Mental Hacks to Make Your Business a Success from the Start: Part I

Mental Hacks to Make Your Business a Success from the Start: Part I

Before you build your business in the real world, you need to build it mentally first.

This is a big concept and I have a lot to share with you about it so I’m going to break it up into two posts. In this article, I’ll lay out how:

  • mental work is some of the hardest but most important work you’ll do in your business
  • to be successful, you must have a definite major purpose (DMP)
  • values + vision + goals + action + commitment = dream lifestyle
  • lifestyle entrepreneurs lead with their positive core values
  • knowing your values helps you know why you’re building a business in the first place
  • your vision is your desired outcome in vivid detail
  • a vision will propel you through the inevitable hard times
  • to craft your vision by thinking about what you deep down really want

Doing the Mental Work

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of creating your business, we need to do some mental work. Don’t be tempted to skip this stuff – it’s important!

It’s actually one of the most important lessons I can share about starting a business.

Trust me, I’m not trying to be some kind of junior Tony Robbins here. The rah-rah stuff has its place but that’s not the point right now.

I’ve watched as others have tried and for whatever reason, they back out on their dream lifestyle. In fact, I’ve literally given people a checklist and all of the tools I’ve used to grow my own business but they didn’t do the mental groundwork first and guess what?

They’re still working at their jobs!


Because you’re reading this, I know it’s because you want something more. With an almost mathematical certainty, I can say that if you don’t have what you want right now, it’s because you haven’t done what you needed to do to make it happen.

Going forward, you’re going to need to change. It all starts in your head amigo!

We’ve got to get the mental stuff right first.

I could show you exactly how to run an adventure tour for example, but if you don’t think of yourself as a business owner and know how to set and achieve goals, it won’t make a bit of difference.

You’ll be back at your job even more bitter and thinking that those “business things don’t work”.

They work. I promise they work!

Let’s Take a Walk on the Beach

In 2013 or so, when we were living in Cozumel the first time, some good friends of ours came to visit. One day we took a trip to the other side of the island.

After a few hours of fun, my buddy and I stared out at the gorgeous ocean and tried to imagine seeing Cuba off in the distance.

Then he turned to me and said, “This is quite the perfect life you’ve created here Sean.”

My friend doesn’t know it but what he said hit me like a ton of bricks. I worked my butt off to get to that point and in one casual sentence from a friend, all that hard work felt totally validated.

We turned and watched our wives chatting and kids building a castle in the white sand. We talked about how he would be going back to his job and I would still be on the island. He liked his job but it was still a job.

Long story short, we talked about each other’s dream lifestyle and got into some heavy stuff. After that conversation, it made me realize that I owed everything to one simple and completely underrated concept – having a Definite Major Purpose.

If you could take a timeout when reading a blog post, this would be one.


If you’re a fast reader, take it down just a notch. Let’s pretend that you and I are having one of those deep life chats that always seem to happen when looking out at the ocean.

What I’m going to share in the rest of this article (as well as the Part II) is probably the most important thing I could share with you – at least if you want to live your dream lifestyle funded by a business that is.

Really, if you take nothing else from this from me, this would be it.

Just ask yourself, what is your Definite Major Purpose?

Write it out. Burn it into your brain. Put it on your bathroom mirror. Do whatever you need to do to remember it. Not sure yet what a Definite Major Purpose is?

Let’s explore that now!

What Is Your Definite Major Purpose?

In his book, The Master-Key to Riches, Napoleon Hill talks about how many of the world’s most successful people had a Definite Major Purpose (DMP). He says that many people may start with a DMP but fail to reach their goal when they encounter some opposition or get distracted.

Your job will be to get super focused and make your business a real business by making money fast.

In my experience, a DMP is made up of 5 parts. They include:

  • Values
  • Vision
  • Goals
  • Action
  • Commitment

We’re going to dive into each one of these parts in the rest of this article (& Part II). But to help you understand your DMP a bit better, check this out:

Values + Vision + Goals + Action + Commitment = Dream Lifestyle

Do you see now how by getting things right mentally, it makes the whole thing mathematical?

If you do every day, everything that’s part of your DMP, you cannot fail to reach your dream lifestyle. It’s turns out that math is cool after all!

Now let’s go deeper on each one of the parts that make up your DMP.

Dont Stop

Start with Your Values

Unlike a traditional business, a lifestyle business is created for your own personal fulfillment.

It’s to increase the level of happiness in your life. More money, more time, and more freedom to do what you want leads to increased happiness.

When you start a traditional business, your goal is of course to make money. The primary focus is on profit margins, market share, customer acquisition cost, etc. The thought of happiness is somewhere deep in the background. It’s more of a result of making it with your company.

