“If a customer is willing to pay for it, I will do it,” I said 10 years ago in response to a friend who asked what I do for a living .
In hindsight, this was idiotic, and my business and life suffered the consequences.
In a world where I was saying “yes” to everything, clients controlled my life (where, when, who).
Pulling all-nighters and working 130 hours a week was a badge of honor.
I once took a client phone call from the line queue in Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
I was pissed at the client for having the nerve to call me while I was in line at Disneyland. They were pissed that neither they nor I could hear a damn thing.
A handful of years back, after a year of personal & couples therapy, I converted The Mighty Mo! to a cause-based business.
The cause: Me.
Specifically: I need to be present at home with my wife and kids. No replying to emails, taking business calls, etc. while at home. None. Zero. Zilch!
When I got intentional about my work, my “clients” became “customers”.
Target has “open” hours. So do Everett’s Foods, Toyota dealerships, Botany Coffee, and just about ever single other business in the world.
Why not mine? Because I had “clients”.
Most doctors and dentists and creative agencies and (for some reason) WordPress Developers are available night and day to service their “clients”.
Because we sell a high-touch service. Well no longer!
To be present at home, sell a products, not services.
(Here’s an example of how I turned a service into a $5,000 product.)
I’m available to my current customers for only a small fraction of the business week (about 3 hours per week in total, to be exact).
The rest of my workweek is invested managing my employee, developing our products, and finding new customers to buy said products.
I work 16-20 hours per week, because I have a cause.
I am comfortable not closing that deal if it means I won’t be present at home with my kids tonight.
In fact, just yesterday, I blew off a sales call, because I was at the park with my kids.
Process fail? Sure! I shouldn’t have scheduled the call for that time, and hopefully it won’t happen again.
I was able to be present with my children.
What’s the point of living if you are on someone else’s schedule? Networking within someone else’s social network? Doing work that has no purpose for you?
Here in the U.S. we are the lucky few who have options.
If you don’t take advantage of those generous resources to do the work of your dreams…well…let’s just say you are missing an opportunity that most citizens of our planet would risk almost-certain death crossing deserts by foot to attain.
If your Cause is helping other people, then so be it! Get intentional!
I transformed my biz from headache to money-making machine simply by getting honest & clear about why I work.
But what about my customers? Won’t they revolt, leave me broke on the street, and all my hard work will go up in smoke?!
Ya know what? My products became even more valuable to buyers once I got clear about what I needed from them!
Non-profits are great. But you are a for-profit machine.
Non-profits only exist if the business profits (i.e. tax-deductible donations) sustain them.
If you want to donate your profits of time & treasure to non-profits, I’m all for it! But first you’ve gotta have the profits!
For example, popular, cause-driven for-profit media companies like Lavender Magazine and Big Gay News have done tons to further the cause of Gay Rights. And when a company like Target gets on the bandwagon, it does enormous good for this historically-demonized community.
…And I don’t mean fluffy, marketing, branding stuff.
I mean why the hell do you wake up at all?
“Why?” is the most-difficult business question I’ve ever had to answer.
But don’t worry – if you stay curious, you’ll get there, you’ll business will become amazing, your life will become better, you’ll feel more whole and connected to the world around you.
Starting can be hard, so let’s begin by taking these simple action steps.
Some “gurus” sell these simple action steps below for thousands of dollars.
What they never tell you is that all the stuff they sell is freely-available if you just get curious about yourself, your predicament, and how to get out of it.
Getting together with a friend tonight?
Pondering taking on that project?
Does it support or conflict with your “Why?”
Elections have consequences and so does every project we freelancers say, “Yes” to.
You are more productive when you say, “No”, so try it.
You won’t get everything right. Nobody does.
But if you get curious and clear about why you are doing things, you’ll be better off, and so will your business.
Now go get it!