October 3rd, 2020
Disclosure:

This post is purposefully rough and unedited because lately I’ve felt a lot of “expectations” from this blog, and feeling pressure to deliver amazing posts with “big takeaways” every day, but that's never what I intended for this blog...

As I said in my very first blog post:

I'd like to write every day, and I plan to make that a commitment going forward. It doesn't matter how long it is - I want to treat this more like a diary. 

I can literally type two sentences, or I can write 3000 words, or I can record a YouTube video, or even a tweet. Maybe, it will often just be updates on what I worked on that day, really boring stuff :)

Anyways...

I think I might be burnt out.

The last few weeks have been a drag. I can’t get myself to work on much.

I’ll start my day with ambitious goals and todos, and then it will devolve into scrolling Twitter, writing this blog, and chatting with friends.

As I write this right now, I just have such a mental “fog”. I don’t feel that “energy” which I’ve often felt helped me work so hard over the past years...

I’m not interested in the idea of starting new projects. 

Responding to basic emails and DMs feels like pulling my own teeth out…

Pieter thinks it’s “coronapression”, but I’m not so sure. I’m in NYC and surrounded by people and there’s a lot going on here…

After this post, I had a few other founders reach out to me and tell me they are going through something similar.

When the pandemic started in March, I put my head down and told myself I was going to work my ass off. I did that and it kind of worked. But now we are like 7 months into the lockdown and it’s still very bad. Still so much uncertainty about everything… 

But I also went through a similar burnout patch in May. I did my think week and things got so much better. Is it normal to have burnout twice in one year? I don’t think I’ve ever had burnout before 2020…?

I know what I need to do to grow my business to whatever I want it to be. I just need to do XYZ and I can get there. But lately, it seems like I don’t even want it? If I did want it, I would be doing XYZ with motivation and volition.

This makes me sad because it seems to go against what it means to be an entrepreneur… to be successful at all costs. There are some opportunities I could take that could make me very successful, yet I don’t feel like taking them on.

So what’s exciting to me lately? Not much. I really like playing tennis. I really like this writing stuff, but even that has felt like a drag as of late…

I’m not sure if “taking time off” is going to solve my problem because, to be honest, I’m not even working that many hours lately. My life has been balanced. Also, I took some time off in May for the think week, and it seemed to work for a couple months, but here we are again..

I think I need to just keep talking and writing through it.

I know that moments and phases like these always lead to breakthroughs for me. Better to embrace it than run away from it.

October 2nd, 2020
Social media followers are the result of putting your best work into the world.

How to grow your social media:

  • Step 1: Put your best work into the world
  • Step 2: Receive followers on social media

Most people skip over Step 1. Why? Because they value followers more than they value creating their best work.

They optimize for “hacks” to grow their following, like: 

  • posting woke-isms / jumping on trends (virtue signaling-type tweets)
  • sparking controversy (e.g. cancel culture)
  • Posting sexual images (Instagram influencers)

Where it goes wrong is when they start to focus more on these “hacks” than on the original work they wanted to share on social media in the first place.

It’s easy to find these people. Just log onto social media! They post every day, if not multiple times per day. 

Examine their posts. Are they sharing their own work in a humble manner? Or talking about others’s work? Criticizing? Ridiculing? Trying to sell you something?

For these people, social media is their work.

These people might have followers today, but they will be forgotten tomorrow. Because people aren’t following them for them.

If you create your own work, people will find you and follow you for it. 

Create your own music. Write your own jokes. Build your own business.

That’s the real long-term growth strategy. Kendrick Lamar has only tweeted once in 2020 and has 12M followers. He has this following because he created amazing music, not because he kept everyone updated on how he feels on Twitter.

October 1st, 2020
I remember reading Tim Ferris’s advice on how to write successfully. He said something like this:

“Instead of writing for a wide audience, write your book/blog for one specific person.”

For me, I think that person is an engineer or creative type who’s hoping to start their own business or has already gotten started. They might also be in a job or doing work that they know they won’t be doing for the rest of their life.

^^ (this was me at one point)

When I’m writing, I try to think about this person and how my words will make them feel, and how my words can help them, inspire them, and change their mind.

