Episode 2: Let your Business Work for You by Doubling Down on your Strengths

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Show Notes

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Accompanying Worksheet: Download Episode 2 Worksheet Here

In this episode, we dive into your motivations for your work. Why did you ever start your company? What’s your vision for your life? Why work so hard and take on so much risk?

Grab a copy of the worksheet above which lists all the questions covered in the episode. Spend time getting clear on this as if your future depends on it (hint: it does!).

Transcription of the Episode

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about you, who you are and where you want to take your business. Now, before we talk about anything about marketing, we have to know what success looks like, and this is some place that most business owners don’t go to. They don’t sit here, they don’t think about this. They’re saying, I’m building a business for me. And then a couple of years later they kind of feel like, oh, this business is running my life. This business is the thing that tells me what to do. This business is the thing that I have to be kind of in slaved by in order to have meaning in the world. And I think those are rules that Destin you to lose. We’re building a game. Our business is a game. It’s a dance, right? And we’re leading that dance. We’re writing the rules to the game.

So you have a choice. You can consciously write rules so that you can win and thrive or you can skip this part and you can build a business that’s not going to feel good, that’s not going to work in a way that supports you in your life the way that it could. I think that being an entrepreneur is the ultimate self realization exercise. Show me anyone that’s working a nine to five as a W2 who’s having all of these emotions that we have as entrepreneurs, right? Like this feeling of inferiority that we get as entrepreneurs or this fear that we have, or what about just like the financial rollercoaster that we’re on. There’s no consistency in business, especially when we get started and it’s a self discovery. These emotions come up. How you deal with people. Are you a good manager of others? Do you hire well, what does it say about yourself?

Where are you failing in the business? You know, what are people saying about your style in the business? Like that’s heavy. That’s hard. Entrepreneurship is difficult. So if we’re going to go through this, we might as well make sure the outcome of our business being successful is something that we want in money isn’t enough and money certainly in years from now isn’t enough. I want to be successful today even if I’m not at the revenue that I want to be at. I want to have a lifestyle today that’s fun, that’s enjoyable, that has play in it, right? I have these ideals that I don’t want to hold off to one day. I don’t want to hold off until retirement because frankly I never want to stop working. I love this stuff and I hope you love what you do too. If you build your business in such a way that the business works for you, I think you’ll love it more.

So today we’re going to be talking about you. Okay? The first question is going to be about where you want to be in 25 years. Now I’ve got a worksheet for this episode and you can go grab that and go to cox.co forge slash e to cmos.co/e too. When you go there, you’re going to be able to download this worksheet and you can just fill in the blanks. Okay? That’ll be super simple for you. So the first question here is where do you want to be in 25 years? And I don’t want this to be just a podcast that you’re listening to as you’re walking and you’re not going to do something about it. I want you to listen. I want you to pause. I want you to pull up your notes and I want you to write this stuff down. You can go grab the [email protected] slash e two or you can just use the notes on your phone. I don’t care what you do, write this stuff down and then you’re gonna need to put it somewhere visible later. But the question is, where do you want to be in 25 years?

Okay,

All right. Right now I’m in my early thirties in 25 years, I’m going to be 25 years older. Either I plan for that today or I don’t, but no matter what, I’ll be there, right? So doesn’t it make sense to plan just like something kind of incredible and big in 25 years? Think about what you can accomplish in 25 years. Now I’m extending the horizon for you to be successful. I’m not saying what are you going to do this week in order for you to be successful? I’m certainly not saying what are you doing today by the end of the day today to launch something new to be successful like no.

[Inaudible]

We’re going to reduce some of the pressure here so that we can have a bigger vision. This is something I want you to meditate on it. This is something I want you to think about. This is something I want you to challenge yourself on. Where do you want to be in 25 years? You might say in 25 years, I want to be pretty much retired. I want to be working as little as possible. Let’s call that an hour a day. And I want to be making x amount of money and I want to be doing you know, playing golf more often, which I agree with Malcolm Gladwell that golf is a good walk. Spoiled. But that’s beside the point. Maybe there’s something else that you want to do in your life, right? Maybe you want to go on adventures. Maybe you want to be more active in your community.

There’s something that you want in your life in 25 years. What is it? What do you want to be known for? The people who are successful in high places? Let’s say our president, regardless of how you feel about him, he’s been on a huge path to get to that role in previous presidents the same way, right? I mean Obama’s path being a senator and everything they did before that, through his schooling, becoming a senator, marrying who he married so he could have a power team in order to do this huge thing. Obama didn’t say one day, Huh? I think I’m going to run for president. And yeah, let’s let’s get everything rolling because I gotta do that in the next two weeks. Like no way. He says I’m going to be president and I need to do all of this stuff to make that happen.

