Vlad got in touch with us via Twitter – he’s an escapee-entrepreneur who has created a free course on how to design a scalable business, called 10 Steps to a Scalable Business. Below he shares his thoughts on his six-week ‘workation’ – a prototype of the life he is building for himself. You can also share your own business ideas in the comments below, and he’ll personally take the time to give you individual feedback. (Photo credit here.)
Take a moment to look at the photo above. Beautiful, isn’t it?
This was a view from my (temporary) office, in a small fisherman village on the Croatian island of Mljet, Dubrovnik archipelago.
Instead of pointless watercooler chatting, I would take a break by swimming in warm and clear waters of the Adriatic sea. I would take afternoons off to enjoy time with the love of my life.
All the while getting so much more done than in an average day at the hectic office. Completely focused on work that matters.
This summer, I took a 6 week “workation”. It was a prototype of the life I am building for myself.
Ever dreamt of building a business that will bring you such freedom?
2 Warning Signs that your New Business will Enslave You
Many businesses start out of an opportunity. Someone needs your skills. There is little risk, as you start with a contract. Then you find another client. And another one. You enjoy working for yourself, and taking on challenging projects. Congratulations! You have now escaped the corporate world by becoming an independent consultant.
Unfortunately, one of the two scenarios play out.
In a first scenario, you find yourself going through phases of “famine and feast”. There are periods when you have to work nights and weekends to deliver. Followed by the periods where you wonder if you’ll ever get business again. The uncertainty drives you crazy. Balance and a steady flow of income seem to be an unattainable dream.
In the second scenario, you hit a good market, and you keep on getting new customers via word of mouth. You know how much a good client is worth, and you never say no. You work long hours, nights and days.
Suddenly, you are having 5 demanding bosses instead of one. On top of that you have become a workaholic.
The only way out seems to hire someone to help. But finding good people is tough. Training them and making sure your quality standards are respected too. In addition, your risk increases. You have to pay your staff up front, and your clients pay late. You find yourself running after new projects, instead of doing what you love.
How comes some people get to live their dream, while others get enslaved?
What Your Mother Didn’t Teach you About Business Design
The two scenarios painted above don’t have to play out that way. You can build a business that runs without you having to push all the time.
Such business requires some sort of a system. A system where most of the components are simple and repetitive enough that they can be automated.
Escape the City is an example of an awesome service that doesn’t enslave its founders (thanks Vlad!). You’ve probably come to their home page from a Google search, a tweet, or a blog article. They didn’t have to call or mail you to get you to their page. Instead, they have designed their web pages and web campaigns to be found. And none of their staff has to sit in front of you to convince you to sign up. This is a job of the compelling copy and images that explain the promise. And it goes on like that once you become a member. They have thoughtfully designed a system that can run almost entirely on its own.
To build such a business, you have to conscientiously work on the business, not in it. Your first job as an escapee-entrepreneur is to design a money making machine.
How to Get Started?
Here are actionable steps for you to take right now:
- Find Your Idea: Write down a list of all the things you are passionate about.
- Think about your business as a system with components that can (eventually) be automated. Answer these questions: What problems do other people have that you can solve based on your passions? Who are those people (aka customers) that you can help? What is it that you can sell to them? How will you find those first customers?
- Share your idea in the comments, and I will personally take the time to give you individual feedback, and brainstorm with you on the ways to improve your business design.