If you read this blog, I’d love to hear. Where are you at? Got any questions for me? Are there any topics you’d like me to touch on? Email me directly, anything goes :) 

I will try to answer your questions on here, too, anonymously of course.

September 30th, 2020
Two days ago, I went to a fancy restaurant in a t-shirt and running shoes.

I didn’t do this in a cool, counter-culture way either, I did this because I don’t travel with a nice button-down or fancy shoes, and it was too last minute to borrow/buy one.

I felt embarrassed. It made me ask the question that I ask myself almost every day: 

“Am I too old for this?”

“Am I too old to be working on apps? Am I too old to be traveling? Should I settle down in one city? Should I own a car, a watch, fancy clothes, a Peloton, an Equinox membership? Should I get a dog? Should I just go get a ‘real’ job?”

If you’re also an entrepreneur, you'd probably tell me I'm talking crazy.

But to most “normal” people, I probably look like a "lost teen"

What’s a “lost teen"? It’s someone who hasn’t figured out what they want to do in life, wandering around, not making progress, and wasting time.

This is a constant struggle for me. It’s so hard to explain to people what I do. Some of my closest friends still have no idea that I’m even making money. They still think I quit my job to work on a stupid blog…

A Story


A few months ago, when I was back home, I ran into the “popular girl” from my high school.

Her: “Omg Pat I haven’t seen you in 10 years. What are you up to!?!?”

I was with my sister, and she jokingly told her that I still live at home and I’m not employed, which at the time, was technically true.

While I laughed, my high school instincts kicked into high gear. I wanted to blurt out that I actually run my own successful company. I wanted the popular girl to respect me.

But I didn’t blurt it out. I didn’t need to prove that to her. I just kindly asked her what she’s up to, and she went on for about 20 minutes about how she’s getting her real estate license.

In that moment, I was afraid that she would view me as a lost teen. I was afraid she’d think that I didn’t make any progress since high school. Since I was never cool in high school, I wanted the cool girl to not think of me as a loser.

But the reality is, she doesn’t care. 10 minutes after our interaction, she probably forgot all about me. I likely never crossed her mind again. My fears of being viewed as a lost teen are only in my own head.

Embrace Your Lost Teen


I have to remember that being a lost teen is what leads to success, in all cases.

If I didn’t act like a lost teen, I wouldn’t have started a rap group in high school. I wouldn’t have moved across the country to California at 17. I wouldn’t have done the coding boot camp. I wouldn’t have traveled the world. I wouldn’t have started a company.

In my 20s, it was socially acceptable to act like a lost teen. But in my 30s, it’s getting a lot harder. I need to push back on this narrative even more now.

Anthony Bourdain didn’t succeed until he was 46. Bourdain is the epitome of a lost teen: He traveled the world for a living, yet, he’s also one of the most respected people of our generation.

My dad is also a lost teen. He lives in Wyoming and does yoga every day. He only owns one pair for $30 jeans. He started multiple businesses in his 50s and 60s.

I have to push back on the narrative of having things all figured out by 35. If I’m still a lost teen at 64, I’ll have won the game of life.

So let’s wear our $10 t-shirts with pride, because that’s exactly what these lost teen billionaires are doing:



K
September 28th, 2020
Sorry, this post is private.

September 27th, 2020
One of my goals for 2020 was to conquer my anxiety.

Well, actually, this seems to be a goal every year and it’s something I’ve wanted to fix since I had my first panic attack when I was 16.

But to be honest, in 2020, I’ve made more progress on that goal than I thought I would.

If you were to put my anxiety at a level from 1-10, I’ve gone through most of life after college at about a 5 or a 6.

But this year, it’s been more like a 3.

I’m not sure what made this better, but I have a few theories:

  • Not drinking
  • Business is doing well
  • COVID as a whole has made life / people more chill

I was pretty stoked that I was at a 3, but I also had a feeling that my anxiety was not “fixed”. I knew, deep down, that it was likely to come back again.

And last night, it happened. It finally came back and I realized that I’m not “fixed”.

