Tim’s Note: Let’s face it. Things are going to go wrong. This is part of the investment cost of living this Freedom Business life. This post today is by Kable who for the past couple of years with the Secret Society Mastermind, has built his business up to be a very successful company here in Melbourne to fund his Freedom, Fun, Adventure lifestyle.
He currently mentors our members and we meet every wednesday for breakfast and this post was the result of one of these discussions at breakfast.
If you’re in the trenches, this is the post for you.
WHAT TO DO WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
Okay, so here at Freedom Business, we focus on making awesome stuff happen… Awesome stuff in life, awesome stuff in business.
We’re always pushing for personal growth, pushing to make our lives amazing. Building cool little businesses that help others, and let us lead a Freedom, Fun and Adventure lifestyle.
But the reality is, sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes you make a mistake.
Sometimes, things go bad, and it’s completely your fault.
Recently, I messed up really bad in my business. It was the first time.
I really let one of my clients down. They were really upset, and rightly so.
I felt terrible.
I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been.
I felt like “who am I kidding, pretending to be a business man?”
It felt like maximum stress, total failure.
My mind started catastrophying… running through all these seemingly inevitable paths where I end up losing my business, losing all my self-respect, and end up living the rest of my life as a miserable chump alone in my parents’ basement.
I wanted to just curl up on the floor in a dark room, hide from everyone and stay there.
The thing is though, everyone who’s had amazing success with business, they’ve also had has soul crushing failures as well. This happens to everyone who pushes themselves to do something rad with their life.
So now that I’ve come out the other side of this situation, I want to share the things I did that helped… help me me fix the mistake with my client, address the cause of the problem (so it wont happen again), and what I did to keep myself sane through those tough times.
Hopefully it can help you, as you encounter the inevitable setbacks that you have on your way up.
1. Realise That It’s The Tough Times That Make You
You’ve probably read all self development stuff about “persistence”, “not giving up”, “pushing through the hard times”…. Well, this is what they were all talking about.
When problems arise, that’s when most people give up. It’s pretty easy to set a goal and start doing things to achieve it… but it’s tough to persist then the inevitable challenges come up.
Don’t give up… keep going.
2. Take Responsibility
If this is your business, ultimately all responsibility lies with you. It doesn’t matter if your outsourcer messes up… it’s on you. It doesn’t matter if your virtual assistant made a mistake… it’s on you. It doesn’t matter if your video person didn’t follow instructions… yep, it’s on you.
The fact that you hold this ultimate responsibility means that you receive most of the benefit when things go well (which should be the case 95% of the time).
When I was explaining my mistake to a friend of mine, he said to me “Kable, this is where you need to rely on your integrity”.
For me, taking responsibility means exactly that… relying on my personal integrity. I had to go to my client and say “I’m sorry. I’ve made a mistake, and I take responsibility for it. You trusted me to do this, and it didn’t happen. I’m going to do everything I can to make it right”.
3. Work Out Exactly What The Problems (And Solutions) Are
This is key. When you are feeling stressed and fearful, it’s like a big thick fog that shrouds everything. Everything seems bad. It’s important to get clear on what the problems are (and what caused them).
What is the exact problem? What is the solution?
The project is late? What is the new timeframe?
The part of your project isn’t up to standard? What exactly needs to be improved?
You’ve done something stupid or embarrassed your client? How can you mend The relationship?
4. Do Everything You Can To Make It Better
Now it’s time to get to work. Make it better.
Do everything you can to fix the problem and make it better.
If you have to stay up all night – do it.
If you have to stay up all night for a week – do it.
If you have to spend lots of money to fix the problem – do it.
As I was going through my problem situation, a mentor of mine reminded me “this is part of why you feel justified charging high prices… because at the end of the day, you’ll do everything possible to get your client a good outcome”.
This means doing whatever you have to do to put the situation right. Just do it.
5. Look After Yourself & Don’t Create More Problems
I had a friend who crashed his car a few years ago and was badly hurt… months later, after he recovered, he told me the reason he wasn’t paying attention to the road was because he was stressed out by a trivial argument he had with this boss.
While you’re going through a stressful time, and feeling terrible, your judgment and focus gets messed with.
Don’t let this stressful time start a cascade of bad events… don’t let this become a downward spiral.
For me, I split this into two categories… Looking after myself, and looking after my business. Here’s how I did it.
Looking after myself:
-Deciding to get enough sleep and exercise, so I wouldn’t go crazy.
-Talking with other people about the problem, so I didn’t feel alone with it. A few of my good friends from our Secret Society Mastermind community where really helpful with this.
