trailers and they wanted me to make it more money. At that point we were making about $200 a day. I figured out what the competition was doing to bring in more customers and increase sales, like coupons and technology. I went to schools and gave coupons to the teachers for their students and sales skyrocketed. We went from $200 a day to $2,000 to $5,000. My parent’s fancy marketing plan was a sign by the road with an arrow pointing to the stand! We ended up doing a local deal on Amazon, Living Social, Groupons, and stuff with Yelp so people would see us online.
You have to always be open to learning from competition and other industries.
- 37:05 When I see a corn farmer and he’s doing something I’m not, I want him to show me. I don’t own a corn farm but my carpet cleaning business could do something with that water collecting thing he’s got going on. I want to know what it does and how much it costs. Constantly be open—don’t put yourself in a box. You might be successful if you just stick to your five year plan, but will you reach your full potential?
- 37:39 Sean: On the topic of always learning: age is just a number. To me, age is like credentials—it’s arbitrary. Credentials is a piece of paper that tells me you know what you’re doing, but how about showing me a track record, case studies, testimonials from past clients, and results? I care about experience and results. It’s the same with age—age doesn’t matter. If you’ve been in the industry for 10 years and you’re 29 years old, then it shows you’ve skipped the drunk college years and you hustled. I don’t care if you’re 29, I see your results after 10 years of experience.
- 38:37 I believe in that person just as much as I believe in someone way older who did the drunk college years and then started their 10 years at age 29. Why are they more wise because they wasted five or 10 of their years partying? Are they more wise because they’re older? That’s not always the case. I see this theme repeated a lot: young people say, “I’m 19 and I’m a full-time freelancer, is that weird?” Implicitly they’re saying is, “Will people take me seriously?” People who aren’t as young are putting themselves in the “old” category—I’m not calling them old.
- 39:26 There are 30, 40, and 70 year olds saying, “Oh, that’s me,” when I say, “not as young.” People who aren’t as old are saying, “I can’t do this, I’m too old,” and implicitly, they’re saying, “Will people take me seriously?” People on either side of the spectrum are asking the same question and there isn’t a middle! You hop from one side of the spectrum to the other. There’s no more opportunity 10 years ago, 10 years in the future, or now than you choose to see because there will always be excuses.
No matter how young or old you are, if you look for them, you will find excuses every single time.
- 40:21 Are you choosing to start this thing and stick your neck out today? It doesn’t matter what age you are, someone will not take you seriously. Some people don’t take me seriously and I don’t care.
- 40:46 Matt: I’m the youngest in my company, but somehow I feel older than everyone. I have 50 year old men working for me and I feel older than them because of all the crap I’ve had to do to get to where I am. Don’t complain about your age, just start developing your plan now. A lot of people say they’re too old to start something, but I have a 70 year old man working for me! He’s about to break off into his own business, but at 70 he’s starting to do what I’m doing at 25. Whether you’re young or old, don’t be scared to start now and don’t think, “If only I could have started back then,” or, “If I was Sean’s age and didn’t have kids or as many bills, I would do it.” I’ve got a kid, don’t make that excuse!
- 42:19 Sean: Everyone has the same excuse—you’re young and no one will take you seriously or you’re old and no one will take you seriously. You might feel like all anyone ever pays attention to is the young people.
6. Hire People Not Positions
- 43:04 Always bet on people. People will help you succeed. I’ll pick people who have the right mindset and right attitude over someone with the technical skills any day, because they have what it takes. They can learn the skills; I’m looking for the mindset, attitude, and for someone who will take responsibility. I’m hiring people, not positions, but I’ve also learned to hire proactively. I think of it like a plant in a box—it will grow to the space you give it, just like a project will take whatever time you allot it. I like to open the box before the plant gets there so it can grow out. I raise that ceiling proactively so it’s not stunting the growth, which means I hire when it’s a little scary.
Most businesses hire when they’re hurting for someone.
- 44:35 They wait until they absolutely need someone and then they scour job boards to get someone quick. They wait until there’s a hole in the ship to patch it. I’m looking to hire more people and I’m looking to hire the right people. I never understood when businesses would say, “We’re always hiring if we find the right person.” I thought you had to have a need and then you hire, but now I get it. People with the right mindset is all that matters—we’ll find work for them. I believe in people and so far it’s paying off, we’ll see about the future though.
- 45:48 Matt: You can hire all day for skills and to fill in a spot that’s needed, but I like hiring for mindset better. I’ve hired employees for their skill and it was a mistake, because they think they’re the best and they’re too arrogant to listen. If they’re too arrogant to listen, then they won’t go as far. Hiring people with the right mindset, that stay positive, are always ready to learn, and who hustle are more valuable than the ones who have the skills. The new people are ready to hustle and learn, while the guys with the skills are comfortable. Always keep an open mind for people who are excited about working for you.
- 47:52 Sean: Focus is everything—it’s your lifeblood. You can’t get anything done without focus. If you think you’re getting things done, you’re kidding yourself.
Multitasking is a myth.
You need to focus and eliminate distractions.
- 48:10 You have to eliminate the possibility of interruptions, not just distractions that are immediate. The kind of focus I’m talking about here is the kind where I know no one is going to knock on my door, call me, and my notifications are off. I have to know my wife knows I’m in focus mode and she’s not going to interrupt me. If you have kids, you have to know the kids are taken care of and they’re not going to run into your room. While you’re getting interrupted or distracted, I’m making money and focusing.
