Have you ever tried instant coffee?
I hope not.
Take an amazing thing, coffee, put it in a 1-time use packet, mix it with a bit of hot water, and BOOM. You have one of the nastiest things out there.
Instant coffee is just another product in a long line of “instant fixes” for people’s problems.
Instant gratification is something I enjoy but have come to realize that it is rarely worth it.
In this post, I will be sharing with you my thoughts on why I believe quick fixes don’t and will never exist.
Instant Gratification Solutions Don’t Exist!
Let’s talk about a story I’m sure you are familiar with: lottery winner failures.
First, though, let’s take a step back.
The personal financial situation in the United States on average is not all that great (well, for some maybe, for others not so much)
Here are several statistics about the finances of America:
- 59% of Americans could not cover an unexpected $500 bill.
- 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account.
- The national savings rate at the end of April was 2.8%
- The average American has around $250,000 in various debts.
- The government is $21 trillion (21,000,000,000,000) in debt.
- All aboard the hyperinflation train!
I think it’s safe to say most people could improve handling their wealth and finances.
Some so many people who play the lottery hoping to buy a huge mansion, and a nice car and retire early. Unfortunately, many winners end up in trouble after these massive 7 figure windfalls.
Why does this happen? How can someone possibly spend 10s of millions of dollars in a few months?
Lotteries are just one example of supposed quick fix instant gratification: winning the lottery can make you rich, but there’s no guarantee you’ll stay rich after the payout.
Instant Gratification Myths
It’s possible that over the years, you’ve been exposed to a multi-level marketing company, or as some people call them, “a Get Rich Quick Scheme.”
When I was in college, I experienced this first-hand.
One day, after getting off the bus, I was walking back to my apartment and was approached by two younger folks. “You look like a sharp and smart guy. We have a business opportunity we’d love to chat about with you.”
As someone who had started to learn about building wealth, investing, and small business, I was eager to jump into learning about how others were making money and building their business.
After meeting up at Starbucks, a meeting with one of the highly successful managers who doesn’t have to work anymore because of his business success, and another recruiting event, I paid my fee and became an Amway business owner.
I told my parents, and they were a little dumbfounded. They told me, you got conned and are wasting your time and money.
A few cold calls, trying to get the hype with my friends (which was painful), and $200 later, I called it a day. It was a waste of time and wasn’t something I should have gotten into in the first place.
3 months and $200 later, this was my first quick fix “failure.”
Amway and similar pyramid schemes might work out for a select few. But for most, best of luck if you decide to join one of those organizations. If you want to quickly get rich and build a multi-level marketing con shop, don’t join one.
Going Against the FOMO Flow
For the past 18 months, I’ve had two main projects: a blog and a subscription kit business.
When I started my blog, I read all of these inspirational stories about how people shot out of the gate and got 1,000,000 page views in their first month, and made $100,000 spending 4 hours that first month. So obviously, now you should go buy their course on how to start a blog, so you can do the same.
What were the results of my first month? I must have spent around 100 hours that the first month, pumped out 15 posts, and ended up with a whopping 1,659 page views and about $5 of revenue.
Six months later, I’d written about 50 posts, and still hadn’t cracked 4,000 page views in a month. I was burnt out, and struggling to see the light.
In October, I went to a financial media conference called FinCon and was surrounded by people who were making this crazy thing called blogging work for them, full-time.
Inspired again, since last November, I’ve been consistent by making every day count.
I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and now even have a podcast where I publish an episode on Tuesdays.
In the last 7 months, I haven’t missed a day, and have seen the growth I was hoping for.
Instant results don’t happen overnight. Nobody is an overnight success, but nothing is stopping you from getting there.
Personal Growth = Long-term Gratification
A similar thing happened with the subscription kit business I’m working on growing.
After a successful Kick-starter last May and June, sales were pretty much nil over the next few months.
My product was bland, my website looked untrustworthy and unappealing. The idea needed refinement.
Trying to balance my day job, blog, family, fun, and a new subscription kit business was tough. I don’t recommend taking on all of that at once. But again, I had to figure out what made me happiest, what I knew I could accomplish, and then go out and do it!
Over the past few months, I’ve re-branded, redesigned my website, and continued to tweak the final product. And now, I’m getting a few sales a week. Bam!
