Monthly Archives: December 2016

Moving from entrepreneur thinking to executive thinking

At some point in any successful entrepreneurs life comes a moment where they have to start delegating things because they can’t be doing everything by themselves. This is a pivotal moment in the early life of an entrepreneur. Delegating tasks to others brings with it possibilities where the company is now capable of producing an output that is more than just a single person could produce.

So in essence the entrepreneur is multiplying his systems and having it run at least partly without him doing the work and thus taking a little bit of load off from himself.

Sadly this is a point where a lot of entrepreneurs get stuck. Hiring that first person to work for you can be such a big leap.

To be frank. Hiring for the first time takes balls, ambition and humbleness.

Balls in pulling the trigger and not procrastinating on the decision or waiting for the perfect moment.
Ambition to grow bigger than yourself.
And humbleness to admit the limitations of your skills and work output.

Essentially when you make your first full time hire you are committing to taking someone under your wing and making a statement: This company can support two people now.

This has been on my mind a bit lately since I just did my first full time hire.

The differences between an entrepreneur and an executive:

1. The executive makes decisions for the company – The entrepreneur makes decisions for himself.

It is a switch in thinking more and more about my company’s finances as it being company’s money and making decisions accordingly. The money is there for the company to do well, it is not the entrepreneurs retirement fund as long as it is in the company. As a result the executive invests the money more objectively and coldly without being too attached to it, the money is less personal.

2. The executive is no longer trying to find a working business model, he is trying to test direction.

This is probably the biggest distinction there is. Whereas the entrepreneur is looking to validate and test his grand ideas – The executive is looking to position his company. The goal of the executive is to make sure it is run by good processes etc.

The executive already has a working business model so instead of exploring options he is exploiting the business model.

3. Leveraging people to run the company.

The executive is using mostly other people to get what you want. Instead of doing things himself, the executive uses delegation and leadership, he uses his brain instead of his muscles to get  to the point where he wants to go.

As the entrepreneur phase is over, they are less and less involved in the day to day operations . The executive has his company work without him. It is the difference between being the COO and the CEO of your company.

4. The executive doesn’t have the focus on himself.

The products need to be deliverable without the executive. You will not see a real CEO next to a production line putting pieces together. That is not the work of an executive.

Instead a CEO will focus on two things:
1. Provide company with direction and identity.
2. Enable people to do their best work.
That is it.

When one becomes an executive and a leader it actually becomes less about them and more about the people. The job will be more about developing people, showing them the road and getting the maximum out of them.

It is in this phase where entrepreneurship becomes more about how to be an awesome leader instead of how to be the best operator you can be. This means that your internal qualities actually start to matter more because they will form the expectations and the standards for others to follow. As a result of one being a founder and a leader his values and attitudes will be reflected through the whole company.

It is not so much about what you do anymore but more and more about who you are.

Once you enable people to do their best work and to take risks you will be delighted about how much talent there actually is around.

It is just common that most people, even if they would make great business people just want the steady paycheck. However in their heart they still love testing ideas, looking at what works and can think a bit outside the box.

These people are golden as they are your front level soldiers that you can grow and work close together with.


So that being said, the goal is actually pretty simple. Become an executive and have a company that can eventually run without you.

Personally I want to get to a point where I invest a focused 135 hours on business.
And that is it. That is the kind of company I am looking to build.

I have noticed that with people the pressure will be on me as the leader in a way that it has never been before. After all I am adding fixed costs to your monthly expenses. And in a sense upping the stakes voluntarily and once you up the stakes you either deliver or you pay for it.

It is a different kind of stress to doing it all yourself but at the same time, I would say it is definitely worth it since with responsibility also comes the perks:
-Work with people that you like and trust.
-Make a BIG impact on peoples lives.
-The ability to delegate activities that aren’t really producing for you.
-Building a team will make you feel less like you are alone in this.

So essentially it makes running a company more satisfying.

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The six month vision for my company

Lately the future of my company has been on my mind a lot and I have been thinking hard core about what I want from my business. As some of you know I run a web-development agency.

And the last few weeks I have been going all out on business and have had that laser focus on it. So, it makes a lot of sense to reflect and map out a bit and get my goals right.

I know that personally I tend to be a bit more instant gratification and tend to be motivated by short-term goals so I created a six-month business vision. It’s really a vision of where I will be at the start of next summer and how I am going to get there.

Here goes.

Positioning:
I will continue to drive, sell and produce relatively simple Shopify eCommerce sites that don’t contain fancy design elements or aren’t too complicated.