-I made a decision to stop beating myself up. It’s was easy to let negative thoughts dominate my mind all the time after I messed up. After a few days, I realised this was not helpful. Instead, I accepted that I’d missed up, understood that this happens everyone, and moved on.
Looking after my business:
-I decided I wouldn’t neglect my other clients, and other things that you have to do
-I decided not to ignore the ‘non-urgent, yet important things’ for my business. I learnt this concept from Stephen Covey’s classic ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.
6. Reflect On The Situation… What Can You Learn?
Once you’ve fixed the problem and come out the other side, now it’s time to reflect, step back and learn.
You don’t want to repeat the same mistake again.
I asked myself these questions…
What exactly when wrong?
How could I have prevented this?
What can I do to prevent this kind of problem from happening again?
Do you need to make a change with my team?
Do I need to refocus the aims of my business?
Do I need change the way I think about interacting with your clients?
7. Improve Your Systems, So The Problem Doesn’t Happen Again
Once you’ve properly learnt and reflected on your problem situation, it’s important that you apply your new understanding and perspective to the systems of your business.
All your learning isn’t going to do help if it’s simply bumping around in your brain.
You need to build these improvements into the practical systems of your business.
For me, it was:
-Improving my communication and tracking system with my outsourcing team.
-Replacing a member of my team with someone who fits better.
-Sharpen the focus of my business, so it plays to our strengths.
A fantastic book on this is called “Work The System” by Sam Carpenter. It saved my life. Literally – check it out.
So that was how I got back on track after my big mistake.
If you’ve come across problems running your business (and everyone that has had some success has), how did you get through it? Did you try anything that I haven’t listed?
Comment below and let me know!
“When you’re going through hell… keep going” – Winston Churchill
The Ultimate Guide To Being Happy (Whilst Getting Shit Done, Becoming Ridiculously Rich, And Taking Over The World Like A Boss)16 Comments
Hey how’s things with you?
I’m in Costa Rica and simultaneously happy, yet super PISSED OFF.
Have you ever had a vision of your ultimate, greatest, amazing lifestyle – and seeing EXACTLY how to get there – but not having enough time in the day to piece it all together as fast as you’d like?
It’s pure exhilaration and pure frustration all at the same time.
Instead of boring days of doom, drudging along at a snails pace, filled with endless tasks and suckiness… I HATE going to bed and having to sleep because I just want to pour myself into more work… I can almost taste the finish line, and yet it’s still so far away. Arrrghhh.
In this little post of glory you are going to learn one small, but magical technique of goal setting that TOTALLY shifted all my goals for next year (and I bet will shift yours too). This one shift, coming from a very private, yet mega successful multi-millionaire – will flip your days from the usual grind, to being SUPERCHARGED and FULL OF LIFE within a matter of minutes.
I’ll also include some of my favourite little pictures from my travels in Freedom Business land over the last 7 months.
Let’s get into it…
I’m sitting at a Starbucks in Costa Rica right now, frantically typing this with some friends who are also running their own freedom lifestyle. Picture the three of us at a table focused intently on laptops with grande green teas whilst little kids and random people swirl noisily around. We are at the end of pretty much seven months of endless travel and adventure.
This country is officially known as the happiest in the world. It’s for a number of reasons, a massive one being that they value family and personal connection above all else. Even work.
This can be frustrating for your average gringo in the rat race of doom who just wants to get more done.
But then again the average frustrated gringo (AFG™) may actually be less happier than the average Costa Rican?
(I have no idea, just based on my personal observation I would say yes).
Now I could get into a big discussion on how our technology based lives are decreasing personal happiness, like when you log into Facebook and see how awesome everyone else’s life is except yours – but that’s a whole other post for later.
This Costa Rican environment is PERFECT for me to compile my own personal and professional goals for next year, and i’ve been spending the last week doing exactly that.
In reflection, It’s been a crazy year for me so far. More challenges, more Secret Society Mastermind courses, more adventure travel, more new friends and girlfriends.
But of course… It’s human nature – You want MORE.
Above all though, when all is said and done – you just want to be HAPPY.
Right? That’s the ultimate goal?
As one of my happiest buddies said to me quite philosophically whilst we were sinking a few cans on a boat in Turkey:
“At the end of the day, in life – we’re all just here to have a good time”.
In that instant I thought about all the different purposes that you could choose in life and I couldn’t argue with it: Have a good time.
In this post I’m going to explore exactly how you can have a good time (read: be happy), despite being deep in the furious pursuit of your health, wealth and relationship goals.
And it all started with one very important phone conversation with my Accountability Partner that TOTALLY flipped my goal list upside down.
