Doing the Boring Work vs. Chasing Shiny Objects Ep 456

Summary Notes


In this podcast, Alex, the founder of, shares his insights on business growth and the importance of focus and discipline. He emphasizes that business success is not about complexity but about the ability to maintain focus on a singular mission over time. According to Alex, distractions—likened to the "woman in the red dress" from The Matrix—become more tempting as businesses grow, making it increasingly difficult to say no to new opportunities. He argues that true innovation is a minor part of success; instead, it's about consistently doing the basics well and avoiding the allure of side hustles, as exemplified by Mark Zuckerberg's singular focus on Facebook. Alex also discusses the pitfalls of diversification, using an analogy of fixing holes in a bucket to illustrate the importance of perfecting one's core business before expanding. He advises entrepreneurs to execute the obvious yet often neglected aspects of their business, like email marketing and sales training, to achieve growth. The podcast ends with a call to avoid the trap of chasing new ventures and instead to double down on improving and scaling what works.

Summary Notes

Business Complexity and Focus

  • Business itself is not inherently complicated; the challenge lies in maintaining focus.
  • People struggle to stay dedicated to one pursuit over time.
  • Entrepreneurs often shift focus after earning a certain amount of money, seeking new income sources rather than sticking to their original mission.
  • The most successful individuals view business as a strategic game.

"Business is not hard in that it is not complicated. It is hard because people cannot stay focused on the same thing for a long period of time."

This quote emphasizes that the difficulty in business arises not from complexity but from the human tendency to lose focus.

"The wealthiest people in the world see business as a game."

This quote highlights the mindset of successful entrepreneurs who approach business strategically, like a game.

The Importance of Mission in Business

  • Chasing income can lead to a lack of consistency in business goals.
  • Staying true to the core mission of a business is crucial for long-term success.
  • Wealth generation should not override the underlying purpose of the business.

"Once people make a certain amount of money, if they only did it for the income they're trying to find, the next thing that's going to make them more income rather than the mission of the business."

This quote suggests that a focus solely on income can detract from the core mission and lead to a scattered approach to business.

The Journey of

  • Alex shares his experience in building
  • The goal is to create a billion-dollar portfolio and help others grow their businesses.
  • He emphasizes the value of lessons learned through growing multiple businesses.

"This podcast, the game is my attempt at documenting the lessons I've learned on my way to building into a billion dollar portfolio video."

Alex explains the purpose of the podcast, which is to document and share valuable business lessons.

Singularity of Focus

  • As businesses grow, the challenge to maintain focus intensifies with increasing opportunities.
  • Rejecting distractions is an ongoing process that becomes more difficult as success grows.
  • Consistent focus on core business activities is key to scaling up.

"The more businesses I've grown and the more I'm doing this, the more the singularity of focus is so important."

The quote underscores the critical importance of maintaining a singular focus in business growth.

The Woman in the Red Dress Analogy

  • Alex uses an analogy from "The Matrix" to illustrate the concept of distraction in business.
  • Distractions are likened to alluring opportunities that can lead entrepreneurs astray.
  • The ability to say no to distractions is an evolving skill that must be refined at each level of success.

"I see distractions and new opportunities shining the object as the woman in the red dress."

This quote draws a parallel between the alluring distraction in "The Matrix" and the tempting but potentially disruptive business opportunities.

Innovation vs. Execution

  • Alex believes that while innovation is important, execution of known responsibilities is more crucial.
  • The majority of business success comes from doing what you know you should, rather than constantly innovating.
  • Mastery of the basics and attention to detail are what drive long-term success.

"But the vast majority of the business success is actually doing all the stuff that you know you should be doing, but you aren't."

This quote stresses the importance of executing well-understood tasks rather than always seeking innovation.

Focus and Business Consolidation

  • Spreading efforts across too many ventures can hinder growth.
  • Focusing on a single business can lead to greater success and easier scalability.
  • High achievers like Mark Zuckerberg have demonstrated the power of a concentrated business approach.

"Mark Zuckerberg didn't have side hustles."

The quote is used to exemplify the effectiveness of dedicating one's efforts to a singular business venture.

The Power of Persistence

  • Success in business is often about doing simple things consistently over a long period.
  • Entrepreneurs should not overestimate their intelligence but rather commit to persistent effort.