And he took a long time to do it and he did it. Okay. So politics aside, you have to be able to set a lofty vision in the future and then we can work towards it. I mean, why not set a vision right now to be wildly successful in 25 years? And success as you define not success necessarily just in money, although, you know, money does solve problems that not having money has. So the first question is, where are you going? What is your success look like? I want you to get explicit. Talk about your health, talk about your family, talk about your relationship. You know, I, I think relationships are huge. Is that the longest longitudinal study that Harvard University ever did what was it about human happiness? And what they found was the relationships that people have are the indicator of their happiness. The better and deeper our relationships are with others, the more happy we are. Tell me someone who’s laid on their death bed and saying, oh, I really wish I would’ve worked a Friday night like nobody. Right? There’s more to life than work. Zoom out and run this with me. Where do you want to be?

Okay,

You might want to be with your kids. You might want to be traveling. You might want to be in a community, start a nonprofit to help people. Maybe want to invent something. Maybe you want to be a VC and you want to help underprivileged people. Maybe you want to help people in your neighborhood. Maybe want to go back to your hometown and do some rebuilding projects like what’s something crazy and wild that you can do because why not aim and do it? Okay, so that’s the first thing. Where are you going? I believe you can do anything that you set your mind to and you work hard for systematically. Okay. I don’t think that you’re just going to, you know, this isn’t the secret. This isn’t manifesting really. This is you saying, here’s where I want to go and I’m going to figure out the ways to get there and then I’m going to remove everything that’s stopping me from getting there and charging ahead for 25 years.

Right? It’s quite the commitment, but 25 years is cool because in 25 years, you’re gonna be 25 years old there, but 25 years is also a hundred quarters, which means every 90 days it’s just 1% of the way there. So we can be on a 25 year ride together for you to become that person and that person does have a successful business in marketing is a huge component of that success. But you need to be successful in 25 years and we have a hundred quarters to figure that out together. I’m pumped about that. I hope you are too.

All right. So once you figure out where you’re going, we got to figure out where your business is going. So where you’re going, I want that to be like a pithy statement. I want it to be clear to you. I want it to be something that you can kind of close your eyes and visualize, right? Maybe you’re into psycho-cybernetics and Maxwell mold stuff there. Maybe like, you know like a dream board and you want to put it up there, or maybe you’re like me and you just write it on an index card and you stick it up on the wall right in front of your desk. So you see it every single day, right? I don’t have anything fancy, but I stare at that stuff and it’s impossible to not see it. I might not see it every day, but I see it three or four times a week. And that reminder is in my brain, right? I know where I’m going. So if you know where you’re going in 25 years, we’ve got to figure out where your business is going.

Now, maybe you want to say where Your Business is going in 25 years. That’s a little tough, right? In 25 years, this is going to be a lot that’s changing. I don’t want to scare anybody here, but I think that robots are coming, right? And I think that there’s going to be a lot of automation. I think we’re going to see some rampant job loss, especially around the biggest employer in the country, which is truck driving. And even like Uber and Lyft driving when self driving cars come, it’s going to be a scary time. Yeah. I’m going to have kids with Adelaide and our kids are going to grow up in a time with gross disruption. It’s just going to be crazy. So it’s hard for me to say where my business is going to be in 25 years, but I know where I’m going to be and I know what I’m going to do and I know what my life’s going to look like and I know how I’m going to wake up and I know how I’m going to be jazzed and yeah, I might have some bad days and tough times and you know, whatever.

But I know generally what it’s gonna look like, right? That’s what I want you to map out. I want you to figure that out now for your business, what does it look like for you? Where can your business be in 25 years? Is it something that’s going to be huge? Maybe it’s less time than that, 25 years, maybe you’re saying, all right, I want to exit my business. I want to grow it and exit it. That’s totally a great way to, you know, a mass wealth grow, exit a business. Another thing that you could do is have a lifestyle business. So that’s what I like. I like a lifestyle business. I want to make a lot of money, but I don’t really want to go through a sales process and sell it and then, you know, be done with the business and half to start another one.

