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Most people default to short-term thinking. They need a mentor or someone to encourage them to think bigger and to think longer term.

But I have the opposite problem. I tend to think long-term by default. Long-term thinking is good, but you can’t only focus on the long-term. If you do, you’ll run your business into the ground.

Why?

Because you need cash. Cash is oxygen. Long-term thinking is a privilege. It’s not something you’re entitled to. You have to earn the right to think long-term.

I didn’t know this. I had to make mistakes and learn the hard way. Finally, someone else told me.

We talk about planning and prioritizing your short-term (that’s your next six months), and how to get cash quick before you start building assets.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • It doesn’t matter how great your investments are if you’re not making money in the short-term, because you’re not going to be around to enjoy them.
  • If you don’t have more money than you need, it’s not the time to be hiring.
  • The quickest way to make money is to solve a problem for a client that makes them money.
  • You need cashflow to survive as a business.
  • Do more of what has worked really well for you.
  • Put the long-term on hold if you’re in survival mode.
  • Hustle until you get to six months of financial runway.
  • Figure out what your business can produce to make income right now.
  • There’s probably more in what you’re already doing that you’re not tapping into.
Show Notes
  • 09:01 Matt: So many people say, “This is what I want to do in 2016,” and that’s great, but how many things do you really get done that you talk about on New Year’s Eve? Half a bottle of champagne later, you’re telling them that you’re going to buy a Lamborghini, and that’s not going to happen. You have to be realistic. Personally, I used to put together crazy goals, and that was good for me because it helped me push myself. At the same time, I wasn’t making the progress I wanted to make. Sean and I will both share how we’ve grown in this.

Earn the Right to Think Long Term

  • 10:03 Sean: I hired too fast in 2015. September of 2014, it was just me. It’s not that long ago, and now there are eight of us. It’s April 2016. It’s been pretty quick. Last year, there were eight of us. In not even a year, we exploded. All of our efforts have been on the long-term, producing high quality content that we’re giving away for free to everyone. We’ve been putting all of our team’s energy into that, so they’re not spending their time on things that are actually generating revenue. It’s all on the shows, the network, and that kind of thing.
  • 11:14 We were already doing this for a couple of years, and I realized that I needed to hire because I was doing a lot of things that I shouldn’t be doing. For instance, I was editing the podcast. I was writing show notes. I was making the images, doing the newsletters, and all of these things. I knew that I shouldn’t be doing these things, that I should be focusing on the business. I should work on the business, not in it, so I needed to hire people to help me with these things. I needed a podcast editor, show note writers, people to design featured images, to help me with emails, and to do video.
  • 12:03 Cory was brought on originally, and he was the first one, the first employee. He was brought on to produce seanwes tv, which was my daily video show that I started in 2014.
  • 12:24 Matt: Sean, when you said that you brought him on, an employee, who’s going to cost the business money, to do seanwes tv, what was your plan there to make money off of that? I know that not everything in the business is to make money, and with seanwes tv you’ll make money in the long-term, but how are you going to cover that in the short-term?
  • 12:43 Sean: I didn’t think through it in a very logical, monetary sense. It was a very long-term play, and I knew that having seanwes tv was an excellent long-term play to bring people in and to serve as an acquisition channel.

I was investing everything in the long-term.

