#03 Resolution Time: How To Adapt Your Lifestyle To Improve Your Chances of Becoming a Successful Online Entrepreneur

What you will learn

  • The 5 Lifestyle changes YOU can make to increase your chances of success
  • How to save a bunch of money you can reinvest in your online business.
  • How to make time for your projects even if you have a busy life
  • How to plan your time carefully.

We receive a lot of emails and messages from people who are trying to break free from their 9 – 5 job and want to claim their freedom back here at Authority Hacker.

But the truth is, many of these people have very slim chances of being successful.

And that’s not because they are not talented or could not do the things we do.

That’s because their lifestyle, their obligations, their responsibilities are going to heavily handicap them when they actually try to make the leap.

This episode is for those people. Those who have the potential but whose lifestyle is a serious issue.

This is why Mark and I sat down and listed the things YOU can do to improve your chances of being successful. I suggest you listen to the episode but here is a short summary of the changes we recommend:​

1 – Reduce your living costs

This one doesn’t seem obvious at first. “If you make tens of thousands of dollars monthly, why do you need to reduce your living costs?

Well there are several reasons:

  • You don’t start off making 10’s of thousands of dollars. You start making hundreds at best and if you want to grow you need to re invest.
  • If your costs of living are low you have more time to make things work
  • The less you take yourself, the more you can re invest, the faster you grow.​

Here are a few ways to save that we talk about on the podcast:

  • ​Move to a cheaper country (up to 75% savings on costs of life)
  • Move out of the city centre (you work on the internet, you don’t need to be in an expensive city)
  • Limit your obligations (don’t buy pets, don’t take loans etc)

2 – Invest in your business & your business education

Here is one of the main reasons you should reduce your daily living costs: you will need to spend money on your business and education to progress. And these things are not cheap.

Here are the things we recommend to do in the podcast:

  • ​Set a monthly budget you’re willing to put in your business. Consider this money as lost at the beginning of the month and spend it the best you can.
  • Keep track of the total amount you spent in your business, looking at it makes you committed to succeed and to try to make it back.
  • Don’t spend regularly. Save up and spend big when needed.

3 – Make more time for work

Money is nice, but unless you make time to use this money and transform it into more money it is all going to be a waste.

That is why you will need to arrange your time, especially if you have a job.

Here are some of the tips we share in the podcast:

  • ​Leave on time from your job (accept you won’t be employee of the year)
  • Set 2h aside every evening and lock yourself in a room alone to work on your projects.
  • Stop drinking / partying, reallocate to your projects

4 – Plan your time more

Having time on your hands is great, but you need to use it properly, that’s why you need to spend some time planning your time.

Here is what we recommend you do in the podcast:

  • Every Sunday night, sit down and pick 4-5 big things you want to achieve
  • Set the tasks in your favourite task tracker (we use Asana and it’s free)
  • Track your work time with Rescuetime (free)

5 – ​Surround yourself with people who have similar goals

Finally, if you want to maintain your productivity, you need to maintain your motivation levels. And trust us, work will make a dent at your motivation levels.

Our #1 recommended way to stay motivated is to hang out with like minded people pursuing goals similar to yours.

Here are the tips we share on the podcast:

  • ​Register on Meetup.com and hang out with other entrepreneurs in real life once a week.
  • Join Facebook groups related to your niche (here is ours)
  • Cut negative people off, they’ll drag you down

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Full Transcript

Welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast. The place to learn field tested, no BS tactics to growth hack your online business, and finally live life on your own terms. Now your hosts, Gael and Mark.

Gael: Hey guys, welcome to the Authority hacker podcast. Today we are going to talk about adapting your lifestyle to succeed as an online entrepreneur. And the truth is, we receive a lot of emails from people who want to live a lifestyle that looks a lot like ours, they want to quit their day job, they want to run their own website etc. But the truth is, a lot of people they are setting themselves for failure, because their lifestyle will not allow them to make the effort that is going to be needed in terms of succeeding online. So today, I have Mark with me and we are going to talk about the 5 things that we think you should do to actually adapt your lifestyle and be successful eventually. So- hey Mark.

Mark: Hey, how is it going?

