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How to Eliminate Options and Find Opportunities
11th August 2015 • Hack the Entrepreneur • Jon Nastor
00:00:00 00:34:17

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My guest today is a Canadian supermom of five, personal development coach, public speaker and the author of What You Focus On Grows.

Between 1995 and 2005, my guest was the Founder and President of Upward Motion and created the web-based assessment tool, Real Estate Simulator.

She is now the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and owner of JournalEngine Software. My guest designed the Frame of Mind Coaching program to provide her clients with a powerful foundation, which enables them to develop and apply the skill of deliberate thought directly to achieving higher levels of success.

Now, let’s hack …

Kim Ades.

In this 34-minute episode Kim Ades and I discuss:

  • Why you need to keep trying and never give up on your passion
  • The power of adding new spokes to an old wheel
  • How and why to pilot an idea before jumping in
  • Becoming okay with not being right

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The Show Notes

The Transcript

How to Eliminate Options and Find Opportunities

Jonny Nastor: Hack the Entrepreneur is part of Rainmaker.FM, the digital business podcast network. Find more great shows and education at Rainmaker.FM.

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Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now, here is your host, Jon Nastor.

Jonny Nastor: Hey, hey. Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. It’s so very cool of you to join me again today. I am your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny.

My guest today is a Canadian super mom of five, personal development coach, public speaker, and the author of What You Focus on Grows.

Between 1995 and 2005, my guest was the co-founder and president of Upward Motion and created the web assessment tool called Real Estate Simulator. She is now the president and founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the owner and creator of JournalEngine software.

My guest designed the Frame of Mind Coaching program to provide her clients with the powerful foundation which enables them to develop and apply the skills of deliberate thought directly to achieving higher levels of success.

Now, let’s hack Kim Ades.

Before we get started, I want to thank today’s sponsor, 99designs. If you’re like many listeners, you’re in the early stages of getting your business off the ground. Your to-do list may seem like it’s a mile long, but there’s one task you should tackle sooner than later: your branding.

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Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. Today, we not only have an extra special guest, but we have another extra special Canadian guest. I love this. Kim, welcome to the show.

Kim Ades: Thank you. I’m really looking forward to this call.

Jonny Nastor: Excellent. Me too. Let’s jump straight into it. Kim, as an entrepreneur, can you tell me what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?

Why You Need to Keep Trying and Never Give Up on Your Passion

Kim Ades: I think the biggest thing I do that has contributed to my success is that I keep trying. Honestly, as much as I’ve been kicked, as much as I fall, I just keep getting up. I keep reinventing a different wheel, a better wheel, a wheel with more spokes, a wheel with bigger tires. I just keep trying.

Jonny Nastor: I love it. Have you always had that within you that just totally something doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, yet you’re just, “I’m going to try again”?

Kim Ades: Historically, I used to own another company in the past, many years ago. I was responsible for sales and marketing, and I used to be called ‘The Bulldog.’ I would latch on to a person’s pant leg and not let go until I got what I wanted. I was known for that. My style has changed. I’m not as aggressive. I’m a little kinder.

Jonny Nastor: It’s probably good.

Kim Ades: But I’m just as persistent until I find something that works.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. How do we know when something works? How do we know when something doesn’t work? Do we?

The Power of Adding New Spokes to an Old Wheel

Kim Ades: Yeah, of course. When something doesn’t work, you’re frustrated. You look at the results, and you go, “This should be better. I’m putting so much effort into this, and my ROI doesn’t add up.” That could be with a new program you’re launching. It could be with training you’re developing. It could be with advertising you’re trying. It could be with anything. It could be simply with how you’re spending your time day, by day, by day, by day. It could be who you’re talking to, who your prospects are, and whether or not they buy and if they’re the right target market.

After you do what you’re doing for a little bit, you have to step back and evaluate it and decide if that makes sense. “Is that working? If not, what do I need to tweak? What do I need to change? What do I need to make better? What do I need to stop doing? What do I need to keep doing? What do I need to try that’s different?” At the end of the day, that is entrepreneurship as far as I’m concerned.

