Most of us are told that hard work is the way to success. Working long hours may provide results, but it is not the only way. In fact, working long hours is less of a key to financial success for an entrepreneur than it is for a regular salaried employee. Working smart is the not so secret part to success for entrepreneurs.
So what does working smart mean to the Norwegian serial-entrepreneur and a Growth Hacker Sam Farao?
According to Sam entrepreneurship is not something that you can easily learn unless you are actually doing it. Learning by doing is by far the best way to learn how to become a successful entrepreneur. And if you haven’t been successful yet, there is no need to worry as long as you keep doing, keep learning from it.
Tired entrepreneurs are uninspired. Aspiring entrepreneurs should take care to avoid working themselves into a burnout. Creativity and ideas that create new and profitable solutions thrive and flow freely in a rested and happy mind. If you work long hours, on the other hand, the only thought you are likely to have in your head all day is that of your bed.
This doesn’t mean you won’t have long days. All real entrepreneurs put in the extra hours and work till they drop when it counts. The important thing is just to not make it a regular thing. The fact is, as an entrepreneur your job is your life, and your hobby too. You don’t have to sit at your desk to think about it as it is always in the back of your mind. The best ideas usually come along when you least expect it.
The quest for passive income
For Sam Farao these ideas started popping up in his college days. This was the time when he decided that the 9-5 rat race wasn’t quite what he was after. It was also around those days that he started experimenting with drop-shipping. The interest quickly turned into an obsession and the part-time side gig soon became his main concern, and he eventually decided to take the plunge and drop out of college to pursue his new-found business ambitions wholeheartedly.
It was while drop shipping goods from China and Europe that Sam had his first real encounters with an industry he hadn’t really given any thought to yet. That was affiliate marketing. This approach motivated Sam to launch a range of websites. He targeted customers in specific niche markets that he identified, and used pay per click and search engine optimization to drive traffic.
Identifying the right opportunities and setting up the websites took effort and it cost a good deal of money to get it right, but the results made it all worth it. For the first time in his life, Sam got to experience real passive income. The results of his work were beyond his expectations, and he had achieved his initial goal of not having to work for anyone. To his own astonishment, it had taken just a fraction of the time he had initially anticipated.
“If you don’t want to work for people, then people must work for you.”
With money in his pocket and a recipe for success figured out Sam wasn’t going to sit back and get comfortable just yet. Not when there were new opportunities just beyond the horizon. He went at it again. This time he decided it was about time to go bigger. This time Sam wanted to run companies. He knew this wouldn’t be quite as easy as his recent achievements, but he also knew that if you don’t want to work for other people, then you must have other people working for you.
He first got involved in running a company in 2011 when he started a Hair salon in Oslo called Oslo Hair, which today is among the best rated in the country. With Sam in charge of administration and marketing, the business quickly turned into a profitable venture. After a number of very successful marketing campaigns, he exited the company and sold his shares to realize the gains he had made.
In 2015 Sam went on to co-found Netpixel Media, and in 2017 he also joined as a co-founder in Captana. His background in affiliate marketing paid off, and he managed to turn a relatively modest initial investment into a $3 million revenue stream in the form of affiliate marketing commissions.
Coupons, Loans, and Credit – The First Big Deal
As Sam’s online marketing kept providing results the breakthroughs continued to materialize. One particularly profitable breakthrough was the partnership he started with Mediehuset Nettavisen, one of the most prominent online newspapers in Norway, in 2015 which involved building, operating, and marketing a coupon site.
He then proceeded to enter the market for loans. He opened a number of so-called sniper sites targeting specific keywords within the loans and consumer credit industry. With his extensive SEO experience, the process of achieving high ranking for these sniper sites was well within Sam’s field of competence. One of the very successful sites Sam partnered on was the site Loans.no. Later he also went on to co-found a globally recognized loan comparison site called Loanstar.
In early 2019 Netpixel and Captana executed the sale of several website assets held by the two companies. The websites, which included four prominent loan comparison sites and one coupon site, were sold to Speqta AB (publ), formerly known as Mytaste Group. The total value of the acquisition was set to 31.5 Million NOK.
Following his successes in the loans industry, another industry where Sam successfully created successful sites was the online casino industry where he created the site Casinor.com, a leading guide for online casino related information in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Casinor was later sold for an undisclosed seven-figure amount.
Building new opportunities in commercial real-estate
As a leading player in the Norwegian loans and credit online niche Sam made a number of important connections that have proved important for his path forward. He is now a founding partner of Perago Capital, which is an investment vehicle-based in the United Arab Emirates.
Sam is currently also working on a new venture called Imperium Invest. This time Sam is getting into commercial real estate investments in Oslo and Amsterdam together with Dyar Al-Ashtari.
Sam is not all new in the real-estate space. He is also a seed investor and sits on the board of flexspace.no. This is a startup that specializes in bridging the supply side and the demand side of Oslo’s flex office market.
“Sometimes you fail, other times you succeed, but you always learn”
The ability to work smart comes gradually. Working smart is not something you can decide to just start doing. It is also not something that a university will be able to teach you. It is a skill that you will learn through experience, and that comes gradually.
How many sniper sites did Sam build that failed to take off before he got the formula right? He probably lost count. He lost money too, but every single one of them he made sure to always gain knowledge about how to do better next time. How to fail faster and cheaper, and eventually how to succeed.
As you keep trying you sometimes fail, other times you succeed, but you can always learn. And if you keep learning and don’t give up hope along the way you have the odds in your favor.
Sam’s latest venture is Nutra CBD – a premium supplier of CBD (cannabidiol) products exclusive to the Netherlands market. They currently offer CBD oil (CBD olie), cannabis oil (Wietolie) and CBD capsules. We’ll surely be following the progress!