focus, ownership and consistency

Focus, Ownership and Consistency

Erik Thoughts of a Mastermind 13 Comments

I’m taking 12 days off from work. I’m off to California today, and then off to Dallas the next week for FinCon with other financial bloggers. The last 6 weeks have been a complete grind. I became exhausted one weekend, got back into the groove of things the past week, and now am off to spend time with my parents, sisters, friends and girlfriend. On my mind lately has been focus, ownership and consistency. I want to share with you what I’ve been up to and how I’m building systems for the future.

focus, ownership and consistency

My Story in 2017

When I started this blog, I was living pretty comfortable life. Work 9 to 5, exercise for 30 minutes to an hour a day, and do some reading and writing. I was sleeping 8-10 hours a night, and life was good.

February came and I started to get more involved in improving the site. I was learning some HTML and pushing to make the site more user friendly. I had some long nights and early mornings, and it was awesome. In addition to the blog, one of my old co-workers asked me to start doing some statistical consulting with him. I agreed and thought it was a great opportunity. Then, in March, I finally got the site to the current layout, and have been pleased ever since.

May came and the consulting was a little slow on work. I started a business with my friend, Jake. We first focused on the Kombucha Tea subscription business, launched a kickstarter, and got into a commercial kitchen. Then, in June, we started our merchandise and t-shirt design business, and have been trying to get that up to speed.

Throughout, this time, I was still grinding it out at work, and had my house and roommates. I also started dating this amazing young lady at the end of June and so there was some travel on the weekends that was really nice to have to break up the long weeks of work.

September came, and reality hit. $151 in my business bank account, and my health was struggling. I was running out of steam and needed to get rest. I needed to figure all this out. Managing all of my activities is not sustainable and I started to think a lot about focus, ownership and consistency.

In October, I haven’t posted here because I’ve been making changes to my life to ensure I can manage these things much more efficiently.

Focus

At some point in our lifetimes, we hear that multi-tasking is not efficient. I’ve taken on way too much in 2017 and feeling the pressure now. When reality set in, and we had $151 in our bank account, I realized I needed to take action. This would be accomplished by focusing in on what were the critical elements keeping us from bringing in thousands of dollars a month. I decided to focus in on the Kombucha tea business. I told Jake that I would handle this business, and he would focus on the shirt design side.

I had to put my personal projects aside and drop my ego. It was time to get to work.

I’ll be honest, our pictures and marketing sucked:

So what did I do? I learned some photography, Photoshop, and took action.

Old picture for kombucha tea kit

Old Picture

HOWLinfuse kombucha tea subscription kit

New Picture

One of the things on my personal development bucket list was to take the HTML and CSS Code Academy courses, and I did that to ensure my skills were up to snuff. I re-did the entire website the past week, and started working with Facebook ads person to start driving paid traffic towards our site. I’ve also been connecting with influencers and trying to get hype through their reach.

In addition, I focused in on the products we were offering. We were initially offering just a starter kit, but now, a starter kit and flavoring kit. We have 4 flavors that experienced kombucha home brewers can experiment with.

Focusing in on 1 thing for my side hustles has proved to be critical. Like I said, I re-did the entire website and now have the marketing train going. For you to be successful, focus on something and go all in. At the most, you can “focus” on 2 things I think, but these should be similar. Writing and website development aren’t really similar for me, so that’s why I dropped the writing for the past 2 weeks.

Ownership

Another reason why I was able to get a favorable result on the kombucha site was taking ownership. My name is on the about us page, and I thought to myself: if I’m trying to establish myself as a successful person, then anything I do and put on the internet has a direct impact on my image. If my website looks like crap, then that means I’m probably not going to be able to put together a good kombucha kit. So why would you buy from me?

I woke up and said, this is MY business. It’s MY responsibility to take action. I spent the last few months where both Jake and I would say “this needs to be done, or that should get handled” but neither of us would take ownership and get it done.

Ownership is crucial to success. Owning my work has lead to an uptick in productivity and great results.

Consistency

The first two months of the year, I was going super hard to make this site a success. In the first 3 months, traffic went from 1.6k to 2.9k to 3.1k viewers. I was doing really well and making great progress. Then, it went stagnant due to a decrease in my efforts. I’ve been hanging around 2.5k to 3k viewers per month the past 7 months, and it’s been a little bit disappointing but expected. I haven’t been posting and engaging the community as much.

Another example of consistency is on Quora. A month ago, I was at 200ish followers. I started posting 5 times a day and reached 300 followers in 2-3 weeks. Then I stopped and now I’m sitting at 310 followers. Consistency helped me grow my presence on that site, but now it’s lost all momentum because I stopped. Consistency is key…

I think about this the most of anything in my life: doing something positive each day will lead to great benefits in the future. Working a little bit each day towards my goals will allow me to reach them.

