Archives For Productivity

Morning routines don’t make great entrepreneurs, but all great entrepreneurs have a morning routine.

This post is going to be quick and direct, but so pivotal. The bottom line is, I wouldn’t be successful without a morning routine.

The importance of a morning routine

The fact is, all successful entrepreneurs have a morning routine. Even if it’s by default or intuitive rather than intentional, the it is there. The goal is to make your routine work for you.

My morning routine

Most days my alarm is set at 5:23. (I don’t like getting up unless it’s at an odd time.) I sneak in meditation time; I like starting my day in quiet. Then it’s the gym, to get the workout done and out of the way. Next, it’s back home for breakfast with the family. I get ready, head to the office where I have 9-11 AM blocked off every day. My meetings start at 11am, rarely before, because I need those 2 hours in the morning to get prepared and set my agenda for the day. That time also includes journaling and anywhere from 15-30 minutes of reading. This drastically improves the rest of my day.

Your Routine

If you don’t have a routine it’s time to start building one. I have a free template for you to help kickstart the process! Download this template to chart your morning routine. Let me know how it goes!

This year I am happy to say that I’m in the Strategic Coach program. One of the main tenets of the program is identifying and understanding your unique ability as an entrepreneur. The thinking behind it is this: If you understand and emphasize your unique ability you will find the area in which have no competition.

My Experience

The more you can understand that ability and stay busy doing that ability, the more your business will grow. Unique ability is Strategic Coach’s term and I love it for how clearly it defines where we need to focus. If you are an entrepreneur you have to check out Strategic Coach. It’s a must!

My unique ability revolves around seeing a problem, identifying a solution, recruiting the right people with the right unique abilities to produce a solution, and then release into the wild. Over and over again. Knowing that has allowed me to cut everything else that does not correlate directly to this ability. Absolutely everything else is either delegated or eliminated.

The Challenges

A lot of entrepreneurs get hung up at the delegation and elimination point. They think they can do it all. Or that they should do it all because they don’t want to spend the money or they haven’t found people they can trust.

I struggled here, too. An example: managing accounts and taking care of clients. I am really good at identifying a problem and creating a solution. In other words, I can see where companies struggle with social and then discuss with them about what it would mean to have those problems alleviated. Basically, what this amounts to is generating interest in the products and services that we as a company provide.

In the past, once interest is piqued, I was having to both create the content and manage the client relationship. It was a recipe for disaster. Although I can perform these duties, they are my secondary gifts.

So, over the past 18 months it’s been a process of giving away the content writing to people who are more talented writers than I am. It’s also meant giving away the oversight and management of those key client relationships to be nurtured by someone whose strength lies in that area.

I’ve leveraged other team members’ unique abilities with my own and as a result we have something that is infinitely better than I could produce on my own.

It was scary and I took a risk but Strategic Coach helped me to see that I can’t do it all nor do I have to do it all on my own. There are other people whose unique abilities fit in directly with my weaknesses and together we can offer a far superior product and service to our clients.

Bricks and Mortar

Another example of me leveraging my unique ability by dovetailing with a team member’s strength is this blog. Part of my unique ability is a desire to learn and teach. That naturally flows into this blog and the content on the blog.

But there was a bottleneck surrounding that specific component of my unique ability. I can’t type very fast, my thoughts and therefore words tend to wander, and then putting those thoughts together in a cogent way is a struggle.

So for the last two months team member Emily and I have developed a process where her unique ability is being leveraged with my unique ability.

Every week she and I get together. I read through my notes, tell her what I’m learning, and she takes all of that jumbled mess and makes sense of it all and writes these posts (Hi, everybody!). I give her the bricks to build the posts, but she fills in the blanks—she’s the mortar.

There are a lot of really intelligent people out there who feel like they are cheating if they aren’t the ones writing their posts or guest articles. There are a lot of people who could benefit from this system – but instead they are allowing these insights to wither and die or be expressed inconsistently.

That was the epiphany for me—all these notebooks I fill up with insights and lessons learned would never see the light of day. I kept saying to myself, “Oh, I’ll get to that someday!” But I never would!

Look back at this blog 3 months ago and see the infrequency of the posts as compared to now. I wanted different results so I changed my system and delegated. I leveraged my unique ability.

Take Away

Find your unique ability and focus in on it. Whether that means delegating out to a team you can trust or cutting the unnecessary items off of your agenda, you need to focus your energies on what you are best-at.

It will be challenging at times, but the benefits far outweigh the temporary pains. You will never rise above until you can set yourself apart.

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I’ve never been particularly handy. I have a little toolbox at home, probably the size of a shoebox. If I can’t fix it with the tools in that kit, I hire someone to do it.

Part of it is I simply don’t like doing that stuff. I don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t bring me that sense of satisfaction that others find in it.

There’s another part of me that realizes how much I enjoy commerce. I like helping other people build their businesses. That is where I get a sense of satisfaction and pride!

The Ultimate Win-Win

My lack of do-it-myself-ness is not so much that I’m lazy. It’s that I know how hard it is to build a business. When people provide a product or service better than what I can do, I’m happy to pay them to do it.

Paying for a service guarantees that I get that product or service faster and at a better quality than anything that I could ever provide. And again, I truly like helping people grow their businesses. It is a win-win.

Places Where I Won’t DIY

House cleaning

In the US, having someone clean your house is hit or miss. Both in terms of it being socially acceptable and in terms of finding a person who truly views it as a vocation.

When you go to other parts of the world, many countries have a cleaning person or a maid as a normal thing. In those countries, people have a cleaning person who knows them and their family. They provide a service that when you walk into your home afterwards, the whole house feels lighter and brighter.

That illustrates my view that there is a difference between someone who cleans houses and a house-cleaner. A house-cleaner gets joy and satisfaction in making someone’s home clean and spotless. They take pride in that. When they can provide that stellar service and make you feel like you want to be home and are proud to be there – that’s the win-win of paying for a service that many DIY.

Snowblower and Lawnmower

I take both of these essentials and get them serviced every season at a local equipment repair service center. I do this because I realized the value of having quality yard care equipment.

The other part of it is allowing the small engine repair shop to maintain their sense of pride and their true area of expertise. I just go in and say: “I don’t know if anything is wrong, I just want it checked up on.” I know this business and it is clear that they take immense pride in making sure those machines are running at their smoothest.

On top of that, I’m more than satisfied in the quality of the products I own staying top-notch. For a very small transaction fee, they win and I win.

House Painting

My business when I was in high school and college was painting houses. I’ve never hired anyone to do any sort of painting! We’re gearing up to do that for the first time ever and it will be a substantial amount of money.

I’m realizing that to do the type of painting that we want to do in our house, it would be about 64 hours worth of my time. That’s a lot of time. A working week and a half! So, I’m not going to do it. Bringing a house painter in will save me time, energy, and steps.

What do I mean by steps? One of my goals for this quarter is to make my house more inviting. Part of that includes a fresh coat of paint.

By hiring a business I will still get the outcome that I want without having to invest the time – which is way more valuable than money. Two years ago, I would’ve said I could do just as good as a job. But now, I can recognize that they will do better. Plus, if I apply even a tenth of that time I would have spent painting to another project I can easily make that money back.

DIY or Keep it Capitalist?

There are a lot of products and services in this world that we could make for ourselves. However, there are also a lot of remarkable people who can do those things for us. They provide a value that transcends the relatively few dollars that we spend on these things. By refusing to do it myself, I can get a top-quality product or service AND support the commerce cycle that I love so much.