Nicola: What’s our client challenge of the week then?
Judith: I didn’t plan it this way, but genius, based on the conversation we’ve just had. A couple of my clients on Monday, in their weekly reports, maybe 3 of them, said, and there was a big consensus, “I don’t want to run a business, I just want to make a living doing something I love.”
Nicola: That’s interesting, isn’t it?
Judith: It is, because you and I, we love businesses and we have wanted to run businesses, I run multiple businesses, and we run them together and separately and we love the whole thing of business.
A bit like you saying about Phoebe and Keturah just living in the moment and sitting in a café in Amsterdam. Not all of my clients want to run… They’re making a distinction, that’s what they’re doing. They’re saying “I don’t want to run a business for its own sake, but I do want to make a living doing something that I love.”
It may be a first stage decision, because what you and I both know is that, and I don’t want to spoil it for them, but further down the line what can happen is that you realise that you’ve done is you’ve created another version of a job if you’re not careful. You’re exchanging time for money, and that reaches a point of limitation. I’m very drawn to the concept of it, and it’s quite similar to the abalone fisherman again.
They caught one and they opened it up and they put it in breadcrumbs, and they had it lightly fried on the back of the boat with a Tasmanian chardonnay and the sun was shining, and it just looked like heaven.
If that’s not making a living doing something you love, I don’t know what is.
Nicola: I’ve got a ray of hope for you here, because you probably know I’ve been very… Since interviewing him at Christmas, James Schramko, who lives in Australia, a place called Manly, it’s a suburb of Sydney and it’s absolutely beautiful. He is running a multi-million pound business with a team of 50 outsourcers and various people around the world, and he works from his home office in his house with 4 or 5 children and goes surfing every day. He goes to the Philippines once a quarter and has a meeting – he’s got a team leader over there and a couple of managers – and he goes over there and they get all the team in, and they go through the goals for the next quarter and how they’ve done over the last quarter. They’re incentivised by profit shares which they only get so long as they remain in James’ employ. That’s a very good motivating thing, and Rick Schefren does that too.
You actually hire people after a certain while, but you hire people to manage them. You’re not managing your team; you’re just managing 2 or 3 managers. The other thing is, he interviewed someone last night who I was listening to – he’s got a billion, a multi-billion business. There’s 3 business partners and they all work remotely from their homes. They have a team all around the world working all different time zones, and it’s all based around the outcome. They’re not micromanaging these people or sitting over them or getting them to fill in what they do every minute. They’re just getting them to fill in daily reports on what’s been achieved, and they’re not interested in when they achieved it.
I’ve always thought in order to have a decent size Facebook ads agency, for example, once it gets beyond the point of me being able to run the ads for the clients, and I think that’ll be quite soon, judging by my set more diary groaning.
But I’ve always felt in order to do that, I would have to go and take an office at base point down the road and get a real team, like Fresh Egg have. They’ve demonstrated that you can make a digital agency and success locally like that. But actually having listened to James, with his multi-million business, and listened to this chap he was interviewing with his multi-billion business, I don’t think you need to. We all need to stop thinking that building a business has to stop us being able to travel the world and eat abalone on the back of a boat.
Judith: Or that it needs to be done in a particular way. I think it’s interesting that people are saying this of their own volition, well, once person said it first and then everybody piled in and said, “Oh, so agree.”
The world perhaps falls… Being self-employed, you don’t have to build a business necessarily unless you want to, and some of my clients are saying they don’t want to. They just want to make a living doing something that they love, and I think that’s very appealing-sounding, actually.
Nicola: Yeah, I know, but in order to continue the marketing side… They don’t want to go into that feast and famine thing that so many self-employed people fall into. There has to be an element of automating their systems, which is what I…
Judith: Yes, but it doesn’t have to become a business, they just need to create enough business for themselves for as long as it’s just them and they choose to run it like that, without feast and famine. I find that most clients catch onto that sooner or later, once they align themselves with the right sort of marketing for them, which isn’t onerous, they turn a corner, I find. Quite a lot of them…
Nicola: What’s your definition of a business then? Let’s get that clear for everyone listening.
Judith: I certainly now would not be… I sold my accountancy business in ‘97, and since then I’ve never had one, what the Americans would call a bricks and mortar business. Even when you and I had quite a sizable business, we didn’t have premises, and we worked sort of virtually, mostly virtually.
Nicola: I think we had meetings once a quarter in nice hotels.
