Financial independence means focusing on what works instead of what doesn’t

I once had a conversation with a hugely successful self-employed entrepreneur and he offered me one simple piece of advice: focus on what’s working, and don’t waste your time on things that are not. He then smiled, shook my hand, and said “work smarter, not harder” as he walked away. That’s a common phrase I’ve heard my entire life, but it never really meant that much to me up until that moment. Building a successful online business and becoming financially independent really doesn’t need to be that hard!

My goal for financial independence has motivated me like nothing else has in a long time. My websites have been stagnant for years, and my swing trading is glacial in it’s growth – I’m sick of it all and ready for some action! I realized this past weekend that if I want to make enough passive income each month to be able to quit my six-figure corporate job, I need to get serious and focus on my income-producing projects that are working – and cut those that are not.

That’s a lot harder to say than it is to actually do, primarily because I think I may have to stop working on my largest and most successful website – my baby essentially – so I can devote more time to smaller and unprofitable projects that are showing more promise for the future (more on this in the near future).

These kinds of difficult decisions are important, because the goal of financial independence means nothing if you have to kill yourself in order to achieve it. I am working towards the goal of earning consistent passive income so I can relax and enjoy life, but the irony is that sometimes the stress of working on a dying project affects my body and mind in a dangerously negative way.

Realizing that I need to refocus my efforts on only the things that are working is both scary and liberating. It’s scary in the sense that it means that I’m going to have to step out of my comfort zone shake things up a bit. But it’s also liberating because I feel like I finally have a legitimate excuse to shelve the projects that have consumed my life for so long with very few rewards.

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