The Zone and Flow

I was reminded of one of the optimal ways I can get myself to that place where not only do I have the ideas flowing, I also have the motivation to carry me through the activity (however many of them).

 

Surprisingly, it’s using a REALLY old tablet (until I figure out how to root it so I can ‘up’ the system storage), which due to its age…I only am able to keep a limited amount of apps. One I use often is Opera Mini (somehow even less resource exhaustive than the native browser app) to collect posts that would remind me when it is time to create content (either for public consumption — or for clients).

 

Maybe it’s while having a meal (I’m okay eating near phones or tablets — but not a laptop of desktop…) or while cooking.

 

Does one activity come to mind that just gets you there?

 

Additional Readings:

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Systems vs Goals

One takeaway I got from Scott’s chat with Srini was the idea of setting up systems rather than goals.

For me it makes sense, because I do believe that we have no idea where a project could lead to. So as Scott shares how he just started blogging, which ended up helping him write his book (as well as write for publications like The Wall Street Journal), which in turn helped him get speaking gigs.

 

Systems:

  • Writing a joke a day
  • Posting on your blog every week (even if you’re inspired or not).
  • Starting conversations with 10 people a day (Say you’re hoping to find a friend…who’s closer than a 4 hour drive!)

 

Goals:

  • I want to perform at the Late Show (not really a goal of mine! I just thought of Jerry’s one joke a day as an example — so this would be a related goal!)
  • I would like 100,000 views per month on my blog
  • Finding 5 new friends

 

The biggest upside of having a system (or at least focusing daily actions broken down from your goal) is that I can easily focus on what I have control over. I mean I can’t control the number of people who visit my site, and I also can’t control where a conversation leads. Though I can schedule to write every week and publish on specific days, and find a way to start up a conversation with someone who’s carrying a copy of Creativity Inc!

 

 

A supporting theory was mentioned during his chat with James about no one knowing what a good idea is (so don’t be too discouraged if someone tells you something is a bad idea — unless well…it’s a bad idea…like what Jimmy cooked up during Season 1 Episode 1 of ‘Better Call Saul’ to get the Kettlemans to sign with him).

 

 

 

 


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Tribes

People who inspire your work.

People who are inspired by your work.

People who make you see other perspectives.

People who make you laugh.

People who get your sense of humour.

People who inspire your journey.

People who are inspired by your journey.

People who think about working with you when they start their next project.

People who you think about working with when you start your next project.

People who help you get out of ruts.

People who you can help get out of a rut.

People who you can’t forget.

People who can’t forget about you.

 

I’d say this is an extension of these three posts: here, here, and here.

Thinking about the number of people in that list (if I limit one line to 5 people), it’s quite within the tolerance of 120 (or 150) of the number of people believed that we can carry social ties with.

 

If you notice the number of people I follow on Twitter increase and decrease at certain times — chances are, I’m in the process of doing a review of the people who I’d like to focus 85% of my time on…while on the platform.

 

It also makes me see future connections differently (before I hit follow) — and it certainly makes me pay more attention to their feed and the people they also follow when the number is less than 150.

 

Additional Reading:

 

P.S. Your right in thinking that with the correct chord progression — these sentences could morph into a song like this. (TBA for link once that day comes!)

 

 

 


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The Best Way To Reach Me

As I was having a quick look and update on ‘My Cheeky FAQ’ I realised that it might help if there was a specific entry (and I can’t wait to hear from you if this post indeed helped!) that helps you know how to best send me a message.

 

  • Tumblr – I am on there at least once a fortnight (unless intentionally focusing on completing something and my fan tendencies need to be ‘on hold’ because they are a hindrance rather than a compliment!)
  • YouTube – Though sometimes notifications cross over with Google+ — I still find it a handy playform to send (and receive!) private messages.
  • Google+ – apparently there’s a way to send me messages even if I am not ‘online’ (I’ll get your notifications and that would prompt me to check my messages)
  • Form – This comes in handy if you are on a device that you avoid using to log-in to your various social media accounts. Even if you don’t put your email address, as long as you give me your Tumblr / YouTube / Google+ handle, and I can chase you up there.

