What I love about powerful quotes are that they provide you with a certain perspective that you may not have considered before. But once they resonate with you, they can completely change your outlook on life.
The quotes that I’m about to present to you have drastically changed the way I approach business and entrepreneurship.
Quick Update: I have quit my job since the first revision of this post. Click here if you want the whole story:)
First off on the surface, it might seem as though I have a lot of balls juggling in the air.
But I’m not superhuman, nor am I more productive than the average person. I also don’t do anything especially fast.
In fact, people who have seen me in action know that I drop things on the floor all the time and I can be pretty disorganized at times.
The reason I’m able to accomplish what I do is because I follow a set of guidelines that allow me to slowly but consistently make progress towards my goals.
Here’s a sneak peek into how my mind works and how I structure my life based on a set of short powerful quotes.
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“Doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.”
If there’s a single quote that defines my way of thinking, it’s that I like to be in control. Sometimes this attitude slows me down when I have to learn or develop something from complete scratch.
But for the most part, I strongly believe in owning the core parts of your business.
But the reason that I’ve resisted all of these years is because…
- I don’t want to put my business platform in the hands of someone else who can raise prices or change policies at any time.
- It’s a major investment and very risky to switch carts from an SEO standpoint
- I have the knowledge and capability to maintain my own solution
Can I innovate faster than a fully hosted platform? No way!
But on the other hand, I don’t need 80% of the functionality that the fully hosted carts support.
And the remaining 20%? I can often code new features myself in a few weekends and avoid paying recurring fees.
Overall when it comes to outsourcing, I like to be in control over every aspect of my business that is not easily interchangeable. For everything else, I don’t mind paying a 3rd party.
For example I spend about $800/month on email marketing services. But even though email marketing makes up 90% of my blog income, I would never create my own email platform.
Switching email providers is fairly trivial so it’s not a major risk to my business if my provider decides to screw me.
Editor’s Note: I’ve been screwed by my email provider before. Read This.
A shopping cart on the other hand would require many months of painstaking work to migrate.
Will my mindset change someday? Maybe. But for the small shop that I run, I prefer to get by with what I have and stay in control for now.
“The art of being wise is to know what to overlook”
Remember when I said that I drop stuff on the floor all the time? Well, there’s absolutely no way I could do what I do without saying no to most things.
Because I dedicate my weekends to my kiddos and family, I basically have about 20 hours during the week to get all of my business tasks done.
20 hours is not a lot of time so I have to fiercely prioritize.
With any business, it’s very easy to get caught up in making more money, investing in more projects and trying to expand, expand, expand!
So I constantly have to remind myself why I’m in business. I’m not doing this stuff to get rich or to become famous. The reason I do what I do is to free up my time for family and to keep my mind stimulated. That’s all.
Any request or project that detracts from this goal is immediately dropped.
“Your body is a public resume about what you say about yourself”
A major component of business success is your ability to network and build lasting relationships with other like minded entrepreneurs.
And when it comes to building rapport or garnering respect from your peers, your appearance matters.
Whenever I meet someone new, no matter how hard I try to keep an open mind, I’m often influenced by a person’s overall demeanor.
For example if a person is dressed well and in excellent physical shape, I subconsciously have a positive impression of that person right from the start.
The other day I was catching up on reruns of Shark Tank when I saw a haggard, unkempt entrepreneur dressed in a tie dye shirt, shorts and flip flops pitch to the sharks.
And right away, I knew that he wasn’t getting a deal no matter how great the idea.
Unfortunately, your body and the way you carry yourself can make or break a first impression which is one reason why I made a conscious effort to get in shape several years ago.
And to this day, I continue to exercise regularly, maintain a low carb diet and pay attention to my health.
Not only does this improve my energy level but it allows me to be more focused and productive as well.
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
Whenever I start a new project or business, I’m usually over eager and impatient. And when I’m excited, I tend to over exert myself and expect great things to happen immediately.
But when I don’t see results right away, I get discouraged and want to quit.
For example when I first started my blog, I was writing 5 times per week, not getting any traction at all, and burning myself out in the process.
It wasn’t until I dialed my effort way back to a more maintainable pace did I finally begin to see results.