  • 13:05 I knew that this was going to do great in 2016 and 2017, so I brought on a guy in 2014 to start investing in this. Meanwhile, I’m not focusing enough on cashflow. We have the Community, and that’s making a little bit of money. It’s not making a huge difference for us. It’s more of an investment for me. Everything is an investment, and that’s the problem, as we’re going to find.
  • 13:29 Matt: First off, I’m not trying to pick on you, Sean. I’ve learned a lot, and we’ve changed our business to make sure we have a balance. Everybody listening should take note and learn from both of our experiences, because I’m not perfect. My businesses have definitely suffered when we’re not doing a very good job on that, on the short-term and long-term investing. I like how Sean uses the word “investing,” because that’s what it is. It’s not an expense. Most people say, “I hired a guy, which added to our expenses.” You have to make sure you plan correctly, so in the short-term, it’s going to be paid for.
  • 14:18 Sean: It’s all about timing. All of my investments are super smart as far as what they are, but they may not be the best choice as far as when they are. Is it the right thing for me to expand the network and bring on more shows that cost us about $500 a month in expenses and then hire people to do those tasks? Is that the best idea when we haven’t been focusing on something we can sell? Yes, the Learn Lettering course I launched that made a bunch of money was good, but I’ve shifted away from lettering. That was my initial thing. That was something I spent 9,000 or 10,000 hours practicing, getting good at, working with clients on, selling products, and then teaching other people and making six figures from teaching it while making six figures from client work separately.
  • 15:14 That went really well. When it went so well that I saw other people saying, “How did you do that? I want do be able to do that with my specialty,” I wanted to share this stuff. I started podcasting on the seanwes podcast twice a week. I started helping people. I found that I was more fulfilled helping other people do what they enjoy doing and make a living from it. There are a lot of people saying, “Do what you love,” but there isn’t a lot of the really practical business stuff around that. I wanted to fuse the creativity and the business and get really practical.
  • 15:51 I found that I really enjoyed the business stuff more. Yeah, I was an artist, but before I was an artist, I ran two businesses—a computer repair business and a web firm. My passion is in business, even though I’m a creative person. I’ve been shifting my focus away from lettering, even though that’s what made me money in the beginning.

I’m focusing on business and putting all of my team’s effort into that, giving away free business knowledge, and I didn’t have anything to sell related to business.

  • 16:24 It doesn’t even make sense. I’m not even focused on art and lettering anymore, but that was the product that I had.
  • 16:33 Matt: I’ve noticed that online businesses, although this can be true of offline service-based businesses too, do something that puzzles me. I’m always saying, “We have to make sure we’re making enough for payroll for all our businesses and then extra, and that’s what we’re going to use to invest because we’re not going into debt.” I don’t understand how businesses don’t have things on the shelf.
  • 17:04 Sean: I was acting as a business that has capital, that has investors giving me money to afford to think so long-term.
  • 17:13 Matt: Startups get a chunk of money and they say, “We’re going to buy all the best things,” and that’s fine. I believe in spikes, too. We have spikes. I don’t know how to comprehend how we would do it if we were living off of spikes. If you did it right, you could live off of spikes, but it’s so stressful. I find it surprising how a lot of online businesses live off of small chunks of revenue like ads, affiliate marketing, and small stuff like that. That’s fine, but you have to have service products or other products that are going to bring you income. A lot of people are trying to get away from that, and I get that, but you also have to think about what you’re going to replace that with that will bring you money in the short-term.
  • 18:33 Sean: It took me going on a retreat (Related: seanwes podcast e209 Unsolicited Advice—Recap of A Mastermind Retreat). There were seven or eight of us guys, and we had this session called Unsolicited Advice. We sat on a big L couch, so huge that it fit all of us, in this cabin that we rented up in Idaho. We were hanging out for a few days, and on the last evening we were sitting there with the fire going. Every person sitting there was talking about me, but I couldn’t say anything. They were talking about me as if I wasn’t in the room.
  • 19:40 This was planned. For Unsolicited Advice, we take turns where all of us talk about one person. They’re essentially in the hot seat, and they can’t talk for ten minutes. We speak candidly and talk about what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and we’re talking freely. All you can do is take notes. I was just writing down notes. People were saying, “The quality of Sean’s output is really great. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anyone give so much away for free.” Someone else said, “Yeah, that’s the problem. He’s giving away way too much. He’s not making what he needs to be making, so he’s struggling, living from spike to spike.”
  • 20:29 It was what one other guy said that really stuck with me and stood out. He said, “You have to earn the right to think long-term.” A lot of people think in the short-term. That’s what they default to. Thinking long-term, like the consequences of their actions or how things will play out, is something they push off. They say, “Yeah, I’m not going to worry about that.” For me, I default to the long-term, which works in my favor in most instances—except in the case where I’m planning things out and it involves short-term revenue. When I’m all long-term, we’re not focused on the short-term.

It doesn’t matter how great your investments are if you’re not making money in the short-term, because you’re not going to be around to enjoy them.

