For so many entrepreneurs, their nemesis is The Other F-Word. Focus.
Why is that? Years ago, Oprah was interviewing Michael. He started singing off-the-cuff, then beat boxing, then tapping out a rhythm. It was insane how effortless it all was. Mr. Parker agreed. Then said something I’ll always remember: “Michael Jackson is a man who has spent his life doing exactly one thing. Just that one thing. Of course he’s great at it.”
There it was. Focus. Michael’s one thing. Yet, as an entrepreneur (and a creative entrepreneur at that) I’m always seeing ALL the things I could be doing—both inside our business and in addition to it. And, as someone who works with others on their businesses, it’s clear and obvious: entrepreneurs have trouble focusing.
I just had one client, in one sentence, talk about four different business efforts. Why? I’d asked one simple and focused question. It was about a single action item I’d given. A focused question. One simple subject. Four different answers. All four unrelated. None of them answering the original question.
The other night, I attended a video conference about how to be effective on LinkedIn. The presenter was great. Tons of actionable advice. He had it completely dialed in. For a moment I thought, Damn, I’m dropping the ball on LinkedIn. Then I thought back to Mr. Parker and Michael Jackson. This guy from the video chat is doing only one thing: kicking the living sh*t out of LinkedIn. That’s it. He better be great at it.
I run a marketing company that specializes in branding for small business. I’m allowed to not be amazing at LinkedIn. I’m allowed to pick one tip from the LinkedIn presenter and execute just that. I’m allowed to get a virtual assistant to handle a few of the other tasks that lead to a better LinkedIn network. And then, I’m allowed to focus back on the job of doing my job.
Recently, Mr. Parker and I began building a new product for Slow Burn Marketing. We feel it’s smart, timely and necessary. Our biggest challenge? Pushing aside all else while we’re getting this one thing up and running. The Fates are constantly flying out of their box, waving shiny keys at us. It’s so easy to look in their direction. But no! Must! Not! Look!
The solution to split focus? Stop. Feel the doubt and just stop. Switch off the phonograph. Let “The Sabre Dance” grind to a halt. Step away from all the plates you’re spinning. They will not smash to the ground. Look at them all. Which one plate is the next and only plate that your business should take on? Pick one task. One project. That’s it. Work on that one until it’s done and done well. Send all those other projects and great ideas to the sidelines. They’ll be waiting when you’re finished with your one thing. And, anything else that you can hand off and simply supervise? Just do it.
Remember, be like Michael Jackson.
Hope that helps. Cheers,
What you’re not good at can cost you big.
“Doctor heal thyself.” How many years have I been saying to Mr. Parker, “We should get someone to do the books”? Answer: Too many. Neither of us are that person. Yet, every year, he swears at QuickBooks and the tax receipts for a lot longer than a pro would have to. (*Assuming a pro swears at QB and receipts at all.) Bookkeeping takes him away from the things he’s great at, the things that can’t be delegated, that only he can do.
So, the cost of his time, plus the revenue that could have been generated by him creating product, is what that mistake costs us every year.
Tyler Sheff of The Cash Flow Guys (CoupleCo podcast episode #66) has said, “We don’t do what we’re not good at.” They hire people. It frees them up to do not only what they’re good at, but what they enjoy. Which means he and his business-partner wife Jill are happier at work.
Several couples we’ve interviewed, including Katy & Michael at Quarters Arcade Bar, talked about hiring someone for social media. And that was a hard one because the task seemed easy. But in practice, their efforts were often sporadic due to other pulls on their time, so their efforts weren’t successful.
Bottom line, every time we hand something off, we feel like we’ve given ourselves a present. I’d pick having someone handle our books over getting a free massage every month. Suzanne Phifer-Pavitt (Phifer Pavitt Wine, episode #52) say, “Surround yourself with really clever, talented people and amazing things happen.”
So, who are you surrounded by?
Hope that helps.
Are Blaine & Honey Parker Relationship Experts?
Hardly. And does the world really need more of those? Instead, we are a couple who have worked together for over 20 years. We've learned a few things along the way. And now, we're traveling the nation interviewing other couples in business together. Join us for the ups, downs, ins, outs, laughs, tears (even though Honey believes Blaine has no tear ducts), and the inevitable, practical insights into being a better couple--in life, business and everything.