Saturday Morning Rounds April 25, 2020 - Creating your own independent revenue streams

Posted by BossB, MD on May 2, 2020
BossB, MD

What we're reading

"Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of "when" decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.

Timing, it's often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?"

While the entire book is spectacular and definitely worth a full read, that "switch careers" bit at the end of the description is especially interesting to us. 

A majority of our clients first come to us at a crossroads. "Should I stay or should I go" is sometimes the question they're asking - but more often than not, it's "how can I <increase my salary/fix this professional relationship/get promoted>?" and we have to answer that question with another one: "do you even want to?"

In When, Pink includes a "Time Hacker's Handbook" at the end of each chapter to help us put theory into action. And he concludes his chapter on Endings with a succinct guide about when to quit a job. If you answer no to two or more of these questions, it might be time to start planning an exit:

  • Do you want to be in this job on your next work anniversary?
  • Is your current job both demanding and in your control?
  • Does your boss allow you to do your best work?
  • Are you outside of your three-to-five year salary bump window?
    • We would rephrase this to ask, "are the tangibles of this job providing what you want, and if not what are the odds that they ever could?"
  • Does your daily work align with your long-term goals?

If you're feeling a little unsettled by your answers to those questions, don't worry. We offer free 30min intro calls designed to provide some clarity and next steps for exactly those kinds of situations, and we're going to go over some options that are a little more creative than "give two weeks' notice" in today's tip of the week.

Who we're following

For those who've been reading these newsletters for a while, it will come as no surprise that we're huge fans of Pink (@DanielPink).

He's got that rare combination that so many non-fiction topics beg for - the communication and storytelling prowess of a world-class writer, blended with the incisive, data-driven perspective of someone who's spent an entire career trying to separate signal from noise. His ability to communicate primary research to a lay population is world-class, and his Twitter feed is a reflection of that.

That's why we've featured his work before, it's why Carlton uses his books as required reading for 2 of the business classes he teaches, and why we're recommending you give him a follow!

BBMD tip of the week

It's a sad truth that regardless of how you answered Pink's "should you leave your job" questions, in the near-term you're not likely in a position to actually do anything about it.

That's because most of us are beholden. To debt. To a lifestyle. To showing up at a specific time and place to make money so that the wheels don't fall off of whatever life we've built for ourselves.

This week's "tip" is all about how to break free of those shackles that bind, or at least to begin the process of loosening them.

And we've got good news! We're going to do so not by becoming a miser, or living with less, or faking your death and escaping to an island nation that doesn't extradite because you can't bankrupt out of student loans in the USA (not like we've ever thought of that or anything, of course).

No, we'll do it by creating new, independent revenue streams for ourselves so that we have OPTIONS.

Last week, we asked you to take the 10 business ideas you'd generated the week prior, and then score and sort them based on the following qualities:

  • Monetary investment to establish and maintain (think of this as a reverse-coded question - 0 for a high monetary investment because that's bad, 10 for a low monetary investment because that's good)
  • Time investment to establish and maintain (again - 0 for high, 10 for low)
  • How much the idea capitalizes upon YOUR UNIQUE gifts/talents/skills/assets (0 for not at all, 10 for completely)

Now that you've done that, it's time to put your list into action!

And to do so, we're gonna transition out of our heads and into our guts, away from our numbers and toward our intuition, and most importantly out of our own experience and into that of our potential customers (all businesses have a customer, after all).

So, here's what we want you to do:

  • Pick whichever idea from the top 3 in your list has the most energy/draw/attraction/excitement for you - Trust your gut, your intuition in this step
  • Commit to trying to make at least $1 off that idea in the next month - It's even easier than it sounds, but also one of the most fundamentally gratifying and exciting and encouraging things most entrepreneurs ever do; presales are your friend ;)
  • Create a crystal-clear (first draft) vision of your perfect customer
    1. Read this short essay
    2. Watch this 2min video on customer personas 
    3. Watch this 3min video on the customer adoption curve and try to think about who your "innovators" and "early adopters" will be
    4. Brainstorm about the demographics, psychographics, motivators - and really anything else you'd find interesting or helpful (preferred brands, favorite color, favorite season, etc) - of your perfect customer, then edit and crystallize it into something that's easily digestible and memorable for you
    5. Give the customer a name (extra points for alliteration ie "Soccer Sarah", extra points for attaching an image)

And now you've got a better start than most successful businesses out in the world today even had! 

There's a lot more to this entrepreneurship/side-hustle/multiple-revenue-stream game than we could fit into even months' worth of newsletters, and we don't wanna bore you if this isn't up your alley. So, if you ARE interested in learning more about the topic, please fill out this super-quick survey or reply to this email to let us know!

Quote we're contemplating

 "Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet." - Kevin Stirtz

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PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!