315 Hours

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2 hours per day for 5 and a half months.

315 hours of work.

That’s how long it took me to go from no idea to launching my product.

I know a lot you struggle with this…

You want to start a business and create freedom for yourself, but you feel like you don’t have enough time.

This is a limiting belief. It can be done. I did it, and you can too.

It takes a lot of sacrifice and focus.

But if you dedicate yourself to taking action and working on the most important things for 2 hardcore hours per day it can and will be yours.

In this post I’m going to tell you the rules I made and habits I built into myself that made me succeed.

Rule # 1 Stop consuming content that you do not need TODAY.

I suffered from content addiction. I used to be obsessed. I used to read every piece of information on productivity, passive income, hacks … And I didn’t need half of it. This is a problem. Any information you can not use today is a distraction. Once I realized this was a problem, I made a rule for myself. Only consume information I can use today, and only consume it from two or three sources. This keeps you focused. Implement this rule for yourself today.

Rule # 2 Commit to X Number of Hours of Action per Day

It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend or can commit to. What matters is that you stick to a plan and build it into a habit. For me, it was 2 hours of hard core action every morning. I also committed to 50 emails out a day when I was reaching out to the market. That got me to my idea in about a month. Chose what works for you and stick to it. Oh yeah, did I mention reading content is not action. Action is reaching out to your market, mocking up your solution, working on copy, hiring a developer, making calls, and making sales… You get the idea.

Rule # 3 Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress is critical. During idea extraction I kept track of the number of calls I made that were over 30 min. I tried to beat myself every week. Little things like this are super important. This is a marathon and its very hard. Tracking progress shows … progress and that will keep you going when shit gets tough… Cause it will.

Rule # 4 Don’t Do It Alone – Stay Accountable.

Doing this by yourself is really tough… Get someone you know that you can talk to about this process and review it with them on a regular basis. Share your goals with them and ask them to hold you accountable. You won’t want to let them down and will work harder for it.

Rule # 5 Awareness

Most of you are going to think this is ridiculous. Most of you will ignore this point. But it’d be a huge mistake. Being aware of my emotions is the single most important thing I’ve learned this year (and maybe ever). You are the only thing stopping you for achieving your goals. If you understand this and start to live it, you’re whole world changes. Everyday before you start your 2 hours of action, think about your most important task for the day and see if you feel any resistance there. If you do try to understand why and learn to reverse it.

Rule # 6 Know Your “Why”

So, why do you want to build a business? Why do you want to go through all this work? What are your goals and why do you REALLY want it? I keep a google doc of my direction that I review every single morning when I wake up. It keeps me focused and more importantly, it gets me through those tough days when things go wrong. Despite them, I keep trying.

Rule # 7 Play For Keeps

There needs to be some stake in this for you. For me, I decided this was it. It was the last time I was going to say “I’m going to start a business”. If I fail I’m just going to go back to the normal 9-5 and am not going to do this again. This created some more real motivation… I did NOT want that to happen and I worked 100X as hard because of it.

These are the rules that got me where I am over the last year.

I still live by them.

Hope they help you get where you want to go.


PS – What rules are you going to commit to? What are you willing to do to achieve your goals? Let me know in the comments…

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  • Jeff Fleming


    Wow, I didn’t realize, but once you do the math yeah, it is only 315 hours. But you’re right, and Josh’s marathon story is right too, heck, the tortoise and the hare could even apply. I never thought with a full time job, two part time jobs, and a young family I would ever be able to get to this. But you and the crew from the foundation as a whole have been great showing that with just a little time each day and no money I can get myself away from all those jobs and on to spending time with my family. It is amazing what you can get done in just a few short hours if you focus and don’t get distracted.

    Oh, did I mention I’m working on a MS degree too? I don’t sleep much. But once I get my company going it’ll all be worth it!

    Hopefully I’ll get this product validated within the week and can start on wire-framing next weekend.

    And thanks for keeping us in check and not letting us get too far ahead in content. Thanks for being there as we go from step to step to provide help once you’ve helped verify that we’ve actually completed the step. Otherwise I would be wasting time wire-framing and completely missed validation.


    • Carl

      Hell yeah Jeff! You got this.

    • Josh Isaak

      Yeah Jeff!!

