I’m back everyone! Although I never really left… The last of the scheduled guest articles has gone live. No doubt there will be more guest articles in the future but my official “break month”, July, is just about over. I’d like to say it was a holiday but July turned out to be more busy than when I just focus on blogging and in fact I can’t wait to get back to where I was a few months ago when I was blogging and running BetterEdit. However I won’t of course be going back, you can’t go backwards in business, I’m moving forward with the goal of creating the time I once had for blogging again.
How you ask? – By building a business.
Yes Rich Schefren really got to me.
I read his Internet Business Manifesto and Missing Chapter. I had some direct email chats with the man himself. I even considered signing up for his $4,995 USD mentoring program but instead opted for his $397 USD per month over 12 months, slightly lower-end program. That’s a big chunk of change for me given my current cashflow, but I think Rich has the steps I need to build the business I want. Plus I really need an Internet business mentor, someone who has been there and done it before and helped many hundreds of other people do it too. In fact I’ve never been so presold for an information product before – it certainly seems to offer the scratch for my itch.
It’s strange. I’m well aware of the E-Myth. I always thought I was doing things right by hiring/outsourcing skilled professionals to perform the services my business provides. It’s scalable, leveragable and all that. I was an entrepreneur and a business owner, not a technician.
It turns out that yes, I am doing some things right. While the core function of my bread-and-butter business, BetterEdit, has a great team of people who do a fantastic job and keep the business running, this was the only area I was handling well. Pretty much everything else I do to build my online empire is manual labor by me. I am a technician.
It took Rich Schefren to come and apply the e-myth concepts specifically to the Internet business format for me to see what I have been doing. It’s clear I’ve managed to build “self employment” and not a business. Self employment of course is not that bad, I enjoy the independence, and the money vs free time relationship is pretty darn good. I could keep at this probably for a little while longer and stay quite content, but already the signs of why self employment doesn’t work long term are starting to show.
My ability to scale my business is limited by me. I do most of the tasks, including web design, web hosting and all the technical Internet things, I answer every single email I get – I wear the customer service hat – I’m working on joint ventures, I’m doing the advertising and affiliate management, the billing, the bookkeeping, the backups, not to mention everything else that goes on just to keep everything running, like regular writing to my blogs, paying editors, promoting BetterEdit, and of course, keeping my own life in order – groceries, exercise, bills, rent, house cleaning, etc etc etc…Quite frankly I’m been trying to pile more tasks on to an already very tired and well encumbered mule…and things are starting to collapse!
All that being said I was well aware that my current system, or lack there of, was not long term. I was always going to sell BetterEdit or bring in some support staff to remove myself from the day to day maintenance, I just didn’t know which would happen first. I haven’t had the cashflow up until the last six months to justify bringing in help, but the stars have aligned so this month I’ve started training someone to take over the customer service and job management role at BetterEdit. This will in effect remove me from being completely trapped to email monitoring 24/7 and is a welcome relief. If all goes according to plan, when I leave for Canada on September 2nd I won’t be running BetterEdit’s day to day operations.
That’s the first step, and a big one, since I have never had to remove myself from such a high responsibility role before – it’s going to take some adjustment. This part of my operation is ripe for systemization so I hope, with Rich’s help, I will be able to transform BetterEdit over the next 12 months into a well oiled, documented, processed mapped, and systematized machine.
While I can see and understand the principles, I’m not exactly sure of the process or the implementation to get the systems in place, so I’m eagerly anticipating Rich’s blueprints, examples and direction. I’m well aware it won’t happen quickly but once complete it will make my life a lot easier.
There has been no greater indication of my lack of leverage and scale, than how long it has taken me to complete my course, Blog Traffic School. I could have had this course out the door for you all to be studying and benefiting from three months ago, but I’ve been bogged down in getting the technology systems set up to deliver and sell the course. I’ve been researching, learning and testing absolutely everything myself while also creating the course materials. What I should have been doing is focusing on ONLY the course materials, creating the best darn course I could, while I let the tech specialists implement the systems for me. I know what needs to be done, I’m just not the right person to be doing 90% of the tasks I am currently doing.
My intentions now are to start contracting out the tech jobs. I need to pass on the web developer hat to someone more skilled than myself. However the cashflow isn’t there to hire a full time person so I’m going to start by contracting with the idea of building a relationship with a special person. It may take some time to find the perfect partner, but that’s exactly what I am looking for – someone who will grow with me and become part of my business. The initial projects may be on a contract basis but the perks longer term for people that join my team will be significant, and way beyond purely financial – I have a lot experience, information resources and opportunities to offer the right people who are equally committed and motivated to building a real business. The growth and knowledge gain will be tremendous.
Of course the first place I will be looking for my tech partner will be on this blog, so stay tuned all you web developer types – I will have a golden opportunity opening for you shortly!
By building a team around me and creating systems for the team to follow I can remove the dependence away from me personally on to a system foundation. My time will be focused on where I can create the most value. Skilled experts will do what they do best, get the most enjoyment from and will be well rewarded for it, both intrinsically – from a personal growth standpoint – and financially. I will be rewarded with a scalable operation that I can step away from in confidence knowing that I am not the vital cog the drives the wheel.
That is the real key to long term passive income. While selling e-books, building an AdSense empire, AIS/Virtual Real Estate, Butterfly Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, e-Commerce, information products and all the other various opportunities that abound on the net are fantastic, they are what they are – opportunities. What counts is how you take the opportunity and turn it into a viable business. It’s taken a long time for me to actually act on this sentiment.
I am certainly guilty of opportunistic thinking and taking opportunistic actions. That’s fine, as long as you eventually take one opportunity, focus on it, leverage your own talents and build a system around it to create a business and don’t float from one opportunity to the next. You must not be a jack-of-all-trades in terms of business opportunities or within one operation, where you do everything yourself.
I’m excited to say that I have had a number of people apply to become blogging partners for Small Business Branding, and this is certainly one area that I feel is turning towards a “business” framework. I’m currently reviewing all the applicants writing and will be in touch shortly with who will form the team that takes the blog to the next level. I can see this blog potentially becoming a perfect example of where a system creates something greater than the some of the parts.
I’m excited to be finally taking steps towards creating a system that I know I need but I also realize there is a lot of work ahead. I simply don’t have the cashflow for this to happen quickly so I need to focus on that aspect of the business. I’m stopping in Hawaii, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal during my trip and in each city I hope to set up poster promoters in major university campuses to advertise BetterEdit. I’m not 100% sure this will work or is sustainable, but so far it’s working for Brisbane and I’m positive for Melbourne as well, although I won’t really know until next year. Once again I expect Rich’s teachings on managing my metrics will help me take better care of my financial situation so I really know where things are at rather than all the trial and error I currently implement for making decisions.
I hope through my experience and my Internet business story-telling I do here on my blog that you also reflect on what you are doing. I’ll do my best to report back how I go with implementing all that I have discussed in this article to you over the coming months, but for the moment I’d like for you to ask yourself this question – Are you building a business?
Building A Business