Posts Taged personal-development

Redesign Your Life Interface | Orange Nomad

Your Life Interface Is Broken. Here’s How To Fix It.

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:

  1. Life’s popup boxes: When you work, are there a dozen things trying to get your attention? Email, phone messages, social media, blogs, news, other favorite websites … while you’re trying to get an important task done? These are like popup boxes asking you to subscribe, that get in the way of your reading. You can redesign it so that you have only the task in front of you, no popups or distractions.
  2. Simplify the steps: If you want to work out regularly, how many steps does it take before you can actually do the first exercise? For many people, they have to get their gym clothes together into a bag, close down a computer, drive to a gym, check into the gym, change, find an available spot in the gym, then do the workout. That’s like if you wanted to send an email message but had to click through seven different pages to get to the send message screen. Instead, think about simplifying it so you can get right to the task — get down on the floor and do some pushups and planks, have a chinup bar near your bathroom so you can do some every time you pass, go outside during a work break and walk quickly for 10 minutes, several times a day. You can look at other things in your life that take too many steps to accomplish a goal, and remove steps.
  3. Annoying ads or sales pitches. How often have you been on a site with annoying ads, or constant sales pitches from the blogger? You just want to read or get stuff done without all the pitches. The same is true of your regular life — you don’t want people walking into your office giving you sales pitches, nor do you want to hear or see ads in your radio or TV or magazines. Consider “ad-blocking” your life, by finding ways to avoid sales meetings, people who are soliciting, meetings where someone is trying to pitch you. Pay for ad-free music streaming and video, stop buying magazines (just read articles using read-later services that strip out ads), unsubscribe from ads disguised as newsletters in your inbox. Unfriend people who are trying to get you into multi-level marketing and the like.
  4. Make your important goals be easy to find. One frustration on websites is when the thing that matters most is buried in a hard-to-find page, not easy to find. With a good user interface, the most important goals are front and center, obvious and easy. But in our lives, we make the least important things easiest to find and do (TV, Facebook, distraction, junk food), while the most important things are hidden behind layers of distraction (your most important project, exercise, eating healthy, spending time with loved ones). What if we put these important things in front of the rest? Bury Facebook and other distractions, and have the important project be the only thing that shows when you open your computer. Get rid of junk food and have your healthy options be out in the open for when you get hungry. Put the TV in the closet, and have dumbbells there instead. To spend time with loved ones, put the activity that you want to do with them just inside the front door when you get home — put the book you want to read with your kids, or the rollerblades you want to use with them, just inside the door. Or put the coffee cups you want to use with your wife as you talk and have coffee together, in the middle of the living room.
  5. Beautiful design. When an app or website looks beautiful, it’s not just for the sake of gloss and glamor. It’s to create a mood, an experience, a feeling of delight or peace. Each action with a good app or website should give you an experience you enjoy, rather than a feeling of clunkiness or frustration. The same can be true of your life — remove distraction and clutter, and find ways to bring peace and delight to your life.

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!

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How to achieve exponential growth by debriefing the past

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.

June 30, 2014: The day that changed everything

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.

7 Lessons I Learned From Building, Growing and Selling My MSP

  1. Find a niche and OWN it!
  2. Sell, sell, sell
  3. Fire Rotten Clients
  4. Ruthless Productivity
  5. Document and Systematize All Processes
  6. Focus All Your Attention On Your TOP Clients
  7. Run It Like You’re Going To Sell It

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!

 

 

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What I Do When I Fail

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:

  1. I learned a more flexible mindset. When you are rigidly trying to stick to a plan or achieve a goal, and things don’t go according to plan, then you feel like crap and things can get derailed. But if you have a more flexible mindset, and think, “Done is better than perfect,” then it’s not a disaster when you get off track. There’s no single track that you have to stay on.
  2. I came to realize that every attempt is about learning. When you fail, that’s actually really good information. Before you failed, you thought that something would work (a prediction), but then real-world information came in that told you it didn’t work. That means you now know something you didn’t know before. That’s excellent. Now you can adjust your plan, figure something new out, try a new method. Keep learning.
  3. I ask for help. When I’m struggling with something, I know that I can either give up, or I can figure out a better way. But it’s not always easier to figure out a better way, so I reach out to my wife, friends, trusted family members, and I ask them. They might give me simple, obvious, why-didn’t-I-see-that advice that I need, or brilliant tips, or accountability. Whatever happens, my friends and loved ones never seem to fail me.
  4. I give myself a break. If I’m struggling, sometimes my mind or body just needs a break from the discipline. So I’ll take a day or two off, or a week, or even more. There’s no set time that’s right for every situation, so I’ve been learning to go by feel. For some things, I’ve taken a month or two off from trying to learn something.
  5. I remind myself why it’s important. It’s easy to give up on something, because not doing it is always easier. But giving up means you’re losing something important, like helping someone, and so if my reasons for doing something aren’t just selfish (pleasure, vanity), then I will renew my vigor for the struggle. This alone is often enough to get me going again, especially if I’m doing it to help someone important, like my son.

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.

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Thoughtful Thursday: Practicing Slowness & Being Present

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:

  • Slow down instead of rushing.
  • Pause to savor the current moment.
  • Really notice everything about the moment, and find small things to appreciate.
  • Be grateful for what there is right here, right now.
  • Allow the things that are bothering you to just be in your life, without fighting with them, without pushing them away.
  • Don’t allow little things to offend you. They’re not worth ruining this moment.

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

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[WARNING] In case you missed it last week: Here’s the story of my wild ride as an MSP

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/

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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.

Starting with Manage Services

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.

The Exit and the Pivot

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.

Looking Back and Ahead

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.

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