The Power of Franchising – Create a Handbook for your Life

Early this year, I got my copy of “The E-Myth revisited”, and I was truly amazed about the knowledge in there, however, I tend to try to apply any existing knowledge to new problems, so I am right now creating a Franschise Prototype, but not a business, but rather my personal organization at home, how and I why I do stuff, what I own, and why I need it, etc.

If you’ve not read Michael Gerbers book, “The E-Myth revisited”, it is about creating a business, that is driven by excellent rules, designed to scale the business rather then centering your business around yourself and your ability to “run things”. Creating a Franchise starts out with building a Franchise-Prototype, which is the first implementation of your business, where you experiment and test, whether certain processes work, and it serves as a blueprint for your “Franchise-Manual”, a COMPLETE Handbook, about how your business works, from start to finish, written in a way such that your business can be easily and successfully replicated, with the aim of either expanding your business to other areas, or selling your business to people such that they can successfully run it.

So I realized, that my personal life, how I organize my place, the stuff I buy, what I do, is some kind of support system for me. To enable me to all the fun things that I am interested in. And because I want to have as much time for fun things as possible, I prefer to run things at home as smoothly, efficiently and effortlessly as possible. Interestingly enough, those are also the goals for a franchise, and therefore a franchise prototype.

Therefore I’ve kick started this year, by creating a handbook, a little guide, about how I expect my life to work, and about how I go about repetitive tasks in my life.

I started out with my list of resolutions for 2010, what went wrong last year, and what actions am I going to take to improve this year. And of course other goals that I want to achieve this year. I’ve also added actions about those goals.

This served as the skeleton for my handbook. I then added notes that I already made about some tasks that I only do every now and then, because one forgets specific details inbetween.

So, now for the PRACTICAL example, what do I have in my handbook for 2010?

First of all, it is just a folder full of handwritten notes, and I use post-its to mark the sections. I have the following sections:

  • Body
  • Girls
  • Money
  • Making a video
  • Giving a talk
  • Going on a journey
  • Organizing an event
  • Maintaining a server
  • Yearly Review

In the Body section I have notes about how I want to improve/maintain myself physically this year. For me this means powerlifting, occasional rock climbing and taking dancing lessons.

As a side note, in my personal training and workout guidelines, I have a printed copy of those two blog entries from the fourhourworkweek.com/blog

As well as a copy from a page of a book, that outlines some basic dancing moves.

In the Girls section I just have a gentle reminder to regularly review additional reading material to improve my gentlemanly skills, but also to put that knowledge into practice by actually talking girls on dates.

Additionally, I have a reminder to keep my crib clean, you never know what happens.

In the Money Section I remind myself, to schedule ample amounts of time for my consulting business, to write valuable blog content and scripts for instructive video blogs. I also remind myself to regularly review my budget, and watch my accounts, as well as putting a decent amount in my savings account each month. I am doing mostly freelance work, so I cannot automate this just yet.

Also I remind myself to focus on reading about business development, with a special focus on online businesses and communities.

As an appendix to this section, I also have my complete budget for 2010 in there, that outlines all fixed recurring and monthly or quarterly payments, so that I can plan things.

You have a budget right?

In the following sections, namely Making a video, Giving a talk, Going on a journey, Organizing an event and Maintaining a server, I have all the notes that I keep on such tasks, because I do not do these things regular enough, to make them habits, so I always have to review what went wrong the last time, so I can improve upon this for the next event/video, whatever.

And finally in the last section the Yearly Review section, I keep some notes about tasks that I only do once per year, like checking whether my passport is still valid, reviewing my financial situation, what went wrong last year, and how to improve next year, etc.

All this gives me a general outline for the coming year, so that I can continuously focus on what I actually want to do, and also advice on specific tasks and situations.

Do you have a personal handbook for 2010? Or any ideas about what should go into such a handbook?

Tell me in the comments!

Have fun,

Cheers

-Richard

Lifestyle Design – Why you absolutely need to write well

You think you want to design your own lifestyle, you have read “The 4-Hour Workweek” and want to get started right away? Outsourcing your work, selling online, living free and happy ever after?

Now here is some advice, learn how to write. No really, learn how to write well, you are going to need it. No matter what you are going to do, you will need it.

Outsourcing

When you are thinking about outsourcing, you definitely have to learn how to write. And ideally you need to be able to describe more or less complex tasks in precise and short language, such that any mere mortal can understand them.

Outsourcing is about getting someone else to do your work, and most often your work requires some specific knowledge, about your customers maybe, maybe about how your business works, your industry, etc.

