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Your Company
February 23, 2011

IN THIS ISSUE:

* Steve’s Field Note
* Idea – Is Your Hatrack Ready?
* Resource – Coaching Certification Special
* Resource – Tapa Palapa Podcast Menu
* Advisory Board – Spread the word!


Steve’s Field Note

Hello,

The snow and ice earlier in the month kept Francie and me from being able to record our podcast that was due to be published during my weeklong trip. By the time I got back from Orlando, tanked up on butter beer, It had been nearly two weeks since a new episode went out. Fortunately we were able to plan an extra afternoon of recording time so we produced two podcasts that week. It was fitting, since our theme was romantic love and it was the week of Valentine’s Day.

In addition to recording two podcasts that week, I devoted some time to Tapa Palapa to make the podcast available through iTunes. The upload process went very well, much easier than I thought, and you can find us if you search iTunes. However, the feed is not updating so it doesn’t show our latest two episodes. On top of that, 8 of the 9 episodes it shows are only 1 second long!

If you subscribe through iTunes you can download the latest episodes and you get the whole thing, not just 1 second. But if you listen through the iTunes Store you only hear the opening three beats of our intro music! I have some more learning to do to get the feed updated. Wish me luck!

Francie isn’t going to send anyone to the iTunes store to see Tapa Palapa there because you can’t stream any of the episodes but one. However, I’m excited that we’ve gotten this far, even if it’s incomplete, so here’s the link to Tapa Palapa in iTunes. If you get other podcasts through iTunes this might be the easiest way for you to keep up with the latest from Tapa Palapa.

You do want to keep up with the latest from Tapa Palapa, don’t you?

Enjoy the scenery on the Twisting Road!


Is Your Hatrack Ready?

There is an important difference between entrepreneurs – creative problem-solvers with a ‘Let’s do it’ attitude – and corporate bosses – department managers, regional supervisors, even vice-presidents of what-not. Actually, even the CEOs of What-Not, Inc. An anecdote from a trainer of people transitioning to self-employment cemented this distinction for me.

The Tale of the Entrepreneur and the CEO

The trainer, a successful marketing consultant who trained other people to be independent marketing consultants, told the audience he had discovered this by training people for self-employment. Being an entrepreneur himself, he had not been aware there were people who didn’t think in a problem-solving manner. One of his trainees had spent several years as CEO of a medium sized company and had transitioned to a comfortable early retirement but he wasn’t ready to stop working so he pursued the consultant training.

As the experienced entrepreneur off-handedly discussed some of the things it takes to set up a sole proprietorship, the CEO had many questions. They weren’t things like, “Can you recommend a good resource for that?” They were things like, “How do you know how to do that?” The entrepreneur realized that, although the CEO had an abundance of knowledge and experience in CEOing – making large-scale decisions with other people’s input and assigning the implementation of those decisions – he didn’t have the skills to identify certain problems and implement some things on his own. He didn’t have the awareness to know what sorts of decisions he would need to make, because he was used to departments and committees identifying their need for a decision and bringing it to him or the board.

The snapshot distinction would be this. The entrepreneur walks into his office after hours and sees his dirty empty coffee cup on his desk so he takes it to the little break room. There are crumbs on the counter so he wipes them up after he hand washes his coffee cup. The CEO walks into his office after hours and sees his dirty empty coffee cup. He realizes there’s no one he can ask to take care of it so he wanders around until he finds the break room. He finds crumbs on the counter and wonders who he can reach this late at night that can place a call to the janitorial service.

Putting That Renaissance Soul to Work

Not exactly a fair picture, but it makes the point. And it doesn’t just apply to CEOs. If you work in a larger, segmented organization, you know your responsibilities and hand off or ask for help with things that are outside your scope. Your team writes the report but needs the graphics department to create the cover and format it. You accumulate your team’s numbers for contacts with prospects and outcomes and pass them off to the marketing department. Your computer gets glitchy so you go through your supervisor to have a request sent to IT.

When you work for yourself you’re going to be doing all, or nearly all, of these kinds of things by yourself at first, so you’ll need to know how to get them done. As you hire employees or contract out some of these activities, you’ll still have to oversee them, so you’ll still need to know what ‘well done’ looks like. You’re going to be swapping out multiple hats, so make sure you have your hatrack ready.

Gerber – Not the Baby Food Company

Michael Gerber wrote a classic small business book called The E-Myth. In it he explains why so many people struggle as they transition from doing their career work well as an employee to becoming small business owners. He sorts the hats into three categories. There are more levels of separation possible, depending on the kind of business you own, but these three are a great starting point.

