Recently, several people have mentioned on podcasts I listen to that the book, The ONE Thing, has been critical to their success. My rule is that if I hear more than one entrepreneur I respect say a book is important, I buy it immediately.
The One Thing
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller is regularly discussed in entrepreneurial circles, and I thought I knew all I needed to about it. The premise is that most people have too much on their to do list, and they wrongly think that if they could somehow accomplish all those tasks they would reach their goals and be happy.
The problem is that, first, nobody ever finishes everything on their to do list, and they usually choose to do the easiest thing on the list, which doesn’t actually get them any closer to realizing their big goals.
Second, not all tasks, or even goals, are created equal. Some will deliver huge results, and some will get you nowhere, so it’s important to prioritize what you do.
Isn’t This Old News?
The reason I haven’t picked up this book until now, is because I felt like lots of other books of already covered this, including my favorite book to recommend, the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris (2007), and a book I just finished reading called 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse.
What’s So Special About This Book?
So what makes this book so important? Gary Keller, of Keller Williams Realty, provides a great framework to create meaningful long term goals and an action plan that keeps you focused on what’s actually important, right now.
It starts with the focusing question. Ask yourself:
“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
It’s a simple question, but not one that’s not always easy to answer. Whatever your answer to that question, don’t wait until the afternoon to tackle it, do it first thing in the morning, before you use up your energy.
What I didn’t understand until I read the book was how this question scales and how often you need to ask it.
Goal Setting To The Now (Scaling the Question)
You probably have a “someday” goal, some big dream – write it down. Then narrow your timeframe into smaller and smaller chunks, into a five-year goal, a one year goal, a monthly goal, weekly goal, daily goal, a right now goal.
Ask yourself the focusing question for each of those time frames. That way, you’ll stay on the path to your ultimate goal, as you prioritize the actions that will make the biggest difference.
Of everything in the book, this is probably what impacted me the most. Even though this is not an entirely new idea, the methodology is presented in a way that is clear and focused. The requirement of the question, making everything else easier or unnecessary, is new, and is really fascinating.
I do recommend this book. There’s a lot more to it and it gives you a good framework. It’s also not just for your business – you should use this thinking for every aspect of life, your relationships, spiritual life, etc.
Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.
How I Took Action – First, A Store Update
I had just come through a very big month, though the winter months were very slow, which I expected because of my market. It was a little discouraging, having not much income for a couple of months after that big win, but I didn’t let it get me down and kept pushing through those big projects.
Here’s what was on the list last time and how far I got:
- Hire a bookkeeper – done
- Start content marketing (blogging, etc.) – done
- Start email marketing – done
- Ramp up my social media presence – started
- Add more suppliers & products – not started
- Focus on getting referrals from my B2B customers – not started
In December I decided to reprioritize and put content marketing at the top, so I spent January focused on getting a content/social/email funnel set up. Now, I have a blog that is updated twice a week with relevant content to my customers.
I advertise each post on Facebook, get people to click over to the blog, where I have a pop up to capture emails (and opt-in at the bottom of the blog post). I then send emails to my list for each new blog post, keeping old customers and new readers engaged.
It’s a lot of work, but I’m not writing any of the blog posts myself. I have been doing all the manual labor of editing (sometimes heavily), getting images, writing emails, uploading blog posts, creating Facebook ads, sending emails, etc.
In mid-January business started picking back up. As of right now, I’m not consistently replacing my full-time salary, but I’m coming close, and I’m hoping to do a lot better in the coming months.
The RC store won’t be my last failure – it’s simply a part of this game.
Part of this big marketing plan was to understand my customers using the Ask Formula created by Ryan Levesque, which focuses on a series of surveys. I spent a few weeks researching and learning how to do this, setting up surveys, emails, a landing page and lead magnet, but I was never able to get people to take the initial survey, so seems that was a total failure.
In an effort to learn how to create better landing pages and lead magnets, I signed up for a webinar by Neil Patel, the marketing guru. Long story short, at the end of the webinar I spent $1000 to join his marketing course.
That was by far the largest impulse buy I’ve ever made, and I was sweating it for a while, but now I’m really glad I spent the money because so far it seems really great. It’s basically everything you need to know about online marketing, with a deep dive into each aspect of it.
It’ll be a great reference for years to come. I’m going to set aside the Ask Formula and just use the new course to guide my marketing.
The ONE Thing for My Business
After reading this book, I wanted to take action on what I’d learned, so I reviewed my upcoming goals for the store, which were:
- An undisclosed monthly profit in four months
- February – Finish Ask Formula & New suppliers/products
- March – Getting on other sales channels
- April – Automation (systematizing & outsourcing/team building)
As you can see, my immediate goal was to get new suppliers and products. But then I asked myself, “what’s the one thing I can do to reach my goal of $______ in the next four months that will make all of the other tasks easier or unnecessary?”
It was pretty obvious – I need to focus on building my team. If I could hire a team to take over the day-to-day activities it would make nearly everything I’m doing easier.
So much of my day is taken up by things that a business owner should not be doing. I should not be taking sales calls, helping people with purchases, fulfilling orders, or doing customer service.
My job as a entrepreneur is to grow the business. None of those things grow the business, they maintain it, so I simply shouldn’t be doing them.
Then I asked myself, what if 100% of my day could be focused on growth? I realized I would see massive results, and I would be able to reach my goals much faster.
So, the last couple of weeks I switched gears and started focusing on hiring. First, I’m starting with a content team. Updating the blog takes an enormous amount of time, and it’s a recent addition to my week.
So far I’ve hired a writer, an editor, and a data entry person. They will all only work a few hours per week, and I’ve set up processes with spreadsheets, documents, and videos explaining what they need to do and how they should coordinate with each other. Pretty soon the blog should run on its own.
Next will be a much harder task – I need to find somebody to replace me.
The goal is to hire someone who can provide customer service, answer questions, take and fulfill orders, answer the phone and email.
It hurts my brain just looking at the last sentence. I don’t know how I’m going find someone I can afford to do all those things.
It’s not going to be easy, but it’s important and will have a big payoff if I do it right. Now that I have the content team started, this is my next task… and I told my mastermind guys I would have the job description written by our call on Wednesday.
What’s Your ONE Thing?
You know I like action, and that’s partly why I write this blog, to keep myself accountable. I want you to take action too.
What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Let us all know in the comments below.