Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked in a variety of roles.
- IT Manager
- Project Manager
- Business Founder
Working for a global telecom company, co-founding a small business and working as a solopreneur has given me a unique perspective.
After 20+ years in telecom, I was tossed aside along with tens of thousands of others in the great telecom crash. The initial elation of escaping a toxic environment was replaced by the classic stages of grief.
The competition for another job in that sector was fierce and the layouts weren’t over. I widened my scope. The interview at match.com com was interesting . . . I didn’t get that job, probably for the best.
With no other prospects, I decided to pivot in a big way. Start my own business with a few other telecom refugees in a totally new direction.
Luckily, one of us was a true innovator and had novel solutions for a wide variety of everyday problems. After a few misfires, such as developing a secure messaging platform, we focused on Consumer Electronics and developed a product line of USB cables and surge protectors.
We survived several lean years with no salary (goodbye 401K) but eventually got some traction.
I helped develop the IP (intellectual property) and was in charge of most of the operational aspects. We were granted several patents and had products manufactured overseas and sold worldwide. It was working.
Then, a series of events forced a change: factories closing, retailers declaring bankruptcy, new products flopping.
Somewhat similar to the earlier crash, except this time I couldn’t lay any blame on idiotic senior management. The Managment was me.
So, after the requisite second-guessing, (what could we have done differently)—it was time to pivot again.
The company wasn’t without assets. We had our patents. So we transitioned into a pure IP mode, managing the rights to use the technologies we spent years developing. That doesn’t equate to a 50-hour work-week or necessarily pay all the bills. So I needed a new gig as a solopreneur.
I use the figure 50-hour work week figuratively. I have no idea how many hours I work, but it sure as hell isn’t 40. It might be 70. Who counts? Smartphones and laptops have destroyed any illusion of separating work vs home life.
[I love the work of Tim Ferriss and his original book, The 4-Hour Work Week. But, it’s just a catchy SEO-friendly title.]
Launching a business as a solopreneur is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. There are thousands of people pitching their methods for success and holding up examples of their own success or the success of their clients or students. They never mention the 99% that fail. Why would they?
I’ve fallen for a number of their pitches. Some of them are really good pitches—what can I say.
I’ve gone down several paths looking for the perfect gig, the ideal niche. But, then got distracted by another “shiny object” that seemed like a quick path to that dream of the nomadic passive income. Hah . . .
A Cleaner Desk is my newest gig and it isn’t going away. No more shiny objects or falling for magic sales funnels with $0.01 leads.
A Cleaner Desk is a practical system for getting organized and efficient. It consists of two journals, one for productivity and one for clarity.
I’m integrating everything I’ve learned the hard way into these products.
If you’re interested in learning more, a good way to get started is with the 14-Day Clarity Challenge.
It’s free and will give you a sense of my approach to these topics so you’ll know if it’s a good fit. Worst case, you’ll learn something about how clarity can make everything better.
Nothing to lose and everything to gain.
A Cleaner Desk
Over the years I’ve worked with a variety of journaling systems, project management systems, daily planners, and apps.
For one reason or another, they all failed to live up to my expectations. Instead of living with their deficiencies I decided to intentionally develop my own.
A Cleaner Desk optimizes some of the best features of other systems and leverages my own personal best practices.
The course will be available in Summer 2017. SMART will be one of the modules in the course.
The Clarity Journal
The Clarity Journal is a way to set your daily priorities and at the same time gain insights into destructive mindsets and patterns of behavior.
The Journal is your guide to overcome procrastination, establish healthy habits, conserve cognitive energy, and empower you to produce your best and most creative work.
The initial journal is available as part of a course. Subsequent journals are sold separately. Or, you can use a PDF version indefinitely.
Does a journal really need training?
Since The Clarity Journal is a series of open-ended questions, the training is rather important.
An analogy: Here are instructions to write a novel.
1. Introduce the main character
2. Introduce the main character’s goal
3. Introduce obstacle, villain, and conflict.
4. Etc . . .
Is that enough to let you get started on your novel? Usually not, unless you’re a natural.
I have a series of free videos on my youtube channel that provide a sneak peek at the training.
If anyone is really determined to NOT purchase the course or actually flat-out broke (we’ve all been there), then the YouTube videos can be used as a free resource.
I’ve worked with the SMART process at all levels and seen in used productively but also abused.
Even under ideal circumstances, it falls short so I decided to do something about it.
I’ve added 4 new steps to the SMART process to bring it into the 21st Century. It’s called SMART-PLUS
Does the SMART-PLUS process work for a business of any size, even solopreneurs? Yes. Now that I’ve gone solo—I set SMART goals strictly for myself. Ironically, that might be the most challenging.
You can find out more about my SMART course here.