Are You Doing Fake Work?
I had a chance encounter at the train station this week.
I started talking to a doctor (let’s call her Katie) waiting on the same platform. She’d just quit medicine after 14 years to become a life coach.
That’s a huge deal.
Leaving medicine after only 2 years is hard enough. Never mind 14.
Anyway, things were going OK for Katie. After six months she’d almost finished her coaching qualification, and was giving free sessions to friends and family. But she hadn’t got any paying clients yet.
We met over breakfast a few days later to discuss her career switch.
And I realised, somewhere between our 1st and 2nd coffee, that she was making an extremely common mistake. Something that basically everyone (including me) does.
She was doing Fake Work instead of Real Work.
Real work is what you do when someone says ‘the project needs to be finished in 24 hours’. You cut the crap and take the most direct path to your goal, ignoring non-essential tasks.
And deep down, Katie knew that getting real, paying clients through the door was the best way to improve as a coach and actually build her practice. That was the real work – asking people to actually pay.
But doing the real work is hard. The stakes are higher, because there’s a risk of failure.
So instead, Katie spent her time on low-stakes fake work:
- Setting up a nice website
- Content marketing on social media
- Giving free ‘practice’ sessions
And that was her problem.
With any project, it’s important to start with the real work. It gets the adrenaline pumping, and when there’s something at stake, you have wat more motivation to improve.
This is basically what Sam Parr (co-host of My First Million) says in this tweet:
Any new project I start: try to get some type of sale or user ASAP.
Like, within 5 days.
Why: momentum is addicting.
No branding, often no website, no LLC, often no product.
Just cold email + phone/zoom + a stripe or gumroad or an easy link to to collect $.
— Sam Parr (@thesamparr) August 5, 2022
So my advice to Katie over breakfast was this: do the real work. Take the most direct route to your objective. Tinkering with website design and marketing can be useful – but not as a cosy distraction.
Katie’s answer was: “OK, sounds reasonable. But ‘real work’ still feels difficult. How do I get over the mental block?”
I’ll let you know my response in next week’s issue. 😉
Stay tuned, and have a great week!
🚀 Level Up Your Camera Confidence
Sign-ups are now open for my new Camera Confidence course 🎉
Almost all of the revenue for my multi-million dollar business comes from me speaking to a camera. I’ve done it every day for about 4 years now. 😁
So, I decided to make a course about speaking clearly and confidently to camera. I’ll teach you everything I’ve learnt from making hundreds of videos, doing dozens of podcast interviews, and coaching over 2,000 students as part of my Part-Time YouTuber Academy.
To level up your camera confidence, enrol in the course using this link.
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♥️ My Favourite Things
🎙️ Deep Dive Podcast – MKBHD – Getting to 16 Million Subs, and the World of YouTube. I talked to Marques Brownlee (also known as MKBHD), one of the largest and most respected tech YouTubers in the world. We discussed the creator economy, the evolution of his business, and how he’s stayed consistent and relevant for 10+ years.
💻 Tech – Dbrand Ali Abdaal Special Edition. So many people have asked me over the years ‘what’s that skin on your laptop?’ So I teamed up with the evil geniuses at Dbrand to design my own special edition skins for MacBook, iPhone, and AirPods. I’m blown away by the result.
🎙️ Creator’s Campfire Podcast – How To Know If You’re On The Right Path In Life, with Paul Millerd. A great conversation, sparked lots of thoughts. Creator’s Campfire is hosted by one of my team, Bhav. I loved hearing how she’s navigated from a corporate career to working with me, and her plans for doing more of her own creative work.
📚 Book – The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks. David argues that your life path is like two mountains. The first mountain is career success, money, status. But there’s something missing: you get more meaning from helping other people and committing to meaningful causes + relationships. That’s what David calls ‘climbing the second mountain’:
Are you on your first or second mountain?
Is life about you – or others?
About success – or something deeper?
🎬 My New Videos
📙 I Journaled Everyday for 90 Days. Here’s What I Learned. I’ve been journaling on/off for the last 5 years, but in the last 90 days I decided to take it seriously. In this video I go through my journaling experience, and the benefits I’ve got from writing for the past 90 days.
🎢 How To Find Your Perfect Career. I use some evidence-based research to answer this question: how do you find the perfect career?
✍️ Quote of the Week
There’s always something flowing out of the interiority of our spirit. For some people it’s mostly fear or insecurity. For the people we call joyful, it’s mostly gratitude, delight, and kindness.
From The Second Mountain by David Brooks. Resurfaced using Readwise