Execution In Your 1-Person Business

Aug 4, 2022 | by Scott

This is part 4 “EXECUTE” in a 4-part series outlining a framework for keeping your 1-Person business straightforward and manageable. 

The framework is simple:

  1. Eliminate
  2. Automate
  3. Delegate
  4. Execute

It might seem as though there wouldn’t be much to say about execution at this point. After all, it’s “do the work” you haven’t eliminated, automated, or delegated right? 

It’s true, what’s left are the things you’re good at, enjoy, or feel compelled to do. But it’s also important to remember to work on the business as well as in it.

There’s no good way to cover everything you might be executing on. After all, that depends on the type of business you run and your particular skills and interests. So instead I’ll focus on a few high-level things that most 1-person business owners will still do, in addition to whatever is core to your business. 

10 Strategic Things to Execute On and Seven Things to Avoid

  1. Growth
  2. Strategy
  3. People Management
  4. Systems & Processes
  5. Data & Reports
  6. Business Policies
  7. Mission & Vision
  8. Culture
  9. Customers
  10. Finance

In The E-Myth by Michael Gerber (Amazon), these would be described as “work ON the business” priorities.

It’s also important to recognize the things that distract you from executing on what is most important. 

  1. Busy work
  2. Non-stop learning
  3. Lack of success
  4. “Shiny Object” syndrome
  5. Perpetual optimization
  6. Fear
  7. Lack of rest

I’m sure you can think of more, but these are some of the big ones. 

I’d like to specifically touch on a couple of these because I see them all the time in people I work with or the communities I take part in. 

Non-stop learning: I’ll bet you, or someone you know, always seems to be taking another course, reading another book or article, or are otherwise trying to fill gaps in their knowledge.

Education is great, but at some point you have to refocus your time on executing what you’ve learned, rather than academic learning. There is no better teacher than experience. So if this is you, consider this your wakeup call!

Lack of success: Nothing will motivate you to really dig in like finding success. It’s that first dollar you make, the first comment you get on a post, or the emphatic response to a newsletter.

Whatever that initial success looks like it becomes the spark that lights a fire. But if you’re fooling around, obsessively learning without executing, or getting distracted, success will evade you and so will the energy that comes with it. 

Even small success won’t come overnight, but the sooner you execute on what matters the sooner success will come. Then you can start to build momentum toward the business and life you want to live. 

Fear: We’ve all heard people talk about the “fear of success” but what does it really mean to be afraid of success? 

To start, I think it’s a misnomer. I don’t think people are really afraid of success. I think they’re afraid of the expectations that come with success. 

It’s being too worried about what other people think, or will think, if you succeed but don’t sustain it. Or, if you put yourself out there and don’t succeed at all. 

The good news is that in the beginning, unless you’ve already got a big audience, no one is paying attention anyway! Which is why it’s a perfect time not to be perfect and to just get it out there.

In his book “The 4-Hour Workweek (Amazon),” author Tim Ferriss wrote: 

Don’t worry too much about what other people think, because most of the time they don’t.”

On the other hand, even when you do succeed, there are going to be ups and downs. You won’t sustain it. No one does. 

We all know people for whom everything seems to turn to gold. But I don’t know a single one that hasn’t tried things that didn’t work. 

So if that is what fear of success looks like for you, it’s time to stop worrying and start executing. It’s far more embarrassing to have never even tried. 

Finally, I want to give you a few ideas of where to go for help when you need it.

No one travels this road alone.

  1. Communities: I’m currently a part of 3 online communities. 
    • Unemployable: This is the community where I spend most of my community time, founded by Brian Clark and community manager Jerod Morris. There are a lot of great people in Unemployable who love to help each other out. The Unemployable Community is inclusive of the audience Brian has built for Unemployable.com, 7-Figure Small, Future Freedom, and I’m sure more than a few Gen-Xers who are on his Further email list. If you’re still in the early stages of your 1-Person business, Unemployable is the place to be. 
    • Contrarian Cashflow: If you’re interested in buying businesses and learning the ins-and-outs of small business mergers and acquisitions, Contrarian Cashflow is the place for you. Founder Codie Sanchez is killing it with this community and everyone in there is very helpful, many of whom have a wealth of experience with various small businesses and are happy to share what they know.
    • Tilt: Tilt is the community started by Joe Pulizzi and is also responsible for CEX (Creator Economy Expo). If the creator economy, and all that surrounds it, including learning about blockchain and related projects is your jam, then check them out. I’m not as active there for lack of time (we all have to prioritize) but I do pop in and have made some great friends there.
  2. Coaches: Hiring a coach can be an amazing way to up-your-game. I don’t have one right now, but I’ve been seriously considering hiring one. An outside perspective is invaluable, especially from someone who has been in your shoes. If athletes can benefit from coaching, there’s no reason the rest of us can’t too. But coaching can get expensive, so if you’re not there yet, consider a mastermind.
  3. Masterminds are a great way to get coaching in a group setting. But it’s more than that. A good mastermind group will also have you helping each other. I’ve done a mastermind in the past and it was one of the best group learning experiences I’ve had. Contrarian Cashflow has a mastermind group (separate but connected), and even though I’m not in it yet, I’m planning to join.
  4. Peer Groups: Even if you are just starting out and don’t have the cash for a coach or mastermind, consider organizing a peer group. Back in the day guys like Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Darren Rowse (ProBlogger), Chris Brogan, and others all came up around the same time and had businesses that were different but crossed over. They were able to promote and learn from each other. I don’t know that they had a formal peer group but I know they all knew each other and helped each other along. Figure out who is at a similar stage as you, with a related business, and form your own group. If you want to go far, go together. BTW… the communities above are an ideal place to find those people.

I hope I’ve given you a sense of what it means to get to the Execution phase, how to watch out for things that hold you back, and how to keep the momentum going once you have it. 

If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment below.

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About the Author

Founder of Rogue Mogul, obsessing over 1-Person businesses.