By hacking, I don’t mean we’ll have to be cheating our way through this.
I know some of you want to achieve this kind of income level, and 3 years ago I did too.
I didn’t know what it was going to take to get me there, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.
And by easy I mean – everyone can do it.
Only 3 years ago, I dropped out of my second University and embarked on this journey of entrepreneurship and digital marketing.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the necessary skills and questions you’ll need on your way. Some of it will not make sense right now, but when you’re going to reach a certain point of your career – you’ll remember my words and decode their meaning.
I’m going to separate the entire philosophy into practical parts.
I’ll try to make it as linear as possible, yet, there are certain things that will need you to put it into your own place.
The first part will be about accelerating your learning in the new space. If you want to gain wings in this market place and achieve your goals, you’ll have to master this skill. There will be no way around it. Circumstances change, platforms change, a skill required changes, the way we communicate changes. But one thing doesn’t change – the way we learn.
This is what I realized when I was 18 years old and since then I had it as my top priority to learn how to learn.
The second part I’ll share with you my journey from not knowing anything about digital marketing…
To being one of the most sought after experts in ecommerce space.
Not only that, now I’m not working with any clients that do not revenue share deals with me and do not give me equity.
And I’m not talking about having equity in a starting business…
I became so good at my craft, that one business I’m working with gave my team 20% of their equity. Their current valuation is over $60M. Quite a bit of an achievement for a guy who 3 years ago quit his University and changed his career?
In this chapter you’re going to learn the skills I had to learn, the habits I had to develop, mentorship, where to focus on in the beginning, and much more.
The third part is dedicated to productivity habits and biohacking. We all know how important it is to be disciplined… The question is how to do it? I’ll break down my habits and routines when I was starting out and my habits now (they have changed quite a bit).
Biohacking, on the other hand, is an acceleration of the career. There are various techniques to boost your performance levels and maintain performing a high level over long periods of time.
In this part, I’ll discuss some natural ways to boost your performance and will reveal some performance enhancement techniques and drugs that give me an advantage over my competitors.
NOTE: I’m not a doctor and don’t advise you to do anything I’ve done on my own body. I’m super curious about all the ways to boost my performance and ok taking risks to do that.
Learning How to Learn
I’ve learned, or at least, started to dab in this skill when I was 18. I was fascinated by the idea I could be reading at 3-4x the speed than anyone else did, and acquiring skills much faster than anyone else…
This promise led me to learn everything I could about this subject and I’ve built my skills and habits of doing that learning language.
In fact, I became so good at it that I learned Spanish in over 2 months (B1 level), German in over 4 months (B2 level), and Italian in 11 days (B1).
Let’s dive in.
1. Do the Heavy Lifting Upfront
I’m a lazy bum.
I can’t be working for more than 6 hours per day.
In fact, I’m currently working closer to 4 hours per day and sometimes a lot less.
But if I needed to work 8-12 hours per day, I would be able to do it too. I’ve done even more than that before.
I could do it only for a short period of time. I wouldn’t be able to do it for more than 3 months.
That’s how the principle of “heavy lifting” appeared in my life.
When I was 18, I wanted to learn new languages. I was impressed by the people who spoke a language outside English and Lithuanian (my mother tongue)… I wanted to do it myself.
Yet I didn’t think I was smart enough.
You see, I was studying Russian at school for 4 years, and at the end of it all, I could only say “spasibo” (thank you) “a nigavarju paruski” (I don’t speak Russian). That’s it. I’m not smart.
I was wrong.
At school, we were taught in methods that were inefficient and didn’t even give us a chance to learn a language.
If you were taking any language classes at school, you must have felt the same way. After years of studying you couldn’t even strike a simple conversation…
So one day I decided to make calculations – how many hours did I put into learning a new language in these 4 years. 2 hours per week, excluding holidays… That’s about 240 hours.
240 hours in a very distracting environment for 4 years and VERY little practice.
I saw the same pattern with my mom learning the Italian language…
She would go to a school and spend 2-3 hours per week learning the language. In 5 years she couldn’t speak it.
So I knew I had to do something different.
What if I could cram these 240 hours in 2months? It’s certainly quite a bit of time, but it was summertime and there were 2 months left till my University restart.
I knew it would be exhausting, but I knew I could put in 3-5 hours per day (and everyone can do it if they follow and read the rest of the article).
I also knew I would be excited enough to see the progress and after these 2 months, I would be able to ease-in on it.
After 2 months of studying the language – I was able to be very proficient in it and continued my studies…
What’s better, I learned the principle of heavy lifting and applied it in learning Italian, and German languages.
I did the exact same thing when I decided to change my career.
I was working as a barista and was trying to establish myself as a football coach at the same time.
After doing that for 3 years, I didn’t push much forward & I was trying my best.
So knowing it will take me years until I can earn living only from coaching, I decided to learn a new skill.
After doing some research, I found out about digital marketing and dove deep into it.
When I began learning about it, I had very strict goals for the first 4 months. I made a list of activities I’ll do to achieve this goal – read a book per week, listen to certain podcasts, watch TV shows.
Cause I knew… If I did the “heavy lifting” in the beginning, I would speed up my growth, and then it will be easier to maintain it.
It’s like taking off with a rocket ship. In the first 2 stages of a takeoff, it uses almost 85% of its fuel and for the rest of the time, it uses only 15% of its fuel. Heavy lifting in the beginning and then maintenance.
2. Yes, You Can Find Hours to Learn
In the #1st hack I’ve discussed the heavy lifting part and the importance of it.
You must be wondering “how on earth can I put in 2-5 hours per day to study?”. And it’s a good argument and the one that I had.
But then I calculated how much time I spend every day :
– Walking & working out at the gym (2-4 hours per week)
– Walking to University, work, and gym (6hours per week)
– Washing dishes and cooking (10 hours per week)
And I found myself with an extra 25 hours of learning!
What did I do during these hours? I downloaded courses, youtube videos, podcasts, and other learning material to my phone and was listening to it all this time.
I didn’t worry too much about how much of the information I’m going to keep.
I knew that I would be day-dreaming and forget I’m listening to something valuable… But I wasn’t attached to the end result.
I was thinking about how I can overload my brain with as much information so I could start making connections between all the different sources.
Yes, it was only part of my learning routine.
I still had to find 30-60mins per day to speak to the native speakers and would spend my first and last 20-30mins of the day learning vocabulary.
3. Make Your Learning Experience Enjoyable
If you don’t enjoy the way you’re learning things – it’s very likely you’re going to drop it pretty soon.
And while not everything you do must be enjoyable, you have to experiment enough to find your best way of receiving information.
With digital marketing I realized early on I loved listening to podcasts and courses while walking, so I did it very often.
I also found books very fascinating, especially on persuasion and copywriting, so I would read them 1 hour per day.
With language learning, I tried countless tools to make my experience the most enjoyable and ended up with no more than 5 of them. I threw away the rest of them. I found one TV show I’m watching up to this day because I LOVE it.
While I was cooking, I would usually listen to Spanish songs and was always trying to sing along.
My flatmates hated me.
I do the same thing up to this day and I usually watch courses or listen to the podcasts while cooking. It also gives you an extra hour of learning.
4. Create Many Reasons Not to Fail
When I was 20, to earn some money, I was cleaning toilets at student apartments. Yet, while I was doing that – I was listening to the ageless wisdom of Jim Rohn.
One story stuck with me for a long time.
Hernan Cortes, captain of the Spanish fleet, before arriving at Veracruz, Mexico ordered to burn the ships behind them so they would have no another choice but to win the battle.
