Confessions, Cautionary Tales & Case Studies

The Personal Blog of the Undaunted Hustler

Opinions so new, they may not even be mine yet. 
I blog about business, family, & goals. 
When I'm out of willpower, I talk politics

Unfinished Business

I left Real Estate in 2008. In something of a huff, with the confident contempt that I’d never be back. Good riddance, we said to one another at the time.

I had done all the jobs in the industry, pretty much. The last one had me as a mortgage lender, and I was waiting out the time because we were planning on Ruby’s birth at the time, and the company I had had benefits. She was born, and I went into digital media for the past 10 years.

But I always felt that there was some unfinished business between Real Estate and I. An odd mix of revulsion and nostalgia. The “one that got away.”

The Substantial Downside

I fostered an honest contempt for many of the aspects of the industry. The NAR’s unseemly rent seeking behavior. The living caricatures that are Real Estate Agents.

The industry’s shameless, selfless studied and deliberate obtuseness that would make Upton Sinclair’s quote payoff:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

Yes, the NAR is sometimes daft. But they do have confidence. And that goes a long way.

Then there’s the lifestyle aspect. By their own choice, Real Estate Agents are constantly “half working” zombies. The bottom line: they don’t generate enough business so they have to tolerate the insufferable. And that creates some type soul-crushing PTSD-eque kind of hollowed out vibe that they all share.

Them: always kind of working, but never really concentrating. A twitchy vibe where you feel like they are looking right through you. A lockstep but slow slide into human cliché always got to me. I did it, too. The erosion of integrity got to me. The industry in general is concerned with itself. Them’s the odds.

When you read the NAR’s code of Ethics, when you see what’s enforced at local boards, you learn that the majority of the work is an agreement to keep issues and problems in-house. Cooperation & Compensation. They brook no interference and they will get after you if…

“REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices. “

The brush, friends, is broad. Half the conversations I’ve here locally have been with Realtors just aghast at a top performing team’s advertising and how it highlights some of this stuff.

Then there’s the matter of Lawrence Yun, the economist who has all the credibility of Michael Cohen.

It was a daily battle to do right by and for my clients. The industry was either indifferent, or there were a coterie of self-aggrandizing ‘only honest’ agents. These were the ones that were midlevel producers, quietly shooting rocks at ther betters. Meanwhile, the board spends more clock time on “Realtor’s Duties to other Realtors,” than their duties to their public. Complaints and hearings centered around entering errant data into the MLS, advertising violations and procuring cause. Never would the public have pull.

The bottom line: Real Estate Agents generally make their own work. And they spend an outsized portion of their energy tut-tut-tutting the inferior ethics of their competition, or something. It’s a strange world.

The Significant Upside

And yet.

I say all this and I still want in. Selling houses is the biggest game in town when it comes to consumer marketing.

I’ve always identified with sellers. And I’ve felt like the purest form of the art was selling houses, stocks or cars. I’ve done stocks (albeit in a fairly limited way). These things represent the big American Dreams, ingrained in our culture from the Hamilton to the Homestead Act to the Capra Oevure to the GI Bill and more. Under all is the land, yano? And land ownership made America America.

I did well (if inconsistently in terms of effort and production) during my time as an agent, and there’s always been a tug towards the industry…a nostalgia.

When we were young and innocent…

There’s a low cost of service and you can make a significant impact at a key time in someone’s life. Most practitioners of anything are average or below, so by being great, you help the world.

You can also do it better and when you do it better, you can reap the rewards.

The income is good, the schedule flexible is good, the job is simple, helping buyers and sellers make good decisions is a good thing to do.

The Boundaries.

To start and to protect myself against the downside I’ll have to set up some boundaries. There are parts of any business I don’t love. And that’s normal, predictable, and part of the gig. But to protect myself from the bad parts of this one I’ll be deliberate about boundaries.

So I’ll go back. With the stuff that I learned at Simplifilm about delivery, production and client service.

