Everyone has the same amount of time in the world. If I’m too busy, then I have to change, or I have to change how I manage my time.
If you want to grow your business beyond your dreams, remove the phrase “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary.
Say this instead: “I choose to put my time here.” or “I choose to hire someone to help me with this.” When you do this, you start managing your time like an asset, instead of it controlling it like a slave driver.
The only power time has over us is that we only live for so long. We are free to choose how to use the time we have. I have the same 24 hours a day as the president of the United States, a prisoner in Australia, and a knife maker in Germany.
Everyone has the same amount of time. The differentiating factor is how we use it.
One of the most motivating things to me is to look at people far ahead of me. I manage a multi-million dollar business, but someone over here manages a multi-billion dollar business! Four years ago, I was managing thousand dollar businesses.
Me today and me four years ago both have the same 24 hours every day. The guy managing the multi-billion dollar business has the same 24 hours as me. The difference isn’t time—he’s not more busy than me, nor I than him.
The difference is how I manage my time. That’s the key driver.
If time is my slave driver and controlling everything I do, the clock will tick by and you’ll feel overwhelmed, constantly wanting to get things done and never “having the time.” There is a certain amount of motivation that comes from time, but if it masters my life, I’m limiting myself. I can choose how to use my time the way I want.
The big question is this: How do you scale? How do you take a company, or anything in your life, and grow it way beyond what you think you can do?
The answer is usually a mindset. Some people say “I don’t have time to run an Amazon business,” while other people say “I don’t have time to run a 14 million dollar business.” They’re saying the same thing. But the second person is doing so much more.
The difference is perspective. If you have the right perspective, you can make things happen.
I refuse to let time be my dictator: I’m going to choose to grow myself by managing what I have. Every time someone bottlenecks to the point where they don’t have any more margin, the answer is not to do less. It’s also not to take your relaxation time away. You have to change three things. I’ve found these incredibly effective to help me manage my time.
One: You need people.
Two: You need automation.
Three: You need self-discipline.
If you have these three things, you can scale anything. I’m not just talking about business: this applied to family, relationships, relaxation, anything. If you get people to help you, automate the daily menial tasks as much as possible, and heave the self-discipline to do what needs to get done, it’s amazing what can happen.
One of my favorite examples is how we handle tasks.
I can either do a task all at once for 90 minutes, or do what is more comfortable, and do it for 30 minutes a day.
You can have a lot of 30-minute tasks you need to do. If you’re selling on Amazon and someone buys your product, you need to respond and engage with them after they buy. Let’s say it takes 30 minutes a day to send all your buyers a message on Amazon. That’s 30 minutes today, 30 minutes tomorrow, 30 minutes the next day, and so on. Well, four 30 minute sessions is 120 minutes, or two hours. That’s a lot more compared to 90 minutes.
When I get up on Monday, look at my task list, and compare my 30 minute task to my 90 minute one, I’m going to want to pick the one that takes less time. It leaves me time to do other things.
What I’m not thinking about is that means I have to do a 30 minute task tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. By the time the week is over, if we stack all those 30 minute blocks on top of each other, it’ll be a much taller tower than 90 minutes.
You have to ask this question: “What are the one-time tasks I can do to remove the ongoing, continual, menial tasks I’m doing every day?”
The one-time tasks have great value if it can remove or reduce the on-going tasks.
When you’re starting your Amazon business, you can decide whether to spend time and money getting a trademark, or to sell things for a while and manage without one. If you don’t get one, at some point you’ll have to fight off hijackers and copycats. It could have been prevented or quickly taken care of if you had a trademark. This is a one-time task that can prevent ongoing ones: if you trademark right now, and get it done, or at least started, you’ll save yourself time in the future. Yes, it takes a good chunk of time and money now, but it’ll save you so much more than you would have to deal with fighting off hijackers.
Another good example is when you’re finding potential products to sell. If you use software like AmazeOwl, which is my favorite and automatically helps you find huge potential products, it saves you time. This is a form of automation, which is similar to a one-time task: it helps take care of the little menial tasks for you, so it searches and eliminates bad products for you instead of you trying to manually figure out every detail. Instead of going to a competitor, doing a fake checkout on their product, changing the quantity ordered to 999 so it automatically adjusts to how many items the seller has in stock, hope that it’s accurate, hope that the seller didn’t limit their account or listing or block you from seeing it, this software can tell you immediately what the sales per day are. It’s a free software, but even if you had to spend money, think about how much time that saves you to find more products to sell to end up making far more money than what you spent.
What about when you build your product? When you’re communicating with suppliers, often times you have to wait until the next day to get a response because you live in different time zones. In most cases it’s longer than a day. A lot of suppliers recommend WhatsApp, which allows you to communicate with them quickly. They could be at home, cooking dinner, when you send them a chat, and they can quickly answer your question there instead of waiting to get back to the office the next day. This saves you time and is another form of automation.
Here’s a great example of when you need people: when you launch your product, you want reviews on it as quickly as possible. They give you social proof, and it makes it much easier to get it selling very fast. But instead of reaching out to a bunch of random people, asking them to buy it and review it for you, what if you got a list of people who already have told you they like to review kitchen products? Instead of sending out a thousand emails and getting maybe 10 people who will review, you can now send 100 emails to people who say they love reviewing kitchen items and get 30-50 reviews. Your chances of success are much greater because you’re leveraging people and getting them to help you.