I was sober and my business is having its best month and I worked out all week and I still had a panic attack. Not a horrible one but the worst in recent memory.

It goes to show, anxiety is not curable and it will come back at unpredictable times.

No matter what I do, I won’t be able to cure it. 

There are no books on anxiety that will fix it. There are no pills that will fix it. There are no therapists that will fix it.

I’m not saying that I won’t do these things, but here’s one thing I’d like to change: to stop looking for a cure.

First step, acceptance ➜ Admitting to others when I’m feeling this way. Writing about it.

Next step, seeking help ➜ Remaining curious, trying and exploring solutions.

The solution ➜ Taking action on it every day.

I don’t think a therapist would cure things, but I do think that the act of finding and trying out a therapist and going regularly is a great solution, because it embodies the most important thing I can do: take action.

In that case, it would be the research about therapy, the searching for the therapist, the setting up the meeting, the nervously anticipating the first session, all of that…

Because that’s all getting out of the comfort zone.

A therapist is just an example, but the same goes for when I stopped drinking.

Being sober didn’t cure my anxiety, it was the process of learning how to live a sober life! It was all the new things I learned and discovered: like waking up without a hangover every day, or going to a wedding sober, or figuring out how to explain to people why I stopped drinking, or meeting and dating women completely sober, and so much more.

These were all new experiences I had to go through every day, and it was these experiences that were actually fixing my anxiety, even though I thought it was just from being sober.

Today, I can accept that I won’t cure my anxiety in 2020, or in 2025, or in 2090. I’ll stop looking for a cure. Instead, I’ll think about it and work on it every day, remaining curious and open and vulnerable.

Here’s my takeaway from all this: just keep doing things I’ve never done before.

September 26th, 2020
Life is on easy mode when I’m alone.

When I’m alone, I can control my mind and emotions and feel confident and happy. When I’m alone, sure, I have my bad days, but most are good.

Why is this?

Because being alone is my own comfort zone. Some people have the opposite: being with others is their comfort zone and they can’t stand being alone. 

But for me, I get a lot of comfort in being alone.

I’m not sure why this is, but I think it might be because I’m introverted, or that I’m a product of growing up on the internet, gaining community and belonging from internet forums and Reddit.

My life becomes a lot harder when I throw people into the mix: a girlfriend, a spouse, a child, an employee, a parent, a boss, a travel partner, a roommate, etc.

Adding people to the equation makes it harder for me to predict my own thoughts and emotions. This makes me feel like I’m losing control, which is particularly challenging for me.

When I’m alone and something hard happens, I know that I can resolve the situation and that I’m resourceful enough to do it without anyone else. Or, I know I can just run away from it.

When something hard happens and I’m not alone, I can’t just run away or put it off for another day. It can only be fixed collaboratively, by both people, and they must be on the same page.

Let me give an example, running:

When I’m running alone, and I get tired, I can stop. I don’t have to finish the workout. Nobody is going to be disappointed in me if I stop, nobody will even know.

But if I’m running with someone else, and they are faster than me, there’s nothing I can do to keep up with them other than give it my all which will push me out of my comfort zone.

The same goes for running a marathon. Thousands of fellow runners and spectators, and everyone is counting on you to finish. 

In the 4 hour duration of running a marathon, I’ll grow more as a human than I would in months, and I’ll run my best time ever.

September 25th, 2020
My own cynicism gets the best of me while using social media.

Most times when I go on Twitter, I scroll through and roll my eyes at most tweets, muttering to myself:

  • “Why is this person posting this?”
  • “The ulterior motive is so obvious here.”
  • “This person is so clearly wrong or unqualified to say this.”

After a few minutes, I’ll “catch” myself with this negativity and literally log out of the platform.

This seems unhealthy, and I’m not sure how to fix it. Does anyone else experience this?

I’m also part of a few “scenes” on Twitter. I will be honest right now and say that I’m not a huge fan of where some of those scenes have been going lately.

For example, there is a trend where many people are pontificating on stupid shit through their Substack newsletters.

I don’t want to sound like “I’m better than that”, but being honest, that kind of stuff isn’t interesting to me at all. 