Gael: Good. So, let’s just get started right away. What is the first think people should think about when they actually want to live that kind of lifestyle running their own websites, laptop lifestyle, freedom etc?

Mark: Ok, so money. That’s by far the most important thing. We all need money to survive, we need a certain amount of money coming in each month or a certain amount of savings in order to put a roof over our heads and eat. So, that’s always the thing people are most sort of concerned about especially if they don’t have a regular income coming in from their authority site or from their online business. And you know, they are perhaps considering quitting their day job which does obviously provide them with the salary, there is certain amount of risk that they are taking there. So that risk, it’s never really going to go away, I really haven’t seen that many cases where people built a sizable income before they quit their job, there is always that sort of intermediate period where you know they are maybe making a few hundred bucks a month but not really a livable amount, and so they are going to have to live off of savings for a little bit. So obviously, the big thing there I guess is reduce your living costs, and there is many ways to do that actually; first of all, where you live, are you in the country or even the city, or even the part of the city plays a huge impact. For most people rent is going to be one of the biggest costs they have, one of the biggest monthly expenses they have. So doing something about that is always a good thing, we live here in Budapest, in Hungary, Eastern Europe, and it’s pretty damn cheap here. Certainly, can you imagine if we’ve done what we did living in London or New York or something-

Gael: That would be a lot more pressure, you know. What happens if you have like a family in [??]

Mark: Yeah, I mean it’s difficult. Pets is another thing as well, it makes difficult to move around. Or if you own your own home although that can always be rented.

Gael: yeah, if you rent it and rent another place cheaper and save the difference I guess.

Mark: Or you can rent an Airbnb for short term, there is all sorts of tricks. I’m not going to lie, I have done this with a family but I can imagine it’s a lot more difficult. That being said, if you are married let’s say then perhaps your wife might have a job as well so there is some income coming in that way, so there is possibility to sort of mitigate the risks somewhat with that.

Gael: You need to weigh the pros and cons like how much money each bring in versus how much you would save moving etc. Obviously, especially if you have family you need to count also like flying back once in a while and so on. But it’s true that moving to cheaper countries is a massive saving. It’s like, I think my monthly expenses here are around $1500 or something which is super low, and I live in a 134 square meter apartment. I have a private trainer, I have a private chef etc. I live like a lifestyle that only people are making a 100k+ in US could afford.

Mark: Yeah. So I mean obviously when there is big sort of budgeting exercise to be done, you just need to take a long hard look at what you actually spend each month and what you can make each month and figure however long you think it’s going to take to bridge the gap between what your future income is and what you need to be making, again survive like double that and just as a margin of error and then you should be good.

Gael: Yeah. I think one thing that you kind of mentioned but didn’t really go into is if you need to stay in that city for whatever reason you need to help your parents or your family or something, just move out of the city center, or move out to like a cheaper area or something. And rent differences within cities are also massive, depending on where you are and if you are going to be working from your laptop, take a rent that is cheaper for a year or two by the time you make it or even less, and then move back to a more comfortable area after, but you are going to feel way less pressured, rather if you just do that initially, adapt your lifestyle and then feel that you have some time to actually make it work and make it really stick for you. And also make it realistic that you can spend money in your business, and then move back basically.

Mark: Yeah, that is I think key, that is I guess the next point: you need to have some disposable money in order to spend, to invest in your business and your own business education. So you know, a lot of the tools and software and training courses and for example Authority Hacker Pro, it’s not free right, you need to spend money on that in order to acquire the tools or the knowledge in order to further progress your business. Now, that’s not to say you should just go buying every tool in site because there is almost an infinite number of tools out there and equal and infinite number of people that are going to tell you how to make money online and sell you all these courses. You know pick and choose them wisely, but you should definitely have a budget in order to do that.

