Get Your Goals Clear From The Beginning
I mentor a lot of young entrepreneurs and they usually ask me what their business should be and how to launch it. I find it useful to ask them what they’re good at and what their goals are, so I can figure out what type of business they should start building.
You see, it’s important to know what your goal is when starting the business, so you have something to aim for. Do you want to solve world hunger? Do you want to compete with Coca Cola? Do you want to be location free/laptop lifestyle? Do you want to combine all the above? What do you want?
What’s funny is when I ask them what their goal is they ALWAYS say, “I want to make a million dollars” with tons of excitement! Fair enough, but I’ve learned that this isn’t what they truly want, and I know this from experience. Having a goal of making a million dollars is an illusion goal.
I know exactly why they say they want a million dollars because I wanted this too. Yes, I had the check up on the fridge for $1M made out to myself, dated to be cashed in a year for extra effect but very quickly I learned that a million dollars is not what I want. There are many other more important things than a million dollars and the funny thing is if you chase the more important things the million dollars magically appears as a bonus.
After telling me about their exciting goal I say “what would you do if I paid you a million dollars in cash right now to have this meeting with me, just as a thank you for your time. You get exactly what you just said you wanted. Would you be happy?” and they all say “no” which is confusing, right?
Why not? They just said they wanted to make a million dollars, I’m offering them a million dollars for their time, but they don’t want it?! What’s going on here? It’s because they don’t actually want the money! They truly want something else but what else could they possibly want? They want SKILLS! What kind of skills? Skills that allow them to make a million dollars! See where I’m going with this?
Skills And Knowledge Are More Important Than Monetary Goals
Humans like guarantees on things because it makes them feel safe and secure and humans like to feel safe and secure. Having a million dollars is a temporary guarantee that you won’t have any financial problems for a period of time but when the money runs out the financial problems you had before will return. You intuitively know this. You also know there is something wrong with only wanting easy short term gains but we repeatedly do it anyway. Short term gains are never guaranteed long term and that’s why they don’t feel right. Guaranteeing something long term takes hard work and 99% of people don’t want to work so they just go after what’s easy. “I want a million dollars” is easy to demand but comes with a 0% guarantee of getting it. “I want TO LEARN how to make a million dollars” is really hard but comes with a 100% guarantee of getting it. Get it?
When I hear “I want to make a million dollars!” I say “Let’s reverse engineer that goal. How are you going to do it? What business are you going to build to get that much money? What product or service are you going to sell to make that much money?” And they say “well, that’s what I’m doing here asking you!” Fair enough but if how to make a million dollars was an easy answer then everyone would have a million dollars, right?
Next I ask “What are you going to do with all of that money? What are you going to buy? Why do you need that much money? Do you need exactly a million dollars to do whatever it is you want to do? Can you do it for less? Does that money maybe represent something else you want? Stability maybe? Freedom maybe? Having knowledge and being recognized as someone who is smart and intelligent? Status, success, fame etc.?” Then the lightbulb goes off and they realize it’s not the money they want. They want a LIFESTYLE and to build that lifestyle they need KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS and getting them takes work! No one wants to do work, so they just aim for the reward thinking that the magical law of attraction will make a million dollars appear if they just spend enough years visualizing it. Wrong!
The Two Most Important Questions To Answer Before Getting Started
Now that the money isn’t the goal anymore, we can really start to figure out what kind business they should build to give them the LIFESTYLE they want so I ask two more questions:
1. What are you good at?
2. What type of lifestyle do you want?
“If you do something you’re good at, something you love doing you’ll never feel like you’re working” as the saying goes and that’s very true but I think people forget how important it is to do something that suits the lifestyle they want as well. You could be really good at fixing cars but maybe fixing cars for 12 hours per day doesn’t match the lifestyle you want, understand?
When a business succeeds it will take a good 99% of your time. You don’t want to spend 99% of your time doing something you don’t really enjoy doing or being somewhere you don’t really want to be. The life you want HAS TO BE CONGRUENT with the business you build! When it’s congruent then it practically builds itself. So what type of life do you want?