This story was so impactful that 2 months into learning digital marketing, I bought tickets to Medellin Colombia.
I didn’t know HOW I’m going to be able to survive there.
I didn’t know how I’m going to find clients.
I burned the ships behind me.
I only had enough money to survive for the next 6 months. I didn’t have any other option, but to learn, get clients, and earn enough money to be able to support myself.
I had a goal of making $1k, as the living standards in Colombia were far lower, and with that amount, I could’ve had even better living than in the UK.
It had a date set for September 31st.
At the time I was getting on an airplane, I was making $1.2k. In a few months this amount multiplied a few times.
That’s how I burned the ships and somehow, without knowing about this new thing I came out as a winner.
Here are some other ways to create more reasons not to fail:
- Announce on your social media you’ll achieve x by a certain time.
- Make a bet with a cause you hate. In my case, it would be Donald Trump.
5. Create an Environment That Makes It Impossible Not to Learn
Let’s go back into my language learning days.
I was using apps that were translating English texts to Spanish, so whenever I wanted to read something online – I would HAVE to read it in that language.
I booked calls with my teachers a week in advance and paid them so I would feel the commitment to it (I hate losing money).
I surrounded myself with Spanish people while living in the UK and told them no to bother translating stuff for me unless I asked them to.
You can create the same kind of virtual environment – make sure to join all the groups, engage down there, go to your local meetups and meet people there.
Quite naturally you’ll to create an environment around you that makes you learn your chosen skill.
6. Be OK With Making Mistakes. In Fact – Make More of Them!
Yesterday I had a podcast interview with a head of growth from Purelei – John Hagan. We were discussing the topic of learning a new skill and he mentioned the group he’s in a mastermind with.
They try to solve one of the biggest problems in the digital advertising industry – attribution models.
There are around 6 people in his group and their goal – is to find holes in each others’ theories until they find a solution to the problem.
This gave me a flashback to when I started learning languages. Whenever I would meet a Spanish person, and a teacher – I told them to correct me every time I make a mistake.
My goal was to make as many mistakes as possible.
Because that means I would learn much quicker.
I applied the same principle teaching my colleague and a good friend of mine with media buying.
My approach was exactly the same – I asked him not to worry about making mistakes and make as many of them as possible. The more he makes, the better he’ll become.
And that’s exactly the mindset you need to adapt on this journey.
7. Don’t Mistake Learning for Action
This will be more of a reflection for me.
Whenever I start any project, I want to learn all the theory behind it. I want to know the best possible ways to approach it and have all the information.
In a sense, it can be a good thing, as I get to know the subject well.
But the reason I do that?
Lack of self-confidence going down into the hole and fighting my way out of it.
I’ve become much better at it.
In fact, now I’m only spending a few days learning about a new digital platform or something new I want to try and it’s getting the best practices out of it.
And then I dive into the hole with lions and fight my way back out of it.
Recently I hired a Youtube agency and decided to build a creative team in-house for this project. I know my end-goal, but I have no idea how I’m going to get there.
And it has happened many times in the past 6-12months.
Because the business is growing so, there’s no way I can be studying the ins and outs of the subject.
I need to go in and try to figure it out.
I’m so happy I put all this effort upfront and have a much better understanding of all the pieces.
So I still recommend doing the heavy-lifting upfront, yet not get caught by analysis-paralysis.
8. How Being Lazy Makes You Achieve Your Goals Quicker
Around one week before my University restarted I was thinking:
“What the hell, I didn’t learn anything in these past 2 months? I can’t remember shit.”
I couldn’t understand it.
It seemed all the lessons I was learning went down to the drain… All the hours spent, all the effort…
But I had a suspicion that my head was not able to process so much information.
For the last 1.5months, I was learning 3-5 hours per day. Speaking at least 30mins per day, 30-60mins of studying vocabulary, 1-2 hours going over audio courses (Pimsleur and Michel Thomas), reading material books on football, and much more…
My brain was burnt out.
Yet I didn’t want to take any days off. I thought I needed to continue learning to learn much quicker. I didn’t want to take a break.
Yet, I did decide to leave all the language learning for a few days. Not to even look at it. In fact, whenever I thought about language learning – I wanted to throw up.
And a miracle happened…
After these 2 days of rest, I started speaking Spanish at a very high level!
And that’s the exact same thing I’m experiencing as an entrepreneur/digital marketer. I get hooked onto new subjects, learning them in and out, trying to solve problems on a daily basis.
And sometimes I can’t. I feel stuck and can’t move any further.
In days like these… I go out for a 1-2 hour walk and usually I have to run back home in order not to forget all the ideas I came up with…
It happens all the time… My best ideas come when I’m away from home, without any social media, no phones, or any distractions. Me, my books, and journals.
9. Don’t Get Tricked By Your Biochemistry – Do This Instead
At the agency, people call me “Speedy Deividas”. I love speedy execution and iteration.
I bet my partners love the growth they’re seeing working with me too.
Yet, this comes with some drawbacks. Every 2-3 months I experience quite a strong feeling of burning out and want to leave everything behind.
Go to the jungle, find a shaman, and stay there for months. (I’ll do that at some point in the next 2 years and you’re going to read about it)
And this happens from such a quick growth and not taking any rest.
Actually, that’s one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog. I want to commit to something that will grow over time. I want to commit to something that will require me to be disciplined enough to be executing on a daily basis and I’ll be able to grow it. Inch by inch. Every day.
When you use paid advertising, the companies can explode their sales overnight. That means hiring a bunch of people, looking for new opportunities to grow. And you think you know it all. So you stop learning, stop growing…
And that’s where the “heavy lifting” method has its disadvantages. It makes you believe than in 1-2 years you “made it”, but that’s a biochemistry trick.
You have probably experienced it in other cases in your life.
Whenever you buy a new phone, you feel ecstatic for a few days. You love all the colors of it, new apps it comes with, new features etc.
But a few days pass by and it has become a new norm. It doesn’t excite you much more and it becomes your new norm.
It has happened to me many times.
Every time I would go into a new relationship, I would be excited about it. I would want to meet that person daily, text her, go on dates, and have this feeling of “butterflies” in my stomach.
Yet after being in a relationship for over 4moths, I would start feeling indifferent and all the fantasies of marriage would evaporate.
And that my friend, is biochemistry messing with you.
Whenever you get excited about something, all the “feel good” hormones start are produced by your gut.
Serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are being produced like a stream of the river in your brain. You feel happy, excited, and willing to learn whatever it takes.
But over time it starts evaporating. You don’t feel excited anymore. You think you’ve learned it all. You feel you need to change something to feel that excitement.
And here’s where most people slip. At least I did. Many times.
Yet, this is the threshold where the experts are made. 1 year ago, when I reached this point, I wanted to quit, do nothing, and change my career.
But that’s the exact point where the magic starts to happen and “compound effect” kicks in. It’s like a snowball getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It starts growing.
That’s where a year ago I started going from earning $4k/month to $6k, $10k, $15k, etc. getting equities from the businesses I work with and more opportunities.
I don’t tell you not to reevaluate whether you’re going down the direction you want to go to.
All I am saying is to be careful of the biochemistry tricks played on you.
In the last chapter, I shared all the principles you need to learn to go into any new endeavor or learning new skills.
In this chapter, I’m going to share with you the exact principles and habits I developed in the last 3 years going from earning $1k per month, to earning 6-figures in yearly income.
