Today’s lesson from the retired entrepreneur comes to you from a hammock in the garden in the middle of real life going on. I believe that’s a baby in the background, not a cat.
Suppose you want to develop your business.
What should you do? What would give you and your business the most benefit?
Write down a few ideas I’ll give you a few seconds. Meanwhile, we can swing in the hammock and listen to the baby crying. Oh, poor sausage!
WRITE YOUR IDEAS DOWN:
So what are you going to do to develop your business?
One of the traps people fall into is ‘chasing after clients’. There is nothing makes clients run away more quickly than chasing after them.
What works is to take a sheet of paper and a paintbrush and a box of school colours - paints that you may have had in school - and paint a picture of how you would like your company to be.
Let your fantasy go wild! Use all the colours in the box!
Perhaps you prefer to write, or to draw or make a video recording like this one? The point is you are putting your ideas about your company your business out into the Universe in the most effective way.
Of course, you might choose to share some of those videos, writings, paintings or drawings with potential clients. And then again you might not. It’s up to you.
Either way, the Universe has heard you.
Music is for playing not just listening to.
It’s a metaphor. What I mean is that we tend to look at all these amazing people who are living lives that really inspire us. We play their recordings, watch them on YouTube, watch their football match, listen to their performance and we say “Wow”.
But we forget that music is for playing. Playing around, football or music, or whatever it might be.
As an entrepreneur, I get to play my own music. I get to create my own bandstand. I get to play all the instruments one after, or all at the same time. I’m not very good at it but then again I’m not very good at singing either, and I’m not very good at playing football, and I’m not very good at … but it doesn’t matter because it’s not a question of performance it’s a question of playing.
So yeah, playing music means playing music not just pressing the Play button.
Today’s lesson from a retired entrepreneur is recorded at Central Station in Gothenburg, and has the question “Which is the most important, time or money?”
When people are asked to do things, they will either tell you that they don’t have time or they don’t have the money for it.
And which is most important depends a little on your age.
When you’re young, you have lots of time but no money.
I asked a large group of 15-year-olds, “What’s the most important thing to think about?”, we were talking about jobs and being something in the world, and when I asked them the most important thing to think about they said “Money”. I realised that they don’t have any.
If you are someone who is retired or perhaps unwell, perhaps near the end of your life, you have earned and maybe saved money, but are counting the days. What’s important then, do you think?
No amount of money will help you get your time back.
Whichever seems most important, one thing is true.
There is never enough.
Today’s lesson from a retired entrepreneur is recorded at Central Station Gothenburg.
When I speak with teenagers about values, I encounter the difference between us. Here am I, a mature (old) person, and from my point of view they are very young.
When I ask “What’s important?” they nearly always tell me the same thing. They talk about money. Because money is what you buy things with, and things make you happy.
They are young. They haven’t learned. Let’s not judge them too harshly.
They nearly always ask me, when I talk about the work that I do, “How much money do you make?”
I have a naughty trick that I play on them. I tell them, “No, I don’t work anymore I am retired. I have an income every month (that’s the tweak, the word ‘income’), but I don’t have to work. And then they want to know, “How much is it? How much do you get?”
And I write on the board a two, three zeros, and three more zeros and then the letters SEK. In case you don’t know SEK is the currency here, Swedish kronor. So it looks like I’ve just written two million Swedish kronor and they all go “WOW” because they’re impressed that I could get so much money without doing anything.
We then play a game of Let’s Spend a Million. I ask them, “What would you spend 1 million on? Tell your partner.” And they come up with ideas like cars, travel, spaceship and then I give them another million and they start guessing again what they would spend it on, and then I give him another million and they start guessing again. I give them another million and then another million and then they say “Oh shut up we can’t spend it fast enough!” and I say, “Oh really?” pointing out to them that 1 million is worth nothing if you can’t spend it.
“It doesn’t matter how much you’ve got if you can’t spend it.”
They are kind of in a quandary that because they’ve just realised that money, money, money doesn’t really solve anything because they can’t spend it fast enough. If it pours in like rain, they can’t spend it fast enough.
