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More in Less.
Every business owner should have a big vision for where they are going and a clear mission statement for building a great result for their clients. Behind both of these is a single game that every business owner should be playing to accomplish them. It’s called “More Money in Less Time.” It’s the central game we need to play to build a successful business.
It’s a very serious game and it will transform your business and your lifestyle. Everything we do should be filtered through this one question, “How do I make more money in less time?”
Most of us started out as employees, who make more money in more time. We then transferred that bad habit to owning our business. Stop it. An employee thinks that way, but a stakeholder won’t (employees are obsolete – I’ll suggest in a future post why this is a bad habit for staff and stakeholders, not just owners). If you as a business owner want to build a successful business, you can’t afford to employ this old Industrial Age habit, either.
So the central game you play to realize your vision and accomplish your mission (and to get a life) is:
a) continually increasing the revenue of your company while
b) continually reducing the time you have to spend on bringing in that revenue.
Every successful business owner at every size of company, small to large, plays this as their main game.
All of us probably put together a spreadsheet at the beginning of every year that shows how you intend to make more money that year. It shows a graph with a line going up. How many of you also put together a similar spreadsheet with a line going down that shows how much less time you intend to invest in your business in those 12 months? See my recent post about two partners who, after 20 years in a $40 million business decided to do this, and ended up getting five and a half months a year off.
There are two questions you need to ask regularly in order to play the game of “More Money in Less Time”:
1) “Is this (whatever I’m doing right now), the highest and best use of my time?” The answer to 75-90% of what we’re doing will be no. It’s rarely the highest and best us of our time – we’ve just been doing it since starting the business and haven’t bothered to get it off our plate.
If the answer is no, then the second question is:
2) “How do I do this for the last time?” If you are serious about getting things off your plate, you’ll come up with 1-10 ways to get things off your plate that don’t belong there. You only need one. If you’re afraid, distracted, have a big ego (nobody is as good as me at this), or dozen other excuses, you will find 1,000 ways to not get this off your plate. There is always a way to get it off our plate, but if you’re looking for ways to not do it, you’ll find them.
This is the most important game a business owner (and their management staff) can play. We waste more time and money doing things others should be doing than just about any other way. And if you want to get off the treadmill, this is THE game you must play above all others.
If you apply these two simple questions to everything you do for one month, it will change your business and begin to give you the answers that will allow you to make more money in less time, get off the treadmill and get a life.
If you think your situation is unique and you can’t do this, please share it below and we’ll help you see you can do it, too.
The business owners in my post from last week are going to take five and half months off every year now. I take every Friday off, every other Monday, the last week of every month, and one month a year, which allows me to work in Africa to solve poverty. Our (not my) business grew by 41% last year and is projected to grow by 50%+ this year.
You can do this – just play the game, “How do I make more money in less time?”
by Chuck Blakeman, Author of the #1 Rated Business Book of the Year, Making Money is Killing Your Business
After 15 years of not.
Two partners I’m working with are doing $40 million a year with 35 employees. For years they’ve had 2-4 weeks of distracted annual vacation, filled with Crackberry emails and calls, while the family was having fun. Now they’re both going to get five and a half months every year. How?
They haven’t changed who they are. They aren’t smarter, better educated or more enlightened than they were for the last 15 years. But somehow they’re going from a lousy lifestyle to a great lifestyle in just 15 months.
You get what you intend, not what you hope for.
For years they intended two things and hoped for one. See if you can relate:
Their two intentions for 15 years:
1) To work really hard.
2) To make some money.
Their one big hope for 15 years:
1) …and we hope it all works out.
They got exactly what they intended – hard work and some money, but not what they hoped for – a life. The fatal assumption coming out of the Industrial Age is that if we just have money, we’ll somehow get a life, too. These guys are living proof that money doesn’t equate to a great life.
So how did they make such a life-changing transformation of their business in such a short period of time? Simple. They changed their intentions.
1) They no longer intended to work hard. Why in the world would you make that an intention? But we all do.
2) They intended to get a life, not just hoped for one, then started making all their decisions to accomplish that objective.
3) And they intend grow the business and make more money in less time.
