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I often credit my success to my laziness and fear of the 9-5. But now that I work on businesses I love, we investigate what can be done to get me off the couch and doing something productive.

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02:20 – Stereotypes of comp sci vs. soc students
03:03 – Finding motivation in fear
03:45 – The moment Sam decided he wanted to be an entrepreneur
06:57 – Sam’s decision to focus on things he enjoys
10:25 – Sam’s thoughts on how 20-somethings should be spending their time
13:04 – Sam reflects on progress made on 2017 goals
14:38 – Emma reflects on productivity in gin brand vs. working for PWC
16:18 – Differences in routine between Sam and Emma
19:04 – Sam’s 2018 goals
21:51 – How Sam ups the enjoyment of work
26:07 – Discussing mindset changes
27:10 – Sam discusses his difficulty with getting up at a certain time every morning


Sam: hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and as always we’re joined by my lovely wife, Emma
Emma: hello
S: it’s currently Christmas Eve here at Priestley towers and as normal when it comes to this time of year we’re not doing much work we’re spending a lot of time eating and drinking getting ready for family to arrive and I spend a lot of time thinking about how the year has gone thinking about what I want to change in the year to come and inevitably thinking about my flaws. I’ve quite a few flaws but perhaps the biggest one and sort of the reason this podcast is named what it is is that I am naturally just incredibly lazy. that’s why it’s the lazy entrepreneur and the other reason is called lazy entrepreneur is I credit a lot of my early success to being lazy and that fear of having to get a real job, fear of not having control over my own time, I’m never particularly motivated by money I was more motivated by not wanting to get up in the morning not wanting to work for someone else. wanting to like lie bed and play video games. I was pretty bad a school I didn’t do very well because just the whole being there 9-5 didn’t sit very well to me I missed a lot of school because well I’d wake up in the morning feeling ill and dreading the day and then getting a few days off university was great for me because there was no attendance requirements at our University and I was able to skip as much as I wanted provided when it came to the exam time I sort put in that that that final bit of work
E: and that worked very well for you
S: yeah that worked will for me. did your friends talk about the fear like just before coursework deadlines is due in and people haven’t started doing the coursework
E: yeah absolutely yeah I mean me and my close friends are very much the kind of people that would do a bit of work all the time because we’re very motivated
S: yeah of course you are
E: I would say that was a bit of a stereotype for my course because I did sociology so it’s kind of little and often whereas I’d say the stereotype of computer science students like yourself is very much waiting to the deadline to make you a bit of a kick up the ass and do some work
S: yeah well yeah probably agree with that. It’s strange isn’t it like what is it about that the pressure of the deadlines like why do we not feel the pressure when the deadline is not there I mean you obviously do, you do a little often or is it other people will happily not even think about the coursework till it’s due in in like 12 hours time and still get all the coursework in it’s not like I’d end up not doing it it was just that there was something about needing that fear to kind of motivate me
E: well I think it’s good they could didn’t have anyone checking up on you saying how’s your coursework getting on can I see 50% of it if it’s different for a dissertation but for all other types of work at university you kind of were it was your own responsibility to get it done in your own time
S: so you’re saying if they expected you to be responsible adults and I wasn’t and I’m still not
E: or that they gave you the responsibility to choose how you got the work done
S: yeah I remember the the moment I decided that I was going to be an entrepreneur I was filling in graduate application forms for banks in London. I don’t know why I was choosing banks and each bank even though they all know you’re applying to 20 30 40 of them it’s a numbers game you just apply to loads of them they would always like get you to write 200 words about why you’ve chosen them in particular or what it is about their firm you really and you have these huge huge forms to fill out and I just couldn’t face it and more than I couldn’t face the idea that that would be real life that kind of waiting the fear of the deadline doesn’t work in real life you can’t just cruise by and hope things last minute in the real world you’ve got a got a show up you got to turn up and you’re gonna you got to work and so l shut my laptop and thus decided I was gonna find some other way to do it. luckily I had a way to make money at the time it wasn’t a good one but I determined to push it as much as I could which was matched betting and I’ve done podcasts on that and that worked really well for me so that that fear then got me working much harder than I would have done if I’ve been working normal job I reckon. it’s like that’s it’s like that just before the deadline of course work where these lazy people who spent the last month not doing anything will be working pulling 12 hours 14 hours all-nighters to get the work done they end up working really really hard they extend that over this constant background fear of having to get a job having to it’s something about getting up in the morning I I really rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not