And then they want to know “What do I spend my 2 million on?” and I tell them that today I’m spending my money on them. They don’t get that all. They haven’t seen any money, have they?
And then I point out that SEK also stands for seconds, you know 60 seconds make a minute. Count them up. There are 2 million in a month. Oh, they feel so cheated but I think my point is made. I get 2 million seconds a month, every month that I’m alive and I can spend them how the heck I want.
And just today I’m spending 60 minutes times 60 seconds with them.
They kind of like that.
Today’s lesson from a retired entrepreneur comes from a kitchen in Malmö, South Sweden.
Doing business. What’s changed since 1990?
In the early days, in order to find clients, I had to get out of my office get out of the kitchen, go downtown, go to a group meeting at a club, a business club, perhaps in a hotel, perhaps paying for a hotel breakfast and club membership, in order to speak with people who also pay for breakfast and membership to inform each other about our services and products and that we are very nice people to work with.
We don’t do that anymore.
Nowadays, I publish on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Videos, articles, one-liners, where I hint at the work I do.
So my reach out to clients, in modern times, comes from the kitchen in Malmö.
Suppose you want to start your business or make it bigger.
What are the questions you should be asking?
Take a minute and write down a few questions that you ask about either starting your own business or making it bigger.
What are the questions you want to have answered?
Go on. I’ll wait.
WRITE YOUR QUESTIONS DOWN:
Okay time is up. No I didn’t give you very long did I?
Most people fall into the trap of asking questions about what to do, or who to talk with, or when to do things… you can see where this is going can’t you?
These are useful questions but nowhere near as useful as… the key question that most people avoid… the question Why.
Focusing on your Why will automatically answer all the other questions because when you know Why, and you really, really want those results - that feeling of freedom of having your own company, that sense of success having expanded it - the how’s and the what’s and who’s and where’s and when’s all fall into place.
Usually, they are on a Strategic Plan.
But a Strategic Plan without a Why has no life in it. It’s dead.
What does it cost you to be seen and heard?
What’s the pain?
WRITE YOUR ANSWER HERE:
What does it cost you to not be seen and heard?
(By your potential clients)
WRITE YOUR ANSWER HERE:
Can you balance those?
Can you pay the price of being seen and heard?
Seen and heard by your potential clients?
What might the benefit to you be?
And now that you know what people remember... which do you choose?
Although I always had enough money to do whatever I wanted, the fear of not having enough money never went away.
So how much money is enough?
Try this experiment
Calculate the amount of money you need every month in order to pay your necessities. Now halve that figure.
You can learn to live on half, by allowing yourself half your income and putting the other half aside in case you panic.
If you were stranded on a desert island with a limited supply of food, you would not continue consuming at your usual rate. You would take care to eat frugally, and your body would learn to adapt.
It takes a few months to learn to live at the new lower level.
And then you can halve it again, just as an experiment to see what really is necessary.
You may well be surprised how little you need.
Life is a competition.
The one who dies owning the most money (and possessions) is the winner.
Naaah. That’s not what I believe at all. Although, for a while, I did get on and ride the Money Train. And I did quite well. I certainly earned a few million. And I spent them. The more I earned, the more I spent. That was the easy part. Too easy. Money is the cheese in the mousetrap.
The Money Go Round
As an entrepreneur, a one-person business owner, it was my responsibility to:
and have enough money left over to go around again and:
And I would not have had it any other way. Working ‘for myself’ or being ‘self-employed’ was as close to heaven as it came during the Entrepreneur Years.
I was travelling to the capital for ‘a very important business meeting’.
You know the kind.
I was waiting at the airport for my flight to be called. I sipped my cup of coffee, studied the ticker board, and wondered why the flight number wasn’t being displayed. So I finished my coffee and went in search of the airline representative.
I couldn’t find them. I was at the wrong airport.
I dashed outside to the taxi rank. Grabbed the nearest taxi and said to the driver, “Do you want to make some money? Get me to the (other) airport in 20 minutes and I will pay double!”
I caught my flight, at the other airport. It had been delayed by an hour.
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I am a teacher, a business-owner, a public speaker, a coach and an author.