Peter Arnell wrote a book called “Shift” where he described how he went from being a 406lb man to a 150lb man. The first step – “I decided to do it.” The strength of that initial decision determines the outcome. If you are tired enough of the treadmill, you will intend to get a life. The partners in this business made a clear and final decision that things were going to change, and change radically. If you’re not at the end of yourself yet, you won’t make this decision.
The second thing Peter did to go from 406lbs to 150lbs was even more important. He said “from that moment on [after making the clear and final decision], I saw myself as a 150lb man.” He even went out that week and fired some clients who he felt were the clients of a 406lb man. He wasn’t hoping, he had clear intention to get to 150lbs and saw himself already there. And every decision he made going forward was filtered through the question “Is this the decision of a 150lb man or a 406lb man?”
My clients have done the same thing. Once they decided to both take five and a half months a year off, they started making all their decisions in light of what they needed to do to begin to take five and a half months off per year, while still growing their revenue. Their intention changed from working really hard to working really effectively, distributing the workload, finding geniuses already in their business to take over things, and a long list of other actions designed to get them off the treadmill.
You get what you intend, not what you hope for. The biggest reason this is working for them is because they changed their intentions, and decided they could make more money in less time.
They got what they intended.
You Only Need One
By the way, they’re not special or unique, and neither are you. Every business owner can do this – every single one. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Intention. There may be 1,000 ways to keep you from doing this and only five ways that it might work for you. How many do you need? Just one, and the sold-out intention to make it happen.
What are your primary intentions? Are you intending to work hard and make money, or are you intending to get a life as a result of owning a business?
What’s the one way off the treadmill that will work for you? Stop focusing on the 1,000 ways to keep you from doing it and focus on the one way off.
Intend to get a life, then make every decision intending to make more money in less time. You’ll get what you intend, not what you hope for.
Then go public here and declare your intentions. I look forward to hearing how you’re doing it.
by Chuck Blakeman, Author of the #1 Rated Business Book of the Year, Making Money is Killing Your Business
Victimology doesn’t work.
I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” while in the poorest part of the poorest country on earth. Gladwell’s theory of success will not help Africa, or you. It’s actually dangerous to those who CHOOSE to live a life of significance.
Circumstances don’t make me who I am. How I respond to them does.
Gladwell disagrees. He says circumstances are largely to blame (or credit) for who I am.
Never has a book engendered such a reaction from me to make me review it. I don’t review books. I use them to change who I am, or discard them as interesting (entertaining, but not transformational) or not interesting. I loved Gladwell’s Tipping Point and use it regularly in my work and life.
But Outliers is not just “interesting”. For those who choose to embrace it, it could be a transformational compendium of victimology that gives excuse after excuse for not choosing to live a life of significance.
If it was by an obscure author it could be ignored. But because Gladwell has laid such a great foundational reputation with his other works, people have bought into this without critiquing it. Many people loved it and recommended it to me, which is how I read all my books. I was very disappointed by what I read. I hope you are, too.
Which 90/10 Rule Do You Live By?
My belief is that 90% of life is what you make happen and 10% is what happens to you. And you have two possible responses to the 10%: 1) Fascinating! How’d that happen? Let’s make lemonade! and 2) I’m a victim of my circumstances, background, legacy, great grandmother, the Duke of Wellington, Atilla the Hun or some outside dark force that rules over me.
Gladwell apparently believes 90% of life is what happens to you and 10% is what you make happen. And for the 90% that happens to you, he subscribes to ONLY response #2 – you’re a victim. Poor babies. You should lay down and die. Give up. It’s understandable. You had an ancestor 300 years ago that made a bad decision or was unlucky, or you were living in poverty, and you’re never going to live it down.
And if you’re successful, Gladwell says you also didn’t have nearly as much to do with it as you think. It’s luck, circumstance, legacy, the Duke of Wellington, Attila the Hun and a thousand other things outside you that nearly pushed you unwillingly over the edge of success. You nearly had no choice but to live the life of Riley.
I say CHOICE is 90% of the formula for success. Gladwell says CIRCUMSTANCE is…50%? 90%?. I say a difficult background makes you even more successful if you CHOOSE to respond to it well. You’ll be stronger than most. Gladwell says hardship makes it very unlikely you can succeed – it’s almost not your choice at all. In Gladwell’s world, hardship and a lousy background aren’t sources of fertile ground for building a unique and wonderfully powerfully story for you. They’re something to get over, if you can. Good luck with that.
