039: Don't overcomplicate

There is a trend I see across many of the early stage entrepreneurs that I speak with. 

They like to focus on the systems, the apps, the tools...

They spend all their time trying to figure out this perfect process for their business... while in reality their business is just getting off the ground.

Instead they should be focused on more customers. 

When you are just starting out, systems can be a distraction. 

While you need systems to scale...
You don't need them until you are ready to scale.

So much time is wasted by entrepreneurs for creating SOP's that are only used one or two times...

Instead, start with training others on processes in a rough and dirty way. Record a video, or train them live.
Either option takes 1/4th the time.

And when you find that you are doing a process over, and over, and over again. 

Then build a system. 

But don't build your systems too early.
Build your system when it hurts, and the current way of doing things is broken. 

038: Meditation creates expansion

You hear about meditation all the time, and the wonderful benefits of it.
Yet most people struggle to actually commit to it.
They struggle to see the immediate benefits, or keep the habit.

Well, today marks 11 months of daily meditation for me. I'm consistent and hardly ever miss a day. 

And the benefits are incredible.

Reduced anxiety.
Increased consciousness and awareness. 
Clarity of my thoughts.

Those sound like fuzzy benefits, but when you experience them they are life changing.

Years ago, I would have a busy day at work. Curve balls would be thrown at me and I would end up in complete panic and anxiety by the end of the day.

Today, I sit down at work, I execute on what I know needs to be done. Curve balls are occasionally thrown at me. I see them, I am aware of them, and I react accordingly. 

But I'm not stressed, I don't get easily overwhelmed. 

Meditation expands me. 
It expands what I am capable of.
And it expands who I am.

If you are struggling to commit to the habit, just do it for 90 days. You will be amazed at how it changes you. 

037: Gather Data. Make Decisions. Move forward. Repeat.

Gather Data. Make Decisions. Move Forward. Repeat.

This is the simple process of growth in any area of our life. 

If we want to hit a business target, we must gather data around where we are, and where we want to go. (Ex. new marketing or delivery systems)

But eventually we have to make a decision to execute on the data we have been gathering.

The data is never perfect, but it is only but making the decision to execute that we can gather real world data as we attempt to move forward.

When we sit in the "Gather data" stage forever, we never make forward progress. We just keep gathering "theoretical data".

When we make a decision, we choose to execute.

And when we execute, our data goes from "theoretical" to "practical".

And that data is far more powerful.

So don't spend your life gathering "theoretical data"
Gather enough, then make a decision.
It is only then that you can move forward. 

036: Create Frameworks

For a majority of my life, I found joy in creating everything I did from scratch.

A new business concept, brainstorm from scratch.
A strategy for a client, brainstorm from scratch. 
A new design or brand, brainstorm from scratch. 

Yet over time, I realize that this was actually limiting. 

When you try to start from scratch every time, you are making life harder on yourself.

Instead, you can build and create within "frameworks"

For example, when I started doing Linkedin outreach campaigns, I created every campaign custom and from scratch.

But quickly I learned that was silly and that certain frameworks worked almost every time.

Over time I created 7 unique frameworks that we use at Lead Cookie for our customer strategy. In 95% of cases, we can fit our clients into these frameworks.


It took time to discover and build these frameworks, but now that they are in place I am able to have someone else on my team create strategies and simply operate within our proven frameworks.

Stop building from scratch. 
Build within frameworks. 
It will massively increase your output. 

035: Schedule yourself first

At the time of writing this, my calendar appears to be 100% booked out for the next two weeks. 

Literally, no one can schedule sales calls or check-in calls with me because I am booked up. 

At first, this may seem overwhelming and crazy. It's certainly far more meetings than I would like.

But for me't is acceptable for one simple reason...

I limit the hours I am available for calls everyday. 

I don't take calls before 12:30.
And I have time blocks chunked out throughout my week to focus on heads down work. 

You see, I put my schedule first, and then I let people book calls with me in the windows that I allow them to. 

This ensures that I have time to do my routines every morning.
This ensures that I get out of the office on time every day.
This ensures that I have time to create and build and work on my business.

Too many people just give people a blank slate calendar to book anytime. 
They let other people prioritize their calendars.

But you must schedule yourself first.
You must prioritize time for you first.
Because when you can work on you, then you show up and can deliver more to others. 

