Whether you have been running a business for years or you’re just getting started, I want you to stop while you’re reading this and make a list. Think about the things that you do during the day in your daily activities that make you feel good. For me, and still to this day, one of the things I enjoy doing most is creating things in a spreadsheet. When I have a project that involves sitting quietly with music and playing and designing something that I think is really cool in a spreadsheet, I am at my happiest. The same is true about making videos.
When I started Nerd Enterprise, Inc., this was the kind of thought process that went into it. For the veterans in business for years, stay with me on this because I have a point that is valid for you, too. Forget about making money. Just list the things you really enjoy doing. Like tasks in a to-do list, except this is more like what you want your to-do list to look like every day. The tasks, here, may need to be more generic. Here’s what mine looks like:
- Designing spreadsheets for people.
- Making videos.
- Assessing clients’ needs.
- Reviewing books with the client.
- Reaching goals.
- Organizing things.
- Analyzing data (nothing turns me on more than a good pivot table).
- Playing with software applications that help with all of the above.
- Learning new things.
- Project management applications.
- Teaching (I love seeing the light come on for people).
I can go on. You should keep going until you’ve exhausted every idea you can think of.
Next, I want you to make a list of the things you don’t like doing /dealing with. Here’s my list:
- Bookkeeping (it’s true – I get bored to tears with the actual bookkeeping tasks).
- Chasing clients for money.
- Billing (I used to love this part; now, I hate it).
- Negotiating my rates.
- Deadlines (I hate deadlines).
You just took inventory. Congratulations. Oh, and just for fun, as well as for future reference, find a good to-do list app, such as Wunderlist, and put these items in there.
Now, it’s time to think in terms of turning those items into income-producing activities. The first list is the things you want to focus on, of course, but don’t overlook the second list. I don’t like bookkeeping, but I like the bigger picture part of what I can do with it (analyzing data). What this means is I need to have someone else do the bookkeeping part. I hate deadlines, so I’m going to give as many time sensitive things away as possible. I like doing the creative things, without being pressured about when things are going to get done.
This exercise should also give you lots of insight and self-awareness, so don’t blow it off. It’s important, especially while you’re building the foundation of your business.
To the veterans: you can probably see by now how this will begin to shape the direction you’re heading in. I almost want to suggest that you act as if you had no business. Let’s paint this picture with a clean canvas. Then, we’ll see how to get you from the current picture to the new one. You’ll probably find that you’re already making the transition naturally, just because you’re thinking about it and focused on it.
Now, it’s time to look at some numbers, while we take this to the next level.