Two entrepreneurs spent countless hours researching what makes people more productive and happy. Then, they took what they learned and designed a journal that they say helps self-starters actually achieve their goals.
After meeting at an entrepreneurship program and realizing they wanted to boost their own productivity, 29-year-old Cathryn Lavery and 28-year-old Allen Brouwer devoted one year to researching success.
They read 150 books, attended more than a dozen conferences and listened to thousands of podcasts. The result? A start-up called BestSelf Co and a meticulously designed productivity journal called the SELF Journal.
Approximately 30,000 copies of the SELF Journal have sold so far. The pair also developed a free online PDF version because they want anyone to be able to benefit from what they learned.
"We owe it to everybody to have that same personal impact, whether they can afford the notebook or not," Brouwer said. "We saw the impact and demand for the physical journal, so we weren't scared to give [the PDF] away."
To fund the journal, the pair launched a Kickstarter campaign in August that surpassed its $15,000 goal within 28 hours. Eventually, the journal raised more than $300,000.
Their work landed them a winning spot in the Build a Business IV competition, a start-up contest by online business platform Shopify. As winners, they will spend a week alongside entrepreneurs such as Russell Simmons, Daymond John and Tony Robbins.
Along their journey to launch their start-up and create the journal, the partners learned countless lessons about productivity, happiness and success. Here are the lessons they found to be the most powerful:
"Successful people are the sum of the good habits they set for themselves," Lavery said. "The powerful people — if they want to reach a goal — they set up a habit to reach that goal."
Lavery, who previously worked a demanding job in architecture, felt she had no time to herself. So she decided to make time in the early morning to plan her day and think about her long-term goals, an idea she got from a book called "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod.
"I know in the mornings what the first 45 minutes of my day is going to look like. Once I get that done, I have a much more productive day," she said.
"One principle that I live by is definite purpose," Brouwer said, an idea from the late American author Napoleon Hill.
"As long as you can figure out why you're here and where you're going, it makes them the journey and the process much easier," he said.
Many entrepreneurs experience fear and frustration when trying to decide how to start their venture. Their advice: Ignore those worries.
"There's this great line from Tony Robbins, 'Don't get caught up with the tyranny of how,'" Brouwer said. "At one point we decided we weren't going to concern ourselves about the technicalities, we were just going to figure things out as we go."
"As long as you have your definite purpose, you'll figure the rest out," he said.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the spelling of Shopify.