If you’ve ever tried to use a smart phone, or a website, you’re using a user interface. If done well, this interface has been designed to help you do what you want: check your messages, read an article, find information, get stuff done.
Our lives have interfaces too. We just don’t often think about it.
And just like with badly designed websites, a bad interface for your life can be frustrating, grating, full of friction and confusion.
The good news is … you’re the interface designer of your life! You can redesign the interface.
Let’s think about a few examples:
Obviously these are just a few examples, a few abstract ideas. The actual implementation depends on your goals, on the experience you want to create for yourself. But these are good to think about.
In truth, we can never control everything about our experience in life, nor should we try. But spending some time thinking about a smarter, simpler, more lovely interface for your life is about rethinking the unconscious, and living more consciously.
As always, thoughts, comments and sharing are strongly encouraged!
I’ve never been a huge fan of dwelling on the past. What’s done is done. However, I am a big fan of learning. I’m a huge believer in learning in order to grow. Life is about growth. Growing mentally, spiritually and emotionally are not things most focus on. The crux of personal development comes from evolving who we are as leaders, fathers/wives, entrepreneurs. Sometimes we need to reflect on the past to continue that growth. However, there is a big difference between reflecting and dwelling. Those that dwell on the past unfortunately tend to get stuck there.
So, how do we reflect on the past without getting stuck there? A few years back I came across the concept of the “Debrief” at business conference. The concept involves taking a recent experience, and examining the good/bad/ugly from it. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? How can we improve? Since then, I’ve tried to implement this in most areas of life. This has been especially useful in my business and personal life. It has led to exponential growth both personally and professionally.
Two years ago today I issued a press release announcing the sale of my IT business, Network Logix. It was a bittersweet day to say the least. The 10 years of blood (sometimes literally), sweat, tears, sleepless nights and many cups of coffee had finally culminated to a conclusion. At least for this chapter. It was on to the next chapter. The next chapter for growth.
Many of you reading this were likely in the room back in April for Robin Robin’s Boot Camp. During one of the presentations, the question was asked whether anyone in the room would like to eventually sell their business. Nearly the entire room raised their hands. This got me thinking.
I’ve always attempted to be as efficient as possible. Learning from others allows me to expedite the process, and possibly side-step any pitfalls along the way. Learning from coaches, mentors and peers has led to exponential growth for myself and many others.
After selling my business, I did a Debrief of what I learned. Boiling this down to just a few items was pretty difficult, as you can imagine. 10 years is a long time, and I could almost write a book about all the adventures. (Stay tuned for that, it’s in the works.) Below are the 7 lessons I learned along the way. I’m happy to share them with you.
I sincerely hope that there is at least one thing that you can draw from my debrief. I’d also love to hear how you use past experiences to further your growth as an entrepreneur, parent, father or any other roles you are privileged to play. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Feel free to share this with your network too. I’d be eternally grateful. Have an awesome day!
I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on my friend Rick Coplin’s podcast. Listen to my extremely candid interview about what being an entrepreneur is really like here: http://www.rickcoplin.com/sts006/
I have a confession to make: I haven’t been single-tasking lately.
I’ve returned to multi-tasking and distraction.
I’d like to blame my smart phone (I long for the days of my sweet dumb phone), but in all honesty I constantly switch browser tabs too. I’ve been pulled by the allure of so many interesting things to read on the Internet, email, Slack, always something to check or read or respond to. Not to mention the ultimate time-suck…..FACEBOOK!
As of today, I’m returning to single-tasking.
Why? Because I think giving in to constant switch and distraction is a way to run away. It feels busy and productive, but it’s an avoidance. Not just an avoidance of important tasks, but of whatever boredom or bad feelings I might be having in the moment.
So here are the rules I’m going to try to follow:
These aren’t hard and fast rules, but things to shoot for. I will fail at them often, but I’m going to try to follow them for at least a week, and hopefully longer.
I’m not doing this to be more productive, more focused, more disciplined, more perfect. I just want to explore mindfulness and consciousness, and not avoiding by distraction. Wish me luck!
If you have the same issue, or have more to add, feel free to leave me a comment below. [I know I’m not the only one out there ;-)]
Here’s a funny video on the subject too. Enjoy!
Credits: Photo from sharazza.com
I fail at things much more than you might imagine, given that I’ve started and run numerous businesses since age 8.
