When on video, I make sure my office behind me is clean, neat, and orderly – but what you don’t see off camera are piles of papers, books, marketing pieces, magazines, used coffee cups, pens, two calculators, and a plethora of Post-it notes holding quickly scribbled ideas or actions I don’t want to forget. I look like a marketing hoarder.
If you contrast that with the rest of my house, you’d think I’ve got a badly formed clone of me in my office working away (it would explain for many people how I get so much done). If you know me, you know I NEED order. In fact, I’m a little obsessed about it – just like the Pacific cleaner shrimp from Finding Nemo. Order calms me.
But here’s the reality: there’s profit in chaos. One of the reasons so many small businesses stay small and make so little headway, NOT going full speed ahead, is their aversion to chaos. Personally, I don’t know how to work in an orderly, neat office IF the goal is maximum productivity, under extreme deadlines and a crushing workload and with MULTIPLE critical projects firing off simultaneously. I operate where an idea is launched without being fully baked, everything ready and prepared, organized and planned.
At the moment I’m writing this, I’ve got 4 events for the month, 2 that are newish and require careful planning of content, speakers, printing, and event logistics, in addition to speaking at another event in Vegas, again requiring multiple things we are doing to maximize the profit from having to lose 4 (expensive) days. I need to walk out of there with over $75,000 in MRR or I would have been better off staying home. (By the way, many people do not do this kind of math when considering investing time into any activity.)
I also have to continue to run the business, hiring, managing, and marketing. We also just kicked off a new series of MSP Launch Academy events and have the July Producers Club event looming in 6 weeks, 4 major writing projects I need to get done, a contract with a vendor for building a compliance-as-a-service campaign, a private client and a number of various mundane operational items to complete. Is it any surprise we’ll grow by 25% to 30% this year?
To pull this off, you need 2 things: 1) emotional strength to deal with the extreme pressure and stress to get work done, and 2) self-generated URGENCY to grow. As mentioned above, this is why so many MSPs are barely treading water – they put zero urgency on themselves and their organization to perform, to grow and to profit. Putting this kind of pressure on yourself doesn’t feel good, any more than pushing yourself physically in a workout to get stronger, faster feels good. The desire to “take it easy” anchors most to non-action or very, very slow action.
I’m often asked if I can tell who is going to succeed in business – and if so, what are the “tells”? It’s none of the things our society would have you believe. It’s not age, race, religion, background, sexual orientation or any external factors. It’s simply the willingness to bear the stress, pressure, chaos, and inevitable criticism that comes from making BIG messes in business, then rapidly, urgently working to clean them up while you create 3 more messes.
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