Don't feel guilty about putting yourself first. It's essential for growth. 

034: How do you "budget" your time?

Over the past 5 years, I got relentless with my finances. 

My wife and I track every dollar we spend.
And our net worth every month. 

This helps keep us conscious of our financial status and make better decisions to improve it. 

Yet i've never put much thought into "budgeting" my time. 

Recently I was listening to some content from Russ Perry where he shared the biggest shift he made to increase his productivity was to treat his time like spending money.

When I spend money, I look at it in a few ways?

Is this money an investment that is going to bring me more time or money in the future?
Is this money going to bring me happiness and satisfaction?

You can quickly realize how you could apply those same questions toward how you spend your time.

Will this time investment generate more money or time in the future?
Will this time investment bring me happiness?

But the key takeaway is this... 

For years I didn't manage my finances with a system, and they were terrible. 
And for years I didn't manage my time.

So what would be possible if you do treat your time like a budget? 

033: Expansion as purpose

For years, I've struggled to figure out and understand my purpose. 

For a while, it was all about me.
And then for a while, it was all about others. 

But neither purpose alone seemed to drive me. 

And then this idea was planted in my head that "Expansion is your purpose"

And when you look at purpose through that lens, things start to change.

I grow in all areas of life to expand myself as an individual.
And I grow in the work I do to expand the impact that I create on others.

It's not about intrinsic or external motivations.
It's about expanding and becoming more today than you were yesterday. 

I'm in process of launching a new business, and this time I intend to go big. I intend to build a $100M+ company.

I don't do this because I need the money, or because I need to employ that many people. 

I do this because it's about challenging myself to grow and expand. To prove to myself that I can do it.

To force myself to grow into a greater man today than I was yesterday.

Consider that expansion is your purpose, and you will find that almost any other purpose you have had fits within that frame.

Expansion simply encourages you to keep growing. 

032: Self Sabatoge

The other day, I was working on my financial models and plans for 2019. 

While I was doing this, I had a number in my head for what I wanted to make in take home income in 2019.

But as I started working on the plans to achieve that, I began to self-sabatoge... 

I looked at that number and said "Woah, no that's too much."
Or "That's unrealistic to have that much growth in one year."
Or "I don't know how I would actually make that much."

And all of these stories got into my head, and I dropped my number... 

But then while consuming some content on wealth creation, I was probed with a different question. 

"What would have to be true for me to make $##,### in 2019?" 

That is a very different question. 

You see at first, I was exploring my goals based on the limitations of my current reality. And so I was scared to think big.

But this question makes you think different. It forces you to figure out what would have to happen for you to earn that level of income. 

It forces you to think bigger than your current reality. 
And once you think bigger, then you can take the first steps into creating that reality. 

031: Achievement starts with certainty

If you want to achieve something, you must first become certain in yourself.
If you don't believe you can do it, then you will never do it. 
If you don't have the confidence that you can succeed, you will never succeed.

First, get your head straight. 
Get clear on what you want. 

Second, get the stories out of the way.
Figure out what stories you are telling yourself about why you can't achieve what you are striving for, and clear those off our plate.

Third, create from a place of confidence and certainty.
You know what you want.
You have cleared away the stories stopping you from achieving it.

You now have confidence and certainty.

And from this place, you can create anything. 

030: You perform under constraints

Whenever I am taking a long weekend from work and I have only a 3 or a 4 day work week, I find myself amazed at my productivity. Somehow, in 3 days, I can accomplish the work that I usually get done in 5. 

The simple reason is that I have no other choice. 

I am going to be traveling or on a plane for the next 48 hours, so I must complete everything before I leave or my business will be stalled during those 48 hours.

As Tim Ferris described in the 4-Hour Work week, this is Parkinson's Law. 
Your work will expand to the amount of time you give it.

So if you want to work less, simply start giving yourself constraints.

Constrain yourself to a time window to launch a new project.
Constrain yourself to leaving the office at no later than 5 every day.
Constrain yourself to actually taking a real lunch break everyday.

It's easy to let work consume you, and to spend hours working away.

But if you simply give yourself a time constraint, you will perform the same or better quality of work in less time. 

So give yourself constraints. You will perform better under them. 

029: Let your emotions free

Have you ever said something or done something from a place where you were heated with emotions? 