- 48:57 Focus is the ultimate key to highly successful people. What are you doing? I go so far as to designate spaces and devices for tasks, just to get as much focus as I can. I do a lot on my Mac Pro, like streaming live, working on Infusionsoft, answer emails, writing, post to social media, etc. but I designate certain things to other devices. As soon as we’re done with this episode, I’ll go sit in the beanbag with my phone still on airplane mode and I’ll write three things: a tagline, an excerpt, and a newsletter conclusion for this episode. All of those are super important because it tells people why they should listen to this episode, and the optimal time for me to do that is immediately after the show while it’s fresh.
Without focus you’re essentially setting money on fire.
- 51:45 If you want to set money on fire then let distractions and interruptions happen at any time. You might call it focus time but you know someone could knock on the door or you could get a push notification. Focus is how you make money. Focus is how I can make more money than other people in an hour when they’re working 10 hours a day. I can do whatever I want for the other hours, but it’ll probably be more focus time because I know how powerful it is.
- 53:26 Matt: That’s what I have to do every day. People always complain that I don’t text back when they text me, but if they’re not in the scope of work I’m working on in that moment, as much as I want to, I won’t respond to them right then. Most of the time, I have my phone on airplane mode, off, or silent so I can stay focused.
- 53:41 Sean: Devon says, “Do you think by being so focused and structured you remove yourself from living life, almost being robot-like? I know you have sabbaticals but that’s not every week.” I’m at the height of living right now! This is why I’m so big on following your passion. People make fun of doing what you love and following your passion, and they’re welcome to go do something they hate. I don’t believe in that though. I care about the listeners and that’s why I show up and do this show for free.
- 54:56 I made a commitment and I want to show you this is possible. We do this because we want to help people and I so thoroughly believe in aligning your strengths with your passions. Most people don’t do that in a job or their own business, so they think I’ve got it hard being all about hustle and hard work. This is my life! I live and breathe this stuff. I’m stoked to wake up and do this every single morning, even if I’m tired.
- 57:13 Devon follows up and says, “You sound alive, but I’m saying everything is so organized I fear there may be no spontaneity.” People have a misconception about spontaneity—they think freedom, openness, and possibility is where spontaneity comes from. Freedom is paralyzing. Telling someone they can do whatever they want is the most paralyzing thing you can tell someone! There’s so much possibility, you can’t do anything. That’s why I say to do one thing and start with anything, because that’s the hardest part. If you tell an artist they can have a whole warehouse full of supplies or a musician they can have any instrument, it’s paralyzing.
Constraints breed spontaneity and creativity.
- 58:08 You have to have a box in order to think outside of the box. I’m so rigid, structured, and focused with everything I do that I’m able to get a ridiculous amount of work done. Most people work eight hours in a day and they get 45 minutes of work done. I can work six hours with four of them focused and I’ve beat you by a week’s worth of work. I still have gaps and it’s when you have rigid structure that the time leftover is where spontaneity happens. If you’re not focused you don’t have spontaneity, you have chaos and a lack of productivity.
- 59:22 Matt: People think I’m crazy and obsessed with money, but I don’t even know how much I have! I didn’t even know how many businesses I had until a few weeks ago because I purposefully don’t want to know. I want to stay motivated because I love what I do; I don’t want to know how much money there is. Take whatever you love to do and figure out how to collaborate that with some kind of business and make a living. That way, you can be passionate about it and wake up every single day excited about it. At the same time, you might have to do some things in life that you don’t like to to do, but those are stepping stones.
You have to do the things you don’t like at first in order to get where you want to be doing the things you love.
- 1:01:01 It may look like Sean and I are insane and not living, but come back in three to five years when we have Lambos.
- 1:01:18 Sean: That’s when people will get it, but what they don’t realize is that we’ve been living all along, and for us, it’s about the journey.
- 1:01:27 Matt: It’s a dream! We could set everything up to where our businesses are just running themselves and we could sell everything to go buy our Lambos right now, but it’s not about the money. It’s about doing what we love. The more you do it, the more you fall in love with it. In the beginning, it can be frustrating because you don’t have any traction, but once you get traction, you can’t wait to hit the ground running and grow the business. There’s always going to be things that suck and bring you down, but you have to find whatever it is that will motivate you.
Don’t Make Excuses
- 1:03:03 Sean: John asks, “Can you talk to people who struggle with focus?” The issue is your mental bar is too high. You’re looking at my level of focus and thinking, “I can’t do that. I have ADHD. I’m not that personality. I’m tired in the morning.” You have reasons for why you can’t be at my level of focus. I don’t want you to be at my level of focus! I don’t want you to be at the level of someone who has 500,000 followers on Instagram or someone who has a $10,000 a month business; I want you to do the first thing.>
- 1:03:43 I want you to put your first photos on Instagram, get your first 10 followers, and make your first $1,000. I want you to have your first day with one hour of focus time, because I know 99% of you don’t even have that! Lower the threshold—don’t think you have to do the perfect thing and have the perfect work day. If you get one hour of focus time done, then you’re doing better than everyone else who goes to their job and “works” but they have distractions, interruptions, and they believe in the myth of multitasking.
- 1:04:36 Those people aren’t actually getting anything done. If you struggle with focus, I want you to realize that the bar is much lower than you believe it to be in your mind. You don’t have to be an ultra focused productivity guru, you just need to try a little bit and stop thinking about your excuses for not being able to focus.
- 1:05:08 Matt: I can’t believe how many people don’t focus for one hour in their eight-hour work day “because they’re tired.” What’s going to happen if you make that excuse 365 days straight? You’ll be in same position and you’ll look at us and think, “I’m falling behind and I’ll never be able to catch up.”
Don’t compare yourself to other people’s success or level of hustle. Look to where you’re at and take one step at a time.
- 05:53 Sean: There’s a 1,000 steps between you and them. They’ve been taking hundreds of steps for years. One step won’t get you to that point.