 

 

What you’ll need in your message:

  • your email address!
  • How I can help you. (Really. Tell me! Don’t worry about sounding all ‘sales-ey’. Because the sooner I find out how I can add value to you, the sooner I am able to generate ideas! It’s as easy as completing this statement: ‘Leigh, I want _____ to happen. Can you help?’ If there are multiple items, take some time to consider what is most important for you to achieve. Whether it be finding someone who is equally smitten by BrainDead, or needing creative juice to improve your interactions with people you serve.)
  • If you have references (such as my tweet or a post), it would help a LOT if you include it too!

 

 

 

 


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Moving Forward (Guest Post #2: Matthew Keefe)

I wanted to take a moment and pull back the curtain on my business endeavours over the last 10 years. As well as help you get started or push forward in your own business. Small business ownership is often romanticized and I’m really not a fan of that, because it is hard work, has massive risk and let’s be honest, you’ll miss out on things in life. Still, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change this life for anything!

 

 

Overview
As a quick back story, I created a graphic design company my sophomore year of high school, which later turned into PixelBit (my current company).

Towards the end of 2015 while going over the company’s reports I made a very conscious decision that in 2016 I would double our revenue. This would be no easy task and like all things in life, we need help to achieve our greatest results. While the company has been profitable since the early days, I’ve always been driven to grow and level up year after year. I refer to this as the entrepreneurial bug, and I was bit by it at a pretty young age.

 

 

Leveling Up
I attribute 2 groups/people for kicking my butt in this regard. The first was I’d been a member of an entrepreneurial group, Secret Entourage for a while and heard about a business challenge, so I of course signed up. The objective of the challenge was to pick a 6 month goal (Jan – Jul) and work in a small team to meet/achieve that. The other person I thank for kicking my butt is Jamie from Eventual Millionaire, she ran a 7 day challenge and I instantly was seeing results. I don’t write this as an ad, nor am I even linking directly to them, just that we need people in our corner to help us level up.

I decided to join the business challenges for the networking opportunities and hearing various perspectives (eureka moments might not happen as often if you constantly surround yourself with people who think the same as you). While I do have mentors and advisors, I always welcome input for varying perspectives.

 

 

Beginning Stages
My graphics company was profitable since its early days. Fortunately, web companies don’t require too much start up capital.  and I originally was classified as a sole-proprietor, so I didn’t have a complex tax situation. Honestly, if you have the talent and a spare $500, you can start a web-based service business. The problem was in the early days I was unable to take a paycheck. When starting out I was having a tough time finding good clients, I found all the bad ones though! Thankfully I didn’t have too many expenses but I still needed to find some outside freelance work (with other companies) to make ends meet. Looking back now, I could have cut some expenses, such as computer hardware, but it was new territory for me and being a geek, I love gadgets

I also am very fortunate to have a loving and understanding wife that took on the lion-share of financial responsibility.

About 2 years into the company I was building great relationships with clients and starting to see an upside to all the effort being put in. I then decided to expand my company into a full service agency, which is where it is today.

I guess the point of telling you all this is to show the process of starting/growing a business is not an overnight process, in fact it can take years. However, if you put in the effort and take on some risk, you can create a life which isn’t possible working for someone else.

 

 

Hacking the Business
Most people know the word “hacking” to mean breaking into a computer, often illegally. I of course am not referring to that hacking in this section, but more the process of doing things a little different in business. Here are my top 3 actions that are sure to bring you better results in your bottom line.
1.) Never stop learning — Business is a journey, stay thirsty for knowledge and you’ll always be able to grow/expand over the years.

2.) Don’t take “No” — When I was starting out, I had this prospect that seemed very eager to get started, however when we got the negotiation phase, he said no. I walked away confused as to what could possibly have gone wrong. Rather than sulk, I reached out to him directly and asked him for candid feedback.