a morning person and the world is not set up for evening people for night people and that worked really well and particularly because while I was doing matched betting and then the gambling and stuff like that I always kind of assumed it was gonna fall apart and it wasn’t gonna work out so even though I started earning quite good money I still had that fear in the back of my mind motivating me to start new things try harder to build up as much savings as possible so I just assumed at some point it would all fall apart and I’d have to get a job and I really didn’t want that but that changed as things do as the years went by and I built up more savings and I started building multiple income streams and had other stuff going on, that fear started to lessen and the unproductivity of the laziness sort of crept back. in 2014 I made quite a big decision which was to quit my businesses that were earning me a lot of money and just focus on on the stuff that I enjoyed so that was writing a blog playing table tennis then it was making gin now it’s doing this podcast. people like at the time were very keen on saying stuff like follow your passion do stuff that you enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life. that was kind of my thought, well I made a bit money but I still wanted to be doing productive stuff you know the view that I was very into self-improvement becoming a better person but I thought don’t get fussed about the money let’s just focus on actually that’s more fulfilling and it’s something I actually enjoy doing the problem is is that when people say follow your passion they assume you’re like an artist who’s happy this who’s who ideal day is so from today canvas working all day on that well actually my passion is probably eating pizza and playing video games on the sofa. I enjoyed in the blog I enjoy making gin I enjoy I really enjoy doing this podcasts and talking about whatever is I’m thinking of but like I will normally just take the easiest route through things which is often not doing very much I’m not very happy lying on the sofa watching TV
E: I mean that hasn’t been the case for all of your businesses
S: hasn’t been the case for everything but it
E: I would say the Rand in particular
S: that was a lot of work oh yeah I think there was a time that was kind of still at that kind of fear level where I was doing a hundred and one things at the same time
E: yeah specifically on the set up there was less things for you to do all the time
S: the Rand is a coffee shop I started in 2013 maybe yeah yeah I mean this is just a problem I come to every year and I try and like change something about my life. what can I do to make myself a bit more productive to be a bit less lazy and get more done and it kind of changes my my solution I think it evolves overtime I’ll try something that worked for a while then it’ll stop working and I’ll try something else. I suppose what I should really mention though is what is wrong with being lazy what is wrong with just spending all day lying on the sofa eating pizza and watching watching films
E: well I guess to most people it depends how often you’re doing it yeah I feel very well to spend Saturday and Sunday that’s the norm to be chilling out whether that’s spending time socializing or whether that’s being on your own and recharging that’s kind of seen as normal but actually in our lives we’d work on the weekends as well so there has to be some leisure or downtime but I guess people would would judge you spending weeks on end on the sofa
S: yeah you’d judge me too I’d judge myself and I think that’s part of it it’s the guilt of not doing anything productive. when we stop being digital nomads and started traveling full time one of the reasons was that I didn’t feel like twenty something year olds should be just having fun all the time I should be trying to build something trying to create something and when I look at my life objectively that is what I want I say I want to be competitive, I want to achieve things I want to create things I want to I want to develop myself personally I want to change the person I am and grow long term but if you ask me what I want to do right now it would often be I quite fancy getting a pizza and watching some Netflix
E: I think another element to it is that the side of being an entrepreneur that you one of the things you enjoy is the coming up with lots of new ideas and the strategy and actually that requires a lot of thinking time
S: yeah
E: and I think you underestimate how much when you’re lying on the sofa eating pizza you are also thinking about how to improve your businesses new businesses new ideas
S: yeah thats true I do a monthly blog post where I write about how the month has gone before I want the metrics I track is how many hours I’ve worked and I do that as a percentage of what a normal person would have worked so against like a 40 or 50 hour working week but that doesn’t include kind of downtime thinking time that doesn’t include other productive stuff which I have got better at like jiu-jitsu. I spend a lot of time on that a week it doesn’t include the other kind of productive stuff which I’d include like socializing and keeping up with friends things like that so there is more to it than that and I’m not saying I’m terrible like I am I am good at each year I get better at some things and worse others but also it’s part of it is changing the kind of carrot and sticks that I am giving myself
E: what does good like for you at that that point in time