Lies, Damnable Lies, and Statistics
Disraeli said there are three kinds of lies: “Lies, damnable lies, and statistics.” Here are some of Gladwells:
1) He cites Roseto, PA as “proof” that where you are FROM has more to do with success (health, lower crime, suicide, etc.) than your choices. Then he ignores the research that shows the reason the town was so healthy was exactly because of their 1) choice to live in close knit relationships, 2) choice to be spiritual, 3) choice to live by fundamentally sound values, 4) choice to respect elders, etc. Even the town they came FROM in Italy and others from that town that didn’t CHOOSE to live like the Rosetans didn’t have the same health and crime. The Rosetan’s CHOICES made them who they were, not where they are from.
2) He cites Canadian Junior Hockey stats showing 40% of the 10 yr. old all-stars were born Jan-Mar, 30% April-June, and only 10% Oct.-Dec. The age cutoff is Jan 1 so those kids born early in the year are playing against younger kids and get chosen to go through to the all-stars, even though they’re not better, just older (therefore appear better when chosen as all-stars). He wants a separate league for the poor babies born June-Dec. Get over it.
I won the city batting championship three years in a row in Pony League w/ a left-handed batting average of .555 and an on-base % of .695. I could draw a walk as easy as getting a hit. As the youngest and smallest tenth grader at high school baseball tryouts I was cut without swinging a bat. The uninformed coach lined us up by height and cut the bottom five in the first five minutes of practice. He was looking for football players for the fall. I was easily the fastest center fielder and the best hitter there (and a prized left-hander), and when I filled out to 6’ 1″+ a few years later it turned out I might have been a pro prospect. Wah, wah, wah. Life is not fair. Michael Jordan was cut from ninth grade basketball. He CHOSE to not give up. I CHOSE to give up and do something else. It’s about choice.
Apparently pro hockey players agree. The 40% born in Jan-Mar in kid hockey is reduced to 31% in the pros, and the 10% Oct-Dec. is doubled to 20%, just five percentage points below “fair”. An awful lot of those poor babies who didn’t make the All Star teams first time around CHOSE to not give up. Life isn’t fair, nor should it be. We would lose all our drive to succeed. Gladwell didn’t show us the pro stats. Because they demonstrate that circumstances don’t make me who I am. How I respond, does. Choice.
3) To debunk the ridiculously over-worked role of talent, Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to succeed – that at the highest level, work is more important than talent. I couldn’t agree more, except that having correctly correlated success more with hard work (choice) than with talent, this debunks most of the rest of his victimology as well. I have a choice to succeed. Working my tail off is the biggest part of that, and that is a choice.
4) He also correctly debunks the role of “genius” by showing many smart people don’t make it. I couldn’t agree more, but the reason isn’t because of their background. It’s because of their choices. He actually gives the smartest man in the world a pass for giving up on getting published because his background obviously was too difficult to over come. Poor baby. It took me 19 years to finish college, but I’ve started and run seven businesses. I’m not smart, I’m just relentless. Choice.
Gladwell goes on to talk in the same terms about legacy, heritage, deep ties to people you never met in the old country a hundred years ago that allow you to live a life of significance or keep you from experiencing it. But he gives almost no time to the most important characteristics of success: personal vision, personal choice, and personal commitment to get there no matter what. Burn the bridges, sink the ships, shred the parachutes, I’m all in. This is nothing more than background noise in the book, which he only recognizes as an annoying fact but not as the source of success.
My best lesson from all of college came from one of the Women’s Studies Courses I took. The female professor asked the one other guy in the 200 person class to come up front, gave him a toy gun and told him to hold her up. At first it was comical, but she kept belittling him and instructing him until he held the gun to her head and screamed at her, “Give me your f-ing money or I’ll blow your f-ing head off!” She congratulated him for eventually becoming convincing, and asked him to sit down.
Then she asked us a stunningly simple question, “At what point did I become a victim?” Her answer – “I never was.” And she said, “And at what point would I have become a victim? Only when I gave him control of my mind or he took control of me physically.”
