I learned a lot in 2020, but one thing stands out… I’m not a standard full-time employee.

In fact, I tried it twice. I put in the effort, the discovery, and I tried to go with the flow.

But going with the flow isn’t for me.

I quit my job.

Why

The word “entrepreneur” gets a lot of hate. Not only hate, but there are always funny parodies. Ya know, an “entrepreneur” is looked at as the person who’s broke but walks around in a $2,000 dollar suit.

Luckily I haven’t worn a suit in over a year, so I’m a step ahead.

For me, I’m the type of person that wants to:

  1. Go as fast or as slow as I want, depending on life
  2. Focus on 3-4 things at a time. That way I can give 100% to each focus. A big problem of mine in 2020 was focusing on 10-12 things at a time.
  3. Be creative. I don’t want to be held back in any way

In a full-time job, it’s hard to do those things. The reason why is because the organization has specific goals that need to be met, and those goals may not meet what YOU want to focus on. I decided to break away from that and create those specific goals myself.

Small Bets

There’s this idea of “small bets” that I’ve been reading a lot about lately, primarily for Daniel Vassallo and Tom Hirst. The idea in a nutshell is this:

Instead of following a standard 9-5, trading hours for dollars, and following someone else’s vision, you follow your own vision.

You have a portfolio of “small bets”. Those “small bets” are the key areas you’re going to focus on. The focus may be for a month, or 6 months, or a year. The areas may be a product you’re selling, a platform you’re building, or a brand you’re driving forward.

I really love this idea, because it gives me something that I never had – focus points.

I was always so focused on what felt like a million things that after a while, I realized I was giving everything 20% effort instead of the 100% effort that I wish I gave them.

With an entrepreneur mindset, it’s pretty difficult to have a full-time job and still focus on “small bets”. In fact, one of the things that 2020 taught me is it isn’t difficult, but impossible.

Core Focus

Another thing that this venture gives me is clarity around how to focus my mind, not just on tech, but on life.

I made a huge mistake in 2020 of not being 100% present. I can’t tell you the countless amount of times that I was sitting at dinner with my son and thinking about other things. I wasn’t giving him 100% of my focus. It’s not because I didn’t want to give him my focus, but naturally my brain just starts going elsewhere.

The same goes for anything. If I was listening to a podcast, reading, watching TV, etc. My brain never allowed me to stay focused because I was always thinking about the ventures I want to go on.

Now, I’m on that venture, and I’m much more focused. I had dinner the other night with my son and I didn’t pick up my phone or think about anything else once. I was just watching him and eating, enjoying my time with him.

How I Did It

The first thing to think about when getting on this path is finances. I own a house and I’m a single dad, so as you can understand, money is important.

I’m not excited about extrinsic happiness anymore. I’m excited about my life making me happy. Because of that, I knew I needed to set up a few different value streams, which include:

  1. Courses I’m creating, which I have contracts for throughout 2021
  2. Royalties that I’m making on products I already created
  3. Paid blog posts I’m writing in 2021
  4. My course business (coming up next in the “What’s Next?” section. Luckily, the core business is already making money, so that’s an easier transition than going into it cold turkey.

I also have about 3-4 months in the bank, meaning, I can pay all of my bills for 3-4 months. Of course, the goal isn’t to go through that money, but it’s there just in case I need it.

In 2020, I was able to make enough connections and get my name out there enough to be able to go down this route. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight, so I’d say give yourself at least a year if you’re hustling hard. If you’re taking your time, then it can vary. You’ll know when the time is right because you’ll feel it. It’s a “gut feeling” thing.

Whats Next?

You may be wondering what my next venture is and what my small bets look like.

In 2019 I met someone that I consider a very good friend today, Mike Pfeiffer. He’s the owner of CloudSkills.io. He’s been in the IT industry for over 20 years and has worked for large organizations like Microsoft and AWS. He built the CloudSkills brand and turned it into a digital empire that thousands of people use today.

A big part of my success today and why all of you know who I am is because of Mike. He taught me a lot, not only different technologies but how to build a brand.

Starting in January, Mike and I have decided to partner up on CloudSkills. I’ll be serving as Senior Partner & Chief Architect where I’ll be focusing on creating the worlds leading DevOps and Cloud content from a real-world perspective, along with striving towards being the number 1 DevOps and Cloud consulting firm.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to partner with Mike and continue to learn from him, along with build the CloudSkills.io brand together.

Closing Thoughts

I wouldn’t have been able to do this without all of you, everyone that watches my content, reaches out to me, asks me to consult for them, and reads my blog posts. The funny thing about having a brand is it doesn’t matter how much quality stuff you create if no one is watching/reading it. If no one is watching or reading it, it just goes into the ether.

Because of all of you, I was able to do this.

You’re truly,

Michael Levan

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