“When we ship a million units, then I’ll be happy” or “when we sell out to Google for $1 billion, then I’ll be happy”.


I say, why wait? Let’s just skip to the part about happiness and make some money along the way.

It’s just easier.

Lifestyle entrepreneurs lead with their positive core values. When you start out with your core values as the highest priority, you’ve already won.

To contrast that, you hear about so many top executives who’ve raced to the top of their industries but have a sucky home life. It’s the whole dilemma that asks:

Would you rather make $200K a year but have to work 60+ hours a week and miss out on most of your family time or would you rather make only $50K a year but only work 10 hours a week and have all the time in the world for your family?

If your values are clear, family time will (should) win out every time.

With a lifestyle business, you don’t have to make the choice!

You can make $200K a year and also only work 10 hours a week.

Coming up, I’ll show you how to scale up your business to whatever level you wish while maintaining your flexibility. This is why you must first establish your values before you build this business. You need to know what you’re building it for!

What you decide to do is up to you. These choices need to be aligned with your positive core values. Check out what Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine says:

“Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values. You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.”

Building a business based on your values sets you up for 100% success from the get-go. It helps you align your values with a successful business model that will help you achieve what you’ve always wanted.

For me personally, freedom, fun, mobility, and helping others are among my top values.

Because of the business I created and scaled, I’m now in a position to live my values every day. It’s pretty cool and it’s something I’m super grateful for.

I now get emails from others saying something I’ve shared with them has changed their lives. That’s huge! It’s an awesome responsibility and I take it seriously. In fact, check out an email I got not too long ago:

“My wife and I bought your course a few days ago, and we just got our first client! It’s merely $200 a month, but to me it means freedom! I don’t really care to have millions, but what I want is freedom of time and place, and for the first time in my life, I feel like I am on my way…” -D.M.

I mean come on!

That’s cool stuff!


Your Values Are NOT Your Passions

Before we dive into your values, it’s important to point out that your values are different from your passions.

In no way am I suggesting that you build a business around your passions or something that you love. I AM suggesting that you get your values lined up so that you know why you’re starting this business.

The key is to recognize that this business will be your vehicle to living your dream lifestyle. It’s OK if it’s based on something you love as long as there’s a paying market for it.

I should probably repeat that.

It’s OK to build your business based on something you love or your passion but the condition is that there HAS to be a paying market.

Discovering your positive core values and what’s most important to you will serve as your reason why you’re doing the business.

It’s not necessarily what the actual business is based on.

For example, for my wife and I, one of our core values is mobility. We want to be able to go wherever we want to go whenever we want to go.

So for us, the kind of business we set up needed to be mobile-friendly. We needed to be able to work online. Setting up an internet marketing agency is what we decided on.

Because it was mobile-friendly and aligned with our values, it worked out perfectly.

How To Identify Your Values

Actually figuring out your deep down positive core values can be a little tricky.

The reason why is because most of us are so busy we never stop to think about what actually makes us happy. We’re too busy trying to make money just to pay the bills.

We’re on a track that society put us on but rarely stop to consider if it’s the right one.

I’m telling you now that creating a lifestyle business will help you first identify what makes you happy. In fact, as I’ve already alluded to, it’s a necessary component to setting up your business. But how do you go about discovering your core values?

Well, it’s easier than you think!

The fastest way I know of is just to think about what makes you the most happy.

If you didn’t have to go to a job, and you had the whole day to yourself, what would you do?

Don’t think about the things you think you have to do like chores around the house, buying groceries, or whatever. Pretend that’s all taken care of. Think about the things you would love to do.

Personally, I like to answer this phrase:

I’m happiest when…

Then you just fill in the blank.

I’m happiest when I’m doing something outdoors. I’m happiest when I’m doing something fun with my family. I’m happiest when we’re going on a trip. I’m happiest when we’re exploring some place new.

I think you get the point.

What makes you the most happy?

Just fill in the blank. Jot it down somewhere. You’ll need this for the next step which is to create a vision. But before we get there, I thought I’d list just a few sample values to help you brainstorm:

  • Freedom/Autonomy
  • Connecting with others
  • Solitude
  • Independence
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Fun
  • Financial Stability
  • Healthy Living/Well-being
  • Achievement
  • Creativity/Talent Development
  • Contribution
  • Leadership
  • Respect

Create a Vision Based On Your Values

February 6th, 2004. Disneyland. Me and a hot brunette standing in line to go on Splash Mountain.

It was my first date with the person that would one day become my wife. I was blabbing on about a vision that I’d been brewing in my head for some time.

Without going into all of the details, it involved a white sandy beach, a nice warm breeze, evening time, lights on strings, a live reggae band, fantastic food, and lots of friends and family. At the time, I was 25 years old and I knew that an epic beach party like that was going to be part of my future life. I didn’t know how yet, but I just knew it was going to happen.

