January 29, 2019

What it takes

We stayed with an old friend over summer. He has a beautiful house high on the hill of Ruby Bay overlooking Nelson and Golden Bay.

He said he’d read two books which had a profound influence on his life last year. One was called Total Immersion, which is a swimming technique. He’d adopted some of the simple practices and had noticed that he was swimming faster and further with less effort inside a month of reading it.

The other one was Breakpoints, my book. He is a lawyer and he was re-starting here after years overseas in big law firms. We had talked earlier in the year about some of his options, and he was very keen on starting up his own business. I gave him some practical advice about first steps and gave him a copy of Breakpoints.   

He had read it at least three times (he’s very diligent) and had come to the conclusion that he should go and get a job in town. He said it was a wonderfully clear description of what was involved in business success, and in the end, he decided he didn’t want to do what was required. He preferred to be able to work from his beautiful home rather than get an office closer to his potential clients. He didn’t want to have to think about marketing, he just wanted to do law. He didn’t want to think about staff or systems or strategies, he just wanted to do law. 

He made absolutely the right decision. You hear people say “Follow your passion and the profits will come, do what you love and the money will follow”. It’s garbage. I’ve advised a few people to leave their passion for outside working hours because not enough people share it sufficiently strongly to make it economically viable.

Business is risky. Most businesses fail within 2 years of start-up. You need to have a genuine opportunity based on a need/desire in a market, a plan for how to realise that opportunity, and the determination to do what it takes to execute the plan. And it gets hard from time to time. 

From the moment we had the idea to do a 4 week trip in a motorhome around the South Island, we recognised that it would be hard work (they’re not called divorce wagons for nothing!). So way ahead of starting the engine, we had a plan. Where possible, no more than 2 hours driving at a time. Book nights in real beds along the way. Be prepared to change the plan if we need to. And if it gets too hard, we can always come home.

One thing we learned was that sometimes we just needed to rest a couple of days longer – we chopped things off the itinerary so we could take full enjoyment of where we were. Another lesson was that things break so you need to have plenty of duct tape and ratchet ties. We learned that lesson when things started to break. 

Your business plan for this year needs to have a set of principles in it. Is there a point at which you should give up and go home? What are the areas you should double down on? What should you stop doing so that you can give full attention to a promising path? How will you preserve your energy for the trip? 

With business, as with a motorhome odyssey, the adventure, not the destination, is the objective of the exercise.

Enjoy your adventure in 2019.

If you haven’t got a plan, click here to find out about the Business Freedom Plan.  Dr Mike will help you develop a plan for a more rewarding business and a more fulfilling lifestyle. 

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