After a 6 week “startup time.” I’ll cap my total hours at 35/week. This is enough. I’ll be around to make dinner, I’ll be around and present for my kids. Realtors spend time on drama, there’s an addiction to the potential use of time that makes them half-work all the time. I have to inoculate myself against that unfortunate trap

  1. I won’t feel scarcity and have to “always be selling.” I will talk about stories of families, but I won’t be in “realtor” mode when at family gatherings. I’m always appalled by the too eager-to-talk-real estate types.
  2. I’ll get in the best shape of my life during this journey. Can’t be a cliché. Gotta eat right.
  3. I’ll be available to my kids daily. I’ll be around to support their endeavors both artistically and academically. I’ll will do more than my share of the housework, and I’ll put my best energy into building a family structure and keeping our family organized and on point.
  4. I’ll continue to have a curriculum for personal growth and I’ll develop and continue to develop a life practice.
  5. I’ll leave energy for writing and for my own consultancy. I’ll work some type of split schedule there.
  6. There will be some rules around this, a series of Maxims that I’ll live by, operate by and use.
  7. I’ll spend a weekend each month away out of town and away from Real Estate. I’ll have some vacation scheduled each quarter.

There may be other things that I need to do – like having a second phone that goes away, or other similar things to help enforce boundaries. I’ll need to manage the expectations of my children. I set it up so that they are fairly self-sustaining in the morning. My wife is the best person ever and can’t be any easier to get along with.

The Plan For Production

I did some of my usual spreadsheets to figure this out and tinker with it. It requires diligent execution. It requires 35 hours of focus each week. To earn a robust and happy living, I don’t really need to have a LOT of leads, views or anything, but I need a few deep connections and people that “get” me. My actual tribe.

I’d say that 150 views over 6-8 months in a local area is REALLY good, and say, 500 subscribers is top end (for this business). I’d want to have a list of say 3500+/- in a CRM where I was actively promoting things and sharing expertise. Once the CRM has “enough” names, we’ll have enough to market and remarket to.

  1. I’ll roll with this from a media first perspective. On camera every day. I’ll do this job from a media first perspective so that I’m recording and demonstrating expertise.
  2. Leveraged lead gen is key here. I have to use FB/Insta to make this work and have media that I can reuse down the chain.
    • Cost per lead needs to be ~$250 or so. A lead isn’t just a ‘meh’ inquiry.
    • I’ll focus on High Hanging Fruit, instead of the Zillow/Realtor.Com crap that everyone’s fighting for. Long-term relationships.
  3. I’ll do this with an operating plan. My income should gross about $420k/year and to net about $300k/year. This is just over $30k a month, or 3.7 homes sold monthly in the part of this market I want to be in.
    • (Object here is 45 homes per year, average price $355k, average commission ~2.65% or ~$9407.)
      • Object is to do 40% listings / 60% buyers first year. The 25 buyers will take 25 hours to deliver per buyer with good systems. ~625 per hour.
      • 44 homes a year:
        • Q1: 6 homes.
        • Q2: 12
        • Q3: 13
        • Q4: 12
      • “Wasted” buyers will be ~300 hours year. I.e. buyers that fall out. I’ll measure this and be gracious about it without feeling anything. The measurement will test my skills/assumptions.
      • 60 hour cap on buyer hours.
      • 17 Listings will take 17 hours to deliver per listing = 289 hours.
      • Object is to be at or around 15% to acquire business (ad spend + video production). $4500 initial investment and a “kitty” based on income.
      • 15% to provide services to them (pictures, gas, gifts, ads, vendors, brokerage services)
      • No substantial admin/assistant. Gotta do my own paperwork and rely on good title companies. Build a process using our tools.
      • This (ultimately) will be split 20 hours with or serving clients / 15 in lead gen. When I don’t have clients…I’ll spend the time on active lead gen.

Skills & Inputs Needed

Lead Sources:

First, I’m going to use the Platform system. We had a rocky start, but I like the ethos that they are striving for. I get that it’s aspirational and there’s a very wide gap between where they are and what they say. All visionary companies have one.

This will have me running some Facebook ads and building out landing pages to work with them.


I’ll have to acquire some skill I don’t have. A quick list:

  • Market knowledge. To be gained by doing the neighborhood preview videos and a disciplined MLS study and export. This will include pricing and local preferences.
  • Paperwork Knowledge & Fluency I’ll have to get fluent again with the paperwork and disclosures needed. I’ll be doing those quickly and as efficiently as possible.
  • Listing Presentation I’ll do a listing presentation that’s about them and their goals. A lot of the listing presentations are bad. I’ll base this on The Perfect Webinar
  • Buyer Brokering This is the part that’s fun, and we’ll have to work with this in a congruent way.
  • Pricing I’ll look at as many homes as possible, and I’ll look to price homes appropriately and as professionally as possible.
  • Diplomacy Most agents are high-strung nitwits. In order for this to work I’ll have to suffer fools more wisely than I do today. I have an aversion to dealing with the “type” of poor communicator that fills the rank and files at your local brokerage.

