This week was birthday number 28 for yours Troubly.
Seems like it was just yesterday that I was 27, sitting out at Luka Lu in Prague with some dear friends.
I’ve moved back to Kiev, leaving behind the life built in Prague.
It turned out to be a great decision.
Business has boomed and peaked (last year), taken the fall that was to be expected (early this year), and risen again (now).
Last year, I did a generic 27 Years, 27 Thoughts post – but it’s time to get a little more specific this year as my priorities shift more and more to business, long-term planning, and success as opposed to just causing trouble and partying all the time.
So, let’s begin…
28 Steps to Successful Business
1. You can’t keep climbing forever.
A plane has a maximum altitude it can reach.
Your income and business growth…do not.
However, expecting a steady, upward, climbing trajectory to infinity and beyond is not reasonable. Earlier this year, some of my niche sites started to show signs of neglect – I’d been focusing a lot of my energy on the olive oil company. Course sales also declined a bit. I began to panic as I watched my income plumet.
Then I realized though…
Since I left my job three years ago, it has been nothing but straight up.
Sooner or later I was going to have a dip.
Weathering those dips is just a part of business, and also just a part of life. Ups and downs are going to come – you just have to get through them.
2. Planning everything is useless.
The world moves faster than it ever has before. We as humans cannot keep up and adapt with the speed that technology and globalization are taking over.
A few decades ago, you used to be able to firmly say:
“I plan to live in this town for the rest of my life, with this one person, perhaps in this house I’m buying in my 20s, and I am going to work in the same, steady, paycheck-providing career until I retire.”
That was decades ago, before…
You could access mountains of data from a computer mere inches wide, that fits in your pocket (information used to be extremely valuable, now it’s a common commodity).
Before a jet could take you across the globe in a matter of hours (you used to have to ride a horse for weeks to get across a state), or rent a car to drive you across beautiful Croatia…
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You should have a plan, I’m not saying you shouldn’t.
But, that plan should be flexible, and you must adapt as the times come.
3. Things change, come, and go – consistent work ethic stays.
If you have the work ethic, routine, and consistency to use it…
You will always be able to make your own way.
Like I said, the tech, strategies, methods, and everything else may change…but the one thing that can’t be “taken” away from you is a strong work ethic. Showing up every day, putting in the work, and simply being consistent (even if it’s not for a large quantity of time).
This will take you further than the majority of people…
Remember, you don’t have to be able to outrun a bear, you only have to run faster than the other person also running.
4. No Sleep-Skimping consistently, too.
Sometimes you have to skimp here and there. But again, be consistent. Have a routine to settle yourself down into bed, like a child. Blue light of today’s screens will destroy your natural sleep cycle if you let it. Put it away before bed, read an old-school paper book. Rise at the same time every day, drink good coffee.
A good night’s sleep is the best nootropic there is.
And, getting old? Sucks.
5. You find that your mind is much more fueled by how your body feels.
As you get older…you don’t bounce back as well. If you eat crap you feel like crap.
You get stiffer and need to stretch to stay feeling good.
The years and years of using computers wear on you.
What you could get away with at a young age no longer is possible as you enter your late 20s. Keeping your mind fresh and fueled is essential for business success. Don’t shoot yourself in your own foot.
6. There’s money in fads, but it’s not forever.
Stuff like Shopify dropshipping may very well be gone in the next decade.
Like I said, it’s hard to predict.
There’s lots and lots of large, income-generating events in fads. So much that it can set you up for the rest of your life, or fund your next venture.
But they might go away, and if it’s your sole source of income, that’s terrifying.
Be prepared for the apocalypse – but hope it never comes.
Build your business on a strong foundation so that it can’t all disappear in a heartbeat.
7. Invest in the tools you need.
Quality beats all…
When it comes to online business:
Better to have a quality web host than a crappy one.
My website was slow, and this website is also the most critical part of my business. It made sense to invest in a better host than floundering on the shitty one.
Let’s say you’re a plumber. You spend a lot of time trucking around town. Invest in a good truck (looks good, gives you more business/better first impression) versus an old beater. Invest in your business, but do it wisely.
Sometimes you need to spend some $$$ to make some $$$.
8. Not everyone can be an influencer.
People used to want to be astronauts, writers, or race car drivers.
Your normal person’s dream job is to not have one, to be able to post selfies of themselves and make money doing so. There are plenty that are making bank. And plenty who are making nothing.
For every successful Formula 1 driver there’s thousands of kids who never made it out of the lower ranks.
Influencers are and will be no different.
Have a real plan for your life beyond taking photos of your avocado toast.
9. Communism KILLS.
Reader “Dead Commie” writes a comment:
The problem is when these pieces of shit leave California, after destroying it, they come to states that have been working fine for over half a century or more and vote for the same policies that destroyed California. There is no fixing the fuckin retards. A civil war is what we need to eliminate them on a large scale
For those of you who haven’t heard.
I’ve had a long-standing offer for any California snowflake to experience true communism. Namely, that I will personally pay for their apartment for one entire year in a former communist country, like Ukraine.
