So you think you don’t have time for self-development, reading, or doing a course?
Good. I have something for you
How much time do you spend every day on commuting? Let’s imagine that you spend 45 minutes one way, travelling by train, as I once used to.
That’s 1.5 hours a day.
45 hours a month.
Around 500 hours in a year
Let’s deduct half of it for various reasons, such as holidays on which you do not travel to work. The days on which you are unwell etc.
So it becomes 250 hours.
If you regularly commute, you probably have 250 hours in your disposal, when you just fiddle with your phone, watch Netflix or aimlessly thumb through social media.
What if you used those 250 hours for something productive, like learning a language, or learning a new skill? What if you could update yourself with 250 hours of studying law?
What if you typed out articles like I do when I am travelling? You may say it’s impossible when travelling in public transport, but famous management author Seth Godin grabs a train when he is trying to write something and cannot focus. He says that train journeys force him to focus.
Those 250 hours spent over a year could completely change your life if you spent it on self-development or learning new skills.
When I used to work at a law firm in Mumbai and travelled by train every day, I used that time to work on iPleaders blog. I often turned the new things I learned about law into blog posts and published. That kept the blog alive and began to attract many readers. Today that blog attracts over 1 million users per month
Small things that you do regularly can lead to the biggest successes in your life.
How about flights? How many flights do you take in a year? I take about 4 flights a month, sometimes more. That’s around 8 hours of highly productive time with no disturbance. I use that for writing. Some of my best pieces have been written on flights.
8 hours for 12 months each. 96 hours. What can you achieve in 96 hours?
Could you make a rule that while you are flying you will read books, or write something, or learning a new skill?
Ok, let’s take another example. Maybe you do not commute for work. Maybe you don’t take so many flights either.
But you take a dump, every day, for sure. Yeah sorry, but I can’t think of a better and more universal example.
Let’s imagine that you spend around 10 minutes a day on the throne answering nature’s call.
What if you spent those 10 minutes learning something that will go on to contribute in your life?
That’s 300 minutes in a month. And 3600 minutes in a year. 60 hours to be precise if not more.
In 60 hours you could get quite good at a legal subject. You could finish reading 5-6 books in that much time. If you could write 1 page every day, you could be done with half a book. Or end up publishing 10-15 articles every year. Or you could write the business plan you always postpone working on because you are too busy.
I started doing this when I was preparing for law entrance, many years back in 2005.
I would carry my study material into the bathroom because I did not want to waste a single moment.
Every time I would tie a shoelace, I made a rule for myself, that I will remember 3 new words I learned that day. While travelling I will read something. I had books in my bed so that if I ever had difficulty sleeping I would get up and read until I felt sleepy again. If I ever had to stand in a queue I will take out a book from my bag and begin reading, much to the amusement of all the people around me, who thought that I was showing off. Or so I imagined. But I did not let anything stop me.
I had to get what I wanted.
And the obsession that was generated out of using every possible minute to my disposal towards my goal meant that I was highly likely to get what I wanted.
And I did, eventually, even if it took a long time.
When faced with great challenges these days, I do the same.
Unpredictable and illegal activities by a University partner put iPleaders in great jeopardy in 2018. By that time, I had already started LawSikho as a separate brand and entity and had begun to grow our own suite of legal courses.
When the university breached our contract with them and shit hit the fan, we were in grave trouble. We were in debt because we did not get paid a lot of money and it seemed that going to court is the only way to get our money. That was not going to happen any time soon given how slow courts are.
The only way for us to stay in the legal education business was to grow the LawSikho course business 5 times within 3 months.
We were out of cash. Some of our colleagues left and some had to be asked to leave because we did not know when we can pay them again. The rest of us, with uncertainty hanging on our head, focussed on making great courses and building a new business from the ground up.
We built new marketing channels, a new sales process, new courses, new operations – it turned out that this was an opportunity for taking things to the next level. We even targeted a new segment of customers. Instead of making courses for law students, we decided to make courses that will be great for lawyers. We assumed that law students will also take such courses anyway because there will be tremendous value for them.
We survived. But it happened because we were obsessed.
I said it again and again, to anyone who will listen, we need to make at least 10 lakhs per month to be sustainable! We need 10 lakhs. Just 10 lakhs. We have 3 months. We will do it.
I said it when I went to sleep. I dreamed about it. When I woke up, I said it aloud again.
It looked impossible because we were only at 2 lakhs per month when we started. We were scared that we did not have enough brand value and track record because we were launching these courses under a new brand name which did not take off despite almost a year of efforts earlier. Would it work now? How can we increase it five fold in 3 months?
Finally, we had run out of time, it seemed.
What would change? How will it work now if it did not work before even when we were not in danger and were not out of resources?
I did not let that stop myself. My colleagues did not give up either. We did whatever we could think of. I made dozens of counselling calls personally every day. I would speak passionately on every call till my throat was dry. Then I will just drink some water and get right back to it. At night, when nobody will pick my calls, I will sit and write marketing mails, create collaterals and assure myself that it was all going to work out eventually.
My team launched 5 new diploma courses and created new study material with superhuman effort.
How could this be done?
There is always the same answer. One call at a time. One syllabus at a time. One chapter at a time. One learner at a time. Every minute, every hour, every day at a time.
Identify the small tasks and just keep doing them non stop. Want to be a good lawyer? Handle one case at a time and do a great job. Read one page at a time and keep upgrading your knowledge. Keep at it. That’s all.
And it happened. We made 8 lakhs in the first month after we did this.
I could not even believe myself when it happened. Was that possible? It wasn’t 10 lakhs, but we could survive. We knew if we could make 8 lakhs, we could do it again and again and increase from here. The baseline was set. I remember that night. I was in Mumbai, hanging out with my old friend who runs a boutique law firm there.
He said, Ramanuj, you seem to have finally found your product market fit.
We just have to make the right products and make the right efforts at sales and marketing.
The reason we got there was that we suspended our disbelief and kept working every minute available to us. We kept repeating our Mantra. It took another 2 months to cross that 10 lakh milestone. Then we kept growing and growing, there was no looking back.
In 6 months from that point, LawSikho had turned around, created momentum and began to become a force to reckon with.
Now it has been a year since that low point.
We are much bigger now, in terms of team size and revenues. And we are even richer in culture. Our learners are happy to pay us 1 lakh for a single license of Master Access. Our corporate clients pay us tens of lakhs to train their lawyers and executives. Last month we increased our prices by 40% and there was no dent in demand. We have been turning away corporate clients because we do not have the bandwidth!
Of course, I do not wish to disclose the exact numbers due to strategic reasons. But I want to tell you that success is possible when you are obsessed about it.
It is possible when you are so obsessed that you do not let a single minute slip by.
Amazing things happen when you keep doing productive things, even if for a few minutes a day, for a year. Or two. Or for a lifetime.
Big things are accomplished if you take small actions every day.
If you believe in this approach, you will find our courses highly suitable for you. Here are the upcoming courses you should check out. Batch closes on 15th June.
Executive Certificate Courses