This is the first of a three part series on my experience starting a minimalist business. Don’t miss anything! Sign up to receive free updates via RSS or Email.

The difference between high-impact and low-impact income.

The most common way of working, and the one that most people choose, is low impact. You trade an hour of your time for a little bit of money. After a day, you’re a little older, but you’ve made enough money to pay your electric bill.

These jobs are very common. In most cases the employees are highly replaceable and the pay is just enough to survive.

I’ve worked a few of these jobs, up until August, when I decided to break out of the 9-5 and start exploring new ways to make a living.

So far the decision to do this has been very rewarding.

How I chose to create a high-impact minimalist business.

I decided early on that I wanted to start earning a high-impact living. This is the opposite of the direct trade of time for money. The results are a lot less tangible, but far more rewarding.

This is a minimalist way of working. I spend most of my time doing complex creative tasks. Seth Godin refers to this as emotional labor. I read a lot of books. I research better ways to help my audience. I try out new tools. I make all of the calls on which stories run and which don’t.

To generate high-impact money, you have to create something that is actually valuable. There are no buttons to push. There is no boss to blame the failures on. You are responsible for your own success.

Actions that generate high-impact income may not pay off immediately, the key is that they are scalable in the future. Your 40 hour week today, might bring in $1000 in three months. Your one hour workday might bring in $1000 because of work you did in the past.

I don’t recommend this way of working for everyone. It’s much easier to just sit down and be told what to do. It’s so much harder to trek through the woods, searching for your legacy project.

But, as I said, eventually the rewards are greater.

Here are 8 ways to pursue high impact income.

1, Explore uncharted territory.

High-impact income doesn’t come from well trodden paths. No one can give you the magic combination which will lead you to success. You have to trust your instincts, and most importantly, your heart, and travel to uncharted territory.

2, Follow your passion.

Everyone has there one super power. This is the one thing that they are so much better at than everyone else. You need to put all of your resources into that passion. We are witnessing a point in time when everything is changing. You have the power to build and market the one thing you always wanted to create. Focus on that, nothing else.

3, Ignore everybody.

There’s no payday if you follow everyone else. You can’t ask your mom or your best friend for permission before you start exploring uncharted territory in search of high-impact income. Why? Because no one has done this before. They won’t be able to consult their past experiences to tell you if it will work. If you wait until you get approval from all of society before you take a risk, you’ll be waiting a long time.

4, Focus on your priorities.

When you pursue high-impact income, there will be tasks that yield more than others. Focus on the important moves, and spend less time with unimportant ones. For instance: I know that this blog only works with insanely helpful content. So, I spend 80% of my time developing helpful content. Everything else can wait until I have awesome content for the week.

5, Minimize your expenses.

You cannot start your own high-impact business if you still spend like you’re working a low-impact 9-5. Eventually you will earn a lot more money, but for now you don’t. You need two things: food and shelter. All else can wait until your first payday.

6, Watch your metrics (but not too much.)

At some point you have to check to see if you’re making any progress. Find a way to measure your high-impact income. I do this by tracking your blog visitors and book sales, but this will change depending on what you’re doing. The trick is not to check all day long though. After the first two days of excitedly tracking sales for The Art of Being Minimalist, I finally had to just archive all the emails I was getting. I was spending 80% of my time waiting for new emails, instead of working towards actual goals. Now I check once a day to see how sales are going. Eventually I’ll move that to once a week.

7, Learn when to quit.

If a project isn’t working after a month or two, you need to be able to kill it, or at least approach it from a new angle. Obviously this depends a lot on the business. I stop writing about subjects that don’t resonate with people, and direct my attention towards ones that do. This is about refocusing on what works, and killing what doesn’t. Don’t cling to a topic you love if no one cares about it.

8, Don’t stop doing the work.

No matter how much temporary success you may achieve, or how much failure you are forced to endure, don’t stop working. It’s so easy to just give up, and believe me, many people will tell you that you should. “You’re going to fail, go do something that is normal.” Don’t stop, don’t give up. Do what you have to do until you find success. Eventually you’ll get there, trust me.

How do you pursue high-impact income?

 

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