The catch is, I’ll be paying for it, which also means I get to choose what neighborhood it’s in, the apartment itself, and then after that, it’s all up to them to figure out how to get anything fixed, maintained, etc, etc.
And, even better…
If, after one year, said snowflake still wants to bring communism to California, along with all the joys that come with it, I will happily renounce my opinions and admit that said snowflake is completely right about the system.
I’m thinking a 25 square foot studio in something like this will do the trick just fine…
Anyway, reader “Dead Commie” is dead-on the money in this case…
Namely, that overpopulation is a real problem.
And unfortunately, overpopulation is one of those things that people don’t seem to grasp until it’s way too late. Then, they leave California because they can’t afford it, and still have no grasp as to WHY it became a dump in the first place.
Then they go to a place like Portland. Or like Seattle. Or like Austin. All of which I admittedly have never been to, but I have enough people in enough places…
And they dumpster those places up, too.
Anyways, it just goes to show…
You gotta have your shyt together.
Numero uno, money…
So you can leave.
And numero two, if you decide to leave…
You better have the skills to build yourself a new life.
Communism is great. On paper. In the real world, it has terrible results. Look at Venezuela and their crisis. You need a semi-truck full of their currency to buy yourself a damn plate of empanadas.
I’ve lived in Eastern Europe long enough to see the post-communist result.
Capitalism = Freedom
10. Those without rarely “get it”.
I stumbled across a post complaining about American Airlines, in which the author was furious at the airline because he bought the cheapest ticket possible, couldn’t change it, skipped his first flight (automatically the rest of the ticket is cancelled), and ultimately had to pay like quadruple what he expected to.
I felt bad for him.
At the same time, he should know that the basic fares are never all that basic unless you are literally traveling with no luggage whatsoever.
However, what stood out to me more than anything was one particular interesting comment…
This is so true about travel. I used to be married to a guy who traveled for business every week, and that was the thing that shocked me the most. We got so much free travel shit and perks and I was like, we need these the least of anyone. It still bothers me. Like rich folks are the ones who need a free stay at the Ritz, for some reason.
The funny thing is…
While perhaps this reader wasn’t poor, she certainly is a “goodie-doer” who wants to help people who don’t have as much as her.
However, the people who always NEED *free* stuff are the ones who stayed trapped in that cycle…typically for the majority of their adult lives. The reason the rich person stays at the Ritz for free is likely because they earned it.
A for-profit company has it in their best interests to keep their wealthy customers coming back, spending money, and being loyal to them.
Not to mention:
The whole travel industry isn’t exactly difficult to hack if you know what to do. A few rewards programs and you can easily rack up free nights at 5-star hotels or business/first class travel. All it takes is…you know, that thing that poor people often don’t like to do…
12. Dreaming big is dreaming, but sometimes they come to fruition.
A friend here in Ukraine recently came to me and tentatively broached the topic of wanting to partner on a restaurant here in Ukraine.
Certainly, I love the idea.
That’s many a person’s dream – to own and operate a restaurant.
However, to be fully honest…
I don’t know the first damn thing about actually operating a restaurant…and naturally, neither does my friend. Neither of us are professional chefs. Hell, I’ve never even worked in a restaurant (I don’t count the concessions stand at the movie theater).
Regardless, it’s certainly an interesting proposition if we ever get into further discussions.
But you know what it got me thinking?
Namely, look at us.
- He’s an app developer and day trader.
- I’m a blogger.
And here we are, tossing around ideas about what could or couldn’t work in the restaurant business. And look, I get it, restaurants are a dangerous business to get into. Plus, you have to always vet your partners extremely, extremely well…
Here’s the catch:
We’re able to have these discussions, and have them semi-seriously, because we’ve put in the work for the last few years.
Both of us have achieved complete and total freedom in our lives.
We live where we want.
We both have steady(ish) Ukrainian girls.
Overall, we’re just able to…well, do whatever we want.
Even if it’s dreaming big.
Because we have the foundations.
13. A home helps focus, but you need adventure.
It’s easy to fall into the Wantrepreneur fad of renting Ferraris in multiple countries, traveling constantly, and being a constant digital nomad. However, as discussed previously, this way of living is not something we as humans have adapted to yet.
By all means.
Have your adventures, travel often, laugh more…
But a good home to come home to will often do more for your business than anything else.
14. Bigger is not always better.
My parents and grandma recently left Ukraine, after visiting Eastern Europe for the first time. Naturally, even though my apartment here is nearly 1,500 square feet and has plenty of space, they thought it was small. It’s certainly got nothing on their 3,000+ square foot house back in the American ‘burbs.
But, it made me realize…
It doesn’t really matter.
Does having a bigger yard contribute to more happiness?
What about that third bathroom, or fourth bedroom?
How about the third-car garage which is filled with stuff?
Does it move the needle as far as personal happiness?
But it’s what people are told is supposed to move the needle, so they hop on that train, and then just have to search for happiness in more and more “stuff” and expensive things.
The things that really move the needle on happiness are good friends, good food, and other simple things in life.
And that’ll move the needle on your business more than anything.
Stay tuned for part 2 next week, where I’ll list the next 14 steps.
Keep causing trouble,