Jonny Nastor: I think you’re right.

Kim Ades: Yes.

Jonny Nastor: All right. You run a great coaching company now, coaching business, and you had businesses prior, but I want to go back a little bit further than that if we can. There seems to be this time in every entrepreneur’s life when they realize one of two things. Either they have calling to change the world in some big way or, as mostly seems to be the case, they find they simply cannot work for somebody else. Kim, can you tell me which side of the fence you fall on, and when you discovered this about yourself?

Kim Ades: Honestly, I sit right in the middle.

Jonny Nastor: Nice.

Kim Ades: I’ve sat right in the middle since the get-go. When I was young, I used to dream about moving to South Africa or Ethiopia and starting a school. Those kinds of things. I always has that desire to change the world. Having said that, certainly, what had me starting this company was working for someone else and feeling like I couldn’t breathe.

I was hired by a coaching company. I was in there, and I thought, “This is going to be the most perfect thing. Their values are a complete match for me,” but when I got in, stated values and executed values were two different things. I just clashed with everything. What do you call it? A bull in a China shop — I just did not fit. It was awful.

Finally, at the end, I sat down with one of the partners in the company, and he said, “I’d like to talk about your future with the company.” I said, “Is it over yet?” That was my reaction. You can’t imagine the relief I felt when I left. I am an entrepreneur through and through. It’s in my blood. It’s in my history. It’s in my genes. It’s everywhere, and I am not designed to work for others.

Jonny Nastor: Wow. I love it. “Is it over yet?” I love that, but then you’re walking out. Your final day as an employee, and now you have to go make it on your own. Was there any reluctance in you, or was it just pure joy?

Kim Ades: Honestly, I didn’t think in that moment, “Here’s what I’m going to do next.” It wasn’t that well-planned out, but for me, the relief I felt leaving that place was enormous — physical relief, mental relief, every kind of relief you could think of. I was just free of the shackles. One of the things, I had to be there eight in the morning. I have two kids, so that meant I had to bring my kids to day care for 7:30. I was a single mom at the time. Trying to get those kids up to daycare for that time of the day and getting myself to work, it was just no fun. “I’m not enjoying my life here.” Just the reduction of that stress alone was a huge relief. Huge.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. I love it. I think a lot of people can probably relate to that. Especially then having the two kids, being a single mom, most people would think that they can’t make that leap at that point, so I’m really glad to hear that you did. It seems like you’ve made the right choice.

Kim Ades: I felt like there’s no other option. If you want me to die an early death, keep me here. There was no other option for me. I just had to go. I had to go.

Jonny Nastor: Awesome. I love it. All right. Your one thing that you do is you keep trying. You can get kicked. You can fall, and you’ll just get back up. You’ll reinvent the wheel. You’ll add more spokes if you need to. Now, every blog post, every expert talks about 80/20 rule. I’m sure you’ve heard this. Do 20 percent. Get 80 percent of the results. Do what you’re good at, and delegate the rest. Kim, can you tell me something that you’re absolutely not good at in your business?

How Self-Awareness Helps You Move Forward

Kim Ades: Anything administrative. I give away everything related to accounting, bookkeeping, invoicing, collecting money. Anything like that, it’s out of my hands, out of my office. I get my monthly reports. Very much that’s it. That’s one thing for sure. The other thing is technology issues. I own a software company, and I outsource. In other words, I have someone here who takes care of it. I don’t look at it at all.

The other thing is more and more now, when I look at sales and marketing, there are bits and pieces where I clearly am the voice of the company. Nobody, at this point, can quite step into those shoes, but there are lots of other bits and pieces where lots of other people can easily take over. I am really determined to give away as much as I can.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. I love it. I love owning a software company and not knowing the technology side and not having that stop you from owning a software company.

Kim Ades: Yes.

