Your solopreneur dreams are as realistic as the work you’re willing to put in. So how much work are you putting in?
You don’t have to do a lot, initially. But you do have to be consistent—think: daily. Devoting just thirty minutes a day to the pursuit of your solo entrepreneurial dreams will get you 100x farther in a year than going all out just one day a week.
Thing is, there are a million things that everyday people like you and me have to deal with, that stand between us and our goals, that rock us off kilter. Most people use these things as excuses, and that’s why most people aren’t successful. But really, each of those interruptions are just questions. And they’re asking us:
“How bad do you want it? How much work will you still put in?”
So how much work are you putting in?
Success is the daily work you put in. It’s the excuses you ignore. It’s the mornings you wake up after only a couple hours of sleep and you feel like hell and you still say, “This is going to be the best day of my life, because nothing can stop me from working.” That’s the mindset you gotta have.
But I have to give you fair warning: there is actually one thing that can stop you from doing your daily work.
It’s whether you have a plan or not.
It doesn’t matter how inspired or insipid you feel when you wake up. If you don’t have a plan, if you don’t have realistic and actionable goals dangling in front of you like the proverbial carrot for the hare, you will not follow through with your dreams. I repeat: if you don’t have a plan, you will not follow through with your dreams. So start planning.
When you have a plan, and if you promise yourself to follow through with that plan to the best of your abilities each morning, you will do work — no matter what happens in the day. And when you work every day you gain momentum. And when you gain momentum, you build confidence. And when you build confidence, you work better. And when you consistently work better and better, your results come pouring in like a flood—which means you’ll be living the lifestyle you dream of, setting your own hours, and answering to nobody but you.
So how much work are you putting in? How consistent are you with planning?
Start by picking just one goal
Most people could change their entire life by identifying just one priority task every day…just one! Because if you pick just one task, that’s going to be the most important task you could pick, right? Limiting your goals forces you to choose smarter, more significant goals.
So pick just one goal every day. Whether it’s writing, designing, filming, or otherwise creating, make that goal the cornerstone for your dreams. Wake up early and accomplish it before anything else. Have faith that if you knock out this one dream-related task each day, you’ll eventually make it.
That’s how I started my writing and coaching career. Just one article.
I had a blank sketchbook that I bought from Hobby Lobby and I’d put just one goal in large print: “Write an article.” Every day that I accomplished this goal, which was every day I wrote it down, I was a success in my own eyes.
It didn’t matter that I lived on my Mom’s beat-up red leather sofa, or that I’d been kicked out of high school twice, or that I’d been rejected by the army (which, looking back, is actually quite an accomplishment), or that I’d dropped out of college, or that I’d been fired from or quit every job I’d ever had. Because I was finally putting in the work.
When I perceived myself as a successful person vis-a-vis the work I put in, that’s when my confidence started to grow. If you know how powerful confidence is for continued success, and how incredible it feels in general, you know how important that milestone was for me. For the first time in my life I associated confidence with work. So I never stopped working. I never stopped planning.
Get consistent at planning and doing the work
As I grew in my planning practice, I grew more ambitious. One goal turned into two: Write (checkbox); Learn (checkbox). And to keep from burning out, I had to plan on being consistent in certain daily activities like meditation, exercise, playing guitar, etc. This made me a more balanced human being. Which helped me accomplish more goals, and reach higher writing milestones.
That’s how goal setting led to my coaching career.
By grades, I learned how to set daily goals that were both realistic and challenging, and to create a balance that afforded me the most growth. Some days I’d plan way too much, or not realistically enough, which made me feel bad when I didn’t accomplish everything. Then some days I’d set too few goals which weren’t challenging enough, so I knew I didn’t give it my all in a day. But I kept planning. I kept building on the “one-a-day” foundation that gave me pride in my work and results. And I kept improving.
So today I teach planning. When I was sleeping on Mom’s couch, and my peers were getting married, buying houses and starting families, I was just beginning to learn the most basic and most important success habit of all. Because I stuck with the habit, though, I’m more accomplished and successful today than the majority of people I used to envy will ever be throughout their whole lives. And it’s only been four years.
I’m just a college dropout, who was just an army reject, who was just a high-school dropout before that — I was nothing. But when I started doing the work and when I got a daily plan I became something, and I got to live out my dream of working for myself and making a difference. So can you.
What about you?
If you commit to your one daily goal this week, if you plan out that goal and check it off every day, and use that one daily goal as the foundation for a lifelong planning practice that you consistently perfect, you will get consistent, positive results. You’ll get the flood.
So how much work are you putting in? How much are you planning? How much are you learning?
I want you to be able to answer those questions with pride by the end of this week. Get yourself a blank sketchbook or journal from your local hobby store or Target. Write out that goal every day. Check it off every day. And never, ever stop.