This post is inspired by Steve Jobs and Sebastian Marshall's book Ikigai.
What separates truly great people from others isn't necessarily talent, productivity or hard work. These qualities are important as well, but at the end of the day you won't be judged by how hard you worked or how talented you were. The only thing that really matters is the quality of work you produce.
It doesn't matter how hard you were trying. Effort alone won't get you anywhere. You work has to deliver tangible results, or else you won't be rewarded for it. Great artists ship.
I've been trying to become an online entrepreneur for some time now. I first got excited about it when I was 16. I'm 21 now.
What have I been doing for the past five years? Actually I've been doing a lot. But how much work did I actually ship? Practically none.
I've started countless online projects. I've bought domain names, built websites, written articles and built links for SEO. I've spent hours tweaking tiny aspects of design for websites that nobody visits yet. But I never shipped my work.
I've started a blog about internet marketing. After days of tweaking design and blog settings I never wrote my first post.
I've started a blog about Forex trading. Same story there.
I bought NoStatusQuo.co domain name two years ago. After days of tweaking design I only wrote two posts. I even let the domain expire before I bought it again this week
I've started a dog training website. I'm not sure what I was thinking. I've never had a dog and I don't really like dogs. I was following some marketing guru's advice and I wrote about 30 dog training articles. But that wasn't enough to get me any significant traffic. I gave up. After working for most of the summer, I sold the website for $50. Great.
I've started a sports betting website. It's a lucrative niche with generous affiliate commissions. I took this project more seriously and invested a lot of time and effort. For the first six months or so. In January 2012 I gave up. I wasn't getting the results I expected and I wanted a fresh start. So I emailed some of my competitors and quickly sold the website.
I thought I was getting a good deal. About $500. But as soon as the website was sold, something strange happened. It jumped to first page on Google for my main keyword. Traffic started coming in, and soon I was getting affiliate commissions. The new owner bought my site to boost the rankings of his main site, and he never bothered to change my affiliate links.
Since then the site has made me about $1600. Not bad considering that I haven't touched it for a year. I don't even have to pay for hosting. Yet I know that I gave up too quickly. I lost my motivation when most of the work was already done, but right before the results started coming in.
Finally, I started an iPhone photography blog. At first it was very exciting. I learned a lot about photography. I was having a great time. The blog wasn't very popular, but there were some readers who liked it. And then life got into the way. I got busy with school and work, and I stopped writing new posts. I even stopped taking photos. Do you see a familiar trend here?
I hadn't posted anything for months when my first affiliate commissions started coming in. I logged into my Analytics account, and was surprised to learn that Google was now sending me 25 readers every day. It wasn't much, but it was enough to make me start writing again.
And It also made me realize what a fool I've been. I always did the hard work and stopped right before the results were coming in. Had I stayed with the same project for all those years, it would surely be a success by now. But I was always jumping around. And I aways quit too early. I never shipped my work.
I'll never make such mistakes again. Whenever I start working on something, I'll put in enough time and effort to ship my work to the world. If people don't like it, I may decide to stop. But I'll never quit before my work is released to the world.
Great artists ship.
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