What To Do If You Want To Underachieve

I read somewhere that the key to success is to “start with the end in mind”.  The argument was broadly that unless you know where you want to end up, how can you possibly get there?  After all, the organisers of a marathon can only plan the entire route by deciding first where they want it to end and then working backwards.  You can only hit a target if you know where it is.  You don’t get on a plane unless you know where it is going.  You get the drift.

Decide where you want to end up and then plan a route to get it.

I’m not sure where I stand on this.  Actually I do.  I don’t agree.

I’m not saying I don’t agree with planning.  Obviously planning is a good thing.  You can never guarantee to achieve anything in time unless you plan it.  But I’ve long thought that if you plan too much you can become too focused, miss opportunities and even limit your potential.  

And then I got an email which seemed to back me up. 

In this email, the writer told the true story of a conference for online marketers, in which the six successful speakers were invited declare how much they had earned online that year as inspiration for the masses.  Although they were all sole traders (it was the early days of the internet), and spent similar amounts of time online, it turned out that one person had earned more than the other five PUT TOGETHER.  When they compared notes, the ONLY thing that this super successful person seemed to have done differently from the others was NOT set a target for their online earnings.

The others had all set an earnings target at the outset and so had seemingly “capped” their online potential.

I think this is a recurring truth.  “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right”.  “Careful what you wish for, you might get it”. “You only find what you look for”.  They all say the same thing.  You get what you plan for. 

But you can’t plan everything because you don’t know what is possible. 

Imagine you are walking along an unfamiliar crescent (road).  You cannot see the whole road from the start because it curves out of sight.  You want to go to the end house.  You know it will be the highest number on the road.  You just don’t know what the highest numbered house will be.  As you walk along the road, you see the numbers getting increasingly higher.  And as you reach the middle part of the crescent you have a much better view of the whole road.  You might even be able to guess what the highest numbered house might be.  But you won’t know for sure until you get there. 

Sometimes you have to trust the next step will eventually get you to the right place, even if you don’t know exactly what the right place looks like when you start.  Having a map helps, but you can only take the photograph when you get there.

Planning is good.  But don’t let it limit where you get to.

It Takes Years To Become An Overnight Success

Building a business online can be a daunting task.  And when you have the opportunities of the internet before you it is easy to get lost and unfocused.  But the same advice is true whether you are building a bricks-and-mortar business or a virtual real estate empire. 

Online opportunities are so many and diverse that a huge range of unique skills are required, niche services needed and information sought.  And with more and more people coming online every day, the internet is a global market which should allow anyone willing to put in the effort to succeed.

And all this choice means you really shouldn’t waste your time and efforts following a business model which does not sit well with you. You have to find and follow a business model which allows you to play to your strengths.

It has been said that it takes about 10,000 hours working on your business (note that is hours working) until you can get a full time income online.  And that is a long time – years – depending on how much time you actually spend working (as opposed to just being online).  So it might be just too tempting whenever your project stalls, to become distracted by the latest trend and get dazzled by the profits others are reaping from a particular method or system.  

But if you are ever to succeed online, (as with anything in life), you must resist the temptation to “switch horses mid race”.  Every time you switch from one thing to another, you reset the “10,000 hours” clock back to zero.  You will never get through the basics and start to earn a regular income online.

And be careful whom you follow!  Never follow anyone just because they are successful – being successful at what they do does not mean that they would be successful at what you’re doing.  You wouldn’t ask a golf pro how to improve your backstroke would you?

So when setting out online, stick to what you know, play to your strengths, be careful whom you follow and focus.  Work diligently and you will get there.  Remember, it takes years of hard work to become successful.