Hey. What's going on, everyone? It's Sam Ovens here. In today's video, I want to share with you how to differentiate between things that make the boat go faster and maintenance tasks, which just keep the boat going the same speed it's always gone, but just keeping it in good condition.
Right now, I'm out here in the Catskills, which is about a three-hour drive out of New York. My wife and I are staying in that little place there. It's just a small one bedroom place out here in the forest. You can have a look. It's pretty much in the middle of nowhere out here. We're just down here for a few days to really relax and to just clear our minds. That's one thing I'd suggest for you too. If you ever want to just clear your mind and really figure out what's important and get really laser focused, then getting out of the city, getting out of the thick of things and getting away from your day-to-day routine can be a really good method to help with that. We're out here for, I think, it's four days in total. Just reading books and focusing on the year that's left and trying to decide what is signal, what is noise.
What I mean by that is what are the things that are popping up that are really distracting me, and what are the things that are really important that need my full attention? Because to really succeed at anything in this world, you've got to be really good at determining signal from noise. What are the power activities that are going to move the needle compared to the trivial activities which are going to keep you busy, tied down, and feel like you're doing something, but in reality, you're just spinning your tires and you're not really going anywhere.
This brings me to the main point of this video. How do you make the boat go faster instead of just focusing on maintenance tasks? I actually got this from, I think it was this rower, an Olympic gold medalist from Australia. He's a rower and he won the gold medal at the Olympics. He had this saying, and it's, "Does it make the boat go faster?" Because there's so many things that him and his coach and his team could focus on each day and only some of those things actually made the boat go faster and shaved seconds off their speed. There was a whole bunch of trivial activities that they could focus on that didn't really make the boat go faster at all, but kind of just kept it in maintenance mode.
I see this. This isn't just in rowing. This is in everything. The majority of the things that people do day-to-day, and year-to-year and ... The majority of things that people do in their entire life, they don't actually move the needle. They don't make the boat go faster, and they don't help you grow. They don't help you go to that next level. Instead, they're really just maintenance tasks. What I mean by that is they're just tasks that help you keep going so that you can keep going.
What are maintenance tasks? Well, they could be things like email, and they could be things like text messages, social media, replying to people, customer support, paying bills, running errands, doing shopping. Things like that. All of those things, they're important, don't get me wrong, they have to be done otherwise you can't continue to be in business and you can't continue to do what you're doing, but they don't actually make the boat go faster. They don't actually help you go to that next level.
Think about it like this. If you had a car, like a racing car, and you're trying to make it go faster so that you could win the world record or win a race or whatever, there's some things you could do on the car. Well, there's some things you have to do on the car that are maintenance tasks. You've got to change the oil. You've got to change the tires. You have to do safety checks. Every now and then you'd have to rebuild the engine because of wear and tear. You have to refuel it. You have to do these things. These are maintenance tasks that you have to do in order to be in the game and in order to be in the race, but they don't actually make it go any faster. If you're a racing car driver and all you do is spend time on maintenance tasks, sure, you're going to be able to stay in the race. Great. Better than not being in the race, I guess. Better than not doing the maintenance tasks and not having a car that can drive and not being able to get in. But, it's still not making it go faster. You're not going to win. You're not going to shave seconds off your time, and you're not going to get where you want to go.
This is what I see happening in most people's lives and in most people's businesses. They spend all of their time on maintenance tasks that don't make the boat go faster. They don't really spend any of their time on performance increases and things like that. They're not thinking and they're not working on things that are going to help them move faster.
I'll give you some examples in business. In my business, things that are maintenance tasks could be like customer support. Very important. You can't screw that one up, otherwise if you have pissed off customers, or pissed off anyone, you're not going to survive long. That one's important, but doesn't make the boat go faster. Then you've got accounting. Very important. Mess that stuff up, probably go to jail, but doesn't make the boat go faster. Then you've got things like replying to your emails, paying bills, making sure that all of your systems are set up correctly and making sure that you're looking after your staff and communicating with them and giving them the things that they need to do their job, but still doesn't make the boat go faster. All of those things are maintenance tasks. None of those things improve performance.
This is what I see most people get ... they just spend most of their time doing this stuff. They spend most of their time doing things that are very important, but they don't make the boat go faster. You've got to really be careful for this thing, because it'll catch you and it will creep up on you and it will get you in the night when you least expect it, because it hides itself. The way it hides itself is because it looks like work and it feels like work and it's something that you have to do. What I mean by that is you can't ignore it and you can't not do it, because otherwise everything will grind to a halt. It's essential to do. You also need to do it, so when you do it, it feels like you're getting work done and it feels like you're making progress and you're moving forward. The reality of it is, is you're not going anywhere. You're just standing still.
