If I had a time machine...
👉 I'd go back and slap myself with this
For most of my life I’ve been a “you must do this the very best way it can be done” kind of person.
The kind of person who would record a series of fancy launch videos for a tiny product I was selling - because it was the best way.
The kind of person who would program up my email system to send the next email in sequence based on how fast and when each individual had read the last one. Because it was the best way,
The kind of person who’d forever be updating their website with the latest design. Or buying yet another fancy video player widget with more features than the last one. Or crawling through hours of training to get a slightly better elevator pitch.
And all of that sort of paid off.
But it also didn’t.
If I had a time machine right now I’d travel back 15 years and shake myself out of it.
Because for all the benefits of the “best way” I did things - there was a huge downside.
My video launch probably got me 20% more sales on that product. But it took so much time to do I could have launched another couple of products by then instead.
The fancy email tracking and sending automations definitely got me more email opens and probably more sales. But I could have got a lot, lot more by actually spending that time talking to customers instead of burying my head in an email system.
And there’s no way the constant website redesign, fancy widgets or reworked elevator pitches ever paid off the time I pumped into them.
It was only when Kathy and I started reducing our working hours this year to focus on - well, anything other than work - that it became impossible for me to do my usual “must do it the very best way it can be done”.
I was forced to find shortcuts. 80:20s. Use templates. Even - god forbid - get other people to do stuff for me that I could have done better myself.
But I found that my “very best way” hadn’t been that much better than “decent” all along. And more importantly, the value I got from the time freed up was exponentially more valuable.
Recently we’ve been spending that time travelling or just relaxing. But business-wise I could have just got things done much faster and done a lot more had I not been so obsessed by doing things my perfect way.
I wonder…are there things in your business that don’t need to be done quite “just so”?
It’s easy to read an email like this, nod to yourself sagely and say “I agree”.
It’s much harder - but much, much more useful - to take a step back, look at your own business and think hard about whether you’re making similar mistakes. Whether you can free up time or get more done with a few simple (but perhaps psychologically difficult) changes.
It’s not my job to nag you or hassle you. But maybe, just maybe it might be worth spending a couple of minutes reflecting on this today. Ideally right now.
Because as far as I know, time machines haven’t been invented yet…
PS one of the ways I’ve adopted that saves me a LOT of time and still gets great results is to create templates for my emails and re-use them.
This email was done with my “Advice to My Younger Self” template. It took me about 15 minutes or so to write an email that might have taken close to an hour back in the day, doing things from scratch.
And in the ultimate in re-use, I’m also selling the templates that I use myself. “Advice to My Younger Self” is part of Email Template Pack 1 which you get instantly when you subscribe to my Email Templates for just £10 per month.
You also get the incredibly powerful “Real Secrets” template, “Lessons from Pop Culture” (one of my most used ones), “Answers to Submitted Questions” and “Listicle with a Personal Touch”.
They’ll save you hours you can either reinvest into your business - or follow my lead and just have a bit more free time for fun :)