10 days ago, Kate and I moved into a new rental. It’s the first time we have a 12 month contract which feels amazing and will certainly add stability to our lives. I do however have to leave to the UK in 2 weeks (fuck you visas).
This new place is certainly a “fixer-upper”, which is a challenge we have welcomed. The last 10 days have consisted of trying to set up an environment conducive to work and still run and operate the business.
Kate and I are obsessed with second-hand furniture and goods. It seems wild to me to pay way over the odds for the same thing you can get second hand. This has resulted in us scouring Goodwills, thrift shops, vintage shops, and garage sales. Whilst a little slower than “one-click buy on Amazon”, it has yielded some absolute gems.
Unfortunately, most of these gems are more “diamonds in the rough”, and at times, very rough 😉
The majority of the furniture we have invested in required some TLC to get it into useable shape. As a self-proclaimed “handy DIY man”, I have taken on the role of doing that work.
That work has involved arguably the most monotonous task in the world – Sanding. A lot of fucking sanding. Sanding shelves, tables, table legs, drawers, and more. The hardest part has been having to sand on the floor as we have no standing area available. I’ve also been vlogging the whole experience (currently editing), so yes, overall, it’s been a challenge.
During the long sanding hours, I have a lot of time to think. and boy have I done some thinking. Here is what I’ve learned…
Lesson 1 –
I realized early on that sanding a chest of drawers is very similar to running a business.
You know before going in what you want the expected outcome to be, you visualize it, you can taste it.
Yet it’s not real, yet…
There is a gap between where you are now and where you want to be. This gap can only be filled by work. If you understand and accept this, you can decide on what type of work you want to do.
Do you want to
a) do rushed work to get to the finish?
b) do you want to take your time and do your best work regardless of “when the finish comes”?
I’ve realised that the more I do B, the better I feel about myself, the better I feel about others and my work becomes exponentially more valuable.
Applying this to the business world means doing the work that matters, to the best of your ability, and not rushing through it just to make a paycheck.
Lesson 2 – If you’re going to start, you better finish.
I said to Kate – “I’ll refinish that chest of drawers and make it look really good”. She smiled and said that would be great.
So, I took the sander and began.
Now, imagine I got distracted, gave up, or started doing something else…
… imagine if I left for the UK and Kate had 5 pieces of furniture that were 50% done.
She wouldn’t be happy and neither would I.
This is where I realized that the key to winning at life is simply finishing what you started.
Through my many years in the online world, it’s almost hilarious how many people start a thing but never see it through. It’s actually quite baffling.
If you want to win – stay the course.
Lesson 3 – The beauty is in the detail
When you’ve been sanding wood for 2 hours straight and your hands are on fire from the vibration from the sander, it’s easy to think about finishing and being done.
If you focus on this though, you miss the beauty…
you miss the big reveal of a beautiful knot in the wood underneath the horrible paint,
you miss how beautiful wood becomes when it is sanded incrementally from heavy grit, to fine grit… (from rough to smooth)
and if you only focus on the climax, it’s kind of a disappointing event!
This is the same in business, most people only focus on “6 figures a year” or “7 figure earner status”. I’ve been guilty of that too and in doing so missed out on all of the beautifully small details.
If you can fall in love with the details, you get multiple climaxes, who wouldn’t want that?
Lesson 4 – Get the right tools and advice
I haven’t renovated furniture in a number of years. It’s safe to say I was a little rusty. Even though “sanding wood” appears and easy task, like anything, it’s a little more nuanced.
I went at the wood like a pysco, just trying to get it done with no planning. In doing so, I was sanding against the grain and using the wrong sandpaper grit. This led to somewhat average results and way more work from myself.
After a few frustrating sessions, I decided to go the trusty source of learning whatever you want – The Youtubes.
Within 8 minutes of research, I totally changed my approach…
… I got the correct tools and started using them properly. This halved my workload and increased my output.
The bottom line – Don’t think you’re an expert when you’re not. Listen to real experts and follow what they say!
Lesson 5 – train the muscle and don’t be unrealistic…
I’m a bit of a maniac and I have insane self-belief (at least to me). I honestly believe that if I apply myself I can achieve anything.
This however leads me to be a little reckless. For example, I had in my head that I could just power through 3 days of sanding and staining with no problem. I thought I’d just “smash it and get it done”.
In reality, It’s now 2 days after I finished and I’m exhausted. The videoing, sanding, and running of the business has taken its toll.
Work ethic, output, and recovery are all muscles that need to be trained.
The lesson here is to understand that and accept it…
… it’s okay to build yourself into who you want to be!
The lessons I am learning through a mundane task like woodworking can also be applied to the business world. I have been applying these lessons to my online revenue streams (read about here), and it’s been paying dividends.
I’m more committed, focused and dialed in that ever before!
Who knew sanding could make more money?
I hope this has been valuable for you to read, I really appreciate you taking the time to do so!
Thanks for reading,