She went on to say that the problem with victimology is that it gives us a pass from taking charge of our lives, and allows us to blame our circumstances for forming who we are. I never forgot that lesson from 30 years ago. Those who read Gladwell’s book should use it as a filter as they read.
As I road on the back of a motorcycle through the bush for 8 hours in the middle of the rainy night, then spent 10 hours with the Chief, and 10 hours back last night without sleep (four flats, a blown gear box), my African friends on that trip were incredibly resilient. There wasn’t a victim among them. Together we plan to build a first world country on the backs of these incredible people. If they read Gladwell’s book and embrace it, they don’t have a chance.
Circumstances don’t make me who I am. How I respond to them, does.
Don’t be a victim. Chose to live a life of significance. It’s 90% choice and 10% what happens to you (and you have a choice how to respond to that 10%).
by Chuck Blakeman, Author of the #1 Rated Business Book of the Year, Making Money is Killing Your Business
Relentless beats smart all day long.
Banks blow chunks when it comes to small business support. Everybody knows it (including the bankers). But every once in a while one of them has an entrepreneurial spasm and supports a great idea. It just might be yours. But only if you’re relentless.
John McCormack, author of my favorite “motivational” book – Self-made in America, went to 265 banks trying to get a loan to open a hair salon in a mall in the 1970s – an unheard of proposition then. No bank was biting.
He called his wife after the 265th and told her he was going to open a Tex Mex restaurant because the banks were all offering him money for that. She told him go ahead, but reminded him that Walt Disney had gone to 302 banks before the 303rd gave him money for his ridiculous idea to open an amusement park in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
John decided he would keep trying until he went through 302 banks before opening a Tex Mex. The next day the 266th bank gave him the money. He now owns many locations and makes $200k+ a year in profit from each one.
In 1989, John wrote this in “Self-Made in America” about banks:
Bankers are by nature conservative bean-counters, and entrepreneurs are, by definition risk-taking bean-planters. I’ll make my point simply: can you point out a banker or a bookkeeper who has ever started anything on his or her own – other than trouble?”
Banks in this country are bureaucratically stacked against the entrepreneur or the original thinker, and our country’s economy is paying dearly for it. Bankers love to write checks to companies with track records, because they don’t do any work to do it, but as we can well document many of those “safe loans” made in the last decade have been nothing short of foolhardy. To this day, I worry more about my bank going broke than I do about myself going broke.
That’s a guy who, 23 years ago might as well have been talking about the banks of the last five years. Nothing has changed.
I am not a victim
So how did John McCormack respond to this well-known fact? He kept going. He was relentless. He didn’t let this keep him from reaching his dreams. John knew what I say all the time:
Circumstances don’t make me who I am. How I respond to them, does.
90% of life is what I make happen. 10% is what happens to me. Are you a victim of the banks, or a victor who will find the one bank who is having an entrepreneurial spasm and will work with you?
What made McCormack keep going? In his own words:
It wasn’t brains, brawn or even our business plan that resulted in our ultimate success. It was persistence, pure and simple.
I call it being relentless, a form of conation. I’m not smart, I’m just relentless. You don’t have to be smart, just relentless.
Keep hunting. A good idea will ALWAYS get money if you need it, even if it takes you being relentless. And if your idea can be proved without big money, even better. Prove it first, then go get the money. Either way, relentless beats smart every day.
Just keep counting banks, you might end up with a better story than Disney or McCormack. If you get to the 304th bank before you get your loan, write a book about it!
Small business lending demand has been on the rise for a while, according to our friends over at Direct Capital.
It has long been thought that small business health is a great indicator of the overall health of the economy, since small businesses usually respond to economic conditions more quickly than larger corporations do. Since access to affordable lending is a huge part of every start-up beginning, increased lending to small businesses will (hopefully) encourage the creation of more small businesses, and hence more jobs and a healthier economy down the line.
Small businesses don’t just bring jobs either, they breed innovation. According to the SBA, small businesses are responsible for roughly 13 times more patents per employee than large firms. So, more successful small businesses could mean greater technological advancements and better products.