First Projects:

To get this rolling we’ll need to have some projects done. None of these should take much longer than a day or so to build out, if I don’t dawdle.

  1. Create a branding and content calendar.
  2. Create standards for each video and blog post, and a way to assemble them quickly.
  3. Create landing pages.
  4. Create all advertisements that I mean to use & follow up sequences.
  5. Create a Listing Presentation.
  6. Create Buyer’s Presentation.
  7. Create a place for iterated processes that may be changed. (Maybe WorkFlowy)

So enough talking. 1900 words of it. Time to get this done in the context of the Life of Rigor that I want.

There’s unfinished business here. I mean to settle up.



One of the things I love about the current economy is its opportunity. People can be anything, do anything.

The thing I hate?

There are so many people that achieve a tiny modicum of success, they are one chapter ahead in the book, and they then stop practicing. They start teaching.

A couple exceptions would be my friend Liam and Anthony. These two actually have a growing sales practice in addition to everything else that’s going on with them.

The resistance to becoming a consultant was that I largely lost interest in Simplifilm, the “biggest” thing I ever did. I let it decay, I made some mistakes that chased me off the perch. I earned some bad reviews from employees, and I felt bad – like a fraud – even amidst the long-planned launch of a sales consultancy.

But I’ve gotta be a practitioner in order for me to feel like I have credibility. I gotta be real. I’m not going to be Tom Ferry or Alex Chafren, some amoral low-rent charlatan who never did, and never could do what he teaches others. The advice business is filled with them and I can’t do that.

I respect the people that do it too, the sergeants who “lead from the field,” a lot more than the people that haven’t. I’m not saying the information is inherently bad, I’m saying that I’m biased to respect the people that actually put their advice in the field. So I will.



Not too long ago, my friend Tim Paige was musing on Facebook about people with dual careers.

Dual Careers by choice, and not because they were beginners.

Tim comes from over in Voice Over, and there are a lot of people that do that gig part time. Or they do it while also pursuing something else. This ruffles feathers because the established providers in an industry never take kindly to tourists who threaten their income.

But everyone has to start somewhere. Tim was a VO/Marketer for a long time. Now he’s focused more on VO than other opportunities. I hired him as a VO during the time he was splitting time, and he was more professional than very nearly about anyone (and we’ve hired probably 250 VOs).

But I’ve always resisted doing two things. I’ve tried to focus on one thing because that’s what all the good books tell us. I was afraid to be the “master of none.”

Let’s be honest. I was afraid to be perceived as the master of none. I didn’t want to be one of those boofy haired weirdos that, you know, had some home-based candle business, does “social media”, worked in a Kinko’s and would be happy to sell you real estate.

Hacks. I recoil at the thought of being that guy. Being in sales has enough of that doubt as part of the game, but why invite it?

Then that post led me to consider the people I deeply admire1 and their pursuits.

Lauryn Hill: Rapper / Singer / Actress

Steve Jobs: Pixar / Apple

Ben Franklin: Politics / Lightning / Recliners

Winston Churchill: Writer / Prime Minister

Elon Musk Tesla / SpaceX / Pot Smoking

Donald Glover Director / Writer / Actor/ Rapper

Brian May Guitar / Astrophysics

There are others, obviously, even peers of mine that do a little of everything.

These are careers I want. Man! Like if the ONLY thing that Ben Franklin ever did was to collaborate with Jefferson and edit the Declaration of Independence, he would have been remembered today.

I’ve resisted having a slash career, and instead, I’ve sat in this paralyzed tail chasing circle. Because you have to commit, right? If you’re not doing just ONE thing, you’re not committed, right?

That’s what I told myself for a long time.

Because of ego, really. And because the flawed Startup Founder Hypothesis2 infected my thinking to my detrement. I was in a decision mode regarding building a business that can support the goals of me/my family. I spent a lot longer there than I needed to, because I felt it had to be very binary. One thing or another.

So I think I’ll have a framework to pursue this:

  1. Roles: These are things that we do with professional aplomb and esprit de corps. Liam Veitch does a good job with this in his roles at his agency and with Freelance lift.A role is a thing that we do for an open ended period of time that we mean to use to make money. There can be overlap with other roles, and they generally require constant efforts.

