Five Ways Founders Stifle Business Growth

In the last part of this short series on founder’s mojo, we discussed that the founder’s most important job was to focus on their biggest business growth opportunities, but they’re usually not doing this because they’re wearing far too many hats.

Past a certain stage of business, it’s impossible for founders to effectively stay on top of all of the important functions in the four key dimensions of business  - strategy, marketing, operations, and finance. What tends to happen is that they get stuck in operations – to use Michael Gerber’s phrase on this one, they’re working in the business, not on the business. Since all of their founder’s mojo is consumed either by what they’re working on in operations and the switching costs of jumping from thing to thing, there’s not much left to tend to the other dimensions of business.

Which means at precisely the time founders should be asking the five critical strategic questions about their business, they’re instead working on yesterday’s business, in the worst case, and, in the best cases, they’re asking those questions but haven’t built the processes, systems, and people to help them address the answers to the questions.

To build a thriving, sustainable company, founders have to move from being the chief fire-fighter to the chief future-builder. (Click to share – thanks!)

Most founders know where they need to go and also know that they’re stuck in the fire-fighting loop. Sometimes they don’t know why, though, so the discussion below is the common way I’ve seen this play out in my experience and research.

#1: The Bootstrapper Mindset

Initiative and vision are two hallmark characteristics of bootstrappers. They’re the kind of people who see that something needs to be done and don’t wait around for someone else to do it.

This “I’m doing it because it needs to get done” mindset is absolutely essential for starting businesses. This mindset and a tolerance for uncertainty is what separates the people who start businesses and the people who’ve been thinking about starting a business for decades. (It’s also the difference-maker between people who get promoted and people who hit a ceiling – while there is very definitely a floor for bootstrapers, there is no ceiling.)

Overtime, though, the healthy Bootstrapper Mindset turns into …

#2: The Bootstrapper Habit

Eventually, bootstrappers stop thinking about what they’re getting involved in because it’s turned into a stimulus-response habit. If it shows up on their action list, they start taking action.

As they continually take those actions, they build an efficiency curve with what they’re doing, as well. If initiative and vision are the seeds of founder’s mojo, their familiarity with and repetition of the foundational activities of their business is the water that makes it grow.

The downside to this, though, is that even when they start seeing that there’s more to be done than they can do, founders don’t start hiring and delegating because their teammates are just so much slower than the founder, even after they’ve trained them how to do it. Why spend all the time hiring someone and training someone only to have them be a third as fast as you? (I get this one all the time.)

Let’s just sidestep the fact that founders usually start businesses in something where they’ve already logged many of their 10,000 hours AND someone else normally trained them AND they’ve accrued more of those hours in the context of their own business. It’s impossible for someone else to come in and perform at the level of the founder unless the founder hires someone who’s doing something the founder doesn’t know how to do. (More on this below.)

Bootstrappers see the world a certain way and forget that other people don’t see the world that way, too. They’re often rather frustrated to find that the people they hire need to be told what to do, and, in the earlier stages of their employment, how to do it. Bootstrappers believe people should just get hired and start doing what needs to be done because that’s exactly what the bootstrapper would do.

Many founders dabble with hiring and find themselves quite disappointed. From their view, the people they hire are slow and lacking initiative. They then only hire people when it’s absolutely necessary and for the minimal amount of time required for their teammates to do what they need to do.

Which leads to…

#3: Having to Sort Through the Bucket of Marbles

Let’s imagine that founders’ core tasks are a certain kind of marble in a bucket of myriad kinds of marbles. They only need to see, process, and work with one kind of marble in the bucket.

To get to those marbles, they have to dig around all the other kinds of marbles. But, since they have the bootstrapper habit, they see, process, and work on all the marbles. They’re already there, after all – why not just go ahead and get it taken care of?

Even in the case where they don’t work on the other marbles, they either have to inhibit their natural impulse – and inhibition is the most cognitively taxing of all of the different functions – or they have to wonder who’s going to mess with all of the marbles and when they’re going to do it. And if they’re paying people, why are there so many damn marbles in the bucket in the first place?

