A New Take on the To-Do List

To Do List

Here is how I work: I will make a to-do list at the end of the day for what I want to accomplish the following day. A lot of people talk about making to-do lists, and I know there are a lot of mobile apps out there that can help you make a to-do list. I use a pen and paper.  I do feel that as scattered as my brain is, and as many things as I have going on, I have to, HAVE TO, keep a to-do list.  At the end of the day I will re-organize that to-do list to ensure that I am effective and efficient. It also helps me sleep at night.

A New Take on Time Management : The New To-Do List

Wikipedia’s definition of time-management discusses the origin and organization of your typical, as-you-know-it, to-do list.  “Task lists are often tiered. The simplest tiered system includes a general to-do list (or task-holding file) to record all the tasks the person needs to accomplish, and a daily to-do list which is created each day by transferring tasks from the general to-do list.

That said, I came across an article that talked about a new way to do, To-Do lists.  This author, Josh Linkner, The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation states that we should make our To-Do lists and break it up into three different categories:  More, Less and Stop.

What Do You Need More Of?

Under the More, “what do you need more of in your life”.  Where are your efforts that deliver the highest value.  These should be the items that you know you should be spending more time on, because you are delivering the highest value (ie. Money, or simply you should focus more of your time and energy on this item because you value it).  For example, more strategy meetings, more coaching clients or more reading to your kids, more feeding your brain!

What Should You Focus Less On?

Second category, Less.  What do you need to spend less time doing?  Less time surfing Social Media, less time gossiping, less time texting your friends.  Fortunately, I have no time for any of these but I do see a lot of people pissing away a lot of time.  I probably need to do less of the smaller tasks on my personal side and more of picking up the phone and calling prospects.

Minimize Actions That Are Not Productive

Third, what do you need to stop doing?  I thought this was really interesting, none of us really have a stop to-doing list, as everything on our to-do lists is an actionable item, so on the stop is “what is unproductive”.  What are you doing that is unproductive?  You know what this is, its your excuses!

What You Need To Do More Of: Maximize Your Time

At the end of the day when you think “I should have called 12 more clients, stopped by 3 more offices…..”, “I should have scheduled more meetings”, “I should have read to my kids”… okay, great, what did you do that took up all your time that you should have not done?  Then write that down.

For the first thirty days – I welcome you to the Hugo and Marie 30-Day Challenge – make three lists.  In order to produce the highest value, what do you want and need to do more of?.  What do you need to do less of (which you know better than anyone else).  What do you need to stop doing? Send us your list and your story and I will give you a free 2 hours of consulting!!!

I would guess that the work-flow would be that the “what do I need to do less of” would move to “what do I need to stop doing” and thus free you up more time for your more to-do-list.


Call it a hunch lol.

What Problem do You want to Solve?

Start Business

When you are looking at starting a business, everything starts from a problem that needs to be solved, or a solution that has helped somebody do something.

The Problem if The Massive Text

To explore this, lets look at my life. To elaborate, in 2007, I had a family member that was running nightclubs.  It was their job to create the VIP list, fill it up and get the “who’s who” in Minneapolis to come out and get them in the doors each night.  Their idea was to send text messages to these people to get them to come out,  and they said it worked really, really well.  That said, they couldn’t figure out how to send a mass text message to everybody at one time.

The first attempt was to buy multiple cell phones to hook up to a special modem (remember the old modems that people used to have when “dial up” what was used for internet access?!) to try and send out the text messages.

The idea/problem: They needed more people to come out to the nightclubs so they could have more sales.

The attempted solution:  Sending text messages which got a reply and got people there.

How to Start A Business

That is how you start a business.  You take an idea that you feel is missing, or something that you want to fixed, something where you say “there’s got to be an easier way”.  If you are not asking that question every single day, “there’s got to be a better way”, “there’s got to be an easier way”, “there’s got to be a more efficient way” then wake up!

Back to the story, in the summer of 2007, when he said, “we’ve got to start sending text messages to increase business”, I asked him if he would like help getting that up and running and if I could take a crack at it.  He said sure.  A year later, we had a company up and running that sent text messages to people that opted in to join a loyalty program. We still own that business now (part of it).

Take whatever problem you see or that you may have that you want to fix and send that over to us.  Send us an email. We can help you dive into your idea. We will give you suggestions and help design a workflow on getting your project online.

Win $1000 Now

I will give $1,000 to anyone that submits a good idea we want to partner on.  Half the money has to be invested in the company.  The other half is just a reward to the person.)  So take a look around!  What problem can you solve?

Check out the related post, “Do you have what it takes to start a business?”

Do You have what it Takes to Start a Business?

Have What it Takes

I have helped a number of people start a number of businesses. With a lot of them I become a partner in the project/business; Some are part cash and part equity and others are paid consulting work for me. My love and passion is taking an idea that a client has and helping them start that business.  So, what do I actually mean by, “do you have what it takes to start a business?”  I’ll give you a couple examples of how a few ventures have gone.

Example Number One

Two women approached me that were very, very good physical therapists and speech therapists.  They loved what they were doing, but they thought that the activities that the students had were very “blah”.  Whether this was in a rehab facility, at home for the parents to use, or at school for the teachers to use.  They thought, “what if we could create the activities, give them how-to-guides and package new items every month. This could really help the kids, the parents and be a game changer.”  The idea was to create a monthly subscription service with three categories, for teachers, parents and rehab staff and create a new box every month.

Take It To The Next Level: Creating A Business

I know nothing about the therapy world but I do know how to start a business.  I helped them take it from an idea to “startup stage”. We create a name, create a logo, create a brand, create a marketing plan, create a business plan (I hate that phrase of business plan, it was more of a road map).

