Repeat until you truly understand (The apple is green)


There is a pattern that repeats in the working lives of everyone who regularly makes money, from my wife to my parents and sisters, to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, people who play around on the stock market, even professional sports bettors.

Now, if I write about a pattern that repeats in the activities of successful people, it may seem as if I am a master of these types of insights. Don’t let yourself be fooled. The situation is in fact quite absurd.

It’s like someone who says: “The apple is green.” Then you say: “I know. The apple is green.” Then the other guy slaps you across the face. As you’re gathering your senses, he again says: “The apple is green.” Again, you reply: “I know. The apple is green.” Again he slaps you. This time he adds: “You don’t really know. You think you know, but you don’t. Not really.” Then he repeats the sentence: “The apple is green.” This time you’re a bit more careful, so you say it softer. “Yes, I know: The apple is …” Slap!

So it continues for a few minutes. Eventually the guy again tells you: “You say it, and you think you know. But you don’t truly realise what you are saying. The apple … is green.”

By now, your cheeks have been slapped a deep pink, and you are absolutely convinced that the guy must surely have a point. Then you think about what he is saying. You really think about it. You are quiet for a few minutes, and you think. Then it hits you: “The fucking apple is green.”

So it was with me. I’ve been speculating for a long time about why I don’t make more money than the few bucks I earn every week by teaching two or three English classes, even though I try so hard, even though I work on so many projects, even though I have learned so much about so many topics, and even though I have learned so many skills.

I have also wondered about other people who make money – the woman in my life, my family, my friends … What are they doing that is so right that I am doing wrong?

Yet, I know what the answer is. I knew the answer this morning too, but I didn’t truly realise until tonight: The Great Secret. The Reason Why I Haven’t Made More Money The Past Five Years. The Key To Success.

My wife goes to a language centre on a Monday afternoon where she teaches for about seven hours. Tuesday she does it again. Wednesday she does it again. Thursday and Friday too.

Warren Buffett did not make his fortune with one good buying-and-selling of stock thirty or forty years ago. He does it all the time. He repeats the same thing over and over and over again.

Professional sports bettor Ian Erskine doesn’t make £50,000 a year because he wins a few lucky bets every now and then. He analyses dozens of soccer matches every week. He places dozens of bets every month. Over and over and over. Month after month, year after year.

My older sister makes money because she applies account management to companies’ financial affairs. She doesn’t perform only one task per year, she does hundreds. Over and over – the same, or similar tasks. Month in and month out. Year after year.


Every month that had passed since January 2006 when I failed to make enough money, or when I would have liked to make more money, have seen the exact same pattern repeat: I either did the wrong thing – wrong market, wrong method, wrong project, unworkable way of making money, or when I did the right thing, I didn’t do enough of it.

At one point, I researched some products, wrote reviews about them, and then published the reviews in a few places, with my affiliate link below the text, so when someone clicked on it and purchased the product, I earned a commission. It worked! I made some money doing it. But I only did it with six or seven products! And I only published the reviews in a few places! I should have written seventy, or a hundred reviews! I should have published the reviews in ten, fifteen places! Three or four links to a review site? It should have been three hundred links! And the next year I should have done another hundred or two hundred reviews, and I should have published those reviews in twenty or thirty places.

I have made money by selling bundles with so-called private label articles – text that other people can edit and publish under their own names. How many bundles did I make available? Ten or twelve. It should have been two hundred … no, five hundred bundles! The one or two sales I did get with a dozen bundles would then have repeated – sale, sale, sale, sale, sale, sale, sale, sale, sale, sale, sale …

I have made money rewriting private label articles so that they were a bit more original. Okay, it was excruciatingly boring, but I made money with it pretty quickly! Can I deny that I would have made more and more money if I had repeated the process, and then again, and again, and again, and again and again and again?

I have also made money by making websites for people. How many websites? Two or three. Two or three? It should have been fifty or sixty! And the following year a hundred! “Jim Buyer just sent you money …”  the e-mail from PayPal would have said. Then another one. Then another one. Then one more. And another. Another one. Another one. Another one. Another one.

A few months ago, after reading in an e-book how to do it, I sold a domain name that I owned. Exactly like the book explained. How many domain names did I sell? One. How many did I try to sell that way? Two or three.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I am not working on the wrong projects at the moment. What I do can be done better, and improvements will be made. But what I am doing is quite good enough to make money. I am just not doing enough of it.


* * *

What is outsourcing? It is about getting more done of something that works.

* * *

“I’m not making money with this.”

“Does what you do make sense? Do other people make money with it?”

“It makes sense, and other people make money with it.”

“Then it’s because you’re not doing enough of it. If you’re trying to sell something, you’re not repeating something enough times to bring it to the attention of enough people. Either you are doing something wrong, or if you’re doing the right thing, you’re not doing enough of it.”


Ideas and initiative can’t be outsourced. Just about all the rest can. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t sweat doing work that you can pay other people to do.