Habit Icons

At Joshua Fechter’s popular Growth Marketing meetup (GrowthX Academy is a proud sponsor), Hanson So was the guest speaker. He has a fascinating story of how he started learning digital marketing as a teenager. He would build sites with content that attracted users. He then would market a relevant product to the user base. He had his first success at the age of 16 selling a web property for $100K. I don’t know about you, but if I had $100K as a 16 year old male, it would have taken a long time to come back down to earth.

He gave many practical tips for how to grow audiences. There was one thing he mentioned that I think is the cornerstone of his success. He has developed a disciplined approach to getting better at his skills. He works his day job from 9am until 9pm. This is followed by time at the gym. Then he spends 3 hours a night working on his startup/marketing ideas. Day after day, year after year. This is what it takes to make a dream a reality.

There are 168 hours in a week. Most of us allocate very few of these hours to improving ourselves. How many hours did you spend this week making yourself a better human being?

Hanson has an app on his phone which tracks his time spent during every day. I also did this when I was working on my first startup. I know from working on the family farm, that it is possible to work 110 hour weeks. I would drive a tractor back and forth from early morning until it was completely pitch black.

What do you spend those hours on? I found I could study programming flashcards during my lunch hour, when I was on bathroom breaks, and late at night. What did I listen to when driving to and from work (I’ve been listening to college courses for the last 14 years.) What do I go to sleep doing? How late can I productively push myself to work on my priorities? When coding the first version of what became Match.com, I watched the entire run of Mash because that was what was on at 1am in the morning while I was debugging code.

Hanson has generated impressive success in a short amount of time. We all have the same amount of time, the question becomes what are you doing with yours? Hanson is actively pursuing his dreams. I constantly hear people say that they can’t start until they quit their day job. Yet, even while working a stressful job, he manages to put in 20+ hours a week moving the ball forward.

I’m not saying that this level of dedication is for everyone. But if you truly want to be great at what you do, it takes incredible focus and effort. If you don’t have the energy, then your dreams aren’t very motivating. You should either develop new habits or find a dream that inspires you to put in the time.