In episode #26, Wilco shares how to stay focus especially for entrepreneurs just like him.
How do you stay focused? There’s so many distractions. I love what I do, but even then, I see so many opportunities and sometimes I just get distracted, right? Especially as an entrepreneur, we see things. We see opportunities that others don’t. Even though it’s a good thing, it’s sort of like a blessing and a curse kind of thing.
Today I want to talk about how do you actually stay focused. How do you make sure that that thing, the path that you’re on, you’re gonna stay on it? You’re not gonna distract yourself by all the things that you kind of know you shouldn’t.
Just in case we haven’t met before, my name is Wilco de Kreij. I’ve been an online entrepreneur for, I don’t know, 15 years or so.
Even for me the fact that I see opportunities has been a blessing and a curse. Because of that I’ve been able to build quite a few businesses and I’ve been able to sell a few. It’s good, but at the same time, oh my God, you would not believe how often I go distracted, which sort of lets me off course. Over time there is a couple of things I’ve learned to make it easier to stay focused.
The first step I want to give you is overtly this is gonna be an open door, but I want to mention it anyway, is, do what excites you. What really excites you is different for everyone. For me, for example, there’s been times my business were focused on how do I make more money or whatever. I learned that that does not motivate me at all. It’s the worst thing to have as a goal, because once I have that as a goal it was so easy to get distracted. It wasn’t really passionate by it. I realized that for me … Once again it’s different for everyone, but for me what really excites me is that I want to create products and build things that people actually use that they’re happy with and they thank me for it. The moment that I realize that the moment that I had something that people were actually using and leveraging and thanking me for it, that gave me the energy and I make it so much easier to stay focused on that thing.
For example, I was on Facebook actually, a couple of hours ago, and I saw one of our customers raving about a viral and how he got thousands of lead in the first 15 hours. I was like, “What?” That really gives me the energy to stay focused. It reminds me that what I’m doing is the right thing to do. That’s the first. Make sure to pick something, run a business that honestly excites you.
Secondly, it’s more of a tactical tip, which helped me a lot over the years and that is what I call my idea quarantine. Even though you’re focused, even though you’re excited about what you do, you’re gonna see other opportunities. You’re gonna see other things that you think, “Oh, this will be good to add,” or “Oh, this is such a major opportunity.” Before you realize, you realize you wasted a couple of days on it. What I do nowadays is that whenever I have an idea … because we still have ideas, right? I write it down in Evernote. I’m not allowed to touch that idea for two weeks.
That’s my two week idea quarantine and if after two weeks I still think it’s genuinely good I need to go after it, then maybe, maybe I would. Usually after two weeks I already came to my senses and it’s not something that I should pursue. Do that. That is definitely a tip that I really encourage everyone to do. Add this into your routine. Whenever you have an idea, write it down and you’re not allowed to touch it for two weeks.
The third tip is to surround yourself with people who run a similar ish business. People always say that you should surround yourself with people who are a couple of steps further than you. Yes, I agree with that, but not just a few steps ahead of you. They should also be in the same kind of business that you are. Obviously it’s good to mingle with people who have a completely different business than you have. That’s fine. That’s totally fine, but what I’ve noticed for me personally is that when I mingle myself with people who I think have an awesome business, but is not similar kind of business I tend to think, for example, I got some friends who are doing a lot of e-commerce. They have e-commerce shops and are selling to consumer, which is different from what I do. I run a couple of software companies in UpViral. That’s a different kind of business. Because I see them, they’re shipping thousands of T-shirts and all kinds of products every single day, I’m like, “Wow, that’s pretty awesome.” It sort of gets me of course, because they’re doing something different.
I’m not saying you cannot mingle with people who have a different kind of business because I still do. What I notice is that I need to have a couple of people around me who run a similar kind of business. Whom I can brainstorm with, but also that inspire me to do new things within my focus basically, instead of surrounding myself with people who are all doing something completely different.
As an entrepreneur, it’s sometimes lonely. It’s an awesome job if you want to call it a job, but it’s awesome, I love it. I absolutely love it, but it can be lonely and if you don’t surround yourself with people who have a similar kind of business … What happened to me is that I felt like maybe I should run a business like they’re doing because no one around me was having a similar kind of business. You can mingle with everyone that you want, but I highly, highly recommend to mingle also with at least a couple of people that you look up to that are a couple of steps ahead of you that run a similar kind of business. That’s my third tip to you to stay focused.