  • John

    Definitely guilty of Rule #1; I read this same guideline in 4HWW by Tim Ferriss. So true and logical, but also incredibly difficult to put into practice because until you’ve actually accomplished something you always feel like more information is only going to help but then it can easily snowball on you and then all you do is collect and process information without any real action. Great point Carl.

    • Carl

      Thanks John!

  • Yed A.

    Hi Carl,

    I found you on Mixergy and you’re an inspiration. Thanks for sharing this info with the world.

    I’m a big fan of the system the Foundation came up with to start a business. It’s brilliant.

    I think rules #4 & 5 are the most important for me. Accountbility can help one do wonders. As to rule #5, can you elaborate a little more for us?

    Lord willing, I’m committing to 2 hours of hardcore work a day 6 days a week.

    I want to grow my app’s audience (http://heartpointsapp.com) from 5k downloads to date to 100k downloads within the next 315 hours of work I put in (roughly 6 months).

    I’ll keep you posted on progress. By the way, what books you’d recommend for. Mindset and eliminating limiting beliefs?

    • Carl

      Awesome Yed. I’d love to expand on #5 in its own post sometime. I’ve got lots to say about it.

      For books… Mindset around sales I really like zero resistance selling. Also, really like following Peter Shallard’s site (The Shrink for Entrepreneurs).

      But the best way to learn about this stuff is through coaching.

      Keep killing it Yed!

  • Nick Berard

    Carl, thanks for the post & breaking down your journey! 315 hrs seems minimal when I’m used to working 55 hr workweeks. After hearing you on Pat Flynn’s SPI podcast I’ve been so much more motivated to take action! I’ve committed to the whole process (let’s see if I get into the foundation), when it’s broken down in manageable steps the process is totally doable (not saying it’s any easier, there is no substitute for actually doing great work).

    I know my biggest challenge will be rule #5 about awareness. Getting wrapped up in the details have been a challenge for me at times . When I get out of my own way I can’t be stopped…but when I get in my own head and psych myself out and its uber frustrating.

    I’m actively seeking a mentor/coach to help me get to the next level. I am willing to acknowledge I need help to get out of my own way and stop self sabotaging my success!!

    Thanks again for the post!

    • Carl

      Awesome Nick! Did you signup for coaching last week? If so, I’ll def. get you on the schedule.

      • Nick Berard

        Getting advice and coaching from you would be awesome! I applied on the foundations website a couple weeks ago. Do you know when they follow up with applicants? Did I miss a deadline already?

        • Carl

          Ummm, pretty sure you didn’t miss the deadline. I think they will be letting people know in November. Email me at Carl (at) carlmattiola.com and we can talk about coaching.

  • Madimetja Shogole

    Hi Carl!

    Thank you so much for those reality checks. You are so spot on. I am currently a victims of content overload. I am so reading, and decided in the past few days to start maybe focusing on certain resources like you and Pat Flynn’s. I could still once in a while check other guys stuff.

    I have actually committed this weekend to get my blog rolling. The mind map is there. I know where to begin but I just did not bring myself to the point of going. I like it when you added “I did it so you can”.

    I really identify with your tips because they are fresh and real – given that it is long that you started.

    Thank you sir.

    • Carl

      Thanks Madimetja!

  • Daniel Haegele

    Fantastic Post Carl!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Yes I am guilty of Rule #1: I consume more and more content and in the end you feel just paralyzed because you don’t know where to start and implement all this stuff. And then you justify it with: “But I took action because I watched another course in which I learned so much” Haha. Great points. I will use this as a guideline for creating an action plan

    • Carl

      Nice Daniel!

  • Edouard Dopper

    My Current rules are:
    Rule# 1 Focus on small victories.
    Rule#2 Be aware of my state
    Rule# 3 Spend 1 hour a day on idea extraction and 30 min on writing and 30 min on Appsumo
    Rule# 4 Do sports, stay healthy
    New Rules:
    Rule# 5 Be diligent about tracking your steps (I am really lazy)
    Rule# 6 Think small. I make it way too complex
    Rule# 7 Filter the unnecessary out (such as reading a thousand blogs a day on how to do it)

    • Carl

      Eduardo – This is awesome. Keep it up!

  • Tom Fairhall

    Hey Carl,

    Got to you from your video on The Foundation very inspirational and hopefully I can be where you are in 6 months.

