The Grind: Only Cool When You Know How To Stop

There seems to be a sub-culture in affiliate marketing these days. It’s the by-product of a super competitive crowd, all working hard to stay one step ahead of their rivals. You’ve probably seen it splashed across your Twitter feed.

“Hey Joe, I can’t come out tonight. I’m busy grindin”

“I just dumped my girlfriend. She didn’t like my grind.”

“Forced to choose between the grind and playing with my balls, I choose the grind.”

Check out Ryan Eagle’s Twitter for more classic examples.

Affiliates seem to fail or succeed by virtue of “the grind”. The ability to work like a slave – through the night, through the morning – deaf to distractions and entirely committed to the art of getting shit done.

Everybody needs to be working at least 22 hour days or they’re just not working hard enough, right? I’ve been sucked in to this competitive mindset in the past, and I’m doing my best to wriggle my way free. The grind is only cool when you know how to stop.

I was sitting downstairs in my lounge the other day, vegetating like some kind of unshaven grizzly bear. It’s very rarely that I allow mindless police chases on budget Bravo TV to distract me from work, but I truly miss the days where I knew how to lounge around and do absolutely nothing.

That sounds like a step backwards. If you’re successful, why would you want to waste your energy on television while the opportunity of time passes you by? For me, it’s become an issue of retaining my health and limiting my insanity.

It’s very easy, as an affiliate marketer working from home, to get sucked in to working these grueling 16 hour days. And if like me, you enjoy what you do, the lure can be even harder to resist. During the earliest days, I built some kind of elitist dream where putting in those hours somehow made me more likely to be satisfied with my progress. It made me better than everybody else because I was somehow more committed or more in control of my destiny.

But if you don’t know when to stop, you’re not really in control, are you? You’re more of a prisoner than you ever were in your 9-5 when there was a clear beginning and end to your day.

One of the things I’ve discovered is that no matter how much money you earn, there will always be somebody earning more. If you fall in to the trap of pursuing this relentless grind, unable to dictate when your work day ends, it’s only going to be you that suffers. And I know personally because I’ve already suffered. My health has suffered, my moods have suffered. My ability to appreciate rare moments, simply festering on the couch with absolutely nothing to worry about – those have also suffered.

I went for a laser eye surgery consultation last week and somehow ended up referred to the hospital instead with skyrocketing eye pressure, pounding headaches and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue.

Ironically, I’ve always figured that my problems could be solved by money. My bad vision being one of them. I thought if I could afford to throw £5500 at surgery to correct my eyes, it would easily justify all those hours on the grind. But there are some things money can’t fix, so grinding for 16 hours straight isn’t always the answer. Even if affiliates are being systematically brainwashed to believe that’s the case.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been working to reverse the trend. I’ve been slowly lowering the number of hours I allow myself to spend in front of a computer screen and trying to work in productive surges. I took some advice from lenstrom on Twitter and have been trying to integrate these health measures in to my day.

The biggest challenge for me is to learn that whatever lands on my desk, whatever lands in my inbox…it doesn’t always have to be acted on now. I’ve already caught some fire and some contrasting opinions on the matter.

Just two days ago I posted on Twitter: “Tomorrow…tomorrow is the day where I get back on track.”

These words seemed to raise some strong opinions from various affiliates. Apparently it came across as a sign of weakness. Why wait til tomorrow? Why not act today?

Well, that’s the attitude I’m trying to overcome. It’s not always in my best interest to act today. Everybody has to have an off switch, and the ability to resist the temptation to grind or work hard at every waking hour. It’s just not healthy. That I’m only 22 years old, and feel like I have the mental wear and tear of a 42 year old…surely can’t be healthy.

Yet everywhere you look across the affiliate marketing landscape, grinding hard is the cool thing to do. I read a forum topic a few weeks ago with the title line “How much do you earn in a day?”

A guy, admittedly with his head somewhere up his own arse, had wandered in bragging about his $1000/days. He promptly received a bunch of criticism that he was small-time, a little fish in a big ocean. He had no right to be smug. It got me thinking though.

Would I rather be the “big time” affiliate who’s torturing himself to add the next zero on his pay cheque? Or simply the smug dude who’s perfectly content with his $365,000/year? As far as I’m concerned, that’s not small time. Look at the average annual earnings in the United States and it’s anything but small time.

This industry seems to judge affiliates by the flash cars, the fancy mansions and the number of Americans they’ve convinced to shed the pounds with acai. It all boils down to money, and yet money is only a gateway to opportunities. It’s not happiness in itself.

I’ve always preached the need to work hard and harder than most. But the importance of appreciating what I already have is only just dawning on me. The next time somebody tells me to get back to the grind at 2am, or to stop thinking about tomorrow rather than today, I’ll probably tell them with all due respect – to go fuck themselves.

Need a larger slice of Finch?

I haven’t been posting much recently, that’s pretty obvious. I did take the time to do an interview over on Jonathan Volk’s blog though. You can check it out below.