    I think that one can have, say, 2 main roles at a time. There may be exceptions if you’ve been in a business for a long time or one is largely passive (like a real estate investor or a board seat).

  2. Projects/Campaigns: These are things that (generally) have a finite start or end date. They take a lot of time, but there’s an end in sight for them. Examples might be a book project, or a website launch, or even an initial round of funds raised.The finite nature of these things them from being a constant mouth to feed, and keeps the “load” manageable.
  3. Hobbies: These are things that could pan out financially. A thing that you do in your 20% time, maybe. A speculative app, or adapting an internal tool for broader use. For me it might just be playing Poker.Apple famously has their iPhone, Macs as “main gigs” but they have the Watch and the TV as hobbies. Facebook has Occulus. Danica Patrick has her vineyard, and a consortium of entrepreneurs all bought an old mining town.

Excellence is table stakes when you have the audacity to be a little bit different. To pursue a “slash” career, you have to be great at everything you do and outperform your peers the lifers and other pseudohustlers. Because that will immunize your ego against the snarky voices that say that say “ah, this a part time gig for you?”

Really cool picture by Joey Roth;

Hustle as Performance Art.

(Really cool poster by Joey Roth)

Most people don’t hustle. Sturgeon’s Law and all that. The big blue ocean is too big and scary for them, and they seek the familiar. I’ve been that guy way way more than I’d like to admit.

Like me, most people think they hustle. It’s comforting to think that we’re in the top 1% of hustlers. Whatever that means. It’s nice to believe that we are working effectively on our own hustle.

But it’s mostly not true. We’ve bought into the myth of “hustle” as performance art.

Here are the main ways it happens:

Fake Hustle: Some of us fake the hustle, posting inspirational quotes from Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Walt Disney or someone else like that. They have to talk about every. Little. Thing. They. Do. As if that’s going making progress.

Grinders Still more “grind”. They do a ton of activity and a lot of effort. Little in the way of results. This is folks that do things in a way that’s always been done. The wear themselves out doing things that have no impact. It’s hard work but it’s not the correct work that actually matters. A salesperson that writes long and elabroate blog posts but never chooses to prospect. These are the people that eat SnackWells and spend hours on the elliptical trainer but never understand why they can’t use weight.

Victims Joey Roth’s classic image calls ‘em martyrs, but I like to call ‘em victims. These people are folks that “work so hard but nobody appreciates them.” We all are wont to believe that we, alone, are noble. That our profession has required a ton of sacrifice and dedication, and nobody appreciates us. That we’ve given up some more lucrative career easily available to us.

The Expert Burnouts There’s a class of people who have been in the industry a long time. Limited success. These folks can talk a good game, and “know” the industry, but the best fruits of their professions passed them by. But they are always waiting to give unsolicited advice to people entering the industry. They know better. And sometimes, they are right.

The Logo Collectors These are people that once did some project tangentially associated with a big prestigious brand, or person. They are too good for wherever they find themselves now because it doesn’t compare to their past glory. They give a limited effort because they are “above” this one, or it won’t work at this “small” scale. But they always talk about their past glories and spend a lot of energy ensuring we know that they once worked for Nike.

All of it’s performance art. We’re interested in appearing like we are hustling to relieve us of the obligation to our talent and the obligation to doing the hard work that’s needed to sail into the great unknown.

Notes On Hamilton

Notes On Hamilton

While Heather and I were driving around the PNW for a really great little 5-day vacation, we listened to Hamilton a few times.

I have been listening to the choruses for a long time, but I never had the chance to REALLY listen.

But man, oh man! This work was genius.

The density of the raps, the attention to detail (like the 9-year-old child was a really simple rapper.). The digs, jokes, and the fact that it was all polished.

There were callbacks and allusions to Grandmaster Flash, Eminem, Mob Depp and a lot more I’m sure I missed since I’m only a casual hip-hop fan.

I was left with a rare feeling that I was engaging a mind an order of magnitude more powerful than mine. Generally, Dunning-Krueger protects me from this, but not today.

Hats off to Lin Manuel Miranda. Belatedly.


To Be In Practice

One of the things about opening up a business is that you need to find your way to what you want to do.

In my case, I’ve missed out on being a practitioner of sales for a few years. Thinking back, it’s been over three years since I’ve really sold with the idea that maximizing revenue and numbers is a good thing.