Often, it’s not even the people I follow, it’s the Twitter algorithm recommending it based on the people I follow...

I miss the days when I was just starting out when Twitter felt like a goldmine of information. But of course, this was probably just my perception, as I was new and naive.

I was listening to Joe Rogan today, and he says that he has a rule to never read the comments on social media, period. So, I have a feeling that social media only gets worse as you get more followers.

I’m considering unfollowing everyone on Twitter and starting over.

I don’t have any great takeaways for this post today...

September 24th, 2020
I feel guilty these days because I’m not “working hard”.

These days I’m doing less “day to day” work. Here’s what I mainly do: 

  • think about and plan for the future of the business
  • write a bit of code
  • reply to a few emails
  • help my employees when they have questions

To be more specific, here’s an actual list of what I did today:

  1. Approved the newsletter going out today
  2. Reviewed analytics
  3. Got a tennis lesson
  4. Chatted on Telegram with my entrepreneur friends
  5. Sent 5 or 6 emails
  6. FaceTimed with my best friend
  7. Reviewed & approved a project plan
  8. Cleaned, did laundry
  9. Made dinner
  10. Wrote this blog post

^^ How much of that is actually productive, creative work for the business? Not much!

I feel guilty when I think about just how little I did today, especially because I value the power of hard work so much.

For me, hard work is a deep, core value that I hold. I learned it from my parents. I believe hard work has gotten me to where I am today.

But I also believe that the definition of hard work changes over time, especially as I grow as a founder and entrepreneur.

The definition of hard work used to be simple: Put the hours in. Wake up at 5 AM every day. Build new features. New projects. Read more business books. Grind.

But lately, working hard is different. It’s more delegation. Management. Building a good culture. Building systems. Finishing what I start. Doing things with completeness. Being helpful. Making decisions quickly. Saying no. Unlearning many bad habits.

I understand this change, but I still feel guilty when I don’t “put the hours in” and grind like I used to.

For example, today... I didn’t build any new features. I didn’t push any code. I didn’t wake up early and grind out emails. I didn’t have any meetings. But today, the business generated over $2,000.

To me, that feels strange, because, in some twisted way, it doesn’t feel like I worked at all for that money!

But I can’t look at it that way. This money is the product of the blood, sweat, and tears of the last 10 years. Of true, hard work!!

More specifically: 

  • the hard work of 5 years ago, quitting my career, learning how to code, going into over $50k in debt
  • the hard work of 4 years ago, launching and failing at multiple startups while giving it everything I had
  • the hard work of 3 years ago, waking up at 5 AM every day to squeeze in hours to work on my side project and then go to my full-time job
  • the hard work of 2 years ago, interviewing hundreds of founders, reaching ramen profitability, and quitting my full-time job
  • the hard work of 1 year ago, figuring out how to make this business work, hiring employees, learning to build a team
  • the hard work of this year, navigating COVID, writing every day

I will no longer feel guilty when I don’t “work hard” by traditional standards. 

Today, I did work hard. Just a different kind of hard.

September 22nd, 2020
*warning, this post has before and after photos, I'm sorry in advance*

Today, I weighed myself and I’ve officially lost 30lbs+ since last year.

This is the thinnest I’ve been since college. I wasn’t overweight but was definitely “skinny fat”.

I’ve tried a few diets over the years (keto, etc) and some worked, but I always gained it back.

This time, I won’t gain it back. Why? Because I’m not on a diet! 

I don’t think much about what I eat. I rarely weigh myself. I’m not even trying to lose weight...

So what’s the secret? Practical lifestyle change.

Although it may take a little bit longer to see results, lifestyle change feels way more sustainable than something like the Keto diet.

Here are the lifestyle changes that worked for me:

1 - Counting calories.

Late last year, I downloaded MyFitnessPal and logged everything I ate. I didn’t do macros, and I didn’t subtract calories from working out. I just counted pure gross calories. Here’s a great video that shows why MFP works and the mindset behind it (not some fitness guru, a normal ass guy who lost 100 lbs).

I didn’t realize this at the time, but counting calories is not the solution to losing weight. Counting calories is the solution to getting knowledge about food and knowledge about your own body.

