Over 25 years ago, I asked myself a question that turned out to be a real game-changer for me in terms of my results: “How am I actually of value to my company, and how am I actually of value to my clients in the Strategic Coach Program?” I came up with three answers that are still true today:
- I create value by coming up with new ideas—new ways of thinking about being an entrepreneur—in the form of the concepts and “thinking tools” that make up the Program.
- I’m valuable to the whole Strategic Coach operation as a coach to entrepreneurs. Currently, I spend approximately 50 days a year coaching large groups of entrepreneurs in my 10x Program workshops. Not only is this valuable to my clients, it’s a major source of revenue for the company.
- I work with our marketing team, whose efforts are valuable to the ongoing success of our company. This might see me in the video studio or working on audio recordings. I also present online webinars and give live presentations.
Why would I want an office?
When I looked more closely at each of these main areas of responsibility, I realized that not a single one of them involved me sitting in an office working. Everything I did that produced big results in terms of income, reputation of the company, and continuing growth had nothing at all to do with having an office. So why would I want one?
This thinking led to another insight: I realized that I was using my office to hide from doing those three activities. I wondered if I was the only person who hid from opportunity by going into my office. And, do you know the reason I asked that?
The moment I walked into my office, I was immediately distracted by the enormous amount of “stuff” it contained. There were papers, reports, and magazines I hadn’t read and files filled with information I might be able to use. And being a disorderly person like most entrepreneurs I know, I needed someone else to turn the disorder into order.
I thought it was interesting that I actually went into my office to be distracted, to “hide” from everything that was going on.
Freeing yourself from your office has benefits you can’t even begin to imagine right now.
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The No-Office Solution
Once I started exploring this “hiding” theory and then figured out a way to remove myself from my office, my work life became incredibly more simple—and productive. And I’ve convinced hundreds of entrepreneurs that The No-Office Solution is the best way for them to eliminate distractions, to focus, and to spend their day actually doing what they’re meant to be doing and what creates their best results. There hasn’t been one of them who got rid of their office who didn’t experience an immediate jump in productivity.
I’m not saying that there aren’t objections that come up. People in the business world, entrepreneurs included, are used to heads of companies having the “corner suite,” a bona fide office that holds a certain degree of status. It can be hard to get past that.
These are objections I hear most often:
“I have to meet with prospects, clients, and other important people.”
My solution is to create a beautiful meeting room that’s welcoming and very comfortable. It should have an attractive meeting table or large desk and comfortable reclining swivel chairs. It might include fine art, but it wouldn’t include anything in the way of file storage, business magazines and books, or other work clutter.
“What about my credentials, degrees, and important photographs?”
My feeling is that people these days aren’t really impressed by those things. This has something to do with the person themselves rather than what others are thinking. Just have a beautiful place where they can come and meet with you.
The whole point is that this is not your room. It’s a meeting room that you might choose to work in. If you’re using the room for working, be sure to have phone jacks and outlets for your laptop and good lighting. But, here’s the important part.
At the end of every day, that meeting room goes back to being a meeting room. Nothing gets left there. Have someone on your team be responsible for gathering up your paperwork and putting it away elsewhere—ready for you when you need it again. In other words, there is no distracting “stuff” left in that room.
The world is your office.
We’re living in a world now that is being increasingly integrated with advanced communication technologies. With the Internet, we have the opportunity to view the whole world as our office. Things are just that accessible now.
My suggestion to you is to ask yourself the question I asked myself 25 years ago:
“What are the three most important activities that I do to create value for my clients and customers, my prospects, and my company as a whole.”
My bet is that not one of them requires you to have an office. I can tell you from my experience that freeing yourself from your office has benefits you can’t even begin to imagine right now.
About the Author
Dan Sullivan is the world’s foremost expert on entrepreneurship in action. He is the founder of The Strategic Coach Inc. and creator of The Strategic Coach® Program. Visionary, creative, wise, playful, and generous, he is a true champion of entrepreneurs worldwide.Follow on Twitter More Content by Dan Sullivan