Reinvention in 50 Easy Steps

Reboot. Reinvent. Redo.

The times they are achanging and if we don’t change along with them, we will be left behind.

I would write you a long meaty post about how and why to reinvent yourself, but James Altucher already has.

This is the part that has me coming back to this over and over and it has given me the most hope.

F) Time it takes to reinvent yourself: five years.

Here’s a description of the five years:

  • Year One: you’re flailing and reading everything and just starting to DO.
  • Year Two: you know who you need to talk to and network with. You’re Doing every day. You finally know what the monopoly board looks like in your new endeavors.
  • Year Three: you’re good enough to start making money. It might not be a living yet.
  • Year Four: you’re making a good living
  • Year Five: you’re making wealth

Sometimes I get frustrated in years 1-4. I say, “why isn’t it happening yet?” and I punch the floor and hurt my hand and throw a coconut on the floor in a weird ritual. That’s okay. Just keep going. Or stop and pick a new field. It doesn’t matter. Eventually you’re dead and then it’s hard to reinvent yourself.

I’m in year 3. This tells me there is hope at the end of this long, convoluted, scary tunnel.

It’s right about here that the real doubts kick in. That feeling of being on the wrong path, of not being worthy because the results (the money) isn’t showing. This is where all those naysayers inside and outside of my head are persistently telling me I’ve had my chance, it’s time to give up and get back into the real world and get a job.

It’s hard not to believe them. It sucks not knowing for sure. This article has given me renewed determination to keep moving forward.

How about you? Where are you in your reinvention?




Working towards creating Your Effortless Business means trying new ways. Some will work and more won’t. If we view each non-working iteration as failure, we will slowly beat ourselves up and stop trying. But, if we view each as a learning experience and a way to also find out what won’t work we can keep trying until it works.

You only fail when you give up. – Johnny B Truant

This was a revelation for me. I’ve tried many things that didn’t work, and I’d walk away disappointed. Instead, I should have took what I learned and tried the next iteration.

That’s what I’m doing with my latest project and I will post updates here for you to follow along.

A couple of things I learned while I made this series

Endless summer Summer is a great time for thinking and planning but not really for doing. I followed along, too, not just with Janet’s business, but with my own. I thought a lot about what we were doing in my other business, but I was distracted; it was a lot of material and it went by pretty quickly; people were on vacation.. Those are all the reasons I didn’t apply what we did right away.

It did work, because since then I closed one business and opened two more.

The information is not enough. We need support to help us get past some of those things that trip us up. We need accountability to help us keep moving forward.

I need response and feedback. This was a tough one for me. The hits on the website went down as the series progressed. That was disheartening. I kept going because I said I would and because I wanted to create the material, but it was hard to do while I was thinking that no one cared. I got over it.

Now I have the basics for a workbook for Your Effortless Business and the start of a novelette about Janet’s Business.

The scheduling feature in WordPress is very slick. I took the kids on a 2 week adventure in the middle of posting the series. One caveat: the time is EDT not your geographical time.

Plan your work and work your plan works. Knowing what I needed to write every day, kept me on task. I need to free-range write at times, too, but having a plan for a while and especially in the summer made for an easier summer.

I enjoy writing fiction way more than I thought I would. It’s like Steven Pressfield and Anne Lamott say, the story comes; place your hands over the keyboard and wait. Before you know it, the story comes. In this case, I did direct it somewhat because the story had to follow the 8 week course. Try it, you’ll see.

This was a wonderful experience for me. I am not a structured person, so it was a new experience as well and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

What task have you taken on lately that is out of your ordinary way of doing things? What projects have you started and finished that made you feel great about them?

Week 3 Starting – How did you do?

How did you do with starting this week?

What have you started?

What got in your way of starting?

What was easier to start than you thought it would be?

Sometimes starting just means saying yes and letting it happen. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do.

Mike helps Janet start

Mike knocked at Janet’s door at 9:30 in the evening.  “Have you been at this all day?”

“Just this evening. Most people aren’t home through the day.”

“Then, why did you need the estimates done this morning?”

“I needed to work on them today and I knew that once you got into your day, you wouldn’t have time until this evening.”
Mike handed Janet a folder. “What’s this?” Janet asked

“Your estimate. I had a friend of mine work on it to make it look more professional.”


“It’s important to look professional while running a business.”

“Mike! What happened to the estimates I did?”

“I told you to add your costs.”

“But that’s a big job. Twenty percent is a lot.”

“So I did it for you and I added some for me, too.”

“Well, we can get the next job.”

“We got this job.”

“Are you serious? They are willing to pay that much for it?”

“Of course they are. The next bid was even 20% higher than this. I had to do some fast talking to convince them you can do a great job for this price.”

“I usually don’t get these kinds of jobs. I always thought it was because I bid too high.”

“No it’s because you bid too low and you don’t come across as a professional. Here are the cheques for the deposits.”

“Deposits? Cheques? What did you do?”

“I did the same thing with both of them. I added 20% and my fee and enough to pay my friend for his graphic work on your proposal packages. We mocked these up, but you can get them printed. My friend has some ideas about estimate templates, too. As we were working through these we noticed you had a line for travel for one, but not the other. If you have a template you can make sure you never miss anything.”

“Mike, how am I going to do these jobs well enough? For these prices, they are going to expect, well I don’t even know what.”
“Janet, you are a great roofer. Your crew know what to do. As for expectations: The first people want you cleaned up and out of the way by the time they get home at about 6:30. The second family would prefer you do the work next week while they are away. Their neighbour has a key if you need anything and the cheque when you are done. Watch out for him, he’s a retired engineer just itching to do something. You may find he wants to help.” Mike said with a smile, It sounded like Mike really got to know these people.