1. The Importance of Specialization
“If I start all over again, I would specialize in training only one position” – Valdas Dambrauskas.
These were the words my early mentor in football told me. Back then, I couldn’t grasp it. Why would you want to specialize?
I didn’t want to be a specialist coach… I wanted to be a head coach.
This didn’t make any sense to me.
Yet, after pondering about it for a few weeks, I started getting his point.
This was a man who has dedicated 10 years of his life to football coaching. He has achieved great things with it by that time, yet, it took him almost 7 or 8 years to get where he wanted.
I started seeing his point.
There weren’t many specialized coaches back then, yet in other sports, I’ve seen quite a few of them.
Especially in American Football.
So I started studying them and started reading books in German, Spanish, and Italian about specialized coaches. Because there weren’t that many, I was able to read most of them in a few months.
And even though I haven’t decided on my specialization yet, I knew I was going to do it.
Only in 2 months, the opportunity came – Lithuanian National Football team U21 hired a new head coach, who was looking for a strikers’ coach…
At that moment, there were around 5 of them in the world.
I became a 6th one (and the only one in Lithuania) and introduced myself to him at the conference.
Because there weren’t any other options available, he had no other option but to take me on board.
But let’s stop for a second.
At that time I was 23 years old. I had only a bit of experience as a performance analyst and did some coaching. I definitely haven’t had any experience coaching strikers. The only thing I was strong at – I analyzed all the specialized coaches and read a bunch of books about it.
So why did I get the position?
There was little competition in that space. The way I describe it – I was creating a new opportunity myself.
I’ll try to give you an analogy I learned years later studying advertising:
Imagine going to the market and imagine you’re a carrot addict. You love carrots, you do everything with them – juices, cakes, salads. Because you’re so into them, you know how good carrots look like and taste like.
In the market you see a stand saying “vegetables”. You pass it by. Another one nearby says “apples, beetroot, and carrots” and right beside it there’s one saying “We sell carrots only. The best ones in the market.”
Where would you buy your carrots from?
I bet you’re going to choose the 3rd option.
Here’s another story that happened recently in my life.
A month ago I was looking for someone to consult our skincare brand with email marketing. Not digital marketing, but email marketing.
Yet, when I started looking for specialists, I realized I had to find someone who’s not only into email marketing but particularly in beauty space.
Because working with email marketing is not enough. Yes, they’ll know 90% of the things, but I wanted to know the insights.
And these small insights could make an extra $1k per day for our business. This results in $30k extra revenue, without spending any money on advertising.
Which means around $10k extra to reinvest back into the growth.
This is where the snowball effect takes place, which results in massive growth over time.
Not only can you speed up your career by being a specialist, but you can also charge premium prices for it. Your small insights can make a big impact on the business.
And by being a specialist in an area where you can make a big economic impact – you’ll be on your way to 6-figures in yearly income.
2. Choosing the Right Career
I have already told you how important it is to specialize in one area.
But where do you specialize?
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make.
There are many careers that you can specialize in, yet, it will be difficult to charge a premium if there’s no visible economic impact you can make.
When I went into football coaching, I was going in almost blindly. I didn’t know exactly what a football coach’s day looked like, and later on, realized how much work I’ll have to put in to earn living.
When I figured it out, I knew I had to escape it, even though I’ve invested 3 years of my life. I didn’t want to waste any more time.
So to help you not repeat my own mistakes, here are the questions you should ask before you commit to a certain career path.
- What would you do if you had $100M in your bank account? Assume you have already traveled the world, and bought all the material things you wanted.
Before I started earning 10k per month, my only goal was to make money. When I achieved what I wanted money-wise, I started realizing I’m not any happier than I started this journey.
In fact, I’m even less happy than I started, because back then I had to overcome so many things, there were so many challenges and uncertainties down the path.
Now when I have security, it’s tough to be taking more risks, as I don’t want to lose what I have already built.
However, I’m asking this question all the time. And my answer always comes to “I would write and read a lot more”. And that’s what I make my priority every day. I start my day with 2 hours of writing and finish my day with 1-2 hours of reading.
- Will I enjoy the day-to-day grind?
I was in love with the end result, being in front of 10 thousand people crowd cheering my name…
Holding press conferences, meeting famous football players, coaches, etc.
But when I saw the lifestyle they had and day-to-day grind, I decided to take a step back and reevaluate my path.
I saw how much work did they have to put behind the scenes, preparing for the sessions, all the political things and how uncertain their future was…
I decided I didn’t want this kind of a lifestyle.
So before you commit to a certain career path…
Find someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve and spend some time with them if possible.
I was lucky enough to spend a few days with my football mentor and get to know his day-to-day grind.
Ask them questions about what they would do if they started all over again, what kind of mistakes did they make, which ones to avoid, what are they earning, how many days of holidays do they get.
Ask them everything. You don’t want to commit to something not knowing what’s waiting for you ahead.
- How much money do you want to earn? Do you want to be location independent?
Be specific. Don’t be telling you to want to earn as much money as possible. This is not an answer.
Do you want to earn $3k per month, do you want to earn $10k or $50k per month. It makes a ton of difference.
Although I don’t advise you to be chasing money, it gives lots of security and piece of mind.
But before you answer this question… I encourage you to figure out what’s your “tipping point”. In other words – how much money do you need to make to live the best version of your life.
Another few questions to answer: do you want to be able to travel? How much independence do you want in your life?
- How much economic value will you create? How much money can “flow” through you?
This one was the one that was ingrained into my brain by Jim Rohn since I was 18.
People can be valuable human beings, but they might not be valuable in the marketplace. The more money flows through you – the more of a cut you can get for yourself.
At the moment our agency generates over $12M in monthly revenue and because of that, we can keep a certain % of it.
That’s how I chose Facebook ads as my specialization – I asked myself 2 questions: “what’s the one skill that people can see immediate results from?” “How scalable is it?”
Facebook ads were something that I was excited about and I saw a massive opportunity.
I didn’t think it will be such a massive thing though as it is right now, so I got lucky with it for sure.
- Does your career have leverage? Can you create one?
What do I mean by leverage?
The Internet is massive leverage. Podcasts, blogs… They can be working while you’re sleeping. And this is what I call the leverage.
When I was working as a football coach the math was simple – if I don’t work, I won’t be able to get any money.
What’s worse is that football is so competitive, that I’d have to move countries to get a decent paying job.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t exposed to the world I’m exposed right now and I would have started creating this leverage before.
You can create in many ways. Here are a few we’re using right now:
I hardly ever met a person who wouldn’t want to talk about themselves. When they get invited to a podcast, they agree to it and by having a podcast, you can expand your network, build your audience, & establish authority.
Even if it’s only 5k people who are following you – this crowd would allow you to have many more opportunities outside of your immediate job.
And if you’re planning to go into competitive and unstable niches – I recommend starting one.
You can achieve the exact same thing with your own Youtube channel and blog.
My recommendation is – start with one until you become good at it. Only then start doing the other one.
- Will this position/career survive automatization?
Finance, customer service, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare are being taken over by AI.
Will your career/position survive this automation? Will you be needed in 5-10 years?
These are very tough questions to answer and no one knows the exact answer to this. Yet, it’s a question you shouldn’t neglect and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Usually, performance-based professions that need creativity are still going to be around.
Yet, I already see how much easier advertising has become and it will only become easier as machine learning gets smarter.
That’s why I’m telling my colleagues to be learning more skills and combining them into what they do.
- Can I make a unique combo of my skills?
Scott Adams said it best – if you have only one skill, you have to be among 5% of the best doing that particular skill.