  • 21:19 You’re underwater, holding your breath, thinking, “Look at all these gems down here! These are going to look beautiful in my house.” Your cashflow is oxygen; you need it to survive as a business. If you’re ignoring it and you keep holding your breath longer and longer, you think that the longer you hold the breath, the better it is because you can gather more gems at the bottom of the pool, but then you’re dead.
  • 21:49 Matt: If you’re Tom Cruise, you can hold your breath all day and all night, but in reality, you have to take some of those gems up even if you’re not ready and they’re not the size you want them to be. That’s something that people get caught up in, and I get it. I’ve been there. You’re trying to hold out for those spikes. If you really think about it, even if you look at multi-billion dollar businesses, they definitely have money coming in in the short-term. They’ve got plenty of expenses, but they’ve also got larger investments, nice-sized gems, that will pay out in the long-term.
  • 22:31 Sean: The big takeaway for me was that you have to earn the right to think long-term. Just because I default to that mode of thinking, I thought I was entitled to it. I’m not. It’s a right you have to earn. In order to think, plan, and act in the best interest of your long-term, you have to earn that right by covering your short-term expenses. We call that a runway, getting your recurring revenue above payroll or above expenses, whatever that is. You can’t afford to think long-term until you have your short-term covered.

Auditing Yourself

  • 23:18 Whenever I get fiery, it’s always about my past self. I’m talking to my past self. I’m not angry at you. I’m passionate about it because I wish I knew this stuff. I wish I got it, so I’m hoping I can help other people. You have to be auditing yourself. Am I making what I need to be making month to month? If not, don’t focus on long-term planning and don’t make long-term decisions. Focus on how you can be making money right now. Should I be hiring? The answer is no if you’re not making the money you need to be making, because you need to take care of them.
  • 23:55 Don’t hire someone when you think they can make enough money to pay their own salary and hopefully do okay for you. Hire when you already have enough cash upfront, hopefully something like a six month runway on their salary, and you hire them as an investment. It’s going to take time to train them. It’s going to take time before they make a profit for you, free up your time, or whatever it is. You think, “When I get their help, they’ll make me more money.”

If you don’t have more money than you need, now is not the time to be hiring.

  • 24:32 Matt: That’s something I wish I would have known a year ago. Now, we’re at the point where we’re trying to catch up. I did the opposite as Sean. I hired too late. Now, we’re trying to catch up, to hire and hire and hire, and like Sean said, we have to train them. That’s going to take so much time. You think that this person is going to make you so much money, but in the beginning, you aren’t. You’re doing nothing but investing in them. Hopefully, they’ll pick it up and you can cash in off of what you’ve invested, the time and energy you’ve put into them. I like this podcast because I hope that other people can learn from our mistakes and do better, take a shortcut.
  • 25:27 Sean: I talked about something similar to this on the seanwes podcast (Relatead: seanwes podcast e234 How to Build Business Assets the Smart Way). It’s about getting cash first and then building assets. A lot of people are trying to build assets, and it takes money, time, resources, and energy to build assets. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to build it up to the point where it’s sustainable and it can live on it’s own and continue to serve you. You don’t have the resources.
  • 25:58 You’re either going to have a perpetually unfinished asset, or you’re going to run yourself into the ground and kill the business. Both of those are not good. You need cash first.

Getting Cash Quick

  • 26:11 Questions to ask yourself: Should I be hiring right now? Should I be building infrastructure right now? If you don’t have the cash first, the answer is no. You have to focus on things to sell. Get products on the shelf. So how do you get cash right now, and how do you get it quick? The quickest way is to do work. Products are an investment, and teaching is something you can only do if you have an audience. If you have an audience, that can be a shorter term way to get money. If you don’t, that’s long-term. It’s going to take a lot of time. Products are the same.
  • 26:56 You have to invest in producing them, manufacturing them, and shipping them if it’s a physical product, and you have to have massive inventory because you have to produce large runs. Your money is tied up in that for a long time, and it could be months or it could be years before you turn a profit. That’s not a quick way to get cash. The quickest way to make money is to solve a problem for a client that makes them money. Do either client work or some kind of consulting, because that’s the quickest way to make money.
  • 27:31 Matt: Unfortunately, people look at that and they aren’t willing to put in the time. They say, “I just want to do products. I just want to sell products or courses and be building up my assets.” The problem is, like Sean said earlier, cash is oxygen. If you don’t have cash, you don’t have enough oxygen to get where you need to go, especially if you’re trying to get there quickly. It’s better to play it safe and do the thing you don’t want to do. I was talking to a guy who worked with geofilters, and he was telling me that he could make money off of that, but he wanted to be doing products for something else. I asked, “What are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to invest all of my money into products.” It was Dane in San Fransisco that I was talking about this with. We were talking about how it would be better to do the geofilters to get the cash now and then invest it.
  • 28:47 Sean: He’s doing that, by the way. He’s in the chat right now. Last night, he was talking about it. He’s focusing on that even though he wants to do other things longer term. He’s at least entertaining it as a way to get cash now.

