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Why is it that when we encounter people with high-flying dreams and ambitions, most are working slow and low-paying jobs? Many have big hopes for their lives, yet let decades pass by and be no closer to reaching their goals. These people might have excellent social lives and might have re-watched every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, yet the sacrifices required to reach their true ambitions are lacking, so they remain where they are, both financially and professionally.
The obvious truth is that in order to succeed, you’re going to have to make the right amount of sacrifices, and giving yourself an hour a day to work on a dream isn’t going to cut it.
If you value free time, a 12-hour sleep routine and weekend wine and dines with friends more than financial freedom, then you’re either going to have to come to terms with not achieving what those who did make those sacrifices managed to do, or you need to make a change now.
Before you dive any further into this article, I need you to say to yourself, “I am willing to sacrifice what it’s going to take to succeed.” Say it, write it down and mean it.
Here are some pathways to knowing if you’re doing that — capitalizing your time properly and maximizing return on effort.
Your input will equal your output
Particularly for a startup, the input you put into a business is equivalent to the output you’re going to receive. If you’re strategic, that output will eventually (and hopefully) far outweigh the amount of input you put in, but for now, it’s a pretty even field. The more positive input and the more effort you put into your business, the more you’re going to get out of it. Recognizing that fully means that its necessary to devote all your resources, time and effort into an enterprise in order to optimize its revenue and success.
How much is an hour of your time worth?
Your time — every hour spent — actually has a monetary value. Total earnings per year divided by the hours spent earning it is a simple formula, but it’s not that simple. Being an entrepreneur pretty much always means not sticking to a 9-to-5 schedule, and you’re going to boost your chances of success exponentially when you decide that every waking hour of the day needs to be part of the calculation. So, next time you sit down to scroll through social media and notice an hour has gone by, consider that a payment you’ve had to make rather than earning towards success. This might lead you to use those hours more wisely.
Capitalize time the right way
Allocating hours towards focusing on goals, yet achieving nothing, is a frequent outcome for many budding entrepreneurs. In most cases this happens because time spent isn’t being optimized effectively. For example, why waste two hours a day struggling with adding up numbers on the accounting side of things when someone else can get it done in 15 minutes? It’s going to cost you a little in the present, but the time saved can be put towards the functions of your business.
So, apply your strengths in areas that can benefit from them the most, and task others whose strong points are your weak points. The best entrepreneurs don’t keep all the work for themselves, because that’s simply not efficient. It’s easy to think that hiring a freelancer just means money out of your pocket, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re wasting money when you’re wasting time.
If you can put people in the right seats to a point where everybody is where they shine, that’s when a business is going to optimize output to its highest potential.
It’s important to never stop learning and never act as if you’ve absorbed as much as there is to know in your field, because that inevitably means falling behind those who’ve grasped that knowledge on this earth is unlimited. So, if you’re good at something, keep learning it, and if you’re not as good at something, keep practicing until you are. Just as you would with a car, you want to fine-tune — constantly strengthening skills and refreshing what you know.
At the same time, don’t let work get in the way of health. If you let yourself run out of gas or keep on driving without looking after yourself, you will get run down. If you feel yourself burning out, make time for what you need to get back on track. If you can benefit from a day of relaxing so that you can put extra time into reaching a goal the next day, do it.
Be ahead of the market
Make sure you’re always watching the market and keeping an eye on forecasted changes. Then, when things do change, you’ll be able to adapt and transition easier than if you tried to adapt after the fact. Instead of just paying attention to what’s happening right now, look forward as well. When the business is ready to transition or the market changes, you’ll then be able to easily pivot while the competition is left floundering.
So, what’s it going to be? Will you be a cautionary tale — someone people remember as having so much potential but never enough time? Are you serious enough about goals and the incredible payoff that comes with being successful that you’re willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of your life? It might take a few years of hard work, but every hour you put in is going to bring you closer and closer until you’re there. You will get there.