Working From Home
Whether you like her music or not, one thing you’ll have to admit is that Lady Gaga is a talented performer. With a headlining show in Las Vegas, numerous number one records, Grammy wins, and now an Oscar under her belt, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
When accepting the Academy Award for her co-written song, “Shallow”, from “A Star is Born” (in which she also starred), she implored the audience watching her to understand that “this is hard work.”
She went on to explain, “I’ve worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about… winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion. And it’s not about how many times you get rejected, or you fall down, or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going.”
This is something that is so often overlooked–we tend only to see the success and ignore the years it took to achieve it. In other words, time isn’t enough.
Here is Lady Gaga’s method to succeed as an entrepreneur:
Lady Gaga started playing piano at the age of fourand was singing and dancing in local theater soon after. Whenever I’m asked how I got into technology, I always explain that I got my first computer when I was 8-years-old and was writing programs and tinkering with building things from that age.
Malcolm Gladwell says that you need 10,000 dedicated hours to become an expert, and further stated that by that logic, Bill Gates was an expert at computer programming before he was 16 years old–paving the way for Microsoft.
A key factor in all of these examples is that it is not enough to do a thing but to continually do it and make it part of our daily life–which will create the skill necessary for success.
It’s easy to sit on your couch and have a dream–it’s hard to go out and do it.
Entrepreneur life isn’t easy. We get beat down, even abused by our coworkers, customers – even our friends and family, who start to lose interest in our projects.
Have you ever had a good idea that you felt the marketplace would love to have, only to struggle to sell your product or service? What people want is a company that is growing, but instead of figuring out how to go from one sale to ten, and from ten to one hundred, they give up on their dream because it’s too hard putting up with all of those rejections.
To paraphrase Lady Gaga, she fought past 99 rejections before getting Bradley Cooper’s yes–and that led to her Oscar success.
There is an oft-quoted statistic that 50 percentof businesses fail within the first twoyears, and 90 percent within the first five. You might think that means that if you last beyond fiveyears, you’ll be successful by default–that’s not the case.
For example, Dropbox was formed in 2007 and only recently went IPO. Amazon has been operating mostly at a flat or negative return for almost 15 years until recently, where it has started earning almost $2 billionper quarter. And Apple has almost gone bankrupt multiple times in its 42-year history.
What all of these companies have in common is that they didn’t simply keep operating–they kept iterating. Rather than allowing themselves to grow stale or rely on old technology, they all experimented to keep themselves relevant–and sometimes it didn’t work out as well as they had hoped.
In other words, if you want to be an overnight success, take a page from Lady Gaga and remember to put in the work.
For Modern Fertility’s Afton Vechery, the biggest adjustment to going remote during the coronavirus crisis has been minor but symbolic: “I’ve had to switch from contacts to glasses because of all the screen time and video calls,” she says. Vechery co-founded her home-fertility-test startup, which has $22 million in funding, in 2017. While many now have plenty of time on their hands for, well, fertility, Vechery is busier than ever. Here’s how she stays productive.
The alarm clock buzzes at 6:30 a.m. “A lot of founders have these amazing morning productivity hacks, like meditation,” says Vechery. “For me, the single greatest motivating factor is to just be doing something I love. And so, uh, that translates to emails in bed when I wake up.” After that, Vechery typically bikes to work. During the crisis, she’s swapped her commute for an early-morning ride to the top of San Francisco’s Twin Peaks. It doubles as me time. “It’s really helpful to understand what’s going to bubble up from your subconscious when you’re not being stimulated sitting in front of a computer,” she says.
Vechery’s days in quarantine include more one-on-one meetings than they did before, but that’s the cost of keeping information flowing. Modern Fertility has implemented daily meetings at which employees can check on current and upcoming projects. And the staff has organized optional virtual lunches and happy hours, which Vechery will drop into when she can. Whether at home or in the office, she and co-founder Carly Leahy generally eat dinner while working and wrap up around 9 p.m.–though they encourage staffers to leave earlier.
Vechery relies on an app called Captio, which lets the founder email a note to herself with one click. But you won’t find the Captio icon on her iPhone’s home screen, which is clear of everything but three apps: Calendar, Clock, and Notes. Manually searching for apps lets Vechery ignore distracting notifications. “As a founder, there’s constantly something else you could be doing,” she says. “But when you have space to think through what you’re working on, you’re a better leader.”
When she makes time for a TV show, Vechery starts with the season finale and views the episodes in reverse order. The strange habit helps prevent the urge to binge. “I have an incredibly addictive personality,” she says. “So this is better for everyone.” Vechery also unwinds by playing the trumpet. “It’s a total break from everything else in life,” she says. “It lets you process your thoughts in a really different way.”
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