Our competitive advantage:
Because our offering is focused and specific in a somewhat narrow niche we are in a position where we are able to deliver these with both expertise and cost-effectiveness. It is this cross-road that leads to our high profit margins and relatively easy delivery. We are a boutique agency that is able to be efficient because a lot of the work will be based on specific mapped out processes and repetition.

Main points of the vision:
-Create a business that will both support my lifestyle but also be easy to run. This is done via a full-time project manager who will handle repetitive and low level micro managing tasks freeing more and more time for me to do other things and run the company.
-Reputation as a reputable vendor with more long-term clients, referrals and inbound clients. We want to have an upsell strategy for every client. There will be a referral process in place and I will focus on building more of an authority and presence throughout the web in order to gain some profitable inbound leads.
-I will be the main mastermind behind the organization having eCommerce specific knowledge that I then pass on to people.

Workforce:
-The workforce will exist in the Philippines with a strong in-house virtual workforce. We will mostly avoid working with freelancers as they tend to be difficult to manage, unreliable and expensive.
-We will deliver our eCommerce solutions at least 80% by our full-time employees that are working virtually on regular working hours.
-The workforce itself will be mainly consisted of relatively poor mothers who are hard working and obedient. They will work hard to not get fired because their families would starve and they will be eternally grateful for the company for being saved from the slums.

Individual positions:
-I will have one girl working for me who already has experience on project management and HR (Ready to pay a little bit more on this). She will be able to bring some knowledge and leadership to the organization. Most of her work will be consisting of being a key account manager. This is the only senior position in the company, the only person who is allowed to be in her thirties (Rest of them need to be younger).

-I will have another woman who is more introverted working on the code side of things. She is more of an entry entry-level developer who is hungry to learn and develop. There are some things she can’t probably do at the beginning and those things will be outsourced until she learns them.

-My cheap lead generation girl who is a part timer. She doesn’t have much of a brain but puts in the effort and doesn’t complain.

Project management:
-I have 1-2 project managers.
-IF I have more than 1 project manager there will be a lead project manager that will be the only one I communicate with regularly. I will only lead one person on project management.
-We have reached a point where the company can deliver its projects and communicate with clients 100% without my involvement. I can take a vacation and projects would still get delivered.

Sales:
-Outbound contacting is done in-house by people other than me.
-On sales, we have moved the focus to be more balanced with referrals, building relationships and warmer sales. We have a relationship strategy in place to squeeze every penny out of our clients.
-Sales calls is still done by me (But we have got to a point where they are ready to being outsourced after $10k a month revenue is consistent.)

My personal input on the company:
-Show up on sales calls that are scheduled by my assistants and close deals.
-Monitor the efforts and results of the project manager. NOTE: Not managing the projects but the project manager.
-Continue to make sure that the lead generation is running smooth. (Easy)
-Be a strategic leader guiding the ship and shining it. People outside need to know that I am a captain. It is my own personal brand, (outwardly it appears to be a Finnish company).

Financial goals by June 1st 2017:
-Monthly revenue $10k with a solid 60% profit margin. Profit is consistently over $6k a month.
-Cost estimation: Fixed costs: ~500$ a month maximum + employee costs: 2500$ a month maximum + alternative costs.

So that is the 6 month vision.

Here is the 2 year vision:
-After everything is running somewhat smoothly I will put my time and focus on improving lifestyle and further free up my time from day-to-day operations.
-I want to keep this easy to run for myself but to still grow the company. Eventually I want to have 10 people on regular payroll. The reason why I want this is mostly because it is going to bring stability to operations so that if one person drops or something it will not be a big deal. This will lead to less fire killing.
-The company is 100% capable of running 100% without me. I want to act more as a board and have a COO & CEO who are 100% responsible for the results that they and their underlings provide.
-The goal is to run a company that is easy to manage (Micro management is one of my biggest pain points.)
-Profit margins are consistently 60% with a minimum $10k revenue and I can scale operations with sales people and step away from the company.

-If after 3 years I am not enjoying and having fun anymore then I will be looking to sell and do something else. I will be 30 and will not want to be doing anything that I don’t enjoy.

Immediate action steps:
-Flying to Manila in 10 days to train a full time assistant in person (Having part time assistants never really worked out). Going to provide her with thorough training so that she can take off the micro-management tasks from me. She is going to be instantly able to free up at least 15-20 hours of my time and most of the stress which will have a significant positive impact on my life.
-I will continue to sell a standardized product that I will be able to replicate very cost effectively with cheap labor force. I will expand our documents to include some specific areas and put more focus on working the systems during the next couple months.
-After the assistant is trained I will have her look for potential developers and will hire a full-time entry level developer that I aim to train in to a star and keep her around for a long time to come.

