It’s exciting times at The Daily Chain as we are growing exponentially and have just launched our podcast series and YouTube channel. The traffic to the site is increasing every day and we are consistently managing to get bigger and better exclusive stories and interviews.
I have a grand vision of becoming one of the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain news publications but also to build out one of the most substantial and in-depth educational programmes that the industry has ever seen.
For the first time in my life I’m excited to go to sleep as I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and get cracking again.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Earlier in the year around Mental Health Day I detailed my own experiences that I struggled with internally when The Daily Chain was in its infancy and throughout my adult life. I’ve been plagued with issues such as imposter syndrome and the fear of failure but have managed to deal with these over the course of the year and gradually start putting these to bed.
So why am I writing this? I get tons of messages on a daily basis asking how I got to go full time crypto. There are so many people who want to take the plunge and try something completely different, taking their lives in another direction but they don’t know how or where to begin.
I’d like to begin by sharing with you a little bit about my background and how I got to where I am today. Although starting The Daily Chain may not seem like a huge achievement to some on the surface, behind the scenes I’ve managed to overcome addiction, substance abuse, anxiety and depression to turn it all around and run my own company. I worked in an industry that I hated for six years before managing to escape and carve my own path in crypto with no boss or manager breathing down my neck. What I do with my day is completely up to me and I have the freedom to try new things, be creative and take risks.
I’ve also spoken with many people in the space who suffer from mental health issues, addictions or just completely lack direction and need some advice on how to focus their energy effectively to achieve something in this industry.
Thanks to advances in technology, we live in an age where we are more connected than ever before, yet still struggle to talk about our internal issues. Our worries, hopes, anxieties, fears and dreams are more often than not kept to ourselves.
So I’m happy to openly talk about the issues I’ve had and how I’ve started to overcome them. As the old cliche goes, it’s impossible to do everything alone. The Daily Chain wouldn’t have gotten to the point it is today without an incredibly strong support group of my girlfriend, friends, family and this great community giving me encouragement on a daily basis to spur me on.
I’ve never been someone who pretends to be someone they’re not and have always just been myself on social media, podcasts and video recordings. After all you can’t fake being genuine and if you did, you would get found out sooner or later.
For me, the best stories are those that have seen someone go through troubled times but get through it and go on to achieve great things. It reminds me of Andy Dufresne from The Shawshank Redemption who “crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.”
So I’d like to talk through some of the things that have helped me achieve what were just dreams or fantasy only a year or so ago. Some of these are related to Crypto and some just to life. Some may even seem silly and down right stupid. But it all adds up.
Don’t Dwell on Things, Just Get it Done
That famous saying “you are your own worst enemy” could not be more true. In the past I wouldn’t deal with issues or tasks that I knew I had to complete. The smallest task can end up being your biggest bug bear if you leave it for too long. Over time your mind will amplify this and allow it to manifest, turning it into something much bigger than what it is and you could actually let it start consuming you. Deal with things as soon as you can. Try not to even think about it, see it as something that has to be ticked off there and then because you need to move on to the next thing. There’s nothing more satisfying then checking these ones off.
Get Your Thoughts and Ideas Written Down ASAP!
If you have lots of thoughts and ideas throughout the day you need to capture those rather than just let them fizzle out and be forgotten. I personally use Wunderlist which is basically just a virtual notepad. I have two screens when working and this is always my second screen. The beauty of this is that the mobile app syncs to the desktop app so when you pop an idea down quickly in the day when you’re on the move, it appears on your desktop when you get back in the office and you can follow up on it then.
*Tip – It’s easy to dismiss a spontaneous idea as rubbish, especially if you’re quite a self deprecating and cynical person. Before it gets to that point, write it down, store it and you’ll be surprised on your positivity towards it when you revisit it later on with a fresh mind.
I cannot stress the importance of having a checklist. Everyday you should either write a new checklist or update your current one. Categorise these with most important first then work your way down. If you want to take a more macro view of your tasks then I recommend a tool like Trello to help you look at your roadmap and longer term vision for what you need to achieve.
*Top tip – if you complete a task that wasn’t on your checklist, write it down anyway then scrub it off. You’ll get a mini sense of achievement that gives you a small endorphin boost. Wunderlist has this little *ding* noise when you tick off a task that I’ve learnt to love!
What is Your Most Productive Time?
I realised over the last few years that I’m the sort of person that typically fizzles out after 3 or 4pm. I’d sit at work and do nothing productive during that time just, basically just waiting to go home. So one of the best changes I’ve made has been to swap the hours of 10-12pm for 6-8am. Between 10-12 I would just sit in bed looking at memes or watching TV and doing nothing productive, whereas getting up at 6 I am full of energy ready to tackle the days biggest tasks ahead.
Alternatively you may do your best work in the evening and take the whole day to get going. If this is the case make sure you don’t beat yourself up about it, accept and enjoy the fact that you can have a bit of a lie-in and have a more relaxing start to the day.