That has put me in an “out of practice” situation. Add that to the fact that the sales industry changes itself completely every half-decade and I feel somehow “out of shape” in a way that I don’t think I have ever been. So I’m taking steps to change that.

Our biggest problem at Simplifilm was getting jobs out the door. Sales doesn’t cure all in that situation.

I’ve felt that way lately. In the advisory business, I’m at a remove from direct contact with my clients and my customer’s clients. That’s fine to a point, but there’s something appealing about being a practitioner. It’s the director who still acts as DP on set. You respect that guy.

Being a practitioner is appealing because it brings me back to an authentic place. To get punched in the mouth again, to learn what works right now. To connect.

For me to have gotten away from it for as long as I have was an error. Day by day it was defensible, but over the long haul, not as much.

So I’ll get back into practice in the next few weeks.

The setup I’m going to go for:

  • A business where I spend my time selling and marketing.
  • An advisory /consultancy that’s on the side.

This will mean that I may take the rest of the year to build the former up so I can turn my attention to the latter. I’m OK with that.


Dear Microsoft:

Dear Microsoft:

Listen, I am rooting for you. I love me a good comeback story, and it seems that you are dialed in right now.

And I’m glad.

But, look, you’ve got to respect me a little bit more.

I have two of your products: Office 360 and Xbox One.

And they both annoy me in exactly the same way.

I don’t play the Xbox one very often at all. I use Office360 as infrequently as possible.

When I open either, they both want to update. I don’t need the latest version.

I need to use the software.

I remember last year when I bought my Xbox. I couldn’t play Forza for like 6 hours because it needed a system update of some sort. Then it had to download Forza. This was after I signed in and jumped through all of your hoops.

I opened my Xbox the other day to play Rayman with my kids. I was logged out because I had to change my password.

Before I could log back in I was required to grab a giant update. No games would play. All of my downloaded games required a new update, probably the Xbox360 emulator or something.

What a drag, man.

So I let it do its thing in the background.

Whenever I open Microsoft Word, I know that it’s gonna want to update and bounce the dock. It’ll interrupt me and ask to close. It’s fine that you want to update, just do it in the background. I gave you permission to check automatically.

Here’s what I want:

  1. Don’t punish me for using your software occasionally. Let me work for a while and then ask to update tonight, tomorrow, in an hour. I get that you need to.
  2. If you MUST update (say once a quarter, max) for real reasons, do that behind my back. Make it so it’s hard not to bypass that.
  3. When I buy a product, no barriers to using it. I was a first time Xbox person, just wanted to race cars with my kids. Hooked up the Xbox at 6pm on a Friday night, and it took 4 hours to let me in is bogus. Respect my money. Let me play, then update. Who wants to wait to use something?
  4. Update in the background, like Chrome does. I think Chrome sets the bar for updating, doing it, seemingly while the software is running. Be like them.
  5. During updates on a Mac inherit the devices norms. Don’t bounce the dock, and make a show out of it. Just do your thing and be done. Go through the App store if you can.

That’s it. You have other issues (your Xbox One UX seems to inherit the worst mistakes of Windows 7 and an iPod Classic). But this one? This respect thing?

Well, it’s got me concerned. Maybe it doesn’t matter and we all just accept that 20% of the experience will be antagonistic. I’m not likely to get Office 360 again. I won’t if i can help it. I know that when Red Dead Redemption II comes out that I will need to plan on having it update for 4 hours before I can play.  So I’ll be annoyed at you between now and then for the time you’re planning on wasting.

The Muse Vs. The Practice

The Muse Vs. The Practice

We’ve all had those moments where we can work effortlessly. Where it “comes.” Our creative output is remarkable. The Muse visits. They happen. It’s a thing.

We’re right to embrace those days. We’re right to feel proud and good of being in the flow and producing something great. Emrace anything that helps.

The beginner, though, believes these bursts are the new normal.  We chase the dragon. We use bizarre incantations to recreate conditions which led to the muse’s visit and to “feel it” before we start our work. To require every word to be a masterpiece. That’s the mark of a beginner.

Soon we learn that The Muse isn’t a reliable business partner. It even gets biblical: “Oh, Muse, Oh Muse, why hast thou forsaken me”

Our movies romanticize The Muse. We believe that we should wait on the muse and then produce breathtaking work. We retell the tales that support the “muse” theory. Lady Gaga said that she wrote Poker Face in about 10 minutes. Sly Stallone wrote Rocky in 3 and a half days. Shakespeare In Love was basically about finding our muse.

