A client who hired me to help her get a grip on her time management, energy management, & prioritization told me this week that she invested in a second side business as “Plan B” – a second revenue stream – in case her primary business doesn’t work. She told me, “I only spend about an hour a night on it. It’s not that big of a deal.” Actually, it’s a really big deal for these reasons:
1: Those 5-6 hours a week that she’s spending on her second business adds up to 25-30 hours a month she can be investing in her first business. She can be looking for leads, connecting with potential customers, creating content for her blog, working on a book outline, reaching out to strategic partners, doing competitive analysis, or doing long-term planning.
2: How well can she build a second business devoting only 5-6 hours a week?
3: This isn’t just a matter of where she’s directing her time. It’s also where she is directing her mental energy. She’s not “all in” with her first business.
The alternative to building Plan B is to live by the mantra that failure is not an option for Plan A. Building a business is incredibly hard, and entrepreneurs notoriously become attracted to new ideas especially when they are going through difficulty. We get tired and distracted. To quote another successful business owner, “Entrepreneurs frequently jump over dollars to grab quarters.”
I personally know how easy it is to get distracted by a new idea. I launched another company, Leadership & Life last year (for about 5 minutes), after I created the vision to deliver transformational work-life integration programs and communities to leaders so that they may live and lead at their highest levels of potential & satisfaction. Sounds amazing, yes?? Well, even after I told myself I could handle both, and I could split my time in a way that would enable both of my companies to thrive, I quickly learned I wasn’t able to do that. So, I had to have a difficult discussion with myself (I have a lot of those discussions), and I tabled Leadership & Life for now.
I reminded my client that she specifically hired me to get her re-focused and fired up, so that she can achieve her 5-year growth goals with her first company. She heard me, and has tabled her second business for now. We developed a plan for her to re-direct her energy into new activities to connect with additional buyers, create new marketing initiatives, and develop new strategic partnerships. She needs to be living and breathing Plan A. She is once again “all in.”
Perhaps after we get her first business running like a well-oiled machine, she can shift her focus to the second business if this is where her passion lies. She pursued her Plan B not because she was excited about it, but because she was afraid of failing. We never want to make decisions from a place of fear. They are rarely connected to our passion, purpose, or potential. Decisions made from fear are “safety-net” decisions. Our greatest achievements and highest levels of joy are not found in the safety net, and will invariably leave us dissatisfied.
I fully support transitioning from a business – or job – that no longer aligns with our core value system or no longer fuels our passion. This is how I started my first company, Information Experts, 20 years ago while I was working full-time at another company. I worked on IE at night and on the weekends until I had enough work to quit my full-time job. This is also why I transitioned out of Information Experts and launched Successful Culture. My transition included a succession plan to other company leaders that were better aligned with the company’s present state & future state, and this enabled me to smoothly pass the baton as my role dissolved.
Neither Information Experts nor Successful Culture were ever my “Plan B’s.” They were my new Plan A’s when I discovered it was time to move on.
Do you have a Plan B? I would love to learn what is driving you to have that on the back burner. What is happening with your Plan A? What fears do you have surrounding it? What do you think Plan B will give you that Plan A can’t? Please email me at [email protected] and share your Plans.
CAVEAT: Sometimes, life throws us curveballs that knock us to the ground, and basically destroy Plans A, B, and every plan after those. This column doesn’t apply when that happens. When life pulls the rug out from under us, quite often, the biggest plan we can make is to simply make it through the day. We somehow find the faith to know that our crisis is impermanent and that our obstacles & challenges are in fact part of our bigger plan. We learn to trust the process that the chaos will eventually stop so that we can start planning again, and we realize that we do indeed have everything within us to plan for and achieve greatness.
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About Successful Culture
We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.
Ready to move forward? Email us today at [email protected]
Connect with me on Instragram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage with me during my morning Periscope sessions as well (@marissalevin).
Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”