We live in a very opinionated world where it’s easier than ever to share your stance on a topic. But sometimes we get nervous about changing our opinions at the risk of sounding flakey; going back on your own words may come across as weak or even unintelligent.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with changing my mind about something. I’m happy to be proven wrong and form a new opinion. I’m even happy to just change my mind about how I view a topic for no reason. This is something that’s only become more frequent with age and experience. How I view and run my business now is quite different to when I was getting started.
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Changing your mind about something doesn’t mean you’re flakey. In fact, I think it demonstrates open-mindedness and being able to admit when you’re wrong improves your credibility.
And the opposite is also true. If you stand by your opinion, even when you’re wrong, other people often see right through this. You see it a lot in politics. Politicians never want to admit they were wrong, so they stand by their opinions and blame other factors. We the public see right through this and you lose faith in their character.
So, here are some examples of things I’ve changed my mind on in the last few years.
Running a big business vs. a lifestyle business
Back when I was at university, I was pretty ambitious. I wanted to run a big successful company with lots of employees and make truckloads of money. I wanted to be the next big thing in tech.
But when I started learning about lifestyle entrepreneurship, I came around to the idea of running a small, efficient business that doesn’t require huge overheads or a big workforce. I learned how entrepreneurs were selling their services online via consulting or digital products to make a good living that supports their families while still having the freedom to work when and where they want.
This sounded a lot better than the stress involved in hiring lots of staff and being beholden to investors. Corbett Barr from Fizzle shared his story about how much happier he is running a lifestyle business compared to his old bootstrapped startup life:
A startup’s job is to grow big enough to provide a return to investors. A lifestyle business’s job is to provide a great quality of life to its owners.
I’m now in a place where I’m more motivated by making my business more efficient over growing sales. I’m not against growth per se. But I am against growth that requires a sacrifice to my personal work-life balance.
Using contractors to increase efficiency
After I started my business and had a few successful years under my belt, I was pretty adamant about never hiring contractors or employees. It went against this idea of running a lifestyle business. I thought that by hiring other people, it would create this pressure to grow to cover the cost and would potentially add stress to my life now I have to manage other people. And at the time, I was happy working on my own, not having to worry about other people.
As I’ve shared before, I’ve now hired a full-time contractor, Warwick, who does all the automation work for my clients. And this has really changed my view on using contractors.
The goal from the start was to see how Warwick could be used to make my life easier. I didn’t even approach it from a revenue-generating perspective. I was even open to the idea of reducing my margins in order to save myself time.
Again, I didn’t want to hire anyone if it meant sacrificing any personal freedom but hiring Warwick has been a great move. Not only has he lightened my workload but ironically, the business has grown because we can handle more capacity.
The key was hiring someone who has great initiative and who learns quickly. Warwick is now far more knowledgeable using tools like Zapier than I was and this means we can get more complex work done in less time than I could.
The positive experience I’ve had hiring Warwick has really opened my eyes to using contractors. The goal is still the same, to prioritise efficiency over growth. But I’m now open to having a small team as long as it continues to serve my goals.
Working from home
Since our most recent COVID lockdown started back in August I’ve been working from home. And for the first few weeks, I couldn’t wait to get back to our co-working space.
I’ve worked from a co-working space for the entire time I’ve been running my business since going full-time. A co-working space gives you more division between your work and home life. And it’s a great way of meeting and socialising with other people.
While I miss the social side, I’m now very happy working from home and see this continuing for the foreseeable future.
I like not having to commute. I like being around my family during the day and popping downstairs to play with my son when I need a quick break. I’ve spent some time upgrading my home office and making it a nice place to work (and I have a few more plans in the pipeline). And I don’t mind not having the divide between work and home. I’m good at switching off at the end of the day so the lack of division isn’t as much of an issue as I thought it would be.
I’ll probably go back to the co-workspace space in the future but right now, there’s no rush and I’m saving money which is a bonus.
How much you should read
I used to be a much more passionate reader than I am today. In my early, to mid-20s I was reading a lot of books on my journey towards self-improvement and starting my business. For me, reading was a vital tool and a habit I worked hard to maintain.
Now it’s not that I don’t think reading is important but I read a lot less now than I used to. I found the constant pursuit of self-improvement can get exhausting over time. It means you’re always trying to be better, to grow and to have more instead of appreciating where you are now and what you’ve already got.
I think this change in opinion is partially due to reading more about Stoicism (ironically) which helped me to be more mindful about living in the present instead of always looking towards the future.
I still read when a book interests me but I don’t put the same pressure on myself to always have a book on the go.
When I first discovered minimalism, I was really drawn to this idea of living life with less. This went well with the idea of running a lifestyle business and earning ‘enough’. My wife, Hayley, and I really took to this idea of getting rid of junk and clutter in our lives. I remember at the time writing about minimalism and using the example of how we had a small TV and didn’t care. I believed the more you depend on ‘things’ for happiness, the less happy you’ll be. Then, a few years later I felt guilty about buying a better TV.
Now, my views have changed to a more balanced perspective. I still believe in being a conscious consumer and only purchasing things when necessary or that you have a passion about. We also love decluttering and continue to be mindful about what we buy. But I also think if you want to have nice things if they’re important to you that that’s okay. As long as you don’t let these ‘things’ define you.
Those are some of the things I’ve changed my opinion on. I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten about but those are the obvious ones.
If you’ve changed your opinion on anything and would like to share, please leave me a comment below.