This moves me nicely on to my next point. Do you have any distracting apps? For me it was always Instagram. I’d just sit and watch videos of dogs doing funny things or people falling over which, although funny, weren’t too productive. So I unfollowed all meme accounts and followed business, entrepreneur, gym and motivational accounts instead. Sounds really cheesy but this actually works. We have a built in natural reaction, almost muscle memory now, to flick on an app we’re used to going on. So if you can make the content on there related to being productive and getting motivated then it does actually work.
PS– I still get the funny cat videos sent to me from my girlfriend.
Find Your Niche
This one isn’t easy but you have to try new things out and learn what your niche is. The first article I ever wrote was a review on a project and I realised then that I didn’t really enjoy it. I also realised after really trying to learn that I didn’t enjoy trading either. What I enjoyed was writing about things I found interesting and that I actually had fun writing about. Articles on community, social media, influencers, how to use crypto Twitter effectively. These were the things that I found interesting and I can tell you from experience that people will know if you’re not interested in what you’re talking about.
Find what you like to do and most importantly find a way to make it have value for people. I’m so keen on providing educational content because when I first joined the space in July 2017, it was really difficult to find what I needed. So The Daily Chain was created to get all of the educational content possible under one roof – because I needed it at the time and can appreciate the value in learning about some difficult concepts in this industry.
Don’t Be Scared to Approach People / Help Others
This leads nicely on to one of the main points I want to stress in this entire article so if you take anything from this, let it be this point.
Do not be afraid to ask other people for help. That famous saying “if you don’t ask you don’t get”? It could not be more true.
Below is a cool video of Steve Jobs emphasising this point and he even says “I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help”
In my experience, the world of business and personal relationships are extremely karmic.
I’d like to quickly give a personal shout out to three people – Danny Les, James Lawrence and CryptoCred. I approached each of these people at a time where I was looking for some help and guidance, had a small social media following and had only written a handful of articles. Each one of these people took the time out of their incredibly busy schedules to chat with me and help out where they could. They didn’t have to do this and there was nothing in it for them, but they did it anyway.
This has completely changed my entire outlook on life and I’ve vowed to always give the time to people that approach me to see if I can help in anyway.
If I wouldn’t have approached these people I wouldn’t be where I am today and that’s a fact. I think for some reason we are led to believe that people don’t want to be annoyed and can be extremely hostile if approached, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Be Nice to People
Leading on from the point about giving people your time, this is the simplest point in this guide. Just be nice to people. It doesn’t cost anything and could take you to some extraordinary places. From a business perspective you are representing your brand and your company so be polite, warm, courteous, have manners and smile. This is so simple but if someone finds you warm and welcoming they are much more likely to want to talk with your further.
Be Open to New Ideas
Crypto, more than many other industries, is still in its infancy and so is changing at a rapid rate. You don’t have time to sit still otherwise you can miss some key moments. You therefore have to be fluid and versatile.
Be open to new ideas. After a couple of Twitter polls it came to my attention that people actually prefer video or audio interviews than written. So I had to be open to creating a YouTube channel, even though I felt and still feel really uncomfortable in front of camera. Having the mindset where you will give anything a try or be open to suggestion will allow you to try new things – you never know where they can take you.
This applies to people that approach you too. If someone comes to me and says “Alex, I have a really cool idea for The Daily Chain – let’s jump on a call.” I will do it, even if I don’t know that person. Being cynical and thinking you know everything will get you nowhere. This could be a groundbreaking idea or it could be rubbish – but you have to give it a try.
Be a yes man.
From Lottery to Charity
A short and simple one here that’s actually been highly effective in forming a different mentality. For years I paid around £25 a month for the “Euro Millions”. For the uninitiated, the Euro Millions spans over numerous countries and costs £2.50 to play for your chance to win millions of pounds. I believe other countries refer to it as the “Lotto”.
The chances of winning the Euro’s are 1 in 139,838,160.
Around a year ago I decided to stop letting myself think that there was always this chance I could win as it’s a lazy mentality and something easy to fall back on. Therefore I made the decision to take the £25 I was wasting on this and give directly to three charities that meant something to me.
This has eliminated the idea that I have something in the background that can make me rich. Only I can make me rich now, it’s all down to me and only me. On top of that, the wasted money is going to people who really need it and will help better their lives significantly.
How To Deal with Trolls and Negativity
I’m one of those people who annoyingly can receive 99 positive comments but 1 negative one, then only focus on that negative comment. It’s incredibly frustrating but I think some people are just built like that. Either way it’s been a challenge for me to deal with trolls and people who are just out to annoy you or hurt you.
One of the frustrating parts of crypto, particularly on Twitter, is that everyone is largely anonymous. Unfortunately when people have a cloak of anonymity they tend to say some awful things and don’t show much sympathy or empathy. Luckily we have a few features to deal with this.
I used to get really affected when people were rude or abusive to me but now I just use that beautiful mute button. It’s as simple as that. You never have to see or deal with that person again and can get on with your life.
