“Character is much easier kept than recovered.”
– Thomas Paine
5 mistakes that cost me $15,000
Sitting around and talking about how awesome you are might be fun, but it doesn’t add any value to the lives of others.
That’s why I’ve decided to tell you about five mistakes I made that cost me, at least, $15,000.
I probably lost out on way more but $15,000 was the physical number that I calculated. Missed opportunities and “What ifs” would have made the number significantly higher.
You don’t want to make the same mistakes that I did.
Spare yourself a lot of sleepless nights and low bank accounts by avoiding these pitfalls:
Mistake #1 – Having a big ego
I grew up in Iowa. It’s a state where anyone who doesn’t screw up their life can basically be in the top 25% of all residents.
As long as you don’t get addicted to meth or knock up some girl you’re a winner.
Doing something like lifting weights, reading hard books, traveling to other countries, or working for yourself will pretty much make you king.
In the real world you’re still a nobody, but in Iowa that stuff is almost unheard of.
My ego skyrocketed. I became incredibly cocky and didn’t think that I had to listen to advice from anyone else. In my mind, and compared to most of the people my age, I was king of the world.
But being president of the losers club doesn’t mean much.
Instead of listening to wiser men and taking notes, I was off partying and acting like I actually mattered.
Learning to park my ego is something that’s taken a lot of time, but has allowed me to grow as a person and discover a host of new opportunities.
Most people are smarter than you’ll initially think. And they’ll have something to teach you. Keeping an open mind and trying new things is a major key to success.
If you aren’t growing you’re dying.
Mistake #2 – Failing to control my mental state
In February I had a mini-meltdown and only made $400.
My Fiverr business imploded and I felt defeated.
Instead of taking action, I sat around in my sweatpants and played video games.
Not only did I lose out on an entire month’s worth of earnings, but I also had to start from the bottom once March rolled around.
If you work for yourself you have to control your emotions.
Being unable to do this can lead to financial ruin. You can’t take a personal day, or go cry in the break room. You have to get back in the game as soon as possible.
Mistake #3 – Never saying “No”
“Entrepreneurs should never say ‘no’ to a job” is something that you’ll frequently hear.
This is bull.
Entrepreneurs should never say “yes” to a job they aren’t comfortable with or passionate about, unless it pays great.
There are thousands of shady businessmen who make a living by exploiting talented but naive go-getters.
If you fall into the trap of doing lousy jobs “for the experience,” you are wasting your time.
Whenever someone tries to trick you into doing a job for slave wages you should give them a two-word response. It should start with the letter “F” and end with the word “you.”
Unfortunately I didn’t know that when I was starting out. I ended up doing all kinds of horrible jobs that paid less than minimum wage. They weren’t fun and taught me absolutely nothing.
Mistake #4 – Selling myself short
Gurus like Tim Ferriss love to promote stupid get rich quick schemes.
“Steal content from other blogs and put it into a 2,500 word eBook! Then retire to Jamaica with all your profits!”
If this strategy worked so well, why doesn’t Tim Ferriss use it to promote his own books?
He’s written several and they are all advertised with words like “revolutionary” and “one of a kind.”
I’ve tried writing junk eBooks. They didn’t sell.
I’ve made rip-off websites. Nobody visited them.
Don’t sell yourself short. Strive for excellence and originality. Don’t stoop to the bottom just because you think it will be profitable.
Mistake #5 – Not having enough fun
I once read an article about how Japanese businessmen pretend to fall asleep on the job. This is somehow meant to show that they are hard workers and incredibly loyal to the company.
“What idiots,” I thought.
Then I realized that being miserable and overworked is a badge of honor in America too.
Men actively boast about how much stress their job creates.
And I was in the same boat as all those beaten down dudes.
Writing mountains of content for other websites was killing me. I was on call at all hours and had to work for huge stretches of time. It wasn’t enjoyable.
Being overburdened made it hard for me to meet any of my own goals. Even leaving the house became stressful because it meant that I’d return home and find all kinds of emails from clients. When I was out and trying to have fun my mind was still focused on work. It was like the job went everywhere with me.
This burned me out and I’d end up making stupid decisions.
It also robbed me of time that I should have been using to invest in myself.
What have we learned?
There’s a quote that I recently read: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.”
Guys like to email me asking how they can make the perfect blog in one week, or how they can earn a million dollars a year off of freelance writing.
They want some secret formula that bypasses hardship and only delivers victory.
Every single time I tell them the exact same thing: “You’re going to fail, and that’s okay.”
You just read an entire 1,000 word blog post about how to avoid my mistakes. You might have taken some notes and thought “That won’t happen to me,” but it will.
You’ll make every single error that I did.
And that’s okay.
Because you’ll pick yourself up and start all over again.
And this time you’ll know what doesn’t work.
And that knowledge will carry you one step closer to success.