And what if you loose an outsourcer, and need to hire a new one, who is not familiar with your business. Of course you want to get them up to speed as fast as possible. What could probably be more convenient than having a complete and easy to read manual about your business to give to your new employee.

And writing well does not only mean that you can produce endless sermons of boring blabla. You want your people to actually do work, and not read your newest and greatest 1000 page novel, right. Therefore writing well also means writing short, yet not missing out on important details.

btw. if this did not convince you, read “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber, I’m sure he will teach you. And you will gain valueable insights into how business actually works.

Also, non-routine tasks, like stuff that only needs to be done once per month/year, needs to be documented well, or else you or your outsourcers, will likely forget specific details, and you are therefore bound to reinvent the wheel time and time again, which of course is inefficient and causes unnecessary extra-work.

Selling

This of course depends on your niche and industry, but lets assume that you are selling online, or that you plan to sell online. Have you ever though about how your sales pitch is going to be delivered to your potential customers, I hope you have. While video is taking one, most of the information on the Internet is still consumed via reading. And this means for you that you need to write to deliver your marketing message. Of course, you could also outsource copywriting, but this takes as back to point number one, who’s gonna write the instructions for your copywriters?

Maybe you come from a background in Sales, Tim Ferris did work in Sales once, as he says in his book. Then you are maybe more familiar with selling on the phone, or in face to face meetings. You likely know about many of the dynamics that take place in a negotiation situation, and you might be even comfortable and successful doing so. Again, you could outsource sales too, but you’re most likely better of, of you have an Internet strategy as well. I hope you do.

Selling on the Internet is actually not really different from selling via phone and in person. But it is important that you deliver your pitch well, and that means that you need to write well. Also, you might need to write phone scripts for your outsourcers, which again means writing. But just think about the potential, once written, your pitch can be delivered again and again and again. Welcome to the benefits of the net.

Product Creation

So, you think you want to create a product as your muse. An information product maybe, as recommended in the 4HWW? Like DVDs, or an eBook? Well, you see for the eBook you are going to need to write again. And it’d better be good, so that people blog and write about you and help you promote your product. That means writing well. Like writing instructions for your outsources, creating an information product likely contains instructions, self-improvement advice, whatever. If your instructions and your writing are clear and easy to follow, people will have a better time, implementing your ideas, and will likely tell their friends about you.

I recommend 4HWW to all my friends, so I guess it works for Tim.

Oh, and btw. if you think you can just do a DVD and avoid this practice, think again, I’ve found that making videos is much easier if you sketch out a simple structure of your product before starting the shooting. Writing helps you clear your mind and organize your ideas, this will likely show in your video as well. But maybe you are a natural, or you fix it all in the editing room, who knows.

Teaching

Is teaching a part of Lifestyle Design? I certainly think it is. What if you are able to make it, and have the most awsome fun in your whole life, but you have no one to share your joy with? Because all your friends are still dully working away their hours all week long, instead of playing outside with you? Then you need to be able to teach them, to have the real fun. Or you try something really cool, that you want to tell the world about?

Being able to teach well is just most important, no matter what you practice, as soon as you are becoming really good, you start to socialize with the top dogs, you will exchange ideas and new approaches etc. Then you will need to teach your commonity about your latest exploits. And I have found, that it is not only of benefit to deliver a classroom lecture well, or maybe lead a practical course, but rather for effective teaching written course ware is essential as well. I for one really thrive when I have well written instructions to accompany an interesting course.

Also, remember “becoming an Expert” instructions in Tims Book, they require you to give lectures to interested audiences, which means you need to teach. And to write.

So, I hope I could convince you why this is such an essential skill in Lifestyle Design. This is a motivational piece, and I hope I got you out of the chair and into your, well…. writers chair. 😉

btw. This was only about WHY you need to learn writing, I am not going to tell you HOW to learn writing, but I’ll give you a hint: (practice helps) 😉

Have fun,
Cheers
-Richard

80/20 Powerlifting, the 4HWW Workout Routine explained

Hi Everyone,

this is a video about how I implemented the 80/20 Powerlifting routine. For fun and for motivation.

It’s an absolutely great workout routine, I can only recommend everyone to try it themselves.

Here is the original guest post from Pavel Tsatsouline on the 4 Hour Workweek Blog:
Pavel: 80/20 Powerlifting and How to Add 110+ Pounds to Your Lifts

In case you did not get the numbers I am mentioning in the Video:

I started the routine 4 months ago, and I am currently working out with:

Squat: 125kg / 275 pounds
Deadlift: 145kg / 300 pound
Benchpress: 85kg /  190 pound

Bodyweight: 80kg / 180 pound

Cheers
-Richard