And that’s not it. I just want to take what I’m doing and continue on with it and lifestyle it. Really enjoy it. I can have a high margin business where I’m putting a lot of cash in my pocket. That feels great. And I don’t have to worry about building the business for exit shopping for buyers and then restarting. I don’t want to do that. You could also want to go big. Maybe you want to be the next big company that maybe IPO is and you stay on as the chairman or the CEO. Totally possible.

Okay.

You just need to choose what you want to do with your business. So that distinction is, is something that I’m surprised how few business owners have really discussed. Where do they fall? Are they going to exit? Are they going to lifestyle or do they want to like blow it up, go bake and stay with it? Okay. Is kind of like three different routes. Again, minus lifestyle. I think lifestyle is fun, right? I want a lifestyle. So let’s talk about your business some more. Next question is what do you want out of your business? Kind of a weird question, but like what do you want out of it? Do you want to feel a certain way?

Do you want to feel capable? Do you want to feel challenged? Do you want to feel supported by a team? Do you want to be part of something bigger? Like what? What is it scratching? Is it simply a financial edge? That’s okay, right? I think that’s going to be a little boring and maybe not very rewarding, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe business is merely a means to an end for you in that case. You know, I encourage you to kind of like be a little introspective and see how your feelings and emotions around the business can be changed by changing your role in the business so that you can really enjoy it along the way because it makes no sense to make a bunch of money in 10 years and have a bad time for the next 10 years. Right? And then hope in 10 years you’re going to be happy.

No, you can like build all of the great stuff right now. You can get the support that you need right now. So what do you want out of your business? Lay it out. Is it money? Is it freedom? Is it travel? Is it effectiveness? How do you want to feel? If you want, you can go check out the center for nonviolent communications list of feelings and needs. I referenced that really often. You know, a couple of times a month I’m on that page and I’m just Kinda like cruising through and I’m like, okay, what are the needs that I’m feeling or excuse me, what are the feelings I’m feeling or what are the needs that I have? And I can kind of check them out when they’re getting met, when they’re not getting met. I think that’s really helpful. So you might find that useful, but like what’s the emotion that you want to have with your business?

What do you want to get out of it? And then what does success look like to you? I’ll tell you what success doesn’t look like to me. It doesn’t look like working 40 or 60 hours a week. [inaudible] I don’t want to work 40 hours a week. I think like 30 hours is pretty solid. I probably want, I don’t know. You know, I, I kind of like teeter. It’s like maybe I could work like 20 hours a week and love it, but right now I’m really digging it. I think that’s the phase of the life. I’m a phase of life. I’m in when we have kids I’ll probably be working less and I want to spend more time with them. But until then, right now, this just feels good for me. So success to me looks like working about 30, 32 hours a week being able to skate out early on Fridays, not working the weekends, not having anyone talk to me on the weekends or at night.

Being able to turn my phone off and all notifications off, having a complete cutout that success. Another thing that’s successful to me is I don’t want to do things I don’t want to do. Okay. I’m at a point in my business where I can find other people that want to do that stuff and hire them. Isn’t that awesome? There’s someone who wants to do my taxes. His name is Sean. He’s in Florida. I love him. He’s great. Alright. Sean takes care of all my taxes. He needs his team. Do they want to do that stuff? I don’t want to do it, so I’m going to give him that Labor. Right. I’ll pay his fee, whatever. It’s great. I don’t have to do it. It it, it saves me time, money and frustration. So success to me looks like not doing my taxes and letting someone else do it.

Success also looks like having a call with someone but not sending a recap and having someone else summarize those notes and send a recap. Another thing, I don’t like touching project management software, but I need to have the projects that I’m working on be managed. So I hire someone to do that. I don’t touch the things I don’t want to touch and I’m in a really tight place in my business where I’ve set up systems so that I do the most important stuff and it feels good and every time I go to work it just, it feels great. It feels fun. Now there’s hard things that happen and you know when a team member it doesn’t work out and you’ve got to cycle them out and you know, you’ve got to go in and kind of pitch it for awhile as you’re getting that other resource.

And yeah, that sucks. But that’s also part of business. And then as quickly as possible, I get out of that role and back into the role where I’m really good and where my effective hourly rate is as high as possible. So for you, the question is what does success look like to you? All right. The next question is what are your non negotiables? I kind of previously mentioned mine. I don’t want anyone to contact me outside of work hours. Five o’clock. Hard stop. Okay. If I want to work and read and listen to a podcast or write something or work on a project or whatever, after hours I can do that. I have that freedom and I especially have that freedom now because I don’t have kids. But a non negotiable is like when I say I’m out, I’m out. I will not respond to people. I don’t want any notifications on my phone.

