How a Parody Book Changed How I Do Business

| | Book Review

A number of months ago, I splurged at the local Chapters and purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck after watching a Ted-x talk.

Intended as a “practical parody” of the wildly popular The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Sarah Knight’s The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck outlines a simple process for mental decluttering via dropping (or possibly drop-kicking) the things we do not care about out of our lives.

When you turn to your business and be honest about the things you care about and the things you do not, it’s beneficial to your brand and bottom-line. Why? Because you channel your energy into the things that work for your business–and, logically, stop spending energy and money on the things that do not work for your business.

Business Things I Care About

  1. My reputation (business and personal)
    In a business like mine your reputation is everything. Almost all of our business is by referral, so if my clients aren’t happy, my business is dead.
  2. Doing the best job possible for my clients
    I want my clients to walk away knowing they got 100% of our abilities and knowledge. No sandbagging allowed.
  3. Getting paid promptly and appropriately for the work
    The worst moments of my career have revolved around poor pay or unpaid invoices. Nothing builds resent like an overdue invoice – especially when you put 100% of yourself into a job.
  4. Being productive
    To me, there’s nothing worse than a day when I accomplish nothing. I’m demoralized and deflated when this happens.
  5. Having flexibility
    This is one of the best things about working for yourself: the ability to walk away to do something else when a project goes off the rails. Today I went and ran an errand when I hit a roadblock. The result is a fresh mind, renewed productivity, and a gin-fizz.

Business Things I Do Not Care About

  1. Unrealistic or unstated expectations
    I’ll work my little butt off for a client, but I can’t achieve that which isn’t communicated. Nor can I hit a constantly moving target.
  2. Working weekends and evenings
    Burnout is awful. Working 7 days a week, or extra long days, is a recipe for burnout. I won’t do it any more.
  3. Pointless meetings
    I get paid for getting things done, not for sitting in meetings that no one wants to be in. Have something important to communicate? I’m there! Mindless wanking? No thank you.
  4. Inbox 0
    As of writing this post, I have 4586 emails in my inbox. Inbox 0 sounds all minimalist and organized (my kind of keywords), but the amount of time it would take me to get there is simply not worth it. Forget it. Filing email is for someone other than me.
  5. What my competitors are doing
    My competitors charge more. They have bigger teams with dedicated roles for jobs that I or Paul do on top of our official jobs. Maybe they’re doing it better, maybe they’re not. But I’m going to give exactly 0 thoughts about it.

These lists are how I ended up suggesting that this was an excellent business book to a rather serious marketing group on LinkedIn. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck helped me get clear about what I care and do not care about, which saves me time and money as a business owner. I no longer spend energy on things that I do not care about, which adds up to savings in the personal and business realms.

I’d like to emphasize as this point that the main premise of the book is to state your intentions up-front and firmly. This is not an exercise in being a jerk to those around you to get out of things you don’t want to do. And sometimes, yes, you take one for the team and do something on the “Do Not Care” list regardless, just to keep the peace (or client).

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck? What did you think? Leave me a comment!

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