I built five businesses from the ground up. Each time in the process I found myself as a hostage of my business, never knowing how it would work out, how I would get off the treadmill, or most importantly, a firm date for when I could look forward to enjoying my business. It all seemed to be up to chance, and that the best I could do was work harder and increase my “chances”.
Along the way I learned two valuable principles that transformed me and my businesses, and helped me build a business I could enjoy for decades:
- You get what you intend, not what you hope for… and…
- He who makes the rules wins.
Throughout a number of my businesses I intended to work extremely hard and make money, and I got exactly what I intended – hard work and some money. While growing those same businesses I “hoped” they would result in a great lifestyle and worked even harder to increase my chances. But we get what we intend, not what we hope for.
I learned that unless I very intentionally designed my work around building a great lifestyle, that all I was going to get was hard work and maybe some money. I decided I was going to turn the whole thing on its head, stop working for my business and make my business start working for me.
It dawned on me that “He who makes the rules wins”, and that I had been allowing my businesses to make the rules by just “hoping” they would give me a great lifestyle. I added “use my business to create a great lifestyle” to my intentionality, having grown into the belief now that business should not just give us money, but it should give us three things – money, time, and the opportunity for significance, or meaning.
This led me to develop simple tools that would keep me on track to create that lifestyle:
- The Big Why – those with a great vision for what to do are more likely to be successful.
- A Business Maturity Date – to give me a very clear, measure of the time, money, and significance I now intended for my business to bring me, and a specific date for when I intended to be there – Friday, February 18, 2001, at 10am.
- A simple 2-page Strategic Plan – to help me stay above the daily Tyranny of the Urgent so I could focus on the things that would build a business that makes money while I’m on vacation.
- Process Mapping – to get me off the treadmill, allow me to train others to do what I do, and create repeatable and consistent experiences for my clients.
- Outside Eyes – I have others I meet with regularly who are helping me keep on track. I’m too subjective about my own business to make the kind of progress I regularly should.
February 18, 2011, we’ll be on our way to New Zealand celebrating the maturity of our business, and we fully intend for it to make money while we’re on vacation. Why don’t most businesses get here? Simple, the owner is doing what I used to do – intending to work hard and make money, and “hoping” it will all work out in a great lifestyle. We get what we intend, not what we hope for, And when I realized I could no longer let my businesses make the rules, I was on the road to freedom.
What are you doing to build a business that makes money while you’re on vacation?
UPDATE: The book is now out and available.