I don’t want any notifications on my computer. I really don’t want to spend time in my email inbox. Right. Non negotiables for me are things like people being able to grab my time and take their emergency and make it mine. I’m not about that. So what are your non-negotiables? Write those down. Really consider what is not acceptable. Now this is the future thing, right? This is where you’re going. This is what you want out of your business. This is what your success looks like. These are your future non-negotiables. We’re going to figure out how to apply that to your business soon, okay? But we’ve got to figure out what these are going to be. So there’s the time now where you probably aren’t clear on what you want into your business. You’re not clear what success looks like. You know, really emotionally and clearly, and you’re not clear and you non-negotiables. You’re going to stop. You’re going to figure that out and then we’ll figure out how to get you there. Okay? So the next part of the exercise here is I want you to figure out where you are today. Where are you right now? And I want you to take inventory of your life.

I think it’s a fun exercise to ask you. Send me a photo of your closet. You know, what’s your closet in your home look like? What does your car look like? What’s the interior look like? Is it clean? Is it tidy? Is it messy? Is it full of crap? Right? Like how on top of things are you in? What is sucking the joy out of your life? A few years ago, man, it was like three or four four, probably four years ago, Adelaide and I, when we were living in New Orleans, got Marie Kondo, his book, the life changing magic of tidying up. And we went through it and I’ll tell you, pre Marie Kondo, pre tidying up, we had so much chaos in our closet. Oh God. Clothes everywhere. It felt like every time we washed laundry it was only to like stick it in the corner and then think it was dirty later and then have to wash it again.

And it was just this awful cycle. And it was because I had never purged my clothes like my whole adult life. So we did that and then we really simplified, we were able to, you know, reduce the clutter in our life, reduce the clutter kind of across all rooms in our home. We even went so far as to move into an RV and we traveled the u s for two years, only one year by RV, one year by car and we had to downsize everything to fit into our car and then later into our RV. And that’s not a lot of stuff. So we really got to downsize and simplify. And that simplification made everything else in our life so much easier. When you have less things to have to choose from, you can move on to more important things. Right? I’m not suggesting that you need to be like Steve jobs and wear the same clothes everyday, but if you clutter in your life, clearing that clutter gives you space to be creative because the clutter zaps your creativity. So when you’re taking inventory of your life and where you are today, think about your physical life. What does it look like? Is it messy? Is it clean? Right? Are Your tennis shoes clean? Like you don’t have to be a neat freak here, but like is that level of just kind of on top of stuff there? If not, could you hire it out? Could someone come in? Could they tidy it? Could they clean it? Could you purge? Right? Figure out what’s right for you.

Okay.

Where you are today, what’s your revenue? Okay. this is something I learned from a guy named James Schramko effective hourly rate, and he says, take the hours that you’re working, if you’re the business owner, and divide the total revenue that comes into the business and figure out your effective hourly rate.

Okay.

It’s kind of cool. So you can figure out, you know, where your effective hourly rate as low and high, and then start handing off the low value tasks.

Revenue is obviously important. Profit margin is pretty important too. I worked with a company a few years back. They did $49 million a year and they could barely pay their CEO a hundred thousand dollars a year. Think of that. The CEO was the founder, right? He was the, the, the owner of the business. He had a $49 million a year burden on his shoulder and he couldn’t even enjoy the lifestyle of someone who has, you know, more money. It wasn’t that he was just socking it back in the business. He was just running a really tight margin business. So when I talked to him, he says, Hey, I want to double my business. I was like, okay, wow, that’s big, right? Go from 49 million to 100 million. Okay. Is that possible? Right. I’m starting to think through it. And then I, and then I had the question for him, I was like, wait, why? He’s like, well, because at our current margin I need to be making at least $200,000 a year because this is just like so much work and I need more. That’s like, Oh

Yeah,

Oh, you don’t need a double your business. You just need to double your take home. Which means we just need to free up some more capital. Okay, cool. We can figure that out. And that problem to solve is a lot easier. So knowing your revenue is, is, is, is obviously super important. Next is hours a day. How many hours a day are you working? How many days a week? If you’re non negotiable like me is you’re not available nights and weekends, then

Yeah,

You need to be clear on where you are and where you need to go. Right. Are you working eight hours a day, 10 hours a day, 12 hours a day, you know, or where do you fall on that? I read somewhere that working third shift, right? Working overnights is like,

Yeah,

A carcinogen. Working at times outside of a natural circadian rhythm is not good for your health. There’s significant reasons to reduce your workload and honestly, you’re probably not getting a lot of great stuff done if you’re working much more than eight hours a day. You need to get your creativity right. You got to work and get that creativity back. Do you have a sense for your creativity? I’ve got a friend, Bill and bill and I chat about that sometime. Like, Oh man, I just don’t have any creativity right now. Or, hey man, I’m feeling like my creativity is finally coming back. Like ebbs and flows, right? Depending on how the business is doing, personal life, health, that kind of stuff. But working less, we’ll give you more room to work on the business, give you more creativity and I think more value and impact on the business. The next question on where you are today is what impact are you making in the world?