But if you combine 2 unique skills, you only need to be in the top 20% of the best. It allows you to create the one and only – you.
To achieve 80% fluency in any skill can be done in 3-6 months, depending on the intensity you put into it.
The next 20% would take me years to master.
So instead, I take 3-6 months to reach 80% of fluency in any skill and then go to another. This unique combination of all these skills makes my skill set more valuable.
3. Spend 2 Hours A Week Marketing Yourself
When Kris hired me to be a growth hacker for her agency, I bought a course from a growth hacker – Vin Clancy.
One habit he had he was always completing was – writing content for 4 hours every Sunday for his Facebook group.
It seemed easy enough for me and I figured out how to spread this content, leverage it by spreading to different channels like Quora, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others.
So here’s what I did.
Every Sunday I would spend 2 hours answering questions on Quora. By answering them, I would have so many ideas I could be writing about in my group, I would start rewriting them in a story format.
Sometimes I could copy/paste the entire content, which would save me time. I could sometimes use the exact same content for LinkedIn and spread my message even further.
Later on, I decided to drop Quora and focus only on Facebook and LinkedIn content.
In 1.5 years I’ve established authority in this very small segment of marketers and eCommerce business owners.
4. Use 90/10 Principle All the Way
Even up until this day I sometimes miss it.
I start new projects that don’t make sense… I focus my time and energy on the things that don’t make any difference in the business…
Yet I’ve gotten much better over the time.
As a growth hacker, I’m trained to ask myself:
“What’s the least amount of time I can put into a certain thing and get the most results?”
How many resources will I have to invest and how can I test my hypothesis using the least amount of resources available.
It’s very simple to use and in this case, is created for digital marketing.
You can adapt it to any circumstances.
You evaluate each one of the areas we have on the sheet and in the end, you see the ones that have the greatest impact.
And that’s what you focus on for the rest of the week/month.
And before pouring all the resources into it – design minimum viable tests.
I’ll give you an example:
Back in September we were meant to create a few landing pages and test them out with new products.
The exact same thing happened with another brand I was working with. Yet, they wanted to make it perfect, so they hired a designer, & they wanted to code it.
In the meantime, I created these landing pages using page builders.
In 2 months I’ve managed to use many variations of the landing pages and made it work. On that same landing page, I’ve spent almost 100k in media buying and got 300k in return.
Yes, it wasn’t perfect. Yes, it looked ugly. But it generated 300k in business that it wouldn’t have generated otherwise.
On the other hand, it took 4 months for another brand to build a better-looking landing page. Even though it was successful after it – it took them 4 months to do it!
5. Get Creative in Deal Making
Back when I was starting my career as a digital marketer, I was charging my clients per hour or by the project.
The projects were pretty easy and low maintenance, so I didn’t have to spend much time working on them.
Yet, I was making only enough money to survive while traveling.
And I was very happy about it.
But, I knew I wasn’t going to get rich.
So in 2018 I stopped taking clients on a retainer basis alone and started charging them a % of increased sales.
It was working.
I was motivated to scale the shit out of these businesses & didn’t count how many hours did I have to put into it. I was there to make them millionaires and get a commission from doing that.
One year after I started earning $10k + every month, I realized another thing…
No one gets wealthy by working for cash.
Even if I was going to earn $200k or even $500k per year, I wasn’t going to get wealthy…
I would still have to grind for years, and would never be done.
So experiencing that, I started thinking of ways on how to get equities from the businesses I’m working.
And the first deal was the easiest one (this is the only company I got equity from and I’m in negotiations with another one)…
At that time we were generating $250k/month (going up from 30k/month since we started working with them), so I asked what their goals with business were and whether they’re planning to sell the business.
They told me they wanted to exit the business at $100M point so I asked them:
“If I and our team get you to $100M valuation, would you be willing to give us 20% of equity?”
The answer was straightforward – “of course”.
We agreed on an equity vesting schedule by reaching revenue milestones and hired lawyers to deal with all the legal things for us.
Funny fact: We were supposed to get 20% of equity when we reach $2M in monthly revenue. While our lawyers were working on the contracts, we reached this revenue mark and got the entire equity all at once.
This deal has changed the way I look at business ever since.
6. Don’t be a Beggar
I was almost never short on cash.
My rule was to always have a reserve of at least 6-12months in my bank account in case shit hits the fan.
So when I went to Colombia in 2017 at the beginning of my digital marketing career, I still knew I’d have 6 months’ worth of money in my bank account.
I had an advantage – I didn’t have to work with the companies I didn’t want to work with. I was in charge of who I was going to work with.
Whenever an opportunity came to me to get a new client, I would always look into the business and work only with the businesses I knew I could help.
Reputation is everything in this kind of business.
Though I see so many businesses doing the opposite – taking everyone they can to get a bit more cash.
In the meantime, their reputation sinks faster than Titanic.
Almost every business I’ve worked with has been successful (90% success rate). And that’s not because I was extremely good – it was because I chose them very carefully.
This gave me confidence.
And confidence is something you can feel speaking to people.
I’ve been “shopping” for consultants lately and came across an email marketing specialist. We jumped on a call and chatted about my situation for 30 mins.
He was definitely good and I liked him, yet, I still had 5 calls set-up and I wanted to talk to more before making a decision.
2 days later this guy started texting me asking when am I going to make a decision and was trying to sell himself to me.
He did it almost daily for the entire week and I had to mute him on my messenger.
I never hired him, and won’t in the future.
Because by writing to me every single day, he was showing me “I need clients. I’m available. Hire me now please!”.
There’s a simple rule – the one who cares less – wins.
People don’t want what’s available.
On the other hand, I had a client who we scaled to $1M in monthly revenue from $150k. Yet, when we reached that number, he decided he needed a bigger agency to scale him to $2M in monthly revenue.
After searching, he hired one and started working with them. After a month he fired them and hired another one.
His revenue went down to $600k in the next couple of months and he texted me saying: “I wish I could work with you guys again.”
“Unfortunately, we can’t. We’re taking your competitor on board.”
We were not lying. Their competitor has actually contacted us, and we were onboarding them.
1 week after, he called us up begging us to accept him as our client. And this time we had an upper hand. We got the best deal we could get from him.
In the next 3 months, we started scaling this brand up to $5-6M in monthly revenue and that’s when I reached my first 6-figure bonus for a month.
The lesson here is simple – be exclusive, don’t be chasing after clients, show them you don’t need them and when they come – you’ll be able to get much better deals.
7. How to Find a Mentor and Create a Tribe of Mentors
Whenever I go to a new place when traveling or come back to my home country, I try to have my lunches meeting different people.
And I only realized this yesterday… This is my superpower.
I’ve been doing this for 3 years and I’ve established a network of investors, entrepreneurs, marketers, media buyers who are at the same, or higher level. I can always reach them out for advice and they can do the same with me.
There’s an unwritten rule between us – as long as our interests don’t compete – we share the information freely.
We connect each other with people who can help us out in one way or another, and expand our network that way.
I’ve had many referrals for clients, lawyers, people to hire, and got invited to dinners with politicians, high-level investors, etc.
In the beginning, I was having lunch with everyone who offered it to me. Over time I became a lot more selective and only have lunch with people who are at a very similar level as me.
I sometimes make an exception, but not very often.
By doing this, I’ve found mentors in different aspects of the business and they came to me quite naturally.
If you don’t know where to start – start by reaching out to your network and ask for introductions by your friends to the people you want to meet.