They’ve yet to train and expect their teammates to hand them the marbles they need to see OR trained themselves to focus only on their own marbles. That boils down to …

#4: Insufficient Trust

While this is #4 on the list, this is really the root cause of why so many businesses get stuck. Founders strangle the growth of their company because they just won’t let go – they become behavioral control freaks even if they don’t view themselves as such or despise control freaks.

If founders don’t understand founder’s mojo, it’s easy for them to not trust their teammates’ ability to perform well. Most of their experience is with people who aren’t as efficient and initiative-taking as they are, for even if they see that it needs to be done, they don’t know how to do it. They’d either have to spend a lot of time figuring it out OR pay someone else to, which amounts to the same for them – lost revenue. Lost revenue because the founder could be going out and getting more customers or funding, or lost revenue because they have to pay someone else. Is it really worth it?

Underneath all of this is that founders don’t trust themselves. Did they build a business that will make it? Did they pick the right strategy, business model, and market? Are they actually going to be able to lead and pay people month to month? What if it doesn’t work?

Inside the armor of confidence, resiliency, gumption, and brilliance that founders don to get things done is a squishy human being who’s battling shades of the demons we all face.

#5: The Value Crisis

“If I’m not involved in the day-to-day of the business, what will I do? What am I contributing to the business?”

I’ve heard this one quite a few times, too, and I’ve learned to prep my clients about it as we get close to Stage4. Things “slow down” for them substantially because the people we’ve hired and the systems we’ve created or are being created are very rapidly replacing them. Because most early stage businesses are built via the Flintstone method – for the business to grow faster, the founder’s feet have to move faster – their operating assumptions tell them that them moving slowly means that the business is moving slowly.

And, once these founders slow down, they can start to think about things at a deeper level than they have before. They become aware that the kind of leadership that will be required at the current stage of business is much different than what they’ve been delivering as a leader before this. They have to learn to work through people - which means trusting more, leading more, and letting people do their jobs without interfering with them, even if the way her team goes about doing their job is different than the way the founder would or did do it.

Long-term considerations like compensation planning, benefits-creating, and succession planning become more important, for the questions founders must answer is not “how do I solve today’s challenges or pursue today’s opportunities?,” but, rather, “how do I ensure that other people can solve tomorrow’s challenges and know which opportunities to pursue?” Which means they have to figure out how the people on the team today will either be on the team tomorrow or how they’ll train and mentor the people who will be.

And, lastly, some will start to take their exit plan seriously, because they recognize that, finally, the business can survive and, perhaps, thrive without their founder’s mojo. They recognize that their true value is not their personal value, but the value of the enduring company they’ve created.

Founder’s Mojo + Trust = Long-term Success

While this particular piece has highlighted how founder’s mojo stifles business growth, it’s important that we remember that it’s how it’s being used that has a strangle-hold on the business and the founder’s insight, attention, and willpower is one of the ingredients of the business’s secret sauce. No founder should power down their mojo, but they should make sure they’re using it to work on the growth points of the business.

Trusting their strategy, their team, and their systems enables founders to do this because it allows them to turn the reins over to other people who can drive the business while the founder drives the direction of the business. Well-defined strategy and smart, committed people can figure out how to get where founders want to go, but only if the founder is providing sufficient leadership.

While I’ve seen this play out time and time again in the world of business, I learned this lesson as a military officer. If you take care of your people and do your job as a commander, everything else works out. You don’t have to be everywhere – you can’t be everywhere anyway – but a good leader doesn’t have to be physically present for their presence to be felt. Leadership and trust is how generals command legions and captains command companies.

And it so turns out that it’s how great founders build enduring, remarkable companies.

If you liked this post, check out  Part 1: Understanding Founder’s Mojo and Part 2: The Founder’s Most Important Job of our Founder’s Mojo series.

Get Rich Slowly: Be Your Own CFO Review

“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.” – PT Barnum

Bottom-line Up Front: Get Rich Slowly: Be Your Own CFO deserves to be one of the five books on personal finance on your “shelf,” even if that shelf is digital. It’s accessible, stuffed with resources and interviews for both education and inspiration, and the year-long email course will keep you managing your money rather than having your money manage you.

Money may not buy happiness, but it turns out that not having it tends to heap on a lot of unhappiness for people at the same time that people who use it purposefully and virtuously tend to be rather happy. And let’s face it: many of us spend most of our lives in the process of either making money or spending money.