Knowledge is power! I can’t emphasize this enough. When I counted everything I put in my body, I learned a lot about food, and more importantly, I learned a lot about my own body!

With this knowledge, I was able to identify that I often binge eat for dinner (1600+ calories in one meal). This helped me learn how to eat less, and how to stop eating *before* I feel full. I also learned how many calories per day puts me at equilibrium (meaning I don’t gain or lose weight). 

Most importantly, I learned that losing weight is simple. I ate less calories, and I saw the results before my eyes. Now, I'll never be tempted to try out new trendy fancy diets and exercise plans.

2 - Making exercise enjoyable.

The second most important lifestyle change was building exercise that I truly enjoyed into my daily routine.

I had to come clean with myself, I was never going to "go to the gym 4 days/week”.

The truth is, I hate the gym. I never liked it. If I enjoyed the gym, I would have gone every day since I bought my first gym membership in 2009...

Instead of forcing myself to like the gym (tried many times), I instead picked up sports that I found truly enjoyable. For me, it was running and tennis and skateboarding.

I love these activities so much that I actually crave to do them. I feel shitty if I don’t!

Because I love doing these so much, I often work out twice per day, and it never feels like a chore.

3 - Limit drinking & intermittent fasting

I won’t go into these much, but they do help. I don’t think they are as important as #1 and #2, though.

I am a bit embarrassed to post these before and after pics... But I feel like I should... Sorry!


September 21st, 2020
I miss the pure excitement of learning to code.

There was something magical about running my first for loop with vanilla Ruby, or spinning up my first Rails app, or making my first successful request to a REST API.

Maybe it was so exciting because I was opening up a new door in my life, something that felt like it had endless, unlimited possibilities.

And it did! With those skills, I got my first six-figure job, felt fulfillment with my work, and even built my own business that allowed me to live and work anywhere in the world.

But nowadays, writing code isn’t all that exciting anymore. To be honest, it feels like a chore.

And it’s not just because I’m writing code for my business. I’m not even interested in learning new technologies or building “fun apps” like I used to. I have some cool ideas, but the idea of building them doesn’t even sound fun.

I miss that pure excitement I once had. I miss being able to code for hours and just have so much damn fun doing it, coding late into the night, and going to bed excited to wake up in the morning and keep coding.

I’m not going to sit here and hope those feelings will come back. Maybe they will, but probably not!

I think what’s important to remember is that I can have these feelings again but they’ll probably come from other parts of my life, and they’ll probably happen unexpectedly.

These feelings also don’t need to be work-related, nor technology-related. Just because I’m a tech nerd doesn’t mean I can only get excited about tech stuff!

I can geek out in the same way about sports, movies, writing, crafting, cooking, friendships, relationships, family, investing, music, art, politics, history, and so much more. 

Lately, I’ve been geeking out on tennis. Tennis is a little bit like coding, in a way. I get better at it as I keep working on it every day. I find new techniques. There is some mastery, and progress feels tangible. I have a lot of excitement for tennis.

Instead of being all nostalgic about the old, I just need to keep being curious and open to new things. Always switching it up.

As we get older, it’s conventional wisdom to stop trying new things, to “settle down”, to pick your hobbies, and get set in your ways.

But I think this is wrong. Life is about finding that pure excitement, over and over again.

September 20th, 2020
Nearly every day I play tennis, and in NYC, the courts are quite busy. I almost always wait at least one hour to play. Sometimes I even wait up to 3 hours to play.

My friends find this whole tennis waiting thing ridiculous. Sometimes, a friend will pass by (who doesn’t play) and ask me how long I’ve been waiting. When they hear I've been there for 2 hours, they scoff in disbelief.

But I don’t feel that way. Sitting around on those benches by the water is actually the highlight of my days...

When I first started playing tennis, I would bring my laptop and “get emails done”, but now I don’t really even do that anymore. I'm no longer concerned about maximizing my time.

Melissa & Paul - Sept 19, 2020

What's even better is when my tennis partners join me in the wait. We just sit there and chat. Sometimes we’ll talk about how funny it is that we just sit out there waiting hours for a tennis court.