Do you want freedom to travel 365? Do you want fame & fortune? Do you want marriage & kids? Do you want to live in a little hut on a beach? What lifestyle do you want? And why?
Personally, I built my business model around the lifestyle I dreamed of all my life which was to have absolute freedom. Knowing the importance of building the business around a lifestyle is what really made my business succeed rapidly because I was working towards my dream life! Not working towards a meaningless million dollars. Get it? My goal had meaning.
People say to me all the time “you must have really LOVED engineering to create an engineering business” and I say “no, I love not commuting in the morning, I love not going to an office, I love not having an alarm, I love employing great people all over the world and traveling to meet them.” I didn’t only chase what I’m good at, I realized I’m a good engineer and then built the business around the lifestyle I wanted. It’s because I figured out what lifestyle I wanted before starting the business that the business succeeded. I wasn’t doing it for the money or fame or other reasons. I was doing it because I was chasing what I truly loved, a freedom lifestyle.
I only made choices that would give me a freedom lifestyle and I figured out quickly that I don’t need a million dollars to do this. I lowered my living expenses as much I could to only $2500/month (as per Tim Ferris – 4 Hour Work Week recommendation) so if I was making more than $2500/month I could live the life I loved. Pretty simple, right? I aimed to make $5,000/month for some comfort which is way easier to make than a million dollars! At the time of writing this I’m currently at $125K/month and continuing to grow because I do what I love everyday!
Do you see how important it is to realize what you truly want from the beginning, so you can get to the goal faster rather than spend years going in the wrong direction (chasing a million dollars)? I think that if you build a business that is not congruent with how you want to live, it will not succeed – or you will be very unhappy running the business until it fails.
When you know the life you want, you will subconsciously and consciously make decisions that guide you towards that life. Opportunities that match what you want will magically appear I promise. It’s inevitable.
How To Figure Out What You Actually Want Out Of Your Business
So how do you figure out what you really want? A good question to ask yourself that helps you figure out what life you want is “what makes life worth living?” Really think about this. What makes you feel full of joy? What makes you want to wake up in the morning? What is happening on that day that makes it easy to get out of bed?
For me, my answer has always been “being 100% free in every way, financially, physically, location wise etc.” I’ve just always loved the thought of being absolutely free and I’ve built my business around living this way. I can be anywhere, anytime, I don’t have to tell anyone where I’m going or when I’ll be back. I have the finances available to travel to a fancy restaurant down the street or to a rented villa on the other side of the world any minute I feel like. Having a life like this is what makes me want to get out of bed every morning. Warren Buffet says, “If you’re not tap dancing to work, then you’re in the wrong job.” So, you see, if you build your business around the lifestyle you want then you’ll wake up and tap dance to work everyday. Sounds great, right? It is!
So find out what your answer to “what makes life worth living” is. It might be “making a big family dinner on Sunday and sitting around the table with everyone.” This means you really value family and connection. Build your life so that being around the people you love is very possible for a lot of your day. Another answer might be “achieving massive success and fame” so build your life around this or “travelling to 100 countries in the next 2 years” so build your life around that! The answer is different for everyone and there is no right or wrong answer, but the point is usually it boils down to a few things that generally make people happy like connection, friendship, family, money, stability, security, freedom, power, fame, etc.
Then a lot of people say “Well, how am I supposed to build a life around travelling to 100 countries in 2 years, Jason!?” My answer is “go learn how!” Stop being lazy! It’s never been easier to learn anything you want in the history of humans! Go click a mouse and learn millions of things! For free! Do you think someone knocked on my door and said “Hey Jason, I was just walking by your house and I have this lifestyle business that I think would be perfect for you? It matches exactly how you want to live and it’s totally all built and already makes a lot of money. Do you want it?” I had to click the mouse a billion times and learn how to do all of this myself! There was no manual. Which leads me to the next point…
When You Say You Want A Million Dollars ,This Is What You Actually Want
The truth is no one ONLY wants a million dollars! The money is only symbolic of what they ACTUALLY want!