The Accountability Partner
First let’s give a bit of context. I’ve got an Accountability Partner (AP) who for the purposes of this post I’d like to call Mr X.
Mr X is your typical vision of ultimate success. Like something right out of Esquire or Forbes magazine.
He’s 42, has multiple mansions (and girlfriends) on different continents, all stocked with maids, computers for mission control, and his favourite clothes. He is pretty much a real life Jason Bourne or Jay Gatsby – minus the accumulation of wealth and power for just one girl.
His businesses have ranged from investments to property and internet ventures, yet he can take several months off at a time to go off on an adventure or learn a new skill or party it up.
It’s by design that he isn’t chained to work or an office. He’s a veteran of building pure Freedom Businesses.
He is VERY private in the way he runs his life. Has only a small amount of carefully selected friends and is the ultimate poster boy for next level lifestyle design.
So he’s the real deal and been a great inspiration, friend and mentor to me over the years.
Let’s give you the info on how our mine and Mr X’s accountability partnership works:
It’s quite simple. You set your task list, time period and the stakes – then your Accountability Partner checks whether you did your tasks in the agreed time. If not, you forfeit the stakes (normally cash).
A simple example: I want to get this blog post up within 24 hours. I email my AP…
Subject: [Accountability] 21/10
Body: Blog post up by 9pm tomorrow or $200.
If I fail to get the post up and send evidence (normally a screenshot, but can go as detailed as a screen capture video to prove I’ve hit the outcome) to my AP by 9pm – then I must PayPal him $200.
As a solo entrepreneur, building a business on your own – this is an absolute life saver. It’s far too easy working for yourself just to leave things until tomorrow or not do them at all, because there is no accountability, and the mind has a never ending series of rationalisations and tricks to keep you from simply doing the shit that needs to get done.
For myself, I know I get to a point (around 3pm) where I just feel like quitting and leaving stuff for the next day. However, If there is $200 on the line and a bad ass AP waiting there on the other end who won’t take any excuses – then it gives you that little kick to fight off the tiredness and excuses, suck it up, and knock the target down.
Here’s the key: The pain of loss (the stakes) needs to outweigh the pain of getting it done (the work). The harder you find it to do a specific task or list, the higher the stakes need to be.
Trust me, you will get to a part of your work day that I like to call “the crossroad of doom”. This is where in your mind, one road leads to you finishing the task even though you totally can’t be bothered and the other road leads to you giving up cash and failing in front of your accountability partner. So the pain of the finishing task road needs to be less than the pain of the accountability failure road. Make sense?
In the normal world, without an AP or stakes at the end, you get an easy and free pass down the road of nap time or put things off until never. A road I’ve taken on many occasions and feel awful at the end of it – a feeling like I’ve just eaten a whole bag of MnMs or something.
A big part of our Secret Society Mastermind program is pairing you up with an accountability partner to push you to do the tasks necessary to launch your business. This is one of the many reasons our members are so successful – they actually take the actions outlined in the course – even if they used to be the most lazy procrastinators on the planet.
So in short – get an AP. One who will keep you honest and is on the same entrepreneurial path you are.
“Accountability Partner Is The New Accountant – Everyone In Business Needs One”
Ultimate Goal Setting 101:
So now I’ll fill you in on how I’ve set next years goals, then i’ll show you the amazing change I had to the actual goal content after discussing them with the glorious Mr X.
My new goal setting process is pretty simple although it takes some time to refine until i’m ready to full-heartedly commit. I mean, it’s an entire year we are talking about here so I have to make sure i’m not going to be changing major goals throughout the year or it will be a “boat with no destination” scenario – out at sea going wherever the wind blows and ending up nowhere.
Here’s how to do it…
Ultimate Goal Setting 101: Envision yourself sitting down with your Accountability Partner in one years time from now, having accomplished every single goal on your list for the year.
What would you have needed to have happened, both personally and professionally, for you to be happy with your year?
I like to see myself sitting down with Mr X in one years time at some amazing location, having accomplished everything I wanted to do for the year.
Then I list the absolute best things that I would want to have had happen in that twelve months and see myself talking super excitedly about them as I’ve crossed them off.
Goals can fit into three categories based on the Tim Ferris BE DO HAVE model and I’ve included actual goal examples from my 2014 list:
1. Things I want to BE. Personal behaviours and habits.
Example: I want to be happy every single moment of every day, whether I’m working or playing.
2. Things I want to DO.
Example: Open the first Freedom Studio office space in Melbourne for the Secret Society Mastermind work zone, events and parties.
