why I grind

Why I Grind (Hint: I Want a Successful Future)

Erik Thoughts of a Mastermind 17 Comments


Get up at 6:30 AM, write out a post, check the clock… 7:50 AM. Shower, get dressed, catch the 8:20 bus. Work at 8:40, check social media, read blogs, actually do work, go on a few walks through the sky way, do some more work, leave work around 5:15, get home around 5:45, perform some exercise, make dinner, then 7 PM, get on my personal laptop and check emails and get started on my second day. 7-8 PM, watch some videos on marketing, 8-9 create content or chat with some clients, 9-10:30, finish up content and review Facebook ads for the next day. 11 PM, head off to bed. I’m getting tired of this, but I know it will pay off.

Each week, I make a list, similar to this one:

list of why I grind

I had about 30 things to get through, and only got through 20 of them…. it’s crazy to look back on my year when I’ve completed notebooks with these lists. I love seeing the evidence of my grinding. In this post, I want to tell you why I grind.

Why I Grind

My motivation comes from a few sources. I’m motivated to provide for my future family, to learn more and grow, and because I have a chip on my shoulder.

Grinding for My Future Family

For me, my main motivation is to ensure my future family has a great financial base. I want to give my kids the same things that I was afforded in my childhood. My parents were frugal, but we never struggled financially. We always had food on the table for dinner and took at least 1 vacation a year. Our travels weren’t all over the world, but I got to experience a lot of different places in the Midwest.

Another thing, I don’t want my future wife to have to work if she doesn’t have to. My mom stayed at home for the majority of my childhood, and it’s a pride thing for me – if I can provide for my future wife and family, then I want to do that. I saw my dad do it, why can’t I? That being said, I’m all for it if she wants to work… because it’s 2017 and she can do what she wants! (and it will help secure a better financial future for us.) 🙂

Grinding for My Growth

I love the feeling of making mental connections, seeing graphs go up and to the right, and experiencing the compounding effects of my growth. It’s motivating to see where I was a few months ago and telling myself, if I only keep it up, I can keep growing.

One thing I’m realizing is I’m becoming a decent marketer. I’ve never taken a marketing class in my formal school career. Now after doing ad-hoc studying and projects, and I have 200+ subscribers here on The Mastermind Within, 275+ followers on Quora, and have over 100 people attending a webinar I’m putting on tonight for my business. It’s awesome to harvest your work and time for greater successes.

Grinding because of a Chip on my Shoulder

I don’t know where this chip on my shoulder comes from, but when someone challenges me, I don’t stop. I start on it, and I keep going.

For example, my Rubik’s cube obsession in my early college days. My friend taught me at the end of high school how to do one and naturally, I had to get really good at it because I had to beat him. Why did I have to beat him? I’m not sure – I thought that being good at things would improve our friendship (I don’t know). I got my average to 1 minute in a few months and keep practicing on and off. By the fall when I started college, I was averaging about 30 seconds and lost some focus. Enter a girl who cubed as well.

I met a girl who shared a lot of interests with me and she could do the cube in 35 seconds. We challenged each other to be better and she ended up getting down to 25-30 seconds, while I pushed down to 15-20 seconds average. When our relationship went sour, I kept going. My best average of 5 is sub 15 seconds. Again, why did I do this? Why couldn’t I be happy with averaging 1 minute?

My point is I get chips on my shoulder and it’s in my nature to not give up until I’ve tapped all my resources.

The question is though, what’s the point of grinding? What’s all this adding up to?

Millionaire by 30?

millionaire by 30Right now, my net worth is somewhere in the $100k to $150k range depending on where you value my house, and what you value my different business endeavors at. I’m 25 and 3 months old. I’m 4 years and 9 months away from 30, and I’m roughly $850k away from having a million dollars in net worth. Is this an unreasonable goal? Would this be an unreasonable expectation?

I’m not sure. If I stay at my 9 to 5, I’m able to add roughly 35k to my net worth per year just through saving cash, utilizing tax advantaged accounts, and paying down my mortgage. At 35k savings for 5 years, this adds 175k to my net worth. Assuming some return in the stock market to my 401k and IRA, in 4 years, it’s very realistic for me to be at a $350k net worth. If I get lucky with some good returns on my stock investments, the Minneapolis neighborhood goes bananas, or I continue to get promotions at work, I could maybe be at a $400k-$450k net worth.

This leaves a pretty substantial gap between my potential net worth and being a millionaire. Could one of these businesses grow to something worth 500k? At 3 times annual revenue, that is a business that is making $13,000 in profit per month. I think that is definitely do-able. For my print on demand business, this would amount to selling about 1,500 shirts a month, which seems like a lot, but is doable at the rate we are building inventory.

