Jumping In: What if we just did it?

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Just Do It – a famous brand slogan underpinned by a powerful suggestion for approaching life. But does it really work? And what are the repercussions for just… well, doing it?

This year I’ve seen different speakers take a traditional formula for success, then flip it on its head and start at the last step.

Whether it’s doing a business backwards and starting with Sales NOT Admin:

SALES -> MARKETING -> DELIVERY -> ADMIN

Or marketing a fast food campaign backwards and triggering word of mouth before multi-channel advertising kicks in:

GET PEOPLE TALKING -> DRIVE TRIAL -> CREATE RELEVANCE -> LAUNCH MASS AWARENESS

Or even choosing your career backwards based on your inclination rather than your calculation:

FEEL TO DO SOMETHING -> FIND A CAREER TO DO IT

Just jumping in seems to be the way to go. Often the last step is the hardest step, the one that’s most confronting, or most expensive, or most confusing. But it’s the one generates the most results. Which is why starting there starts to make sense, especially for entrepreneurs.

Starting with sales means you can create your admin system based on how you as a person connect with customers or clients, rather than being constrained to sell by your admin system’s limitations. In marketing campaigns, it means you can sell products to your customers before even paying a cent on advertising. And in career, most entrepreneurs are finding success in a business that touches your heart rather than trying to find passion in a job that made sense to your head.

I know first hand the benefits of just jumping. I am extremely organised and sequential, especially evident in my prior role as Process Princess in Planning and Operations for a major bank. Yet when I launched my sole trader business, I simply didn’t have the time or energy to procrastinate or dilly-daddle in tasks that weren’t going to bring me fast results to learn from. After completing my training, I coached friends and colleagues and applied for an ABN before I even received my accreditation. The moment I got that certification, I posted a free ad for my service and within a month had a paying client. I then worked payment admin out fast.

I’m following a technology-style “ship then test” approach similar to how Apple innovates. In his TED talk titled “Lessons from Steve Jobs”(www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWv-KoZnpKw), Guy Kawasaki converts the popular lyrics “Don’t worry, be happy” to “Don’t worry, be crappy” (start 13:45). If you’ve got an innovation you think will improve people’s lives, get your idea out the door, even if it’s only 90% done. Once it’s in people’s hands, you’ll truly learn how it will be used, how it will be valued, what the bugs are, what to change, what to do next time. And you’ll have first mover advantage.

By practicing before accreditation I developed techniques, styles, and confidence that I harnessed immediately with my first paying client. After the success of my first ad, I’ve reposted, reframed, repriced and diversified and now have several ads targeting different markets, testing and learning what works along the way. None of this has been days’ worth of work – I’ve completed these tasks in evenings and leftover hours on weekends because I work full time, exercise, study and socialise.

Imagine if I did wait and plan… what might have happened? Maybe I would have been preparing myself for a client market that doesn’t actually exist. Maybe doubts and fears would have rolled in, clouding my confidence. Maybe 3 months after accreditation I wouldn’t have moved the dial at all on my business. Companies everywhere are desperately trying to be customer-centric. Because I’m figuring things out as they come, I’m able to put the client and their needs first every time.

Of course there are risks with a “ship then test” or flip-the-process-backwards approach. You might not be well equipped to do admin if you’ve only been focusing on sales, you might not have the skills or expertise to generate word of mouth instantaneously, or you might not have found your passion yet so your entrepreneurial business lacks clarity. You may have not thought through some more serious implications, such as legal or taxation responsibilities. But these are things you’d have to be doing anyway, and at least riding on the momentum of “giving it a go” will create motivation for action.

My advice: Just jump in… it’s the only way you’re going to know how to sink or swim.

Idea in action: Start saying yes. Say yes to every event invitation, every introduction, every opportunity. Your network is your net worth. When someone has a request, suggestion or problem, replace “No, but” with “Yes, and”. Yes is super powerful! (www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3d1yb90LoY)

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