optimising for easy

Optimising for “easy” [PMP #233]

This week, I’d like to expand on an idea I started talking about last week where I discussed prioritising efficiency over growth.

I was recently interviewed for the Adil Amarsi Unplugged Podcast and on the show, we talked about growing your business and income. I shared my philosophy on growth which I actually picked up from Paul Jarvis. I told Adil that right now, I’m more attracted to the idea of working less compared to earning more. It’s not that I don't care about growth or money but it’s not the end goal. Put another way, I simply want my business to be as ‘easy’ as possible.

What do I mean by that?

Given the choice, I’d rather work on projects or with clients that are easier to deal with. The way I see it, we’re fortunate in that right now we have enough work to keep ourselves busy, so let's optimise for what’s easy. That way, we can deliver projects quicker, not only making our lives easier but also allowing us to service more clients compared to taking on larger, more difficult projects.

Don't want to read this post? Listen to the podcast instead:

Paul Minors · PMP #233: Optimising for easy

 

You might be reading this and thinking ‘Wow, Paul is really lazy and doesn’t like hard work’ and I want to clarify that’s not the case. We work on plenty of challenging projects that test our abilities, especially when it comes to automated systems. But we’ve learned when to say ‘no’ to overly-complicated projects that aren’t a good fit. Or if we get the feeling that a lead may be difficult to work with, we generally refer them somewhere else.

It’s not that I don’t like hard work, it’s just that if you give me a choice and all other factors are the same, I’ll pick the easier option. Wouldn’t you?Click To Tweet

You could argue that there’s a greater sense of accomplishment or pride if you take the more difficult option. Especially if you work for someone else, maybe your boss will be more impressed if you work on a difficult project. I can appreciate that there’s a badge of honour associated with doing something difficult. But running a business comes with enough challenges before you make life harder than it needs to be. I hear from business owners all the time who are barely keeping their head above water and have lost touch with why they started their business in the first place. Really it comes down to personal choice and how you’d like to spend your time.

Of course, we’re coming from a position of luxury where we have plenty of inbound leads which means we can afford to be picky. And if you’re just getting started, you’ll probably be optimising for income more than what’s easy. But it’s taken years of hard work to get to this point. As Pat Flynn says in the intro to his podcast, ‘Work hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later’. Well, that’s where we’re at…

Some of the other things we do to make life as easy as possible include:

  1. Streamlining lead inquiries and customer onboarding » I’m pretty proud of the booking system we have in place that qualifies leads before they can book an introductory call with us. In the early days, I had a fair few time-wasters and ‘no shows’ book calls with me. The system we have now does a great job of keeping these people out and has reduced no shows significantly. And when a customer signs up to work with us, we have automated emails and systems in place that streamline the onboarding experience.
  2. Saying ‘no’ to distracting opportunities » I get approached each week by companies that want me to become an affiliate for their product or service, people who want to be a guest on my podcast and other people requesting my time for some idea or project they’re working on. By following Derek Sivers mantra ‘Hell yeah or no’ I say no to most opportunities because most of the time I see them as being a distraction. Unless I think to myself, ‘hell yeah, I’d like to do that', I’d rather stay focussed on my own projects and keep life easy.
  3. Reducing repetitive tasks » On episode 226 of the podcast I asked the question, ‘how can I avoid doing this ever again'. It’s a mindset I have where I’m always thinking about how to minimise or eliminate repetitive tasks by automating or eliminating processes. For example, if I get a question about a product of mine, I’ll update my sales page so I hopefully don't get asked again. Or if a client needs help with something, I’ll make a video that I can add to my course or share on YouTube. If you ask yourself this question enough, you’ll really notice the difference as repetitive work fades away.
  4. Focussing our services » I sometimes get asked whether I support clients with other tools besides Asana and Pipedrive. I could easily offer support on other project management or sales tools, especially as a lot of their features are very similar. But I’d rather niche down and do one or two things really well rather than offering more and making life harder than it needs to be.
  5. Minimising conflict » On episode 229 of the podcast, I shared some thoughts on dealing with conflict. The key takeaway is that when you face any kind of conflict, the goal is to deal with it as efficiently as possible. This is a lot more important than proving a point or winning the argument. And after the conflict has been dealt with, it’s important to learn from it so you can put systems or protocols in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
  6. Automating as much as possible » You know I love automation and if there’s a way I can streamline a process using Zapier to minimise manual input, I’ll take it.

I imagine some people may disagree with what I’ve shared here. I’m not even saying you should copy me or that you have to agree. Again, it comes back to how you’d like to spend your time. I don’t mind growth and doing the hard work, as long as it’s making my business easier in the long run. But if you agree, let me know what you’re doing to optimise for ‘easy’ in the comments below.