How important is it to have a great idea for starting a new business? I think that the idea is not really important at all. I often hear from people around me about what great ideas I have for business. It might seem like it when looking at one of my existing businesses that it was great idea, but it wasn’t at the start.
I started many of my businesses by accident. When I look back on how I came up with the ideas I can say there was no major thought process behind any of my business venture. I didn’t even have any substantial experience in those businesses when I started.
I knew I would be moving to Nevada and I tried to think of what I could do there. I knew Nevada was a very popular state for incorporation because of the very friendly business climate. So I figured it might be worthwhile to try an incorporation service. I also started another business in real estate, but I will talk about that later. Let’s go back to the incorporation business.
First, I went to Google trying to find other companies offering an incorporation service. I was trying to figure out how they worked, what was their pricing, if a person needed a lawyer to incorporate a business or if I could do it myself, what were the state fees, what forms must be used, etc.
The next step was to start it. This is the most important step in any venture. Unfortunately, from what I’ve seen around me, most people never do this step! I decided to offer just one service: Nevada corporation. I didn’t want to start by offering all kinds of company structures and additional services. Honestly, it was too much information at that time so I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I could handle it. So one service was complicated enough at the time.
After that I decided to create a website. I forgot to tell you that I was really cheap (“didn’t have too much money to spend”) so I designed the site myself. I am not a webmaster or graphic designer. I know very basic HTML so I could do basic table designs or forms which people could fill out and send to my email. That was all that I needed for making my first website. You can see it here in the Internet Archive:
At the start I even used free web hosting. Later, when I received my first order I paid the cheapest hosting company I could find at $25 per year. That didn’t work well so I upgraded to $50 per year when the money started flowing in. The most important lesson was that I tried to do it the simplest way possible. Do you see some genius idea behind this business? Being realistic, these were very amateur web pages done by an amateur who tried to start something.
This beginning led to a business which is processing over 500 orders every month and is one of the top five incorporators in the state of Nevada with sales of two million dollars per year. I added step by step small improvements over time. Today, we have a very unique business with great ideas our competition doesn’t have. But most of the suggestions came from our customers or from what I learned along the way in terms of what needed to be improved.
So if someone tells me that they want to start a new business and the only thing they are missing is a great idea, I just have to say that it is nonsense. No great ideas are necessary. I think the most important thing is to find a way how to start very simply and improve on that way. Instead of writing business plans or doing market research just do what I did. Find a way how to start very simply and don’t invest too much money. You are not risking almost anything just a little bit of your time, but the reward can be great.
Back in elementary school I was in a class in which we did a study on dreams. Not just meanings of dreams and facts and the like, but actually ways to remember them. Not only was it pretty sweet to be able to wake up and remember a lot of the stuff you just dreamed, but it was cool to go back months later and check out the dream journal we kept and right then, vividly remember the dreams I had months before.
Hopefully something I’ll be able to do here on a monthly basis is post an “assignment” of sorts. An activity for you to do that will, in some way, provide a better understanding of yourself or your surroundings.
So this months assignment is to remember your dreams.
“How the flip flop do I do that Josh?” Ah, good question. Yes, there really is a methodology to this and yes, if done correctly, it will work.
When you lay down to go to sleep say out loud “Remember your dreams.” repeatedly. Say it atleast 10-20 times. The key here is “out loud.” Doing this trains your brain/memory to do just that…remember your dreams. All dreams are in some way affected by day-to-day thoughts/activities/etc and audibly saying “Remember your dreams.” puts the action into your brain.
After audibly saying “Remember your dreams.”, say it to yourself another 10-20 times. The same reason as Step 1 applies to this.
Make sure you have a notepad right beside your bed and the second you wake up, roll over and start writing. Write as many details about your dreams as you can.
There is no step 4.
That’s all there is to it. Yes, you might feel like an idiot saying “Remember your dreams” out loud, but that’s a HUGE key to this working. It might take a few nights for things to get moving with this and for you to vividly remember your dreams, but after getting in a habit of it you’ll train your brain to do it automatically.
Our dreams are some of the most creative things our brains throw together and being able to remember them can be extremely rewarding.
Good luck and sweet dreams!
Many people forget how routine their lives are. While this is especially true for those, like me, who have a regular 9-5 job, freelancers often get into their own routines, even while being less constrained by hours and location.
Doing the same thing over, day after day, contributes to creative blocks. Some might work through these blocks temporarily (by visiting sites such as this one), but it neglects the root cause of what got them into the block in the first place: routine.
So a couple of weeks ago I posed the question asking when (or if) you showered. The response was absolutely stellar with over 130 responses. So huge thanks for that.
Here are the results:
54% of you shower in the morning
24% of you shower in both the morning and evening
22% of you shower only in the evening
Now for my answer.
I shower twice a day. I shower at night immediately before I go to bed and in the morning soon after I wake up. Why? It ultimately goes back to getting a good nights rest.
I didn’t start showering in the evening until I wrote the first post about this, but I’ve been doing it since then and can’t believe I hadn’t started sooner.
It perviously took me 30 minutes to an hour to go to sleep every single night for as long as I can remember. Since showering at night, I’m out of it within a matter of minutes.
Like others who shower at night, I find it helps totally relax me. I turn the water on as hot as I can bear it and just stand there for about 10 minutes. I’ll then do a fairly quick bathe and from there go directly to bed. It usually helps to get your hair as dry as you can with a towel, but a little dampness will help you feel refreshed when you lie down.
