I realised today, whilst strolling along deserted beaches to a beautiful lagoon in Tibau do Sul, Brazil, that I’ve written a lot recently about my travels and not quite so much about my business. Which probably leads most of you to think that all this “business” stuff is just my way of saying that I couldn’t hack it in the rat race and have decided to give myself the rest of my life off.
Nearly, but not quite.
If you remember, the idea wasn’t so much to drop off the grid entirely, it was more to set the grid to roaming. Seeing if it were possible to have a work/travel/bank balance. Not spending more than 4 months at a time in the UK unless there was a very good reason (either I was incarcerated, or in traction, or my mum simply forbade me from flitting off again). But getting some sort of business up and running to pay for the travels, so that I wasn’t burning through my cash.
Again. Nearly, but not quite. (Getting there.)
At the time I started all this, I hadn’t factored on The Mack getting in on the act. With hindsight, it’s probably one of the reasons that we got together. But I was so busy thinking that he’d Derren Brown-ed me into being his girlfriend that I wasn’t paying attention. All that tappety-tap-tapping my shoulder and repeating seemingly innocuous words. And leaving a trail of gingerbread men on my route to our first date. I mean. The Mack is ginger. And he’s a man. The fact that I didn’t see them because they’d been squashed by passing commuters didn’t stop their subliminal power.
Anyway, much as I would love to lay the blame for my lack of results squarely at The Mack’s door by saying that he’s diverted my focus, jumped on the start-up bandwagon, addled my brain with wantrepreneurial jargon… that would be (1) wrong, (2) wrong and (3) wrong. Because, if the truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have got as far as I have if it weren’t for him.
Thanks to The Mack, I’ve identified the top 3 things that have been stopping me making progress on the business side of things and I’ve figured out a solution to each of them.
Issue #1: Never Seeing Anything Through to the End
I am excellent at starting things. And doing a nice design. I am less successful when it comes to completing anything. Or caring at all after about 2 weeks. Or when someone distracts me with something shiny.
Apparently, this lack of motivation for really pushing through on my projects is down to my inherent pessimism.
You say pessimist, I say realist. Let’s call the whole thing off…
Solution #1: Learned Optimism
The Mack bought me a great book by a guy who made up the idea that you can learn to be more optimistic and that it will transform your life. I was a little sceptical. Oh wait…
I started reading it and my productivity levels went right up.
Unfortunately, I **accidentally** left it in the seat back of the plane to Buenos Aires.
What a downer.
Issue #2: Contrasting Working Styles
I have discovered through this process that I’m quite difficult to work with. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why that is, but it seems to have something to do with the fact that I need to get my own way on everything because my way is the right way and everybody else is stupid and wrong.
I don’t know. It might be that. It probably isn’t though. Probably it’s The Mack’s fault. For being stupid and wrong.
Solution #2: Working Space
I think that space is very important when you’re a couple working together. Right now it’s about 4,500 miles and things seems to be going well.
Issue #3: Hating the Game
I have a slight problem with the whole start up scene. I think it’s the combination of self-congratulation and jaw-dropping naivety that sticks in my craw. And when I say slight problem: what I mean is utter contempt.
I’m not even sure how I ended up working on start ups. I think my plan was just to have my own business. I don’t remember ever talking about wanting to build a start up. Tappety-tap-tap….
Solution #3: Hate the Player
Hell, this one’s easy. Every time I catch The Mack reading one of Paul Graham’s essays or signing up to a General Assembly workshop, I openly despise him.
I think now that I’ve eliminated these issues, progress will come in leaps and bounds. Stay tuned, people.