Number four is to keep planning your plan. Personally, I write down my plan. What we’re gonna do over the next couple of months. I write it down pretty. It’s not something I do like I said it now and that’s what I’m gonna do for next six months. What I actually do, I write it down for maybe three, four, five months or so. Every couple of weeks I go through the plan again and see what excites me. Sometimes ideas change and that’s fine.
Personally, I would not be able to set a plan for this is what I’m gonna do for the next couple of months and stick with it because I know that over time I’m gonna be excited about different kind of things. I know if I decide right now that I’m gonna focus on something in four months from now and if I’m not … It could be that in four months from now I’m not as excited about that idea anymore and that’s risky because once I’m working on something that is not as exciting to me it’s easier to get distracted by all the things that are more exciting. Because of that I always keep planning the plan.
I actually have a schedule right here on the wall where I map everything out. This is what I’m gonna do next month, and the month after and the month after. I’m not doing it just once and that’s it. I’m actually readjusting the plan every couple of weeks or so to make sure that everything that I’m doing over the next couple of months isn’t just what I should be doing, but also something that excites me.
Number five, the fifth step to stay focused on what you’re working on is that you can change within your focus and that might seem a weird thing to do. For example, personally for years I’ve been working on various projects. I went from one thing to another, to another. That’s not the way to build a scale business. Usually the scaling, the big part when you want to do big may have a bigger impact. That doesn’t happen overnight. You want to build something continuously. Stay focused on the same business like what I’ve been doing UpViral right now while I’m shooting this video. We just had a two year anniversary, which is awesome.
Before I started the UpViral I didn’t even know I could be focused on the same thing for multiple years. Right now I’ve learned that I can do this for years. The reason why I can do that is not because I settled for doing the same thing, but because I’m actually changing what I’m doing within that focus. I’m still focusing on the same business. I’m still focusing on the same product. Meanwhile, I do different things.
I’ve been doing a lot of affiliates. I’ve been doing a lot of Facebook ads. Over time, I sort of realized that initially I was doing a lot of things myself. Now I’m bringing more people into the team. More people are doing the things that I used to be doing. Right now my role has changed into doing everything myself into managing everything. Now I’m sort of going to the phase where I have people in my team who are managing everything and now I’m changing what I’m doing to more a strategic role and a creative part.
The point here is that even if you’re focusing on the same thing doesn’t mean that you have to do the same thing. As long as the company, if you have multiple people on your team or maybe you can bring people in, you can do different things whilst still be focused on the same thing. I know this can be totally vague for some people. That’s fine. That’s something I’ve learned. I wanted to share that because sometimes people think, “I need to focus and I just cannot change direction because I need to focus.” It’s always going to be a fine line, because you should stay focused, but at the same time it’s not a set plan. That’s also why I have the two week quarantine that I just mentioned is that sometimes it’s okay to shift because that should be your focus. It’s really a fine line and I get that.
Basically what I’m thinking of I can change direction. That should not delete everything I’ve been doing over the last couple of years. As long as that’s still valid. If I suddenly start a completely new tool or completely new business, everything I’ve worked on for the last two years, it’s gone. However, if for example, I would believe that a viral could go in a slightly better different direction. A more, I don’t know, instead of focusing on context it’s more about … I don’t know … As long as everything I’ve done to this point still adds up to that thing. As long as everything is moving in that direction. I’m probably super, super vague right now. I apologize for that. That’s what’s happening for me.
Let’s wrap this up. How do you stay focused on whatever you need to be focusing on? Number one, pick something that excites you. Number two, implement the two week idea quarantine. Number three, surround your people with people who have a similar business as you have. Number four, keep planning your plan. Keep on readjusting, keep working on it. Don’t do it once and forget about it. Keep working on the plan, where you’re going. And number five, allow yourself to change what you were doing within your focus.
That’s it for today. I hope you all enjoyed this. If you do, let me know in the comments below. Talk to you all soon.
“Do what excites you.”
“Keep planning your plan.”
“You can mingle with everyone that you want, but I highly, highly recommend to mingle also with at least a couple of people that you look up to, that are a couple of steps ahead of you, that run a similar kind of business”