Lahmacuns, Apologies And Recurring Business

According to Wikipedia, a lahmacun is “a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat (most commonly beef and lamb) and minced vegetables and herbs including onions, tomatoes and parsley, then baked.” It’s quite tasty. Although I’ve been living for more than 40 years at the gates of the Orient, in Bucharest, that is, … Read more Lahmacuns, Apologies And Recurring Business

Managing Abundance

So, you want more. Good for you. You want more time, more money, more stuff, more satisfaction, more life. Great! You strive for abundance which, by the way, happens to be our natural state as human beings. But are you prepared for that? Are you really ready to enjoy what you wish?

I’m not talking from a philosophical, law-of-attraction-ish standpoint. I’m talking from a very practical, day to day approach for managing your future abundance. If you consciously chose abundance and if you achieve it honestly, then you have to be able to actually manage it.

During my life I had several abundance thresholds. When I left home and came in my country’s main town to study, I had virtually nothing. I worked during my studies and I successfully managed to financially sustain myself during that time, and I did it more than decent. During next years I passed over several abundance milestones: from going out of the student’s hostel to rent my own apartment, later to buy my own apartment, and even later to move into my own house. Which, by the way, I discovered I had to clean a lot.

Each time I reached those milestones I faced several challenges. Each time I had to cope with a bigger flow of stuff coming into my life. But it wasn’t only stuff, it was more than that. I realized that abundance can walk into your life by taking one of the following three shapes. There is another one, the 4th shape, but I reserved a special chapter to it, at the end of this post.

1. You can have more stuff: 2 cars instead of one, a house instead of an apartment, more gadgets, more clothes, more things – you know the drill…
2. You can have more action: going to the gym, socializing in a different way, making appearance to new events, doing something completely new – everything that your new status requires from you to do in order to keep it up and running
3. You can be involved in new relationships: new friends, new social positions for you, a pool guy, a maid, a chauffeur, or just new persons that needs your constant attention

Don’t laugh. Or if you laugh just keep reading because this is about you and the abundance you are eager to achieve. It will include all this stuff. It will change your life. It will challenge you at a very deep level. It’s ok to laugh, as long as you’ll be prepared.

Failing to realistically manage your abundance can have unpleasant consequences. You can find yourself overwhelmed and lose track of your possessions, or you can fail in managing your new level of relationships and let your wealth slip through your fingers. Or you can be fooled into a “don’t deserve this because I don’t don’t know how to handle it” pattern, which is even worse than the first situation.

So here comes the practical advice:

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The Making Of An Online Business – The Team

That’s the third article for “The Making Of An Online Business” series, and it will deal with a sensitive topic: human resources. For those of you who came directly here, the posts in this series outlines my 10 years experience in running my own online business. The first two articles can be found here

Start Your Own Business
The Making Of An Online Business – The Projects

and the summary for the whole series can be found here.

It’s About Relationships

The first and most important thing I learned during this fantastic experience was the fact that teams are not at all about results, but about relationships. Too often people are judged for their contribution to the assets of the company, but their real value lies in what they can provide at the relationship level. Maybe they can have skills, but if they are not able to relate in way that would make those skills openly and honestly available, their contribution is lost.

A good relationship means that communication goes well even if the skills are not. You have to be able to communicate your ideas and goals to all members of your team. Even if they don’t have the skills at the moment, they must understand what they have to do. The resources to do what has to be done will come, one way or another.

My team was around 25 people at its peak, with an average of 10-15 people most of the time. Maybe this approach is biased by the fact that my teams were pretty small, but if the relationship factor was so important in such a small universe, imagine how important it will be for a business with 100 or 500 employees.

There are just two main types of relationships you can have in business: the relationships between you, the manager / owner / entrepreneur with your employees, and the relationships they can have with one each other. The first model is radiant, you will be the epicenter and you will basically control what goes out, but the second is more like a graph, a web. Trying to control this web of relationships between your employees is impossible. You can’t really control that.

What you can do, however, is to be sure they all have the same set of attitudes that will make their relationships sustainable over time. All those people must share some core values about the way they relate. And when they face problems, if they have the same attitude toward problems they will eventually overcome the obstacle. But if they have only skills and no common attitude, their skills will be just useless.

The truth is that you cannot really create something on a damaged foundation. No matter how much money you put in, how much technical skills are you pouring in, no matter how much luck you may have at some point. A business is a web of relationships and if this web is broken, you won’t be able to catch your prey. If there are significant holes in this web, you will lose opportunities and spend your time repairing those holes.

That is against the normal, established human resources techniques and I’m quite aware about that. Every human resources approach focus on skills, and every CV you read emphasize that. I gave up reading CV’s long ago. A CV can only tell you about skills, but not about attitude. And attitude was the main factor for my human resources policy.

Read moreThe Making Of An Online Business – The Team

Entrepreneurship As A Personal Development Tool

10 years ago I started my own business. I didn’t exactly know what I was going to do, it was something mainly related to the online thingie that was starting to rise at that time. Nothing clear in terms of business plans, financing, strategy or management but with a tremendous drive to succeed. I guess … Read more Entrepreneurship As A Personal Development Tool

Building Different Skills

People are often confused by the abundance of skills I developed over the years. And I guess what confuses them is the apparent spread of those skills over areas which are apparently incompatible or difficult to match together. For instance, if I bring into the conversation with a programmer an astrological opinion on some fact, chances are that I will get a “blue screen of dead” conversation. And if I bring into a fine arts conversation something about programming, I’ll be most likely left alone with that “mambo jumbo” sentence and labeled as an “unsolvable case of geekery”.

The examples above use extremely distant knowledge areas, but the confusion remains even on more closely related activities like business, marketing and sales. A marketing person will expect that I know nothing on entrepreneurship, since marketing guys are usually employed by somebody else in an established structure. And a sales person will expect that I know noting about marketing, since this should be a complete separate activity inside the company.

I can talk for hours with an astrologer only about astrology and have a fulfilling and entertaining conversation. I can do the same with a programmer and share a lot of the newest web 2.0 technologies and feel at ease with that. I can also talk about entrepreneurship and starting a company from scratch and never feel on moving sands with the person in front of me. But the moment I start to bring new perspectives on some topic and use other skills I have for that insight, my conversation partner becomes reluctant.

I acknowledge that I’ve been pretty affected by that. The moment I opened to somebody and let him know that I know more than what he expected, I was rejected. I came to the point that I felt ashamed of what I knew or learned so far. It’s better to stick on one topic of your life and seek only people who can understand you, I’ve said to myself. I do have the need for social acceptance, so if that’s the price to be paid, let’s pay it. Let’s stick with a limited set of skills, which at least will provide me with a comfortable environment and put me in touch with similar people, and bash all those new and interesting things I could learn.

But I confess I wasn’t able to do this. Although I did my best to succeed in limiting myself, I failed miserably. The dryness of such a life was simply unbearable. Limiting myself to only one major skill was just unconceivable for me and unfulfilling, at least.

Read moreBuilding Different Skills

GTD Tips: Under-Promise and Over-Deliver

Well, it’s been quite a while since I haven’t touched my GTD tips folder. Yes, I do have a GTD tips folder, which is in fact a part of a journal. As you already may know that, I use Mac Journal to blog and, sometimes, to implement some GTD techniques for blogging. Today it’s time to … Read more GTD Tips: Under-Promise and Over-Deliver