Even science isn’t immune: Newton had to wait on an apple to fall from the tree. Doc Brown had to get bonked on the head to unlock the secrets of the Flux capacator.

We chase that dragon because we remember when it worked. When everything worked out and we lived in the flow. But that can’t happen, at least not all the time. So we get despondent. “It used to be so easy,” we say. We don’t realize that we were merely lucky. 

So, a little at a time our output suffers. We don’t go on a workout because we don’t “feel it.” We don’t keep up with our promises to ourselves. We insist on perfect conditions for our output. We may say that we only require a weeken. Or other perfect conditions.

But if The Muse is famously fickle, then why do we rely on that to chase our dreams? Why not deliver consistently no matter what?

The opposite of the Muse is The Practice. It’s our daily habit. Showing up with intention. Respecting ourselves enough to develop the habits we need to deliver the work we want. We have to understand that every day can’t be a personal best. We know over time we’ll go more miles. When we respect our talent enough, we develop the habits to support it.

The Practice isn’t sexy. The movies always gloss over it with a montage. Our hero is writing, training, making deals. Moving up the ladder. But that’s really where the magic happens. During the times that we “gloss over.”

We don’t need to wait on The Muse to text us “You Up?”

We’re faithful to The Practice. Married to the work we mean to do. In sickness and in health, which, over time, produces a richer life than The Muse ever can. Because it’s a reliable companion.

The Practice is what we do daily. It’s all the other things that we sacrifice to pursue our vocation, talents and dreams. It’s making #onemorecall with Jeb Blount. It’s writing 1,000 words every day, like Srini. It’s making space for Deep Work. It’s my wife going to the gym, every morning, and getting good enough and strong enough to put in more time.

The Practice makes us better. After spending time in The Practice, we later learn that The Practice and The Muse can even coexist. When the Muse comes, the possibilities are even richer because we’ve raised our whole game. So when we get a lucky opportunity, we’re ready to capitalize on it.

We can seek The Muse.

But we can trust the Practice.

That Old Familiar Fear

That Old Familiar Fear

For the last year, I’ve been winding down Simplifilm. I’ve got this idea about what I did right, which was getting clients for agencies.

I love to sell, I love to hunt and I love to help.

So I put a little site together with the intentions of launching something on Monday. At Simplifilm I was never particularly intentional about building the business. I never had KPIs in place.

“Sell more,” I thought, “It’ll all be fine.”

The way that it worked out hurt. I lost interest in selling an endless amount of forgettable work to forgettable clients for reasons unknown.

Last week I settled up the business at Simplifilm. I’m free to start the new gig.

And I have that familiar fear: what if it doesn’t work?

Daily Operating System: A Theory To Practice

Daily Operating System: A Theory To Practice

Days have gotten away from me, and I’ve not accomplished enough in 2018. My decision velocity is sluggish, as has been the output/throughput. For those of you nice people like David Gibbons that are telling me I’m too hard on myself, I say to you “meh.” I’m not, trust me, I’m not.

Time Freedom is a great thing, but it requires a really intense commitment. Listening to The SoloPreneur hour has helped me dial that idea in. I want to be free to go by about 2:30 or 3pm in the afternoon, Allan Branch style.

I have to use a schedule because that is how I work.

I know it can work because I watched my beautiful wife do it. I’ve watched my wife as she’s doubled her salary, lost 70# and become the best version of herself ever. Her schedule is rigorous (not for sissies) and she runs a tough schedule.

I got similar goals, man. It’s time to party.  “Playtime” is ended.

There are several things that I need to be able to do. In my current incarnation, I’m going to be a “solopreneur.” For at least a year I’m going to go from project to project helping small agencies add about a million in profitable revenue.

