“In your video, you really touched on the importance and value of having a moment to yourself every morning, how valuable do you believe taking those breaks every day? And what would you recommend to the entrepreneur or solopreneur who feels the need to work around the clock to get ahead, because it really seems like you’re hinting that taking those few moments for reflection every day seem to have been an important role in your success?”
Oh man, I could talk about this for days but I’ll keep it short. Burnout is real and it sucks. I think taking care of yourself everyday allows you to consistently show up and perform the way your family, employees, customers, and investors need you to over time.
My advice: Build your “daily moments” around things you already do. If you drink coffee, spend a few extra moments each morning to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee. If you journal and plan your day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for before you even look at your calendar.
You can’t drive a car on empty, let alone floor it on the highway. Baking positive daily habits into things you already do is a great way to “keep your tank full” as you work towards your goals.
“That’s awesome man, love it, and love the message! So I have to ask, throughout the entire process that you’ve been going through to build JavaPresse, what would you say are your five greatest takeaways or moments that you experienced the greatest challenges and/or the greatest growth, and how would you approach those same situations differently knowing what you know now?”
This is an awesome question, thanks for asking man. I’ve had a ton of learnings but here are 5 that made the biggest impact:
1) Getting comfortable with trusting other people to do great work. I’ve always felt like I can do just about anything (thanks Mom!), so delegating and trusting people to do a good job was a huge learning curve for me. In hindsight, I wish I would have started delegating sooner because having the right team members are an amazing thing. My rule of thumb now: If someone can deliver at least 90% of the quality (I think) I can deliver, let them take over. 90% is still an A.
2) Building relations with suppliers in China. Having the right relationships in China is one of our biggest strengths, but I went through a ton of ups and downs navigating the landscape, learning how the Chinese do business, and finding the quality I expect to deliver. People from different cultures are motivated by different things. In hindsight: I would work harder to understand how they work and get good at playing their game. That would have saved me thousands of dollars in manufacturing mistakes and months of time.
3) Managing focus. I worked a full-time job, had a long distance girlfriend, and built my company from scratch at the same time. Each had time commitments which were difficult to juggle. Pro tips for anyone managing multiple responsibilities: Don’t manage your time, start managing your focus. During work time, don’t do anything else but work. No emails, no unproductive browsing etc. When you’re spending time with family/friends/significant others, don’t do anything but be present with your loved ones. This actually trains your mind to perform at it’s highest capacity when you need it to. Almost like flipping a switch, which is powerful skill to have.
4) Staying motivated. When we first started getting inklings of success and I had fulfilled all of the goals I set for myself at the time, I got complacent. The old goals I had for why I wanted to succeed weren’t motivating me to reach for the moon anymore. If the goals you’ve got right now don’t motivate you to perform, identify new ones that will. Read books, travel, find mentors, and do whatever it takes to figure out your “why”. It’s the one thing that will make or break your success.
5) Build a brand. When we first started out, we were just selling physical products online, which created a really transactional relationship with our customers. Once we started being intentional about building a tribe and brand that made a real difference, sales took off and customer loyalty quadrupled. Biggest takeaway: Play the long game. Build a relationship with your customers through a product or user experience that blows them away. This will pay dividends down the line.
“Love it man! You touched on two really deep topics that I think a lot of people struggle with, work life balance, and giving up control by delegating roles. For people like myself, that struggle with delegating roles and trust, what actionable tips would you recommend to help people get over that mental hurdle? Sell us on the idea of why delegation and having trust in your team is critical for achieving success, and take us down a day in your shoes of what problems you faced and how giving up control helped you ultimately achieve your goals.”
Believe it or not, I actually think having a team you can trust and work-life balance go hand-in-hand. You can’t disconnect and enjoy your life if you’re constantly worried/involved in every part of your business. You can’t produce your greatest work if you don’t step away from time to time.
For actionable tips, I’m gonna give one of my e-mentors Cameron Herold a shoutout for sharing this incredibly insightful gem with me.
“Write down every single thing you do in your life for an entire month. Once you do, divide them into 4 categories.
You’ll find that 80-90% of the things you do every single day starting out can fit into the incompetent, competent, and excellent.”
Cameron is a freaking genius. Once you do this exercise, you’ll realize that there are very few things you can uniquely do to change the trajectory of your business.
This is the biggest reason why I believe creating systems and finding the right people to run them is one of the highest leverage activities we can do as business owners. As Cameron made me realize above, I don’t think every single task we do in our businesses is a unique skill set. 80% of them are things that can be learned and documented for duplication. So if you focus on providing great systems and resources (which is 100% in your control) for the right people, you can quickly create a sustainable business that doesn’t need you around 24/7 to run and scale, while giving you the space to focus on your unique skillets that can grow the business beyond what it’s currently doing.
One of the biggest problems I faced when I started delegating and hiring was expecting everyone to have an intrinsic desire to perform at a high level. That simply isn’t the case. Once I realized that, I started hiring for the character traits I valued and skills sets/accomplishments that verified those traits (of course, qualifications were still looked at but they weren’t the deciding factor). With this mindset, every single person I hired turned into an investment that compounded down the line.
It might take some hand holding or mentoring in the beginning so your teammates can learn company culture and expectations, but eventually you’ll be able to trust and delegate yourself out of day-to-day tasks and into unique roles that only you can leverage to create massive impact.
And operating from that space is what I really think allows us to win big in business, help people in incredible ways, and deliver our best work.
“That is phenomenal advice, and I think everyone at every level struggles with the hiring process. It’s not just a hard task to find the right hire, but it is also a task in itself in discovering what truly makes the strongest impact to drive your business forward.
Thank you Raj for taking the time to jump on with us and sharing with all of our readers a deep insight into the growing pains you experienced. You definitely didn’t hold back on the value you shared and it’s safe to say that this interview was littered with gold nuggets. I will definitely be following your progress and growth with JavaPresse and look forward to talking again soon.”
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