The Secret to a Successful Business
“Am I working hard enough?”
I asked this a lot when I started running my own business.
I was used to hearing stories about how founders and dedicated startup employees would work 16-hour days, and I felt like I should do the same.
But I just couldn’t.
No matter how I rearranged my schedule or how well I planned, I just couldn’t clock an impressive number of hours-worked.
I felt like I was doing something wrong.
And I was.
But it had nothing to do with the amount of hours I was working.
Measuring the Wrong Things
I was using “number of hours worked” as a metric to measure success.
It was the wrong metric.
My viewpoint started to change in November of last year.
Around that time, I undertook a project to write 29 sales pages in 29 days.
It was largely a quiet project with little fanfare. When the month was over, I moved on with my life and kept doing the same work I had been doing.
But then, a few months later, I got a notification on Facebook.
That notification spurred a chain of events that led to me hiring Chris to become my copywriting coach.
The 29x29 Project became my “foot-in-the-door” in the copywriting world.
Even though it was unpaid work, and even though it literally took months for me to see results from it…
It was one of the greatest things I ever did for my career.
It was a High-Impact Activity.
I define High-Impact Activities as those tasks that are more than just crossing off an item on a list.
They are the things that can impact your career for years to come.
Those things that may not be important now, but will be important in the future.
They are the things that successful businesses are built on.
Recently, I was thinking about two successful copywriters I know. One thing they share in common is a relentless dedication to creating their own content — regularly writing and publishing blog posts.
While this probably isn’t the only thing that’s helped each of them grow six-figure copywriting businesses, I’d say it’s been a big help.
But let’s do another example:
Let’s say your a Shirt-Folder.
That’s your job. You fold shirts for 8 hours per day.
You can fold 500 shirts in one work day. That means you can fold 2,500 shirts per week.
Now, imagine if you could create a shirt-folding machine to fold the shirts for you. Let’s call it the Shirt-Folder 5000™.
The Shirt-Folder 5000™ could fold 1,000 shirts per day. But there’s a downside:
It will take 2 weeks to build it.
During that time, you won’t have time to fold any shirts…so you won’t get paid.
You’ll end up 5,000 shirts behind schedule.
But you decide to take the risk and build the machine anyway. And, by the end of the first week with the Shirt-Folder 5000™, you’re already back on schedule.
It’s folded 5,000 shirts in the time it would take you to fold 2,500…
And you haven’t had to do ANY extra work after building it.
All you have to do is check in on the machine for a few seconds each hour to make sure it’s working correctly.
In this case — building the Shirt-Folder 5000™ was a high-impact activity.
It was front-loaded work that decreased the amount of work you’d have to do later to earn more money.
Now, while the Shirt-Folder 5000™ folds, you can strategize other ways to earn money and build your business.
That’s the secret to a successful business:
Focusing on the activities that will help you earn more money later (even if they don’t pay off right now).