Sometimes even after we’ve figured out what we want and have set the specific goals, we still struggle to begin.
That’s because it looks too hard.
We focus on the whole picture – which is enormous, as it often takes years to make the money you want, to become financially independent, or months before you get fit, make the body you want and get rid of all that fat.
Or weeks before you get used to a new habit, before you see some traffic on your blog, or before you have written enough pages to have a manuscript that you’ll then offer to a publisher.
And that big picture doesn’t appeal to us.
Because all we see is the long time it will take, the efforts we need to put into doing it, the chances of failure, the compromises we’ll have to make and the things we’ll have to sacrifice.
And that scares us so much that we don’t even begin. Which is the biggest defeat one can have in life.
But what if we use another approach?
Let’s try to focus on the short-term progress, to forget that it will take time and effort, and to just do one thing connected to our goal each day.
Pablo Picasso once said that “Action is the foundational key to all success.” And he was right.
“I recently heard a story about a novelist who had written over 70 novels. Someone asked him how he was able to write so consistently and remain inspired and motivated every day, as writers are notorious for procrastination and for fighting through bouts of “writer’s block”. The novelist said, “200 crappy words per day, that’s it.” The idea is that if he forced himself to write 200 crappy words, more often than not, the act of writing would inspire him and before he knew it he’d have thousands down on the page.”
And that’s all it takes.
One thing a day. Be it 200 words, one page, ten minutes of writing, or another version of the daily step you need to take that works best for you.
The point is to break your big goal down to specific tasks, and then turn them into steps.
And what you’ll then have in front of you is an action to take each day.
Make it small, ridiculously easy, and fast to execute. Do it at the same time and let it be your priority for the day. Know that no matter what happens that day, you need to take your step, otherwise the day is ruined.
All that is easy, and leads to success. Because its key element is consistency. And it goes together with prioritizing, focusing on one thing at a time and starting small.
That’s how big dreams are reached – by gradual change.
So what action will you take today that will get you closer to what you want in life?
Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.
During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.
How did you start your career in finance?
I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.
What made you start blogging?
The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.
The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.
The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.
I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.
I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.
How was The Ways to Wealth born?
I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.
1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.
2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.
3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.
One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.
What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?
The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.
Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.
I then went to Upwork and posted a job for agraphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.
I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.
I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.
What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?
My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.
When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?
My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.
What happened then in January?
First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.
Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.
Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.
How do you balance work and family life?
I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.
When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.
This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)
What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?
Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.
What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?
I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.