Capacity is a Myth

Capacity. You hear the term in business a lot:

“We are making mistakes because we are above capacity”
“We are having cash flows issues because we are below capacity
“We are investing in building out our capacity so we can grow”

The secret is capacity is a myth. The only really limit to your business’ capacity is the limit of your ability to think, dream, and work.

I have found very few problems that could not be solved by thinking of new ways to do things. People by nature are creatures of habit. It takes very brave thinking to look at your business systems or models and look at them in fundamentally new ways. Most people can’t even do it.

Many people have great dreams. But they always dream about an end result. They are not good at dreaming up news ways of getting to their goals. Your capacity can be limited by your lack of creativity and your willingness to think brave thoughts, or dream up crazy new ideas. Most of the world’s life changing technologies and businesses were at one point considered crazy.

Work. This is the biggest limit to capacity, bar none. I beat this to death everywhere so I will keep this one short. There are 24 hours in a day. You sleep for 8. Are you being productive the other 16?

Didn’t think so.

Capacity is a myth. If you think you can’t or won’t, it is not because you don’t have the capacity. it’s because you don’t want it bad enough to stretch beyond your current capacity.

So You Want to Run Your Own Business – Part 1

So You Want to Run Your Own Business?

Awesome! That is a great idea. Here is my first piece of advice:

Don’t.

Are you still reading? OK, good. You passed the first test.

If you have any doubt that this is the best idea you ever had, and if you are not extremely excited to do this, you probably shouldn’t. So the first piece of advice is to separate the “wheat from the chaff,” as they say. My second piece of advice is:

Everyone should run their own business; it is the single best way to create wealth ever. So go do it, right now!

This is going to be a series built around giving you real information on what it takes to start a business, as well as some honest information on what to expect. There are many people that promise you will make $100K in 12 months. This is definitely possible (I have seen it done), and I am not trying to bad mouth those folks—most of them are very successful and have awesome businesses. You need people like this and their energy, enthusiasm, and ideas to give you a kick in the ass to make the choice to do it. They also provide some specific ideas for a business (which I will not do). But oftentimes people who don’t know what they are doing get so gung-ho they run right off a cliff and get themselves in trouble, not knowing how or why. I believe a little balance goes a long way.

I’m tired of solving the problems you guys make for yourselves, so I’m hoping you will balance that amazing enthusiasm with a little practical work. For three main reasons:

1. You will likely last longer in your business.

2. You will probably make (or at least keep) more money.

3. Cleaning up messes annoys me, and I would rather help you avoid messes in the first place.

I am not a “location rebel.” I don’t live a “minimalist” life. I am not experimenting with a “technomad” life. I am part of the establishment that most of these folks are trying to overthrow. (Well, sort of.) I went to business school (a couple times, actually) and I learned a lot there. Almost none of it will be in this series. But while you can do amazing things with the internet and technology, and being unconventional is always fun, I think it is critical that you learn to balance being unconventional with some established best practices. Anything worth doing is worth doing right; that’s all I’m saying.

So, if you want to be your own boss, I am very excited for you. There is so much information and support on the internet for you it boggles the mind. In the interest of being as useful as possible, here is a list of what I am going to cover in my series:

- Can you do it? AKA The 3 Things You Need to Start a Business
- Creating a Useful Business Plan AKA Learn all you need to know from business school.
- Start Making Money AKA Sales are pretty important.
- Board of Advisors AKA Find outside help for your business.
- Track Your Money AKA Figure out how the whole “keeping books” thing is supposed to work.
- Paying Yourself AKA Protect yourself from the government and pay as little taxes as possible.
- Keep Your Business Running AKA Run your business like a for-real business.
- Scale And Exit AKA You didn’t plan to do this forever, right?

Enough – Book Review

I recently had the pleasure of reading a fantastic book called Enough by the indomitable Patrick Rhone.

The book is a fantastic read. It is a collection of essays and thoughts by someone who, in my opinion, is one of those people who is becoming oh-so-rare in our time; an honest to god deep thinker. The title of the book really says it all, “What is Enough”?
Less is not more any more than more is less, more or less. It is only when we reduce more or increase less so as to satisfy our needs and desires that Enough can be found.

-Patrick Rhone

I have always believed that happiness is a choice. People are very easily wrapped up in the quest for more. I have written several times about the idea of “having a number”, knowing your exit strategy, and understanding why you started your business in the first place. Being an actual writer, with talent, Patrick explains this concept much more eloquently than I ever could.
But to sum it up, before you start your business, you need to know how much is Enough. So read this book to make sure you know how to figure that out!

Internet is Knowledge is Power

I saw a great little article, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan. It said that 1 in 5 Americans are not online.

20%.
Holy cow!
Now, I know being a bit of a geek I have a confirmation bias, but I don’t know anyone that is not online.
I’ve always felt that the Internet speeds and costs we experience in the United States is ridiculous. We are a nation of knowledge workers and it is easier to get natural gas to my home then it was to get Internet to my home (and cheaper too!).
What the hell do I need gas for? If the gas and the Internet went off simultaneously at your home, which would you notice first? Right, me too.
if knowledge is power, and the Internet represents the collected knowledge of humanity, and America is falling behind in Internet access, is it any wonder that we are also losing our super power status?
The most interesting part of the article was the characteristics of those not online:
Seniors
Un-Educated
Poorer
Now, I don’t want to get into a causation versus correlation argument but I think it is safe to assume there is at least some sort of connection here. What was even MORE interesting was the reasons these people are not online”
-Too expensive
-Nothing worth accessing
-Don’t have access to a computer
-Too complicated
Are you seeing a “DUH” moment here? Because I am! The poorer, uneducated, and likely under- and unemployed portion of the population (the ones that are the focus of so much legislation to try and create jobs for) don’t have access to, or the training to use, the most powerful force in business in a century.
DUH.
You figure out a way to get free and ubiquitous Wi-Fi that covers 80% of the American population and I can guarantee you that we will not only retain our super power status, but that a new economic revolution would happen.
And we wouldn’t need stupid legislation to create jobs.

Always Say YES, or Initiative is Winning

I read a great post the other day at the Art of Manliness blog about Andrew Carnegie. If you don’t know, Andrew Carnegie is a for real, no bull shit rags to riches story. He started working in a factory as a child and became one of the wealthiest men in the world. One of the most striking things about this story, is how so many of his “breaks” came about because he decided to go just go for it. Better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

I talk with a lot people in my job. People that are new to the business world and many that are experienced as well. I have noticed that the successful people always talk about the things they think they can do. The less successful talk about the things they have done. And I don’t mean saying “Oh, I could totally be CEO of a company some day”. I am talking about people describing their day to day work, their perceptions of the here and now.
Talking about what you have done seems pointless to me. Whenever a new opportunity comes up, your mindset will default to “I have never done that before, someone needs to show me”. I have seen this over and over with people that never get promoted. They assume that every stage of their career will be signposted and someone will teach them each step and guide them through it. (likely because they spent too much time in school) But making money, at its core, is about adding value. If I have to stop making money to teach you something, why would I want you around?
So the next time a random assignment, or task, or idea, or project pops up, say to yourself “I can DO that” pick up the telegraph, transcribe the message, and take a leap that just might lead you into the next step of your life.