Honestly I don’t understand and will never understand trolls, but the way to look at it is from a place of pity. If this person has to fill some sort of void in their life by being horrible to someone else and trying to upset them, then they must have a pretty shitty life.
One of my new favourite quotes is this:
“Winners focus on winning, losers focus on the winners.”
Be a winner. Look straight ahead, focus on what you want to achieve and don’t let other people bring you down. If others are focusing on you rather than themselves, then you have already won my friend.
The Power of Working Hard
You may be reading this thinking to yourself, I don’t feel particularly talented in any area – how can I provide anything of worth to this industry? You may even be massively short of confidence which fills your mind with negative thoughts and self doubt.
How do you deal with this?
I truly believe that there is no real trick here. No life hack, no shortcut and no cheat code.
The key to gaining confidence and overcoming what you perceive to be a lack of talent is simply hard work. I don’t believe I’m a particularly talented writer. I’m not the best presenter or talker and I don’t use clever or even long words. I struggle with some blockchain concepts that go completely over my head and it can take a long time for me to understand certain ideas.
But one thing I will always do? Work my god damn arse off.
In order to go full time crypto I was up at 5.30am everyday. I would work on The Daily Chain until 8am then leave for work. On the walk to work I would arrange calls or listen to podcasts to increase my knowledge. In my down time at work I would read articles or watch crypto videos then on my lunch break I would write my own articles or take some calls. On my walk home I would arrange more calls then when I got in I would focus on crypto until 10.30/11pm before going to bed.
You want to go full time crypto? Be prepared to work for it and put the time in. Another one of my favourite sayings: “To escape the 9-5 you have to work 5-9”.
One of the key things I have also noticed is that people are naturally attracted to hard workers. If you are seen to be someone that works their arse off all day everyday, then others will naturally gravitate towards you. Set the example and lead from the front.
You don’t necessarily have to be talented. If you work hard, then others will be attracted to you and opportunities will organically arise out of this. When opportunities arise due to your hard work, this will naturally give you more self confidence and belief. When you have more self confidence and belief, you begin to appreciate yourself more and can start to find talents that you may have.
This is the cycle that I’ve found to work and it does work.
The Big ‘M’ – Money
One of the most important things I overlooked when writing this down the first time round was how to be able to change a career and start working for yourself whilst also remaining financially safe.
So first off you should have enough savings to cover at least a few months rent/bills/utilities etc.. This way in the worst case scenario you are covered and have time to find another job if things don’t get as planned.
Secondly, you should work out the absolute minimum you need to survive as a wage. I’m talking no fancy things here at all. Just rent, food, travel etc…All of the necessities to basically keep you alive.
There’s a great story about Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal when they were first starting Paypal where they had one small office with one computer and a couch. They would alternate sleeping times so that Kimbal would manage the site in the day and Elon would code at night with the other sleeping on the couch. They would also shower at the YMCA!
Finally, you need to consistently make this amount for a good few months and have some revenue lined up in the pipeline for the next couple of months. Remember, if you can make this revenue in your spare time then it becomes a lot easier when you can fully focus on this and dedicate all of your time to guaranteeing income.
*Added 5th October 2019*
I’d like to end on some hard truths that once you realise and accept, make things a whole lot easier.
Life is not fair. You are not owed anything and no one is coming to save you. Bad things can and will happen to you and you will go through a lot of shit in your life that you have to deal with.
But the worst thing you can possibly do is form a victim mentality.
“Why always me?”. “This isn’t fair”. “It’s like the whole world is against me.”
This is a dangerous mentality as it gives you a reason to have something to blame when things don’t go your way. By taking responsibility for your actions and realising that life will chew you up and spit you out from time to time, it allows you to stay grounded and accept that things won’t always work out the way you wished.
You will have days where you feel terrible, like you haven’t achieved anything and your career is not going anywhere. But these are just momentary cycles that everyone goes through. The great thing about life is that tomorrow is a new day and you can pick yourself and go again. Just get through it and do as much as you possibly can when you’re feeling low and blue.
I’d like to finish with a quote from George St Pierre, MMA Fighter, on what to do when you have bad days. In this example he is talking about going to the gym but I believe this applies to all aspects of life:
“You don’t get better on the days when you feel like going. You get better on the days when you don’t want to go, but you go anyway. If you can overcome the negative energy coming from your tired body or unmotivated mind, you will grow and become better. It won’t be the best workout you have, you won’t accomplish as much as what you usually do when you actually feel good, but that doesn’t matter. Growth is a long term game, and the crappy days are more important.”
I hope you have found some value in this guide and can take something away from this. I apologise there is no real form or structure but it’s not meant to fully digest in one go.
It may be best to save this and refer to it in the future.
If you’d like to listen to my talking about my experience in crypto then check out episode one of our new podcast that we’ve launched.
You can follow me on Twitter – I’ll try to respond as soon as I can.
The Daily Chain
Inform. Educate. Succeed.