Chuck Blakeman has an off the grid approach to business that has been adopted by thousands of business founders and leaders. He has bootstrapped eight wildly different businesses from the ground up, making every mistake possible along the way to some big wins. As an internationally acclaimed business speaker averaging more than 100+ speaking engagements and workshops per year, he has been quoted and featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, CNNMoney.com, NYTimes.com, other online magazines and small business blogs throughout the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.
My Definition Of Success | Success is having the freedom to live out your Big Why, which is much bigger than how much money you make. My Big Why is To Live Well By Doing Good and that plays out in many ways – helping business owners, solving poverty, being a good dad and husband, etc. Everyone needs to have a motivator that is bigger than just getting through the year, and if they don’t, they are likely to stall out.
My definition of success changed over the years as I realized that the Industrial Age had sold us a lie – that if you make a bunch of money, you’ll be happy and live a life of significance. But significance is actually a formula and includes both time and money to create Significance – T+M=S (Significance). So we teach business owners to USE their businesses to build their Ideal Lifestyle, which requires that they demand both time and money from the business, not just money.
I Am Driven By | I’ve always been driven by the question, “Why do what others can and will do, when there is so much to be done that others can’t or won’t do?”
So I look around for the holes in our culture, society and economy, and then ask myself how I can help close those holes.
For instance, everyone told me you can’t help small business owners – there’s no money in it. So we invested three years in figuring out a model that would work, and I wrote Making Money Is Killing Your Business – #1 Rated Business Book of 2010. No we help business owners and founders on four continents understand how to get past the noise in their head and the common obstructions in business to find the one or two things that will get them over them hump.
Another for instance is that the commonly held hierarchical business practices we inherited from the Industrial Age are a terrible way to run a business, but everybody’s using them. So I wrote my second book, Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea, a top 10 Business Book of 2014. Now have a team of people working with companies around the world to help them escape the Industrial Age management structure and enter the emerging work world of the Participation Age where everyone has a brain and humanity is brought back into the work place. Every company that goes this direction makes more money and has exponentially lower Stakeholder (employee) turnover.
If you don’t have something driving you to get out of bed that is bigger than making money, it will be hard to get out of bed when you’re not making it. I’m driven by something much bigger, and that keeps me going.
My Highlights | Building multiple businesses in multiple industries (IT, Logistics, Printing, Call Center, Direct Mail, Leadership, Landscaping, etc.) is something I’m proud of. But I’m more proud of being seen as a Results Leader. The whole though leader thing escapes me as vapid and self-promoting. We regularly have people connecting with us that tell us we are changing their lives and transforming their businesses, not just feeding them complex information and infotainment. We figured all this out by building businesses and we live in the trenches with the founders, CEOs, and business owners.
I’m also very proud of what we’re doing in Central Africa to solve poverty there by building for-profit businesses, which is really the only way any economy is created.
The Difference Between Good And Great |
- People who are good are “competent”, or “technicians”. But people who are great at what they do go well beyond being technically competent. They have a Big Why that drives them to never be satisfied with good enough.
- Commitment – a lot of people talk about it, but only those that are great at what they do actually have it.
- Speed of Execution – people can get good at something by studying it, but you’ll get great at it by doing it before you have it figured out. Planning doesn’t create movement, but movement will create a great plan.
A Key Talent | Talent is overrated as the key to success. Yes, you have to have some. But the world is littered with talented people who never made it. The keys to success are almost all learned. The biggest one is “seeing the big picture”, which shows up in passion, commitment, speed of execution, and the willingness to take risks to get moving when others are doing case studies. We all know someone who moved on an idea while we were still thinking about it – they will be successful and we won’t. So do this:
Ask yourself what you want out of your life – when you’re 100 years old and you look back, what specific, measurable things do you want to have accomplished?
Than ask yourself what you need to do in the next five years to make that happen – specific, measurable? And then again three years from now? 12 months from now? Three months from now? This month? This week? Stephen Covey was right – start with the end in mind. Most people are living out the Random Hope Strategy of life – working hard and hoping something good will happen. But YOU GET WHAT YOU INTEND, NOT WHAT YOU HOPE FOR. Stop hoping and start intending. Get specific, and have dates for when you intend to make something happen. Than go make it happen.
- The happiest people are the ones who are involved in solving other people’s problems. Are you unhappy? Go get involved in helping someone else – it will do wonders for your own life.
- We are all made to be and to do something Significant with our lives – figure that out for yourself.
- Time and money are just resources – you need a Big Why for why you would have them, or you will likely never get a lot of either.
- Be a servant – many come to serve (so they can get ahead), but few come as servants. Motivation matters.
Advice On Building Wealth | Don’t pursue riches or wealth – they are traps and you will likely never get either of them by pursuing them, or even having them as a secondary motivation. Figure out how you can give your life in service of the world around you – build something no one has built, serve people in a way no one else is helping them, etc. As you figure out how to meet the needs of others, it will show up in your own success. Don’t get the cart before the horse.
On Inspiring Others | Let them be adult decision-makers who have brains and are able to bring the whole, messy creative person to work. I have to believe they are better than I am, and then put together a business that will allow them to be better. Most companies are suffering under an Industrial Age hierarchical business model that keeps them from attracting and keeping the best people. They’ll have to blow that up to get people who act like owners and want to stick around.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | That we were transformative in the world around us – people changed when they came in contact with us, and their businesses and their lives improved measurably.