They want the KNOWLEDGE someone has who knows how to make a million dollars.
They want the CONFIDENCE someone has who knows how to make a million dollars.
They want the STATUS and FAME someone has who knows how to make a million dollars.
They want the BUSINESS SKILLS someone has who knows how to make a million dollars.
They want the RECOGNITION and RESPECT someone has who knows how to make a million dollars.
They want the INTELLIGENCE someone has who knows how to make a million dollars.
And lots of other great qualities someone has who knows who to make a million dollars.
They don’t want a million dollars! They truly want all the other things that come along with making a million dollars and that’s exactly why I said earlier “one million dollars is a BONUS when you learn all of the skills necessary to make a million dollars.” That’s why many people that win the lottery have $0 a year later. They have no skills. The money comes to you when you develop your skills. You don’t get the money and the skills magically appear. It ONLY works the other way around. Get skills, get money.
Acquiring Skills & Knowledge And Why Being Successful Is “Easy”
The bad news is that acquiring these skills is hard! Really hard! It takes tons of work! You must read 100’s of books, 1000’s of hours of YouTube videos to learn a billion things about how to start and run your business! Then you must put them into action and see if they work! And then they probably won’t work! As an entrepreneur you’ll have to figure out why they don’t work and make them work another way. The good news is 99.9999% of people give up immediately and that’s why I always tell people that being successful is easy. There is hardly any competition. If you want it, it’s just a matter of doing it. If you just do it, learn what you must learn, do what you must do then you’re the 0.000001% of people that actually succeed.
Tai Lopez says, “everyone wants but not everyone deserves”. Love this! Ask yourself what are you doing to deserve the lifestyle you want to live? If the answer is “nothing” then guess what? Someone else is putting in all the work and they deserve it a lot more than you and they will get it a lot sooner than you!
Trust me, entrepreneurship is constant hurdles and hassle. I once heard a great saying that “business is just a never ending series of mistakes that end up awesome!” If you put the work in, you’ll be living the dream in no time no matter what difficulties you face along the way. The hardest step to make is the first step and then it just gets easier and easier.
It’s like climbing a mountain. You put off taking the first step because you know it’s going to be a hard journey as soon as the first step is taken, so you procrastinate about the first step for as long as you can. Then you finally run out of excuses and start and it’s all uphill at first and many people give up and turn around to their comfortable 9-5 job back at base camp. Only a few people keep pushing and learn how to climb more and more effectively through disciplined effort and after acquiring tons of knowledge day in, day out on how to climb the mountain of knowledge one day they finally reach the peak!
The Mountain of Knowledge
The thing is though, once you get past the initial resistance everything becomes MUCH easier. Once you reach the peak the rest is all downhill and life gets really easy! Then as a bonus while you’re casually strolling down the other side you find piles of money all over the place! It’s just sitting there because no one ever makes it to this side, so no one sees it and takes it. It’s there for whoever puts the work in and makes it to this side of the mountain. You pick up the money and keep going. Keep applying all the knowledge you learned to everything that comes your way and bigger piles of money show up. The knowledge you learned on the way up can never be taken away from you, it’s yours forever! You can walk down the other side of the mountain with your eyes closed because you’ve learned so much going up, coming down is easy! You can apply this knowledge to anything in your life. Now you can only succeed at anything you apply the knowledge to. You apply your knowledge to the next mountain with ease because you say to yourself, “well, that 1st mountain wasn’t so bad. I’m sure I can climb this one too!” and you spend the rest of your life climbing and conquering mountains! You’ve become unstoppable because you have “Mountains of Knowledge”!
The Two Choices Facing You Now
So you have two choices:
1. Keep wanting the million dollars. Go ahead. Keep wasting time looking for that shortcut that doesn’t exist. Keep making it easier for the few people that want to succeed by doing the work to reach the peak.
