At K&J Growth Hackers, it took us four years to get to $250,000 a month in revenue. With this new company we started, it took us just 4 weeks. Needless to say, our trajectory looks spectacular.
The obvious question you might want to ask is: How?
The short answer is: We did it the lazy way!
Allow me to explain how you can leverage human laziness to get monster results and outsized outcomes.
Bill Gates actually said in the heyday of Microsoft, “I will choose a lazy person to do a hard job any day, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
I know that’s counterintuitive as an entrepreneur because you're inclined to work hard and grind long hours to make your startup grow through diligence, commitment, and pure grit.
The truth is, a lot of that can be self-sabotaging. What an engineer does is design a solution, usually with software these days, that replaces human work. It hops, skips, and jumps over all of that blood, sweat, and tears that you've been putting in.
Now, I have friends who work 80 hour weeks, and their companies took longer to grow to the point where we got our new company today. So how did we do it exactly?
Well, the short answer is we were lazy. Like I said before. We used to have around 30 clients, about 30 employees, and a lot of complex project management infrastructure, including software, communications, SOPs, and just all kinds of tediousness and headaches from the company that kept us extremely busy.
What we did when we started this new company was throw out any pride we had in hard work. Consider the idea that all that work we did previously could be replaceable. Remove the ego from it and pretend like we were just tired of it all, so we got creative. We set aside our pride to be lazy out of sheer exhaustion.
However, having this entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and growth-hacking strain in our DNA, we just couldn’t give up the innate spark we had to want to build another business even though we were tired. Here’s how we went about it.
This new company that we have has two team members, myself and my co-founder. That’s it. We don't have any full-time employees, no W2s, no payroll, nothing. We scaled it to amazing levels in just a month, and I can't wait to see what unfolds in the coming months.
We stretched our minds. We looked at it like this: “How can we deliver 10x the value for the same price?” Furthermore, we asked ourselves, “How can we reduce our costs to 10% of what they are today?”
The only way to get something that radical— because that's like a 1,000x delta that's formed by that comparison— is through using software and systems for automating, delegating, and creating.
A lot of times when you try to do all of the how of a business yourself, instead of asking who can do this for me, you are hamstringing yourself in a dramatic way.
The idea that was implanted in my mind after reading Secrets of A Successful Start-up was how can I make a $10 million company with two employees? So that was my pursuit.
How did we get that done? We just figured out what we needed in the most simplistic way that would produce 10x the result for the same amount of effort as we were putting in for our last business. And we didn’t worry about how to do any part of it that we didn’t know how to do.
Instead we did two things:
1. We went to Google to find an expert explanation for the “How to” part.
2. We went to Fiverr to find a freelance professional for the “How to” part.
Too many creative, intelligent, hard-working entrepreneurs who are trying to do something new and create something special will go and try to reinvent many of the wheels along the way.
One of the best secrets in business is that industry leaders did not know most of the answers, and they knew they did not know the answers. What they did know is that they could always find a person that had the answer they needed. All they had to do was find that person or resource. That was a secret, until Andrew Carnegie spilled that during antitrust proceedings against his business.
No wonder so many home businesses have flourished in the Internet era, especially since Google figured out how to really nail online search for the entire World Wide Web. Now, Google and YouTube are a direct way to find that person or resource who has the answer you need. This eliminates the need to brute-forcing it on your own. Why try to figure out how to do something yourself, that you’ve never done before, in order to put together a profitable, winning business?
On Fiverr you can go and get a specific job done. Say you have a new employee, or any employee, trying to do something that's new. You can send them a YouTube video explaining how to do it. They could spend hours trying to figure out how to do it, and then another few hours doing it, and then, potentially, I would have to spend a few hours fixing what they did, because they made a mistake.
This is the core reason why I love Fiverr.
Before I do any task, I always Google it and go to Fiverr and I ask myself, “Is there somebody who can do this for five bucks, or 20 bucks or 50 bucks, and what will be the quality?”
That’s a big sticking point for some entrepreneurs who are afraid to outsource tasks that require some technical know-how and experience to a freelancer online. How do you manage quality?
You might try and let someone else surprise you with how talented and hard-working they are. Platforms like Fiverr, online clearinghouses for freelancers and clients, clear billions of dollars a year in business. So, they’re working for someone.
Fiverr manages quality the same way eBay did, back when people doubted that you could trust someone to sell you garage sale stuff over the Internet (without there being serious quality problems). They were able to avoid an outright plague of scams and fraudulent businesses.
The methods they used include community ratings and reviews to maintain quality. So, instead of the much-vaunted hotbed of scammers and fraudsters some predicted eBay would turn into, the opposite happened. Many of Ebay’s sellers have an incredible satisfaction rating that they’ve maintained for years.
The overall point is that you can find someone who not only knows how to do what you need done, but has done it so many times that they do a good job and can get it done in ten minutes. Plus, they often have dozens of reviews from former clients saying and proving that they do a good job at their specialty.
It’s safe to say I'm a huge fan of using people on Fiverr to get small jobs done. I will say that having people running your marketing campaigns and doing your branding, and stuff like that, is probably a little more risky, but it can still be done (If you're asking the right questions).
From a zoomed-out perspective, what you should be doing is buying your time back, in small increments. That way, the end goal is achieved: Clawing back the creative mind-space (The Four Hour Work Week is a good primer on this lean startup mindset).
Where am I today? Right now, I work for a few hours to answer emails and do morning planning with my team. Then, the majority of the rest of my time is spent researching new markets, designing new products, designing new pricing, and designing new offers.
I achieved this leverage through three main methods: Delegation, automation, and creation. With delegating, this is where the who not how becomes critical. This can be something of an artform, depending on your industry. The primary balance to achieve is making sure that you stay away from the work that keeps you busy. That same type of work is the type that can be let go of, and it keeps you away from creating more profitable systems of automation. That’s the all-important strategic thinking. In order to expand your operations and increase your profits, the work has to be delegated, automated, or outright deleted (if possible).