S: yeah yeah and part of it is it’s changing my goals maybe I achieved something and like so one point I look to my kind of on my blog I was reading one blog post on one page in it and it gave my what I wanted to achieve for the next year this was written somewhere mid 2017 I think and it was launch a gin brand done help you launch your supper clubs done yeah it was a do Jiu Jitsu regularly three or four times a week done and there’s only one other one which I’ve actually forgot what it was now but I’d actually achieved most of them
E: that’s really good
S: and like is not it’s not to say that I don’t produce a lot I think most people when they look at my output of what I’m producing so I want to wrote a blog post on laziness about three years ago and I kind of got two reactions either people being like I totally get it or people being like what you’re talking about you work really hard you run like six businesses what are you talking about
E: They’re polarizing
S: and just and like you’re not seeing the day to day and I do often look back and think you know what could I have achieved if I was what if I was being as productive as I am but working the same number of hours as anyone else as people doing a normal job
E: yeah I think that a lot as well particularly with the gin because it’s been so successfully locally a lot of people ask us is this your full-time job and I find that a really difficult question to answer because in comparison to my job at PWC absolutely not it’s not full time because I spend a fraction of the hours on the gin that I do that I did working at PWC but it’s you’re looking at it completely differently it’s like the productivity of PWC is not the same as having your own gin brand yeah and therefore how do you measure that is it just purely on hours you’ve spent or is it what you’re producing yeah or is it the service or the product you’re producing and that’s very difficult to measure
S: it is difficult to measure and I think I for a while I thought that that was kind of an inverse correlation, the harder you worked the less you could produce per hour like I only have so much energy for kind of hard work and creativeness and that can only be limited to a few hours per day yeah but I do believe that but I also believe that with practice you can you can increase that and that actually if you are putting quite a lot of hours you will you will increase your energy levels for that type of work well
E: yeah and I’ll say something that you haven’t been doing very much in Tunbridge Wells but you kind of taught me when we were being digital nomads and traveling is when you get in the zone you just go with the flow when you keep working
S: yeah yeah
E: you don’t do that very much now because we’re in a bit more of a routine because I call it your golden hour really is kind of midnight onwards yeah whereas our life you need to sleep so that you can get up and and be productive in the morning
S: Yeah or get up and lie in in the morning
E: We’ve usually got something on in the morning even if it is 11:00
S: yeah well one of the things about being married is having two different so you’re very routine orientated whereas I function best without a routine and kind of embracing whatever mood I’m in
E: yeah so one day you can wake up being like well I need to chill today I just can’t do any work and the next day you could work for two days straight
S: yeah I think looking back it’s not what I think about what I could have achieved if I’ve been working as hard as everyone else I don’t think about how much money I can make I think about the personal development that I’ve kind of missed out on
E: that’s really interesting I don’t think most people would think like that
S: no I think a lot people don’t really believe in personal development they believe you are who you are and you can’t change that yeah whereas I can look at myself and I say well I’d like to be more extroverted and that’s something I’d used to work on and then for some reason stopped or what I still do a bit but it used to be a real focus of mine it might be little worth listening to another episode of this podcast we did recently called about the comfort zone and getting out your comfort zone because there’s a few crossovers here. I was talking about personal development and how to like push and grow yourself in these areas. It is something I believe in a lot and a lot of a lot of what I want to do is build myself, make myself a better person, and I think I do achieve that but I could have achieved so much more that’s part of it. I’m not trying to be I’m not trying to be down I’m not trying to be depressing it’s just isn’t the time of year and let’s not get wrong like a lot has been achieved in the last year as I said all those targets that were set have been done but you know we’re talking about growth we’re talking about improvement what can we improve going forward
E: when did you set those targets we moved it
S: I’m not sure when I wrote it was just on my about me page on the blog here’s what I’m up to and what I’d like to achieve in the next year but I haven’t dated it because
E: something I wanted to ask you is have you reviewed your new year’s resolutions post
S: I have yeah, the problem with that one is I didn’t really set any good goals so I set goals but they’re quite wishy-washy
E: what do you mean by wishy-washy goals
S: well they weren’t what I can say I have achieved this I haven’t achieved this
E: well were they to spend more time developing certain skills
S: here we go 2018 goals sell lots of gin write more blog posts do more jujitsu yes I have achieved that
E: well that must make you feel good
S: right yeah well what does lots of gin mean, what are more blog posts and what does more jujitsu I mean I have done that, I wrote more blog posts in 2018 than 2017, I wrote more blog posts and did more jits in 2018 than 2017 and sold more gin in 2018 than 2018
E: Not sure the gin counts as we launched in 2018.
