Can the average person start a profitable online store? What is the most important aspect of starting any successful business? This article will point out the high performance habits of successful entrepreneurs.
I’ve been running my Create A Profitable Online Store Course for almost a decade. And through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of students on a personal level.
Some students are wildly successful and start making money right away.
For example, Toni Anderson made 25k in her first 3 months and 100K in her 4th month alone!
Abby Walker made 7 figures with a single product very soon after launch!
But on the flip side, some students languish and never launch a product. Some students don’t even login to my course after they’ve purchased it!
So what separates these two groups of students? Why are some students successful right away whereas others are destined to fail?
After a decade of experience, I’ve learned that it has nothing to do with intelligence. Instead, productivity and high performance habits are the keys to long term success.
Here’s my take.
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Strategy Is Important But So Is Your Output
First off, I sincerely believe that my course is the most comprehensive ecommerce course available on the market. If you follow the strategies outlined in the class, you will be successful.
There’s no question of that in my mind.
However, you can learn all of the tactics and skills in the world, but you’ll never be successful unless you take action. 99.9% of the time, your lack of success is an output issue.
You need to be able to produce consistently over time. And by over time, I mean years, not months.
Because your business is a marathon and not a sprint, you need the mental fortitude to weather the ups and downs and your success largely depends on how you respond to setbacks.
Some students immediately stop working on their business at the first sign of trouble and give up. Other students push through the pain until they find a solution.
As a result, the first step in becoming a successful entrepreneur is fixing yourself.
This post will focus on the 5 habits you must establish to boost productivity, maintain your motivation and achieve the output required to be successful.
High Performance Habit #1: Stop Filling Your Body With Junk
Have you ever had a big meal that ruined your productivity for the rest of the day?
Back when I worked my day job, I would routinely go out to eat with my coworkers and my afternoon output would be destroyed because of the garbage I put in my mouth.
It’s hard enough motivating yourself to get work done in the first place, but being productive is infinitely more difficult if your stomach isn’t right.
The other day, I ate ice cream for the 1st time in over a year and it put me out of commission for the entire day (I won’t go into details).
You can’t be productive unless your mind is clear. And in order to prevent food coma, you have to watch what you eat.
For those of you in your 20’s who are reading this post, healthy eating might not be as much of an issue for you. But I guarantee that as soon as you hit your 30’s and 40’s, eating junk food will become a huge problem.
When I went for 6 pack abs many years ago, I accidentally stumbled upon a diet that transformed my entire way of life.
By removing most carbs and junk food from my diet, my mind immediately cleared up. And these days, I can easily work for 12-16 hours a day without any loss in productivity.
But if I were to eat like the average American, I wouldn’t be able to work at anywhere close to my maximum efficiency.
If you are eating junk food on a regular basis, you are drastically cutting into your productivity and motivation. By changing your diet, you can change your life in more ways than one.
- You’ll look better
- You’ll feel better
- You’ll be more productive
Most importantly, you’ll feel more confident! For more information on eating for productivity, I recommend exploring a low carb or paleo related diet.
High Performance Habit #2: Remove All Sources Of Dopamine
Starting a business is fun but it almost always involves pain and suffering:)
As humans, our brains are wired to seek pleasure over pain and as a result, we naturally gravitate towards activities that make us feel better short term.
These brief moments of pleasure are caused by dopamine, which is a chemical released by the brain when something good happens unexpectedly. And in today’s day and age, the average human is bombarded by dopamine hits throughout the day.
For example, your brain releases dopamine every time…
- You get a like on social media
- You receive a text message
- You play video games
- You watch a YouTube video
- You go to a party
- You check your Google Analytics
- You get a notification
In fact, the most abused drugs in the world release dopamine which causes them to be addictive.
But what does dopamine have to do with productivity? Because working on your business isn’t always fun, your brain naturally gravitates towards activities that give you a quick dopamine hit.
Here’s a quick test to see if you are experiencing dopamine overload.
- Does your mind ever wander when you try to sit down and work?
- Do you find yourself checking social media constantly?
- Have you ever accidentally watched YouTube or Tiktok for hours when you should have been working?
In order to produce at a high level, you have to cut all of the dopamine out of your life and this starts with getting rid of your cell phone!
When you sit down and work, keep your phone somewhere else, close all browser tabs and focus only on the task at hand.
Turn off anything that can bring you pleasure and avoid all external stimulation. After all…
- You have to train your brain to do hard things.
- You have to train your brain to avoid what is easy.
- You have to learn how to deal with long periods of boredom and grind.
When I was a kid, my parents used to make me study all of the time. I started preparing for the SATs in the fourth grade and I spent a good deal of my childhood doing things that weren’t fun while my friends played outside.
For 4 summers straight, I attended a 6 week overnight camp where I literally studied 8 hours a day with only 2 hours of leisure time at night.
When I played volleyball for my high school team and the Junior Olympics, I practiced for 4 hours every day. Then after practice, I did jumping exercises to improve my vertical leap for another hour before bed.
These were the special shoes I wore to train.
Looking back, practice wasn’t that fun (especially the jumping drills), but they trained me to embrace the pain and I saw the results.