    I know I have all the tools to achieve what I want but I have always had a hangup about using the phone and rejection which is something I am getting over slowly with the use of rejection therapy (Noah Kagan Wantrepeneur course).

    And Im reading the book Mindset for the 2nd time by Dr Carol Dweck which is helping and would love to hear your top tips on getting your mind kicked into gear as I seem to forget through the day what Im meant to be doing and then when I start reading the book it jogs my memory.



    • Carl

      Awesome Tom! Will do some mindset posts soon.

  • Amul Patel

    Another great post Carl.

    I love the whole “add up the numbers” and “build it on the side” stuff..
    Many people have to build part-time to validate and then jump ship.

    Keep these posts coming!!
    – Amul

    • Carl

      Thanks Amul!

  • Pong Li

    You got me at stop consuming content! I just realized that I’m a content addict.

    • Carl

      Nice Pong!

      • Pong Li

        Hey Carl, apparently you’re one of the top students in The Foundation. What does it take to be the top student?

        • Carl

          The post above pretty much explains most of what I think helped me stay focused.
          1. Knowing your why.
          2. Taking action despite feelings that hold you back.
          3. Giving more than you take in every interaction you have.

  • David Morse

    Carl – I really agree with your comment about not consuming content you don’t need. Some helpful tools for your readers that helped me:

    1. Do The Work – Make a list of critical activities (like the ones you mention above) and only do those
    2. Use StayFocusd Chrome Extension to block unproductive websites like Facebook, Feedly news reader, NFL, etc.
    3. Use RescueTime software to track your progress on only using “Do The Work” applications and activities – I make it a game to increase my productive time %
    4. Use the Pomodoro method to focus – 25 minutes sprint of work followed by 5 minutes of break (I do pushups, situps, pet my dog) – use a simple kitchen timer

    • Carl

      Awesome David.

  • Dani Shaffren


    I recently heard your interview on the Smart Passive Income podcast (it was the first SPI podcast I’ve listened to – Pat’s got some incredible stuff on there!) and I was completely blown away by the SaaS business model you describe, and really inspired by your success, congrats man!

    I very much want to get in to this business, and I’ve even made a ‘test’ call to a company for idea-extraction (didn’t go too well, but that’s ok). However, and I know this is probably just a limiting belief, but I’m having trouble conceiving of a time during the day that I can make regular idea-extraction calls, because by the time I finish my day, most businesses are closed (I live in the eastern time zone). How did you work around this, or have you heard of people working around this? Calling during a lunch break maybe?

    Just looking for some advice and guidance. Thanks a ton!

    • Carl

      Call California or Hawaii after work. Call during lunch or whenever you can.

  • http://thinkcustomerservice.com/ Robbin Kleinpenning

    Great post! Thanks.

    One question though: when did you go through the Foundation course? Because this wasn’t included in those 2 hours of action, right?

    • Carl

      Right. Often I’d listen to content on the drive to or from work.

      Sometimes I’d listen to more in the evenings.

      Overall it was really 95% action and 5% learning (at the most).

  • Greg Eisenbeis

    Carl, This is a another fantastic post! #1 rule is a must for me and I have never been able to frame it so simply… Thanks, I will follow your lead! (After I finish reading your blog :))

    • Carl

      Thanks Greg!

  • Eric

    Hey Carl,

    I have a question for you. When you are working in Tesla, when do you find time to call the customers?

    Because if you call them early in the morning let’s say, 6-8 (2 hours), then the office wouldn’t be open.
    And I assume you work from 9 – 5 which will be the same as their working hours as well.


    • Adam Tal

      Yup, my target users/customers have the same 9-6ish workday that I do. Where do the calls come in? Also, what is pitched to all the different verticals? Let’s say you’re curious about Physical Therapists and Teachers. What do you tell them on the phone? You said you considered many potentially profitable ideas, just wondering how the reach took place for them in unison while gainfully employed.

      Thank you,


    • Adam Tal

      I just read his response below. Call Hawaii or California. Great Idea!

  • Drew Stout

    This is great Carl. Nice stuff to really keep me on track and moving down the road. Here is my list

    Work for at least one hour on work days and 3-4 on days off

    Only take in information that I can use today

    Read through my direction statement everyday and modify for myself as necessary

    Track my progress and keep on task with my time lines

    Journal every morning about what my day will look like

    Communicate with my wife weekly to make sure that my work is not intruding into my family responsibilities