2. Figure out what you can do RIGHT NOW that is the first step in turning yourself into the person that knows how to make a million dollars. Go learn something, anything that could help you build a business online. Develop your skills. Keep taking steps forward up the mountain until things start to get easier. That’s when you’ve reached the peak!
Regarding learning, this is important. They say there are three areas of knowledge:
1. Things you know you know, like simple math for example (you know you know how to add and subtract).
2. There are things you know you don’t know, high level physics math for example (you know you don’t how to do Einstein level physics math but you know it exists).
3. And then there are things you don’t know you don’t know. If you can figure these things out they are the gold nuggets of knowledge! (You don’t know you don’t know why e=mc2 or what that even means. You maybe don’t even know what e, m & c even stand for let alone why c needs to be squared for the equation to work!). Learning what e=mc2 stands for and what it means will open the door to many other fundamental laws of physics. This is how the Upside-Down Pyramid of Knowledge works!
The Upside-Down Pyramid of Knowledge
Aim for the third type of knowledge! Chisel away at discovering things you “didn’t know you didn’t know”. This shifts more things into the “I know I don’t know” category which opens your mind, expands your world and makes you climb the mountain of knowledge much easier. When you know you don’t know something you can educate yourself on the topic and be a much smarter person, putting more things into the “I know I know” category.
Think of knowledge as an upside-down pyramid. At the top there are billions of things you don’t know you don’t know but as you educate yourself on topics you find interesting and would like to learn more about you’ll start to reveal things you “don’t know you didn’t know” and they trickle down to the “know I don’t know” area.
“Yeah, but if I don’t know I don’t know them, how am I supposed to know I should learn them, Jason!” Here’s an idea – go to Amazon right now and buy ANY book on ANY topic you are interested in. There are millions to choose from. Go ahead. Boom. Tons of things you knew nothing about in that book. And that’s just one book! Some of the things you learn in that book will make you curious about other things you didn’t know you didn’t know. Go buy books on those things. Type those things into Google and learn them and enjoy how fast the list of things you didn’t know you didn’t know grows! For me this is incredibly fun!
This is exactly what I did. I liked sales and persuasion so I started reading books and training programs on those topics. Right away I was saying to myself, “Wow! I didn’t know that was possible! I didn’t know different personalities need to be treated differently when selling to them! I didn’t know a persons sex played a factor is how to sell them. I didn’t know their age made a difference!” and tons of other things. That lead me on a journey to discover the different personalities that exist. Next, how to identify different personalities quickly. Then I learned about male/female dynamics and what major differences there are between the sexes and on and on it went. Each time I found an answer 10 more questions came up in areas I lacked knowledge.
“Yeah sure how am I supposed to afford to buy all of these books on Amazon, Jason!?” Here’s how, sell them on Amazon after you read them. I’ve been doing this for years which means I’ve read 100’s of books for free and you can too! Change your default setting from “I can’t do that” to “how can I do that?” and you’ll come up with great ideas like the one I just shared with you that will save you and I $1,000’s! Learn more about how I do this CLICK HERE
Instead of putting hours into Netflix, put hours into learning things you don’t know and watch your life transform. Turn them into things “you know you know” and apply them to your life and business.
I realized a few years ago that the only thing that separates someone who is successful from someone who isn’t is because the more successful person has more knowledge and is able to make better choices in life. The compounding effect of making better choices over months and years leads to an epic life and I don’t define success as only financial. Someone that has more knowledge about relationships will make better choices about who to date and marry. Someone that has more knowledge about investing will make better investment choices and have more money. Someone that has more knowledge about health will make better choices about food and exercise and be healthier and happier. Someone who has more knowledge about travel, geography and languages will have amazing vacations!
People that put a lot of effort into acquiring knowledge are rare. They are the 0.00001% that make a million dollars who have been doing this for years, pushing things from the top upside-down pyramid to the bottom. Once you start doing this it’s addicting and it’s a good thing to be addicted to! It’s what I’ve been doing for years and plan on continuing to do for the rest of my life.
CLICK HERE to see the 39 lesson topics!
Jason Vander Griendt