At my 25, I started my first business. A growth hacking agency. And a few months ago (I’m now 27) a SaaS startup around viral and referral marketing. I’m doing pretty well, but it’s not easy. You know it. Most probably, you’ve been there, or you have a friend who quitted his job and now building his own company.
As Benjamin P. Hardy says,
If it doesn’t suck, it’s not worth doing. And you absolutely can learn to endure the discomfort of the moment to build a life worth having.
Building the life you want to live, running your own business or just doing your thing, takes time and struggle. It’s really painful, despite how cool people think of it.
When I meet my friends, other founders and, in general, people of my network, they ask me about the business or they congratulate me for our first funding. Most of the times I say that things going great, our company grows and we have fun.
Wow! How cool does this sound? Yes, it’s really cool. And it’s not that I just want to “sell” how we nail it. We indeed see great early traction. But the thing is that if you want to succeed and build a multimillion company (and not yet another zombie startup) it’s not easy.
“An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.” — Reid Hoffman
To do so, you have to get better and better. You have to push yourself to the limits. Every single day. Both physically and mentally. And this is what I do.
I try to get better. Happier. Work more productive. Deliver work that has greater impact. Workout more. But I always ask myself what is the one thing that can get me there.
This one little thing
There are a ton of things that help me become better every day. From reading motivational articles and quotes, to thoughtfully planning my next moves and studying the habits of other great entrepreneurs.
I experiment a lot. Whenever I read or hear something interesting, I’m evaluating if this can work for me, and then I do it.
But I don’t overthink it. I just do it. I love to try out new things and change my daily habits, both in my everyday life and work.
Before telling you this one little thing, I want to share with you a short story.
A few months ago, I had a meeting with an investor to talk about our startup, Viral Loops.
Before starting the business talk, he told me that he didn’t arrived by car, but preferred to walk for 40–50 minutes to get there, just to take his daily workout. At least a part of it.
And this made me think. I haven’t took any workout for around 3 years. I was trying, but I had subconsciously convinced myself that I didn’t have the time.
Just taking my workout at the beach.
The next day, I woke up 1.5 hours earlier and did it. And for the last 4 months I do this regularly (3–4 times per week). I even go to the beach from time to time.
It took me about 2 months to make it part of my daily routine. But now I’m in shape, feeling better and have more energy during the day.
So, after meeting this guy, my life became a bit better. I became a bit better. And this is a great feeling.
Then I took a step back and thought why I took action. Why did I start to take my workout again? What gave me the boost to become better?
And the answer was because I met that guy. Someone better than me. Someone that has done greater things than me.
And I didn’t read it in a book or a blogpost. I saw with my own eyes what he was doing and was impressed. He shared with me his experiences and gave me invaluable feedback. And despite being super busy, he finds ways to workout.
So, here it is.
If you want to become better, meet and hangout with people better than you. Find a co-founder better than you. Hire better people than you. Make friends who are better than you.
Set it as a life goal.
Actually make it a habit. A part of your routine. Daily and weekly routines are really powerful and help you stick to things that help you progress. And if you think that this little thing can help you too, don’t let it go.
“Take control of your life. Set some routines and learn to follow them.”— Leo Babauta
I’m pretty sure that if you spend 10 minutes to think of it you’ll see that in some point in your life this helped you, too. I took my 10 minutes, so here are just 3 examples that came out of my head:
- In high-school I wasn’t an A student. I was thinking to follow my family business and not to study something. But then I met a great teacher. An aspiring mathematician, that not only did he teach me mathematics, but he also pushed me to continue my studies. And I made it. Of course, I had to to work really hard to get to the university, but it was this guy who gave me the kickstart.
- In university, I didn’t like any of my courses and didn’t have a clue on what I’d like to do after that. At the fourth semester I met a great professor. He was teaching Mathematics, Robotics and Project Management. So, I stuck with him and became the first student of my university that got a project management certification. The knowledge I took from him and the certification played a significant role for starting my career.
- At my first job, I had a great CEO. Crazy, super hard-working guy. I’ve learned a ton from him. From understanding technical design and giving presentations to clients to selling and managing people and financials. And I still learn from him. Because Theodoros Moulos (he is the one) is my co-founder in both our growth hacking agency and our SaaS startup 🙂
5 ways to make it a habit
I’m not a big fan of theoretical stuff, so here are a few ways to make it a habit:
- First look around you. Are your friends better than you? Are your colleagues or employees better than you? What about your co-founder? If not, change it. Of course, when talking about friends, I don’t mean if they’re better in writing code or running a business 🙂
- On Sunday evening or Monday morning, check your calendar and see if you have a meeting with someone you’ve never met or have quite a while to talk to that’s better than you. An old friend, another successful founder, advisor, whatever. If not, get in touch with him and schedule it.
- Go to meet-ups and conferences and talk to people. It’s pretty sure you’ll find someone better than you.
- Travel. Choose another state, city or country and go for it.
- Each week reflect on what you accomplished and ask yourself “Did I meet someone better than me?” If not, plan it for the week after.
What helps you become better? If you’d like to share it with me, just leave a response below 🙂
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Savvas is a product and growth guy, who loves the Scandinavian design. He is co-founder and CEO at Viral Loops, an all-in-one viral and referral marketing platform.