An amazing thing happened when I did this, he decided to work with me because of my unwillingness to just walk away. That client still works with us to this day! I guess what I’m trying to explain here is if a prospect gives you a no, take it as a learning opportunity and grow from it. Who knows, maybe that prospect will see your passion and change his mind!
3.) Work happens when you least expect it — While you can certainly find prospects at business meetings, conferences and other professional networking events, there is other options. Though this may not work for everyone, be sure to keep your ears open while attending events centered around various hobbies.

For me it’s car events, being that cars are a passion of mine, I go to many events. I have landed many great clients as a result of talking about cars/business during these.

 

 

Taking Action
If you’ve gotten to this point, hopefully you’re fired up and ready to take action. While you could
download an ebook, tweak your website or refine your sales copy, those really don’t help in the
short term. Instead, do these 2 things TODAY!

– Contact 5 new prospects, secure meetings
– Reach out to older customers and provide an upsell or update to their project

Don’t have a business already? That’s okay, start brainstorming what you’re good at and would like to continue doing on good AND bad days, as there will be many.
Okay, now… get going!

 

 


Matthew Keefe is the founder of Pixelbit and is currently based out of Framingham. Matt loves to spend time with his family and talk about cars. For proof, you can check him out on Twitter (Entrepeneurship/Software Development) and Instagram (Cars…cars…and more cars). Got tips to be a better husband and father? Matt looks forward to hear from you!

 

 

 

 


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Help!

I know I need a coach so I could move twice or thrice (or even ten times?) the pace I’m going now.

 

Two challenges about that:

  • If I pick the wrong one — I’d end up wasting my time and money, which are both in short supply at the moment.
  • I already know that I am not that effective when absorbing information from a book or course (I’ve bought a number of books because of an initial emotional attachment prior to the purchase). Action points usually come when I am in the process of thinking about a snippet.

 

Yep…I still have a bit of the residue of ‘magic bullet’ thinking: “Ah! This course would solve all my issues with getting the cash flow I’d like”. Which is a bit like my brain constantly bugging me (yep…just like a restless passenger during a roadtrip): “Are We There Yet?” (aka: “Have I found the ‘Secret Shortcut’ to getting to six figures?”)

 

One way I could approach the ‘coach search’ issue — is just spend a bit of time reaching out to 50 coaches. Craft a pitch, then see how each would react (I think this would be a bit like a ‘hero test’ too — seeing a bit on how someone would react privately…when not being watched or overheard by the public. I understand that there is a chance at least one of them might come back to me with a bit of attitude — or worse…acting like a jerk towards a perspective client).

 

But then, finding a coach might not be the frog I need to eat. It may be one of the other tasks I’ve been slowly inching towards: like drastically reducing clutter.

 

Have you found the right coach for you (which was a result in finding the right system to find that coach)? I’m all ears if you’re open to tell me the story (or send me the link to your post about it). 🙂

 

Do you have clutter you have to wade through too? I’d love to get a chance to cheer you on!

 

 

Additional Reading and References:

 

 


 

Did this post spark something that you’d like to talk about more? Go for it! Send me a quick note so I can learn about your bumpy (yet exciting!) adventures.

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What makes you smile?

I had just been thinking about the various things we do that enable us to easily bond with others. One of the things that came to mind (probably the most accessible?) is though humour.

 

Some (random ones) that caught my eye:

  • 0:30 (cute hat huh? hehehe) in this Maru video :

 

Related Links:

  • “We all have that one person in our lives who, no matter the circumstances, can put a smile on our otherwise scrunched face.” – Lindsay Holmes (Huffington Post)
  • “Future innovators often produce hilarious feats of imagination.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter (HBR)
  • “It can provide welcome perspective on the process, can lighten the challenges involved, and can keep undue seriousness at bay.” –  Carl Pickhardt

 

I’d really like to find out what yours is like! Can you describe it? or is it defined more by what makes you smile and laugh? Sure, you can put something on the comment section — or send me something directly. 🙂

Note 1: I’m absolutely not expecting that you will have the same tastes as me! I’ve learned that it is quite okay to get along well with another person even if we don’t laugh at the same things (though I am a firm believer that eventually there will be something that would get both of us smiling and laughing!)

Note 2: Want more links? 🙂 Send me a quick hello…and I’ll be sure to send ’em to you!