Stuff you never thought you needed to know about Finch Sells

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About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

26 Comments

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  • Excellent post Finch, spot on. I’ve struggled with this myself for a while now. Glad to hear there is still some sanity left in this industry…

  • I couldn’t agree with you more, what is the point having money if you can’t enjoy it once in a while!

  • As a Brit I’ve never understood all these guys saying they work 20+ hr days and being proud of it. I’m only a part time affiliate but if I ever quit my job to do it ‘full time’ my aim would be to do less work than I was doing at a full time job, I mean what is the point of working for yourself if you aren’t going to enjoy the perks that it brings.

    What part of doing massive hours makes you ‘better’ than anyone else? I really admire those people who don’t do those crazy hours, not those who do.

  • Thanks for the mention, Finch. Happy I could help, buddy.

    Ninety-nine percent of the people in the online marketing industry are doing it wrong. Affiliates are the worst. They are killing themselves slowly, and they will never know it until it’s too late. The mental changes are the worst, you become a different person.

    Just like I said in my last post, when you work these type of hours, you are robbing not only yourself, but your family and friends of the important things in life.

    Rich is spot-on! I’ve been saying the same thing for years. This post ( full of sheep and dick riders) really pushed me over the edge, as you can see by my comments: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/interview-12-top-online-entrepreneurs-share-how-hard-they-work/

    If I may be so bold to say: They are all idiots. And I’ll tell them to their face. And before any says, “Yeah, but look how successful they are.” Success is unique to every person.

    Luck plays a large part in success as well. Working long hours is not the blueprint to success.

  • I guess this has come with age, but I have less and less patience for the mouthy pricks who talk down anyone who who doesn’t put on like they work 25 of 24 hours a day. The loudest of those likely aren’t making even as much money as the guys they’re ripping on… who at least make a respectable income.

    People who put all their focus on work and money are usually compensating for something. I make my money. I also know how to enjoy it.

  • Great post, agree with everything 100%. Life goes by as you grind, work your ass off and destroy your health instead of enjoying the time while you can. Working 24/7 is not worth the money. :-/

  • When you talk to any real business owner and explain affiliate marketing and explain how hard you work for cash money- no equity, they literally LOLZ at you.

    Affiliates are the bottom of the totem of entrepreneurs whether some of you want to admit it or not. I like that some are finally being honest and realizing that money doesn’t matter.

    Ask a real businessman and they will tell you about delayed gratification. How you can’t really build an asset in less than four years. How your goal should be to be making over 7 figures without being involved in the daily operation at all. How some of them moved back into cheapo two bedroom apartments and sold everything to get the cash to start some new investment.

    Real businessmen get it. Cash doesn’t matter. Today doesn’t matter. It’s all about the equity. It’s all about tommorrow.

    You affiliates can go ahead and “GET MONEY GET PAID”, I’m focused building businesses.

  • Agreed. I am always surprised when people seem to think its cool to work alot. For me, i started AM for the complete opposite reason, to free up my time, and spend it on things that matter to me, which is not working.

  • Awesome post man…and I totally agree with cash37, I only see affiliate marketing as something that will help me build a “future proof” business if you can call it like that, much much faster.
    Like I was reading on some other blog yesterday, if you wanna bail one day and just enjoy life, can you sell your business?
    How many people will buy a list of PPC keywords or a set of banners and sht?

    But what if you had a list of 100k people in the weight loss niche, made your own training program, then decided to bail…how many people would buy that from you?

    Nothing wrong with working hard when its a MUST, 1 week, 2 weeks a month maybe, but for me making more money and not having the time to properly enjoy it doesn’t equal success. Maybe some people live for that…as they make more money they feel more successful…

  • Besides the eye break I took while reading this post, I thought this was a good point you made. As I get older, I don’t want to regret all the long hours in front of the comp and not out’n’boot living up the world. In college, ok, it was almost necessary but now, I want to enjoy life. Thank you for reminding me Finch. Nice ending!

  • Youre mixing with the wrong crowd. Sounds like youve been hanging around Wicked Fire for too long and have soaked up their ” I’m a baller” attitude. Maybe its an American thing. Take a visit to A4U forum – you wont see anyone there bragging about money, cars or working long hours.

  • One of your best posts so far. Life is too short to spend grinding away in front of a computer screen 26 hours a day. It doesn’t matter if you’re young and single, or settled down with wife and kids.

    Every day is an opportunity for so many things. Some for business, some for pleasure. It is up to us to choose where we want to focus. But since our days on this earth are numbered, we better make the best out of each one.

    I personally feel like the past 14 years have gone by in a flash. In my head, I’m still that 23 year old guy ready to conquer the world. I even still see him when I look in the mirror. But my last birthday card had the number “37” on it – undeniably reminding me that the clock is ticking no matter if I work my ass off or turn into a lazy bum. Soon another flash goes by, and my birthday cards will read “51” on them before I know it.

