By Andrew Medal
Nothing like a little Ben Affleck in Boiler Room to get us going. (Watch it right now here so you get a grasp on the tone of this piece.)
These are strategies that have worked for me, but may not necessarily work for you, so take them with a grain of salt. Let’s get to it:
1. Take time off
Make sure the timing is right. I work my butt off — more than 12 hours a day usually. My only true rest day is Saturday afternoon after I do CrossFit for a few hours.
The past two weeks I’ve been stressed out with some major project deadlines looming, Entrepreneur writing deadlines, juggling my other startups, planning for my wedding in October and planning for a trip to Europe in August. I’m not usually that stresed out guy.
I never play video games anymore, but randomly I downloaded this game called Boom Beach on my Android tablet, and have been playing it the past couple days. The game is similar to the old Command & Conquer. It’s been awesome to free my mind, and just f**k off a little.
Guess what happened? My projects were accomplished. My writing is on point. My startups are moving forward and Europe is not going anywhere.
Know when the time is right, and go f**k off — whatever that means for you. It will help your brain to disconnect.
2. Work for free
Last year, Mark Cuban was persecuted for an old rant about not being able to hire free interns. Apparently, working for free goes against the majority’s thinking. I’ve used it to my advantage my entire life.
Early in my career I worked for free all over the place. It was the single most important activity I did. My experience doubled over night, and I learned how to create enough value at each internship that I eventually was offered a position. I typically turned it down and moved on at that point because I learned as much as I could.
To this day I’m not afraid to work for free if I see an upside. Also, most of the startups I build are bootstrapped. Guess what that means? I work for free. Yippee!
Working for free turns you into a value creating machine. You learn how to create assets that did not exist previously, and it can afford you all sorts of opportunities to work with people you may not have had the chance to otherwise.
3. Work on multiple projects
Most of the advice out there will tell you to focus on one thing, use all of your energy, blah, blah, blah. I disagree.
To clarify, I’m not talking about multi-tasking, I’m talking about working on multiple projects simultaneously. For example, I have my main digital marketing company (that is spinning out a sister company that focuses on experiential marketing, guerrilla marketing and publicity stunts). I have a handful of startups, and am focused on building my personal brand. I’m writing a book, and constantly helping and mentoring other entrepreneurs.
There are always sticking points and risk with startups. Having multiple things going on at once helps you to constantly move rather than get stuck, and helps mitigate risks. I’ve learned how to prioritize effectively, and allocate more of my time and energy to the projects that demand them.
4. Work whenever you want
My workload fluctuates, but I tend to keep a full plate. One perk of being an entrepreneur is that I can work whenever I want. Granted, I have clients and troops that I have to communicate with and be accessible to, but I can choose when to work for the most part.
Some days I’ll stop working in the day and go see a movie, or hang out with my fiancee and puppy. I like to work at night, and tend to stay up late. I use this flexibility to my advantage to accomplish my objectives during my peak hours.
5. Work wherever you want
I used to have really nice office space, and then I shut it down. It was a waste of overhead and made me feel like I had a job.
I love the nomadic entrepreneur lifestyle. Everything I do is online, and it affords me the luxury to work wherever I want. This is another perk of being an entrepreneur. Take advantage of it. Go work at the pool or beach or at a co-working space with other entrepreneurs. You can even travel the world and use Nomad List to figure out the best places in the world to work.
6. Ask for more
If you don’t ask, you don’t receive, right? Push the envelope, any envelope, all the envelopes.
I do this in life and as an entrepreneur. For example, a few years ago I was flying somewhere for business. I saw that there were some empty seats in first class. I went up to the flight attendant, turned up my charm and asked, “What would it take for me to ride up here where I belong?” She chuckled, and gave me a seat. Maybe this is a shallow example, but you get my point.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more. Ask for more from yourself, your team, investors, clients and the Starbuck’s barista serving your double shot mocha venti latte. A funny thing happens when you start asking, you usually receive.
7. Bend the rules
Of course, this would be in this list somewhere. Look at this awesome quote I got from Tucker Max:
As an entrepreneur, you always want to learn the rules, but only so you can know exactly how to bend and break them when needed.
Bending the rules will allow you to think outside the lines, and allow you to see the world through a different lens. It is that unique lens that can separate you from the herd, which will empower you to be a stronger entrepreneur.
8. Don’t take yourself seriously
This is important. Taking yourself seriously is a sign of inflated ego, and inflated ego is a weak character trait. Make fun of yourself. Share your quirks and awkwardness. Nobody is perfect. This will help build authentic relationships with people and show your true self.
9. Embrace your haters
You will have many haters if you follow my advice. Sometimes they’re undercover haters, sometimes they’re out in the open and most of the time they like to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.
I have lots of experience with this. Have you Googled my name? Yep. Thanks haters. Who cares. I’ve learned to embrace them. If it wasn’t for the negative online slander against me, I probably wouldn’t have ever started writing. So, thank you haters.
10. Be controversial
Don’t be controversial just for the sake of being controversial. That’s lame and a waste of everyone’s time. However, if you’re passionate about something, stand up for it. Even if it goes against the norm.
Nobody in their right mind would write the type of articles I write, such as “6 Life Hacks Learned In Prison That Will Maximize Your Productivity” or “How My Life As An Entrepreneur Shaped My Time In Prison.” In fact, some of my closest friends and contacts urged against me sharing so much. Personally, I felt the risk was worth the payout though.
And guess what? It has been.
My “6 Life Hacks Learned In Prison” column has afforded me all types of opportunity. It was picked up by TIME.com, FOX and other notable media outlets. I earned new business. I picked up a new contribution role for another media company and I continue to build authentic relationships with people through my brand.
11. Take a stance
Almost in the same vein of the above point, don’t be afraid to take a stance. Too many people are afraid to stand up for what they believe in these days.
This is my favorite Steve Jobs quote:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Here’s the plain truth, not everyone is going to like you. Who cares? Get over it and live your life without regrets.
This has turned into more of a motivational speech than I planned for. My editor rushed me to finish though, so this isn’t the right time to f**k off. Remember, life is short. Take risks, live without regrets and go download that Boom Beach game (you’ll thank me, it is seriously fun).