You might not get what you want every time – but you only need one good connection to blow up your career.
Biohacking, Productivity, and Happiness to Reach 6-Figures in Yearly Income
Oh, these are the topics that I love talking about and entrepreneurs love reading about!
And I could say – this has helped me speed up my career 10x. Without these “hacks”, I would have not been able to generate as much money and be happier doing that.
Here I’m going share tips on productivity, supplements that I used, illegal drugs to be more productive.
1. Your Mornings Are the Most “Expensive” Ones
I’m writing this to you when my watch is showing me at 7:49 am. I’ve been writing for an hour and before that, I was meditating and preparing a cup of coffee.
I’m giving you my most precious time.
I usually work until 11.30 am and spend the rest of the day learning new things, and reading.
I developed this habit when I was working with the companies in the US while living in Lithuania. I had 6 hours buffer with New York time, so my first 4hours of the day would be dedicated to “deep work” sessions. After that, I would go to eat, take a walk, come back and have calls with my US-based clients.
1-2 hours of calls, and I would go to do some yoga, come back, and study or plan my next day.
I was the most productive this way and there’s a simple explanation for it.
Picture this. Whenever we wake up, we have 100/100 in our “battery” (in my case it’s the brain and our dopamine reserves).
It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you do, it still gets used.
Let’s say you’re opening up your laptop and check social media first thing in the morning.
1-2% of that “battery” is getting used (I’m pretty sure it’s a lot more than that though).
You go to the kitchen and try to make a decision about what you’re going to eat and drink – 1-2% of it will get used there.
If you haven’t planed what you’re going to do in the morning – you’ll sit down and write it down. 2-3% will be taken away.
If you work from the office, you’ll have to decide how to get there. Which way should you take? 3-5% of your dopamine reserves are used.
You meet a colleague and have a small chat. 2% is used.
By the time you start working, you have already used 20% of the “battery” and have 80% left.
Then you open up your email box and start responding to them, then check your notifications on asana or what’s worse – social media… And by the time you want to do something yourself, go into deep work, you only have 60/100 left if you’re lucky.
After lunch you have meetings and at the end of the day, you feel you haven’t achieved anything to help you advance your business.
And I was experiencing exactly the same at the beginning of my digital marketing career.
After reading some books on productivity, I decided to have 4 hours of my mornings dedicated to writing and deep thinking.
Nothing else can get in the way of these.
Because of that, I’m able to write these 60-page articles in 1-2 weeks and still be able to skyrocket our sales for businesses I’m working on.
The miracle of these 4 hours of deep, uninterrupted work is real.
But before you say you don’t have 4 hours… Start with 1 hour only, then move it to 2 hours and then so more.
At this moment, I’m only doing 4 “tomatoes” minimum (which results in 2 hours). If I get to 6 or 8 – that’s perfect. If not, I’m satisfied with 4.
In fact, I see some diminishing results take place after 4, so I’ll leave it the way it is.
2. Reduce the Time You Spend in The Meetings
I hate meetings.
Every time I get a message asking to meet someone – I reject them.
The only way you can get me on the meetings is emailing me the following:
- Why would they want to have a meeting
- Explaining to me what do they want to achieve in the meeting
I do have regular meetings with our team members every week, but these usually take 5-8 hours of the entire week and are usually not longer than 20mins.
And when I do have meetings…
I usually have them walking. Somehow I find them much more bearable that way.
But why do I hate meetings so much?
Well, I don’t think they’re usually very efficient. I’m a visual learner, so I have to see things and have time to think on my own to make decisions.
When I need more information on certain things, I create a task for them to provide me with all the details I need.
The only situation I could think of having meetings is great – when I’m stuck and need other people to give me feedback. Even then, I tend to write down all my thoughts and send them over to them.
Another rule I follow is not to have more than 5 people in the meeting. Too many different ideas, difficult to distribute responsibility, and people tend to take a back seat in the meeting.
Here are my rules for the meetings:
- No longer than 30minutes
- No more than 5 people
- Before the meeting, I want to know what’s all about and what do we want to achieve in it.
- No more than 10% of my total working time
- Whenever I can – have it while walking
- No meeting before 11 am.
There are always some exceptions do the rule, but I’m trying to stick to these.
3. Kill the Procrastination Bug
I used to be a master procrastinator.
I would think of all the reasons why I shouldn’t be doing X and Y during the day and why it makes sense to do it in 2 weeks.
It has changed quite a bit since.
I’m now able to be super productive and if something needs to be done – I usually do it on the same day.
What has changed?
I managed to trick my mind in many ways. The first thing I changed was my morning routines. I usually do the most intense thinking in the morning and everything extra that I do is a “cherry on top”.
But the main hack I use – I call is “Just a bit”.
Whenever I feel like not doing yoga (yet I know how beneficial it is to my body), I tell myself – “well, let’s try to do it only for 5 minutes. If I don’t like it today, I won’t push myself to do it”.
This never happens.
I always end up doing my full 45-minute routine.
I use the same technique when writing, reading or other activities that are not always easy and my brain is trying to trick me into not doing them.
There are many other “hacks” I’ve found that work and they’ll be revealed with my next hacks.
4. Use Supplements to Explode Your Productivity
Whenever I travel, half of my backpack is full of different size bottles containing various supplements.
I can’t live without them now.
I didn’t know supplements can have such a huge impact on my productivity, happiness, and success in life.
Apparently, they do.
And learned about the effects of them by reading this one article.
When I read it – my whole life changed. I started experimenting with different substances. From pharmaceutical grade drugs to all-natural supplements.
I’ve tried everything I could get my hands on.
And I would have to say that most of the natural things – their effects are hardly noticeable when you’re using them.
The time you start feeling the effect is when you stop using them.
I feel less energetic, less enthusiastic about the work I do, and less productive in general.
That’s why it’s super important to have them with me at all times.
Even though I’m not a doctor or even an expert in these matters (I always consult with specialists), I’m going to share with you what I’m taking on a daily basis:
- Curcumin – to boost the immune system
- Magnesium – for better brain work
- Collagen – since I’m vegetarian, I need to take it so my organs function properly. Also, I’m getting bald, so that helps me stop this process by a bit.
- Moringa tabs – general health benefits
- Vitamin C – immune system booster
- Omega 3 – general health benefits
- Creatine – more energy
- Amino acids – reduces mental fatigue
- Ginkgo Bilopa – blood circulation = brain function
The ones mentioned above are more or less used for general health benefits and are well known.
Yet, when I started to experiment with all the different kinds of supplements, I found some stacks that are created to give a boost for the brain.
I’ve tested quite a few of them and was giving up, because whatever they’ve promised – none of them delivered that. Most of them cost anywhere from $70 to $140 a month and without seeing any real benefits, I stopped using them.
But it changed about a year ago. I organized an event for digital marketers, I invited my biohacking friends, who brought their nootropic stacks for us to try.
The following day I did that and the results were incredible.
Much clearer thoughts, focus for a long period of time, and sustained energy…
The best way I can describe it – when on a normal day I would say:
“Ok, that’s enough for today”, on the day that I took these nootropics, I would still say the same thing…
But 30 seconds after I would go and start working on the task.
5. Using Illegal Substances to Boost My Productivity & Creativity
Everything I told you about in the last chapter was related to natural supplements to boost your performance…
But I would lie to you if I didn’t expose you to the illegal drugs that have helped me to speed up my career much quicker.
I would say that these drugs played one of the most crucial parts in doing that.
I can honestly say that without using them – I would’ve not achieved what I have.