That’s a weird question, right? Like if you’re selling a widget and the widget is like a doorstop, right? Are you really creating impact in the world? Well, I mean kind of like it’s not, you’re not doing anything negative, but could you create more impact in the world? Could you create another additional product? Maybe that’s kind of hard. Could you sell the product in such a way that it solves more problems? Maybe could you take your team’s resources and strengths and support other organizations or lecture locally or something like that in order to make more of an impact? Maybe. Maybe that’s important to you. You know, you’ve got to figure out your income first before you work on impact. But keeping an eye on like what your impact is right now and maybe where you want it to go is I think an interesting exercise. Let’s talk about your joy. What kind of joy do you have in work? Do you enjoy it now? I’ll tell you, I’ve got, I’ve forgotten like historically. So this last episode I talked about that huge failure of a marketing campaign.

That joy was just depleted and that sucked, right? It was draining. It was just emotionally just the worst. Like lots of tears, lots of sadness, lots of you know, looking on whatever indeed for you know, a w two job because I thought I was just like a hack. No joy there. I had to get myself in a position where I could generate more joy and I think you generate more joy by doing things that you’re good at, that you enjoy doing and that you want to continue doing and getting better at. So,

Okay,

Where are you at with joy right now? How’s your team dynamic? Like what’s that look like? These are leading questions, right? I want to get you started on thinking through this. This is a big framework. This isn’t nuanced and specific to your business. That’s something that we do when we work with clients one on one. But I want you to take this and I just want you to sit on it and I want you to have that note in your phone and I want you to consider it. I want you to spend the next day or two working on this and it’s probably one of those things that you need to spend more time than that. You need to probably spend a week or two weeks kind of reflecting on this. Maybe set a calendar reminder to come back to this note doc and, and fill it out.

Or go to the cmos.co/e two and get the worksheet and fill that out and have that on your desk. Schedule time for you to review this. This is so important. Again, in 25 years, you’re going to be 25 years older. Are you going to do something bold or not? I think of it like riding buses. Most people get off the bus before they get to any good destination. They hop on a bus for a short amount of time. They get distracted. They get disenchanted. They get busy with something else. They’ll lose focus, whatever. They jump off the bus and they got it on another one and then a jump off that one and get another one, jump off that one. And when they do that, they never get anywhere right? Back and forth, up and down. They’re never getting anywhere long enough.

If you used all that time and energy to focus like a spirit in one direction, you’re going to get further, right? That’s what I want you to do. I want you to have a vision of what that is for yourself in your life. Most people are that are not business owners and that are business owners or just like walking through life, kind of waiting for something that begs their intention, not setting a intention to do something big, do something bold, right? I want you to set that and I want you to set that in the context of your life and then I want your business to work for you and you really have two choices. One is to show up every day at work and try to grow your business. And the other way is to become the person that you can become and have your business be the tool that launches you there.

So that’s my challenge to you. Download the worksheet, work on it, and then come over to the community and tell me about it. Tell me about what’s working for you, what your vision is, what you’re excited about, where you’re stuck. You can get to our community at https://cmox.co/community that will redirect you to a Facebook community where you can join and post your questions and I’ll be doing some Facebook lives and answering those questions direct there. So I’m excited to chat with you there. One last thing, please do this for me. I want you to subscribe to this podcast. If you’re on an iPhone, open up your podcast app. Search for marketing sucks, hit subscribe. If you’re on an android device, open up the Google play app and you can hit subscribe there too. And if you’re getting some value out of this, leave me a review and honest review. I’m not asking for a five star review. I’m asking for something honest from you, so please leave a clear, honest review so I know that I’m on track, that I’m supporting you and that you’re feeling like you’re getting value. All right. Thanks for sticking with me. I’m excited for who you’re going to become and I’m here to be your guide and your number one fan. See you on the next episode.

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