    So I make an effort now to work LESS hours in the day, but to make those hours *ultra-efficient*. When I’ve done what I need to for the day – I shift my focus onto family and relaxation entirely. Because I would rather look back at it all when I’m 51 and have assets giving me an OK passive income – than be a multi-millionaire and looking back knowing I wasted the best years of my life in front of a screen, neglecting fun, family, and friends around me.

    Eskil

  • “I would rather look back at it all when I’m 51 and have assets giving me an OK passive income – than be a multi-millionaire and looking back knowing I wasted the best years of my life in front of a screen, neglecting fun, family, and friends around me.”

    Same here. Well said.

  • @Cash37 – I agree, to an extent. But I don’t think it’s fair to group all affiliates in the same basket. I know many affiliates out there who are actively looking to develop their assets and add more “permanence” to their business.

    I’ve certainly been exploring my options. If you’re referring to the typical CPA arbitrage traffic brokering affiliate…then yes, those guys are putting in a lot of work to stay afloat in the moment.

  • Also, cheers for the feedback. It’s good to hear some level headed input away from the GET MONEY GET PAID attitude on forums…

  • Great post Finch. Reminds me of a story I read online recently.

    “There’s a big cocktail party at Martha’s Vineyard. Someone comes up to the writer Joseph Heller (writer of Catch 22) and says, ‘Joe, see that guy over there? He’s a hedge fund manager and he made more money yesterday than you made on all the books you have ever published.’ Joe Heller pauses, then says ‘Yeah, but ya know, I have something he’ll never have… enough.'”

    I think it’s important for us young entrepreneurs to learn what “enough” is for each of us.

    As 20-something year-old entrepreneurs, not only are we light-years ahead of most of our friends financially but we’ve also got two things that any older billionaire would give up all his money for–youth and health.

    It would be a shame to waste away one’s youth and health in front of a monitor “on the grind”, only to become an extremely rich 40 year-old who wishes he could give it all away to be 25 and healthy again. It’s not too uncommon! Unfortunately, I see too many young entrepreneurs doing just that.

    Again, great post man. Peace.

  • finch-
    keeping a balance in life is possibly the most important thing. the person that can not only bust his ass working (smart) and making good money ($300k is decent money) but also gets to spend a good majority of their time doing whatever they enjoy (whether that be hiking, biking, time spent with family/friends, traveling, etc) is truly winning in the success game of life.

    After working from home for the last 8 years and being able to do relatively speaking, whatever I want (travel, spend time doing what I enjoy, etc) – I can thoroughly say that getting away from work and your computer is seriously hyper-important part of the equation.

    computers are not everything, work is not everything. good luck with continuing down the path you are traveling – you will probably end up happy in the long run. 🙂 //g

  • I think this is true with anything. For instance, I had a 9-5 job but I could work as much as I wanted. I had a kid coming and a family to support so I thought I had to work all the hours I could. Now, it is two years later and I regret it. Dumbest thing I have ever done. I missed a lot and there is no way of getting it back.

  • These are lessons some of us (like me) learn the hard way, when we lose things that money can’t buy or replace – like kids, spouses, parents or health.

    One of the best quotes I’ve ever read was: “Nobody on their deathbed wished they had spent one more day at the office”.

    Steven Covey from ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ fame put it as “Schedule your priorities, instead of prioritizing your schedule” – Meaning to look at what your priorities are and put THOSE in the schedule, instead of looking at your current schedule and prioritizing the order of tasks.

    Wealth and affluence is no longer measured by money – it is now measured by freedom.

  • Yes, I used to brag about the hours I put in. It doesn’t mean shit.

    100k/month working 80 hours a week or just 10k/month working 5 hours a week. I’d choose the latter and live somewhere that my money is magnified.

    I used to think WickedFire had the smartest marketing cats around, and yes some on there definitely know their stuff.

    But these guys bragging about how much they grind would be much better off grinding to create their own high converting offer or product… the rest after that falls into place a lot easier.

  • What’s wrong with being an affiliate marketer?

    Honestly, if you’re working more than 8 hours a day, I don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing. If you’re “on the grind” then you must be spending your time very unefficiently. What most affiliate marketers lack is time management. Manage your goddamn time!

    Also to the guy who talked about affiliate marketing has no assets, affiliate marketing > 9-5 job.

    Who gives a f*ck about assets? If we as affiliate marketers are making more money and having a better “job” than 95% of the population, well, that’s f*cking good.

    Having a 9-5 job of any sort (medical, science, technology, etc.) is just like affiliate marketing. No assets, just cash money you receive. Only in affiliate marketing, you work for yousrelf and decide how much $$ YOU want to make.

    My tip to affiliate marketers, work your ass off and hit $1 million. I’m only half way there and it took me a few months. Once you hit $1 million, just work your affiliate marketing 8 hours a day. Spend your time efficiently. Enjoy life a bit!

    Affiliate marketing even on the grind > 9-5 job. 9-5 jobs are a waste of time of course. 8 hours a day for sh!t income and you hate your job.

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