Back in 2015, I was backpacking Spain where I met one interesting guy.
While we were drinking beer with another 7 backpackers, I got to know him pretty well…
When we got pretty drunk, he opened up.
He said that 3 years ago he broke up with his wife and was in a deep depression. He was in that state for a period fo one year and was trying to find ways to get out of it.
In his search, he found 2 things that helped him do that.
I got curious. And asked him what both of them meant.
When he mentioned that psychedelics were drugs, I immediately resisted and asked him to tell me more about Vipassana.
I was intrigued.
By this time I’ve tried everything to be happy – when I was at University I thought that traveling will make me happy. When I was still living with my parents I thought that moving out from them will make me happy. When I was working shitty jobs, I thought then when I’m my own boss I’ll be happy.
None of them were true.
And I knew that by the age of 20 pretty well.
I was convinced I had to try something new and I read a few books on meditation and heard it has helped people quite a bit.
After we had this conversation, I did some research on my own.
2 months later, the opportunity came to go to a Vipassana center near Madrid and complete 10 days of meditation retreat.
No interaction between other people, no phones, no writing. 12-14 hours of meditation daily, and very little food.
My mind was racing with thoughts. I was planning my entire future, years in advance. I was trying to connect to my true self, but the only thing I could do is plan what I was going to do when I get out of there.
5 days into the retreat something unexplainable happened.
At around 12 pm, between lunch and meditation center, I had some 30mins. Usually, I was going back to my bed and tried to have some sleep because during the night I wasn’t getting any.
This time, I felt an urge to stay outside and look over these lush mountains that were surrounding our meditation center.
I laid my back to the walls of the building and closed my eyes. A few moments later I started to feel something very strange in my body. As if the light was going down from my toes to the through my ankles, knees, hips, all the way to my head.
I started smiling and thinking – this is it, it’s happening! I’m going to experience what everyone has come to experience here!
And then I remembered the words of the guru – “Attachment is what creates suffering”. I didn’t care about any of that. It took me no more than 2 minutes, but my thoughts were racing saying “I made it!”. I was as attached to this feeling like a baby to his mother in his first year of living.
And then I got sick.
30 mins after, I started to feel my throat getting sore, it was getting more and more difficult to swallow and I could feel my body temperature rise.
For the next 5 days I was the sickest in my life, yet since we couldn’t talk to each other – I couldn’t complain to anyone.
Only on the last day of the meditation retreat, I was able to tell it to others and they gave me some medicine, which made it better.
2 weeks after the retreat I was bleeding from my ears.
It was bad. But I had a glimpse into what states you can actually achieve by meditating.
Peaceful, calm, nor preoccupied with my own thoughts.
A few years later, when I decided to go to South America, I started hearing a lot about psychedelics.
In my mind, it was still a drug, so I didn’t pay attention to it.
In another few months, I read a book: “States of Flow” in which one chapter was dedicated to psychedelics.
It said that people are more likely to be hired by Google if they were using psychedelics or going to a Burning Man.
That got me thinking.
If such a forward-looking company is more likely to hire people who use psychedelics – maybe I should consider trying them out.
Since I was in Colombia at that time, I certainly didn’t want to miss a chance and did my own research on where to do it, etc.
Figured out Brazil has Santo Daime churches in which you can come for a day to have this ceremony.
It fitted me well. I didn’t want to go deep into the jungle for days due to my work.
And when I had my ceremony in Belo Horizonte – my life changed.
I couldn’t explain it in my own words.
The guy who I went there with was a 40-year-old Brazilian fellow, who I’ve met traveling around Brazil.
It was his first ceremony too.
After it, we looked into each other’s eyes and cried.
Back then, I didn’t know his history too well. After that night he told me about his childhood living in favelas and his visits to a psychologist for 20 years to get over the trauma he has experienced.
He told me this one ayahuasca session was far more powerful than all these years visiting a psychologist.
That’s how powerful it is.
After that, I started experimenting with mushrooms and acid. These were remarkable experiences that helped me understand myself better, & become a better person.
When I started my psychedelic journey, I was taking them every 1 month. Right now I take it every 3 months or whenever it’s beneficial to me.
I do microdose every couple of weeks, as I feel it makes my brain more flexible and allows me to be more creative.
NOTE: Even though they have helped me a lot, I don’t suggest you do it. If you do decide to do it, DO NOT DO IT ALONE. Find a friend who is experienced or even better – find a legit shaman who can guide you through this incredible journey.
I was traveling back to my home country from Madrid to Vilnius.
My flight was at 6 am and I was living in Valencia at that time, so I arrived at Madrid airport at around 1 am.
I had almost 5 hours to spare and couldn’t sleep on the ground.
I was answering my Facebook messages and while scrolling through Facebook I found an interesting article that was going viral at that time.
“How to biohack your intelligence – with everything from sex to modafinil to MDMA”
It was over a month since I tried psychedelics and I started realizing how much effect substances have on my body.
I didn’t know back then, that there was a whole entire movement on biohacking and increasing productivity.
I was much more open to the idea of trying more.
After reading an article, I made a list of things I wanted to try out.
On the list, I had some simple things like a cold shower, supplements, sleep, etc…
However, Serge has mentioned some of the substances that sparked some interest in me. One of them – modafinil.
I was intrigued by the idea of having something to boost my focus.
I didn’t need it that much back in the day. I was working no more than 2-3 hours per day, but I was ready to jump into new projects and take my career one step further. I didn’t want to be traveling the world while working. I had enough.
So via friends, I got my hands on modafinil and was impressed.
I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. So much focus, so much clarity… The flawless decision-making process and quick execution.
I remember thinking that I could learn Mandarin or programming using this substance.
It was definitely another way to hack my brain, productivity, and catapult my career to another level.
I didn’t lose my head though. Even though there weren’t any studies made on the use of modafinil over the long-term, I decided to limit the use of modafinil to max 3-4x per month.
Instead of working 2-3 hours per day, I started working only 1 day per week and I would use modafinil on that day.
I spent the rest of my days riding my bicycle, reading, and researching for new opportunities.
As I’m writing this, I only take ¼ of modafinil every 1-3 months. And when I really need it.
My skillset has improved and I don’t need to put so much effort into the same tasks. At the same time, I have developed healthy habits that allow me to use only natural substances.
However, I know I have a “hack” in my sandbox to pull off every time I need it and I would probably use it more often if I decided to learn some complex new skills.
After I experienced the power of modafinil, I started looking for other ways to do the same.
I wanted to build up an even broader toolbox so I would have a broad range of substances that would get me into a state a certain state on demand.
When I was in Bali, I got to know about Kratom – which is a root of a medicinal plant in Bali but is considered an illegal drug in most countries. It is used to get people off strong drugs like heroin (as it affects the opioid system, at a much lower rate than heroin does).
There were more than 4 kinds of roots I could buy and each one of them gave a different benefit. I would use one to “hack” my sleep. Another one to increase my creativity and another one to boost my productivity.
I would say it’s a very similar experience to micro-dosing.
I only had to experience it twice and I really liked it. It got me into a very relaxed state of mind and my thoughts were not jumping from one to another, but rather would give me focus.
The first day that I took it, I enjoyed talking to my friends a lot. I was staying at my friend’s place when he gave it to me on my way out of the home. 5 minutes later, I didn’t want to leave his place, because I wanted to talk to someone.
On the same day, I had a podcast interview and I talked 2 hours non-stop and it was my best podcast interview so far. It was in my own language though, so I won’t link it here.