Then we wonder what our other friends are doing, or what we would be doing if we weren’t waiting there.

The answer? Watching Netflix. Attending Zoom meetings that we never needed to be at. Browsing social media on our couch.

We realize that sitting there, outside, on those wooden benches by the water is actually better than anything else we could be doing.

And we realize that sitting around and waiting is actually making us happier, healthier, and more productive people.

Because we are in nature, feeling the breeze, and the sun, and the heat and the cold. And seeing the views of the skyscrapers, and the water of the Hudson River.

Because we are surrounded by people, hundreds of people walk and run by these benches. We see friends and familiar faces. We meet new people, make new friends and rekindle old ones.

It’s all just very real. So much more real than sitting at home and doing Zoom meetings.

All of this waiting for tennis has transferred to other areas of my life. It's given me patience and clear-headedness and helped with my anxiety. Most importantly, it's trained me to live more in the present.

I no longer dread waiting, I look forward to it! I plan and build my day around these 4-hour tennis adventures, and I'd like to keep it that way, for a long time.

It’s never about the destination (playing tennis), it’s about the journey (waiting to play).

That's a cliche saying, but it's true, even for the smallest things, like the next line you'll need to wait in.

September 18th, 2020
Too many people putting the cart before the horse:

- Growth strategies can’t work on 0 users.
- Search engine optimization can’t optimize blog posts that don’t exist.
- Unit tests become useless when the code is scrapped tomorrow.

Gotta build the business first. Where we’re going, we don’t need Substacks.

September 17th, 2020
Why am I so unmotivated lately? I don’t have clear enough goals.

I’m not excited about the things I’m working on, like I used to.

I need to do things that excite me. Sometimes, these aren’t work related things. I need to embrace that.

But I feel SO guilty when I don’t work on “work”. I shouldn’t. I have plenty of runway.

I need to read more. To be more curious. To be more unplugged. Need a reset.

Remember the think week? That’s what I need again.

Not everything has to be so rigid. Need to get out of my comfort zone. Do things that are outside the routine. Break it all up.

--

Update: Felt like shit when I wrote this ^^

I got out of my own head, went into airplane mode, and went to the skatepark (a bit different than my normal routine).

Landed a kickflip for the first time in 10 years. Feel much better now :)

.

September 16th, 2020
Last month, 250k people visited starterstory.com, mostly from Google search. Here are some things I learned about SEO:

Second-and-third-order consequences

SEO is a mind game of second-and-third-order consequences. The work you do today will not yield results immediately. 

Write an article, publish it, and then get no results. This makes you think you "did it wrong". Most people quit here.

Just go in with the expectation that you won't see results for six months after publish.

Instead of getting discouraged, just write more and publish more. By the time you published your 20th article, you might start finally seeing the results of your first. The worst thing you can do is restart every 6 months.

SEO industry is mostly bullshit

Try to avoid SEO experts and industry nonsense, they are mostly distractions. 

Examples of distractions: Google algorithm updates, schema markup, page speed, meta tags.

Do you think you’re smarter than Google’s algorithm? Maybe today, definitely not tomorrow.

Write and publish compelling content that answers the searcher’s query. That’s it.




There are millions of keywords not picked up by SEO tools

New and/or off-the-radar keywords are where you can easily rank #1, but you probably won’t find these in SEO tools.

How to find these keywords? Just write and publish content. Then check Google Search Console, you’ll be surprised what you find.

Once you identify these keywords, think of all the other similar keywords you could hit, too.

(Note: I’d recommend not using SEO tools at all in the early days. I still rarely use them.)

Consistency & Output > Quality

I will get burned for this, but solely quality doesn’t win the SEO game. Quality should be a prerequisite. 

Optimize for content output and consistency. This will help you rank faster, especially if you’re new.

Take it from most trafficked blogs on the internet:

- huffpost.com: 2.2M indexed pages
- TMZ.com: 411K indexed pages
- Hubspot: 258K  indexed pages

Think in terms of “content types”, not individual articles

Have a blog post that performs well? Think about how that can be 100 blog posts.