The business plan wasn’t the 30-100 page, it was a road map that included a break even on the monthly costs, how much each box could cost and at what point the business would be profitable.  The business plans I find valuable include what we want to do, the goals we want to hit, the reason why we are in business, our revenue model and the steps we need to take for each item  this will allow a road map for our MVP – Minimal Viable Product.

From Zero To Sixty In 6 Months: Build Your Base

The first step was to get the business established, the EIN set-up .  We set up the website and the eCommerce platform from WordPress and we used Hostgator and  for credit card payment processing Stripe.

With this entity, we had turned it into a monthly subscription model where we would drop-ship “kits”. The kits included new exercises that the therapist could do to help their clients. It did not matter whether this was in a school setting or in facilities or to parents at home).

We would drop-ship them a new kit every month, with fresh ideas!!  I even helped them get into a trade show; we got a backdrop, we had T-Shirts made, business cards and demo boxes (before we sold anything). We created a form for clients to register online while at the show and if they did not buy at the show we got them to give us there email for a chance to win a 12 month free subscription.

It was a great way to build a base of followers. We rocked it out, we got 10 sign ups at the show which reinforced that they had a great idea.  We went from zero to sixty in six months to get this idea up and running and off the ground.

Gaining Momentum: Stay On Board

About 3-4 months into it, we had 20+ clients, we were building monthly boxes, working with vendors to get free products and started to help clients in Canada.  We had everything moving forward, and then – one of the partners said that they didn’t have enough “family time”.

They said that they were spending all of their evenings on the business – shopping for the products and putting together the boxes.  I replied, “Yes, yes you are and you’ll also probably also be spending all day Saturday.”  This is how it goes when you start a business and you should be ready for that for 2-3 years of massive action and staying busy!!  After three-year if you’re not making money, it’s probably a good time to throw in the towel.

Be Willing Sacrifice

She wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices that is needed when starting a business.

Some people just do not quite understand what it will take – they like the idea of starting a business, they like the idea of getting enough income to quit their job, they like the idea of creating something and watching it grow but when it comes down to it, they just don’t have the kahunas to make it happen or the timing is not right. In this case it was the timing, she has the motivation and kahunas to do it, it was just bad timing.  I am sure this person will try it again when their spouse is more behind them.

Before you start a business and before you decide to quit your job – you should really take a “gut check” to be sure this is something you absolutely want to do.  That this is something that you have time to do and something that you want to make time to do.

I Am Here To Help

If it is a direction that you want to move forward in, you can always email us with your idea .  I’m here to help you get something off the ground. We’re happy to help!  Everyone is looking for motivation. I highly recommend the “Every Day is Saturday” podcast. This will help you get motivated to see if it would be the right fit for you.

What ended up happening in this business is that the one women, the third partner, decided she had to go back to focusing on her family.  The other women has now taken it, adjusted a little bit, changed the company name and is now loving every single part.  She is very thankful that I was able to help her get this business running and off the ground.  That I was able to push her towards accomplishing her dream.

Example Number Two

My second example involves creating an online directory for the wedding industry.  A husband and wife couple approached me and said “we know our market (the wedding industry) very, very well”.  They described how they buy leads and buy ads from these two mega directories, but that those are our only two options.  That all of their friends that are in the industry only have those two options.

After about 6-months of speaking back and forth about what this would look like, what the workflow was going to be, how this was going to operate – we got the site established and up and running.  We got a logo made, the company name created (if you need to set up an LLC or Corporation these guys are great). They opened up a business checking account and established the EIN.

Work Hard: Make the Sacrifices

After three months of working on the business side and getting things going, they got busy and decided to put the project on hold.  This was 9-12 months in, they were to particular on how the site would look and the colors that they wanted. For a startup idea, just get it out there and see if people will use it. We hired an SEO company, two of them to be exact, spent close to $5,000 for everything (outside of my fees) and then………………… They then took a vacation and when they got back told me that they had decided their life was very full with their other business.  Consequently they didn’t want to rock the boat. Furthermore, they didn’t want to put more time into anything else.  They are very happy with where they were with their other business and they decided to totally abandon the project.

To recap, $5,000 in hard costs, 12 months and countless hours and my time and they decided to stop. Interesting…..

We Are Your Resource

When you get an idea and you think it’s something you want to get going, please use us a sounding board and we can talk through your idea, I will give you a free 30 minutes of time. Just email us and in the subject line put “SOUNDBOARD”.

Maybe we have tried the business in the past, maybe we know somebody that has a business exactly like what you are starting or maybe you will get some great ideas, either way it will be well worth your time.

What Is Your Special Sauce?

A friend of mine came to me and said, “I know you help people start businesses, and I’ve got this idea. I’ve been wrestling with it for two and a half years now…”  His idea was centered around people not drinking and driving.

What he wanted to do was create an app. People would request someone to drive their own car home from the bar. He would show up on a scooter, fold up the scooter and put it in the trunk of their car and then drive the customer, and their car home.

He’d then get out, get onto his scooter and go on to his next call.  He is telling me all this and explains it in about fifteen minutes.  At the end of the 15-minutes I told him that already exists.  Somebody’s already tried that.  Which is okay. I love doing something that somebody else has already done. BUT what makes you and your idea different?  What is your special sauce?  How are you going to do it better?

Consider Me Your Mentor

If you have an idea, feel free to submit it over to us; request a phone call – we will do a free 30-minute consultation.  Please ask us any questions that you want. My experience ranges wildly, from starting a real estate company, to starting a software as a service entity. From directories, to starting a monthly subscription box business. From restaurants, to financial services. I’ve even helped in starting a marketing company.  The list goes on and on.

Do you have what it takes?  We look forward to hearing from you!