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Mr. Hobo Millionaire Observations on Life and Money

Tagentrepreneurship

Entrepreneurial Success Doesn’t Look Like An NFL Sack Celebration

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Mark Gastineu was a great NFL defensive end for the New York Jets. Some time in the 80’s, he started the NFL craze of over celebrating a tackle. In some ways it’s kind of entertaining, but ultimately I believe it sets a bad example (more on that in a moment). At this point in time (20 years into the 2000’s), it’s gotten out of hand in the NFL. We now see players over celebrating a tackle even when their team is losing! I also understand that the Madden football video games had a big affect on current players, too. They grew up watching the video game characters over celebrate, and now they are modeling that behavior.

What’s wrong with over celebrating?

I believe it sets a bad example, because it models incorrect behavior in terms of competition, struggling, and perseverance. Long term success takes years, not one day or one moment. Yes, professional football players have put years into being where they are, but on that day, the “success” goal is to win a football game, and to win multiple games over a season, and win in the playoffs, and eventually win a championship. The goal is not to make one good play.

Over celebrating is a distraction. Plus, most of the time, you’re doing it because you’re looking for a pat-on-the-back or praise from others. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to push on without praise. If you believe every day is going to be jumping up-and-down with joy, you have a big shock coming. Most successful entrepreneurs plug away for years, working many long days, many alone, in solitude. Sure, you should celebrate small wins internally, but never lose focus of the end goal.

Facebook and Instagram posts are not real life (not IRL).

Many people think entrepreneurship is what the celebrities post. No, that’s advertising. They’re trying to sell you on how they live, so you buy what they sell, so you can feel like you’re as successful as they are. Don’t buy what they’re selling. And unless you’re a celebrity already, that kind of advertising won’t work for you. Any entrepreneur working towards a goal doesn’t have time to post silly stuff on Facebook or Instagram on a daily basis.

Ever see people post stuff like this?

Started a diet today — Ate a salad!

Ran 1 mile today! Marathon here I come!

Started writing my book! Chapter 1 done!

And then they never post anything about it ever again. You know why? Because they quit.

Coffee is for closers only.

Blake (Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross)

Over the years, if social media would have existed, and I was being honest, I would have posted stuff like this:

I worked 16 hours today to fix an issue with my software. I got nowhere. Off to bed and to try again tomorrow.

Invested 20K to get a chance to work with a bigger company. They said no.

It’s 3am and my customer just texted me. I’ve got to get up and work on a problem.

I’m rewriting our software from scratch starting today. I’ll finish in 2-3 years after 16 hour days. Shipped! Oh now I have 5 more years of bug fixes and iterations, working 16 hours a day.

My son just asked me why I work so hard with so little to show for it.

I’m working two full-time jobs for a chance to chase my dreams. I’ve been doing this for 3 years. 

My investor just pulled the plug on my company after only 3 months. I worked 3 years to create this product. And it’s over. I have to go ask for my old job back.

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

Entrepreneurial success is bunch of big struggles and private, hidden little wins. I cry when I listen to other entrepreneur stories about the long years, days, and hours put into creating a product… and they’re finally having some success. I know how hard it is. I’ve lived it. Multiple times. I have no idea what I would have done had I not eventually started having some success. I’m pretty sure I would have kept plugging away since that’s what I had to do for 20+ years anyway, but you never know. It’s SO hard. I can promise you I was never running around with my arms up high celebrating saying “look at me”! Most people, except my family, have no idea what I went through to get to where I am today. Friends and acquaintances had no idea how hard it was then or how good things are now. That’s why I blog anonymously. I don’t want personal attention, but I do hope you get something from this blog. I hope you know you’re not alone in your entrepreneurial journey. I’m rooting for you, even if it’s in private.

Now go do the work…

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.

Jim Rohn

Now go do the work…

Mr. Hobo Millionaire

 

Don’t Set Your Goals Too High

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The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.

Mark Twain

Don’t set your goals too high.

Mr. Hobo Millionaire

 

What Do You Mean Don’t Set Goals Too High?