3. Things I want to HAVE.
Example: A modern inner city Melbourne apartment, with outdoor area and space for cocktail parties and dinners with friends and family.
Now the cool thing is Mr X and I have already set a date 12 months from now to ACTUALLY do this and YOU might want to do it with your AP.
To inspire you, here are our current meet up options for next year that we have to choose from so far:
1. Dubai to go to the Formula 1 and stay in one of the nicest, most inspirational resorts
2. Brazil to learn surfing for two weeks
3. Russia to have a real boxing fight in a ring (train up before, of course)
This adds an extra layer of accountability – knowing that we are going to meet and either the goals will be accomplished or they won’t. Black and white.
To give credit, I got this general idea on goal setting from a book called The Dan Sullivan Question which I highly recommend for giving you clarity and direction around your goals.
The Number One Goal: Happiness (and the EPIC realisation)
The absolute number one item on my list was HAPPINESS.
I was at a conference in the Dominican Republic (as seen on Freedom TV) that talked a lot about consciously choosing to be happy each day. This means monitoring yourself in a kind of meditation type way and in each moment, choosing to be present and happy. I left the speech feeling really empowered and ready to take control of my daily happiness levels.
So with this at the top of my list of goals, I sent it off to the veteran, Mr X and we had a Skype phone call about it.
I got an answer I did not expect but TOTALLY needed.
Mr X: “So you have ‘Consciously choosing to be happy in each moment wether working or playing or whatever you are doing’”
Tim: “Yeah I think it’s a great goal to stop and reflect and be happy in each moment”
Mr X: “That’s great but if you aren’t waking up each day like a kid at christmas AUTOMATICALLY, then something isn’t aligned somewhere”
Mr X: “Have you ever been working on a project that absolutely inspires you, or been on a great holiday in the mountains snowboarding or something like that – you go to bed excited to wake up the next day right?”
Mr X: “And do you even feel tiredness when you are THAT excited about your day?”
Tim: “NO” (feeling the ‘a-ha’ moment)
Here’s the big piece of gold… Hint: Epic realisation moment…
Mr X: “Then what needs to change – from the people you hang out with, to the work you do, to the goals you have, to the environment you are in – for you to wake up EVERY SINGLE DAY with the same energy and happiness as a kid on christmas morning?”
What a question.
As the words came from this life-ninjas mouth, It immediately threw all my goals into perspective… What goals needed to go? What goals needed to be bigger? What could I do NOW to ensure that i’m around the right people, doing the right work and in the right environment.
Straight away I just wanted to get back to my home of Melbourne to have a base place to grow our Secret Society Mastermind community.
A studio where I could get up early, shower, dress good, smell good, look good and go to start the day.
A place that separates the work zone with the personal zone.
FREEDOM STUDIOS 2.0.
Ideally over the next couple of years, with the amount of Secret Society Mastermind members, we would have Freedom Studios where solo entrepreneurs can gather and share ideas and support in every major city of the world!
WOW. Now i’m really buzzing.
What’s really powerful about our Secret Society Mastermind group is when our members come together. It’s like FIRE. Ideas, opportunities and friendships are ignited INSTANTLY.
Another item on my daily checklist that at the end of the day makes me happy is when i’m consistently showing up to the gym and hitting my nutrition goals so that will need to fit into the day as well.
Anyway enough of this for now… For you the whole point of this is instead of TRYING to be happy with whatever you’re doing (by being present, choosing happiness, etc) – You actually ARE happy with whatever you’re doing. So much so that you don’t even have to think about it.
You just wake up with a big ass grin on your face and launch into the day.
How To Find Your True Purpose And Happiness In Life (Like Actually, For Real)
Armed with this new inspiration and world view, we now have a measure, or barometer, for each and every day to know whether you’re on your true core purpose or not.
My measure for every night before I go to sleep is: Do I feel like a kid before Christmas? (too excited to go to sleep and you can’t wait for tomorrows adventure)
And my measure for every morning when I wake up is: Do I feel like a kid on Christmas? (not even feeling tiredness, you’re jumping out ready to race into work or play)
If the answer to either of these questions is no, or not really, or maybe, then explore: What needs to change – from the people you hang out with, to the work you do, to the goals you have, or the environment you are in – for you to wake up EVERY SINGLE DAY with the same energy and happiness as a kid on Christmas morning? Be completely open and HONEST with yourself.
WARNING: External vs Internal
So far i’ve only mentioned EXTERNAL things that may or may not be contributing to your happiness (environment, people, work, goals, relationship). These are the easiest to blame unhappiness on and to bog yourself down in. E.g. “If only I had more money”, “If only I had a great girlfriend”, “If only I had six pack abs”…
The question you should ask yourself with externals is – if you had this thing, then what?
