I left my secure well-paying job about a year ago last week. I didn’t have an exact plan however I knew where I wanted to end up a year from then and had a so called well thought out plan. Did I get there? Did I achieve what I wanted to? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I found something better though.
About second week of July, 2018 I immediately went into vacation mode; kind of hard not to when you quit your job mid July in Canada. A few goodbye drinks and a weekend sandwiched in between, and I was ready to head to the beach and enjoy my summer. After all I had worked nonstop for over a decade. Right? I deserved it!
However, I was quickly reminded by my very driven and hard-working wife that I needed to stick to the plan and deliver on my action plan. If you don’t have a person in your life that kicks you in the ass once in a while, then you need to go out there and find one. With our outrageous monthly expenses, it quickly dawned on me that I only had one of the two following options:
Reduce expenses and live a “Student Budget” lifestyle (What most people would do when one of their income sources is cut off)
Figure out a different way.
I started planning my days. I’ll be honest, the first few days went by very slow, like time had stood still and nothing seemed to go my way. After all I had come out of a multi-national company where things moved fast while managing multiple employees in different time-zones across North America made days feel like minutes. Now it was just me and our French Bully (Yes, I had to put her in this for the people that know me well). Every second felt like hours and I couldn’t get into the zone. I continued my online investments but suddenly it didn’t feel exciting anymore. This is when you start thinking if you made the worst mistake of your life and you’re about to ruin your family financially. I quit my job so I can invest full time, help with the family business and be more productive than I have ever been in my life. But now I was dragging my feet, I barely made any trades and our annual business plan for Kandoo Design was still sitting on my desk, untouched.
Kandoo Design was founded in 2012 by the beautiful and talented Asal Ganji (My Wife) as a way to collect extra income while doing some freelance work. I helped here and there where I could, but she was the main driving force behind the operations. The plan was for me to take a more active role since I was going to have more “Free Time” –
Free Time: Your time should never be free. There is always a cost. You’re either spending it within the market to gain/lose financial assets or you’re spending it with family, friends or yourself to gain/lose emotional assets (What I like to call personal assets). Sometimes the two overlap, for example; having a lunch meeting with an old business associate and you spend the first few minutes catching up. If you disagree call me and I’ll convince you otherwise.
Looking back at all of it now, a year latter, it all seems so clear and structured however it was all blurred while I was consumed in it. I started splitting my time as follow:
Personal asset moments (Emotional) – These are moments that you spend with your loved ones, your friends or simply by yourself to recharge and satisfy the basic social human need. I also categorized half of my sleep within these moments. Basically, any moment you spend that does not generate financial assets should be spent gaining emotional/personal assets.
Financial asset moments (NOT MONEY OR FUNDS) – These are moments that you spend to grow your external assets that eventually in return will result in power of leverage. This could be in a form of cash where you could spend it to buy things or in a form of business and financial assets where you could leverage and gain opportunities.
Recently I had been given some reminders about the shortage of time we have on this planet. I had every intention to use every minute it of it to its full potential. I was failing and it was starting to crush my self confidence. I kept doing and doing and doing but nothing seemed to be happening. All the hours, days, weeks started to blend together with no real tangible results. I had to make a change.
It is extremely important for you to differentiate these two moments. I believe this is where most entrepreneurs fail and the following consequences are to happen almost always, guaranteed:
- Burn out
- Loss of family and friends
- Give up
- Succeed but never feel satisfied or fulfilled (this one is true failure)
When you work for someone else the two moments are very clear. When you show up to work, you’re in financial moment mode and when you leave you switch to personal moments. The commute is financial unless you can read a book or sleep on the train. However, when you work for yourself, you will need to be disciplined enough to switch in and out of these moments consciously, and some days you will have to switch back and forth many times during a single hour.
Numbers are my thing. I love numbers and math (What helped me with trading), and I really love reading so I started reading all the books I could get my hands on about this topic and at the same time started graphing my time spent every day including weekends. I kept seeing articles/books/memos about entrepreneurs and successful business executives that put in massive number of hours each week. Are they crazy? Do they ignore their wife, family and friends? How did they do it?
Here is what I figured out and my breakdown:
- 365 days in a year
- 24 hours in a day
- That’s 8,760 hours in a year
- There are six 10 min moments in each hour which gives you 52,560 moments.
- Personal happiness (Asset) and Financial security (asset) are equally important. “Work life balance”
- I split my moments in two – 52,560 moments/2 = 26,280 moments for personal and 26,280 moments for financial assets. Those are HUGE numbers.
As we age our perception of time changes. Days, weeks, months and years seem a lot shorter. Remember how a day used to feel so long when you were a child? Studies show that your perception of time is much greater the younger you are. As you age time seems to go by faster. The reason is simple; you’re less and less in the moment as you age. A child is always in the moment, curious, playful and always exploring and has a much different perception of time as an adult that is consumed by all the responsibilities and problems in day to day life. When you break your day in 10 min moments, it forces you to be in the moment and pay attention. The result is that you get that much more done in a single given day compared to anyone else.
The calculations above once ran backwards shows you that I spend about 84 hours a week on financial assets and 84 hours a week on personal assets. But when you tell someone you work 84 hours a week, they think you’re crazy or worst a “workaholic” – But I spend the same amount of time for myself and my family. I know some of you are probably thinking well there are sleeping hours etc. Yes, I sleep but I consider half of that as my personal asset moments which in return provides me with energy to be in the moment while spending the remaining time, I have with my family that much more effectively; and the other half as financial moments as it gets me ready to focus on work.
I kept these changes to myself initially. Like a science experiment I wanted to see where it went or if it worked in the practical world. Once the switch was made, my mind expanded. Suddenly, I was aware of the time I was spending and how many moments I was WASTING. I was wasting about 45 hours a week which in practical world would equal to another full-time job. So, I got with a few friends and started another business. I had all this time I needed to fill after all.
This is how First Look SEO came about. Having 45+ hours a week to now spend on other financial assets, it freed my mind to be on the lookout for more opportunities. I was helping a friend move (Personal asset) where we started to talk about business. I immediately switched (Mindfully) to financial moment “mode” and started talking to him about all the different possibilities and how we could change the market. We quickly brought in another friend and initiated First Look SEO (We had a few other nerdy names but this one made it to the final cut). The industry had become overrun with outsourced, sub-par scammers that were offering honest business owners a hope of generating extra revenues while just taking their money for a quick short-term gain. We decided to be different and started one of the few remaining all Canadian SEO business in the GTA. The results are outstanding. Our clients are satisfied, and the skeptical business owners now have a reliable, legitimate online marketing solution they can rely on. Not outsourced and never will be.
Kandoo Design is expanding fast with clients like One King West and University of Toronto (And many more) in addition to a list of new products and services; while First Look SEO is changing people’s lives by driving traffic/customers into their businesses and increasing their financial security.
A year later, I’m not a full-time trader as I had planned to be, but instead I grew an existing business (with the help of my wife), started another successful one (With the help of friends), read 55+ books, lost 48 pounds, a baby on the way and I’m helping to make real positive impact in other people’s lives. None of this would have happened if I didn’t sit down and really think about how much time I was wasting.
Have a look at your daily life and routine. See how many 10 min moments you’re wasting. I don’t know if this will help you or not, but you won’t know the compounding impact until you TRY.
Working 84 hours a week shouldn’t be working 84 hours. It’s spending half of your available moments doing something you love while making a positive impact on other people’s lives. Time is the most valuable asset you will ever have.