A day a week, a week a month, a month a year.

How to get a life.

Last February I wrote about our Business Maturity Date and how “You get what you intend, not what you hope for.”. It’s been almost a year – what did we get? We got a life.

I built five businesses where I never got a life. In some cases I got a lot of money, in others very little, but in none did I get a life. Why? Simple. I only asked our businesses to produce money, so that’s exactly what they did.

When I started this sixth business, Crankset Group, five years ago, I decided (intended) to do it differently. I decided I would demand that my business produce both time and money for me, not just money. Gee what a surprise, I got both.

Three Jeers for the Industrial Age
The Industrial Age taught us to assume a number of stupid things related to this idea of time:

1) Money is the path to a great lifestyle. If I have money, I will automatically have a great life (time). Wrong. I know a woman who makes nearly $1 million a month who feels trapped by her business and is there at least six days a week. Money buys you stuff, but it doesn’t buy you time.

2) To make more money, you must spend more time at work – you have to trade hours for money. Wrong. Read my blog post, Time is the new money. The game every business owner should play is, “How do I make MORE money in LESS time?”

3) Make money now. Get time later. Wrong. See #2 above – get both at the same time. Retirement is a really bad concept because it taught us to wait until “tomorrow” to get time. It also taught us that money would get us time – see #1 above, and read my blog post Retirement is a Bankrupt Industrial Age Idea .

So after five failed attempts at doing it the Industrial Age way (get money, time will naturally follow), we decided to do it differently and demand that our business give us both time and money at the same time.

What happened?

We started in 2007 and grew revenues every year. We grew 122% from Dec. 2009 to Dec. 2010, and 57% from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2011, and expect to grow another 50% in 2012, which is harder to do the bigger you get.

We worked our tushes off to begin with. In 2007 I probably worked 6+ days a week, but ALWAYS with the mindset that I was front loading it to get a lot more time off later. In 2008 I probably got 2/3rds of my Saturdays off and took a couple very short weeks off. In 2009, I got most Saturdays, a few 3-day weekends and two weeks of real vacation. In 2010, I took eight to 10 three-day weekends, and a couple weeks of vacation.

In 2011 we broke through on the time front. I took a day a week (Fridays), a week a month (the 4th week of every month), and a month a year (half Feb, half March) off. How did the business do? We grew revenues by 57%.

I intended to get a day week, a week a month and a month a year, but I also ended up with half days two Mondays a month. So I regularly have a three to three and a half day week, with the 4th week off. All this while expecting to grow at least 50% in 2012. I expect the people working with us to take more time off in 2012, too.

Is what I did special? Am I lucky, unique or uber-talented? No. I’m not any smarter or any different than I was in the first five businesses where I never got a life.

Make New Rules
The difference was simply that I made new rules (He who makes the rules wins), and required that my business play by my business, not the other way around.

You get what you intend not what you hope for.

Not smart. Relentless.
It’s about chasing something you decide is important enough to finally catch. I decided time was important enough to catch. It turns out relentless is much more important than smart.

I’m not smart. I’m just relentless.

Be relentless about demanding that your business produce both time and money for you. You probably already did a spreadsheet on how to increase your revenue. That’s only half the objective. Get a spreadsheet this year for how you plan to reduce your work time – and be relentless about making it happen.