You were fired up in the moment, and let it fly.
Yet later you found yourself in regret for the actions you took or things you said. 

When we operate from this place of heavy emotion, it's hard to make good decisions. Emotion can cloud our judgement. 

So there is a simple process to make better decisions.

First, identify when you are being triggered by a strong emotion.

Second, hold yourself calm in that moment and minimize action. 

Third, in private, let your emotions fly. Use a journal, talk into a voice memo, or even just talk it out loud while you are driving. 

The goal here is to say or scream all of the things you really want to say so that those emotions are out of your head. 

Keep going, until nothing is left to be said.

From there, you have cleared the plate of emotions, and you can operate from a place of much more clarity. 

028: Plateaus

As we work to grow ourselves in any area of life, we are going to hit plateaus. 

Points in business where our growth stagnates. 
In our health where our body stagnates.
Or even in our relationships or personal hobbies. 

Recently I read a post by Seth Godin on this that was massively impactful for me. 

He brought up that these plateaus are not bad. 

Typically they happen when we keep doing the same actions, but eventually we hit the maximum output we can get from the same input. 

But we are comfortable doing the same inputs, so we just stabilize there and get content. 

This isn't bad, because this plateau gives us a place to rest. 

But the problem is when we get complacent in the plateau. 
We just keep doing the same inputs, and stop growing. 

When we hit a plateau, doing more of the same input won't get you a new output. 

You must change your inputs, and change your actions. 
That is the path to rising again. 
And you will rise until you hit that next plateau...
And then you will do it all over again. 

027: Longer focus = Greater Results

Recently I was listening to Russ Perry of Design Pickle when he was sharing a simple concept on success.

“The longer you focus on something, the greater the results.”

This sounds obvious, and simple, yet for many entrepreneurs, this is actually quite a problem. 

For me, I know it was a problem.

Prior to Lead Cookie, I was all over the place. The 4 years prior to Lead Cookie, I proceeded to start and stop countless different business models and offers.

And right as I started to get traction on something, I would shift my focus to something else.

As I look back at those shifts, I realize how each time, I was on the edge of a success. 

If I had just stayed focused a bit longer, I would have seen a massive increase in results. 

But I lacked focus.

And so each time I pivoted directions, I would start over from scratch.
I would burn down what I had built, and start over.

What I needed was not a better idea…
What I needed was to stay focused. 

Lead Cookie almost died at 6 months out. I almost repeated the pattern again.

But I caught myself, I stayed focused and as a result it is a $50k+ per month business today.

The longer you stay focused, the greater the results. 

026: Build leaders around you

For years, I operated from a place of delegating tasks. I would get the work, and then delegate tasks to my team around me.

That is a great place to start, but it has it's limits.

Because when you are delegating tasks, everything still bottlenecks at you. 

The hard next step of leadership is to move yourself from a place of delegating tasks, to a place of building leaders.

This is not some quick thing you can change overnight. 
But instead you must invest in and work with the leaders on your team on a consistent basis, over the long haul. 

You can't just "hire the perfect team leader". 
That doesn't happen. 

In fact most people get frustrated at the people they hire and think they aren't good enough.

But the truth is, they simply haven't invested the time and energy to craft that person into a great leader.

Find someone with a great attitude, and then invest into them. Pour time, energy and money into them weak after weak to turn them into a leader.

And once you have built leaders on your team, you have just elevated your business.

Because now they can delegate tasks instead of you. 
When this happens, you begin to grow exponentially. 

025: Stop Lying

Stop lying... this may sound obvious, and you may say "But Jake, I don't lie.
Well I would ask you to reconsider what is even a lie.

If you take on a project, and then fail to deliver on your promise, that is a lie.
If you avoid conflict with someone close to you and hide your true feelings, that is a lie. 
If you tell yourself you are doing better at eating health, and consistently binge on ice cream, that is a lie.

Lies aren't just the straight telling of lies. 
They are also lies whenever we are afraid to look at the truths in our life.

And when we don't look at the truth, we find ourselves living in fantasy. 

And from this place of fantasy, we have no power, and we can build nothing. 
Because ultimately, we are lying.

For years, I lied in a lot of the work I did.
I sold os many clients, and then I would fail to deliver what I said I would. 

