Life As a Business Plan
I had a conversation with someone today whom I really look up to. The funny part is, today's the first time I talked with them. A strange nuance of living in a creator-driven, decentralized world. This person has a background in finance and has accomplished many of the things I hope to someday. These include being self-employed and using knowledge to teach and improve the lives of others. He had a couple of things to say that resonated with me.
Treat your life like a business plan. Just like a business, you as an individual have limited resources. He drew a connection between treating your life as a business plan and considering a venture capital investment. When speaking with an early-stage company, some of the questions you're asking are:
What product or service are you offering and who are you offering it to?
Why is your product or service better than everyone else? What is the differentiator?
How are you using your limited resources to pursue that goal?
Having a life business plan is critical to those seeking to make their identity be their business. That is my goal.
"I'm not a businessman, I am a business, man."
You can't do everything. Part of having a business answers the first question to an early-stage company. You aren't interested in a business that says they can do everything - how could they compete with companies that specialize? Building yourself as a business is no different. You need to understand your offering. Trying to do everything is like throwing your net off the side of the boat and pulling up everything from the bottom up. All you want are the fish on top.
Since starting my newsletter, I feel like I've struggled to gain traction. It hasn't kept me from keeping on keeping on, but it just hasn't felt right yet. I spoke with this individual about my past experience with the military and how I had a passion to help that community in some way. Without skipping a beat he suggested that that may be my niche. That might be my fish.
Considering my audience made me think of an article around a "Category of 1". This pairs with the idea that you don't need millions of fans - a thousand or maybe even 100 is all you need. Serving a smaller group allows you to serve those specific individuals more effectively.
Time is on your side if you start now. Once you have these down, or even if you don't, any moment not spent working towards finding out or pursuing it is a waste. While resources like Twitter can be a helpful resource, it also presents opportunities to needlessly compare yourself to others. Often you'll see people that appear to have overnight success and you wonder why that hasn't happened for you. What you see is the success, not the steps that brought them there. They, like you, have spent many a night lying awake, hatching their plan. They've banged their head against the wall, fighting for traction or the attention of those they're seeking to reach. They've struggled with identifying their niche. They've considered quitting. We are no different.
Get the ball rolling, even if it's in the wrong direction. A body in motion tends to stay in motion and it will be easier to course correct with momentum rather than starting from a standstill. This is what drives people to build in public - it gets the ball rolling. Making yourself publicly accountable forces your hand to commit and keeps you from relying on your own weak will to do it. There's strength in community, use it to your advantage.
Treat your life like a business plan.
You can't do everything.
Time is on your side if you start now.