I got the year wrong but everything else is going great.

April 2017 Commitments

Commitments, Course, Constraints, Challenges.

This is the first in a planned series of posts detailing what I’m after and what I can do. Feel free to follow along (or not).

Chandler Bolt inspires me. He and I haven’t met and we’ve only barely interacted. But he’s influenced and inspired me to think bigger for myself and to accelerate my timetable. And to be deliberate about what I want.

He’s posted about some big goals that he had in February, and posted his results even though they weren’t perfect:

This stuff moves me. How can it not move you? A life was changed in big ways in a month. In the open. How can you not love that?

Putting a target on yourself.

Because pressure is a privilege.

I’ve been inspired the recap posts that Nathan Barry, Pat Flynn have done over the years.  And, of course, Groove. Oh, for that level of transparency!

The reason I haven’t done this?

  1. Fear that it won’t go well.
  2. Not wanting to expose myself (A month is an erratic time).

Ramit Sethi tweeted this some time ago and it rang true:


Yup. I’ve shied away from transparency because of this reason. Sometimes you fall off the wagon, sometimes your pursuit was half-hearted.

I made some mistakes in my business. The mistakes weren’t the problem, the mistakes set a path where I then made some excuses to follow the mistakes. The hangover, or the fact that the mistakes followed me around. Enough.

It’s time to think bigger…and to pursue really big goals that will change my life and the life of the people around me.

The two (large goals) I am after:

  1. To be debt free in my personal and business life. This includes my mortgage. This creates a revenue goal for Simplifilm of around $60,000 per month. That’s a doable level for a solo guy.
  2. To have a 32” waist. This will require I lose about 75#, and it will require that I’m in good shape.

These are the overall goals that I’m chasing right now. I want to hit both of these this year.

These are public commitments then.

Of course, winners make systems. I admire my wife’s dedication to her fitness goal. So for me, I have to develop the habits to support these goals.

I’ve identified 4 “C”s to help with this:

  1. Commitments: What you’re going to do.
  2. Constraints Values you won’t sacrifice to meet your commitments.
  3. Course: The path you’ll take to get there.
  4. Challenges:. The main obstacles that you’ll have to overcome.

April’s Commitments:

I want to stretch to see what’s actually possible. I want to be better and more this month than I’ve been in a long time. I want to focus on what I can do, and swing hard, swing big.

Because I’ve been playing small. Playing just to take care of bills. Playing just to hang out and stay in the game. None of that is particularly compelling.

  1. I’ll lose 20# of fat this month. This supports the overall goal of earning a 32” waist
  2. I’ll contract $100,000 in new fee-based/service based work. This supports the goal of being debt free.

    A. I’ll deliver $60,000 in work. This is part of commitment #2

    B. I’ll collect $80,000 in revenue. Another part of commitment #2

  3. I’ll get 4 new clients for I Close Your Deals This creates income diversity for the 2nd time and first time in a while.

Some of this I’ve had to figure out. Naturally, right now we’re scheduled to deliver $55,000 in revenue without doing a lot, so adding $25,000 will be hard.

How I’m keeping score for deliveries (At Simplifilm). (The score matters once).

1/3 of the revenue is delivered on contract
1/3 is delivered on delivery of script
1/3 is delivered at Advance Version.

At ICYD, we’ll generate roughly $10,000 in fee income, and hopefully 10,000 in commission income.

April’s Course:

Commitment #1: 20# Fat Loss

For the first part, (20# fat), I’ll do the following:

  • Paleo (like) diet. I’ll afford myself a little more fruit and a little bit of dairy, but I will to stay on target with this. I’ll eat till I’m full and maybe a little bored.
    • 1LB of vegetables each day.
    • Beans, Greens & Proteins make 90% of my calories
  • Prep food every Saturday (mmm, love the Traeger) and Wednesday (when needed). Freezer = Friend.
  • Cheat day on Friday nights (let’s have some pizza!). But only Friday nights.
  • Cardio 3x weekly. (One HITT, one Tempo, one LISS)
  • Walking to and from Starbucks (if I go to Starbucks).
  • 10,000 steps a day.
  • Lifting 3x weekly on plan (all five muscle groups worked)
  • Racquetball 2x weekly (Oh, how I love Racquetball!)
  • Sleep 7 hours or more each day.

Load on my schedule: 90 minutes to meal prep, 60 minutes to shop, 3×90 minutes for cardio, 3×90 for lifting, 2 x 120 minutes for racquetball. = 930 minutes/week. This is 15 hours of my week (168 total hours) dedicated to fitness and diet. This is certainly doable.  I’m doing some of it anyway.

That’s the main plan, and I’ve got this week’s food prepped for launch.

I also have to write down my workouts. It’s only 12 weight workouts, as I know more or less what I’m supposed to do each day.

Commitment #2: 100k in new fee-based (not commission-based) work.

For the $100k in work, I’ll pursue the following path.

  • Prospect 3x weekly for 90 minutes via phone (2 Simplifilm, 1 ICYD)
  • Prospect 3x weekly via social media for 60 minutes.
  • Prospect 3x weekly via email & text: (2 Simplifilm, one ICYD)
  • Send at least 250,000 in proposals out, and get the next commitments.
  • Complete a basic funnel and email sequence for my list (write one good email/day)
  • Write & promote 2 blog posts per week at each site (Simplifilm and ICYD)
  • Re-do the front page of the site.

Email prospecting is different than MailChimp prospecting. Vastly different.