It feels amazing getting THIS feedback, “I love waiting to get my box in the mail and see what fun new ingredients I get to use,” or, “The directions are super simple and the seller gives you everything you need to start. I can’t wait to get the different flavors they offer!”
If this feedback would have come that first month without the hard work, I’m not sure I would have been as thankful or pleased with my efforts.
While I could have just slapped together a website and called it good, instant fixes don’t exist. And now, I’ve positioned the company for a promising future.
Daily Discipline Leads to Success
In a world filled with instant coffee, instant credit, instant online checkout, and 24/7 news on 247 channels, we have come dangerously close to losing touch with reality and believing we have access to instant life.
Life is not easy
Starting with any new endeavor, growth takes time.
Think back to a time you were a beginner in something you wanted to become better at.
I love the example of when I learned how to bike: I started with training wheels and went from there.
A few months later, the training wheels were off and I was riding around the neighborhood; a year later, I could bike to school and back without needing supervision.
After a few years of biking, 10-20 miles in a single ride wasn’t out of the question. Something that started with training wheels turned into a lifelong skill.
It’s the same concept in life, whether it’s learning skills, fitness, financial acumen, relationships, etc.
Life is not easy. Instant gratification is rare. You can’t just go online and find success in real estate, success in your business or career, or even in your relationships. Clickable links are fun, but they’re certainly not magic beans.
It will take time, and it will be a struggle, but persistence will pay off. And you will find what you’re looking for.
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Erik @ The Mastermind Within says
Thank you for allowing me to share my story Cubert!
My pleasure! Thanks for reminding me and my readership that few good things come without struggle and effort. Great to have your post, Erik.
For some reason, I’ve mostly avoided people doing MLMs – at worst it was people on Facebook I haven’t seen in awhile. Recently and suddenly, though, quite a few people I know have gotten involved in some. I hope it blows over quick and they remain mostly undamaged.
You’re lucky, Joe. I’ve had family involved in this stuff. Much harder to avoid it when the bug hits your loved ones. Cringe!
Erik @ The Mastermind Within says
It was definitely a mistake of mine, but ultimately it lead me to where I am today.
Thanks for stopping by Joe
Tread Lightly, Retire Early says
Funny how somehow blogging doesn’t get the same rap as MLMs when it comes to get rich quick schemes. Maybe because with enough time, effort (and skill), you’re likely to succeed at least at some level, which isn’t so true with MLMs. Still, get rich quick scheme it most definitely isn’t.
That’s a fine point, my friend! We see a TON of Pinterest pins and gobs of humble-bragging about all the big money some bloggers make. What’s telling is how much of that money is made by selling courses on how to generate affiliate income, assuming the same level of success can be obtained. I suppose for many bloggers this income is their bread and butter and I can’t begrudge that. But the massive amount of “take this course and… voila!” is our very own virtual floating plastic pollution disaster.
Erik @ The Mastermind Within says
Well, I’d argue a certain course is a 2 layer MLM, but there is not recurring revenues which truly define an MLM – that’s why blogging isn’t an MLM, in my opinion.
“You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant. It just doesn’t work that way.” – Warren Buffett
There’s a quote for everything, right??
Accidental FIRE says
As I said in one of my posts, the shortcut is knowing that here are no shortcuts. Once you figure that out you stop wasting time on trying to find instant fixes and hard work becomes the shortcut.
You are wise beyond your years, AF! I’d pile on and argue that when a shortcut does appear, the wise take advantage of it (whether it’s good genes, a surprise promotion, being born in the U.S.A., etc.)
freddy smidlap says
that’s a lot to take on with a full time job. i gotta go check out the subscription service. we’re always looking for new ideas to emulate. i went on the grift once with a similar outfit to an MLM scam in my youth. it happens but i was lucky not to lose any money, but i did have to hitchhike home from north carolina.
Hitch-hike? Now THAT’S good fodder for a blog post, right there!
I have figured that out by now – the hard way – nothing worthwhile happens without enough effort. And most of the time, all I have are good intentions. But without all the hard work, that gets me nowhere!
Guess what I want more than anything else in life? An undo button. And not just for the big mistakes. The small ones are worse…
Interesting notion, Busy Mom. We all tend to regret the big mistakes, but you suggest the small ones. I think there’s something to that – the effect of the small ones add up over time and consequences sneak up on you.