"Success comes down to doing the obvious thing for an uncommonly long period of time without convincing yourself you're smarter than you are."

This quote by Neil Strauss, shared by Alex, encapsulates the essence of achieving success through persistent and focused effort.

Mastering the Basics

  • Entrepreneurs often neglect basic business practices in pursuit of new ventures.
  • Alex argues that a business should perfect its foundational activities before expanding.
  • Mastery of basics is a prerequisite for advanced business strategies.

"Being advanced means that you never don't do the basics."

This quote emphasizes that true advancement in business is built upon a solid foundation of basic practices.

The Business Bucket Analogy

  • Alex uses the bucket analogy to describe how to grow a business effectively.
  • The bucket represents the business, with water symbolizing traffic or customer attention.
  • The goal is to keep as much water in the bucket as possible, which equates to retaining customers or sales.
  • To grow the business, one should first fix any "holes" in the bucket before increasing the flow of water.
  • After maximizing the current flow, additional sources of traffic can be added.

"And so if you were to think about a business as a bucket and you've got water pouring in the top, which is the traffic or the eyeballs or whatever, and then the bucket is what you're keeping, right. So the first thing that you're going to do if you want to grow the amount of water you have in the bucket is you don't have multiple buckets, right. What you're going to do is probably fix the holes in the bucket you got, right?"

This quote explains the fundamental strategy of focusing on retaining current business (fixing the holes) before trying to expand (adding more buckets).

Better Before More and New

  • The principle of "better, more, new" serves as a guide for business growth.
  • Improving existing operations ("better") is the lowest risk and should be prioritized over expansion ("more") and innovation ("new").
  • Enhancing various aspects of the business like follow-up processes, copywriting, site optimization, and team training leads to growth.
  • Alex emphasizes that focusing on improvement may seem boring but is essential for scaling a business.

"Better is the lowest risk opportunity that everyone has. Do what you're currently doing, do it better."

This quote highlights the importance of optimizing current business practices before pursuing riskier expansion strategies.

Identifying and Addressing the Obvious

  • Entrepreneurs should list and address the clear, actionable improvements that can be made in their business.
  • Common areas for improvement include more frequent communication, content creation, sales training, and customer onboarding processes.
  • Alex suggests that entrepreneurs often overlook these "obvious" areas in favor of pursuing new ventures.

"If you were to make a list of the top 25 things that you could do in your that you are not doing right, the obvious things that you know would make you more money... Instead of doing the new thing, do those first."

This quote encourages entrepreneurs to focus on clear, existing opportunities for improvement within their business before exploring new ideas.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset Challenge

  • Entrepreneurs are naturally inclined to pursue new ventures, which is often rewarded initially.
  • However, continuous pursuit of new projects can be detrimental once a business has established product-market fit.
  • Alex explains the need for entrepreneurs to shift their mindset from starting new projects to optimizing and expanding existing ones.

"We learned that when we start new things, good things happen. And so we think we should start new things. But this is where it's difficult and we have to learn at each level is that you started the new thing and you got rewarded. But now if you start another thing, you will get punished."

This quote addresses the psychological challenge entrepreneurs face in transitioning from the excitement of new ventures to the discipline of improving established ones.

Scaling the Business through Improvement and Expansion

  • Once the business has been optimized, entrepreneurs can safely expand by increasing content output, hiring more staff, and scaling operations.
  • Alex underscores the importance of expanding only after the foundation (the first bucket) has been secured and improved.

"So you fill the holes in the bucket with all the better, and then you do more. Then you go from one piece of content a day to five pieces of content a day, from one sales guy to five sales guys."

This quote outlines the strategy of scaling up business operations by building upon a solid, optimized foundation.

The Book Promotion

  • Alex briefly promotes his book, "100 million dollar offers," which he claims is a valuable resource for the community and a potential avenue for future partnerships.
  • He mentions the effort put into writing the book and its success on Amazon as a way to establish credibility and offer value to listeners.

"I put over 1000 hours into writing that book. And it's my biggest gift to our community."

This quote serves as a segue into the book promotion, highlighting the author's dedication and the value the book offers to entrepreneurs.