Well, this is not an illegal drug, yet, it is synthetic. That’s why I decided to put it here.
It’s definitely a huge energy booster and I would say it has a very similar effect as modafinil. One side effect – it made me very jittery and my heart was pumping super fast.
I was very productive on the day I took it, and I’m considering shipping it here to Mexico to have it on demand.
Funny fact: when we started scaling our skincare company to 900 orders per day, my colleagues started to work 12-14 hours per day. Having some hacks in my pocket, I decided to buy them Cogniora and getazoth to keep them mentally sharp and energetic. They love it.
Daily Practices I Do To Keep My Productive and Happy
1. Morning Journal
The very best happiness hack that I found this year was definitely a morning journal.
It’s a very simple practice to have my mind clear and stay focused on the things that have to be done.
I simply write 2-3 pages every morning, pouring every thought I have finishing it with 3 things I’m grateful for.
Also, at the end of the entry, I write down 3 things I want to achieve this day and on Sundays, I write down 3 things I want to achieve during the week.
Let me focus on these things and I try to do them after my morning 2-hour writing session.
2. Wim hof breathing exercise
1 year ago I found this amazing breathing technique that I’ve since used almost daily.
At around 2-3 pm in the afternoon I start to feel sluggish and have no energy.
I also feel like I don’t know where to focus on and there are too many things to be done. That’s a sign I need to do Wim Hof.
After completing 3 rounds, I start feeling energized, and more focused. I sometimes have get answers to the challenges I’m facing.
It has been my companion for almost 2 years already and I do it every 2 days.
There are countless physical and mental benefits of it and I won’t go deep into them. I do yoga once every 2 days for around 45-60min and do it in the afternoon, either straight after wim hof or instead of it.
I do find myself more relaxed and my focus is getting better ever since I started doing it.
Because I’m sitting most of the day, it helps me deal with my posture and other physical problems because of it.
4. Intermittent fasting
Ever since I read the article on biohacking, I started doing intermittent fasting. In the beginning, it was pretty difficult, but 2 years later I don’t ever crave anything.
I skip breakfast in the morning and only drink tea.
5. 36-hour of fasting
Every 2-3 Mondays I do full 36-hour fasting. My last meal is my Sunday dinner and then I eat on Tuesday morning or afternoon starting with a smoothie or fruits.
I’ve done some 72-hour fasts, and loved it!
I feel my body getting light.
My thoughts are super clear and it seems I can be concentrating on things a lot more.
Physically though, I usually don’t do much. The only thing I do is yoga.
My senses become sharper and all the stretches I do in yoga somehow feels so much deeper.
It’s only been a few months that I decided to give a serious go-to meditation.
Even though I’ve had a “Muse” device to help with that, I didn’t get into the habit of using it daily.
Now, after I wake up, I do 20 minutes of guided meditation and feel much calmer and focused in the first half of my day.
I want to learn Transcendental Meditation and will likely take a course in a couple of months.
7. Power Naps
I wasn’t taking it seriously before.
Whenever I felt with no energy in the afternoon, I would do Wim hof to get my energy back and start working on things.
Now things have changed.
I found that by taking a 30 min nap during the day, I regain my energy and focus that I usually have in the morning.
When I wake up after these 30mins, I still feel sleepy, and more often than not, I need another 20 mins to shake off sleep.
But if I do Wim hof after that – I feel like flying and crushing it once again!
Which brings me to another topic, which is super important to my success.
Lots of “sexy” hacks so far… But without optimizing my sleep, I don’t think any of them would make work even a tiny bit.
Whenever I don’t sleep my full 8-hours, I don’t feel like doing anything on that day. No matter how many substances I would have at my disposal.
I’m not going crazy about tracking my sleep with rings, instead, I use some common practices that everyone should use:
- 1-2 hours before the sleep, put on my blue-light blocking glasses.
- 30-120mins before sleep, stop thinking about work and read fiction instead of “how-to” books.
- Have my earplugs and eye mask ready for sleep. I found myself very sensitive to sounds and light during sleep, so it’s very important to have it all times. When traveling, I have many sets of them in my backpack.
- Take a relaxing tea or pills. Lavender, chamomile, and other herbs like these.
- CBD and THC oil combo. These oils have anti-inflammatory properties and are amazing to relax the nervous system. Use it almost daily before going to sleep.
- Always waking up at 6 am, and going to bed at around 9 pm to start reading some fiction.
9. Taking Breaks From Work
Have you ever stared at the screen, trying to solve a problem, yet couldn’t figure out how to do it?
And the more you tried to do it, the more impossible it seemed to solve it?
Well, that’s what I was experiencing, and didn’t even know how to approach it.
Until one day I tried something counter-intuitive. I decided to take my bicycle and just ride for a bit.
As I was riding, I didn’t have a goal of solving this problem but the ideas started coming at me naturally.
After 2 hours of riding my bike, I was rushing back home to finish what I had started.
Since then, whenever I’m stuck, I go and walk, or do some kind of physical activity. It doesn’t have to be any crazy, but the fact that I get off my laptop, and do nothing gives me all the ideas I need.
Now I even have a special time for it.
I start working at 6.30 am and go till 11.30 am (4 tomato timers for writing, then another 2-3 hours chatting with my team, helping them solve their problems, etc.) and then I take a break for another 2-3 hours.
During that break, I do all kinds of unexciting activities – read, go for a walk, prepare my smoothie, Wim hof, take a 30 min nap, yoga and then I go back to work at around 2:30-4 pm to work for another 2-3 hours.
These 3-4 hours of a break give me all the time in the world to think about my problems, come up with new ideas, and replenish my dopamine levels in my brain.
3 years ago I used to be a gym-freak.
If not every day, you’d see me lifting weights every second day.
I wanted to bulk up and stand out in front of others. I thought that by having huge muscles I’ll be more attractive to the women and have more self-confidence.
Anyhow, since I started traveling, I saw it was almost impossible to be maintaining my gym regime so I stopped.
Also, as I was traveling I started doing yoga with a few teachers and loved the way it made me feel physically and mentally.
Since then, I have done yoga every 2 days for the last 2 years.
I’m looking to start doing high-intensity interval training in a form of football or crossfit.
11. Apps and Technology I Use to Boost My Productivity, Stop Procrastination, and Distraction.
- – I simply use it in a browser from and it works pretty well. I tried it on my iPad, but seeing the minutes changing at all times didn’t do me any good, so I went back to the browser version of it. I’ve tried 33min work, and 6min rest intervals but found that 25-5 works are better for me.
- Block Site (extension) – a great app to block sites you don’t want to be opening when doing deep work (or throughout the day).
- Death calculator – this one is a recent one. I found it to be motivating to know how much time do I have left to live. (PHOTO)
- – a very well known app where I take my notes, and able to take access all my notes whenever I need them.
- – this goes along my tomato-timer. Binaural beats let you go into a state of flow easier and lets me bang out these long-ass articles much quicker. Although you can find some of them on youtube, I decided to use them and I’m using it for over a year.
- Kindle – the best decision that I’ve ever made. So much easier to read books while traveling, making notes, and then putting them on a laptop or my own journals.
12. Learning How to Say No To Things
During my recent year, I’ve become a notorious NO sayer.
At this moment I’m getting 3-5 messages from random people on a daily basis. All them pitching me with their own ideas, new projects, consultations they would want to do with me, etc.
Even at the agency, I’m asked to take over accounts, help them out, etc.
And whenever I do that… I regret it immediately.