S: So here we go look New Years Resolution: start selling gin to the public, done. Train 5 hours per week of brazilian jiu jitsu, launch a table tennis business in India. do a new challenge to improve my managerial skills, haven’t done. cut down on the amount TV i watch or video games I play, haven’t done. get back on track with my investments, have done
E: so that’s quite good, they’re quite varied as well varied
S: and you can tell I was thinking about similar things last year this year we’re back to that TV and video games
E: and self-development yeah more self development stuff managerial which is something I’ve spoken about in previous podcast episodes alright let’s get back on track let’s go to this idea of carrot and stick so carrot being basically tempt yourself to be more productive by giving yourself good things like rewards and the stick kind of like beating yourself to do it so I have been historically really pushing the carrot side of it so one big thing I did was i minimized the friction around work that means as little commuting as possible and I don’t just mean with work it was the same with jujitsu where we were travelling I would often look for accommodation that was near a gym so I knew that if it wasn’t really walking distance where it was easy to get to I just wouldn’t go
E: yeah which sacrificed my my exercise which was yoga tended to be we were very close Jitsu and I had to travel very far for yoga
S: yeah but you like traveling yeah so feel like doing this podcast is another example of that where I was struggling to write as many blog posts I wanted because they all take quite a long time whereas with this podcast I could just write a few ideas down and then record it
E: and it’s interesting because you did also try this year using a dictaphone and trying to record you talking into it but you didn’t get on that well with it so actually you’ve just tried another thing which is the podcast
S: yeah the first set of podcast was a lot harder which was just me talking and having you here makes it a lot easier a lot better I also try to up the enjoyment of work itself and one of them is quitting businesses I didn’t really like and focusing on ones that I do like yeah another one is by getting rid of all the stuff that I didn’t like doing answering emails ignoring loads of certain jobs not bothering with phone calls not redoing cold calling or anything like that so I purposely kind of even though it would have made the business better I just purposely just got rid of them yeah cuz I knew I’d do more hours overall even if I was ignoring some easy kind of money that was there for to taking there’s a lot of examples like this but my kind of point is that the carrot has been eaten from the carrot and the stick like that’s that part done yeah I need to now have a look at the other side and actually start doing the doing a stick a bit more and I think my goal for 2019 when it comes to this is kind of twofold so there’s one technique that I know works quite well so I know I’m quite lazy but I also know I’m competitive I don’t let people see me fail and I also don’t like letting people down so for me setting challenges I’ve told everyone about gives me kind of no choice but to do them because I have these two pressures on me the kind of override the laziness example of that was the expert in a year challenge where I spent every day playing table tennis one of the most unlazy things I have ever done in my life but it works and I did it so such challenges is one thing and I’ve got a few challenges lined up about that some to do with jujitsu there’s also ones about this podcasts where I’m trying to do two podcasts two episodes a week which is such a high goal even if I don’t achieve it I’m still producing a lot of podcasts but then the other side of it is an idea that I’ve becoming more and more kind of attached to which is instead of setting exact challenges I’m quite logical so I like to set a target and then a path to get there so an example would be I want to become more extroverted okay my way gating there could be I will go to a pub every week and try and talk to three strangers it’s all set like very achievable goals along the path that I feel like would get me to go instead what I’m thinking now is trying to change my mindset itself and one of those is just to try and embrace hardship a bit more and look a hardship look at look at the stuff I don’t particularly want to do as as a step on the path to self-improvement as instead of just being a chore so I don’t know really if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a getting us out the house a lot more doing a lot more social
E: yes definitely
S: going to so it used to be that one of the requirements for going out for dinner with me was it had to be walking distance yes kind of an unsaid requirements
E: I would say it was said quite a lot
S: but where you’d say do you fancy going here and I’d say where is it and you’d say it’s about 20 minutes well I’ll be trying to say a lot more yes to things like that I’ve been I even I organized some social stuff this week. two things this week two more than the last six months they’re just kind of seeing these things as part of that self improvement process so having a mindset change that saying I suppose it’s part of it saying yes to things where part of it is purposely taking the hard road because I think it will benefit me in the long run the problem with having a mindset change is if you just think about it once it goes and that’s why often setting set targets of goals works well but but if you meditate on that mindset change or in my case my version is think about it a lot this is this isn’t just something I’ve come up with today and like with most new year’s resolutions and any comment or something never think about them again this is something I’ve been thinking about and slowly trying to change my mindset and I know it’s a long road but I’m also okay with that. I’m okay with thinking about the type of person I will be in ten years time if I can live in a certain way if I can change my mindset a bit now that’s not to say that that is easy and I’m successful. one thing that I’ve never been able to do is is get up at a certain time in the morning have like an alarm it just doesn’t what I just don’t have especially in the morning where I’m at my weakest willpower it doesn’t work and I’ve tried it before so I’ll get up at this time every day but you know it’s all about little steps and I heading in that right direction and I think this is something that I had almost consciously decided I wasn’t going to do I consciously decided that I’m lazy I want a comfortable life I’m gonna make my life as comfortable as possible which means avoiding hardship so I think now I’m trying to have like a like a direction change on that. there is a little contradiction going on here so one hand with the carrot I’m talking about removing hardship from work stuff I don’t like doing so that encourages me to do more hours and on the other hand I’m saying try and embrace hardship in order to improve myself as a person and I get that there is a contradiction and that’s a balance that I need to work out and I need to spend you know just experiment with and get right so that’s not to mean I’m gonna change the podcast title is not going to change I’m gonna call myself now the hard-working entrepreneur or anything like that and I even compared to the still see on my monthly reports I’ll probably well below I’m not gonna be hitting I’m not going to be doing more hours that most people working 9:00 to 5:00 hopefully in 2019 what we’ll see is me getting slightly more productive doing slightly more hours and hopefully growing as a person along with it
E: sounds good
S: alright well on that note we’ll probably going to go off and have some mulled wine now have a very Merry Christmas and if your list is this in 2019 hopefully you’ll be seeing some changes some improvements until then goodbye