It’s clear that if these trends in small business lending continue, we can expect to see a small business world that is much kinder to “would-be” entrepreneurs than we’re used to, since that extra boost required to get started wouldn’t be nearly as hard to obtain.
What does increased small business lending mean to your business?
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Most business owners don’t practice their craft, they just perform it. It’s one of the biggest reasons their business never develops into something bigger than themselves.
Cal Ripken performed in a record 2,632 consecutive baseball games. But he didn’t just perform. He dissected the strike zone into a number of smaller zones and practiced hitting pitches in each micro-zone to figure out which ones he could hit and which ones he should just hope the ump called a ball instead. He practiced at levels most people don’t bother.
I chatted with Yo Yo Ma, the greatest cello player of our time, backstage a few years ago. I asked him in front of my daughter, an aspiring cello player, “How do you become a great cello player?” He replied without hesitation, “It’s not enough to practice. You have to learn to love to practice and to practice every day as if you were on stage at Carnegie Hall.” Yo Yo Ma loves to practice, not just perform.
Theo Bikel first played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof in 1967. He is now 87 years old and still works full time in many roles. He has played Tevye now over 2,000 times in 45 years.
In the 30th anniversary Broadway tour revival of Fiddler I was playing clarinet/sax in the pit orchestra when they came through Denver. For a week I listened to Bikel’s incredible rendition of Tevye (couldn’t see from the pit, only hear). By the fifth or sixth performance I could nearly repeat his rhythmic interpretation of each line, the rising, falling, the long pause here and there. He became incredibly predictable.
Every performance was the same, but the amazing part was that every performance was magical. Theo Bikel was not winging it and was not just performing. He had practiced this part and dissected it over and over again to discover the highest interpretation, then he did something few business owners (or actors) would ever do – he stuck with what worked and never varied from it.
Practice, then be consistent
I’ve never heard a more consistently repeated performance, or a better one. Theo Bikel had learned two things:
1) Practice, and lots of it, is the only way to become better. Performing is not how you become better.
2) Stick with what works. Don’t mess with success.
Learn to love to practice
Most business owners will never have a chance to stick with what works. They’ve never practiced enough to find out what truly works and what truly puts them on top of their game. They’re too busy winging it.
And even when they find something that works, most business owners will abandon it long before it has stopped working. Why? Because THEY are bored!
Learn to love consistency
They hate practicing and get bored doing the same great performance over and over. They are willing to sacrifice the success of their business so they can keep performing with variety and never practicing to find the best way to do something. Remember, your customer, like each theater goer watching Theo Bikel, is experiencing you for the first time. They aren’t bored and you shouldn’t be either.
Practice to find your groove
A great golfer practices until they find the swing groove that works the best all the time, and they never vary from it. You could look at shadow figures of some of them and know who it is by their swing (like Jim Furyk). They practiced like crazy to find it, and then do it the same every time.
I went from a 20 handicap to a 1.9 by practicing like crazy. While I was doing that I played (performed) with a lot of golfers who had never been on a driving range or taken a lesson. They thought it was a nutty idea to practice a lot, almost beneath them, and prided themselves in hacking around, never practicing, always trying a new club, a different swing.
They’re still 20 handicaps and hide their incompetence by poking fun at people who practice. It’s not manly – real men don’t practice. They laughingly say, “Practice is a sign of insecurity.” Too many business owners feel the same way.
Want to be successful? Reach your tipping point? Have the business outgrow your own capabilities and become something that makes money while you’re on vacation? It won’t happen by performing.
The way to Carnegie Hall
The tourist leaned out his car window and asked the cop, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
“Practice, practice, practice.”, was the answer the cop gave, as he waved they tourist through.
Repeatable, consistent performance is the key to a business outgrowing you and your own talents. And the only way to find what your business should do over time is to practice until you find it.
Variety is not the spice of business
Practice like crazy, learn the best way to do what you do, then do it that way every time. Variety is not the spice of life – it’s the road to mediocrity.
Silver bullet, anyone?
This blog post won’t likely get a lot of hits. There has to be a faster, easier silver bullet. The people who think that will still be 20 handicaps in their business 10 years from now, while those willing to practice hard will actually be enjoying themselves on the golf course while they’re business makes money without them.