Tips for You

Learn from my actions, successes, and mistakes. Here are some tips for you:

  • proactive behavior take controlFocus
    • What’s your goal?
    • Focus on the steps to get to your goal. What’s essential? What’s between you and your goal? Why aren’t you reaching it faster? How can you go from A to B effectively.
    • Take action. Be proactive. Realize your goal is very important and figure out how to lock in.
    • Take on only what you can do comfortably. Overextending yourself is easy to do, and hard to fix.
  • Ownership
    • It’s YOUR goal. It’s not your friend’s goal.
    • When something is your responsibility, you take much better care of it and actually care about the results.
    • Be the owner of your life and goals.
  • Consistency
    • Each day, work a little bit towards your goals.
    • Apply the Slight Edge: small daily disciplines add up to produce massive results.

Looking forward to 2018

When I started this blog in late 2016, I had a vision that this would be a launching pad and a living document for me to share my story of self improvement and personal development, while also sharing tips and tricks with you, my reader. I read 29 books in the first 6 months, and then started a business. I haven’t read a book in the last 2 months, since I’ve had my nose to the grindstone. This will change.

I’m incredibly pleased with my progress. While I wish I didn’t bite off as much as I did, I’m finding a good balance and getting things done. I’ve succeeded in laying a fantastic foundation for 2018, where I KNOW I will harvest my work from 2017. This blog has 200+ subscribers, I have a business that we are finally getting the hang of, and I’m learning new skills each and every day.

2017 has been amazing, and I’m planning on making 2018 even better 🙂 I’m very happy to share this with you, and look forward to you joining me on the journey.

Concluding Thoughts

I’ll be back to regular posting in November. I’m going to take the next two weeks to sharpen the saw (bringing 4 books on vacation!), relax, and enjoy life. What is life without family and friends? It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’ll be re-energized come 3 weeks from now.

I can’t wait to share with you my successes and failures in the coming months. I’m super excited about what’s going on in my life, but these past few weeks have been critical for setting things up and getting the ball rolling on a lot of the projects I’ve been working on. Automation is the next step, and then it will be less of a time commitment which will give me more time to focus on my writing and personal development.

Erik

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Comments 13

  1. Glad you’ve figured out what is working for you, Erik. It’s tough to go in too many directions at the same time, and something has to give. It sounds like you’ve found the right balance for the successes you’re seeking.

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  2. Hi Erik

    Great post as always. I’ve always been amazed at how many pokers in the fire you have – it sounds like the focus you have now will help prioritize and find the highest and best uses of your time. I do think that finding your max bandwidth can sometimes only be done by committing yourself to too much – then you can accurately see your limit and consistently hit 100%.

    Good luck with everything and hope you enjoy FinCon!

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      Thanks Paul. I appreciate you stopping. I’m going to look to hire and optimize some of my time and money to get these things growing.

  3. I was wondering where you went, Erik! Glad everything is OK. I went through a very similar situation that you are going through about two months ago. I’ve decided to stop all other activities outside of spending time with family, my day job and the blog… It has helped quite a bit, and my traffic is getting back to where it was when it peaked in May of this year…

    Cheers!

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  4. Glad things are going well. That time is a tricky thing. Working full time, blogging, dating, working out and dating is a lot to fit into a 24 hour day. Nice to hear you are staying motivated it helps me stay motivated to keep grinding too.

    Automation is definitely where it is at. I keep telling myself that is for the big sites but how can you ever grow your site if you don’t act like the big sites?

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      Yeah, I’m not sure. I definitely have pondered getting a VA for doing a lot of the little things on the blog. But if I’m only making $10 a month, is it really justified?

  5. The ordering of these three concepts is great! You have to have all three in order to succeed. And since you have on many different hats, losing focus as an example can easily take place. It’s like every time we start a new task, we have to hit the reset button to get our frame of mind into perspective. Hope you have a great trip! 🙂

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  6. Some people go in many directions tilting at windmills. You had so many interesting opportunities, who wants to give any of those up? But I’m glad you’ve figured out what’s really important.

    The new photo looks great. And we heard you today on the FIRE Drillpodcast with J and Gwen. Nice job!

    Enjoy FinCon (and that amazing young lady).

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  7. Sometimes taking a break and re-evaluate and prioritize your work will definitely do some good for you.

    I agree that if you have too many things on your to do list and you’re not able to focus on one or two things, all of your work will either suffer or you’ll end up with mediocre results for all. Finding balance is key.

    Have fun on your vacation and hope to hear more from you once you’re back.

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