What’s my weakness? what’s my weakness?

I really want to nail the reasons why Ambisonia is not yet a thriving business.

A few months ago, I thought it was because I dont have much understanding of what makes a good business. And so I read “the E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. My understanding of the key principles of business took a huge leap forward.

But now, whilst my vision of the future of Ambisonia is more business-oriented, I still dont really feel any closer to having that business up and running.

I dont think my weakness is a mis-understanding of business. At least my most immediate weakness. I think my most immediate weakness is poor time management skills.

Right now, I am working 2 paid jobs, one of which is contracting from home. Soon (in 4 weeks) I will have a new-born baby under my roof. I am currently supporting 2 people (and a mortgage) on my earnings. I have a million and one things to do on the house.

… and I’m just not getting anything done.

So a friend advised reading some David Allen material. I guess David Allen is the ‘time management’ version of Michael Gerber, who is the small business version of Allan Carr’s ‘stop smoking the Ezy way’.

Aside: I have always been so skeptical of these “how-to by a guru” style books that I once challenged a friend that I could read Allan Carr’s “Stop Smoking the Ezy Way” without skipping one cigarette. I read 1/3 of the book, realised that he was repeating his message over and over, and stopped reading it out of boredom. One week later I had stopped smoking and I havn’t smoked since! 🙂

So I’m going to try to give David Allen’s methodology a serious effort. One of David Allen’s key points (for me) is that extensive TODO lists are not as helpful as simply defining the one ‘next action’ per project. My current TODO lists have several hundred items… just looking at the TODO list is overwhelming.

I’m not going to do elaborate TODO lists anymore. I’m going to just define 1 ‘next action’ on each project (instead of 25 TODO items for each project). I’m going to review all of those ‘next actions’ everyday, at the start of the day. And anytime I think of something new that I have to do, I’m going to add it to my ‘inbox’, then I will forget about it, until I have my morning ‘sorting’ session, where I will either execute that task, add it to an existing project, or make a new project out of it.

The difficult part is what software or hardware (notebook and pen?) to use to do all this. David Allen defines a system, not what to use to execute that system. So to start I will try using todoist.com. todoist.com allows you to assign Labels to certain items. So my morning session will entail assigning the label ‘next action’ to certain chosen items. I then have a view of all my ‘next action’ items, and my daily process involves acting on each of those.

lets see how I go …

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4 Responses to What’s my weakness? what’s my weakness?

  1. Nick says:

    Maybe the problem is the good-old one of not seeing the forest for the trees…

    If you want a business, you have to ask people for money.
    So far, as far as I can tell, you’re only asking for donations, and getting some income from advertising. As I understand it, both are covering serving costs, but little else.

    So surely the most important thing to do is to start billing people – whoever that may be!
    Then let that drive the development.

    Maybe I’m missing something?

    Obviously the need to bill people will sort out your other priorities, such as getting faster serving, etc, etc.

    Apart from that the site looks convincing enough to at least start billing someone on the basis of it.

    So maybe you need to choose the best idea of your “monetization” plans and start it! If that’s the concert ticket tie-in, then implement that part of the site (nothing else) and start calling/emailing potential advertisers. (as an example).

    Don’t get caught up by thinking you have poor time management skills. You’ve just got to get the business to lead the way. Get the money coming in!

    (hope this helps and i’m not missing the point or stating the obvious)

  2. ofcourse, I need to pull money in. And it is now very clear to me exactly how I am going to do that.

    but before I can pull the money in, I have to implement an e-commerce solution, I have create the back end infrastructure that will distinguish between someone who has paid and someone who has not paid. I have to remove priviledges when someone’s membership runs out, trigger an email to them to say their membership has run out … I have to define the line between the free service and the premium service. etc.

    this is what I am trying to do now … get the site to a stage where I can offer premium services (amongst other things).

    Getting all this up (remmember that doing this is also my day-job) takes a lot of spec-ing and development.

  3. … and at the same time, I have to wake up every 3 hours to help feed a crying baby (well, I will soon) , earn enough money to support 3 people and cover the mortgage, our car is dying and I have to buy a new one, and I have to fix the guttering on the house.

    time management!

  4. Nick says:

    Ok, I see where you’re at.

    This is my impulse response:

    Can you “bootstrap” the business to buy you more time to develop a more robust e-commerce system?

    e.g. – use an off-the-shelf payment system such as Paypal to start up, and send customers an individual password (you can use a GUID generator to make these and keep them on your own offline database).
    Then just manually change member’s privileges as they change.

    This example would allow you to start getting money in from early adopter customers, while you can implement a better system.

    Trying to make it bigtime in one go might be too large a task with no time and no money to invest in the business.
    (not to suggest you’re not realistic about instantly making the site into a business – I know it’s already been a few years worth of effort as it is)

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