I don’t know. Becoming a millionaire by 30 is definitely possible, but I’ll have to stay consistent, persistent and focused! I’m doing it for my current family and my future family. Let’s go!

Concluding Thoughts

9 to 5, The Mastermind Within, Girlfriend, Exercise, Family, ShirtSpice, HOWLinfuse Kombucha, Statistical Consulting, and Friends. What am I doing? I thought my 20s were supposed to be the best time of my life? I’m loving life right now. It’s exhilarating but exhausting. My recommendation to you: don’t try to do 6 things at once. Do 1-2 things on the side of your main job and call.

I’m excited though, once these businesses and my financial base is set-up, I’m going to be in a great spot. In a few years, I’m going to look back and say, wow, you busted your butt and you grinded. It has paid dividends, beyond any stock you could have picked. Thanks.

Readers: Why do you grind? What’s your purpose?




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Comments 17

  1. Erik your work ethic never ceases to amaze me. Not to indulge you with compliments, but it has been a lot of fun watching you grow your business over the past few years. I can definitely attest to the fact that only doing 1-2 things on top of your job is a good move to make. Anything beyond that is as you say a “grind.” Keep up the great work. If you end up becoming a millionaire by 30 what an impressive feat that would be.

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      Thanks Kyle for stopping by and for your kind words. I’m just getting started and I will always welcome book suggestions from you 🙂

      Have a good one, looking forward to reading more on your blog and hanging out with you

  2. Why do I grind? I think maybe because I find it fun. There’s something about hustling for yourself that’s really satisfying.

    The grinding for growth is an interesting thing. Obviously, there’s growing as a person, worker, hustler, etc, but there’s also a danger that a lot of us hustlers get into where we just want to see numbers get bigger just for the sake of it. I know I’m guilty of this sort of hoarding mentality (I have so many credit card points that I just don’t spend because I’m scared to waste them). I love seeing charts going up too, but we gotta make sure we don’t get too caught up in just watching those charts go up, right?

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  3. That is an impressive list of things you’re working on right now! I’ve been pretty busy myself lately. I just tell myself “it will be worth it in the future.” Also, I find it interesting you put your gf 3rd on the list of priorities 😀

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  4. Why do I grind? For my family.

    First, as we discussed at our meet up, I would love to take 6 months to a year off before my daughter starts school. This is roughly three years away. I target to have about $50k in cash saved and about $75k in my taxable. I would only need about $50k max for the time off I would take.

    Second, I want to have enough money around age 40 to do what I want. I could really like my job at that point, but I would definitely want to scale back my hours. I may look into the teaching space so that I can have summers off. My last thought is consulting – either engineering or marketing. Each one of these options shifts my time to family first and work second.

    Keep up with your grinding – you are doing an excellent job at such a young age!

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      Those are some great goals TGE, 50k cash and 75k in your taxable seem very reasonable. Do you think you could set something up where you’d have some income and wouldn’t have to dive into the principal so much? $50k is a lot of cash, where you could invest some of it and have some income that is a buffer to your expenses.

  5. Wow you’re doing great for 25 years and 3 months! I was definitely not so forward thinking at your age. I think I was all focused on traveling. You’ll be fine for your 30’s, setting up the base for being set for life in the future.

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  6. Wow! You have a jam packed schedule; that’s admirable. When you continue to hustle like this in 4 years you’ll definitely achieve your $1m goal! And a GF that shares a lot of the same interests is a big boost and will surely help you find more ways to be productive and efficient.

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      I’m really excited to continue our relationship. We are just getting started anD I’m looking to make some of these processes more efficient in the future.

  7. My grinding days are over, but back in the day I could grind with the best of them 🙂 And my reasons for doing it were similar – I wanted to be able to provide for my family and spend time with my kids, so now I’m claiming my bounty.

    Good luck in all of your endeavors – make hay while the sun shines and grind while you’re young! It’s great to see your story unfold.

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  8. Erik, I grind for the same reasons you do – family. I want my son and daughter (who’s on the way) to have a solid foundation in life. I also want them to continue to have their mother at home and allow myself to have a business where I work from home. That’s all I want and that’s the reason I recently spent time scouring Pinterest for email addresses to join group boards. Fun? Not exactly. But, as Darren Hardy said in a great piece on grinding, “Success is extracted from the grinding of mundane work.” Here’s the link – https://darrenhardy.com/2015/03/time-to-grind/ … you just have to grind it out, keep going, and remember your WHY! Great article!

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  9. I’m with you in doing a whole bunch of different things at once. My days are usually packed end-to-end. Every few months (or longer) I will realize that I am spread too thin and will eliminate some stuff, but I never stay overly focused for too long.

    I’m also with you on the reasons. I grind for my family, for my self-improvement, and because I honestly enjoy it. I am happier with my life when I am super busy and achieving goals then when I am laid back and watching TV.

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