Monday, 20 May 2013

5 year plans and how I achieved mine

I had a 5 year plan to make it on my own. Today is my birthday and I am happy to say that I achieved it. What was it that made it work? Well there were several things.

First and foremost I put in the work.
Since 2008 I have been working my but off to do what I do today. For the most part I worked all day every day. I noticed a long time ago that the people who were really successful put in 12 hour days. In university it was hard to get to this level of dedication but once I got there it was hard to quit. I remember I took one day off a month or every other month. While that day off was awesome I genuinely enjoyed the work better. Although it was frustrating to not to see the results right away it was clearly better than any other alternative out there including school.

I didn't go back to school for more education
I have a bachelor's degree just like everybody under 30. Most people go back to school after their bachelors for a masters, another undergraduate or something like a 2 year college degree. This was probably one of the better decisions. If I had gone back I would be in incredible debt and in the same place as I was. All of that work would be for nothing. At least as an entrepreneur the upside was way bigger than the downside and I wasn't in debt. Let's take a look at the numbers of how much debt I would be in if I went back to school.

40 000 dollars for lost income (what I would be worth in a company)
24 000 of living expenses
10 000 of tuition and books
74 000 dollars in debt

Wow that's a lot of debt. I should also mention at this point that I haven't spent half of that with my business. This would also mean for a 2 year degree I would be 148 000 dollars in debt and if I got another 4 year degree I would be 296 000 in debt. That's a lot of debt.

The biggest issue with school is that you get no practical experience today let alone back in 2008. On top of that most schools don't even give you the lectures ahead of time so you can learn ahead.

My ideal situation to go back to school would be that on the day I sign up I get all of the video tutorials for the entire course. I then learn all of the information before I set foot in a building. Once I get there I spend 40 hours+ a week producing products with other highly ambitious people who couldn't get a job as a result of the 2008 GFC.

This would have been awesome but most post secondary is the same as it has been for more than 100 years. You commute your body to hear somebody speak then you do theoretical work and hope that translates into a job.

Anybody who has ever released anything will tell you that if you don't learn anything until you release it. The more you release the better you get. It's really a shame that school doesn't think this way. Even today there is no good way of getting credit for your own personal projects.

I didn't listen to people who didn't know what they were talking about
This one is so cliché. Everybody thinks they know what they are talking about especially if they watched a few episodes of Dragon's Den and Shark Tank. If you have ever watched a move about somebody doing something amazing they always meet resistance. Rarely is this resistance worth it.

There were a couple times where people said that I wouldn't make it and that I should just go back to school because I didn't know what I was doing. Some of these conversations were really intense but these people have no clue what it to run a business or do anything.

If you are under 30 most people do not know that personal drive will pay off more than anything. Especially if you learn from your mistakes.

Most people just want to make 100k in a company where they do no actual work. I would shoot myself. We only have a small time I choose to make stuff not sit in meetings and gossip about who screwed who at the water cooler.

If you work hard and are under 30 make sure you keep working hard and strive to your goal. Most people don't really understand your drive because they have no drive. These are probably the kinds of people who have to drag themselves out of bed every morning. If anything these people are jealous.

Remember that jealousy can be a big factor when people talk to you. They probably can't bring themselves to release anything. They probably wished they smoked way less pot in university and they probably wish they have done something with their time. They then see you, a super ambitious person and they get all defensive.

I learned from my mistakes
This one is a big one. Really it's not about what you do and what projects you release its more about how much  you learn between projects. The greater the learning curve the fast you will get to be successful.

It's so cliché to say this but it is true. I have learned a ton from failing over and over again. As silly is as it sound the more you fail the better you get.

Here is the stuff I wish I could tell myself 5 years ago.
I really wish I could tell myself a few things. Of course hindsight is 20/20 but here are some of the things I wish I had known.

1. Stop plugging your music skills. Most people view music as toxic waste especially when it comes to business. Music and money are separated and they don't mix. While you find it's important most people don't. Write a book about it when you are successful

2. Companies don't hire forward thinkers for low end grunt jobs. A CEO of an HR firm told me this when I told him I had a heck of a time finding a job. He said that when people hire grunts they tend to hire people without ambition.

3. Work with people who are older than 30. Most people under 30 don't have vision, goals and ambition. Work with older people because they understand what you understand. Most people in their 20s want to do anything else but work. Most of the ambitious people go work for big corporations. It was really frustrating not getting a job with people that matches my ambition.

4. Just say you are a programmer. My specialty is project management and design. I know what to do and how to get it out the door. All of the other skills I have such as 3D design and programming are just tools I learned to realize my vision. If I really wanted to work with other then you should just say you are a programmer. Everybody instantly treats you with respect.

5. Lower the scope of your ideas and release more, way more. Most of the time I fell in trap of making big projects. In reality a bunch of little projects will make you much better than releasing one big project.

6. Try to get another job other than teaching. I taught part time to cover my costs while I got things up and running. If you have ever taught you will soon realize that it is boring work. On top of that you get sick a lot. Since I quit I haven't got sick. When I was teaching I got the yearly influenza strain and I even got swine flu. I was out for 6 weeks. As a result I got viral bronchitis as well. It hurt to breath. I wasted so many hours teaching. It would be better if I could improve or do something fantastic with teaching but every time I came up with something innovative people quit. It was really demoralizing and I'm never teaching in a system or a classroom again. Even thinking about it raises my blood pressure. I am so thankful to teach online now. It is without hyperbole a million times better.

7. Work 10% harder. You could probably get more stuff out the door. Just work 10% harder

8. Just quit your job. Your teaching job sucks and you should just find another job to get by. Even though finding a job post 2008 is tough just find another job. Teaching is not the place for an ambitious person. You have to have more of the mentality of a social worker and not an innovator. As sad as it sounds innovation and education have nothing in common. Let a babysitter teach and let innovators instruct. If anything you should teach people online. This is the best way to achieve passive income.

What next?
I don't tell people my goals. But I have lots of goals. Maybe in 5 years Ill post something on what I could have done better. Right now I have to make a list for myself on what that list will be and try to anticipate it.

I turn 28 today and I achieved my goal. This is the best feeling ever. I suggest you try it.

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