The schedule load here is:

  • Prospecting: 90 x 30 = 270 minutes
  • Social Prospecting: 60 x 3 = 180 minutes
  • Email/Text Prospecting: 60 x 3 = 180 minutes
  • Email writing: 5x 60 = 300 minutes
  • Blog Writing & Promotion: 3 hours x 2 = 540 minutes/week.

Total load here = 1470 = 24.5 hours a week in prospecting related activities.

Constraint:. This work must be done by 1pm to free up my afternoons for both Fitness and ICYD. I’ve got to get up at 5am so I have to do this.

Challenge: There is some definite plumbing work needed on Simplifilm to make this work right and get some value.

Another thing I’ll do is post my results here. Appointments, proposals, etc.

I also think that in broad strokes, I’m going to batch my activities. In the mornings, I’ll write. At 8am I’ll help the kids for an hour, and from 9-12 I’ll prospect.

I also will need to create a schedule and have a lunatic commitment to it. Like I’m punching a clock and if I am not exactly where I need to be when the bell rings, it’s just too damned bad.

This will allow for some good work.

Commitment 3: Get 4 new paid clients for ICYD

We’re going to focus ICYD on 4 areas:

  • Freelancers/Designers
  • Coaches
  • SaaS businesses
  • Agencies

For April, it’s all about the freelancer. We’ll sign 10 up and work out all the systems so they are all booked for months.

Paid clients are defined as freelancers that advance us $2500 in future commissions (engagement guarantee) we charge for working together. This doesn’t count anyone trading a case study for work or anything similar (we have some of that happening).

This will be challenging, but I will need to have about 10 appointments to do this. It’s what my afternoons, largely, are for.

Here I’ll have to spend 10 hours a week developing the agreements, service descriptions and doing client research. We’re ready to take verbal agreements now, but we’re not ready to do the rest. This will require 2 hours (total) of project planning to begin. I’ll spend $150 building a list and the plumbing at ICYD.CO to make this work. This puts my “load” at 34.5 hours a week.

I have 15 hours to run meetings, do creative work and pitch clients. I can live with that.

April’s Constraints

Constraints put limits on things. I’m not a believer in the Cult of Hustle (though I like to hustle.). Endurance has diminishing returns. Work has diminishing returns. So we can’t do too much.

So I’m going to put some major constraints on these commitments. Because that’s what I need to make them work.

  1. I won’t work more than 50 hours a week, all in. Trading time for $ is not where I want to be. Trading time for $$$$ is more palatable. I won’t have a load of more than 1/2 that time.
  2. I won’t miss any family activities. I’m working hard to reconnect with my family .
  3. No projects under $10,000. Sometimes it’s fine and possible to take lower dollar projects on. We’ve had success with them in the past, and God knows, most of our projects have been in the category. But. They have been unsatisfactory on all accounts, and generally not profitable.
  4. Only 1 Rush Delivery: Our work has been injured by doing too many rush deliveries. That creates a pace that’s unpleasant, unsustainable, and a job I don’t want. We’ll fix that.
  5. Done At 1pmThis is the big one.. I want all of my Simplifilm work to be done by 1pm so I can focus on ICYD. Without this constraint I’m lost.
  6. I’ll Read for at least 10 hours each week. I have slipped some in this area, and reading is the soul of my successes.
  7. I’ll finish both the LinkedIn course as well as the SPTC courses that I paid for.

April’s Challenges:

We want to address what we have got to overcome. These are the possible roadblocks.

  1. Fat Loss: I’m not in phenomenal shape at the moment. I can’t do 2-a-days like my wife does. I have to be consistent with the cardio AND racquetball and have a planned day of rest. I’ve also entered with a tender back from doing too much racquetball too soon (hence me cutting it to 2 days).
  2. Meal Planning is tedious. My back-up lunch plan (if I’m not eating what I’ve prepped) is to go to Fiesta and get a Fiesta salad (no chips). That’s a steak salad with avocado. I have to do the prep/planning every day if this is going to work.
  3. Prospecting is always hard. It requires mental fortitude to do it daily. It’s always easy to make up excuses not to.
  4. The Shiny: It’s easy to get lost in the plumbing when writing/thinking/doing new things.
  5. Focus: I’ll have to switch gears a few times a week so I’ll have to build a schedule that will support this with a high degree of focus.
  6. Batching: Early rising is a linchpin. I can’t do this if I don’t get up, so I have to go to bed. Getting to sleep early has been tough lately.
  7. Goal Fatigue.  It feels a little bit like “I’ve heard it all before/sounds nice dear,” and we have to do better when it comes to this stuff.

What Winning Means

This is a big step for me and knocks the rust off. It creates long-term stability. I’ve been adrift since sometime in Fall 2015, (when I was living separated from my family) and I need to shake that off and play big again. I find that I had something like a midlife crisis.

I had a big win in Feb, and march looks good. I’m set for more wins.

Getting back to 2015 income levels – with dramatically less overhead – will be a godsend as well as I will be able to retire the very last of Simplifilm’s debts and pay myself $20k +/-. I don’t have the same “growth at any cost” mindset that I had then, so I’ll be grateful (I hope) for the revenue and journey.

Winning this will give me momentum that I’ll use to fuel everything else I do.

Looking forward to May’s goals (may change):

In May, I plan to hire an account manager so I can be at a remove from the deliverables. This will cut my hours worked by about 12 per week at Simplifilm. In June, then, I’d plan to hire a full-time sales guy.

Onward.  It’s opening day.

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Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is writing this blog. He's a startup veteran, having built a company called Simplifilm. This blog is about things that he's starting to - but may not actually - think yet. It publishes irregularly.

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