James Altucher used to email every single one of his web design clients everyday 10 things to improve their site. It’s about over-delivering and making your clients more successful. Imagine if I just did the things that it would take to make my clients more successful. Imagine if I just did those things and they became more successful. Would they pay me more because of it or would they think that they just became more successful without really trying?
In his post about 9 ways to guarantee success James talks about how doubt, laziness, carelessness, vacillating, and not making progress are all things that will stop your business in it’s tracks. When I used to read this stuff I’d think to myself, “MAN! WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? I can easily write about all of this, but I can’t seem to DO any of it! Maybe I should just go work for someone else because I’m too lazy to run my own business, can’t make a decision, and don’t have a product. The world needs employees too. I know I have to provide for my family, it just seems like there has GOT to be another way.” That’s what I wrote my wife back in January of 2013. I did end up getting a job later on that month and I’ve had one ever since (however, I still do client work on the side).
An Abundance Mindset
The world is HUGE and full of possibilities. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It means there are lots of problems to solve and lots of things to experience and lots of little niches to serve. But it also means it’s really hard for someone like me with their head in the clouds to actually stop, choose, and commit to any one thing. Is it because of risk? (I want to cry.) Is it because of desire and happiness? (I am a grown man.) When backed against a wall, I always come to the same conclusion: I’d like to build something. I’d like it to use the skills I already have. I’d like to have autonomy. And I’d like it to provide for my family. So far, the only thing that fits most of that bill is affiliate marketing, but it just occurred to me that writing books on a subject would also fit that bill.
What if I went forward with my Content Motors idea where what I do is write “market-desired content” for my own site and for-hire for other sites with the intent of turning the material into books? It seems too simple and it doesn’t motivate me. In the book, Drive, Daniel Pink talked about the “Goldilocks tasks” which are neither overly difficult (such as app design or e-commerce) or overly simple (like business analyst or IT work). The question is how I can have both autonomy, mastery, and purpose in a job/career? Checkside has done a great job of summarizing Daniel Pink’s theory of what motivates us.
Autonomy – provide employees with autonomy over some (or all) of the four main aspects of work:
- When they do it (time) – Consider switching to a ROWE (results-only work environment) which focuses more on the output (result) rather than the time/schedule, allowing employees to have flexibility over when they complete tasks.
- How they do it (technique) – Don’t dictate how employees should complete their tasks. Provide initial guidance and then allow them to tackle the project in the way they see fit rather than having to follow a strict procedure.
- Whom they do it with (team) – Although this can be the hardest form of autonomy to embrace, allow employees some choice over who they work with. If it would be inappropriate to involve them in the recruitment/selection process, instead allow employees to work on open-source projects where they have the ability to assemble their own teams.
- What they do (task) – Allow employees to have regular ‘creative’ days where they can work on any project/problem they wish – there is empirical evidence which shows that many new initiatives are often generated during this ‘creative free time’.
Mastery – allow employees to become better at something that matters to them:
- Provide “Goldilocks tasks” – Pink uses the term “Goldilocks tasks” to describe those tasks which are neither overly difficult nor overly simple – these tasks allow employees to extend themselves and develop their skills further. The risk of providing tasks that fall short of an employee’s capabilities is boredom, and the risk of providing tasks that exceed their capabilities is anxiety.
- Create an environment where mastery is possible – to foster an environment of learning and development, four essentials are required – autonomy, clear goals, immediate feedback and Goldilocks tasks.
Purpose – take steps to fulfill employees’ natural desire to contribute to a cause greater and more enduring than themselves:
- Communicate the purpose – make sure employees know and understand the organization purpose goals not just its profit goals. Employees, who understand the purpose and vision of their organization and how their individual roles contribute to this purpose, are more likely to be satisfied in their work.
- Place equal emphasis on purpose maximization as you do on profit maximization – research shows that the attainment of profit goals has no impact on a person’s well-being and actually contributes to their ill-being. Organizational and individual goals should focus on purpose as well as profit. Many successful companies are now using profit as the catalyst to pursuing purpose, rather than the objective.
- Use purpose-oriented words – talk about the organization as a united team by using words such as “us” and “we”, this will inspire employees to talk about the organization in the same way and feel a part of the greater cause.”
Sharing The Vision
I am moving towards a location-independent lifestyle that involves travel and running a business online. Outure and Webories are the primary organizations I’m setting up to help achieve that goal.
Outure is currently an affiliate marketing store, but is more of a brand, is being treated as a brand, and may one day become an ecommerce store. It has an active Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook presence. It doesn’t have an active website, but I’ve hired a VA to help me build it out. Outure’s tagline is “Outdoor Adventure. Urban Exploration.” It covers the urban/city things you can do to play outside in an area like Indiana. It has two sections: Gear and Wear. Gear is stuff like foldable bikes, kayaks, camping, and equipment. Wear is stuff like jackets, boots, and clothing.
Webories is an organization that exists solely to support other organizations. Some of those organizations are what we would traditionally call clients. Other organizations are affiliate marketing sites that do not have their own brand, per se, but are make money off of keyword searches. Again, the VA will be a large part of getting Webories going again by creating shareable content for Webories organizations (including Outure). If it helps you to categorize things in your mind, think of it as one organization (Webories) of which we have our favorite organizations underneath.
What I’m Not Going to Do
Sometimes it helps to also define what I am not doing. I am not renting an office. I am not building a software company. I am not building information products. I am not going to promote Webories as a company.
What I’m Going to Continue to Do
Blog. Tweet. Tumble. Facebook. Use Aggie. Client work. Day job.
What I am Going to Do that I’m Not Doing Now
Here’s what I’m going to start doing that I’m not doing now: podcast. video. email marketing.