2 years ago today I Quit my Job

2 years ago today I jumped. Left the security and comfort of the regular career. Left good opportunities for the unknown. I made a bet on myself and my brothers.

On the one hand I can’t believe it has only been 2 years since my brother John and I both quit our ‘real’ jobs and jumped all in at Pope Tech. On the other hand it is crazy to think that it has already been 2 years, time is flying.

We have done so much since then. We have hired additional employees, created new partnerships, worked with amazing people, grown, struggled, learned and ultimately been very successful at hitting the goals I had personally and the goals we had as a company. Even if it didn’t happen the way we thought it would, we kept trying and iterating until we got there, but it has happened and it has been 2 great years.

Congratulations to myself! Congratulations John!

It wasn’t certain that we would land here, but we jumped and have learned a lot in the process. Here are 4 things I have learned in the last 2 years.

 

If a goal is truly challenging, you will be off course most of the time, but ultimately reach it.

Let me say that again. If a goal is truly challenging, you will be off course most of the time, but ultimately reach it.

Stephen Covey compared this to a flight. If at any one point you looked at where that plane was going on its flight from Salt Lake to San Antonio and projected where it would end up most of the time it would be off. But because the goal is set to land in San Antonio the combination of the computer system and the pilot constantly make minor corrections to compensate for weather, wind etc to keep the plane headed to its destination. The plane is off the majority of the time but still reaches its destination, and usually on time if it takes off on time.

I find this to be true in running a company and life. If we set a specific goal and focus on it we can get there even though at any one point we know there are some things that are off. We just have to constantly make corrections and keep the end in mind. We never would have planned the exact corrections, we just knew we wanted to get there.

 

To keep on course 100% of the time isn’t realistic, but you can keep the focus all the time. And make corrections as needed.

 

In July at Open West Conference we were sitting around our booth talking about figuring out some technical challenge and one of our clients who was by the booth said something like, ‘Well that’s the Pope Tech way isn’t it? Trying and trying until you succeed.”  I realized yeah, that is true. That is exactly how we have gown and taken on greater and greater operational and technical challenges. Sometimes we didn’t have too much more than a goal, determination and a few ideas to get started.

 

Action is always the first step

You have to get off the ground before you can make any progress.

When you are starting a company, a new brand, a new product, improving a process, engineering your life or whatever it is, the first step is always action.

What is one thing you wish would change about your business? Take one step today to improve it, and one more tomorrow. Slow and incremental steps are fine as long as you are taking steps. Planning is an action but it can’t be the only action. Plan a step or two and start walking.

 

What is one thing you wish would change about your business?

 

Action is always the first step. Rarely can you have it all perfectly planned out.. in fact I don’t think you should even try. When creating something new it doesn’t work that way. Instead think more of frameworks over plans.

The best planning is more milestone driven and not micromanaging yourself. (The same is true for team planning as well). Give yourself the freedom to reach your potential. Just put down milestones along the way that cause you to check in and make sure you are either on track or going down a different better path that you have conscientiously chosen.

The framework can be a pattern you set for checking in, evaluating progress, learning, changing, and iterating. This tends to be much more productive and valuable than planning it all out.

 

Ask for feedback, early and often

I was listening to The Smart Passive Income Podcast this past week and Pat was talking about business validation with Noah. Their advice is to just start doing something, ask if someone wants it, ask if they will pay, if not what would they pay for or what do they want.

 

Ask! Get feedback iterate.

 

Some of the bigger things I would do differently  or wish I hadn’t done are because I didn’t follow that advice. Mentors are great, user testing is great, surveys can help.. ask questions. You don’t have to follow it all but the better the questions are the less wasted effort you will have.

If you go to the closet to try and create a perfect process, product etc you will waste time and not have the best solution. In development terms this is often referred to as agile development, be agile in your life and business development as well.

 

Synergy is better

Who wants to do it alone? You can get there eventually but there are people who have done things similar to what I am doing, and they often are willing to help. Mentors are good, I like my partners. Partners might not be for everyone and having my 6 brothers and my wife as partners might sound insane but that has been amazing. The right partners can save you. They might be actual business partners, mentors, clients or whoever, but it helps to have people around who are invested in you and your vision.

We have grown to a point to take the next steps, to level up. Each new level brings more challenges and more opportunities. Excited for the next 2 years.