Yet how many of us prioritize our time such that we’re increasing our financial intelligence and effectiveness?

I did some reflecting a few years ago about how I was cultivating my own financial intelligence and effectiveness. Of all the many areas I read, I noted that personal finance didn’t have its own category in my rotating reading lists, which means that I wasn’t intentionally learning more about it. And, since I wasn’t learning and thinking about it, I wasn’t actively practicing it, because what I’m learning and thinking about strongly influences my daily practices and habits.

And yet so many of my concerns actually had money as a root cause. Of the 1-3 areas to focus on that would improve my already good life, personal finance was #2.

If something was that important as far as the result it would have, why was it so low on my priority list? (I’ll come back to this.)

I then started making money management a weekly and daily point of reflection and habit. And what I noticed was that I was paying for a lot of dumb choices I made in my 20s, and it was only after a couple of years of being in business that Angela and I started to make significantly better choices about how we spent and earned money. We started thinking about our personal finances and running them as if they were our business finances.

And things have improved significantly, despite having a few hard years of illness and car accidents. We’re not out of the clear yet – and we still have a lot to learn and practice – but we’re much better off.

One of the books that I read during that period was J.D. Roth’s Your Money: The Missing Manual. It was one of my favorites because J.D.’s approach wasn’t preachy or inflexible. It focused on having a financial strategy that fit your values and preferences rather than one that just hit random numbers. I’m not inherently motivated by money, so having it sitting in a bank somewhere doesn’t really appeal to me. I am, however, quite motivated to have an abundant life where I get to do interesting things and not worry about a lot of things. For some reason, Your Money helped me backwards-translate “living an abundant life” with “personal finance” and helped me move from “knowing about personal finance” to “practicing personal finance.”

I was thus interested and excited to see J.D.’s new guide, Get Rich Slowly: Be Your Own CFO. Not only was it an extension of his work, it framed the work in terms of what it would be like to run your personal finances as if you were a CFO. I’m happy to say that it delivered, too.
[Read more...]

Why You Really Don’t Have a Time Management Problem

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

If you’re wondering about how you can become better at time management, it’s quite likely that you’re asking the wrong questions. Much like I mentioned in 50+ Better Questions to Ask than How to Be More Productive, asking better questions about what we’re doing makes the doing a lot easier.

Time management, as a concept, is bankrupt. Let’s canvass some of the reasons for this, shall we?:

  • You’re only going to have 24 hours in a day no matter what you do. Unless you’re close to a scientific breakthrough that allows you to personally bend spacetime, you can’t speed it up, slow it down, optimize it, or maximize it. A second is a second, though your internal experience of a second can vary considerably.1 The time metaphors we live by don’t really track the reality of time.
  • The way we think about time also deludes us into thinking that we “use” time. Yes, we talk that way and we think that way, but we don’t use time any more than a fish uses water. We do things through time.
  • Energy and attention are more scarce than time. This is the main point behind assessing your Time, Energy, and Attention.
  • Most people will squander “excess time” when they get it. This has led many people to invoke Parkinson’s Law AND you might want to consider How Parkinson’s Law blocks your happiness and creativity.

Money can be managed. People can be managed. Schedules can be managed. Time can only be accounted for.

People who think they have time management problems really have priority management problems, which means, at root, they have self-management problems. Teams and organizations have the same problem – as a unit, there are only so many priorities that a given group of people can address in a given slice of time. One of the chief jobs of the leaders is to ensure people are addressing the most important priorities in any given slice of time.

While we’re thinking about priorities, let’s remember that too many priorities mean you have none. Whether we’re talking about your personal, professional, or business life, a handy guideline here is 5 plus or minus two. This is intentionally not 7 plus or minus two simply because we often forget that we are multi-dimensional beings in relationships with other people and acting on our priorities requires us to evaluate and act on those priorities in a fluid context, which is considerably harder than just remembering what they are. For instance, we may be professionals AND parents and need to consider the priorities we have in each domain and how they align or conflict in different ways at different times.

If all of this sounds complicated and hard to keep up with, then perhaps I’ve adequately explained the human condition. We are evolving beings in relation to other evolving beings, each with the capability to remember the past, choose in the present, and plan for the future.

So, the next time you’re thinking about how to manage your time, I hope you’ll consider changing the frame to how you’re managing your priorities. Here are a few questions to ask yourself – leaders can make a few changes to ask about their teams – to springboard your thinking:

  1. What matters now? (People change in time, so it’s natural that priorities change in time, as well. Make sure you’re not acting on yesteryear’s priorities just because you had them last year.)
  2. What actions can I take today, tomorrow, and this week that most reflect my priorities?
  3. What are the priorities of the people around me who matter? (Your family, friends, boss, coworkers, employees.) Do we have alignment, interdependence, or tension?
  4. What’s on my plate that doesn’t reflect my priorities and what needs to happen to get it off my plate?
  5. With whom can I share my priorities so that I receive the support I need to take action on them?

If you manage your priorities well, you’ll see how you really don’t have a time management problem. (Click to share – thanks!)


  1. We need not be considering extreme or quantum physics scenarios. As Einstein himself remarked, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” Time doesn’t fly when you’re having fun – your perception of time changes. 

Three in the Morning

When we wear out our minds, stubbornly clinging to one partial view of things, refusing to see a deeper agreement between this and its complimentary opposite, we have what is called “three in the morning.”

What is this “three in the morning?”

A monkey trainer went to his monkeys and told them:

“As regards your chestnuts: you are going to have three measures in the morning and four in the afternoon.”

At this they all become angry. So he said: “All right, in that case I will give you four in the morning and three in the afternoon.” This time they were satisfied.

The two arrangements were the same in that the number of chestnuts did not change. But in one case the animals were displeased, and in the other they were satisfied. The keeper had been willing to change his personal arrangement in order to meet objective conditions. He lost nothing by it!

The truly wise man, considering both sides of the question without partiality, sees them both in the light of the Tao.

This is called following two courses at once. (Merton’s note: The “two courses” are, on one level, the higher way of Tao, the “divine” way, and on the other, the ordinary human way manifested in the simple conditions of everyday life.)1

***

Chuang Tzu approaches “three in the morning” from the perspective of insight, that is, seeing multiple views at once. Like many Taoist teachings, though, it can be applied in myriad ways.

I see “three in the morning” play out in strategy and productivity. Many people will set a particular goal, make a plan, and stubbornly insist that that plan is the only way to achieve their goal. Reality can be those angry monkeys to them – they will have four chestnuts in the morning, whether they like it or not!

To be sure, there is virtue in having the backbone to work through adversity and challenges. To back down every time you get a little pushback from the world would mean you wouldn’t get very far with anything that actually matters.

But wisdom comes from noticing when a different approach may make it easier to achieve your goals. If the essential arrangement of things is the same – with “arrangement” here being understood as your values, priorities, and resources – why get hung up on the original plan you had?

Take a look at what you’re doing: will a simple rearrangement help you get the results you’re after without as much effort? (Click to share – thanks!)

As I’ve mentioned before, plans help you get to where you’re trying to go; if you see a better way to get there, change the plan.


  1. From The Way of Chuang Tzu 

How Creative Accretion Leads to Epiphanies

If you’ve ever thought about the creative process, you may have wondered how we go from idly musing about something one day to an epiphany many days later in a completely different context. Creative accretion is one type of catalytic activity that helps us understand what’s going on.

Accretion is normally used to describe how stellar systems are formed. The gravity of a particularly heavy molecule in the void of space attracts smaller particles to it and the smaller molecules stick to the heavier one. The heavier molecule is now that much heavier, so it attracts even more smaller objects to it. Play this out over billions and billions of years and you get every known physical object we see.

As I’ve often shared here, as much as we think our own inner processes are unique to us, if we pay close enough attention, we can see how much our processes follow similar patterns to what’s going on in the world. Creative accretion works much the same way as stellar accretion – one particular idea becomes the one that other ideas stick to, and new ideas stick to it, and so on for days, weeks, months, or years until finally the idea comes out full-formed.

I was thinking about creative accretion because I shared some ideas with TeamPF this week that have been accreting for a few years, much like the post on Creative Giants. Dots were finally connected that I’ve left up in the air – or, to switch metaphors, I stashed a lot of these in my idea garden and “forgot” about them.

Except, like those stellar objects floating in the void of space, the ideas were still exerting force on me. They were still pulling other ideas to them or being pulled into other ideas to make a new synthesis.