Technician

The technician is the person competent at a career skill, creating or building something or providing a specific service. When you wear the technician hat it means you are doing the kind of work you did as an employee. When a hairdresser opens his own salon but still works directly with some clients, during the time he is cutting and coloring hair he is wearing the technician’s hat. When a graphic designer becomes a free agent, during the time she spends working on client’s projects create finished pieces she is wearing the technician’s hat.

Manager

The manager is the person who makes sure all the pieces of the operation keep moving. In a smaller organization this person might have a title like ‘office manager’ or ‘director’ or ‘administrator.’ This is the person juggling all the responsibilities. The manager is the one who hears that someone saw some bugs in the break room and knows which exterminator to call. The manager is the one who has information on which printing companies to use for which jobs. The manager knows when payroll is due and makes sure all the necessary information gets to the bookkeeper or payroll service on time, if he or she has the luxury of being able to delegate payroll to someone else. When the salon owner has to talk to the supply company about delivery schedules, he is wearing the manager’s hat. When the graphic designer has to contact the web hosting service because her site keeps going down, she is wearing the manager’s hat.

Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur is the person of vision who see’s what’s possible. The entrepreneur comes up with new product or service ideas by looking at an existing problem that baffles people and thinking, ‘If I do this and add this I think we’ll have a solution.’ The entrepreneur also looks at his or her existing business and imagines what it will be in the future. The hairdresser who imagines replicating his success and having five locations by opening one per year is wearing the entrepreneur’s hat. The graphic designer who realizes smaller businesses can’t afford and don’t need full design services but will pay a monthly fee for limited design services is wearing the entrepreneur’s hat.

Juggling Hats

Once a start-up grows to the point of having a few employees or contractors for some of the management or technician services the business owner may be able to wear a hat for a predictable period of time and switch on a schedule, but even then an urgent situation might call for a rapid hat-swapping response. A person starting up a business will likely be swapping hats so quickly and unpredictably that it’s helpful to develop juggling skills. In the middle of giving a complicated haircut the salon owner finds out there’s a leaky pipe and the storeroom is slowly flooding. He has to delegate one task or the other and juggle his way through two situations that demand his immediate attention. While meeting with her web site developer the graphic designer gets a call that her part-time contractor is sick and won’t be able to finish the project by tomorrow. She may have to cancel her appointment with the web developer or rearrange her evening schedule to have time to finish the project herself.

Self-employment is not just about more freedom and more income and more flexibility. It’s also about hard work and being challenged in ways you would never be able to predict, because you wind up doing things you’ve never done or even conceived before. But with regular challenges come regular opportunities to prove yourself and to see where you need to improve to move to the next level. You’re no longer one of the herd, invisible in a sea of sameness. There is no cubicle where you retreat and tell yourself, ‘Thank goodness it’s not my department,’ when the supervisor is frustrated. You’re the one frustrated and having to find the right hat to get to the right solution.

How does that sound? Will you enjoy juggling hats? Because when you get really good at it you can effortlessly navigate rough waters other people prefer to avoid – sometimes by hiding out invisible in their cubicles.


Coaching Certification Special

I am discounting the fee for my monthly extended coaching program by 50% for anyone willing to allow me to report the number of sessions we have together in my certification packet. I don’t have to report the content of the sessions, just the client’s name and the dates the sessions took place. This discount will apply to my program of four (4) extended sessions per month.

Anyone who takes up my offer will be eligible for this discount for up to six (6) months of coaching. The discount doesn’t apply to a brief sessions program or single sessions. I’m offering this discount only with the extended monthly program in order to accrue my hours more quickly. The incentive for you is the discount. The incentive for me to offer the discount is to coach and record a lot of hours. Wins all around!

Call me at (817) 416-8971 or e-mail me at Steve@TwistingRoad.com for the details.


Tapa Palapa Podcast

For Febuary our menu theme is “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
All four episodes of the podcasts for February are now available. Remember to enjoy the episodes in order. Francie’s good at making sure the information is connected and flows from week to week.

* Why love matters
* Preparing for love
* Head over heels
* Lasting love

In March our theme will be “Life Is Bigger Than You.”

Click here to listen to the latest episode.


Advisory Board

That’s you. If you like what you read, please tell your family and friends. If you don’t like something, please tell me!

Thanks for Joining Me on the Journey,

Steve Coxsey

The Twisting Road Traveler is a publication of Twisting Road Press and Stephen Coxsey


Copyright (C) 2011 Stephen Coxsey and Twisting Road
* All rights reserved *

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