My Story: Becoming a Productive Online Entrepreneur
So, how did I end up writing about productivity and online business success? Why am I spending my days helping online entrepreneurs?
These are good and important questions. Allow me to share my story, and I’m sure you’ll get great insight into my motivations.
It all started with a photography hobby
It all started with a serious wildlife photography hobby back in 2003.
As a born and bred South African, I had ample opportunities to visit some of the most amazing wildlife sanctuaries in and around Southern Africa.
I took photographs in the Kruger National Park of South Africa, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park between South Africa and Botswana, and in some of the famous Botswana reserves, such as the Moremi and the Chobe.
Not long after starting I wanted to showcase my work, and I realized the Internet is the perfect medium. I could self-publish my work, and write about my passion.
I launched a wildlife photography site and started working hard. In about 18 months, I had that site up to 1,000 unique visitors per day. (A mean feat for me back then. I got Productive Entrepreneur there in less than 4 months.)
Bye bye day job
My progress convinced me that I could make a full-time living from my online efforts.
In February 2006 I quit my day job as an Actuarial Consultant and focused all my time and effort on online business.
Over time my passion evolved a little, and I built blogs on different topics. These ranged from book reviews to Christianity to a spirituality of silence. I seemed to lack strong focus. I would only discover why later on.
I was making progress, and making a healthy income from my online efforts and work with consulting clients.
Yet, I realized that the unique circumstances facing an online entrepreneur posed unique challenges to personal productivity.
I was working from home, reporting to no one in particular, and I got easily distracted by less productive tasks like browsing, checking email, or interacting on social networks.
I also experienced procrastination and the paralyzing fear of uncertainty. Whenever I tried something and it didn’t work out, I would lose heart and feel like a failure.
I was bombarded from all sides with business and marketing advice, and just reading it all proved to be too overwhelming. Who was right? Who could really help me make progress? What is honestly the best business model to use?
At this stage I became highly interested in maximizing my personal productivity. I wanted to spend as little time possible working, doing only those things that were really beneficial to my business, and making a decent income from these efforts.
My Dark Night
In 2008, an old, unhealthy habit returned. I started smoking again, and I was back to about a pack a day in no time.
Any ex-smoker would agree that a smoking a pack of twenties per day is a habit (addiction!) that will squeeze all entrepreneurial energy out of you.
I became depressed and lost much of my ambition.
I refer to this period as my Dark Night of the Soul.
Thankfully, I had a couple of wise mentors to guide me, and I was reading the work of Eckhart Tolle. Eckhart’s specialty is to help people end illusion and suffering.
I started implementing the advice I received, and I added a couple of healthy habits to my life.
Soon the light broke through.
Presence came into my life. No, I was not all of a sudden enlightened, or awakened or someone mystical. I just understood what caused me to feel unhappy, stole my energy, and kept me stuck.
And I knew how to fix it.
I’m not someone who one day woke up enlightened. Nope. I had to grow my awareness the hard way.
I started reading up about meaningful productivity and prolific creativity. I experimented… and practiced… and learned.
I learned how to maximize my physical energy and what types of activities depleted it. I learned all about the tricky art of maximizing and maintaining healthy levels of creative energy.
I learned about time management and what it truly means to focus on something.
I learned about the pitfalls of anxiety and overwhelm. I learned how to deal with the fear of uncertainty.
And, in a sense the most important discovery of them all, I learned about Resistance — that inner tendency to self-sabotage. This was a breakthrough and a half! This is what was stealing my focus and preventing me from pushing on when it mattered most.
Fast forward a little…
Now I’m blogging about my experiences.
Why Productive Entrepreneur?
Being able to do what you love, and having the freedom and presence to make solid progress in this is truly amazing (even if the progress is slow but steady). And if you’re earning a solid living doing it, that’s where the real fun starts!
I want to help entrepreneurs do exactly that. My struggles have shown me how to achieve this, and now I want to share this knowledge with others.
I’ve been helping entrepreneurs make more money through hard and smart work since 2009. In 2011 I decided to start blogging about it and to offer my advice, products and services to a wider market.
Where’s all this headed?
Again, it’s about helping you create a more remarkable life. Entrepreneurship makes the world a better place. It creates jobs and keeps the economy ticking over. It’s a deeply creative act, and I firmly believe that true creativity is a sacred act.
Being an entrepreneur is awesome.
As someone with experience in online business and productivity, I’m passionate about helping others work really hard and smart and make the most of their opportunities as entrepreneurs.
The world is changing
We all know the days of having a steady job in a large corporation are over. No one will happily pay your medical aid and give you a full salary after retirement. You’re future is your own responsibility these days.
Now, business is all about self-expression, creating meaningful art and making the world a better place. It’s about finding people who are as different as you are, interacting with these folks, and serving them.
In serving fellow entrepreneurs, I believe I’m fulfilling my destiny.
What to do next…
Okay. Pause briefly and read that heading again. You’re going to see it often.
As this blog is about productivity, and meaningful progress in your business and life, I’ll have an action step after every piece of writing I do. At the end of every blog post and every email, you will see the words “Here’s what you should do next…”
If you diligently do these things, you’ll make swift progress towards the realization of your dreams.
Today, your task is simple.
Just send me a quick email at dries [at] productiveentrepreneur.com and give me some feedback about your journey. Tell me where you are and where you would like to go with it all…
If you do this during the next week, I’ll try my best to reply… in person 🙂