In today’s Message in A Bottle I want to answer a couple of questions, but before I get to that I would like to discuss some thoughts that surfaced during a phone call I received the other day.
Since the beginning of man it seems like I have purchased books and programs that provide me information, thoughts and ideas that have allowed me to craft who I am today. My goal is, if I can pick up one little tidbit that can be put into action then the money is well spent. The other day I purchased an inexpensive program that talked about marketing on the internet. I was hoping to find that one little jewel that made the purchase worthwhile. I was silly enough to include my business phone number on the order form.
A couple of days after making the purchase I received a phone call from a representative of the company. From the sound of the person’s voice I assumed he was a fairly young man.
He began the conversation asking if I was satisfied with the amount of money I was making online. He of course had no clue about my level of online success, weather it was good or bad. I knew where the conversation was headed so I turned the tables on him. I asked him if He was satisfied with the amount of money He was making online. He seemed a little perplexed with the question but I insisted on knowing what level of success he had achieved. He finally said “this isn’t about me”. I then told him it most definitely was about him. I explained that I would never take advice from someone in an area where he wasn’t successful. How could I listen to his advice if he had not become successful in the techniques he was offering? As you can image the conversation ended without him making a sale. He was attempting to sign me up for a coaching gig. Now I most assuredly believe that coaching is a great and worthwhile endeavor. I just would be extremely selective on who I would allow to be my coach.
There is a very important point to be made with this story. It isn’t that young people can’t teach you new things. There are many young, bright and successful young people. Ever here of Facebook, Google or Microsoft? All were started with young minds.
The lesson to be taught here is: Be careful who do you listen to!
It is very important in your business life to surround yourself with people who can teach you and guide you. Find people who love to teach, and that do so with an attitude of giving. Find someone who will give without expectation of reward. If you can do this then you have found a great mentor. I am not saying that it’s wrong to pay someone for coaching or mentoring because this is done everyday by many people. I have paid several people to coach and mentor me. The ones that are truly the best are those who teach, mentor and give direction because they are fulfilled when you progress and reach a higher level of success. Your success becomes their success.
I feel very grateful when I receive a question from a customer or a reader of this newsletter. Unfortunately time does not always allow the opportunity to respond. That is one of the reasons this Message In A Bottle was created.
When someone asks You a question, please take the time to do your best in responding to the person. They asked You the question because they are seeking advice. If you know the answer make sure you do your best in helping the person. We all started at a place where we no longer stand. As we move out of the starting blocks someone else takes our place.
Now to the questions I alluded to at the beginning of the newsletter:
Toni asked “What can I do to keep busy and productive on low sales days?”
Toni, that is a wonderful question and one that most of us have probably asked ourselves many times.
I would like to think that busy and productive are two very different animals. We can keep ourselves busy by sweeping the floor or washing the windows. These are things that need to be done but they don’t reach my definition of productivity.
We need to define what is busy work and what work is truly productive. Time filler is busy work. We can do just about anything and be busy. If you can, you should pay someone to do the busy work. If finances don’t permit then you need to do busy work only when absolutely necessary.
Productive work on the other hand, is work that moves your business forward. This is the work that allows your business to grow. This is the work that pays the bills and buys the toys. This is the work that pays for the kid’s education, dance lessons and drama classes. This is the work that feeds the needs of churches, charities, and beneficial organizations. This is the work that, if done enough, can jettison you to levels only imaged by the purveyors of “busy work”. Yes my friend, don’t ever confuse busy work with productive work.
On those “not so busy days” you should create a list of work that needs to be done and make sure the items on this list fall within the category of productive work. Prioritize the items on the list. The number one item should be the most important item. In case I didn’t make myself clear I will state it this way: DO NOT PUT BUSY WORK ON YOUR LIST. When you again face a slow day you have your list ready to go. If you work off a “productive list” your slow days will become farther apart. Soon you will be so busy you won’t have time to make a list.
Kimberly asked for some tips on how to balance work and home life when you have your own business.
Wow Kimberly – asking me that question is like asking a fat man how to be skinny. I tease a bit here, but this also is a great question.
Many of you are aware of the story of Sunburst Bottle. I have written how we started the business from our home while my wife and I continued to work our full-time jobs and at the same time raise four kids.
It was difficult to separate work and home because the business was operated (at least initially), out of our residence. Even when we were home, we were at work. I know many people fall right smack into the middle of this situation.
As we moved from our home into a small warehouse/office, we were able to better segregate our work time with our family time. With the advent of the internet it again became more difficult to not work while at home. We now have a large warehouse and office but our business is totally online. We could work constantly if we chose to. The kids are all raised so that is not an issue. We still however have to make time for each other.
In a nutshell, it all boils down to a choice. Business is important but falls a distant second to relationships with loved ones. If we don’t spend the proper amount of quality time with those we care most about, the success we achieve is a hollow victory. A wonderful and wise leader said: “no amount of success can compensate for failure in the home”.
I can speak from experience that even though you are a very busy person you can and must make the decision to forget about work and lock those thoughts out of your mind for proper amounts of time. You need to recharge your “life batteries” and this is done by spending quality time with those most important to you.
Hopefully my responses to these two questions have been helpful to many of you wonderful readers of the Message In A BOTTLE.
Until the next Message In A Bottle…..
…..here’s to your success….