If you stand still, doesn't matter how long you can stand still for, you're going to get taken out. In this life and in evolution and in everything, if you're not moving forwards, you're moving backwards. It's so important that you're making steps forward. Just look at human evolution over the past 10 years, the past 20 years. You don't even have to look 10 years. You know, 10 years ago most of the top internet companies didn't exist. That's just what happened in 10 years. You don't even need to look further than that. If you're just focusing on maintenance tasks, it might seem like you're being productive and it might seem like you're getting things done, but the reality of it is, is you're standing still and you're a sitting duck and you're a target for somebody that's going to creep up behind you in your industry and in your market and take you out in the night.
I don't mean this in a way that's meant to scare you or anything like that, it's just the reality of it. Just look at history. Just look at what goes on. If you don't move forward, if you don't evolve, if you don't grow, if you don't make the boat go faster, you're going to get taken out. The message that I wanted to really give you in this video is make sure that you're making the boat go faster every single day. Make sure that you don't have any day where you don't have some sort of performance increase in making your boat go faster.
In my business that would be things like is our funnel converting better today than it did last month? Are we making improvements to our conversion rate? It's not enough just to handle the support tickets, just to make sure our customers are happy, and just to make sure our staff are paid and our books are done and our accounting and everything is done. That's maintenance. That stuff has to be done, but it isn't making the boat go faster. Every month, I'm trying to look at our conversion rates. Are our conversion rates going up? Then I look at our PPC costs. PPC costs are always rising. AdWords goes up. YouTube goes up. Instagram's going up and Facebook's going up. All right? If you're not improving your conversion rates, and if you're not looking at your PPC campaigns and all that stuff, if you're not improving those things, then slowly, you're getting taken out, because it's a rising tide that's coming up. It's making everything more expensive, and if you're not making your boat go faster, it's not very long until your boat has sunk.
I'm always looking, everyday, one, are our maintenance tasks done? Two, what have we done to make the boat go faster? This is crucially important to having a successful business or being successful in anything that you do. You want to make sure that you're not just getting bogged down and stuck in maintenance tasks. You want to make sure that you're doing things that are going to move the needle and give you a competitive advantage.
That's pretty much it for this video today. I just want to make sure that you focus on these things, because when I look at what most people do, they're talking about grinding. They're talking about hustling. They're talking about being an entrepreneur and a hustler and working real hard and doing all of this stuff, and then I'm like, "Oh, yeah? What are you doing? Show me the sort of things you're working on." They're like, "Yeah, man. Look at all of these chats I've got going here. Look at these emails. Look at these leads I've generated." It's great. I mean, sure, dude. You're grinding on some $10 an hour admin stuff. Great. Better than doing nothing, but what the things that you're working on, they're not really making the boat go faster. You're not making your machine better. You're not making the sword sharper. You're really just preventing it from getting rust and being thrown out. It's so important that you differentiate these things.
Now, I want to tell you ... It's one thing to tell you that you want to differentiate between these two things, but what's an actionable strategy that you can actually use so that you can focus on making the boat go faster instead of just maintenance tasks? The first one would be to automate things. The first thing I think when there's an admin task that isn't making the boat go faster, the first thing I think is, is there any way that I could possibly automate it? Is there any way that we could use some software? Is there any way that we could eliminate this task? Is there any way we could do anything other than do this task? Because the first thing you want to try and do is eliminate it. If you can't eliminate it, if it's important, then you want to automate it.
This is the process. Number one, seek to eliminate. It's easier sometimes just to get rid of the thing. If it's not really important, get rid of it. Prime example is phone support. A lot of companies, they offer phone support for their customers. To do that, it's a huge job. You need to have the technology to handle it. You need to have all of these rips, and then quite a lot of the time, all of the calls came in at one particular point, which means there's a peak demand. You've got a ... It's a nightmare to manage. Really, most people don't even want to call the phone number. Most people just want the thing to work and then not even have to contact support. If they do, they're happy with email, provided that email support is fast.
What we did is we just didn't offer phone support at all. We don't even have a company phone number; just eliminated it. Our company doesn't even have any phones. Zero phones. No one has a phone number, no one calls anyone. We don't have a company phone and we don't give phone support; so eliminated it. That was really liberating and really freeing for us. It freed up a lot of time. That meant we could just focus on email support and mastering that. That's what we've done. Our email response time's under two hours every day of the week. Our customer satisfaction is 85% to 86% and it keeps getting better, which is up there in the top 2% of companies. You don't have to do phone support to keep customers happy. If you just do one thing well, that's all you need to do. That's one example of how I spotted a place where we weren't making the boat go faster, and I just got rid of it completely.