Competition and Resource Allocation

  • Businesses that focus on improving their core offerings will naturally outgrow competitors who divert resources to new projects.
  • Alex contrasts two types of entrepreneurs: one who focuses on optimizing and scaling the current business, and another who gets distracted by new ventures.
  • He warns that neglecting improvement leads to a decline in business relative to the market over time.

"Businesses will grow by default and they will beat their competition if they do everything their competition does, but better."

This quote sums up the competitive advantage gained by businesses that prioritize continuous improvement over chasing new opportunities.

Magic Wand Question and Business Growth

  • Alex introduces the concept of simplifying business growth by focusing on core activities.
  • The magic wand question is a hypothetical scenario to illustrate the importance of focus.
  • Alex emphasizes that discipline, not the concept, makes business growth challenging.
  • The strategy is often simple, but execution is where many businesses fail.
  • Alex underscores the importance of delivering on basic promises like punctuality and quality in services.

"So why not stack the chips in your favor? The thing that makes it hard is the discipline you have to have, not the concept, right?"

This quote suggests that success in business often requires discipline rather than complex strategies. The idea is to focus on what can be controlled and execute well.

Strategy vs. Execution

  • Alex claims that while strategy is easy, execution is the challenging part of running a business.
  • Execution risk is identified as a significant risk for businesses.
  • The example of a dry cleaning service is used to illustrate that perfect execution of a simple strategy can lead to an exceptional business.
  • Alex points out that people tend to focus on new strategies rather than perfecting the execution of fundamental business practices.

"Strategy is easy execution is hard, right. It's the execution risk that is the much bigger risk for most businesses."

This quote highlights the disparity between the ease of creating a strategy and the difficulty of executing it effectively. Alex emphasizes that execution is the main hurdle businesses must overcome.

Need-to-Believes in Business

  • Alex discusses the concept of "need to believes" in business growth.
  • He lists beliefs that are fundamental to the success of a business, such as the desire for fast service, quality products, and good service.
  • The focus is on understanding what customers will consistently want and betting on those needs.

"What do we need to believe for this to grow? We need to believe that people will always want things fast."

This quote reflects the process of identifying key customer desires that a business must meet to grow. Alex is emphasizing the importance of aligning business operations with enduring customer needs.

Competition and Market Entry

  • Alex talks about entering markets that are not typically targeted by top talent, such as dry cleaning or lawn care.
  • He suggests that businesses can succeed by executing basic practices well, which he refers to as "the basics."
  • The point is made that in many industries, competition is not as fierce because the smartest people are often pursuing tech ventures in Silicon Valley.
  • Alex argues that excelling in execution of basic services can lead to dominating these less competitive markets.

"But there's tons of other businesses that you can absolutely demolish who are making lots of money just by doing the basics well."

This quote implies that significant opportunities exist in markets that are often overlooked by top talent, where executing basic practices exceptionally well can lead to business success.

Execution Details and Sales Strategy

  • Alex describes the importance of attention to detail in execution, such as training and incentivizing a sales team effectively.
  • He mentions practical aspects like call reviews, leaderboards, and competitions as key to growing a business.
  • The underlying message is that success comes from executing foundational business practices, not from chasing new ideas.

"It's not hard to conceptualize that you take ten guys and each guy makes 200 calls a day. It's 2000 calls a day. It's not hard to conceptualize that, but it's how well did you train them, how well did you recruit them?"

The quote stresses the significance of not just having a concept but also implementing it with precision, such as ensuring a sales team is well-trained and motivated to achieve high performance.

Consistent Execution and Long-term Success

  • Alex shares a story about a conversation with a seasoned CEO that influenced his perspective on business.
  • The CEO compared business to simple backyard football, advocating for consistent execution over complex strategies.
  • The story emphasizes the value of steady, reliable progress in business, likened to gaining consistent yardage in football.
  • Alex concludes that businesses grow by default when they focus on consistent execution and meeting customer needs over the long term.

"You don't need to have any fancy play to be successful. You just have to be willing to get the consistent yardage."

This quote encapsulates the philosophy that straightforward, reliable actions, rather than elaborate schemes, lead to business success. It reinforces the theme of consistent execution as a driver of growth.