Gael: This is a pretty cheap way to start a business to do that, I mean with a couple of hundred bucks you can get started, maybe like a hundred bucks a month for some tools, it’s pretty cheap but it does cost money to start this kind of websites. And if you want to live that kind of lifestyle and you are serious about it you need to have some amount of money to spend. And so, that’s also why we talked about reducing the living costs before, right? Because it’s not just covering your costs of eating and being in your apartment, it’s also being able to invest a couple of hundred bucks per month at least to get started and being able to do that for like at least a year I would say. So if you are able to at least invest $500 a month for 12 months that would already be a good start. You’ll get much more out of these 12 months than if you can’t invest any money, you know. And as Mark said, don’t necessary spend $500 every month, it’s like some month you might spend $100 and the next month you’ll spend a $1000. It really depends but having a little bit of money will get 2 or 3 times more things out of your time than having no money at all, so that’s why you need to definitely- also take this habit of investing in your business, it’s just like people are afraid because they are like, “Oh it’s not guaranteed, it’s not really getting me personally anything ” and so on, I mean, I am a weirdo, I actually enjoy buying marketing tools, but otherwise, it’s also this habit that you build like, “Hey you are going to have to spend some money if you want to make some.” And when you are working a day job it’s not how you do it, it’s like you spend your boss’s money or you spend the company’s money, or you don’t spend any money at all if you don’t have any budget with what you are doing, but you are going to have to do that. It’s very important.

The next point as well is you are going to need to make some time for work. So, living for cheap is great, investing in your business is great, but you will need to make some time to actually focus on your work and that means that if you have a busy family life, if you have a job or anything- well, you are going to have to dedicate some time and make no excuse for dedicating that time to your business, every day.

Mark: This is something which I have experienced quite a lot, personally. So for about a year and a half I had a standard 9 to 5 job for this finance company in London. This was 7 years ago. It was very difficult to come home at night after a long day working at something you didn’t like and then perhaps going to gym afterwards to just not do something besides sit on the sofa and watch TV, or browse the internet. I mean, actually focusing on getting the work done in the evening is difficult. I find it really like mentally draining, and when weekends came around, all I wanted to do was sort of go to the pub with my mates. So it seems to be- I doubt this is the case but it seems to be like the whole 9 to 5 job routine makes you tired enough so you don’t want to do anything else with the rest of your time, at least that’s how I felt. So you really need to focus, during the time you still have a job focus on giving yourself as much time as possible in the evenings and the weekends and make sure you set an alert and be aware and able to sort of do focus work during that time, it’s not just a couple hours in the evening when you are half asleep.

Gael: Yeah, actually the way I learned this is because I lived in the country where I didn’t know anyone essentially, like I started doing that when I was in Kuala Lumpur, and I just arrived and well, there was a nice swimming pool on the roof, and I didn’t know anyone and I was like hey I’m just going to take my laptop and hang out there and I was able to build my social life just as much as I wanted, not too much. And make the time to just d some work every day, like 2 hours I think is a good number. It’s not crazy, if you finish at like 6 or 7 pm you can still have dinner, you can still even maybe go out a little bit, but 2 hours is also a lot in terms of achieving stuff. So if you can do 2 hours 5 or 6 days a week, you are going to be able to organize yourself properly, it’s actually the next plan. I think you wanted to talk about reducing drinking first.

Mark: Yeah. That was a big thing. When you still have a job, like don’t go out that often, because not only does it take a lot of time and money to go out one night of the week, on a Saturday night, or something, it kind of kills you for the next day as well. At least if your drink as much as I used to. So be careful with that. That being said, you don’t have to go completely the other way and just not have any social life whatsoever, especially for long periods of time, because that can also be counterproductive and you can lose motivation that way. So it’s good to find a nice balance there but certainly, when you look into leave your full time job, you be very cautious of these things.

Gael: I mean really what we are trying to say with that point is you are going to have to make your life a little bit more boring to make more place for work essentially. And it is difficult especially when you have a very full life already, imagining a lot of people that have kids, they have their work, they are married or they have a girlfriend or whatever, they probably live int he same city as their families and that is something that we don’t have to deal with, which is good and bad, but one thing is it doesn’t take much of your time to deal with family, you just call them on Skype once in a while. But if you have all of that, well you are going to have to push back a little bit and tell people that you are going to have to make that time to work on this thing that you want to do and there is no going through that, it’s difficult in many cases and it’s very hard to know what to count on, but if you don’t make it then chances that you won’t make it as an entrepreneur online anyway, so it’s really up to how much you want it. And, one thing that is quite important, is what you are going to do with that time you are making, so we are talking about taking around two hours a day to work on your projects which is an all right amount of time, it’s a realistic amount of time to start achieving some stuff, but the thing is you need to plan this time properly because 2 hours is very easy to goof around and get nothing done as well. So what I recommend, it’s what I am doing a lot now is that every Sunday night, usually Sunday night you don’t do a lot like maybe you wait 9, 10 pm if you have kids, you wait until they are asleep, and I like to sit for an hour, I don’t do any work on Sunday but I sit for an hour and I look at the general goals of what we want to achieve for our sites, and take a deep broader perspective and I am like, “Ok, this is what we need to do and so let’s try to break down 5 or 6 tasks that help me get me to that direction.” So in my case it’s like way more tasks, it’s like 20 tasks or something. But if you are only going to have 2 hours a day, just one task per day, like one big task for example make a learning page, create a lead magnet, create an email follow up series, that kind of stuff can be done in 2 hours, in many cases. Pick 5 or 6 big goals like that that help you reach that broader goal that you saw on Sunday and basically put one on each day on your calendar. So use a calendar and say, “Ok, on this day I do the learning page, on this day I do the email series, on this day I do a lead magnet, and on this day I do the sales page, and at the end of the week I have this mini sales funnel for this site already so I can put it in all these blog posts.” And that is overall, that’s how I plan but just planning in general is a good idea, and using something, a system where you actually write down so you can check it when you come back from work and you don’t have to sit for ten minutes saying like, “Ok what am I going to do now,” and wondering what you are going to do, because this is the most difficult thing in this market. Doing things is actually pretty easy, knowing what to do is the hard part so you should do that part once a week and just execute for 2 hours every day. One thing I would recommend as well is that you use a tool called “rescue time” you can get a free version rescuetime.com it actually allows you to know what you are doing with your time, so you can only track these 2 hours, you don’t have to track yourself all the time but when you dedicate 2 hours you just want to make sure because you are investing money and because you are investing time, these are precious resources that you need to make sure you invest properly, and rescue time is going to give you good analytics of what you are doing with that time, which sites you are spending time on etc, which allows you to know how productive you are and eventually improve on that as well. So I for example have that little rescue time window open and I have to have 5 hours of productive time every day, so I know exactly what is going on with my productivity for that day and I kind of try to play catch up or I know I can relax and go out a bit if I am already at 5 hours at 3 pm or something. So that’s what I recommend to like plan your time. How do you plan your time?

Mark: I use a much more old school method, I use Microsoft one note, which is basically like a computer version of the Notepad. When I first started all this I actually did just use like pen and paper to plan all my stuff, and what not. And I find that much easier, I find that using these tools can sometimes be a distraction itself, and I found I was often spending more time sort of analyzing my time and looking at things and setting up tools and there is a kind of trap there where these things can help you become more efficient but you need to be doing stuff already and I found that I was just focusing on becoming more efficient doing nothing that makes sense, so just be careful of like your personality type and what works for you. Always remember like what you are trying to do and like I do that every Sunday as well kind of look at what I got done that week and what I am trying to get done the next week. And it’s always a good time to ask sort of is this helping me with my business or not. Because, there you’ll find there is a lot of things which are worth doing but they can actually be distractions a little bit if you are trying to make things too perfect or too efficient.

Gael: Yeah, one thing to say is like there is plenty of free ways to do that, you don’t need to pay for any app to do any of that, it’s like whether you want to use Evernote, you can have a free account, rescue time is also free, so there is plenty of free stuff, I will actually out it in the show notes so you will be able to go and check all these tools but I think the main important thing is just plan one day of the week execute six other days of the week, I think that’s the main one.

Mark: And always like look back on what you’ve done in the last week or the last period, however often you do and if you are doing something and it is not really working, then it’s ok to stop and do something else.

Gael: Yeah, it’s not about working hard, nobody cares how hard you work, you know. It’s all about the results.

Mark: That’s actually a really good point, because if you have 9 to 5 office job you get paid to show up for like 8, 9 hours a day and how productive you are and what you get done doesn’t really impact things quite so much, ok, at the end of the day, you are getting paid to show up. This is a very different mindset, it’s like if you do one thing and it takes you an hour, and it makes you X amount of money- great, but if you spend 12 hours a day and it makes you no money, then you are not getting paid, so, focus on things which actually move the needle and are effective.

Gael: It’s a very rational cold war to be entrepreneur. It’s all about the results, nothing else counts.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, everyone I know who sort of does this stuff, they always talk about how busy they are; and, I’m like, “Ok, that tells me nothing about how well you are doing,” because if someone is busy it could mean like they are doing well or it could mean they are not doing well. Like there is no corelation whatsoever between how many hours you work and how successful you are.

Gael: Yeah, and that’s why planning is very important, it’s really about getting a lot done in 2 hours so you can still have a life, you can still do other things, and 2 hours you can do that as a job if you obviously quit your job you should definitely be working more than 2 hours a day especially at the beginning but yeah, it’s all about the planning. And let’s just jump on the final point which is- surround yourself with people trying to achieve the same goals as you. I can imagine the person that has been finding us through Google links stuff, like I know a lot of people find us through Google link “how to make money with Clickbank” or “how to make money blogging,” that kind of stuff and it sounds interesting, as soon as they go their families or girlfriend or say they want to do that, people are going to make, “Eeeh, I’m not sure about that stuff, it never works, you will probably fail, you have a good job, you might get a promotion in 2 years, you should definitely think about that” etc. And the truth is it’s very easy to get convinced by these people, to stop doing any kind of entrepreneurial thing because it’s true, it’s risky, and a lot of people are going to fail guys. It’s really true. But, what you can do is you can surround yourself with people that are trying to do the same thing, so a very easy way to do that for example is to go on meetup.com and find the online marketing meetup in your area. It’s completely free, you just show up, people are going to do some presentations, maybe have some drinks together and you will be talking about your projects to people that are running the same kind of things and that is a lot of motivation for you. I know that we have a really good group of people doing the same kind of stuff here, some of them being really successful and I know every time I come back from hanging out with them I just want to get back to it and work on things and just I feel like there is a lot of possibilities and there are a lot of possibilities, but when you are alone doing that you feel that it’s another world, it’s not something that’s real. So, the 2 things that I actually recommend is go to local meetups and join Facebook groups. Joining Facebook groups in your niche or for entrepreneurs, that kind of stuff, that is actually what I recommend, like hang out with likeminded people especially because it is a very different lifestyle from most people in the world. I realize that right now when we are recording this it’s the end of the year, when you go for Christmas back to your family or something and you realize how different your life is compared to everyone else, that’s when you realize it’s such a weird lifestyle and I could see myself being dragged down even if my family loves me because it’s too different for them. They don’t get it.

Mark: Yeah, and this is particularly difficult for older people, like I remember talking to my grandfather and he asked me what I do- and this guy has never used a computer, never used the internet, and I was like- there is no possible way for me to explain what is it I do, you just wouldn’t understand. And bear in mind, especially I’m talking about parents or people with like a generation gap- they are going to have a different mindset and it’s not because they sort of doubt in you, it’s because they do care about you that they are expressing those concerns, so we’ll talk about this more in another episode, but don’t be too concerned and what Gael says is right, surround yourself by people who are doing the same thing be careful of some of the free forums out there, like warrior forum and that, a lot of people who sort of talk the talk but aren’t actually implementing anything or actually doing anything themselves. Or aren’t even remotely successful themselves. And those are not the people you want to necessarily hang around with, and associate with because they will drag you down. Look for groups of people who are actually making an impact and being successful as Gael said, if you join Authority Hacker Pro our membership program we have a Facebook group and it’s really cool on there to see all the people who are at various different stages just starting out or are already somewhat successful, talking to each other and helping each other out with things like without our input at all, sometimes pretty cool.

Gael: Most of the time actually, yeah.

Mark: Yeah, so just be careful about who you sort of hang around with but-

Gael: Especially online, like people would claim all sorts of things, that’s why I like the local real life meetups as well.

Mark: Even there, people will definitely exaggerate. So yeah, meetup.com is pretty good, I don’t know, like we just sort of found these people just by being here for 4 or 5 years I think, a lot of the time they found us. Just put yourself out there.