I’ve had businesses that were unsuccessful, and it feels just as horrible for me as it does for anyone else as a serial entrepreneur.
I get down on myself, feel guilty, try to avoid thinking about it, and would rather hide it from everyone else.
Failing at things can really suck.
And yet, I get back up and try again.
I fail at eating healthy on a regular basis, but I keep trying again. I’m pretty good these days at sticking to a sleeping plan, but I failed and tried again, regularly, for years and years. Not getting enough rest as an entrepreneur is highly detrimental.
I’ve made several attempts at writing the book I’m writing now, and scrapped it all each time because it didn’t feel right. And yet, I started again, and I still continue to work on it.
I fail at being content. But I don’t give up on that.
I fail at being a good dad, seemingly multiple times a day. But I continue to try, and sometimes I succeed.
When I try over and over again, once in awhile I succeed.
So what’s the secret? Well, there isn’t one. You just have to keep trying.
That said, here’s what I’ve found to work:
I realize that I’m far from perfect, and that the guilty secrets I hide inside myself are no different than anyone else’s. You guys are just like me, in the inside, and while we all share the commonality of failing to live up to our better nature, we also share the bond of being able to start again.
So start again.
I would love to know how you have dealt with failure in your life and/or business. Leave me a comment below.
If you know someone who might be struggling, and just needs an extra jolt, please feel free to share.
In our rush to get through the tasks of our day, to complete our errands and answer emails, to look at the next video or Facebook post … when do we think we’ll find happiness?
If it’s not here right now, when will it come?
Maybe we think it’ll come when we improve our lives, or meet our goals, or succeed at our business. Maybe it’ll come when we go on that next trip, or when we find time to relax. Maybe tomorrow.
Or we could try this:
These are all things we already know. But we don’t actually do them. The key here is practice.
If you don’t practice being present, slowing down, enjoying the moment right now, when will you practice? What are you practicing now instead?
Start your practice this moment.
‘When you live completely in each moment, without expecting anything, you have no idea of time.’ ~Shunryu Suzuki
WHEN: Thursday, November 19 at 1:00PM EST
SEATING IS EXTREMEMLY LIMITED! CLAIM YOUR SEAT TODAY!!
Here are the full details and registration: http://linkedinformsps.com/linkedin-for-msps-webinar/
During this event I’ll be covering important new information on what you need to know about how to maximize LinkedIn, as well as:
If you want to make sure you have a LinkedIn strategy as part of your 2016 marketing plan, you need to be here:
This event is free to you, but you must register
soon because seating is limited.
SEATING IS EXTREMEMLY LIMITED! CLAIM YOUR SEAT TODAY!!
Here are the full details and registration:
Hope to “see” you there.
Orange Nomad | LinkedIn For MSPs
Last week I had a chance to chat with Joe Panettieri, Co-founder, Content Czar at ChannelE2E. He’s covered the #MSP channel for quite some time. We’ve recently connected via social media. He had heard about my wild ride in IT for the past 20 years. Telling my story to someone outside my family was quite therapeutic. I hope there is something fellow MSPs, entrepreneurs, or anyone who wants to learn a little bit about the people behind their IT can take away from my story. I welcome comments, feedback and snide remarks 😉 Enjoy!
Story originally posted at: https://www.channele2e.com/2015/10/30/after-the-exit-one-msps-wild-ride/
Andrew Moon has faced major adversity at least three times. The long-time entrepreneur and IT service provider navigated the dot-com bubble of 2000, the financial crisis of 2008 and his own health scare about a year ago. So what did he learn along the way? Perhaps most of all: It was time to get to know his son.
Moon’s IT journey began in the late 1990s. A veteran of the car industry, he built an IT service provider that rode the dot-com wave — until his dot-com customers all imploded within three months of each other in 2000 or so. Suddenly, “there were no clients, there was no revenue,” says Moon.
He retreated to the car industry but by 2004 Moon and his wife had a son. The 70- to 80-hour work week in the car industry wasn’t conducive to family life. So he regrouped and did a personal pivot. Again. Back into the IT industry and a reboot for his Network Logix business.