Difficulty in Maintaining Focus

  • People struggle to stay focused on one thing for a long period.
  • The temptation to switch to more lucrative opportunities can divert attention from the original mission.
  • Commitment to a mission enables long-term dedication.

"It is hard because people cannot stay focused on the same thing for a long period of time."

This quote highlights the challenge of maintaining focus over extended periods, which is crucial for achieving significant success in any endeavor.

Importance of Belief in the Mission

  • Belief in the business mission fosters willingness to work on it for an extended time.
  • Friends who have attained wealth did so by persisting in the same venture.

"Because if you believe in the mission of the business, you will be willing to do it for an extraordinary long period of time."

The quote emphasizes the importance of aligning with the business's mission, as it is a key motivator for sustained effort and success.

The Myth of Diversification in Interests

  • Society often encourages trying different things, but focus is crucial for significant achievements.
  • Ben Francis's success with Gymshark illustrates the power of dedication to a single venture.

"And I can tell you right now, from all the friends that I have that make shitloads of money, they've all been doing the same thing for a long period of time."

Alex uses personal anecdotes to debunk the common advice of diversifying interests, showing that concentrated effort leads to greater success.

Starting the Compounding Clock

  • Early entrepreneurial experiences are valuable for learning.
  • It's crucial to identify a belief or need that will remain relevant and serve it consistently.
  • The difficulty lies in the transition from enjoying new ventures to focusing on improving and scaling one.

"And so I would say once you've had a little bit of your entrepreneurial licks as fast as you can to learn those lessons, you have to think what need to believe is there that I do not think will change over an extended time horizon and then serve that."

Alex advises that after initial entrepreneurial experiences, one should focus on a consistent and timeless need to start the "compounding clock," which leads to growth and success.

The Challenge of Unlearning as an Entrepreneur

  • Entrepreneurs are often rewarded for trying new things initially but must unlearn this to grow a business.
  • Mastery and scale come from focused improvement over time.

"And that's what was positively reinforced your entire life as an entrepreneur in the beginning. And then you have to unlearn that lesson because that's what it takes to get big is you do the same thing and you just do it that much better than everyone else."

This quote addresses the entrepreneurial mindset shift required to scale a business, emphasizing the need to focus on excelling in a singular area rather than constantly seeking novelty.

The Folly of Arrogance and Lack of Focus

  • Attempting to outcompete others without focus is a sign of arrogance and often leads to failure.
  • The story of a lawn care business owner illustrates the power of focus and the personal drive derived from meaningful experiences.

"It is arrogant to believe that you are going to outcompete other people who are fully focused on one thing when you are split on five."

Alex criticizes the arrogance of trying to succeed in multiple ventures simultaneously, suggesting that a singular focus is more likely to lead to success.

The Ineffectiveness of Multitasking in Business

  • Juggling multiple businesses prevents any from taking off.
  • Success in business requires deep understanding and focus on one venture at a time.

"And I'm only saying this from a place of love because I had nine businesses before gym launch took off and before you think, oh, well, what I'm going to do, because I hear this all the time, I'm going to do them all. I'm going to see which one takes off. None of them will take off because any of them could take off if you just focus on one of them."

Alex shares personal experience to illustrate that spreading oneself too thin across multiple businesses prevents each from reaching its potential.

The Power of Specialization and Depth

  • Specialization and depth in one business can lead to extraordinary success and wealth.
  • The richest woman in the US built her fortune on a roofing business, exemplifying the potential of focused effort.

"The richest woman in the US is built off a roofing business. So you can do one thing to scale and make all the money you want."

This quote serves as an example of how specialization in a single industry can result in significant wealth and success.

Overcoming Ignorance and Compounding Knowledge

  • Understanding an industry deeply leads to making more money than those with superficial knowledge.
  • Entrepreneurs must choose whether to divide their learning efforts or concentrate on mastering one business.

"Because if you can see anybody in your industry who's doing the thing that you're doing and making 100 times more money than you, it's because they know it better than you."

The quote asserts that financial success in an industry is directly related to the depth of one's knowledge and expertise within that industry.

What others are sharing

Go To Library

Want to Deciphr in private?
- It's completely free

Deciphr Now
Footer background
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon

© 2024 Deciphr

Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy