Success = Hard Work

Everyday I see articles and blog posts with titles such as “4 Things Every Startup Founder Should Know” or “How to Raise $10M.” This sort of stuff may be useful for some people. However, I suspect such writeups are often telling you things you already know (in one way or another).

What I rarely see are write ups that talk about brute force effort and persistence. I don’t think there are any secrets to success. You generally have a good idea or not. Yes, it needs to be executed properly, but that’s only part of it. You must work hard, and invest time and effort to learn every aspect of the business.

My two favorite quotes/anecdotes on this topic are:

1.) A business takes years to become an “overnight success.”

2.) In a rarely watched commencement speech at USC, Elon Musk said“ If you do the simple math, say that someone else is working 50 hours and you’re working 100, you’ll get twice as much done in the course of a year as the other company.”

I couldn’t agree more, Elon.

As the CEO of an early stage startup, I must wear many hats and achieve success through significant effort on a daily basis. In fact, to close out the blog post, to illustrate what a typical day looks like as the CEO of DNSFilter. This was my schedule on September 7th:

8:40AM-9AM:
Research Kanban & Agile development processes in order to improve DNSFilter effectiveness/efficiency. (If interested, here is a great technical video on this topic from the XBOX development team leader.)

9AM-9:30AM:
Sales call with Fortune 500 CTO

9:30AM-10AM:
Test out VPN tunneling solution for large Government customer.

10AM-11AM:
Pre-drywall meeting at new home.

11AM-Noon:
Meet with DNSFilter CTO to discuss hiring of additional/new developers.

Noon-12:30PM:
Invoice and onboard four new school customers.

12:30PM-1PM:
Final VPN testing for Government customer.

1PM-2PM:
Head to bank to open up new DNSFilter account.

2PM-2:30PM:
Lunch

2:30PM-3PM:
Respond to emails/sales tickets.

3–3:30PM:
Meet with DNSFilter CTO & CIO for employee onboarding/hiring.

3:30PM-4PM:
Create new UI mockups for dashboard improvements.

4PM-4:30PM:
Two 15 minute sales calls.

4:30PM-4:45PM:
Answer emails.

4:45PM-5PM:
Break.

5PM-5:30PM:
Present VPN solution to large Government customer.

5:30PM-6PM:
Onboard two new DNSFilter partners.

6PM-6:50PM:
Fix bug with partner program onboarding automation.

7:15PM-7:45PM:
Arrive home. Quick dinner with my girlfriend (who wishes I had more time).

7:45PM-8:15PM:
Edit and submit mockup and corresponding GitHub issues to kick off development.

8:15PM-9:30PM:
Write up proposal and plan for implementation of improved development process.

9:30PM-10PM:
Implement Waffle and sync GitHub issues for new development process, integrate WIP (work in progress) limits to the workflow.

10PM-Midnight:
Respond to Government RFP.

And there you have it — a standard 15–16 hour day. Only four or five more to go this week!

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