How To Iterate — Execute. Assess. Adjust. Repeat.
Years ago I played the startup game and attempted to raise funding for a company in the traditional ways. I created a pitch deck and started setting up meetings with venture capitalists. As I know now, the idea wasn’t anywhere near as flushed out as it needed to be, but there was one (somewhat odd) thing that really stuck with me.
An intelligent venture capitalist rarely says “yes” but will never say “no”.
They will say things like “it’s not for us right now” or “come back to us when…” but rarely will they flat out say “no” or “how did you get in my office?” The reason for this is pretty simple, they want to get you out of the room without closing the door.
Do you think Brian Chesky, Founder of Airbnb, went back to any of the venture capitalists who told him “no” once he’d further progress building the company? Of course not, the smart ones likely responded with “I’d not right for me right now” so as to keep the door open for when it might be in the future.
Eliminate “yes” and replace it will “hell yes”.
Eliminate “no” and replace with “not now”.
I get pitched… a lot. From commission sales opportunities and other pay per performance relationships to equity offers and other forms of partnership.
For an opportunist and a creator like myself — it’s like a kid in a candy store.
In order to survive I needed to learn to “politely pass” on offers that weren’t right and leaned back to my experience with the venture capitalists to steal their trick.
“I appreciate the offer, it’s just not right for me right now.”
Many of you have started to respond saying that The Batman Strategy for Facebook ads is wonderful, but it doesn’t fit you… right now. That’s fucking wonderful! You seem to have already learned what took me a few years to figure out. Kudos!
At the beginning of the year I set some rather rigid and specific goals. One of those was to recap everything I’m working on at the end of the month and see how much “noise” has creeped onto my plate (distracting things outside of my core goals).
My Monthly Project Round-Up (copied from my Brianfeed Journal):
- CLIENT A — Working on a retainer basis, but in the process of offloading the core execution to two subcontractors in my network (less money, more time).
- CLIENT B — Working dayrate days to create the process to their strategy and prepare the contracted team for execution when they launch in March.
- CLIENT C — One dayrate day left (scheduled tomorrow morning) and then I’ll be passing them off to execution focused contractors to assist in launch.
- NON-CLIENTS — I turned down two large projects as they both offered low pay and were high maintenance with attractive leverage I didn’t really need.
- PARTNER A — Creator of a mobile app, offering an irresistible package of pay/equity and presented fantastically across the board, more on this later.
- NON-PARTNERS — I’ve been approached by five developers wanting to partner with on my “big project” but have opted to self-fund and am doing UX.
- GHOST INFLUENCE — My designer just finished the new site, but my payment processor is broken and I need to get the entire website rebuilt.
- MARKETING — Executing my own Batman Strategy (interviews, features, and ads to promote them) in conjunction with the Ghost Influence Podcast (finding and scheduling interviewees), as well as networking in a variety of ways.
I sat there, astounded at how much had creeped onto my plate in just a month, and wrote in big letters “WHAT IS MY ONE THING?”
“Fuck” I thought, “I need to take the advice I gave them the other day.” It’s not an easy thing to apply, you have to keep re-evaluating and honing your course.
It didn’t take long to see that with all the movement of my marketing and networking, polishing the Ghost Influence brand was my one thing. With that in place I would be able to build my residual income and safely increase the pace of my other projects.
Sometimes Most times it’s better to say “not now” and focus on the one thing that is going to bring you closer to your goals. Focus without purpose is meaningless.
What is your one thing? Why is it important you do it right now?