Was very helpful to take the time to write these down. I have more focus on where I want to go now.

Cheers

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Feeling down? Take ownership of your thinking

awesomeMost of the time when we are all stressed out and exhausted it seems to be a lack of mental ownership and direction. I wrote this as an internal note for those moments when I feel overworked a bit tired and I want to yield and give up under pressure.First of all it comes down always making sure that we are fucking sharp. We are performing on your best. You want to always have that mental edge over people. Peoples interests don’t usually align 100% with yours and that’s why its important that we as hustlers and leaders are capable of outwitting and outsmarting people. And I don’t mean this as a shady way but we are sharp enough to take advantage of peoples weaknesses and then we can strike on that.
Whatever it is.
A salary negotiation. A sales call. Persuading your employees to work harder. Making sure you are not taken advantage of.With most people you should be able to run mental circles around them, having more awareness and focused on what is important. Being clear headed when they are clouded. You should have clarity of what you want when they are hesitant. You are proactive when they are reactive. You are just more alive and focused when they are distracted and all over the place. This is the mental edge. Just this kind of general sharpness.
And this kind of sharpness can be applied to your own thinking.You thinking that you are feeling sad or overworked means that you are not being sharp.
You are focused on the completely wrong things. It is reactive thinking, it is not going to help you. Instead you need to be tough and focused like a laser beam.

I noticed most of the time when I feel down its either of the two things:
1. I lack my WHY. I am not operating with a clear sense of reason which leads me to not be engaged.
2. I am not moving towards my why (Not getting results). This leads to the chasing of why feeling purposeless.

This is also which leads to inaction.

Laziness is stemming from couple of things. Not seeing the results or not being fully connected to the why.
-Me

Instead you want to quickly reframe all of you thinking, just shut the fuck up when you are having those internal complaints about some bullshit and get to the point.

In a western modern world, there is nothing to complain about and nobody gives a shit.
So stop telling yourself that you are tired or some bullshit like that.

You are good to go. There is always more energy that you can tap in to.
If you are having problems with anything there is always a solution.

In life this is what I have been training for. I have been going after my goals hardcore for a long time so that I can take it without flinching.

My hero’s wouldn’t be wimping.
Nobody I admire would crack under pressure so I am not going to do that either.

So even if I am not connected 100% to my why, I am still doing it just to do it.
And doing it feels good.

Focusing on doing feels good.
Actually, focus alone feels good.

Once you loose that, your mind starts to wonder too much.
You can have stupid thoughts like:
Am I depressed?
Why am I unhappy?
Maybe I don’t really like my life.

And once that happens you are in risk of feeling bad or not being fulfilled or bullshit like this.
Shitty questions lead to shitty stated. Ask better ones and you will feel better. Be focused.

Keep your focus. Take ownership and responsibility of focus.
That is how I have got my victories by being ridiculously focused and connected to that.

And one thing I love about life is that it is an arena for me to live out my values.
Life is where you put everything to practice.
It gives you real time feedback and sharpens you like nothing else.

Here is some things that I have been focused on the last few days. These alone have brought me a lot of fulfillment:

First thing: Stop resisting anything that happens to you.
If things are difficult just make sure to never ever complain. You are making it 10 times harder than it needs to be with your own bullshit stories.
Be really careful if you label something as bad. Things themselves can be challenging enough without you labeling them negatively (resisting).
So just shut up and do it. Don’t focus on the pain because there is nothing you can do.
It is not up to you. It is outside of your circle of influence and it shouldn’t concern you.
It comes down to being proactive in your thinking, having an ownership of your mind.

Second thing: Reframe everything that goes on.
Instead of having to do anything, you get to do it.
The same things can be seen from different lights, we want to focus on the most empowering view.
If things are difficult. I am thinking: this is how it should be. I am living on the elite level. Bring it on. I’m fucking stronger than this and its not going to break me.
It should become a game, you will see all the positive things. This will transform you in to a killer.

Why would I burn out?
I’m not a candle!-Grant Cardone

Third thing: Live with virtue.
Life is an opportunity for you to practice virtue.
Everything is an opportunity to live with virtue and see the benefits of it.
You get to practice right thinking and you get to put it in to practice with action.So just a very simple 1, 2, 3 process you can do to feel a lot better about everything that happens to you.1.Stop resisting.
2.Reframe.
3.Live with virtue.

or

1.Disconnect from your pain.
2.Find the pleasure in it.
3.Reconnect.If you do this. You own yourself and you will be a fucking hero in life.

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