Figure out what your business can produce to make income right now.

  • 29:07 Matt: Once you get that income, you can start asking yourself the other questions. Can I hire at this point? Probably, if you haven’t hired your first employee, you’re wearing all the hats. It might suck. Everybody says, “You need to get help,” but you have to make sure that you can afford to pay the help. I like how Sean said that you want to have at least six months of runway. That’s a really good rule of thumb.
  • 29:40 Sean: It is generous. I say that because it’s safe, and for people who aren’t experienced for hiring, that’s a good thing to shoot for. Once you know where your money is coming from, you can be more aggressive.
  • 29:55 Matt: Especially if it’s consistent. If you have a pretty consistent amount of revenue, you’ll know how much runway you need.

Do What Works

  • 30:01 Sean: What are people asking for? What do clients want? What services can you provide? What are you good at? Where is your skill set? Maybe your skill set isn’t what you want to be doing right now, but that’s your tool for making money right now. The Overlap Technique is the concept I use for getting out of a day job you don’t want to be in, but really, it works for getting to any next thing that you want to do.
  • 30:32 Matt: It helps you get to the next level for your business from the starting point. You do the Overlap Technique from your day job to start your business. You basically do it again from the start of your business until you have the infrastructure and the people and everything. From there, it’s just gliding out.
  • 30:54 Sean: My “day job” when I was getting into lettering was the web firm I was running. I spent eight or ten hours a day on that and then six or eight hours on lettering stuff. Then, I built up the lettering thing. I left the job—it was a partnership web firm, so we just hibernated the company—and I wanted to build a course. I wanted to make this course because people were asking for it. If people are asking for products, you want to make products, but it takes a lot of investment. It was going to take six months for me to make it.
  • 31:29 That’s six months I’m not spending making money. What did I do? I spent half a year working on client work for 18 hour days, making as much as I could, living really simply, and saving all the money, so I could afford to take off of client work for half a year and build this course. I built the course, and it was one overlap after another. While I was doing lettering, I wanted to focus on business. I hired a bunch of people to do work that is investing in the long-term that wasn’t making us money. We said, “Oh boy, we need to make money.”
  • 32:08 I want to do business stuff, but what worked for me? Lettering worked. What has worked for you? What did you do in your past that has made you the most money? Do more of what has worked really well for you. I got that piece of advice from someone, and it made me $177,000. They said, “Do more of what works.”
  • 32:33 Matt: Even if you don’t like it.

If you need cash, you have to do what has worked for you, get over it, and move on.

  • 32:42 Sean: I launched Learn Lettering 2.0 in July of 2015. I didn’t want to be doing more lettering stuff. I wanted to disassociate myself from lettering and go more towards business. At the time, I thought, “Lettering is holding me back. I want to be focused on business and I want people to see me as a business guy, not just an artist.” Really, I’m more of a business guy. I am an artist, but business. When you got here, Matt, I opened the door for you and you put up your hand to indicate, “One minute.” Matt has headphones in, always, the earbuds. He was talking on the phone. Business. Clients.
  • 33:32 We’re business guys. I didn’t want to strengthen that association because I was trying to move on, but what worked? Lettering worked. I decided, “We don’t have time to start doing something new, even if it’s what I want to do. We need to do more of what works.” I produced a 2.0 version of the course, we launched it, and because I’m good at launches, we made $177,000. I’m not saying the amount of time it took to do that is ideal, but we did do it in 50 days.
  • 34:06 Matt: It worked. It brought in cash. It gave Sean more of a runway.
  • 34:10 Sean: That’s why we’re still here today. What has worked for you? What has worked in the past? Do more of that. Get some cash before you start thinking long-term, building infrastructure, investing in assets, and hiring.
  • 34:47 Matt: If you’re in the beginning of your business and even if you’re in it, you have to break this down. We’ve been talking about cash here. How do we get the short-term cash? We’re talking about six months here. Think about it and reverse-engineer this. What do you need to do in the next six months to start bringing in cash? Once you have all of those things, all the bullet points down, start prioritizing. Write number 1, number 2. You need to do this, then this, and after that you need to do this. Start bringing in that cashflow.