This is just a reminder: Small businesses remain one of the largest job creators in America. In fact, they’re arguably the preeminent job creator in America.
According to whitehouse.gov, small businesses create a full two-thirds of all American jobs. That job creation is helped by small business loans from the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies, one use of federal dollars that doesn’t tend to be all that controversial. Across the political spectrum, in fact, small businesses are lauded for doing the nearly impossible work of keeping small community businesses flourishing in tough times.
Despite recent governmental cuts, this is a fact of life. Small businesses will continue to hire to the best of their abilities and continue to keep the economy rolling because it’s their livelihood. What government and business alike out to be doing is focusing on how to create further small business growth, which in turn will drive job growth.
It’s worth remembering this as another potential government shutdown looms. Let’s get the funding into the hands of the businesses that need it.
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Photo credit to iStock
Most of us probably spend too much time immersed in the day-to-day minutiae of our business. And, while understandable, it may also be true that if you do not have time to step back and take stock, instead of creating a business, what you have created is just possibly a lousy job that keeps you too busy (and one with a bad boss to boot!)
Yet, while most small business owners like the idea of business planning, I would venture to say that most still don’t take the time to do it. But that’s really a mistake. Simple business planning can be done in a few short hours; it need not be difficult or time-consuming.
Even better, after you’re done, I bet you will find that both you and your business will be more focused and better able to capitalize of opportunities, both seen and unseen.
So with the lazy days of summer firmly in the rearview mirror and the kids headed back to school, this is a perfect time to do some business evaluation. Here’s how you do it:
1. Set aside time: Your business planning can be done in a pair of two-to-three hour sessions. It’s simply a matter of making this a priority and setting aside the time. Do it!
The first session will be a meeting of, say, four people or so: You, your partners, top employees, and so on. If yours is a solo business, it is a good idea to pull in some trusted associates / advisors / friends for the first session. Feedback is valuable.
2. Review your business purpose: You begin this meeting by looking at the big picture. If you have a vision or mission statement, review it and see whether it is still applicable. Amend it if necessary. Your vision statement should reflect your highest, best hopes and dreams for your (ad)venture.
3. Take a look back: Have the group look at where your business is today and answer the following sorts of questions:
4. Think big: The review is a prelude to the preview. That is, the look back simply sets the context for a look forward. Have the group answer questions such as
5. Set goals: Based upon your past, and looking to the future, what specific goals do you need to set to accomplish your vision? It could be anything really, depending upon your situation:
6. Create an action plan: This is where the group work ends. Your team can help you think big and set some goals, but the nitty-gritty work is all yours my friend. Your meeting should have taken no more than three hours or so.
The best way to think of this process is like a funnel: The wide part at the top is where you look at the big ideas and visions. Then you start to narrow your focus until you get to this spot, here near the end, where your ideas and goals have to be translated into specific actions.
So now, create a plan of action for each goal, and each action should also include dates for completion. Creating a plan of action should take another few hours.
7. Review: Keep your plan nearby and review it on a fairly regular basis to make sure you stay on task.
Close, but no cigar.
I’ve heard it all my life. Your attitude determines your altitude, attitude is everything, attitude is a choice, etc. Good luck with that. It sounds like a big fake “grind” to me. And I’m certain it won’t make you successful.
People aren’t successful because they have a good attitude. They have a good attitude because they have something much deeper figured out. Attitude is a RESULT of something much bigger. If we don’t have the bigger thing, ginning up a great attitude is like lipstick on a pig.
Emotionalism is Not a Good Attitude
People with great attitudes that aren’t backed by the bigger thing are usually pretty obvious. They’re convinced that attitude is everything, so they rely on emotionalism and “everything is GREAT!” “live is wonderful” statements on the outside while they’re dying on the inside. And they just hope that “fake it until you make it” will get them through. It won’t.
It impossible to have a good attitude by deciding to have a good attitude. It’s like squinting hard to make a wad of bills appear in front of you. At times I do have to “just decide” to have a good attitude, but I guarantee you I would have no motivation to make the decision if it wasn’t driven by something bigger.