Bottom line, if you want to make progress, eliminate as many dopamine sources from your life as possible. After all, you can’t enjoy building a business if there are sources of pleasure all around you.
This means no YouTube, no social media, no phone, no games, no TikTok…nothing!
High Performance Habit #3: Ruthlessly Cut Activities That Detract You From Your Goal
You can’t get something for nothing and everything has a cost. For most of you who want to start an online business, you’ll likely have to make some hard choices on what to eliminate in your life.
When my wife and I first started our ecommerce store, we cut out our friends for an entire year and sacrificed our nights and weekends.
You can’t have everything and you need to systematically eliminate anything that detracts you from your goal.
I’ve had students sign up for my course immediately after buying a fixer upper house. I even had a student start a business during a messy divorce.
Did any of these students succeed? Probably not.
Bottom line, if you want to maximize your chances at success, you have to ruthlessly prioritize.
If you have friends who are constantly dragging you away to go drinking, then you may need to cut them out temporarily.
If you have people in your life who are constantly doubting you, then they need to go.
Your brain only has a finite amount of power every day and you need to preserve every last bit where you can.
For example, many successful entrepreneurs I know
- Eat the same exact thing every day
- Wear the exact same clothes every day
- Own as few possessions as possible
If you have to think about what to wear or eat, you are wasting brainpower. If you have a house or car that is constantly breaking down, you are wasting brainpower.
Becoming a minimalist may sound extreme, but your possessions suck away much of your brain power every single day.
For example, last week I was shopping for a new wireless router and I literally spent an entire afternoon doing research on which one to buy. Then, I spent another 2 hours trying to get the best deal (I can’t help being cheap).
If this purchase wasn’t so crucial to my online businesses (and my kid’s virtual education), I probably would have put it off.
Bottom line, if you are going to start a business, be prepared to go all the way and follow through. This might mean fighting with your wife, sleeping on the couch, losing your friends, and sacrificing activities you enjoy.
It might mean avoiding carbs and your favorite foods (I gave up pizza which I love).
Success in life is a test of your endurance and how much you really want it. And the best type of success is the type that you earn through hard work.
The more extraneous activities you can eliminate from your schedule, the more likely you’ll succeed.
High Performance Habit #4: Maximize The Time That You Have
Almost every successful entrepreneur I know follows a set routine. After all, if you are all over the place and don’t set aside a time to work, you’ll never get anything done on a consistent basis.
Most of you are more productive during certain times of day. For me, I work the best in the mornings from about 7:30am until noon. In the afternoon, I get distracted more easily and I don’t concentrate as well.
As a result, I set aside the work that requires the most brainpower for the early morning hours of my day. This includes writing blog posts, coding up new plugins and producing videos.
For the afternoons, I typically reserve less brain intensive tasks like answering emails, interviewing guests for my podcast or paying the bills.
In addition, I only try to accomplish 1 major task per day max. This is important!
Unless you are superman, you probably don’t have the skills and stamina to tackle more than 1 major thing at the same time. After all, I’d rather finish one task and do it well rather than halfheartedly complete 2 tasks.
To ensure that I’m at peak productivity during my morning time slot, I literally try to make my room as dark as possible and turn on only a single light at my desk.
In addition, I listen to 80’s music with my noise cancelling headphones on. This helps me remove all external distractions.
Overall, you should find the optimal time slot that works for you and try to accomplish just one task per day. Remember, your business is a marathon and making forward progress (no matter how little) should be your primary objective.
High Performance Habit #5: Don’t Focus On The Money
When it comes to running a successful online business, your focus should never be the money. Instead, money will be the byproduct of your hard work.
For example, the reason why people buy my ecommerce course is because my students are successful. When I want to sell more courses, I do NOT focus on short term sales tactics like up sells, cross sells, tripwires and hidden fees.
Instead, I focus my efforts on making my students successful and the money just comes naturally.
If you listen to my podcast, all of my amazing guests follow this exact same philosophy.
Did my friend Eric Cheng become an underwater photographer for the money? No! Instead, he focused all of his time on taking better photos and the money quickly followed.
Did my buddy Joe Jitsukawa start producing videos on YouTube to make money? No! What started out as a hobby turned into a business once he perfected his craft.
Being a top entrepreneur is rarely about the money. You have to be good at what you do and the money will follow.
Many people email me for the “easiest” way to make money online and right off the bat, this is the wrong mindset to have.
Being the best always requires practice and doing the work that sucks. There is no easy button and you eventually have to do the parts that don’t feel good.
You’ll have to tackle the tasks that you aren’t good at.
The Secret To Success In Business
You can learn all of the strategies and tactics in the world but it’s pointless unless you can execute.
And execution starts with getting your life together first. As a result, don’t start a business unless…
- You are willing to make some sacrifices
- You are willing to put in the time
- Your mind and body are ready for the work
If I were to choose a single habit to focus on, it would be to eliminate the dopamine. The most satisfying pleasures in life come from hard work.
Short term hits like social media always feel great but only last for a microsecond. In order to experience long term happiness, you have to feel the pain first:)
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.