After six months of bringing in cash, you can start working on your assets and the long-term things you really want to be doing.

You Need Six Months of Runway

  • 35:50 Sean: We had a question from Tommy earlier. He said, “There are things I do every day or week to benefit my long-term goals (such as audience building or learning), but sometimes I feel like they may be getting in the way of important short-term goals or commitments. When is it OK to put long-term goals on hold in favor of short-term commitments?”

It’s okay to put the long-term on hold if you’re in survival mode.

  • 36:23 Matt: Runway is your cash. If your runway is starting to run short and it’s getting close to you, you have to focus on the short-term. The whole six months thing is about getting your recurring revenue up to par, up to your expenses.
  • 36:39 Sean: People need to feel the burn on this six months of runway. They don’t feel the burn. I need you to feel like you’re broke poor if you don’t have six months of runway. You need to see that as, “I can’t pay my rent. I can’t go out to eat. I can’t keep the electricity on if I don’t have six months of runway.” I’m speaking to myself, Matt. Right now, I know that I don’t feel that burn enough. I am hustling and working hard. You don’t even know. Matt was here Friday, and I feel like that was yesterday.
  • 37:20 The days are blurring together. I don’t fully grasp this, the six months runway as a necessity. I need to have that like I need to pay rent this month, and I think a lot of people don’t think that way, me included.
  • 37:43 Matt: It’s a mindset. You have to wrap your head around it. It’s going to take time, work, and hustle, but it’s good. It’s that burn that we all need. It’s not, “We’re going to make it to the next month.” I’m sure everyone is already doing that. If you’re still here, you’re doing that.
  • 38:01 Sean: You need to see the six month runway with the same sense of urgency that you do about making it to next month. That’s what people do. You have so much more capability in you, so much more potential than you’re tapping into. You’re not tapping into enough. You’re not working hard enough. You bust your butt to pay the rent for next month, and then you sit on the couch and watch Netflix. You’re not done hustling! You don’t have six months of runway! What are you doing sitting on the couch watching Netflix? It’s not time for that yet.

Until you get to six months of runway, you need to hustle.

  • 39:06 Half of you are thinking about long-term stuff, and you’re not there yet. You can’t afford to think about long-term stuff yet. I’m here to tell you, after having gone through it, that you don’t want to mess this up. Here’s what it’s going to come down to. You’re going to be all focused on long-term, you’re going to hire people because you’re focused on long-term, and then you’re going to realize that you don’t have enough money to pay these people. Now is when you’re going to have to hustle, and it’s not going to be the kind of investing hustle that’s very invigorating. It’s the exhausting, burnout kind of hustle where you don’t get sleep and you have bags under your eyes.
  • 39:47 You’re going to do it now or you’re going to do it later, so please don’t do it later. Take it from me. Some lessons you have to learn the hard way. For me, this was one of those lessons. I had to learn it the hard way. I’ll give myself some credit—it’s not like I ignored the advice. I didn’t get this advice! People didn’t tell me this. Do you know why? No one thinks long-term. For the most part, people are pretty short-term focused, so I’m kind of an anomaly here. I’m a little bit different in that I’m aggressively long-term.
  • 40:34 Give away all the things. Help the people. Give them more and more and more, because in five years, it will come back. It will come back and we will be doing great in five years, but if we’re not here, it doesn’t matter. Because most people don’t think this way, I didn’t get the advice. No one out there is saying, “Hey, you need to stop thinking long-term. That’s something you have to earn. You have to focus on the short-term.” Everyone else in the world needs the advice of, “Stop focusing so short-term and get the big picture in mind.” No one told me, and I had to learn the hard way. Hopefully that helps someone.
  • 41:18 Matt: At least it was the reverse. Like Sean said, he was looking at the long-term rather than the short-term. That’s a whole other set of problems.
  • 41:26 Sean: Both are bad. I just didn’t realize that long-term could be bad if it was at the wrong time.
  • 41:31 Matt: It’s all about balance. That’s something I’m starting to learn. You have to figure out how to balance the business, balance the short-term, and still focus on the long-term but still take care of the short-term.

