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Future Shock! Why You Over-commit

shock You’re backed up with work. There’s no time to spare. You’re busy, busy, busy. You eat your lunch at your desk and keep plugging away. An hour passes, then another. It looks like another late night at the office. And it’s Friday. Guess you’ll be working this weekend. As evening approaches, you get a call from a friend who is chairing the fundraising committee this year for his favorite charity. He asks if you’d help raise money this year. The campaign kicks off in a month. Oh, what the heck you say – it’s over a month away. No problem!

You don’t think anymore about it. The weeks turn into a month. You get an e-mail reminding you of the first committee meeting. You’re just as busy now as you were when you committed to it. But now you have yet another obligation – you have to serve on this committee.

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The future becomes the present

A study done a while back showed that we do have a tendency to think we will miraculously be less busy in the future than we are today. So we say “yes” to requests for our time in the future. Then we’re shocked when the future becomes the present and we have even less time than we had before.

We’ve overcommitted ourselves … again!

5 questions to ask before committing yourself

The first question is simply a check. It may be obvious, but we didn’t feel we could leave it out.

  • How will this request advance me toward my goals? If it doesn’t, why say yes.

The next four questions aren’t sequential. They should be answered simultaneously.

  • If you had to do this tomorrow or next week, would you still say yes? If you can’t say yes to this question without hesitation, why commit yourself? But consider the next question before saying “no”.

  • How significant would the impact be on your life if you say yes? You may be willing to pay the price of overextending yourself if the pay off is high enough. If that’s the case, look at the next question.

  • How much time will it realistically take? You can only operate in a state of hyper-activity for a short period of time. If it will take a year, you can’t push yourself that hard. So if it’s a long-term project you may have to say no. If it’s short-term you may be able to say yes. In either case, consider the next question.

  • What am I willing to say “no” to or put “on hold” in order to do this? You only have 24 hours in your day just like any human. Will you sleep less? Spend less time with your family? Skip your next vacation? Be realistic about what you have to give up. Is it worth the price? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to commit (or not commit) your time in the future. You understand that you won’t have more time then. So you’ll be careful to only commit to those things which will make you a bigg success!

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We greatly appreciate you reading our post today. Join us next time as we look at the difference between being battle-scarred and battle-scared. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

tpentrepreneur We were joined today by Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a serial entrepreneur and author of the just released book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Times, and is a frequent guest on one of our favorite television shows, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

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marylynn
The first thing we have to ask is … what the heck is a “toilet paper entrepreneur”?

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mikeA toilet paper entrepreneur sheds insight on what entrepreneurialism is all about. What a lot of us read in Inc., Fortune Small Business, and Fast Company is what Google, Facebook, and YouTube did. They’re overnight successes. The dirty truth is that “overnight success” is ten to fifteen years of hard work for most entrepreneurs. Just like with entrepreneurship, there’s the stuff that happens in the bathroom that no one talks about. So the title came from an experience we’ve all had. We’re in the restroom and we’ve done what we came to do. We look over and, sure enough, there’s only three sheets dangling there. It’s in that moment where true entrepreneurialism kicks in. We do the incredible – we grab the toilet seat like a pommel horse, stretch the foot out, hook the garbage can, root through it and find three sheets and the torn up cardboard roll. With that, we’re able to complete the job!

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georgeMaybe Sheryl Crow is the quintessential Toilet Paper Entrepreneur because she can get by with one sheet! Seriously, that’s a great analogy – entrepreneurs find a way to get the job done, no matter what.

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mike
No matter what. A true entrepreneur will dig deep and use things no one would ever consider.

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marylynnDon’t you think that the Facebook guys and the Google guys did that at some point? We often hear that some of these overnight successes are created in a garage. They do the same thing too, don’t they?

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mikeThey do in the sense that that’s how they all started. The only difference is Google received funding within a year. That’s what I call the “full roll” of cash. Most entrepreneurs don’t ever receive funding. There’s a path when you don’t get that money; there’s other ways of doing it, sometimes just as quickly.

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marylynn
In your book, you say that sometimes money is actually a detriment to entrepreneurs.

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mikeI totally believe that money is a detriment. Money amplifies the habits we have. In my own life experience, I was 25 the first time I received a good chunk of change – a $250,000 investment. I bought nice furniture. I hired employees. I got a good car to impress people on sales calls. I wasted the money. When I didn’t have the money, I learned how to leverage it appropriately. Then as the business grew, and more money came in, I was able to use it as a vehicle for growth.

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george
Another thing that I found interesting is that you’re not a bigg believer in business plans.

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mikeI’m the antithesis of it. I just received some hate mail from a university professor saying that he couldn’t believe I said that.

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georgeHey, today was my business plan lecture by the way! I’m kidding – we actually don’t talk about business plans in my class.

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mikeIn my experience, business plans are wonderful dust collectors. If someone can project their own financials four or five years out, they should invest in stocks because, if you could do that only ninety days out, you could become a millionaire overnight.

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georgeI’m not an advocate of “ready, fire”; you do need to “ready, aim, fire”. But at the same time, it’s amazing how many times someone writes a full-fledged business plan and then, within a few months, they end up in a completely different business. And that business takes them to their success.

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mikeYes. So I think, in the early stages of a business, you have to be very cognizant of everything that’s going on, watch the consumers’ behavior, and then flow with the river and adjust the business, sometimes 180 degrees, to match what they want to buy.

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george
I thought you were going to say “flow with the toilet”!

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marylynnSince we’re back to toilet humor, tell us about one of the crappiest resources you used when you had nothing.

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mikeHere’s one little trick I’ve used – the most expensive cost, besides rent and your employees, is professional services … your attorneys, accountants and so forth. I go to the local colleges. They have CPAs and attorneys working there that are now professors. They are more than willing to give free advice and work up the documents with you. Sometimes the exchange is simply being a case study for their class. It saves me thousands and thousands of dollars. I still use it today.

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You can get a free chapter of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on Mike’s site. It’s a great book that we highly recommend to you. You’ll find it to be great bathroom reading!

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your time and wisdom with us. We wish you bigg success with this wonderful book.

Next time, we’ll talk about lovin’, touchin, and squeezin’. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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