Silly example: 33 Cutest Cat Photos of 2020 can actually be 33 Cutest [INSERT_ANIMAL] Photos of 2020.

With 100 animals, you have 100 potential articles. This is just one “content type”, let’s call it “list_of_cute_animal_photos”.

Add 10 more content types x 100 variations == 1,000 articles. It’s a lot easier to think about scale this way.

September 15th, 2020
Do you want to be known as the businessman, or the critic of the businessman?

Because the critic, at one point, wanted to be the businessman, but they gave up too soon.

They were likely struggling as a businessman, and then they got a small taste of the critic life: how much easier it is to get traction when you comment and ridicule the creative work of the businessman.

Be like Phil Knight. Build Nike, and then maybe at the end of it all, you critique yourself with a book to sum it all up.

A businessman, first and foremost. Never a critic.

September 14th, 2020
I go through phases.

During some phases, I’m motivated and productive and crushing every day. During other phases, I’m barely able to work 2 hours/day.

These phases usually go for a few weeks, sometimes months. But usually no longer.

The worst thing I can do is try to force myself out of a phase. Instead, it’s better for me to accept the phase for what it is.

For example, in the past few weeks, I have not been as motivated to work on my business. The irrational side of me thinks “Everything is over, I’ll never be motivated again, my business will fall apart because I’m being a careless piece of shit.” 

But if I take one step out of myself, I remember that it’s summer. It’s normal to relax a bit in the summer. And my relaxedness is probably just a result of my environment.

I know that by December, I will be in a crazy-focused work mode. This actually happens every year, but I always forget.

That brings me to my next point: No phase lasts forever

An unmotivated phase will ALWAYS come to an end. And on the flip side, a super-motivated phase will also ALWAYS come to an end.

One of the worst things I do is force too much change as the result of a phase. 

Examples: Leaving everything to travel the world, changing careers, moving to a new city, starting a new business, and ending relationships.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t do these things, but I try to remember how dangerous they can be. Just important to be careful.

The best changes I can make are internal. Changes in mindset. Changes in perspective. Humbling myself a bit. Changes in my environment. Diet & exercise. Spending time with people I love.

(phases don’t just apply to motivation about work, it can be about anything in our lives) 

September 11th, 2020
Want your writing to be read by thousands? By millions?

There is only one way to get there: become a phenomenal writer.

There are no hacks. That’s it.

I see so many people publish a couple of blog posts and get frustrated when nobody reads them. They wonder what they did wrong. They say “I don’t know how to promote my writing” or “I have no audience”.

But that’s not the issue. The issue is their writing. It’s just not good enough (yet).

It takes years to become great. I think it might take 10+ years of writing every day to become great. 

There are shortcuts though, some people have an unfair advantage. 

For example, my shortcut was writing about my startup journey and my own startup tactics. People wanted to read that because they were following or wanted to follow a similar path.

Writers should find their unfair advantage, but also remember that this is only a crutch. It very much was for me.

A few successful blog posts didn’t mean that my writing was good, just that I wrote the right thing from the right audience at the right time. My writing were very matter-of-fact, and they served a specific purpose (“How To Do X”), but they did not make me a good writer.

That’s why I’m writing every day. Because I want to become a better writer. I want to write about more than just my own story.

I know that my writing sucks, but knowing and admitting this motivates me to get better. I will get 100x better. I will only get there by writing for hours, every day.

The best writers grow their audience with ease. They don’t even promote. They write one book that gets shared through word of mouth over and over, between circles of friends and colleagues for decades.

This is not by accident. There’s a reason Paul Graham’s famous essays get shared every single day on Twitter, 7 years later. There’s a reason people still recommend Think And Grow Rich, 80 years after it’s been published. 

The reason is that their writing is phenomenal. Most people skip this part.

Harry Dry wrote a great post about how he promotes his content (amazing post). 

But Harry has a bigger secret. 

His secret: His writing is 100x better than anyone else in his niche. Harry knows this, but he also knows that nobody will listen to this advice. People want hacks, strategies, flowcharts, roundtable discussions, and complex theories.

Becoming a phenomenal writer is just too deceptively simple to put in a blog post. But it is the answer.