Tap Into Greater Revenue Potential

  • 41:51 Sean: Joe says, “At what point do I have permission to start focusing further ahead? I feel like cash flow from my products would be okay for the next six months without my attention, but does that mean I have permission to focus on something else like a new product for a whole six months? What if continuing to focus on my existing products may have been more beneficial in that year?”
  • 42:14 Matt: It just depends on your cash. I would focus on my existing, if it’s working and I need cash. If I can invest, definitely go for the new products.
  • 42:25 Sean: My gut says that there’s 10X more revenue potential in your existing for every person listening. For some of them, it’s 100X. You’re not doing more of what works, and I know because I’m not. I’ve made half a million dollars from a handlettering course alone. We’ve barely tapped it. I’m being very strategic, always, sometimes too much so. Let me explain the strategy. I didn’t understand things like market capacity. With hand lettering, it’s pretty amazing that I’ve made six figures off of a hand lettering course.
  • 43:58 Matt: A small niche like that? Yes.
  • 43:59 Sean: That’s just teaching it. I’ve also made six figures from doing client work in it, and I could have kept doing more of that. It is true, first of all, that I could make more money doing hand lettering if I really went all in on that. If I was creating lettering every day, I’ve got an Instagram account of close to 100,000 followers just for the lettering account, so imagine if I was posting every day and actually marketing to those people. I could be doing events. I’m not writing about it, blogging about it, doing live events, collaborating, reaching out… I’m doing nothing with it. If I did more of it, I could easily 2X, 3X, maybe even 5X what I’ve made from it.
  • 44:50 What is that? That’s maybe seven figures, but that’s it. It is a niche. It’s an exploding niche, but it’s still a niche. If I pivot to business, the market pool is much bigger. There’s much more opportunity. It would be much easier in business and marketing world to make seven or eight figures. It’s just much easier. While it’s true that if I did more of what works I could make more money, I’m thinking longer term and I’m being strategic here. I do want to pivot.

There are a lot of people who could do more of what works.

  • 45:35 I know that there is 5X revenue there that I’m not tapping into. For most people listening, there is 5X to 10X revenue potential in something you’ve already done that you’re not tapping into. Joe, what kind of apps are you talking about? I know one of his is a teleprompter app and he recently made a soundboard app. He’s making other apps. He’s switching around and doing all these different apps. What if he really went all in on that? What if he started blogging about teleprompters? What if he started going to conferences where there are video people who need this kind of stuff? There is so much more revenue potential that he’s not tapping into.
  • 46:51 For almost everyone listening, there’s way more in what you’re already doing that you’re not tapping into. Maximize that before you go to the next thing. If you do, you have a sustainable asset. That thing is going to be a roaring bonfire. You don’t have to worry about that fire going out when you move on, because it’s still going.
  • 47:16 Matt: I get it. It’s hard. A lot of people are always saying on Twitter and Snapchat how it’s hard to focus on one thing because of all the shiny objects, all of the different things you could start. You hear all these entrepreneurs and us on this show saying, “Sean’s doing a writing course. He’s doing a pricing course. He’s doing a conference.” If you have one product or service, you might think, “I want to do multiple things like Sean. I want multiple streams of income”
  • 47:52 Like Sean said, focus on what you have and grow it to the best, biggest possible place that it can be, and then move on to the next thing. You don’t know the full potential, especially if you haven’t put in the time.