Say you had a unlimited amount of money, then you went out and spent it on whatever you wanted for as many people as you wanted: THEN WHAT?
Say you had a gorgeous vogue cover model babe who rocks your world: THEN WHAT?
Say you had a dream body with six pack abs: THEN WHAT?
Character goals (i.e who you are) will last and have more impact than any external goal such has having money or a hot girlfriend.
The ironic thing is the right character goals will make these latter items show up as a side effect.
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~Unknown
When I get back to Melbourne i’ll be posting some videos and information on our upcoming Secret Society Mastermind program in February for those that wish to take this to the next level next year… Just look what it did for Sander:
Merry Christmas To YOU.
PS. It took a lot of thought and energy to write this post (as I fare myself MUCH better at talking about these ideas on camera) so if you liked this post and got at least one little thing out of it, please share it on Facebook and write a comment below. Perhaps in the comment you could discuss your own people, environment, work challenges and goals that could be improved or removed next year?!
Hey hope you have been excellent!
A short little message this week coming to you live from the Dominican Republic. I’ve just spent the last six months or so travelling the world to exotic locations like the Dominican Republic and wanted to share with you an insight I had.
One of my first freedom businesses that I sold was an iPhone application building business and the fundamentals were this:
1. Find a One Key Fan (in this case, businesses who wanted iPhone applications) as I observed more and more businesses wanting to ride the app wave
2. Outsource the entire process (designer in singapore, coder in india)
Using: http://www.freelancer.com and http://www.elance.com
3. Be the go to guy to consult them in the design and functionality
There are secret society mastermind members running iPhone app businesses successfully right now.
For this I used a simple landing page and drove traffic from google adwords.
But here’s the thing. As I was building this business and getting it off the ground, i’d feel agitated that I wasn’t enjoying life and travelling and doing cool things like i’d see on my friends facebook feeds.
The Daily Saviour: Wherever you go, There you are
This book has been something I read each year as a reminder to have the right mindset as I attack each day.
I hope it is as helpful to you as it is to me.
If you’ve read the book or have any questions for this or next weeks freedom tv please post it below!
Welcome to the second episode of Freedom TV from Paris, France!
Today we cover a very important question from Dave…
“My girlfriend is talking about her quitting her “dayjob of doom” (haha love that phrase) after Christmas. She aspires to become an author, selling novels – I think now easier than ever to do freedom business style with Kindles and Blurb and all that! But she is skeptical of the ‘too good to be true’ and ‘hype’ vibe from books about like 4HWW, and that Freedom Business Blog only shows guys doing this. So I would love it if FTV showed as much variety as possible in people with a freedom business and was down to earth: along with showing the people who are in a stage of “success,” also show people in “failure” stages too. I am very process focused so I don’t evaluate things in those terms, but my girlfriend is worried by the potential of ‘failing’ at getting out of the employee world, and then be really disadvantaged going back into it. I also hope you can reveal when the next course is opening!”
Watch the episode for all the action and answers.
Freedom Tip: How To Never Have A Phone Bill EVER again
As discussed in this weeks video, I lost my iPhone and picked up an iPod touch 5th gen as a replacement, thus cutting out the sim card/carrier and relying solely on wifi hotspots in cafes, hotels and most peoples houses.
The touch is also REALLY slim. A lot of people ask “Ohh what phone is that? it’s amazing”.
I use a
So far this has not failed me at all. I even enjoy not being connected 24/7 especially when travelling.
To be honest i’ll probably go back to getting a sim when I return home to Melbourne but this solution has been outstanding.
Links for this episode:
As always if you want to see your question answered on the show – please post it below!
Do you feel like you are in the daily grind with no way out?
It’s really tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel let alone plan a pathway out when you are bogged down with a million responsibilities including the day job of doom.
That’s why Kable and I lit up when we saw Jackie submit a question on last weeks episode, which covers exactly that… How to transition from a life full of hectic responsibility over to a freedom business lifestyle that gives you all the time you need to relax or work on projects you really want to.
Watch the video for the three tips on setting boundaries, priorities, taking care of yourself and having an energising target.
Now on to other stuff – we want to hear from YOU this week…
Please comment below:
1. What ways could you
better set boundaries and priorities on your time?
2. What is your ENERGISING target? A goal that once you have your freedom your life will look like?
Can’t wait to hear from you…
Hope you like the new blog design!
PS. To ask a question for the next episode, put it below too!