Building a business, sorting out mornings

Day 6: What are my three priorities for the next 30 days that will move me closer towards living life on my own terms?

There are two parts to this: firstly, I need to build a business that will enable me to live life on my own terms, and for me this means an online business I can run from anywhere. Secondly, I need to look for small ways I can move closer towards my ideal lifestyle right now.

Building my online business

I’ve been playing with some ideas for travel/social websites and/or apps for a few years now but have only recently taken them seriously. Recently I completed Escape the City’s ‘Start-up MBA’ course, which has really inspired me to get started.

Run over two weekend, the course was heavily based on Eric Ries’ book ‘The Lean Startup’ To sum up in a sentence or two, the idea is that the main goal of a startup is to learn. Much like in a scientific experiment, you should first work out a series of hypotheses on which the proposed business model rests and then conduct a series of experiments to test these hypotheses. This involves releasing a ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP) – a version of your product which will let you get the feedback you need with the minimum amount of development time. This minimises the risk of spending two years building a beautiful product that no one wants to buy. Makes sense, right?

We were also introduced to the ‘business model canvas’, which is a simple visual template to help you figure out your business model.

Based on this and some other stuff we covered, the key steps I’ll be taking to develop my business idea(s) are the following:

  • Sketch out up to three business model canvases for possible businesses.
  • Sketch three business model canvases for competitors – this will help me avoid reinventing the wheel but also work out my key points of differentiation.
  • Revisit the business models in light of the above information, make adjustment and pick ONE business to explore further. (I have quite a few ideas, but it’s time to pick one and do something with it!)
  • Work out the key hypotheses I need to test.
  • Start talking to potential customers through this blog, guest blogging, talking to current contacts and going to meetups.

Small lifestyle changes

Looking again at my day 5 post about my perfect day, I noticed a few themes that came through: the sunshine, being near water, relaxed start to the day. Unfortunately, I can’t do much about the lack of sunshine in Britain in October, but what I can do is:

  • Sort out my mornings: the first time I did this visualisation exercise (I have done it before), I was actually quite surprised that I came up with such a ‘hippy’ morning, given that I’m a typical ‘type A’ personality. But given that I’m not a morning person, in an ideal world I’d be able to start my day in a calm, slow and relaxed way so I could ease myself gently into the day. There are three things I’m going to do to move closer to the picture:
    • Set my clock/radio to a different radio station – currently I wake up to Kiss FM (if you’re not from London, it’s a commercial dance music station), which is great when I’m getting dressed, but the inane conversation when I’m just waking up is starting to grate. I need to find something a bit more relaxing (as long as it still wakes me up)!
    • Do 15 minutes of yoga first thing in the morning three times a week. I’ve recently downloaded an app for my tablet so I can do this.
    • Have some fresh fruit in my breakfast at least three times a week.
  •  Spend more time near to water

I have always found it calming to be near to water. Ideally I’d be near the sea – one of the key reasons I loved living in Barcelona. Right now I’m in Brixton – an inner city area of London nowhere near the river. However, there is a lovely lido in the park about a five minute walk away. It’s not open for swimming in the winter, but there is a cafe next door, with a view over the pool, which is open all year round.

Currently I work from home on Fridays, which gives me a bit of a taste of the location independent life. Often I don’t leave the house, but when I do go out to a cafe I enjoy it so much more.

So, my commitment is to spend at least half an hour a week beside water. In most cases this will mean me visiting the cafe at Brockwell Lido

So, to sum up, the three things I will do over the next 30 days are:

1.            Pick a business idea to run with

2.            Start talking to customers

3.            Get a bit more calm into my life through sorting out mornings and spending more time near to water.

I’ll let you know how it goes! How about you? What can you do in the next 30 days to move closer to your ideal life?

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