So first of all – here is a bit of a life update before I get to the meat of the post.
I moved away from the UK permanently (I did this a few months ago actually) and am perpetually travelling for a while. Here are some pictures of my travels thus far – it’s been pretty cool. I had a chance to sail down San Francisco Bay, fly under the Golden Gate Bridge in a helicopter, dance at Coachella, party until dawn in Vegas, climb the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles and get wasted in the red light district of Amsterdam with friends from around the world!
Looks like fun? Living the dream? Lol. Kind of, but to be honest, there is a catch. If you look behind the facade of “travelling” or “being an international playboy”, you will see that I am actually using “work” as an excuse to travel – i.e. every place I have been to, I have attended an internet marketing conference or meet up. I just happen to also be doing some other cool stuff on the side wherever those meet ups happen to be.
I am, of course, up for doing some more purely “experiential” travelling (which I can do as I work online) like swimming with sharks, bungee jumping, deep sea fishing, seeing the pyramids etc etc. However, that’s more about if I can find people who I enjoy the company of to do these things with. To be honest, it’s hard to find cool friends who have the same level of freedom!
Also, despite my focus, I’ve actually found it very difficult to work whilst travelling every week / few weeks. This period of heavy travelling has showed me that it’s a big problem losing your routine and changing your diet and work out schedule. This is one of the reasons why, over the next few months, I’ve decided to live in countries / cities for a minimum of 8 weeks at a time. I estimate that this will create less disruption and allow me to create a routine through which I can better work. I will then return home to Sydney for the Christmas period and move to a city of my choosing in December / January permanently. That’s the tentative plan anyway!
Now, moving onto the meat of this post.
The reason that this blog post was entitled “The first million is the hardest… and the most dangerous” is because of something another mentor said to me recently – “Firstly mate, congratulations for your first million. The first is the hardest, the rest come relatively easier. Secondly, you should realise that ‘it never ends’. Its like you go from buying economy seats to business class seats. Then you start flying business class and then you think you should try first class. Then you start flying private jets… and all you ever needed was economy”.
The first thing he said was very true “the first million is the hardest”. Now that I have made my first million, the interesting thing is that the second million came pretty quick thereafter. And the third, fourth and fifth are no doubt well on their way too. Not to mention, the number of opportunities to make more and bigger money has literally exploded. I do know people though, who make their first million, and then… stagnate. I credit one of my mentors who gave me the critical advice to “focus when you are hitting” here. The temptation is to relax when you are doing well. The right thing to do is focus, capitalise, fortify and duplicate efforts, when things are going well. The mentality is that these “runs” do not last forever and you have to keep building on them.
Now, even though it may seem like I am travelling a lot, which I am, most of this is smoke and mirrors. I am travelling for business as much as (if not more than) for pleasure. I also focus a lot when I travel. I still work most of the hours in the day and I tend to do “activities” with people who I do business with (which tends to create more business). Not that this is an entirely conscious choice. Its also due to the fact that I generally only do business with people I like and/or trust, and I like hanging out with people that I like. Thus, sharing cool experiences with them is an absolute pleasure. Business and pleasure do not need to be separated, especially when you do business with people that you like. Moreover, I am capitalising on success by innovating and fortifying our business position and creating “new” avenues through which we can create profit.
As for his second point – i.e. ’spendings increasing’ – I don’t want my spendings to scale up proportionally to my earnings. I believe that there is really something to learning to live like a student – thrifty, but happy. Warren Buffet does it. So do a few other rich people I know. This is not to say that my spendings have not increased at all. I have been staying at 4 and 5 star hotels… but only because I can book them cheap at priceline.com. I have been flying business class AT TIMES (not all the time – for example, right now I am sitting in a monster 24 hour flight to Sydney in economy!)… but only because I can upgrade at almost no cost thanks to the AMEX points I have. I think that this is a good habit to have – to never lose the ability to economise your life… but also to never compromise on expenses which may make you more effective / efficient in what you do.
As I increase my wealth, I am going to try to watch my discretionary spending, while spending freely on things which enable me to focus, work and earn better… or which produce more money / value… within reason. I also have a number in mind, that when I reach, will be the time that I change my focus. At that point in time, my passive income will be around 100k per year and I’ll be able to afford a very nice house and lifestyle. When this is achieved, I would like to focus 100% of my time on helping my team in particular, but all of those people who helped me get there, to get rich too. This is not and has never been about “just me” winning. If I don’t facilitate equal if not bigger opportunities for my team, then to me, then I have failed. I want the people who walked with me in to learn to walk with me, not behind me. And although it takes time, the journey will make them all better men as it did me.
Anyway, one of the reasons that I am going back to Australia is to regain some focus which may have been lost from this travelling binge. The travelling binge has admittedly allowed me to produce some really partnerships, JVs, and relationships and to see the world differently and cultivate different opportunities. These are awesome. However, I have not been as focused on the actual business, which I miss. I thus want to make sure that this next period is about FOCUS, and hopefully, it will set the stage for the team and I to continue to “kill it” for the next few months and beyond.
To the future!