I did not do it intentionally, I simply did not have the skillsets that I thought I did. I was naive about my own strengths, and as a result clients suffered due to my over promising and under delivering. 

We all lie somewhere. 
Where are you lying or avoiding looking at the truth?

024: Skillsets, mindsets and resources

90 days out from where you are today is a greater version of yourself. 

You have accomplished more and achieved the goals you have set out for yourself.

Yet, between you and this greater version of yourself are obstacles. 

These obstacles will get in the way and stop you in your tracks... 

And these obstacles come in 3 different forms:

  • Skill sets

  • Mindsets

  • Resources

You may aim for a target, but in the moment you don't have the skills to achieve it.

You may try to build something, but your mindsets are too small or not in the right place.

Or you may push for a goal, only to realize you don't have the time, money or resources to achieve it. 

When you set a goal, take a moment to think through what is blocking you from achieving it, and figure out how to overcome it. 

023: Expansion as Purpose

For years I have wrestled with this idea of "What is my purpose?" 
That's a pretty freaking hard question to answer. 

In my business, our purpose statement is "The purpose of the companies we create is to generate more freedom, not less, for our owners, team members and customers."

Yet over time, I even wrestled with this and said "Why freedom? What is it for?"

And once again I felt lost...

But eventually, I was introduced to a simple concept on purpose that can be common to anyone.

The purpose of life is expansion.

It is to grow and become more today than we were yesterday. 
Not just in our business, but in our health, our relationships, our impact on others, and in our self-awareness. 

When you really consider this as your purpose, it becomes something that can constantly drive you. 

It can drive you to create more, to push through a plateu, or to stop you from stagnating and retracting backwards.

And it is a purpose that you can apply to anything in your life. 

So why do I generate freedom with my businesses? So that I have more freedom to expand in all aspects of life. 

Consider for a moment that expansion is the purpose of your life. 
How would that change things? 

022: Are you worth $20k per month?

For many of you reading this, the idea of making $20k per month of personal income may sound a bit crazy.You may say "That is so much money. I would never need that much money."

And when you say that, you devalue yourself.

You see, if you look at $20k per month of personal income and think it is crazy and unnecessary, then you put yourself in a mindset of believing that you should not achieve it. That you are not worthy of achieving it...

But let's consider looking at that in a different light.

What if $20k per month isn't just your personal income?

What if $20k per month is simply a reflection of the $200k+ per month of value that you create in the marketplace every single month?

Instead of looking at your personal income as a salary, start to look at it as a reflection of the value you are creating as an entrepreneur.

When you do this, suddenly there is no question on "Do I need this much?"

Instead, your personal income is simply a reflection of the value you have created int he world. 

021: Your income is a reflection of value

For years, I was frustrated with not making enough money. 
I kept pushing and trying different things to make more. 
Yet there was always a ceiling...

What I didn't realize at the time, was that my income was hitting a ceiling because I the value I was creating had hit a ceiling.

My business was bottlenecked based my time, and I was terrible at scaling teams to support more customers. 

Since I couldn't support more customers, I couldn't create more value. 
And since i couldn't create more value, I couldn't earn more.

Over time, I learned a new mindset...

Your personal income is a reflection of the value you create in the market. 

If you want to grow that income, figure out how to serve more customers, more frequently, or provide them with more value. 

Because it is only when you provide true value for others, that finances will come back to you in return. 

You might be able to make some quick cash without providing value, but it won't be sustainable.

If you want real financial returns, you must create real value in the market.

020: Want to be a leader? Be worth following

When I had my first company, I remember reading lots of books on leaderships and how to be a better boss for my team.

Yet I never felt very good at it... 
I never felt that people actually followed me for anything more than a paycheck and a chance to do cool work.

And in reality, that was true.

I was a crappy person back then.
I got wasted on the weekend and woke up on the couch in our office on several weekday mornings. 
I did not live in integrity and had quite a massive ego.

And so when I tried to lead, no one listened... because no one wanted to follow...

What I have learned since is that leadership is not tactical. 

Leadership is about becoming someone who others want to follow.
It is about growing as a person, and producing amazing results.
It is about transforming all areas of your life, not just business. 

It is about becoming a role model for others, so that they want to follow in your footsteps. 

If you want to be a leader, you must become someone worth following.