Indie Nomad: Niall Doherty’s Interview
I’m following Niall’s journey for around two years now and I’ve seen him create, write and build amazing things. Sometimes doing what I think is the impossible, like he’s doing right now with his course where in 3 months he’ll do his best to get you to 1000€ per month in income as a freelancer working online. Some of his students achieve results in just weeks and sometimes days. Really impressive! But that’s not the Niall I knew.
When I first discovered a video of Niall on youtube he was talking about some of the tracking methods he used (with a simple excel sheet) where he explained how he was able to achieve his goals and expand his knowledge while learning other languages at the same time. The file he showed in the video was in Portuguese and I obviously had to see more.
His content was really engaging and I felt like a stalker. In the first few days, I had subscribed to his mailing list because I needed to know more about all the great and sometimes unbelievable things he was doing. We’re talking about “a guy” that went all over the world without getting into a single plane (he wrote a book about that)! How impressive is that? And as if that’s not all he was also doing challenges (to himself and others) to reach $5k in one month (which he did), create an online course (which he did very successfully) and all that while sharing his challenges and “momentos” and also being available to his community. This is my interview with him and it is my pleasure to share it with you:
IDB: Can you describe/outline your typical workday?
Niall: Up at 6:45 and at the gym by 7.
Exercise for 35-40 minutes.
Then I take a couple of hours for meditation, breakfast, email, reading, shower.
First work session from 9:30am to about 11:30am.
Break for lunch and nap.
Second work session from 2pm to about 6pm.
Get out of the house in the evening and do something social.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?
Like most people, I fear wasting my life away and looking back with regret. I manage that by trying to keep things in perspective. For example, I have an item on my daily to-do list that says, “Remember: someday you will die.” I have to check that off every morning, and it keeps in mind that my time is limited and I need to make the most of it.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business (either present or past)?
Last July I launched an information product that earned me $5,000 in 24 hours. I’d worked hard on that for months so it felt really good to see it do well.
I’ve since evolved that product into an online course called 3M1K, which helps people get started working online, so they have the freedom to work from anywhere like I’ve been able to do for the past five years. Seeing people have great results from the course has been very satisfying, too.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time and how do you manage to balance that?
I love to read and usually get through a book a week. Last night I finished reading The Grapes Of Wrath which was amazing.
Other than that I regularly try to get out and spend time with friends and be social.
There are lots of other things I’d love to be doing but my tendency is to take on too many projects at the same time and become overwhelmed. So I’m careful about getting involved in too many pursuits and getting distracted from building my business, which is my primary focus right now.
What is it that truly makes you happy?
A sense of progress.
I like to look back every few months and see that I’ve made significant strides towards my goals.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
I’m pretty strict about my schedule nowadays. I rarely deviate from my Monday-to-Friday work routine, and I try to get to bed early most nights so I can be up before 7 the next morning. As such, I miss out on lots of random coffee meet ups during the day, and late night adventures with friends.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most (or look up to)?
I admire what Ramit Sethi has built. He has a suite of high-quality products that really help people, and it sounds like he does very well financially. I also admire his no-bullshit approach to marketing.
What three pieces of advice would you give anyone who wants to become entrepreneurs?
1) Start young.
The vast majority of entrepreneurs who succeed early in life were the kids on the playground selling baseball cards or on the sidewalk selling lemonade. I think there’s a natural gestation period for becoming an entrepreneur, and for most people it’s 5-10 years. So the earlier you start, the earlier you take your punches and move beyond them.
2) Work hard.
Should go without saying. If you don’t have a good work ethic, you’re not going to do very well. Lots of people want to build a successful business putting in 4-hour workweeks, but they inevitably get left in the dust by competitors putting in 40-hour workweeks. The latter crowd is doing ten times more work. Even if they’re not as smart and make tons of mistakes, they’re still going to come out ahead.
I’ve really noticed this from building my 3M1K course. In there I’m teaching people how to make money freelancing online, and in the process I’ve become a much better freelancer myself. Teaching other people exposes gaps in your thinking and knowledge and you’re motivated to fill those gaps quick so you don’t look like a fool to your students.
So as soon as you learn something new as an entrepreneur, turn around and try teach it to someone else via a quick article or video online. Not only will you force yourself to understand concepts more deeply, but you’ll help others as well.
If you had the chance to start all over again, what would you do differently, if anything at all?
I quit my day job almost six years ago and spent the first ~10 months of my entrepreneurial life chasing passive income. That proved to be a huge waste of time and energy. Passive income is possible, but trying to achieve right out of the gate is unwise. Much better to focus on active income (e.g. freelancing) initially. You get a much faster ROI while learning lots about marketing and how to deliver value.
If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
How do you define success?
I like how John Wooden defined it: “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
Make sure you take a closer look at Niall’s journey and that you follow along on his blog, social media, and youtube channel.