Intro to Optimize, Automate, Outsource
(light electronic music)
What would you do if you only had one hour a day to get things done? The question at that point isn't, what would you do, it's what wouldn't you do? And if the things that you wouldn't do still needed to get done, then who or what is going to do them for you? That's what I wanna show you in this class. My name is Ari Meisel. And when people ask me what I do, I say that I make entrepreneurs become replaceable. It's kind of a scary concept for most people. Because the idea of becoming replaceable, replacing yourself, pulls on all the different ego strings. But it's a reality that many of us actually have to face. My background is in construction and real estate. When I got outta college, I went to work on a large-scale real estate development project that ultimately ended up nearly killing me. I worked on this project for three years. I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle. I had racked up an enormous amount of personal debt. And when I was 23 years old, I was...
diagnosed with Crohn's disease. For those that don't know, Crohn's is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the digestive tract. It's extremely painful, debilitating, and considered to be incurable. Now, I got sicker and sicker, was taking an enormous amount of medicine, but ultimately, was able to overcome the illness. And that's another story for another day. But what I was faced with quite immediately was the transition, the abrupt transition from working 18 hours a day to barely being able to do an hour of work in a given day because of my lack of energy and my feelings of illness and weakness. I had to answer that question. What would you do if you could only work one hour a day? And quite honestly, there were no productivity systems that existed that I could find that could help me with that question. Everything was about more, more, and more. And my concept was less, less doing, less doing, more living. I had to figure out a way to optimize, automate, and outsource everything in my life in order to be more effective. And it's an incredible mental exercise to go through to think about what that one hour might look like. If you ask somebody that works a typical job, a typical day, you say, "What would you do if you had to leave the office an hour early?" most people, and I've asked this question, most people say, "I'd probably just skip lunch." But if you ask that same person, "What would you do if you only had an hour a day?" it's a bit of a stumper. Because at that point, the question really is, what wouldn't you do? What are the systems and processes that you're gonna put in place to get those things done? The order of optimize, automate, outsource is extremely important. That framework is the basis for everything that I'm gonna teach you today and everything that I have taught over the last 11 years working with entrepreneurs, large businesses, small businesses, every industry you can imagine. Outsourcing, and in this context, outsourcing and delegating are interchangeable. A lotta people use that as their sort of initial knee-jerk reaction to any problem that they face. I'm dealing with something that I don't like doing, hire someone to do it. I've got something I'm not good at, hire somebody to do it. I need to grow my business, hire lots of people to do it. It's always fun for me when I'm speaking in-person, I like to ask people, "How many of you have ever outsourced something before? Have you?" Then I like to say, "How many of you've ever had a bad experience outsourcing something?" Invariably, more people raise their hand the second time than the first time. Everybody has had a bad experience outsourcing and for some people, it's been a permanent stain on their idea of what it means to outsource. And the reason is that we don't know how to do it. Most people do it very poorly. And think about this. You have a concept, you have a project, a task, whatever it might be that you don't like doing, maybe you're really good at, but you don't like doing it, it's frustrating, it's distracting you from doing other things. Now, you hire somebody else to do it and that person has less context, less experience, and you've now communicated to them in a way that is probably not very effective because you never learned how to do it properly. While at the same time, you're expecting them to produce a more superior result than you could. It's kind of a recipe for failure and disaster. And no wonder why so many people have decided that outsourcing is just not for them. Nobody could ever do what I do. Nobody could ever do it as well. I'm the only one, I'm the only one. Well, I'm here to tell you that nobody is the only anything in your business, including you. Because if it is, you are not running a company. You just own your own job. And if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted. So we have to start with optimize first. Optimizing for me is about tracking, identification, really shining a light on how we do the things we do. What do our processes look like? What are the steps involved? How are we spending money week to week? How are we spending our time? If you ask people, "How many meetings did you have today?" most people can answer it. "What did you get done today? How many meetings did you have?" And if you ask that same person, "How many emails did you send last Tuesday?" very few people, very, very few people can answer that question. And maybe that's not relevant or important information. But I bet it is. And more importantly, that is information and data that you have produced that could have been recorded by a free app, some easy tool, something running in the background, and that information is power. Because ultimately, control is the antidote to stress. And if we don't know what's happening around us, that is almost by definition what overwhelm is. For a long time, I have sort of jokingly been referred to as the overwhelmologist. And unfortunately, I see far too often people in a extreme state of overwhelm. And you all know what it looks like. You get into a place where you feel like you're so overwhelmed that no matter what you do, no matter what move you make or decision you make, you're going to disappoint somebody. Whether that's your team, your clients, your family, yourself, and you just are in a constant state of deciding who is the least important person to disappoint today. It's not a good place to be. So we need to start to look at what that day, what that time, what those resources are doing, where they are, what that allocation looks like. Finding the inherent inefficiencies that exist within those processes, and this takes time. And a lotta people love to say, "There's just no time. If I only had more time." We know that people operate more and less efficiently at different times of the day, different times of the week, month, whatever it might be, and that in the given eight-hour day, very little of that time is actually spent productively. Conversely, there are people that can get so much done in an hour, way more than any of their peers might be able to get throughout the entire day, but they're not okay with that. They feel guilty. They feel like they should be doing more, they should be spending more time, so they make busy work for themselves and for other people and the cycle perpetuates. The truth is, is that restrictions breed innovation. When people have too much money, too much time, too many options, it's very, very hard to make effective decisions. Anybody of my generation, whoever was a fan of the show "MacGyver," even if you weren't, I'm sure you've heard of it. MacGyver was a wizard at taking ordinary things that were at his disposal in crazy situations and making incredible tools or escaping or whatever it might be. Nobody ever said to MacGyver, "Grab this shopping cart, go across the street to that store, get everything you need and come back here and we're gonna break into this building." It was always, you're in a room with nothing but a paper clip and an old magazine and you need to escape, and that was how he did it. Because those are the situations that force innovation. So if you feel like you don't have enough time, I'm gonna actually teach you and push you to do it with even less. So once we've optimized, now we need to look at automation. Why hire a person to do something that a machine can do? And you might be thinking, "Well, that's gonna get rid of jobs and things like that." But no, because by definition, what I just described, if you were to give that work that could be done by a machine to a human, you are in essence dehumanizing them. They will not engage with that work. You will experience turnover. You'll get bad reviews on all the sites about people hiring and stuff like that. Nobody wants to do that kinda work, nor should they. Because if we automate first before we get to outsourcing, before we get a human involved, when we get to the point of outsourcing, that human being will actually be able to engage because now it's human being-worthy work. Automation has come so far over the years, and we can automate things today that a week ago, you had to hire a full-time person to do, maybe more than one. You start to look at the triggers and the actions. Every time this happens, that word every needs to start to become a mantra for you. If I hear the word every, that means that this is something that is repetitive. And if it's repetitive, I know that we can automate some of it, most of it, maybe all of it. A lotta times for free. We need to be looking at building systems and processes way before we bring people into the equation. So now that we've optimized and then we've automated, now, if we need to, we can look at bringing people into the equation, whether they're specialists or generalists, to engage with the material, expand it beyond what you might've been able to on your own, and get out of the way so that your business can grow beyond you. That OAO framework and the question of, what would we do if we only had an hour a day, are gonna be pervasive throughout the things that I'm gonna teach you, and you need to constantly be keeping those in your mind in terms of how we can do this better, how we can do this more efficiently, and ultimately, how we can be the most effective.