The agenda of other people is not MY agenda. I have my own goals, and already have enough on my plate to execute on them.
So now, I simply say no to people and don’t
I’ve calculated how much money I’m making per hour and decided to double that amount for consultation calls.
At this moment in time, this price is $1.5k/hour and only a few people have taken it so far.
I’m glad about it.
Due to an increase in requests, I even started writing them down, and when I have time – I review them on Sundays. That’s when I go over them and decide which ones to say no to. So far it has reduced my wrong decisions by 99%.
13. Do Things That Matter to Your Business And Personal Life
When I started working at Sugatan, my job was to growth hack the agency.
Growth hacking in my world means putting as little effort into activities and getting the greatest return on investment.
For that, I’ve spent around 80% of my time searching for new ideas, , and making sure they’re done in the most efficient way possible.
I’ve used many different methods to be tracking my ideas and evaluating them, but here is the sheet that I found to be the most useful.
By doing these, I make sure I’m putting my time and effort into the activities that will actually make a huge impact on my business.
14. Hiring an Assistant
I’ve traveled, and moved places for almost 7 years and am quite independent. I did everything on my own.
Buying tickets, cleaning, finding apartments, etc.
Because of that, I’m used to doing these things on my own and it was quite a transition to make to outsource these things.
But now, I realize how much mental effort all these small things take. And my girlfriend knows it better.
She’s been outsourcing her food preparation, cleaning, travels, and many other things for more than 3 years and I’m discovering the art of doing that.
And it’s definitely an art.
Here’s what we’re currently outsourcing:
- My personal messages on Facebook. Due to the increase of people reaching out to me, I didn’t have any other choice, but filter them and allow only a few to reach me.
- My inbox. There are many agencies, software, and people reaching out to me via inbox, and at this point, it’s way too much for me to handle it all. A few weeks ago I was still doing it on my own, but then I stopped and raised myself a question: how many new tools do I try that was pitched to me via email? 0. I usually get recommendations from my friends and try them out.
- Project management and my personal blog. There are so many details that can be overlooked if I did everything on my blog alone, so I decided to hire a person to do that for me.
- Content distribution. During the coronavirus, I got into a rabbit hole of reading everything I could about it and I started feeling depressed and didn’t want to do much. I saw how social media can change my perception and affect my mood, so I decided to be extra careful with it. Now I even ask my assistant to upload posts so that it doesn’t suck me in.
- My travels. This one is the toughest to outsource due to the fact that I know exactly how to do it myself and it doesn’t take much time. Also, the decision-making process when and how I travel also differs, however, I’m slowly letting go of this part of my life.
- Running errands. I don’t outsource it all the time, because I love walking. So I sometimes take a 30-60min walk to the supermarket and buy food myself. Some of it I can order online, some of it I can’t (I live in Oaxaca right now, so it’s a bit more difficult), but slowly outsourcing.
- Personal stuff. Buying a motorbike, getting visas, and all the other things that need quite a bit of time I prefer to outsource if possible.
Here are a few tips that I have when outsourcing:
- Be as specific as possible. Invest time upfront explaining what you want, how you want it, and include as many details as possible. It will save you a lot of time in the long run.
- It might be more difficult at first and she/he won’t get it right the very first time. You’re a unique individual and understanding your preferences will take some time. The longer you work with your assistant – the easier it will be to do it. Just don’t give up. If you give up – you’ll come back to the same position where you started it.
- Hire an experienced person. I’ve made this mistake. I thought that anyone can be a great assistant, even without any experience. I was wrong. They need to have experience and you definitely don’t want to be teaching your assistant every single thing you do. You want to tell them what you want to achieve, and they have to figure out how to do it on their own. That’s an ideal assistant for me.
15. Goal-Setting. Plan Your Day, Week, Month and Year
5 years ago I started to plan everything I can.
Every Sunday I would go to a coffee shop, have a cup of espresso, observe people, and would take all my journal entries for the week.
I would go through them in about 30-60 mins and would start creating goals for the next week.
I would write down what I want to achieve by the end of the week and plan out the steps. They are usually separated into things I want to do in business and learning.
In the end of 3 months, I would take at least 2 days off, go somewhere where I’m not disturbed by anyone and go over the last 3 months. Then I plan the following 3 months.
In the end of the year, I try to take 5-7 days off, to go over the year and even over the last 5-10 years to see what I’ve accomplished and plan out my following year.
This has been so far the best productivity tool, and I love the way I feel when I do all these things I write down. (I try to hit 80% of them)
For daily and weekly planning, I write it down in my journal and then in my agenda.
16. Dopamine Detox
We’re all dopamine junkies.
For those who don’t know what dopamine is – here’s a simple explanation.
Dopamine is a hormone that is responsible for our happiness. Whenever you do something that gives you pleasure, you get a hit of dopamine. Whenever you look at your social media – you get a hit. Whenever you play a computer game – you get a hit. Drugs can always release massive amounts of dopamine and it’s highly addictive.
As mentioned before – we have limited reserves of dopamine and we need to make sure we use them wisely. If you use all of them on computer games – you’ll simply not have enough of it to complete activities that actually improve your life (like a business, studying, etc.).
So the first thing you need to do is to be aware of this.
Make sure you start completing the most important tasks early in the morning when you have the most dopamine. Block this time, it is sacred. At the moment I’m working on my writing from 6.30 am to around 9.30-10 am. Then I start checking my slack and asana, which are very addictive. Ideally, I would want to not check them until 12pm, however, some of my team members are in Europe and they’re waiting for my answers.
At the end of the week, I’m pretty much exhausted and feel a low motivation to do anything. That usually signals I’m low on dopamine and need to take a break. Saturdays are my only days when I don’t work. That’s when I leave all my phones, laptops away and go for long walks, spas, excursions, and try different restaurants.
In fact, I’m writing this now after having half of my Sunday off just walking, reading, doing yoga, and breathing exercises. I didn’t want to do anything related to work. I didn’t check Shopify revenues or social media. At the end of the day, I was blaming myself that I’m so unmotivated, yet when I woke up this morning, I felt so much better. Excited to write & crush the day.
Downtimes are crucial and if you’re not taking them seriously, you’ll be risking a burning out.
17. Create Tight Deadlines
I love sleeping.
If I don’t sleep at least 8 hours, I’ll be the worst person to be around for the entire day.
Back at University, I how my peers mismanaged their time and were working on the last days of their assignments.
I didn’t want to experience that much stress and lack of sleep.
So whenever I was given the assignment to complete in 2-3 months – I would start working on it immediately. I wanted to complete the 1 month before the due date.
It gave me enough time to do comprehensive research, edit, and make final adjustments if needed a week or two before the due date.
I use the same principle with the eCommerce business.
If I do have something I want to do for the business, I’ll make this deadline very tight, let’s say one week.
Because it’s such a dynamic business, we have to be iterating constantly and after 2 weeks everything could change completely. The thing that I want to implement might not be relevant or we’ll have another project that will take the entire time of my team.
It gives us a massive advantage over competitors – speed.
And we’re able to do more tests than anyone else.
How to Hack Your Career to 6-figures – Final Thoughts
There were quite a few things that I’ve covered here and will add more things over the time once I find them.
My advice is to look at the ideas – and start applying the ones that make sense for you.
Test it out for yourself.
To get these principles I’ve written here took me over 3 years of intense studying and experimenting.
For those that you see here – there were probably 5x more that didn’t work, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you. Look for them elsewhere and test them out.
Don’t be following my steps blindly, turn on your critical thinking and I’ll see you at the top.