Jonny Nastor: That’s brilliant. I love it.

Kim Ades: It’s my second round at that. The first time, I sold my company and did quite well.

Jonny Nastor: Wow. There was so no hesitation. Anything administrative, you are not good at.

Kim Ades: No.

Jonny Nastor: Do you feel like maybe you realized this too late in your business?

Kim Ades: No.

Jonny Nastor: Because I find that lots of times, we hold on to things. We think, “No, I’m really good at this.” Then, it really takes something to just show us. That self-awareness is hard, right?

Kim Ades: For me, personally, I could work from home. The minute I decided to be in business is the minute I found that admin person, the minute I had an office space and put that admin person in the office right beside mine. In my mind, I had so many doubts about my ability to do admin that I wouldn’t actually have taken the action to do anything from a business perspective without an admin.

Jonny Nastor: Wow. That’s great. That self-awareness is key to know those things about yourself.

Kim Ades: I don’t know if that’s self-awareness, or self-doubt, or fear, or terror, to be honest.

Jonny Nastor: I guess so. From the outside, it seems like, to know those things I feel like our egos get a hold of it.

Kim Ades: Yes. No, for me, it was like, “I can’t do this. I need someone to help me,” right from the beginning.

Jonny Nastor: That’s excellent. Then, the technology I guess was the same way. You wanted to create software, and you realized you couldn’t do it.

Kim Ades: Oh, I knew. Again, from the get-go, I hired a good friend who helped me find a software developer. How do you interview a software developer when you don’t even know what question to ask? How do you know if they’re good? I didn’t know. I had no idea.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. Did you at all think that maybe you should find a co-founder to do software other than just hiring someone?

Kim Ades: No. No. No. No. No.

Jonny Nastor: No?

Kim Ades: No.

Jonny Nastor: You’re not of that sort of frame of mind?

Kim Ades: I had partners in my past business. I had two partners. One of them is my ex-husband, so this time around, I didn’t want a co-owner. I really didn’t, and I was pretty clear about that.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. All right. If we can, let’s move into projects. ‘Projects’ is a loose term. It can be the software you wanted to create or just a new direction you want to take your business in. Can you walk me through, is there a process that you have now to decide whether or not you should take on a new project within your business?

How and Why to Pilot an Idea Before Jumping In

Kim Ades: At the beginning, I think that I took on all kinds of things that weren’t necessarily all good fits. I experimented a lot. I still experiment a lot. I’m by nature an experimenter. However, now, I’m a lot more scrupulous. I’m able to see something and say, “This fits or does not fit with our market, our future, our goals, our intentions,” and I’m able to eliminate a lot of the potential projects from my field of vision — which is super important. Otherwise, my eyes could be everywhere.

Eliminating a lot of options is important, surprisingly enough. Oftentimes, when you tell someone, “Eliminate your options,” you think about eliminating opportunities. I think it’s very important. What I’ve learned over time is focus on those opportunities or projects that are a match for where you are heading. Otherwise, you just spend a lot of time, resources, money, and you end up being scattered. You end up doing nothing well. That’s number one.

Number two is, even as I evaluate projects and look at them, a very important strategy I have used since the very beginning is to pilot an idea, so try it. Try it on a small scale. See what works. See what doesn’t work. Lower your risk. Experiment. Learn. Come back to the drawing table. Fix. Adjust, and then decide whether or not to move forward.

That has always been my strategy — even when it comes to partnerships. We have lots of partnerships, but they don’t all get established from the very, very beginning. I usually experiment first, test out smaller ideas, and see what it’s like to work with someone else. If it does work, then I want to step it up a notch, and then another notch, and then another notch.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. I really like that. Do you feel that it’s just a natural progression to go from jumping on ideas really quickly at the start to, as you say, becoming more scrupulous now with your ideas and your time? Can you start a business, or start in entrepreneurship even like your first business, and not be like that?

Kim Ades: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: You know what I mean? It just seems like...





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