We often don’t notice creative accretion because it’s happening below the level of conscious thought. When we have one of those Eureka! moments, it seems like it came out of nowhere, and, indeed, sometimes those insights do come from some new source. But sometimes, it’s just that accretion has been in play and it’s reached a tipping point – accretion, then, is one of the catalysts for the two dynamics of change.

Accretion is a Blind Process

Like any other natural process, though, accretion is a blind process. Think of emotional accretion, for example: a particular emotion – that person doesn’t like me – gains some mass and motion and starts to pull other emotions toward it. As those emotions get stronger, our responses to situations are altered, normally for the worse. The usual outcome is that the original impression becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It would be fantastic if accretion was always toward something that lead to better outcomes, but, alas, that’s not the way it works (without some practice).

Usually, when we talk of things like decision inertia, accretion is the catalyst for that inertia. When people come to me for advising, they often come with a lot of decision inertia, and one of the challenges of what I do is to not accept the assumption that the course of action my client is working through is the all-things-considered best course of action. If I don’t question that, we find that three months down the road, we’ve been working on the wrong thing. If I question and confirm that it seems to be the best course of action, then we can recommit to that course of action with enhanced clarity.

When I look at courses of action that aren’t actually the right fit, what I normally see is that there’s some compelling part of the course of action that has been stuck to other parts. For instance, the founder or executive might be getting pressure from long-term employees that have been treated functionally as partners without the power and compensation of partners, so the company’s big squeaky wheel becomes whether or not to make those employees partners. When you look under the surface, though, you can see poor executive leadership, business strategy, and a chronic avoidance of tough conversations that’s gotten stuck to the idea of partnership, when in fact, there are many different components of the problem that have been merged into one big one (partnership).

It’s easy to see this with hindsight, experience, and distance from such a problem, but it’s really hard to see it when you’re going through it. It’s hard to read the label when you’re stuck inside the jar.

5 Ways to Catalyze Your Creative Accretion

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few quarters about ways to nourish the incubation process. I think of it much more like planting seeds: the seed is going to develop on its own schedule, but you can give it the proper nutrients and environment so that it’s going to be stronger and healthier when it grows.

To be clear, there are some ways that you can accelerate your creative process, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Here are a few ways to foster your creative accretion:

  1. Consume broadly – the more broadly you consume information, the more likely you’ll pick up an unexplored idea that sticks to the ones you’re already considering
  2. Give yourself time and space – it’s a bit like the lost keys phenomenon. When you’re looking for your keys, you can’t find them. When you stop looking, you remember that they’re in your pocket.
  3. Tend your idea gardens – every once in a while, tend your idea gardens. You’ll see creative cross-pollination and likely make some new combinations of ideas that you can then let grow on their own for a while.
  4. Keep vision/concept boards and mindmaps in your field of view where you work – I’ve heard quite a few of my author friends mention that they place the table of contents or their mindmap in a few places around their house and offices so it’s top of mind. I think an unintended benefit of this is that it gives the project creative mass so that it enhances the accretive process. There’s also an upshot here that the accretive process is biased towards things that matter.
  5. Play with snippets without forcing them to be done – sometimes ideas come in small snippets that you don’t know what to do with. Allow yourself some time just to play with that snippet, whether it’s writing 200 words about it or building a mindmap around it. If it seems to finish itself, great. If not, kick it back to your idea garden so it can accrete. You never know what it’s going to stick to or what will stick to it, but the fact that it came up for you is a good indication that it’s been accreting for a while.

I don’t mean for the list above to be the definitive list of ways to foster your creative accretion – you may have your own ways to do it. What I most wanted to highlight here is the same thing I discussed in Demystifying the Creative Process: when we understand the creative process and its subcomponents, we can take steps to more constructively harness and cultivate our creativity.

The more you catalyze your creative accretion, the more frequently you’ll have rich epiphanies. (Click here to tweet this – thank you!)

Good Strategy and Leadership Helps You Sleep At Night

“You read a book from beginning to end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end, and then you do everything you must to reach it.” – Harold Geneen

I found the LinkedIn article “What’s Keeping CEOs Up At Night: Six Facts That Will Surprise You” to be interesting on its own, but also interesting to consider in light of its similarity to what keeps so many small business owners up at night. Like the author of that article, I’m going to hand-wave that sales and revenue are perennial challenges.