Judith: Yes, and we had 0ther people who worked virtually. I wouldn’t want to be creating… I think the answer to your question is the eMyth definition, which is something that runs without my having to go to work. I’ve done that too, and it’s different, but it isn’t necessarily better. It’s a bit like, “Do you work in partnership with other people or on your own?” They’re different, they’re not better. Is instant coffee the same thing as real coffee? No, it’s different, it’s actually worse…
Nicola: It’s much worse.
Judith: You can have different things that appeal to different people. I wouldn’t want one that had staff or premises or stock anymore, mostly there’s not a need for it, retail’s completely disappearing, isn’t it? Supermarkets included, it’s all being delivered. I wouldn’t want one of those anymore, but, I don’t want to make too big of this today because I don’t want to upset those clients who are in that place. You and I both know that if you create a living doing something that you love, the ultimate restriction on that is you are mostly exchanging time for money, and that is a job by another name. There comes a point when that has – not the same frustrations, but some of the same frustrations of having a job.
Nicola: I’m rapidly approaching the point where I have to make a decision about hiring a full or part-time VA. I’m thinking full-time because I’ll get her to do my social media as well. My next hire would have to be someone to train to do Facebook ads with me for me, because obviously if I was sick or something there wouldn’t be someone to look at the Facebook ads every day.
Judith: I wouldn’t have a full-time VA. I’d have a part-time VA, doing VA stuff, and a part time social media person doing social media stuff. I don’t think they’re the same job at all.
Nicola: I’m very particular about the way I want me social media doing, that’s the problem.
Judith: I think that’s a particular skill that some love, and I think a good VA is about admin, really, left-brained and left-side of the wealth dynamics thing. Whereas I think social media is outgoing, and people who are creative and love making… I think they’re different skills.
Nicola: Making pictures.
Judith :I think they’re different skills, I would split those, honestly I would. Actually I don’t think it’s a problem, you could build quite a big business on 3 part-time people there you’ve just described.
Nicola: Yeah I could, couldn’t I?
Judith: And you’ve got a bit of experience doing that from ROAR.
Nicola: I did, I had a team there. What’s holding me back? I don’t know. I don’t like feeling responsible for people in terms of their income, so…
Judith: That’s a choice Nicola, and if they’re part-time they won’t be your only person; and if they have to move on because of the uncertainty, that’s their choice. There’s no responsibility, we know this from the synchronicity book, don’t we?
Nicola: We know that that’s one of the entrepreneur’s traps, and it’s one I regularly fall into.
Judith: You don’t need to; it’s a choice. You’ve learned so much and grown so much, you don’t need to fall into that trap anymore.
Nicola: That’s true. And to be honest, that’s another thing that’s come out of the meditating, is that I actually feel deeply confident that the things that I’ve put in place and that are working now will continue to work. I feel very abundant. Very abundant.
Judith: Actually, I think we all just want to make a living doing something we love. That might be growing a big business. How old is James Schramko, for instance?
Nicola: He’s early 40s.
Judith: If I was an Australian bloke in my early 40s, I might want a business like that. But as a British woman in my late 50s, I don’t want a business like that. He’s building something up that he could sell at some point, so that he can watch the fish on the Mexican beach.
Nicola: Apparently he lives opposite… He’s got quite a bit of acreage of farmland, in a very, very expensive suburb of Sydney, because he bought a while ago, before Manly became fashionable. He’s got an amazing beachfront property; he just walks out the door and down to the beach and surfs every day. Watching his life from afar has made me realise that it is possible to build something bigger.
I still have that burn inside me, because that’s what I imagined as a little girl, when I thought about being a princess or a businesswoman, I thought about a proper business. I suppose I’m thinking a proper business but without premises, or full-time staff or all the responsibility and overhead that come with it.
Judith: You couldn’t have conceived of that sort of business when you were a little girl because it wasn’t possible, it’s only the internet that’s made that possible, isn’t it?
Nicola: James – this guy he was interviewing – I wish I could remember his name. He met him when he went on… He won a week with people like Mavericks Adventurers, so there’s a boys adventure club, they go off and drive things in the desert, and do that sort of stuff. And he met this chap on that, and so they remained friends ever since. He was saying it wouldn’t be possible for either of them to run their businesses like this even 10 years ago, it’s really the last 3 or 4 years, the outsourcing phenomena and everything that’s made it possible. Interesting.
The thing that worries me about the clients that say “I just want to make a living doing what I love” is, I suppose as long as they do things like accumulate a financial cushion so that if they have a quiet patch or whatever, they’re fine, aren’t they? They are going to have to carry on doing what they’re doing, aren’t they?