But that’s not the point.

The point is, as I was sharing my vision with this hot brunette, I could see that she was totally digging it. As I talked about all of the people laughing and dancing to the music in the warm tropical breeze, I could tell she wanted to be there. Even though it was only our first date, I was pretty sure at the time I wanted her to be there too.

With your values in place, you need to work on creating a vision. This is also known as your “why.”

This is what you’re fighting for. This is the whole point of even starting a business in the first place. Knowing your values helps you realize what’s most important to you. Creating a vision helps you imagine it all actually happening.

A vision is the desired outcome in vivid detail. It’s the fruits of your labor. A vision is extremely motivational. With a vision, you know where you’re going. With a vision, you’ll push through the crappy times and move towards the good stuff. With a solid vision in place, you become a force that doesn’t stop until you’ve reached your destination.

Also, you can lead and inspire others. As an entrepreneur, it will be your job to create the vision and then do everything you can to make it a reality. You need to have a vision for both your desired lifestyle as well as your business.

How to Create a Vision

A while back, some good friends of ours, Katie and Ilija, were talking about a crossroad they were facing in their business. They shared with us about how Ilija was getting somewhat stressed with some decisions he had to make.

Katie, who’s a very calm and insightful person asked Ilija a seemingly obvious but powerful question. She just said, “what do you really want?”

It made Ilija pause and really think about it. Long story short, they came to some solid conclusions and took action.

As you begin to craft your vision, you need to think about what you really want. It seems obvious right?

It’s almost too easy of a question. You might think things like, “I want to pay off my car or my house” or “I want to take more vacations” or “I want more time with my family” or whatever.

In the last section, you already thought about your values. Take what makes you the most happy and now think about actually starting to live them. This is your vision.

If you’re like me, it really helps to find a model – someone who is already doing what you want to do. Back in 2010, we were living a very normal life in Orange County, California. It was good. Yet for some reason, my wife became obsessed with traveling families.

I would come home from work and see her on the computer checking out travel blogs written by not just solopreneurs living in Thailand but entire families traveling all over the world.

I knew she wanted to do that as well but I always shoved it to the back of my mind.

I thought, “Yeah, there’s no way we could ever do that with my job.” So I dismissed it. That is, until I walked through the front door after getting laid-off. Then it got real. Fast.

We spent a couple of days talking about what we deep down really wanted. We identified our values and then crafted a vision based on those.

For us, we thought we’d check out both Seattle and San Francisco first and then work our way to “someplace tropical.”

I’m not kidding. We created a timeline and we listed Seattle and San Francisco both for a year and at the end of those two years it just said, “someplace tropical.”

As the time got closer, Cozumel kind of bubbled up to the top.

We would never have done that if my wife hadn’t spent time looking at other people doing it.

In fact, there was one family in particular that my wife followed. It was Greg and Rachel Denning who, at the time, had 5 kids and they were traveling from Alaska to Argentina. They seemed like they were having a blast and it’s something we were attracted to. We actually met up with them when they passed through Seattle and we’ve been friends ever since.

At this point, I should acknowledge that not everyone wants to travel or live on a tropical island.

Not too long ago, my buddy Nick confided in me saying, “We think it’s cool what you guys have done but for us, we’re not as into living in another country as you guys are. Our dream is to have a cabin in Colorado and basically be able to go there whenever we want.”

The key to creating a vision is that it’s got to be incredibly personal. Naturally, if you’re married, you’ve got to be on the same page. You can’t have the goal of taking off to explore Tibet if all your spouse wants to do is play golf in Texas. And obviously, if you have kids, you need to take them into account as well.

Get started creating your vision by taking out a pen and paper and jot down the answers to the following questions:

  • What do you want your dream life to look like?
  • What’s your dream Monday look like?
  • What’s your dream Thursday look like?
  • What’s your dream week? Dream month? Dream year?
  • Where are you?
  • Who’s with you?
  • How do you feel now that you’re living your dream life?
  • What do you deep down really want?

The above questions are just to get you brainstorming.

Feel free to add any details that you think will add to your vision. In fact, if you like, write it out in a paragraph.

Describe every detail. The more personal you make it, the more motivating it will be which is really the whole point. Don’t be tempted to skip this!

I know this may seem a bit “life-coachy” but I promise you’ll need your vision as we get into the really tangible stuff as we push on.

For now, think about the above. Write it out.

Coming up in Part II, we’ll look at your goals, taking action, and your commitment.


This is part of an ongoing series of posts all pulled from the book: The 60-Day Entrepreneur – Create Your Own Lifestyle Business, Scale Your Income, & Live Life on Your Terms

For your own free e-version of this book, click on the image below60 Day Entrepreneur