“You rush into things too much Dave, you should really learn to slow down.”
“You need to hurry up Dave, get your book done; get your website up; get monetized; and start your podcast!”
Well… which is it!?!
Could I be doing more to… “move myself forward?”
But the thing about life is… we are supposed to learn from our mistakes.
In my past I have a few endeavors that I started out by… “jumping in head first!”
Problem with that is… sometimes you break your neck.
I’ve never been at a loss in becoming excited for a new project.
Excitement however… especially “new” excitement doesn’t last, or help, when the real, real work, the weekend work… the late night worry work… the “if you want it to last, you have to stick with it… work”… all kicks in.
I always mention my past “wild animal removal service” business as an example.
I got it up and running relatively quickly, it was going good, I thought I had something.
Until I didn’t.
I don’t really know what happened… if anything “happened”, all I know is that the phone stopped ringing.
Going from enough rings to plant sugar plumbs in my head about how this might be “the thing” that takes me from working for others, to working for myself! To no rings at all, and the thought of… “Well it just wasn’t meant to be.”
But what if there was another step I could have taken? If there was… I didn’t know what that was.
I did re-look at all of my advertising, called a few customers for referral letters, and had a good amount of people who knew I did that line of work. But it all just stopped.
I had moved fast to “get into” the biz… but didn’t know enough about business in general to recover… and the excitement that helped get me started just wasn’t there.
I still, maybe twice a year, help someone who has a bat problem. They get my name from a friend or family member, it’s usually a little old lady. So I help them out.
I was really excited, years later when I started my automotive venture. I thought I had learned what I didn’t know in the past and so charged ahead opening a small repair and used car shop… right on Main St!
It lasted four years… the first two were all exciting! I was opening my shop part time; working full time days at my day job; and was in the heart of my volunteer effort running the youth baseball leagues for our little town.
I felt full.
The best day of the first two years… was a Saturday. I was up at the ball park at 5am getting the field ready for our tournament; was at my shop at 9am to meet a customer who bought a car; and when I left the shop at noon, had probably the best week of all four years, with a bank bag of receipts to drop off in the night deposit totaling over $10,000! Working part time!
Then the excitement wore off. I still liked going every day, but the daily to-do’s still needed to be to-do’d.
And then the biz bug struck again… I was profitable per job… but didn’t have “enough” jobs crossing the lift.
Enter the lesson of “cash flow”… seems obvious now… but then I didn’t realize the ramifications of having low, to no positive cash flow for weeks on end… I had kept all start up costs as low as I could, to help eek out my start up capital, until the work could produce the cash flow to keep the lights on.
That lesson hurt… the fresh excitement had turned into… “I can do this!” excitement, daily excitement, but… when, again, the calls stop coming in… and you owe money that you just don’t have… you have to put the shovel down and stop digging that hole.
The biggest lesson that comes to mind after trying at least three times to “start a business” is the fact that the skills to do the shop work… or catch a critter… are not the same skills you need to keep the work coming in. The biggest one is managing, monitoring and budgeting the business cash on hand; cash flow; marketing; taxes; employee’s; and really understanding exactly “how much work” you actually need to have… to know when to grow, or expand your business.
I went from… up and running on a shoe string to hip waders real quick… but hip waders are no good in a dry hole, they tend to bunch up on ya… just like those monthly bills.
Now five years into my “writing career” after having produced a body of work, steadily, week in and week out, I have taken my next baby step with my current book project.
I have learned how to ask for input. I have sent the rough draft out to two people who I want to have input into it.
Ha! They both excepted. “Glad to help!” They both said.
In my past I would rather face the task of a thousand brake jobs… than ask for help.
But my perspective has changed. I see asking for help in a different light. It still causes a tad bit of anxiety inside me but I’ve come to appreciate another persons point of view.
Not just anybody’s point of view, I have to trust you, and know where you are coming from… so I don’t feel attacked if you give me a piece of constructive criticism.
And my moving slower has allowed my penchant to get really excited right away… grow into an “anticipating excitement” now. Anticipation is different than diving in head first excitement.
It is a more mature level of excitement… and the “anticipation” doesn’t wear off like “new excitement” does. “Anticipation” is always new… every day. You literally look forward to the next days responsibilities, time blocks, and responsibilities.
“Anticipation” actually allows you to go slow… to think; develop; and really assess your goals, and the baby steps you need to take daily so you can reach those goals.
Instead of digging yourself a hole!
Stay tuned for my next book… “Before the Bible: What happens then?”