I’m writing to you from my bed in the middle of Times Square in New York.
It’s 11:11pm now and as I’m listening to the loud music in the background from outside… I’m reflecting on 2018 and I’d love to celebrate my top 10 lessons of the year with you.
I think as with most entrepreneurs, I don’t celebrate my wins enough. When I hit a certain goal, I stay hungry and have my eyes set on the next one.
This is a post not just for my followers, but also for myself to reflect on
The foundation to scale any business isn’t about hiring more people. It’s about having the right systems in place. This year we systemised a lot of processes; the same things that we do repetitively like building funnels, running events, social media… we create checklists and templates for that.
Huge shoutout to James Friel for this.
We moved everything on Trello early this year, reduced communications via email by about 90% and it was a Gamechanger.
2. Revenue is Vanity, Profit is Sanity
About 5 years ago I had a team of about 30. Revenue wise it all looked good. Having a huge team is like going into the men’s locker room in Japan with a huge d*ck. My in house team is now half the size, with a bottom line that’s many time over of what I did in 2013.
My strength isn’t in keeping money. My superpower is in making it.
I’m a spender.
If you’re like me and if you’re a spender, you need someone on the team who is good at keeping it. Looking at costs. Numbers.
Most company margins are about 20%. That means, every $1 saved, is $5 in sales avoided. In most cases, saving $1 is a whole lot easier than generating $5 in sales.
Makes you think twice about leaving the lights on at night.
3. Surround Yourself With People A Lot Smarter Than You
If you’re always the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
I love my main circle of friends but most of them aren’t entrepreneurs. Do what you need to do to surround yourself in an environment of people that will stretch you out of your comfort zone.
I’m part of masterminds that cost $25k – $50k / year.
When I think that I’m doing well, I get inspired by people like Russell Brunson who’s doing over >$100MM / year and it forces me to up my game.
Your environment is stronger than your willpower.
4. It Takes a Lifetime to Build a Reputation and One Second to Destroy It
Earlier this year I was told that I had a team member undercut my company and take on clients who worked with us directly himself. I was shocked to see the invoices and irrefutable proof presented to me.
I was more disappointed than angry.
The thing I probably hate most as a leader is to fire people. I’ve only had to do it once ever prior to this (that’s another story for another day) but needless to say, I had no choice but to fire him.
5. Chasing Impact, Not Income
In my early years of entrepreneurship, my goals were all income goals. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I felt that there was something missing.
If you know my story, you know that I started out in the computer game niche.
Every time I did a $37 sale on a gaming product, I didn’t feel like I made a difference. The money was good but the moment I changed to focus on impact rather than income, everything changed.
We served our audiences better. We came out with better products. We played a bigger game… and as a result our income naturally grew a lot faster.
This year all of our products, funnels and offers all began with the question:
“ What are the problems our audience is facing and how can we help them overcome it?”
You’ve probably heard it. That money is just the result of adding value to someone else’s life.
Focus on the impact and results you generate for other and the income will follow.
6. Customers Isn’t #1
Your team is.
Your team is and will be your #1 asset.
I’ve lost good team members. Multiple times.
As years go by, I know how hard it can be to get someone that’s loyal AND good.
Do whatever it takes to keep them.
The bottleneck of your business isn’t your team. It’s you.
7. Your Business is Broken and It Always Will Be
This was from Alex Charfen who talks about how if your business is constantly expanding your systems and processes will always be broken. This realisation has been a huge relief for me.
More revenue, more growth, more money creates a new set of problems. It requires better systems. Higher expectations. More expenses. More people calling in favours. More customer support. More chargebacks. More pressure. More everything.
I used to be always firefighting. Now that I’m able to see that it’s all part of the equation, it becomes a lot more comforting.
8. You Can Be Satisfied Knowing You Will Never Be Satisfied
I’ve asked myself the question many times. When will it be enough? Is there a certain number? Is it a billion?
I know deep inside that there’s no number.
There was a point in my life where I thought making $10,000 / mth would make me set for life… until I hit it.
There was a point in life where I thought $100k / mth would be absolutely NUTS… until I hit it.
I know that when I hit that $100MM mark, I’m still not going to rest. Because there is no finish line… and I can be satisfied knowing that I will never be satisfied.
That it’s the journey not the destination.
9. Be Unrealistic With Goals
12 year ago today, I got my first ever pay check. It was for RM1,200 (approx $400). Yes, it was my monthly pay. I worked on that job for nearly 2 years.
If I went to see a fortune teller then, and if she’s gazing into her crystal ball, with the tarot cards, 4 leaf clover and the goat testicles, trying to read my future… telling me that I would have travelled the world, shared the stage with legends and made tens of millions online… there’s no way I would have believed it.
Nothing great was ever achieved by being realistic. Ever.
Chances are, people who tell you that you need to be realistic with your dreams are people who have never achieved greatness. Sometimes it could be from people you love. They could have the best of intentions, the only problem is that they never did it.
One of my favourite motivators Les Brown says it best. Most people fail not because they aim too high and miss. Most people fail because they aim too low and hit.
10. Habits > Talent
Most people think they need the strategy. The tactic. The how to. That is the second step. The first step is fixing the internal. Mindset. Attitude. Thoughts. Habits.
Every strategy whether it’s marketing, Facebook ads, getting 6 pack abs, drop shipping, speaking, sales, there’s at least 10,000 videos covering that topic on YouTube.
You see it’s not the steps that will make the difference, even though it’s what most people think they need.
It’s the habit. That’s the first step.
When I was speaking at Funnel Hacking Live earlier this year, I delivered one of my most passionate speeches and absolutely crushed it. I know that many people in the audience thought I was a natural.
And at the end… I showed a video of how I started out. Peng Joon on stage when he had no idea what he was doing.
That got every person in the room giving me a standing ovation. The feeling was magical.
I didn’t have the talent. I didn’t have the gift. I took care of the habits.
If I could sum up that moment when the audience were all on their feet, it would be this quote from Winston Churchill:
“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”
Bye 2018. Bring on 2019.
Let’s do it.