Now, the first one I said is seek to eliminate. The second one is seek to automate. If you have this thing that's bogging you down and taking up a lot of your time, can you automate it? We used to do a lot of live webinars. That's webinars where I would show up live and I would present live. These things are great. They work really well, but there's a huge amount of work. You got to send all these emails by ... manually, you've got to segment your list. You have to then show up to this webinar on time. You've got to schedule out the stuff. You've got to set up your microphone and all of that. You got to do this thing live and it takes a lot of time. Is it making the boat go faster? Not really. Can I eliminate it? No, because it drives a lot of revenue for us. All right, well, can we automate it? Yeah, we can.
What we did is we set it up. We made it fully automated. I've only had to do that webinar one time in the past year and it's made ... This year it'll make 25 million or more, and I only had to do it one time, because it's automated.
Number one, seek to eliminate. Number two, seek to automate. Number three, if you can't eliminate, if you can't automate, then give it to somebody else. What you want to do there is do the job yourself until you've figured out a process, a proven rinse and repeat process. Then create instructions. Just open up a Google doc, type step one, step two, step three, then screen record yourself doing the thing. Create a quick to-do list to show the person how to do it, then try and hire somebody, virtual, or full time or whatever and teach them how to do it, then get it off your hands and into theirs.
This is what you need to do as a business owner to protect your time and keep your day to yourself so that you can focus on the things that are going make the boat go faster. Things pop up in my life all the time. The first question I ask is can we get rid of it? Can we eliminate it? The second one, can we automate it? Can we get a machine or software to handle it? The third one is if we can't do one or two, then let's create an instruction manual real quick. Let's hire someone real quick. Let's train them. Let's get them to do it. Then, done. Now I don't have to do it anymore. Now, all of my time can be channeled and focused in directly on the things that are going to make the boat go faster.
You're probably thinking, well, Sam, what are some things that are going to make the boat go faster? Well, some really easy ones are conversion rates. If you've got a marketing funnel, trying to improve those conversion rates. That's a performance increase. Also, PPC campaigns. Trying to lower your CPC by increasing your click-through rate, trying to get cost per acquisition down. That's a big performance move. Other things are decrease in cost. Making your profitability go up. Those are big.
Other things are trying to increase the amount of cash collected on day one of invoices, so trying to make your business more cash forward instead of having a bunch of accounts receivable that you've got to collect. Having cash collected is so much more important than accounts receivable, it's not funny. A lot of people talk about revenue and all of this, but really, at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, the only thing that matters is cash. How much cash did you collect? How much cash terminated in your bank account? Trying to increase the amount of cash collected on invoices, huge performance increase. You do that and you'll be able to run laps around your competition even if you're making a little bit less revenue than them, because you're way more cash forward compared to everyone else who's claiming they've got all of this revenue but they don't have much cash. You can't do much with revenue. It's just paper. You can't pay people with it. You can't pay Facebook ads with it. You can't do much with it at all. It's pretty much useless. What really matters is cash.
Other things is improving your product. Making your product exponentially better and offering radically more value than all the rest of your market. Being number one is the most important thing. Being different, being number one, that should be your number one goal, because when you are number one, you have a huge advantage. Other people know you are. Other people tell other people that you are. Word spreads and you have that competitive advantage of being at the top. Those things, to get to number one, it comes by really offering radically more value than anybody else.
A lot of these things are things that entrepreneurs never have any time to do. They get so bogged down in replying to emails, doing sales calls, following up, paying bills, doing their books, and attending seminars and things like this. They get so bogged down in all of this day-to-day crap that they don't have time to work on the things that are going to make the boat go faster. Then, what inevitably happens is they get taken out in the night by some savage competitor who's been making their boat go faster all the time. They've just come up and silently, gone. I've seen this happen. I've done it to so many different people. I've seen other people get lazy. I've seen other people get bogged down in the day-to-day and I've just come up behind them and steamrolled them because they just weren't making the boat go faster. I was just sitting there everyday trying to make the thing go faster. Then, it inevitably just happens. Just gone. This thing is so important. This isn't just some cool tip. This isn't a productivity hack. This thing is so important if you want to not only survive in business, but win. Your goal should never be to survive. If your main goal is just to survive, then you'll probably get taken out. Your goal should always be to win.
That's it for this video. I just wanted to give you an update out here in the Catskills here. I wanted to give you a valuable tip that's helped me a lot. If you liked this video, just what I want you to do is click that subscribe button right there. Subscribe to me on YouTube. I release videos like this each week. There's plenty more where this came from. Also, if you liked this video, just click that like button. Also, leave me something in the comments section below. I'm going to check all of these comments myself, personally. I'll reply to them myself, personally, as well. Let me know what you think there. Let me know some other things that you would like me to teach about, because I'll take that feedback seriously and I'll really look at it and think about what people want and I'll try to produce more videos that help you guys.
That's it for this video. Thanks for watching. I'll see you in the next one.