It Takes Time

  • 48:05 Sean: There’s a lot of overlap and a lot of years here. The lettering stuff was five years of focus and then launching that, so now, that’s an asset that continues to make money. Value-Based Pricing is something I’ve been teaching on since 2013. We’ve been producing a course, Justin and I, and that’s going to be launching in May. By the time it launches, he and I will have been working on this thing for eight months, and that’s on top of teaching on it for a couple of years. He’s developing tools for it, custom pricing tools. It’s pretty intense. There are three tools that all use each other’s information and calculations.
  • 49:05 We’ve been building this for years now. Even though we haven’t launched it, there’s a lot leading up to it. Meanwhile, on a parallel track but slightly time-shifted, is my focus on writing. In 2014, I think I wrote half a million words. In 2015, I wrote well over a million words. One to two million is my guess. This year has been pretty intense as well, especially with courses. I’ve been writing, writing, writing, and with all of these other things I’m doing—courses, client work, selling products, and growing the Community—writing is the core of all of it. People need to get a handle on this.
  • 49:54 They need to understand it. That’s where Supercharge Your Writing comes in. Even though it seems like I have all these things going on, like seanwes conference, that’s built on the Community and the events we’ve been doing over the last year. The Community was started in 2013. There are a lot of things going on, but one at a time, I’ve built them up into something that could be an asset.
  • 50:26 Matt: I like how we always use the idea of different pieces for our machine, and this machine prints us out money. I like to think that people want to go on Ebay and buy a machine that prints money, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. That would be illegal. By printing money, we mean that the different parts are the different services or products in your business, and the money that’s being printed is what’s being made from your products or services, from your business. I ask people, “Are you constantly adding parts and making sure that they aren’t low quality just to spit out some money?”
  • 51:20 If you do that, it’s going to break. You’re not going to be printing anymore. Make sure your service or product is high quality and that you’re doing the best you can do so you get a ton of business from it. That piece will help you start printing out money like crazy. That’s what we mean. I like that.

Are You Making Progress?

  • 51:54 Sean: Garrett says, “Generally what I do is I figure out the goal and then ask myself: ‘What can I do every month to get there? What can I do every week to get there? Every day?’ Then I break that stuff down into tasks. Is there a better way to do this?” It is kind of good.
  • 52:20 Matt: I like that. I would keep that. The best way to see if a system is working is to ask yourself whether you’re making progress. Are you making money off of that? Are you making steps toward your goal? If not, then it’s not working.
  • 52:40 Sean: There’s this app called Flowstate. It’s a Mac IOS writing app. You set a timer, and it goes full screen. It’s basic, but you can’t backspace and if you wait for more than five seconds, everything is deleted. You have to keep going. If you stop for five seconds, it’s all gone. It won’t even let you copy. You set a 15 minute timer, and you just have to go. It forces you to write and shows you that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. You can only save it if you make it to the end. In the Community, this app has picked up some steam. There’s some buzz now and people are using it. It’s fun. They’re getting a lot of words written.
  • 54:06 This morning, Cory Miller told me that he had nearly 1,000 words and he lost it. He said, “Are you using it?” I told him, “It’s too scary for me. I haven’t been using it.” He said, “It’s good for practice.” I said, “I know it’s good for practice, but everything I’ve been writing lately is mission-critical.” I just can’t. For a second, I got caught up in the tool. I thought, “I’m not using the app. I feel bad. I know it would make me focus and write better.” I got caught up in the tool for a second, but Cory Miller made me realize that I do write a lot. What is the goal here? The goal is to write more. Don’t get caught up in the tools.
  • 54:59 I write a ton. There’s no problem here. Garrett was talking about breaking down the goals, and that’s why I like what Matt said. He asked, “Are you making progress?” That’s how you know. You get so caught up in the right way to make goals. Do you set a big one and put it up on your wall? Do you put a deadline? Are deadlines bad? Are you supposed to break it down? Should you have small goals that lead to big goals or only a big goal to motivate you? There are all these different methods.

If you’re getting where you want to go and you’re making progress, that’s all that matters.

  • 55:44 Matt: It’s basically two things. One, is the system working for you? Are you making progress? Certain things work for me and they’re not going to work for you. If you’re making progress with your systems, then that’s what you want to go off of. Don’t go off of what I say, what Sean says, or what some guru says. Try different things. If you start making progress, awesome. Start tweaking and tuning things and make sure you’re maximizing the output and the quality.