Here’s what happened.
By publishing a single post once a week on a set schedule, writing for my blog became a weekly routine. So much so, that maintaining my blog no longer felt like a chore when I was writing 5 times a week.
Time flew by and after 3 years, I started making significant money with the blog.
Here’s the thing.
When I wanted to make money fast, it was a struggle and I was miserable. But when my mindset and time frame changed to 3-5 years, blogging became a hell of a lot easier.
People often overestimate what they can accomplish in a short period of time but they vastly underestimate what can be done in the long run.
By making consistent progress over time no matter how small, you will eventually succeed.
“Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
As I grow older, I often find myself set in my ways and unwilling to try new things. For example, when my podcast editor introduced me to SnapChat and Instagram Stories, I was like…
GRRR….I don’t understand this tool. Why would I want my messages to disappear after 24 hours? What’s the appeal? Millennials are crazy…
Anyway I didn’t realize it at the time, but I must have sounded like a grumpy old man complaining about the good ole days of video cassettes and mix tapes.
The reason why most businesses fail is because they fail to adapt to new technology and trends. Microsoft used to own personal computing and desktop software before the world transitioned to mobile.
Similarly, the field of ecommerce is constantly changing. What worked 5 years ago no longer works today and you have to keep up with technology in order to thrive.
So today, I make an active effort to fight my crotchety old self by keeping an open mind and forcing myself to try new things.
There is always a better way to do something.
“If you put everything off until you’re sure of it, then you’ll never get anything done.”
I don’t like to fail. And by nature I’m an analytical person which makes it difficult for me to start anything unless I know that I’ll succeed.
In fact, I never would have started my first business if my wife’s pregnancy didn’t force me to take action with imperfect information.
But over the years, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and my abilities. You don’t have to have everything figured out from the start because you can make changes along the way.
When my wife and I launched our store in 2007, we changed our target market and product positioning several times before focusing on the wedding market.
I launched my online store course with no content at all which forced me to figure out the curriculum on the fly.
In my limited entrepreneurial experience, I’ve come to believe that any action is better than no action at all. And it’s sometimes better to turn off your brain completely:)
Business is unpredictable and the only way to know the outcome is to make a small, calculated bet.
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
Bad stuff happens in business all the time. In fact just last week, we had a few employees bail on us due to various circumstances beyond our control.
For my blog, someone in Russia decided to spam all of my email forms with fake email addresses which annoyed me to no end.
When s$%! happens, you have 2 choices.
You can focus on the bad and make yourself miserable or you can actively find a solution to your problem and improve your circumstances. The amount of energy to do both is the same.
Controlling your emotions takes a lot of practice and I’m still not the best at it. But it’s important to shrug off the bad and keep your head in the game.
Living your life and running your business is going to have its ups and downs. You just have to take it all in stride.
“Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t turn out – take another shot.”
This is probably one of my favorite quotes of all time and whenever I’m at a crossroads in my life, I constantly refer back to this saying.
Because of my personality, I often get carried away with new projects and I sometimes lose track of what’s important.
For example, last year I considered going back to work and getting a full time job because I wanted to work on a large, team based project again.
I also considered starting a new software company with a few friends in my area.
But when I sat down and talked it over with my wife, I realized that pursuing either one of these ventures would consume almost all of my time.
I was reminded that we started all of our businesses for one main reason, to spend more time with family.
So right now, my focus is with my kids and I’m really enjoying my time with them.
In fact, I’m coaching my daughter’s basketball team again next season and possibly volleyball as well and I want to take advantage of this age when they actually want to hang out with me:)
I’ve also learned to be more grateful for what I have. Whenever something bad happens, I remind myself how lucky I am to have my family and a lifestyle that allows me to spend time with them.
But probably the biggest lesson that I’ve gained from this quote is that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. For over 20 years, I was an electrical engineer and I never would have dreamed that I’d end up as a blogger/podcaster.
For the longest time, I didn’t think that I could do anything else and that I was going to design hardware for the rest of my life. But I’ve discovered that there’s plenty of time to start all over again.
So go out and try something new. Enjoy the process of learning and the journey.
Behave like a camera and all will be well in business and life!
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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.