Yesterday I had an appointment with a local hair stylist. I made the very first appointment of the day (9am). The early bird catches the worm right? Well I didn’t intend to catch any worms (don’t go there), but I did want to be the first appointment so I could get in and get out. I was delusional. As I strolled up to the salon, I could see there were 2 other ladies there who also had 9am appointments. So much for getting in and out. This is the drill when going to a black hair salon. It’s close to an all day event. At least it feels that way. I am completely serious when I write this. If you are a black female reading this, you can relate. If you are not, ask somebody. You can literally be there for 4 or 5 hours. Not shitting you.
Why is this? And what does this have to do with business?
Well, here’s how it works. Said hair stylist books several appointments all at the same time. She begins working on Client#1’s hair. When it gets to the point when Client #1 can sit under the dryer(aka torture chamber) , she then moves on to Client #2. By the time Client #2 goes under the dryer, hairstylist can once again fiddle with Client #1’s hair. And the musical chairs continues….all…day…long. This way, the Hairstylist is not twiddling her thumbs while one client is under the dryer. She can use that time to keep earning dollars on another client. Notice that she did not start both clients at that same time. That would have been virtually impossible. She started one, then when that one no longer needed her immediate attention, she moved on to another.
And that my darlings, is how you handle the start up of multiple business projects.
If you have several interests that are not related, and you cannot figure out how to combine them into one single business, do not try to start several businesses all at the same time. Why not? Chances are you will burn out. Quickly. Even more important than your burn out (yea, there are more important things), is the fact that starting any new business venture takes a crap ton of time, effort, and energy. Trying to start more than one business venture at the same time….well, that’s just ridunkulous (yep, you read that right).
There is a better way
Think of the hair stylist like a plate spinner. I first came across this analogy some years back while reading the phenomenal book Making a Living Without a Job by Barbara Winter. In the book, Winter encourages people to have multiple streams of income. She calls them profit centers, I call them profit projects. Tomato…tomaato. Same concept. And same advice about starting these projects up. Back to the plate spinners.
They don’t start spinning all the plates at the same time. On the contrary Watson. They start spinning one, when that one is spinning well on its own, they then start another. And so on….. A mistake I have made so many times was to keep starting several projects at the same time. It took me a few years of doing this to realize that nothing was taking off because of the way I was starting. Glad I finally got that point.
Now I do have multiple profit projects, but some are running smoothly and don’t need a lot of my time.
For example, the career coaching that I do for Nurses. That project takes on average less than 10 hours of my time per week. Because I have been doing it for a few years now, I have systems in place, and I can delegate tasks that are not my core competencies to someone else. I also have products that I focused on creating at the time, that now sell on their own (passive income isn’t a fantasy, it just takes time). This frees me up to start spinning another plate (errr project).
What projects are you thinking of starting?
You don’t have to start everything right NOW. Sometimes I think this rush to do everything is part of our instant gratification mentality nowadays (or at least that’s what my 80 year old neighbor would say). If you have a brilliant new idea, or an interest in something, make a space for it in your life, but keep focusing on whatever it is you have going on right now if it is still in the baby stages. The space can be a folder, craft drawer, binder, efile, whatever it is to keep documents, notes, clippings, etc., about that project. The project isn’t going anywhere. As related ideas or articles pop up, store them in the space.
So how did my hair look after 4 hours of musical chairs, you ask?
Fantastic! I was super pleased.
Business education + rockin hairdo = major WIN!