Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.
I’ll be the first one to admit it: I don’t like working hard.
I go out of my way to be as lazy as possible. I have a hard time doing stuff that I don’t want to do. And even the things that I really don’t mind doing, I’m just not driven enough to pursue them full force. Other people might want to do 50 state book tours and create content five days a week. Not me.
And yet, I’ve still managed to build a pretty successful business, deliberately going out of my way to not put in too much effort.
Sometimes I feel inspired to do a lot of connecting, writing or work on a big product launch. But most of the time I work 4 or 5 hour days. I spend the rest of my time hiking, practicing martial arts, reading and spending time with my wife.
It’s one thing to be able to do something; it’s another to know how you do it. For the past few days I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how I do this, so I could help other people do the same thing.
So, here’s how to build an incredibly lazy (and successful) business:
1. Get over the urge to work for work’s sake.
This is probably the biggest hurdle that you’ll struggle with, and it’s something I have trouble with as well. It’s easy to work because you think it’s a “good idea” or because you think you should, and not because it’s necessary or beneficial. At all costs, the urge to work just because it seems smart must be avoided. Working more than average doesn’t guarantee better results. Working hard + working smart = stellar success, of course, but we want to take that even a step further. We want to ask “How can we work smart without much effort and still see stellar results?” It is absolutely possible, but you have to stop filling up your time with work.
Once you stop working just because it’s a good idea, you’ll be able to develop a filter for the type of work that is essential, highest leverage and produces the best results.
2. Be original.
The more original and remarkable your ideas, the more leverage they have. The more what you do stands out, the less work is in your hands. You want to create remarkable ideas that spread themselves, not mediocre ideas that require a lot of poster blanketing to make it successful. The best marketing doesn’t require any money to be spent on PR or advertising. The best marketing puts the work of spreading the word into the hands of the audience.
3. Leverage, baby.
What are the key activities that make you the most money? There are probably two or three, MAX.
One deliciously high leverage activity I realized in my business is doing webinars. This past month I realized that I could do a webinar (about an hour) for a strategic partner’s launch and make about $3-4,000. Including the two emails I write to my list, that’s about 1.5 hours time total. That’s pretty damn good leverage.
So, forget tweaking with your theme, finding the perfect wordpress plugins and organizing your files… what are the highest leverage activities for your business?
4. Systems give you power.
If being lazy is about using more leverage and doing less, the support and scaffolding necessary to do that is created with systems. When you leverage systems in your business, you free up time for the things that you’re best at that will create the greatest impact.
There are tons of things you can create systems for as soon as you start paying attention. Customer service, schedule management and autoresponders are just a few possibilities. The more you can automate and outsource things, the more time you have to do what really matters to you.
As my friend Charlie likes to say, systems give you power.
5. Do what you want.
Know that your business is a product of your own design. You can have as little or as much involvement as you want, but you have to decide that.
So in order to create the business you really want, you have to be deliberate about it. If you only want to work four hours a day, then be ruthless about it. If you only want to work with certain types of clients, only accept those. If you want to make a certain amount of money, make a plan and execute it.
Just remember that doing what you want will probably involve a lot of…
- Smiling at your unfinished list
- Saying NO… a lot
- Meeting a lot of remarkable people
- Taking days off on a whim
- Living on your own terms
- Working in your pajamas
- Actively letting go
Perhaps the most important aspect of building an incredibly lazy and successful business is consciously deciding what you will say No to. What will you stop doing? What will you give up to have what you want?
Remember, things can be exactly the way you want them to be, but you have to decide that. Test your assumptions. Live ruthlessly.