So my suggestion? Shower at night right before you go to bed and shower again when you wake up. Try if for atleast one week. If you don’t get to sleep faster and sleep better…you can kick me in the shins.
by Jeffrey W. Cox
It is hard, but it is possible to be close to 100% effective in all areas of your life. Being 100% (let’s call it 95% — no one is perfect, so they say) effective can be done by focusing on one area at a time – usually by concentrating on one “project” at a time. In addition, you do it by only concentrating on one task at a time on each project. Finally, the whole time you have to work hard at staying motivated – a challenge in itself.
h3. It Is Hard
In today’s world of fast personal computers, stable operating systems, and fast information delivery (Blogs, The Web, E-mails, IM), people feel like and are forced to attempt to multi-task just like those fast personal computers. Last year, Bill Gates wrote the following in his Executive E-Mail column:
A recent study showed that 56 percent of workers are overwhelmed by multiple simultaneous projects and interrupted too often; one-third say that multi-tasking and distractions are keeping them from stepping back to process and reflect on the work they’re doing. In the United Kingdom, it’s estimated that stress accounts for nearly one-third of absenteeism and sick leave.
That stress factor shows that multitasking like that is not how our brains work, or should be asked to work. (Side note: I am not a psychology major, nor have I studied such. This is strictly a personal opinion I am expressing.)
h3. But It Can Be Done
Awhile back, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine. He said “It is so <insert your own expletive here> hard to be 100%effective in all areas of my life at once. It is easy to get one or two areas working well at any given time, but not ALL at the same time.” I reminded him that one of our favorite motivational speakers, Joel Weldon, coaches us to “just keep improving everyday.” Also, I was about to write “Do you want us to rip your proverbial engine open and install a cam to make all the cylinders fire in 100% perfect timing?” when I realized that maybe that is the “improving” we can work on – getting our “timing” right. You do not have to be 100% perfect in all areas of your life at that one particular moment. You just need to focus on, as David Allen says, the "next action," or in other words the very next step, and only the next step, you can take on the project. Then, when that next action is completed, fire “cylinder number 2” and move on to the next action (or switch to another project if it has a higher priority). Using this focused mentality will let you stay 100% (well, again, let’s say 95%) effective in all areas of your life, but, it takes motivation.
h3. Staying Motivated
You have to stay motivated to be effective. It is hard; we all know that. Sometimes all of your work is overwhelming. Sometimes it is all just very boring. However, you have to just suck it up and stay on track. One way to do this is to remind yourself why you are staying motivated.
Tom Peters provided a good example of this in his blog awhile back:
This may be day 45 and mile 76,000 for me, but for the Client it is D-Day for an Important Event (often their year’s #1 event, for God’s sake); hence my exhaustion and accompanying short temper must be thrust aside … and downright cheeriness and spirited engagement must become the invariant orders of the day. Besides, such cheeriness, even if feigned, cheers me up first and foremost!
Another quote I personally use is one from Will Smith in the movie Hitch“Wake up every day, as if it was on purpose!” Saying this to myself after clicking “Ok” to the alarm from my Palm usually is the difference between getting up and snoozing five more times!
h3. “You Can Do It!”
Like that goofy guy on the Geico Car Insurance commercials says, “You can do it!!” (Who is that guy anyway?) It is hard, but, effectiveness is achievable – even though it feels out of reach as you pop open that To Do list and stare at an average of 150 items. It just takes constant work and some self-motivation. In the end, however, the feeling of being that effective is oh so worth it.
h3. About Jeffrey W. Cox
Jeffrey Cox is an entrepreneur who lives in Phoenix Arizona, his adopted home state. He has been a recognized and successful IT consultant for over 20 years. Last year, he made a shift to focus on his passion, personal productivity and organization, by starting Foresight. Foresight is a company with a mission to help people get their To Do lists done by being more successful with their lists, projects and goals. You can sign up today for his insightful newsletter as well as stay informed about Foresight’s forth-coming product launch – an add-in for Microsoft Outlook that will truly let you focus on getting the right things done.
This post is me gathering some info for a future post…a survey, if you will.
Basically what I’d like to know is if you shower in the evening, before you go to bed, or in the morning before you go to work…and why.
I’ll refrain from what I do and why until the next post.
A little bit of background to bring you up to speed on where I’m at in life. Back in July I graduated from college. The same month I married the woman of my dreams. That same month as well we moved across the country from Mississippi to Colorado. We both were extremely fortunate to have parents who went above and beyond to make sure we were provided for which ultimately meant we started our new life together without a dime of debt…college, cars, etc were all paid for. And to clarify that, they didn’t serve us everything on a silver platter. We both have held jobs everyday of our life since we were 16 and paid for all of our possessions. They just worked hard to help pay for a quality education and essentials like transportation….something we plan on doing our best to offer our kids as well.
We currently live in a two bedroom apartment but, as with most people, would love to get into a house as soon as possible…mainly because paying rent feels like money going into a deep dark pit of nothing. But what we’ve really started debating lately is the idea of saving for a house over quality of life. We’re certainly not of the mindset that material things make life better…but in a way they do.
Do we save now for a house or buy the night stand so we aren’t using a plastic crate? Do we go out to eat tonight or cook at home? Do we get a fish tank or just do without?
Obviously these are all pretty superficial things. But to some extent they aren’t. All these little things bring some sort of indirect joy to life. Having a level surface to put a lamp and a clock at night, enjoying a fun night out and a tasty meal at a restaurant, and adding a few little swimming creatures to the room all just bring something to the table that getting in a house sooner than later just don’t seem to be able to do.
I have many friends who are of the camp that we should save every penny we can to get a house, a new car, a __________. But I’m a firm believer that expensive things aren’t necessarily what to strive for in the short run…sure it’s a necessity to save money and we will eventually get that house…but what I believe is that, in the long run, life we’ll seem much more enjoyable if I lighten up a bit with my money and chose to live a bit more spontaneous and care free.
There’s obviously no right or wrong opinion here. What are your thoughts?