*** UPDATE ***
The video of the talk has finally been published! Check it out here!
This week, I held a presentation at the Berlin ‘Four Hour Work Week’ meetup. Over 100 people came to listen about how my brother and I built and scaled our app business to profitability and a great income without employees while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It was the biggest turnout of this meetup ever. (Admittedly, there was one other speaker with a much bigger business the same night. But hey, someone who couldn’t join even requested live streaming because he wanted to see my presentation.) I was nervous preparing and holding the talk but the talk was well received and I got a lot of questions and good feedback. Totally worth it.
The most important step in every project
In my talk, I listed the 8 steps that we took as a business from 0 to a decent income. Step 1 is the most important one:
Many people dream of great things but never start. Mostly because they are afraid and overwhelmed. Afraid of failing, afraid of making a fool out of themselves. And they are overwhelmed because they see the end result of years of work by other people and think “I could never do that!”.
“Every master was once a disaster” (T. Harv Eker)
I think this is the biggest mistake of all: Not starting because you think that you could never do what others have achieved. The key mistake is to only look at the end result. Our brains tend to freak out in this situation and believe that you have to do everything at once and achieve at least this level of professionalism right from the beginning. Let me tell you the truth: 1) That’s impossible. 2) That’s not necessary.
In order to make my point I showed screenshots of our first, very basic mobile app that we developed almost 3 years ago – “Love Quotes”. It looked horrific even by the App Store’s standards of 3 years ago. (I produced quite a bit of laughter in the audience mentioning and showing this app.) But it doesn’t matter. This app got us started and was crucial to where we are today with our business. Without ‘Love Quotes’ it would not have happened. We ended up with a completely different business model, one that we could never have anticipated if we hadn’t started doing things that were scary and difficult and ugly.
So if you have any doubt in your mind about whether you should get started with the project that you have been considering for a while now let me give you some advice: get started now! You will probably suck, and that’s okay. But the magic is in getting started. The rest will follow!
Make a decision now to get started on one project that you have postponed so far because you have been scared or overwhelmed. Decide on one small task that you can do to get started. Commit to doing this one task within the next 24 hours.
Lesson 1: Get started now, even if you are scared and overwhelmed. (Tiny steps are okay, too)
Trading money and time
Step 7 of my 8-step process was ‘Outsource and Automate’. When we built our business, we started by finding a Vietnamese programmer who could program the Love Quotes app for us. He did it for 150 USD. We found him by posting a simple 10 line job posting on freelancer.com and chose him as one of 20 applicants to the job.
We live in a flat world where someone on the other side of the globe can do work for you while you sleep. You can find that person in a few minutes, pay her a few bucks, and she will get to work. It doesn’t matter if the task at hand is business or personal, if it’s graphic design, programming, internet research, data entry, data analysis or booking a flight, finding a gift, or buying your stationary.
The most valuable resource that we have in our lives is time. When we are employed we trade our time for money. Wise men say that is a pretty bad deal because we can never get the time back but we can (hopefully) always come up with more money. Why not switch it around? Let’s trade money for time. Maybe this is the greatest investment that you can make in your life. So whatever it is that is stealing your time I encourage you to try and save that time by paying someone else to do it. Of course this doesn’t work for everything but probably for a lot more things than you can imagine.
Identify one thing in your life that you don’t enjoy doing and would like someone else to do. Post a job on freelancer.com just to see if someone bids. (It’s free to post and you are not obliged to hire someone. So go and do it even if you don’t really intend to hire someone.)
Lesson 2: Use outsourcing to leverage yourself. Don’t trade time for money, trade money for time.
Let me know if you want to know more about these two steps – there is lots more to tell.
What will you get started on right now?
All the best, and please get started!