Here are the six facts he shares:

  1. Surprises – 38% of CEOS have been blind-sided by a negative surprise in the last 90 days.
  2. Not enough data – 71% of CEOs we spoke with feel frustrated about the lack of meaningful data in their organization.
  3. Performance of the top team – 45% of the CEOS were not satisfied with their executive team’s performance.
  4. Moving too slow – 82% of CEOs feel like their team isn’t acting with enough urgency and this was affecting the company’s ability to get things done.
  5. Lack of control – 64% of CEOS don’t have full control over their company’s direction.
  6. Employees don’t get it – Only 22% of CEOS have confidence that their employees get it.

Obviously, some modifications need to be made to fit the context for small businesses and startups. Without having the quantitative data to back it up (right now), my experience shows that it’d look like this:

  1. Surprises – same as above.
  2. Not enough intelligence – same as above, but magnified by #5 below. I’ve changed this to “intelligence” rather than data to highlight the fact that it’s not that there’s not enough data, but that it’s not organized in a way that drives action on the business’s proirities.
  3. Founder’s effectiveness – The founder is usually spread too thin, both with what they’re doing and with what they’re responsible for. The latter tends to be where the stress is coming from, not the former.
  4. Moving too slow – Same as above.
  5. Unclear or non-existent strategy – the big difference here between corporate CEOs and small business executives isn’t the absence or diffusion of power, but the lack of a clear idea of where they’re really taking the company. Running the business tactically – i.e. responding to opportunities, challenges, and crises – tends to take precedence over running the business strategically.
  6. Employees don’t get it – same as above.

I didn’t reorganize the list in a causal flow, but it wouldn’t take much to see which of these is the root cause: an unclear or non-existent strategy. Without that, it’s hard to lead effectively and strategically, so the owner defaults to tactical management, which means other people aren’t learning how to do it and thus can’t do it in the future. A business’s strategy helps prioritize and cohere the data into purposeful intelligence so that the team can assess results and also predict future results. Because that data isn’t being consolidated, negative surprises happen more frequently. Because it’s not really clear what’s going on, teammates lack the clarity and confidence to move quickly and thus it appears that they don’t get it.

Because the employees don’t get it, the founder then has to do everything, and the cycle repeats. Founder’s mojo is both caused by this cycle and, later, keeps the cycle going.

We could do a similar reorganization for the corporate context but it wouldn’t be as simple given the overall complexity of leadership and operations in a corporate environment. There are simply too many competing power centers – both internal and external - in a large corporation that cause friction and stagnation to point solely to their strategy, although I will say that an over-complicated, incomprehensible, and non-prioritized strategy is worse than not having one at all. A 200 page strategy document with fancy 2×2 grids that a consultant was paid to make lulls many a corporate team into thinking that they actually have a strategy.

Whether you’re an executive in the corporate context or in the small business context, the reality is the same: work on what matters during the day or have it not being worked on keep you up at night.(Click to tweet this – thank you!)

Create Focused Time to Start Finishing What Matters

I’m just returning from an out-of-country trip, and I’m happy to be home and back into the flow. I’d be even happier if some of the stuff that piled up while I was gone finished itself up, but, alas, that’s not the way it works. That’s why it’s so important I create the focused time needed to get the stuff done that actually matters now.

Regardless of whether you’ve been out of the flow, though, you likely have a pile of stuff to work through, as well. There are frogs you haven’t swallowed yet or things you know are really valuable and important but you just haven’t gotten around to. Creative Giants always have multiple items that fall into both categories precisely because our work is never done, even before someone else gives us their work, too.

When are you going to create the focused time to start finishing those items up? No, really, when? More often than not, it’s not that Creative Giants don’t know what needs to be done, it’s that we get sidetracked by the Bright Shiny Object Syndrome and fail to create the focused time needed to make serious progress on real goals.

Since it’s hard for so many of us to create focused time, myself included, I’ve started something I’m calling Creative Giant Coworking Sessions. Join us for our first Creative Giant Coworking Session next Monday to convert those someday/maybe items to “started finishing today” items.