The Fourth “S”
The Industrial Age taught us the “Three S’s” – Safety, Security and Stability. The problem with the three S’s is that they are at the bottom of Masloew’s hierarchy – they are just survival mechanisms. The Three S’s will not give us enough motivation to have a great attitude. The fourth S, the one the Industrial Age couldn’t afford for you to have – Significance – that is the driver of attitude.
Clarity on what you want out of your business and your life is what drives good attitude. If you know where you are going, what you want when you get there, and when you want to be there, it will have a transformational impact on your attitude.
The Big Why
In Crankset Group we talk a lot about “The Big Why.” The Big Why is that one big thing that gets you out of bed every morning that gives you the motivation to create a life of significance. If you have a Big Why, you will rarely have to work on getting your attitude straight, and when you do lose it, it will be much easier to get your good attitude back. It’s not about good attitude, but about having the motivation to have one.
Attitude is a Result, Not a Cause
Focus on Significance, not on attitude. Figure out what is really deeply important and run toward it with everything you’ve got. Use your business to get you there. You’re attitude will follow.
How to get a life.
Last February I wrote about our Business Maturity Date and how “You get what you intend, not what you hope for.”. It’s been almost a year – what did we get? We got a life.
I built five businesses where I never got a life. In some cases I got a lot of money, in others very little, but in none did I get a life. Why? Simple. I only asked our businesses to produce money, so that’s exactly what they did.
When I started this sixth business, Crankset Group, five years ago, I decided (intended) to do it differently. I decided I would demand that my business produce both time and money for me, not just money. Gee what a surprise, I got both.
Three Jeers for the Industrial Age
The Industrial Age taught us to assume a number of stupid things related to this idea of time:
1) Money is the path to a great lifestyle. If I have money, I will automatically have a great life (time). Wrong. I know a woman who makes nearly $1 million a month who feels trapped by her business and is there at least six days a week. Money buys you stuff, but it doesn’t buy you time.
2) To make more money, you must spend more time at work – you have to trade hours for money. Wrong. Read my blog post, Time is the new money. The game every business owner should play is, “How do I make MORE money in LESStime?”
3) Make money now. Get time later. Wrong. See #2 above – get both at the same time. Retirement is a really bad concept because it taught us to wait until “tomorrow” to get time. It also taught us that money would get us time – see #1 above, and read my blog post Retirement is a Bankrupt Industrial Age Idea .
So after five failed attempts at doing it the Industrial Age way (get money, time will naturally follow), we decided to do it differently and demand that our business give us both time and money at the same time.
We started in 2007 and grew revenues every year. We grew 122% from Dec. 2009 to Dec. 2010, and 57% from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2011, and expect to grow another 50% in 2012, which is harder to do the bigger you get.
We worked our tushes off to begin with. In 2007 I probably worked 6+ days a week, but ALWAYS with the mindset that I was front loading it to get a lot more time off later. In 2008 I probably got 2/3rds of my Saturdays off and took a couple very short weeks off. In 2009, I got most Saturdays, a few 3-day weekends and two weeks of real vacation. In 2010, I took eight to 10 three-day weekends, and a couple weeks of vacation.
In 2011 we broke through on the time front. I took a day a week (Fridays), a week a month (the 4th week of every month), and a month a year (half Feb, half March) off. How did the business do? We grew revenues by 57%.
I intended to get a day week, a week a month and a month a year, but I also ended up with half days two Mondays a month. So I regularly have a three to three and a half day week, with the 4th week off. All this while expecting to grow at least 50% in 2012. I expect the people working with us to take more time off in 2012, too.
Is what I did special? Am I lucky, unique or uber-talented? No. I’m not any smarter or any different than I was in the first five businesses where I never got a life.
Make New Rules
The difference was simply that I made new rules (He who makes the rules wins), and required that my business play by my business, not the other way around.
You get what you intend not what you hope for.
Not smart. Relentless.
It’s about chasing something you decide is important enough to finally catch. I decided time was important enough to catch. It turns out relentless is much more important than smart.
I’m not smart. I’m just relentless.
Be relentless about demanding that your business produce both time and money for you. You probably already did a spreadsheet on how to increase your revenue. That’s only half the objective. Get a spreadsheet this year for how you plan to reduce your work time – and be relentless about making it happen.