“And they even paid deposits. I hope we can do a good enough job for that price.”

“You’ll do a great job.”

It’s Easier Not to Start

“Hi, Mike? How’s it going?”

“Oh, you know.”

“What are you doing these days?”

“A little this, a little that.”

Janet laughed. Mike was always trying new things. He always had something new on the go. Mike was a sales guy. He could sell you anything. He was constantly buying and selling and making a profit.

“I don’t know how you did it, Mike, but those 2 jobs you helped me close a few weeks back worked out better than most. They just seemed to go smoothly and then they paid me right away and thanked me. I was right there with you, but I still don’t get it.”

“Janet, mostly I listened. I listened for them to tell me what was most important to them. Remember I told you that Mr Smith was worried about his roses. You must have done a good job looking after them. A good thing, too, because I guaranteed you wouldn’t kill them. He was way more concerned with his roses than he was with the price.”

“Yes, we made a point of covering them and uncovering them every day. That was a big difficult roof. I priced it a little higher, anticipating we might run into problems and we didn’t. He came out with his cheque book as we were wrapping up and I almost told him to take 10% off, it went so smoothly.”

Mike looked horrified, “You didn’t, though, right? Tell me you didn’t.”

Janet laughed, “No, I didn’t”

“Look, Janet. You still charged less than anyone else would have. Your customers want a fair price, not the lowest price, in fact, if you are the lowest price, they wonder what is wrong with you. If you didn’t have a really good reputation, your low prices would scare people away. You need to bring your prices up.”

“I can’t look someone in the eye and tell them their job will cost x if I know it will cost less.”

“Janet, I know you love your old truck, but if you are working as hard as you are and you can’t afford a new one, you are not covering your costs. If you aren’t putting money away to replace your equipment or for retirement you are not covering your costs. Those are part of your costs of doing business. Your customers don’t want to be gouged, but they are happy to pay a fair price that covers all your costs.”

“I just want to help people. I don’t think I can do this. I’m comfortable with the way things are. If I increase my prices, people will expect more.”

“I’ll tell you what. You write up your estimates and add 20%. Tell your customers your associate will stop by with the estimate and I’ll close the sales for you. Just to show you it will work.”

“Yes, but, Mike,  if I need that money for new equipment and everything, how will I pay you?”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll add my fee on top.”

“Add 20% and then you’ll add even more? That won’t work”

“Trust me, Janet. It will work.”

The Joy of the Start

“I have this new idea for a business.”

Thinking about starting

How many times a day do entrepreneurs say that? We see life as full of opportunity. I don’t know about you, but I could start a new business every week – if I had the time, the team, the resources and the guts to fail at 50% of them. Dreaming about new ventures releases those endorphins. Our brains react as though we are doing it, not just thinking about it. It gives us a rush.

Starting the mundane tasks

Starting, per se, isn’t that hard. I dash off emails initiating meetings, projects and ideas all the time. That isn’t so hard. (Follow-up is a discussion for another day.) The employees’ handbook? The client intake form? To stop checking email, to pass on some tasks, to create a training plan for staff. These kinds of starts aren’t as much fun. So they don’t get started.

Stopping to start

Hand in hand with starting, is stopping. Starting something means clearing away other projects. It’s amazing how much we can not do if we just don’t. It’s amazing how easy it is to pass on tasks if we take the time to set it up right.

Delayed start

“Effortless Business! That’s what I need. I just want to get this business running smoothly. I have projects I want to do.”
We have this vision of a mythical time when our lives will finaly be all in order, and then, oh then, we can be free to do the fun projects we’ve always wanted to do.

I’ve got news for you. That time will never come. There is always more to do. So if you want to work on that project.

Start it. Now.

Set aside the first hour of every day for your fun projects. That hour will do more for fueling your energy, creativity, thinking and patience than anything else you can do.  You’ll find you tolerate the way your business is run less and you will start making the changes you need to make. Just so you can get back to the fun stuff.

The worst that will happen is that you figure out how to spend your whole days with your fun projects.

Never mind that voice saying you must eat your veggies before you can have desert. Eat desert first. You’ll enjoy it more.

What project do you have on the back burner that you want to start?

Week 3 – Activity


Planning is fun and easy and exciting. Starting means work.

Planning doesn’t get you anywhere; working does.

Ready, fire, aim! says, Michael Masterson


The more starting you do, the better you get at it. Practice starting.

Starting Worksheet

Week 3 – Starting

Ah the start.

Starting can be the hardest part. We have to leave the safe harbour of the dream state and head out into the stormy waters of reality. We find out if we were right or not. Our ideas, dreams and assumptions bump up against reality; against unknown forces.

Starting means committing. We are saying we are doing this, even if it is only to ourselves. We like feeling we are consistent, so it is difficult to stop once we have started.

It means choices have been made to not start other things. We have rejected some options and we have chosen others. Choices collapse. We could be shutting the door forever on some options. We only have so much time, so if we are starting something new, it means we are giving up something. It could be sleep, family, tv or exercise. IT doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad for us, we are giving up doing something else.

Starting leads directly to success and/or failure; both of which can be very scary. Now that we have started, we will find out if we have what it takes. It’s now up to us. Once we start, we find out about ourselves.

Starting takes effort, thought, energy and time. Now we have to do the work. We have to break through inertia. It’s easier not to do anything than to do it.

It’s much easier not to start.  It’s so much easier to plan, to dream, to test assumptions than to pick one option and do it.

Starting before we are sure of the outcome, is uncertain and we don’t like uncertainty.  We like guarantees. We like to know what to expect. Starting in the face of uncertainty takes courage.

Nothing changes; nothing happens until we start. This week we are starting.