What if your store has grown greatly and it’s taking longer and longer to communicate with your customers because you have so many? Instead of doing it manually, get something like Feedback Genius, which is my favorite automation system right now for communicating with customers. You can set it up so it sends them a message whenever you decide: it could be right when they order, or seven days after, and you can personalize it however you want. Now it’s automated: you’re not sitting there every day typing in emails.
You want to have people help you, automation take care of menial tasks, and self-discipline. Self-discipline is sometimes the hardest part. It means when you’re on your phone and you see a Facebook notification, you don’t impulsively check it. You don’t respond to an email when it immediately comes in. You do it in batches by setting aside time. So for the next half hour, just focus on your emails, or go through Facebook messages if it’s used for business. Instead of breaking your attention throughout the day, do it once, and with intention.
It’s been proven over and over again that multi-tasking does not work. You need to focus on one thing at a time and do nothing else. Someone in our team recommended when you get near the end of a task, instead of taking a break or getting distracted, immediately go right into the next one, then the next one. It’s amazing how many things you can get done when your brain keeps its momentum and doesn’t get distracted. All of a sudden, by the end of the day, you won’t believe how much you were able to do.
People are also very important. You can’t keep growing without people’s help. When you’ve done all the automation you can, bring someone in you trust to help you.
A lot of entrepreneurs hold their businesses very tightly. It’s hard for them to trust someone with a task. I’ve wrestled with this myself: you have to give them the task, let them run with it, and let them do it will. You should still hold them accountable, of course.
It may be a big investment if you have to train them for a week or two weeks up front until you’re confident they know what they’re doing. But once you are sure, from then on, they are taking care of your task for you. You’re spending money instead of time so you can now have margin to build your business.
The temptation is to be working in the business, but not on the business.
Working in the business looks like this: I get up the morning. I check my sales. I respond to questions. I check my keywords. I check my PPC ad campaigns. I talk to my suppliers. I take care of administrative tasks. I’m doing things in the business to keep it going.
Working on the business looks like this: I sit down and plan out where I want to go. I want to launch three products in the next week, so I make plans and reverse engineer how I’m going to get there. I create a step-by-step plan. I build relationships with new or better suppliers. I do research on improving my products.
You’re focusing on growing your business instead of keeping it going. If all your energy is spent working in your business, it will never grow. You have to take care of both. The best way to do that is to automate as much as possible, then bring in people to help you, so you can step away and build it up.
You need trustworthy people to train, but you also have to accept the fact that they’re going to mess up and make mistakes. If they consistently mess up and drop the ball and you need to fire them, do it. But if the reason you don’t trust them is because you’re not a trusting person, you need to get over it.
One real estate business executive in Austin told me whenever he hires someone on his team, he says “I love bad news. But if you give me bad news when it’s too late to do anything about it, you’re fired! Tell me at the beginning. Be real with me. I want to know the facts so we can get better.”
One of two big mistakes companies make is either everyone is too friendly, or they’re too corporate. A lot of startups are afraid to be honest with other people in their team, because they’re too buddy-buddy. They talk and hang out and are so friendly that they’re afraid to offend the other person by being honest. On the other hand, political butt-kissing and not confronting someone or telling them the truth because you’re afraid to lose your status is also bad.
What you want is to Kniep’n it real. You want an environment where people can genuinely talk to each other, be honest without being critical, and encourage and complement without flattery. That’s what it means to be real. That’s how you grow a business. That’s how you work with people, because you must have people.
I have a vision of building an Amazon store in every country Amazon is available, with either myself or someone I trust managing it. Could you imagine how cool that would be? We could learn about all the different cultures and life experience and grow in that area. I also have a dream of becoming the go-to coaching source for online entrepreneurs, the Apple of online coaches. That’s why we’re building up world-class coaches in our team to bring something nobody else is. That’s why you need people
The last factor is self-discipline.
I don’t know what your parents were like, but as a kid, we were all disciplined. Whether that was a timeout, verbal rebukes, or the taking away of privileges, we were disciplined. I know not all parents are perfect, but the truth is, our parents loved us and disciplined us to teach and train us.
A sign of maturity and a successful entrepreneur is someone who has the ability to stand in the mirror and discipline themselves.
What does that mean? It comes from a Greek word that literally means to train naked. Back in the ancient days of Greece with the Olympics, they exercised naked so they’d be free of anything. They could run and exercise and perform what they needed without an inhibition. The idea was they got rid of all their clutter.
What’s the clutter slowing you down? Is it Facebook? Is it emails? Is it a video game?
If you really want to make a difference and build a business, put down the game console and start doing. You could start with no money, or a nickel. Trade it into a few dollars. Go to Goodwill. Buy some stuff. Sell it on eBay. Turn that money around and sell it again and again until you’ve built yourself an empire. That’s what I did, and that’s exactly what you can do if you follow these principles and give it your all.
You could say that this isn’t relevant to you. “I can’t afford $20 a month for automation.” “I can barely cover my own bills, I can’t hire someone else!” I get it. I’ve been there.
Can you be self-disciplined? If you want to get to the point where you can build a team of people, it starts on the inside. If you want to be rich on the outside, become wealthy on the inside first. Everything you do is a reflection of your heart. It impacts how you value things, how you grow your business, and how you treat people.
I wish you success. I mean that in a holistic way: I hope you become rich in every way possible. Not just monetarily, but spiritually, relationally, physically. Have an awesome day.