Here’s what has to go in my schedule in order for me to win the days:

  • Morning Ritual: Something built to get me centered and focused that gets me going mind and body. A 30-minute start to the day. A little “miracle morning” a little “Own the day.”
  • Core 4: The 4 main inputs I need to do daily live the life I want. Focused hours. “Reps.” This is a theory, that 4 focused hours can change your life and get most of your work done and gone.
  • Themed Days: We want to do things in batches. We want to have themes so that we get some economy of scale and don’t spend all of our time in transition.
  • Client Work: About 40-50% of my working time should be delivering value to my clients.
  • Family Time: This is important. Being able to do things with my family is critical.
  • Administrative Time: Dealing with taxes, gov’t agencies, cleaning your office and payroll is a part of what it means to be a solopreneur. We can’t yet delegate everything to a system or person (though we will.)
  • System Review Let’s set aside some time to look at our systems, and ensure that they are working well.
  • Margins (i.e. places for failover, rest, and recovery.) Both time and money.  I need some tools to manage this stuff.
  • Boundaries, Tools and Tactics Using things like Freedom and Google Calendar to manage this stuff.
  • Ending The Day I feel often like my days are endless. That I always leave each day with more on the hook.
  • Getting Back On Track: Rules to get back on track if something weird happens (Like today, I woke up to a flooded toilet, what to do about legitimate urgent interruptions).

I’ll be putting things up and linking up as I finished the posts. I need to have rules in place so I don’t have to fret over decisions and so things can become habits.

Writing And Publishing

By Christopher Johnson | January 15, 2018

I have written a lot over the last year. More than the prior 3 years combined. But I haven’t published much. I can’t get into the speculative reasons as to why that would be, only to say that I’ve been sort of reconsidering my schtick. Who do I even want to be? It makes no sense to go faster when […]

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Business Lessons

By Christopher Johnson | December 1, 2017

I’m starting a new business. I’ve screwed up nearly everything about my old business and I want to build something that’s worth having for a long time. Always have enough money on hand to close the business. Don’t risk inadvertent Ponzi schemes. Always know your YTD, MTD, QTD collected, contracted & completed numbers. Growth follows […]

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Thoughts I Used To Think

By Christopher Johnson | November 30, 2017

I’m watching a lot of people fall. I’m not really surprised by any of it. I’ve seen aggressive behavior before. I’ve also (personally) said things that I’d never consider doing these days. Usually flirting or jokes gone wrong, that could make people feel uncomfortable and in hindsight were in poor taste. I don’t know what […]

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Radical Accountability & Transparency

By Christopher Johnson | November 28, 2017

As I’m rebooting myself, I am embracing transparency. Have no real choice. I feel like it’s a pillar of my life, a building block I need in order to make my life the way I want it. Where I’m calling from. Selective transparency is just bragging. The worst businesses and lives have areas of success. […]

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Personal Operating System

By Christopher Johnson | November 26, 2017

This year has been a year of reflecting. I’ve filled journals, written tens of thousands of words. Gone through the five stages of grief from moving to Portland (and losing my zeal for my business). I’ve read more this year than I have in past years. And I’ve licked my wounds (all self-inflicted) to come […]

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On Form and Practice

By Christopher Johnson | October 14, 2017

One of the quests I’ve had lately is to get better at playing Racquetball. I’ve rediscovered it and enjoyed playing the game. It’s mostly a game of skill, and my acute lack of footspeed isn’t a disqualifier like it is in basketball. I bought a book as an add on from Racquetball Warehouse.It showed that […]

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On Selling Out

By Christopher Johnson | September 29, 2017

I was having a conversation the other day with a friend. Her premise was that artists all eventually got corrupted and sold  out. There was a hint of contempt—or even pity—on those words. That this was just what happened in a lifecycle. There was the egg stage, larval stage, starving artist stage and finally, pretentious […]

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Work Vs. “Work”

By Christopher Johnson | September 18, 2017

We all want to work hard. Or do we just want to seem to work hard? So many times I find myself not productivelyspending office time. I listlessly look at Reddit. Or I look at my burn rate and try to figure how many sales I need to make. Or I’ll scroll through LinkedIn and […]

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Minimum Viable Business

By Christopher Johnson | June 10, 2017

I’ve put my own company back on track. It took some doing, and some stubborn optimism. And I’ve started advising other startups, too. All of it is pretty great. I’ve had fun with it. But, I’ve noticed something. A lot of companies create complexity in lieu of simplicity. They have some idea that the future […]

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April 2017 Commitments

By Christopher Johnson | March 29, 2017

Commitments, Course, Constraints, Challenges. This is the first in a planned series of posts detailing what I’m after and what I can do. Feel free to follow along (or not). Chandler Bolt inspires me. He and I haven’t met and we’ve only barely interacted. But he’s influenced and inspired me to think bigger for myself […]

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