Boxing and Packaging Helped My Breathing
Boxing and Packaging Helped My Breathing
I am always leery of folks that say things are a certain way above and in spite of what I see in front of me. So I can sympathize with anyone who is skeptical of my thoughts on stewardship and investing. My challenge to you is to remember that in most cases when it comes to money, specifically being a good stewardship of resources, it's rarely a binary argument - the answer sits more like a stew in that it needs a little bit of a lot of things to be good.
I truly believe that the meta narrative is binary between those who create/leverage and sell the narrative, and the herd. And oh, the poor herd... so guilty of buying false narratives. It really is a hook, line and sinker tale.
If you are struggling with your skepticism, go back to my blog US - part 2 and click the link to watch the Debt Collapse video by Mike Maloney. Give the info a rest and watch it again - then give it a rest and write down on a piece of paper (using separate lines for each question) the areas that you don't understand and the areas that cause you anxiety.
I did the same thing. Twice.
I did it and then went looking for the answers to relieve my anxieties and questions - it look almost a decade but it worked, it was the front door to freeing myself of what I call the Debt Narrative.
I think that skepticism and grit is at the heart of what a versatilist brings to the table - the ability to unpack a narrative, test it for resilience and efficacy and gain an understanding for the top factors contributing to its strength.
It's the understanding of the top contributing factors that give the Versatilits the advantage.
Ex. let's use a music industry narrative... back in the day the message sold to everyone was, "Move to Nashville, network your butt off, play showcases and get signed to a label. The label will be the catalyst for your career." It seems silly to even say it now because so many people have been eye witnesses to the demise of so many labels. But here's the thing, if you were like most people you would have bought this hook, line and sinker and now would be in litigation trying to get out of a lopsided contract with a label or worse than that, you would have been saddled with $20-$50k in debt from paying out your unfulfilled contract with the label. It's a sad but true tale. It happened over and over and you would think musicians would have learned but because we are sheep we are just looking for the next well-made-suit to try on, the next package to buy and the next narrative to be sold.
I watched it, lived it with friends and thank God didn't fall victim to it. It would have crushed me. My only advantage for not buying into that narrative was my financial education.
I could see that money was being strangled in the markets and disposable income was dropping pre-2008. I didn't know that music would be free (I'm no prophet) but I did see that a label was structured just like a bank and banks don't lose money. The debt and weight of those loans fell on those who sat on the lowest rungs of the ladder, the musician. But, as the internet grew and social media became as necessary as breathing it gave musicians an alternative to labels. We could be the masters of our own fate and decide our own destiny in getting our music out.
We just had to know our music and master a few areas of business - not to wear many hats and wear ourselves out but to know how to package the areas of our business that could be done cheaper and more efficiently by others.
Michael E. Gerber tells this tale in his book, The E-Myth, and recommends a franchise mentality for his reader, where you and I would take steps to package our business in such a way that an outsider, a regulator as I like to call them, can step in and help regulate the flow of work in our business.
As a songwriter and musician, I know that I cannot turn over my craft to someone else to do, but I can package up the different parts of my business in hopes that when I meet a trusted person I can then hand over that part for them to run, whether it be a manager, booking agent, promoter, etc. Wearing all the hats in your line of work may be good and even necessary for a season - it's admirable to hold all things together but this lifestyle could be the antithesis to a long and healthy business and life. It's certainly counter productive to any ideas of financial freedom.
A good sole proprietor/entrepreneur has to recognize Gerber's argument to "franchise" is to discover the path to the true freedoms of self employment. You may have heard the sentiment, "The obstacle is the way forward". Well, it may be time to label and tackle the obstacles in your business's longevity - it's a great first step in stabilizing your personal finances and building margin into your life. But for a moment, let's pretend that your own organization or lack of organization is the obstacle. Just like packing your house for a move, ask yourself if are you ready to package up the different aspects of your business... are things packaged up in a way that you can easily hand off your work to trusted regulators? Boxing and packaging is a Kondo-licious exercise in simplicity but also so freeing when you get to recover some brain space to meditate/consider your business and life from 50,000 feet again.
Take inventory, make lists, seek counsel and partition. Then do it again (and maybe one more time). Now it's time to embrace your core competency and get help in moving the rest of the packages out of your personal space.
As always, if any of these concepts require greater explanation, please reach out if you think I can be of help to you. I'd be excited to dive into the gears of your business and life and help you push through.