Judith: I think you’re focusing on what could go wrong. You’re focusing on what… You’re saying “It could be feast and famine, and they will need a cushion.” I don’t think that’s any difference in a business, you need a cushion, and it could be feast and famine. I think that what they’re saying is, “I’m only one woman working from home, I’ve never had any desires to be a business owner, I don’t want to start and create and run a business for the sake of it, I just want to do something lovely and make a living at it. I think that’s very attractive, and I think, possible.
Nicola: In a way it’s what you’re doing, isn’t it, with the coaching?
Nicola: You are building up a membership part of it as well, aren’t you?
Judith: I have recurring income in both of the groups, but that just smooths out your feast and famine issue.
Nicola: Well, absolutely
Judith: It requires me to be there, but that qualifies on the doing something I love.
Nicola: I think that’s –
Judith: If I could do it in 100 days instead of 365 days, that would be very appealing.
Nicola: That definitely is the key, is to encourage clients to think about “How could I create recurring revenue from me just doing what I love at home?” Because that is the absolute key – and they were both saying this last night – that is the absolute key, is to…
The billion-dollar business, he sells nutritional and brain-enhancing supplements, and he says that that is a beautiful recurring mode, l because once people start taking it and enjoying the benefits they want to keep taking them, so they keep ordering.
As long as you keep the quality of the product high and the customer support high they’re not going to go anywhere else for them, because they…
Judith: Interestingly, that was how Tim Ferris built his 4-hour workweek, on selling supplements.
Nicola: Apparently it’s an absolutely monstrously huge business in America and Australia. I was only assuming it was here too.
I know people like Justin Brooke, who I admire immensely, take brain enhancing vitamins and minerals and combinations of things to try and enhance their brain performance, I often wonder if I should think about it.
I don’t like the concept of being psychologically addicted to something, even if you’re not physically addicted to it.
Judith: I think the supplements game might be a bit of a racket, but probably better I don’t say that out loud.
Nicola: I think there are good suppliers and not good suppliers, they talked a lot about that last night as well, about how he’s always battling to keep the quality of his supply up, and they’re following prescriptions that are medically approved and all that stuff. I think there are sharks and charlatans in everything.
Judith: That’s true. Going back to this point of “I just want to make a living doing something that I love,” I think it would be down to me working with each individual client and saying, “What would make this more lovable?” And what you’re saying is for you, what would make it more lovable is if you had a reliable recurring income.
Nicola: It does all those amazing things. You don’t have to keep selling to new customers. We know there’s only 3 ways to make more money, don’t we? To sell more things, sell things to more people, or… Can’t remember the third, oh, reduce your –
Judith: Sell more to the people you’ve already got.
Nicola: Reduce your cost is the third thing. And you get to a point where you’re running your business so lean anyway, you can’t reduce your costs unless you reduce spend on marketing. That’s never advisable, that’s the last thing you should reduce spend on. Your options are to sell more things or sell to more people, and the recurring revenue thing just means that you’re selling more things recurring to your existing clients. You don’t have to keep going out looking for new clients all the time.
Judith: I don’t think selling something… I think selling something recurring is not what people have in mind by this concept of “I just want to make a living doing something I love.” I think they’re talking about practicing their art or their writing or something like that. I think they would call that a business, where you’re selling a subscription to a brain enhancing supplement.
Nicola: The other thing is, people buy products but they stay for the community, as we’ve said before.
I had a look at your artist’s website, that we were talking about the other week. She could definitely create a community around what she does, and that would be…
Remember that day, that monumental day that I will never forget, when we worked out that there was 400,000 nurses in the UK, and Claire Happy Nurses only had to find 16,000 odd of them to give her a month, and she’d be making a million a year. I’ve never forgotten that. Really it’s not about selling high ticket membership even, it’s about creating a community where people will pay a fiver a month to be in your gang, and find 16,000 of them, and you’ve created a living for life doing what you love.
Judith: That’s quite a lot of people. I’d rather charge a larger sum of money, say 10 times that, and have to find 10 times fewer people, but the principle holds, I agree.
Nicola: I hope we’ve opened some people’s eyes listening about the possibility of building business without doing it the traditional way, and also then about thinking about “How can you create a community around doing what you love?”
Judith: I think if you love communities, which I do, that is…
There’s a good example, of “What do I love that I would do anyway whether I was being paid for it or not? You do see fabulous examples of that being monetised all around us eve