If your focus goes away from the job then your boss can get angry. No one talks about that … but it’s true.
The point of starting a one-person business is to:
- Explore your untapped potential
- See if you can find a customer base
- Find a type of work that doesn’t feel like work
- Re-sell your 9–5 skills to more than one customer
Here’s the quiet approach I used to slowly transition out of corporate life and into a successful one-person business.
Tell no one your plan
Bragging to people about your dreams is a disease.
There’s no reason to make an announcement. Colleagues don’t need to know. Friends and family don’t need to know either.
I found the more people you tell the more they try and talk you out of it. “You’re wasting your time Timbo. It’ll never work. Stay with us.”
Just because those around you are too scared to try it, doesn’t mean the goal is silly or likely to fail. Keep quiet about your business. Don’t let your ego force you to post it on social and talk about it at dinner parties.
Shutting up = Step 1
Activate monk mode
Monks are worth studying.
What they have mastered is focus, and focus is crucial to any big goal. Monks can sit for hours at a time and meditate. They move through the world differently and have a sense of Zen that’s hard to describe. Their goal is to find enlightenment and the process never ends.
Monk mode is an early 2000s idea that says to choose a big goal and focus on it with unusual intensity for a length of time.
No alcohol. No video games. No Netflix. No time-wasting. No binging on junk food that robs you of energy that could be used to start a one-person business. Just focus and flow states for, say, 6–12 months.
In that time you’ll see what’s possible.
Disappear for 12 months
Socialization is at the heart of society.
It’s a huge distraction too. When I was in the early days of building my tiny online empire I spoke to very few people. I stopped going to pubs and dinner parties. All my focus went into my goal.
True friends understood and told me to go for it. Fake friends got angry and stopped talking to me (a great filter for relationships).
For 12 months most people didn’t hear from me. I just did my 9–5 job, and spent every other second on my goal. Progress was 10x faster than all the other times I tried to do it before and failed.
A one-person business needs intense focus to light the creative fire inside you that people find infectious and get drawn to.
Use the dark hours
I religiously worked 9–5 during this period of enormous growth. Not a minute more.
Soon as 5 PM hit I was out the door like jumping jack flash. I ran home and did the hard tasks that birthed my one-person business.
And I wasn’t sorry one bit. You have to prioritize yourself more than an employer to succeed at this game. Don’t let shame lead you astray.
Being a former DJ taught me to use the dark hours. If I couldn’t sleep at 3 AM, I’d work on my business for an hour.
Or on the weekends, when I didn’t have my job, I’d work until late. After 10 PM and before 9 AM the streets are empty. This means fewer distractions exist. And the silence is just magnificent.
I remember looking outside or opening my window and feeling this sense of serenity. This feeling is a superpower.
Try the dark hours as an experiment.
Dark mode on all apps
Dark mode on a device means to make the background all black.
The dark mode I’m talking about is to reprogram your phone and computer to work for you — rather than against you.
I turned on black and white mode on my phone so the colors stopped making me want to check it.
I deleted all social apps from the phone.
I turned off all notifications. And I changed my email address and set up spam filters to delete useless promotional emails. Then I spent a few hours unsubscribing from almost every newsletter.
What I was left with was dark mode. A phone that could make calls and get texts from family. Everything else happened either on my computer or not at all. Social media became a tool I chose to use at strategic times with an exact purpose in mind.
I stopped mindlessly scrolling and used it to start posting and looking for specific ideas related to my one-person business.
Use social media the smart way or it will use you.
This quiet model for a one-person business is intense.
I get it. And it’s supposed to be. You don’t need to follow my exact blueprint to be successful, but try borrowing a few ideas and experimenting with them to see if they help kickstart your progress.
A one-person business isn’t about ego and noise. It’s about freedom.