Last year I chose to delegate some of my business' financial administration. Looking for a reputable firm, I was recommended one by friends in my hometown. I made a call to the firm's owner; we'll call him Joe, and set up an appointment.
I was thinking, "I'm leaving my bookkeeping in the hands of someone else, so I better understand what they are like." So I went to Joe with the plan to have a short chat to get to know him and his small firm.
That small chat turned out to be a three-hour conversation!
It was a beautiful hot summer day in August. So I came by bike, which turned out to be a great choice because, after I left, I rode my bike for an hour to reflect on the advice Joe gave me.
And who am I to keep this advice from others?
The first twenty-or-so minutes of talk was indeed mostly like any business appointment I have had. My business is not that complex, and we got through the financials reasonably quickly.
Then I talked a bit about my life up until that moment and the recent medical struggles we had with my daughter. It seemed Joe opened up more after that, too, and started talking about some of the things he had experienced in life.
Something he was very passionate about in the conversation was real-estate investing. And me being interested in that, too, showed some real-estate investment models I made. The spreadsheet I showed him got him all excited. And what ensued was Joe talking a whole lot about the lessons he learned in investing, in business, and life.
I am very grateful that Joe, a business owner who is no doubt extremely busy, took three hours out of his day to coach and advise a budding entrepreneur (yours-truly).
And who am I to keep this advice from others? So here it goes!
Below are the ten most helpful tips I wrote down the instant I got home after my conversation with Joe.
Starting is better than waiting (possibly indefinitely) for great opportunities. Opportunities come by themselves when you start working on things.
Being frugal gives you options. When you have a tailwind in life, you can use that extra time/money/energy as a buffer in times of a headwind, if you stayed frugal. If you spend more and more because you earn more, you won't be able to build up a buffer.
Frugality allows you to be robust to the volatility of life.
Have a long term goal
Having a long term goal you want to work towards, even if it's not exactly what you're ending up with, keeps your eye on the ball.
Keeping your eye on the ball allows you to be able to ignore distractions with impunity.
Stick to a plan
When you stick to a plan, you can move mountains. Not in one go, but rock by rock.
To use another analogy, sticking to a plan allows you to turn a flywheel faster and faster. Energy stored in that flywheel will enable you to make an increasingly more substantial impact by only putting in the same amount of energy every day.
Location, location, location
We mainly talked about this concerning real estate. But this also applies to other areas. Things like a niche in a business venture, online (web) exposure, or a software solution. If you have the best "location" in any of these areas, you at least have the option to sell. Which reduces risk by alot.
Start on the cheap
Joe told of an investment he made early in his career that turned sour. He entered the venture with too much of his capital, which meant he had no option but to ignore many opportunities that went by later (due to loss of money).
For any new venture, the chance of it succeeding is pretty small. Thus it follows that starting cheap (using only part of your time, money, or energy) in an unvalidated idea is reducing risk.
Keeping some of your capital allows you the choice of jumping on opportunities that are bound to pass by later.
Simple earns money, and complex does not
Joe told a story about some of his most successful clients. These were not the clients of his firm that I expected to be making the best money. I was thinking, "Likely, it is tech startups that are bringing in the big bucks." I was so wrong.
He told me that the entrepreneurs who are running simple businesses, going on gut feeling frequently, made significant profits. As an example, the business owners that were flipping real-estate. Or the folk that had simple to operate food-chains.
It comes down to having a single, simple product or service, but managing it to a 't' that is most profitable.
What do I leave behind for my children?
Why are you doing all this? All this work, hustling, making long days. All to leave something behind. For me, its a better world for my kids, while living as an example to them.
Essentially you need to answer, "what is your legacy?" This legacy can be anything, of course. The way you live life as an example to others is a legacy. Leaving behind the environment better than when you were born is a legacy.
It does not matter what you choose; what matters is that you make a choice. Being in service to something beyond yourself is what will truly drive you to do great things.
Delegate work that you are not best at, that needs to be done, but you don't have time to do, that someone can do cheaper than you.
The only way to truly scale is to delegate or automate. Since there is work that cannot be eliminated or automated, you must delegate it, or else it will become your bottleneck.
Give, and thou shalt receive
This was not direct advice from Joe, but this is what he did precisely in the conversation we had. He gave so much of his knowledge and wisdom, without anything in return.
He did get something in return, though, a loyal client for life.
Like I said earlier but will say again, I'm very grateful to Joe for his pro-bono advice. And all the better if more people get the opportunity to apply this to their business and life. So my ask:
If you obtained value from these tips, please share this article with your friends and family! :)