I am all for setting big goals, but goals should not be impossible. Furthermore, you can be a big success with small goals. Let me give you some examples…

You don’t have to have the success of Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) to be considered a success in investing. 

You don’t have to have the success of Bill Gates (Microsoft) to be considered a successful software entrepreneur.

You don’t have the success of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) to be considered successful as an app maker.

You don’t have to own as much land as Ted Turner (he also created CNN/TNT/TBS) to be considered a success in real estate.

You don’t have to sell as many books or have as many podcast downloads as Tim Ferris to be considered successful in media.

Do I Need To Go On?

If you only acquired $1,000,000, or $2,000,000 or $5,000,000 saving and investing over your life time, are you a failure because it’s not billions?

If you only created a software company or app maker that earned you $200,000/year for  25 years, are you a failure?

If you only bought and paid for 3 rental houses in your lifetime, and used the rental income for your early retirement, are you a failure?

It doesn’t take selling millions of books or having millions of podcast downloads to have some success with writing, blogging, and podcasting. If you only make $50,000 a year writing, blogging, and podcasting, are you a failure?

No. Of course not. But many people set goals that are way too big and end up quitting from disappointment when things aren’t moving quickly. Some set so high a goal they don’t even get started. They quit. They don’t even try. If I can’t be [insert name of famous person], I don’t want to even try.

Many Extremely Successful People Were Lucky

I’m not taking anything away from Mr. Buffett, Mr. Gates, Mr. Zuckerberg, or Mr. Ferris. They are all individuals who have worked very hard. Very hard. And you know I admire hard work. If they had 1/100th of their success, they would still be crazy successful. But the fact most are billionaires (except Ferris), there’s a lot of luck involved in their stories.

The world talks and prints so much about billionaires these days, though, it starts to feel normal. There’s nothing normal about a billion dollars.

And because it gets talked about so much, it may make you feel like you need to create a “billion dollar idea” or you’re not successful. You do not need billion dollar idea. And please understand I’m not knocking those billionaires. I promise. I’m a fan of entrepreneurship, free markets, and capitalism. I’m simply trying to stress to you not to compare your goals and aspirations to what they have accomplished — it’s not normal accomplishments, and some, if not a lot, of luck was involved.

Have You Heard About The Concept Of “1000 True Fans”?

Kevin Kelley created and documented this concept of 1000 true fans. He could have rephrased it as “Don’t Set Your Fan Goals Too High”. You could earn an income of $100,000/year if you could find 1000 people willing to spend just $100/year with you (or $8.33/month). Not too bad is it? Kevin’s “1000 true fans” concept is much more than that, and I encourage you to read the link to his original post (he’s also written a book about it).

Some of you are familiar with my own personal story. I created a successful, niche software company. Not a company you’ve ever heard of though. And I only had about 1000 companies or so as customers that did, on average, about $1000/year with me. Saving and investing that money allowed it to grow into millions. Am I a failure because I’m an unknown, small time, multi-millionaire? Of course not. And neither are you if you only create a $50,000/year income doing work you enjoy.

Set Realistic Goals

One of the most important factors of success is getting started. No one has ever been successful who hasn’t started. Don’t set unrealistic goals and then get overwhelmed with getting started and getting nothing done. Figure out your “minimum viable audience”.  The minimum number of people you need to engage/sell to that, if they supported you financially, you could be happy with earning that kind of living. Seth Godin had an interesting blog post about this topic. I also highly recommend his book “This Is Marketing“.

The topics “1000 true fans” and “minimum viable audience” weren’t being talked about when I started my journey in the software business in 2000. Actually, I re-started my software journey in 2000. My initial foray into software was 1993-1995, but that’s a failure story for another time. Study up on these topics, make a realistic goal, and get started!

 

Mr. Hobo Millionaire Observations on Life and Money

Mr. Hobo Millionaire

I blog about money, financial independence (FIRE), life, and entrepreneurship. I got rich slowly (over 20+ years) with a niche software business. I also failed at a number of other things (and mild success with a few others). I share what I did right along the way, and a lot of what I did wrong, with a goal to encourage you think differently about life and money.

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