For about six to eight months in 2004 and 2005, Moon experimented with flat-rate services pricing. It was the early days of managed services. He reached back into the 1990s, and tried to apply some classic software like PC Anywhere to the emerging MSP model of 2005. But it wasn’t really a fit. He also dabbled with RMM (remote monitoring and management) and PSA (professional services automation) tools. Through trial and error and research, Moon discovered Autotask’splatform by mid-2005. “I was done tracking things manually,” said Moon. “It was a key turning point for me.”
The next inflection point or pivot arrived around 2008. The Wall Street financial and housing crisis was just starting to spill over into Main Street, U.S.A. The good news: Moon wasn’t losing any customers. The bad news: He wasn’t gaining any, either.
That’s when Moon discovered Robin Robins and her Technology Marketing Toolkit. The toolkit helped Moon to refine his marketing messages into a specific niche — apartment associations in and around Network Logix’s target region of Ohio. Moon already had a few customers in the multi-family housing industry. He started showing up at related events, learning the industry pain points, and speaking at gatherings. The typical result: Three inbound calls for help, with a 66 percent conversion rate into paying customers.
By 2013 or so, Moon couldn’t keep up with his business momentum. Network Logix was a micro business by design — leaning heavily on outsourcing many tasks to contractors. It was time for another inflection point and pivot.
Fortunately, Moon had options. Peer IT service providers within the Robin Robins network had expressed interest in his business. There were also local options. One of them turned into an M&A deal. In June of 2014, System Care Inc. acquired Network Logix, and Moon joined the new ownership.
But then came the next inflection point. It was late 2014, and some health problems cropped up. At the same time, Moon’s son was growing up fast — now around age 10. By December 2014, Moon exited the business and concentrated on his health and family.
Fast forward to the present and Moon is back on his feet. Through his latest company (Orange Nomad), Moon works behind the scenes — helping peer MSPs with sales, marketing and other strategic tasks.
The takeaways? There are plenty. For starters, macro-economic forces (a dot-com implosion, a Wall Street financial crisis) can emerge at any hour. And manual tasks will kill you. Even if you manage to automate much of your business, time doesn’t stop at home while you’re away at work. And at some point, your body will reject a tireless work ethic.
Moon learned that and more over the past 20 years. But he’s sounding healthy these days. And the Orange Nomad is once again on the move — helping some key MSPs to avoid the life-work mistakes he’s made along the way.
When you are starting a business as an entrepreneur, you don’t really give a whole lot of thought to your exit strategy, let alone selling your business. You are too excited with the challenge of building a great company. You’re finally living the dream!
Your new company becomes your child in a sense. And, let’s face it, you typically spend every waking hour taking care of it. (If you’re like me, you dream about it too. It’s 24/7.) You forgo sleep whether intended or not. But, you know that all the sacrifices will be worth it.
When your child is born, you don’t immediately start thinking about the day he/she moves out. However, when you start a business, you need to plan your exit strategy from the very beginning. Let’s face reality here. Most of us won’t have an IPO in our future. The more likely scenario is a sale or merger.
2004 was a year I had two “kids”. My son was born in May, and Network Logix was reborn in September that year. So, for me, the “child” metaphor takes on double meaning as I write this post.
Your child soon learns to walk and then to run. It falls down and gets banged up. Welcome to life kid. Your “child” goes through all of life’s growing pains, and you continue to worry 24/7 like a normal “parent”. But, you know that all the time, effort and energy will be worth it.
Soon the day comes for your kid to leave home. In this case, the day came for me to sell my business. That day came on June 30, 2014.
This was a bittersweet day for me. Every waking (and sleeping) moment over the last 10 years spent thinking about my IT company had finally come to end. It was an extremely emotional time. But, I didn’t have much time to think about it. I now had more work to do in order to make the transition smooth for our clients. No rest for the weary!
As I’ve done with the other 6 posts in this series, I’d briefly like to share what I learned. It is my hope that this information can help at least one person learn from the good and to avoid some of the pitfalls I found along the way.
They say that, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” I agree with that for the most part. Things that you learn after the fact should have been obvious all along, yet they are not always apparent when you are in the heat of the moment. Here are the top 3 things I learned from going through the process of selling the business.
If you base success on a single event as an entrepreneur, you will be disappointed. As I look back, I have found that the most joy I derive from the last 10 years has been the journey. The journey of building, creating, learning. It was a wild ride, and I still have a few war wounds, but it was worth it.
As always, I welcome any thoughts or comments below. If you found it useful, please share with a friend or colleague. Until next time….