What Creative Giant Coworking Sessions Are All About

In case you missed our announcement last month, the Creative Giant Coworking Sessions are a 3-hour block of time where we come together virtually to actually get our work done. You probably don’t need more information or thinking about something as much as you need space and time to do what you know needs to be done.

You won’t just have a three hour chunk of time to figure out what to do with yourself, though: I’ll be guiding the work session. We’ll start with planning, then move to doing something important that you probably would otherwise put off, then move to doing something fun and future-oriented, and then wrap up by doing some more follow-on goal setting.

You’ll be paired with a buddy who’ll help hold the space with you. Yes, we’ll separate the Chatty Charlies from the Quiet Quincys.

The Types of Activities You Might Need Focused Time For

Here are some of the types of things you might want to work on:

  • Finishing your taxes (Don’t kill the messenger!)
  • Starting to develop a process so next year’s taxes aren’t done last minute next year
  • Rewriting one of the pages on your website that you’ve been meaning to get to
  • Reviewing your analytics
  • Fleshing out the table of contents for that book you’ve been mulling over (for plotters) or just sitting down and writing the overview for it (for pantsers)
  • Finishing a performance review for one of your teammates
  • Writing the job description for one of your teammates
  • Figuring out your strategic plan for the rest of the year
  • Doing some email triage
  • Invoicing your clients
  • Chasing down clients and customers who haven’t paid you on time
  • Writing a progress report for your supervisor
  • Writing one of the people who owe you that progress report to tell them to get it to you
  • Reviewing the progress report that was sent to you
  • Scheduling appointments for the rest of the month so you don’t have to be at their office at 7:30am because everybody else got the good times
  • Finishing your taxes (repeated intentionally)
  • Working through your prospect and lead list to figure out who should actually be on your sales board and who’s turned cold
  • Actually processing the Paper Stack of Doom rather than continually looking at it
  • Finding a place for those books that have been grabbing your attention for the last three months
  • Cleaning off your virtual desktop
  • Backing up your critical files (which may mean you figuring out what’s critical)
  • Sketching out or finishing posts or articles
  • Creating some of the design mocks that you’ve been wanting to do or are avoiding doing
  • Emailing the five friends you’ve been meaning to talk to for a while to see if they’d like to hang out sometime this month
  • Researching and ordering a gift or preparing a surprise for your loved ones
  • Figuring out what you want to do with that Amazon gift card you’ve been thinking about using for 3 months
  • Reading a part of a book you’ve been meaning to get to

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Finishing the stuff that matters – whether it’s “work” or “play” – requires you to make space and time to get it done. (Click to share this – thanks!)

That’s what our coworking sessions are for. I hope to see you there in a few days.

Click here to learn more about the Creative Giant Coworking Sessions. Our first session starts Monday, April 7th at 12pm PT.

The Free Planners for April 2014 Are Available

PF_planners_250x250

Welcome to Quarter 2, 2014! What projects have you made progress on, what new projects have you added to your to-do list, and what old projects need to go because they no longer align with your plans and goals?

I hope you’ve also noticed your energy, enthusiasm, and motivation start to pick up. That tends to happen around Spring – a renewal of sorts to get you moving on the stuff that matters most.

The free planners for April are available on the Free Planners page. (Click to share this – thanks!)

Click here to download your April planners.

And we’re FINALLY excited to announce that our printed planners are now available! Check out our Premium Planner options and invest in a printed PF planner today.

Why Timing is So Critical to the Success of Your Launch

[If you're reading this via email or RSS, you may have to click through to watch the video.]

Strategy and timing are the Himalayas of marketing. Everything else is the Catskills. – Al Ries

While getting your launch’s timing right won’t guarantee your success, getting it wrong will definitely make it harder for you to be successful.

Getting your timing right is one of the most important things you can do to have a great launch. (Click here to tweet this. Thank you!)

In today’s video, I discuss why timing for launches is so critical and point out the things many people – including my team – routinely forget or don’t leave enough time for.

I have a lot more I want to share about the strategy of launching and I don’t want to bombard everyone with all of it, though there will be another video or two in the next week. To that end, I’m hosting a no-cost webinar this Wednesday for people who’d like to know more.

If you liked this video, grab our Epic Launch Playbook and start crafting your own epic launch by clicking here.