Gael: Yeah, just get out, it’s like these nights when you go out try to take one night to go to one of these meetups so one of these things where you can hang out with real people etc. Also, it’s a very lonely thing to work on your websites, at home. and it’s good to actually inject some social life because especially if you come from an office environment you are going to be hopefully in your office some people hang out together and talk to each other, go for drinks together etc, while when you work on your own projects and if you start alone, or even if you are with a co-founder and so on many times they won’t be in the same city as you, and even if you are there is just the two of you. And so, it’s a good way to re-inject some social life, kind of like business social life back in your life which I found myself missing when I moved to no having an office.

Mark: A couple of other things I sort of want to add in actually, is the point when you sort of mentioned earlier about making enough time for work. It’s quite easy to get sucked in by the sort of end goal sitting on a beach and making money on autopilot and all this kind of stuff. The reality is a lot different, even when we are in villa in Thailand for a month it’s like most of that time you are working pretty hard, it just so happens when you take a break you can go chill in the pool or you can go for a cocktail on the beach at night, which is great, but it’s not holiday the whole time. And there is very few people that I know that really have things so much down they sort of just traveling and partying the whole time.

Gael: Very little. I mean like the thing is like once you make it, the only thing that can happen is well you do better or you lose it, and you are so afraid of losing it that you keep working.

Mark: My point here though is it gets harder before it gets easier. So you are going have to in the short term like when you are trying to break free of 9 to 5 and turn your life style into this sort of entrepreneur lifestyle, it’s difficult at the start, and it gets progressively easier at least the lifestyle side of things, like as you start to make more money you can afford certain things which free more of your time, and there is a cycle going on there. But you kind of have to grin and bear it for a while, it’s like starting out in law firm or something. You get given all the shit at the start and you are working till the midnight every night and that kind of stuff. So same thing with online marketing- you’ll be doing a lot of stuff yourself that eventually you’ll end up hiring other people to do to give you more time. So bear that in mind, and the second thing I want to say is a lot of people ask about freelancing, as a way to sort of bridge the gap between having the full time job and then having a full time business. And it’s certainly a possibility, I did that myself, for 9 months or something, and I know other people who have done that for years even and it can certainly be a good way to break free initially, and to develop skills in certain areas and to provide yourself with an income and allow you to travel and do this but I personally feel that it’s also a bit of a trap; it’s essentially the same thing, it’s just having another job just so happens that this job is online and perhaps gives you a bit more lifestyle freedom but it’s still going to delay getting to where you want to get to eventually running your own websites, running your own business really.

Gael: Yeah, I see a lot of people in Authority Hacker Pro who are like freelancers, consultants, that kind of stuff, and they eventually have to cut back on that to make time for their site because otherwise it’s the same as the job, they finish and they just can’t be bothered with another website and they just don’t do anything, you know.

Mark: Yeah, no matter what you do there is always going to be that time when you kind of have to grin and bear a bit.

Gael: Cool. Well, I guess that is wrapping it up for the 5 things that you can do to adapt your lifestyle to be more successful as an entrepreneur. I know this podcast is going to be released in January so it’s a good time to make some resolutions and for you guys to decide to make some of these changes in your life, I understand not everyone is going to be able to move to a different country, or not everyone is going to be able to have exactly 2 hours every day and so on. But, try to implement some of these into your life because these are going to make a big difference and some of them are pretty easy to do. So for example, planning the time more one time a week to see what you are going to be doing on your website or just surrounding yourself with people who are trying to achieve the same things. It’s pretty easy thing to do, it’s going to make a major impact into what you are doing. So I recommend you guys do that, do you have a final word of wisdom Mark?

Mark: No, I think I covered everything.

Gael: All right, cool. Thanks for listening guys, don’t forget if you like this show please rate us on iTunes and drop us a review, and you can go on authorityhacker.com/bonus and you can get a free bonus training that we normally sell for free if you just send us a screenshot of your review, so we’ll see you guys later.

Thanks for listening to the Authority Hacker podcast. If you enjoyed this show, don’t forget to rate us on iTunes and send us a screenshot on authorityhacker.com/bonus to clean your free premium Authority Hacker training.