DON’T REPACK THE DISHWASHER! AND 11 OTHER LESSONS FROM 12 MONTHS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP. By James Sewell
I’ve been writing this blog for blo*dy ages. I first came up with the idea about 4 months ago as I was re-packing the dishwasher (more on that later). But I have really struggled to pull it together.
The reason is this: where do you start?
There is so much you learn over the course of 12 months of business ownership. It is very hard to distil it down to something more succinct than War and Peace.
Particularly if you want to write an article someone might actually find useful…
I remember that before I started PINK JUNK I had all sorts or concerns about jumping ship from my cushy corporate slosh-fest into the bare and bracing world of entrepreneurship so I read everything going.
But the same old “lessons” get regurgitated; you need to motivate yourself (mmm, ok); you’ll lose your social life (heard it before), it’s tough (suck it up princess!), you make sacrifices (ok, I’m playing the world’s smallest violin here…), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
So just to be clear then; it’s tough. You lose your social life. You make sacrifices. You need to be self-motivated. Good!
Now, here’s the juicy stuff; my top 12 lessons after 12 months of entrepreneurship…
YOU CAN DO SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK.
When you run a business, particularly at the start, you have to do everything. The great thing about
this is that while it makes life incredibly busy, you get to learn so many new skills.
For example, in the last 12 months, I have learnt; • To build a website (no snide comments please…).
• To market online.
• To drive, load and tip a truck.
• To smash up a wardrobe in under 5 seconds (promise).
• To hire, manage and even fire a team.
• Basic accounting such as reconciliation, reading a balance sheet, cash-flow forecasting and P&L management (look, I would pretend I could do this before, but I really can now).
• How to find, download and use any number of different apps and systems • How to search, find
and engage great consultants. • A huge amount about the Australian waste industry and how it works (fascinating I assure you).
• How to cook the best-ever bolognaise (unrelated, but something I’m proud of).
• Load and loads and loads of other stuff.
BUT YOU CANNOT And SHOULDN’T DO IT All!
Despite learning all these skills, I have also learnt that you cannot do everything.
Early on in PINK JUNK, we were driving a truck, doing the jobs, taking bookings, managing the accounts, working on the website, hiring and managing, etc.
Long term it’s not sustainable, will stress you out and your wife will never see you (…which
explains why Mrs. Sewell was so chirpy during that period!).
More to the point; if you have ambitions of growth, you need to be working ON your business, not IN it. Not sure what I mean? Read Michael E. Gerber’s brilliant book, The E-Myth. DON’T REPACK
The dishwasher Yes, I’m serious. I am one of those annoying people (some might call a perfectionist, others might call a n*b) who feels the need to re-pack the dishwasher if it has not been done properly.
Being effective means more than just being efficient.
After all, you can be the most efficient person in the world at completing a task that has no bearing on your overall objective.
Being effective identifying the tasks you need to do to achieve your goals, prioritizing them and then finding the most efficient way to complete them.
“Try and do too much and you will achieve too little” said…me. Just now.
I am terrible for becoming distracted and constantly adding stuff to my list of things to do, with the net result being
I often end up doing none of them very well and at the end of the day I struggle
to recall what I have achieved.
I now use a very effective technique I learnt from Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Work Week.
The night before, I write down the biggest and most important tasks I need to achieve the next day. The next morning (…the morning after the night before, you might say), I focus on said task(s) 100% until they are complete and during that time, I allow nothing to distract me. I am in the zone. Like an immovable rock. …until my wife comes in (from the
office next door) and asks me to have the baby. Or someone offers me a coffee. Or the phone rings. Or that new Justin Bieber song comes on (are you a Belieber…?).
So, it doesn’t always work out how exactly how we plan and that’s just life but, it is incredibly useful to have a major daily goal (or two) written down, that you can refer back to whenever you have some time free – this also allows you to reduce faff time and be more effective.
Article continued next week.