Momentum Podcast: 602
Process Will Set You Free, and in This Market it Will Save You
by Alex Charfen
As entrepreneurs we fight process, structure, and routine, it's just part of who we are. I know I thought these are for years. I felt like creating process, structure, and routine was going to limit my creativity, it was way too controlling, it was going to take away the freedom I want it as an entrepreneur.
Today I can't believe I ever thought any of those things. Process, structure, and routine have all created freedom in my life that I have been wanting forever. The freedom to do what I want, the freedom to do only the work that I like, and the freedom to grow like crazy regardless of what is happening around me.
In a crisis like we are experiencing today, there is a totally different type of freedom. Because my team and I have clear processes and structure, we are creating momentum, moving forward, and making things happen.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
If you're an entrepreneur, it can feel like a process structure routine are going to limit the freedom that you have. The reason you became an entrepreneur is to experience freedom. The reality is that when you create process and structure and routine in your life, it creates freedom for you in your life and for your business. In this episode of the Momentum podcast, Alex is going to take you through exactly how he has implemented process, structure, routine, all of it into his life to create the freedom that he's always wanted. I hope you enjoy.
Charfen and this is the Momentum, podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Man, the world is in a very tumultuous, uncertain kind of all over the place state right now. This morning, my daughter and I got up early. We went up to Whole Foods like we've done thousands of times and only today there was like one way in, one way out. The shelves were bare. It was this very clear representation of how dramatic and how intense the crisis we are going through is. It was like being there for the 20 or 30 minutes that Reagan and I were at Whole Foods was like joining the rest of the world in crisis.
It was very intense for me. And here's why, because I don't feel like I've been feeling this crisis like the rest of the world is. I don't feel like I've been absorbing it like the rest of the world has been absorbing it. And here's why. I have process, structure, and routine in my life that keep me sane. They build a momentum bubble around me and they keep me moving forward.
And I just want to share that with you because here's what I know about myself as an entrepreneur. I'm 47 years old and for much of my life, even though I was creating structure and creating routine and following them, I fought them at the same time. I [inaudible 00:03:03] work and then I would [inaudible 00:03:04] routine in my business and I would create like systems and structures somewhere and then I'd find it somewhere else. So I'd have it then working in my business and I wouldn't want it in my personal life. And there's this weird juxtaposition that we have with process, structure, and routine as entrepreneurs.
See when we're creating process, structure or routine, it makes us feel like it's controlling. It makes us feel like we're giving too much up. It makes us feel like if I'm going to put the same meeting on my calendar every week, then that's not the freedom that I want as an entrepreneur.
And I know these feelings. I feel those feelings so deeply because for the first, like two thirds of my entrepreneurial career, I was the same way. I fought structure, I fought routine, I fought process. I was like, I don't want any of these things. I want to be able to show up when I want, do what I want, be who I want.
And here's what I didn't realize was that by not having a structure, process, or routine, it made it so that I couldn't show up how I wanted to. It made it so I was constantly putting out fires, constantly trying to reorient and figure things out, constantly going in the direction that I didn't really want to go. And by installing process and structure and routine, here's what's happened in this crisis for me. It's like I'm not feeling it. And I know that might sound unbelievable for some people, but it also might sound like I'm trying to be better than everybody else and I want to make it clear, that is not what I want to come across here. In fact, I've got these Inc 500 plaques hanging on the wall and let me share with you what happened during the last crisis and what happened over and over again.
So in the last crisis, Katie and I went bankrupt and we started a new business. I'm shortening the story here for the purposes of today's today's topic. And the way we got out of bankruptcy was rigorous, obsessive, 100% of the time process every single day. And we obsessed on the processes. I remember Katie would make us every night tell each other three things we were grateful for. We couldn't go to bed without it. And now that's like a permanent part of our momentum planning system. And there's a reason because that little process of expressing gratitude every night will actually create momentum in the middle of no matter what is going on for you.
And today, when I look at process, structure, and routine, I compare back to what we were going through in 2009, so here's what happened. We moved to Austin and our business was exploding. We built a business in the middle of the foreclosure crisis. Like right when it started, it was all about helping people avoid foreclosure, it was by helping realtors understand the market. And our business started growing like crazy. And here's what happened. The process, and structure, and routine that we had in our business changed everything and we heard it from our team members.
I think that as entrepreneurs, maybe we don't feel crisis as much as the people around us. Maybe we don't feel it as intensely as people around us. Like entrepreneurs tend to kind of feel stuff, get over it, move forward, figure out the next step. But in the foreclosure crisis, I really felt it through my team because they would come into our company and they would say things like this. They would say, "Yesterday I was at a family dinner and I was telling everybody how I got a bonus. And then I felt bad. I felt like I shouldn't have shared the bonus because everybody's struggling and everybody's having a hard time. And I shared what was going on for me, it was positive and I felt bad about it." And we would have team members shared things like that all the time.
And I remember, we would have people come in and in the daily huddle, there was so many times somebody broke down [inaudible 00:06:38], we just got used to it. It was like, okay, let's let them have the feelings. Let's let them process the emotion. And if we're going to all be part of that, that's totally fine. Because they would come in and say things like, "My family's struggling, my mom's struggling, my parents are struggling, my aunt's struggling. I know people who are having a hard time and in our company, we were crushing it." And why? Because we had process, structure, and routine. And not only did we have process, structure, and routine, for our business, we were sharing that process, structure, and routine with our team members.
And this morning, you'll hear it soon. This morning I did an amazing podcast with a good friend of mine, Darian [inaudible 00:07:15], who we call Cosmo, he is an incredible entrepreneur. I can't wait for you to hear the podcast.
Here's what's interesting. In his business, he has about a $6 million retail products business. It's been exploding for the past couple of years and because we've spent the last year or two years, about a year and a half, so about a year and a half ago, Cosmo's business was around 1.5 million. It's now at six. And the difference between 1.5 and six has been process, structure, and routine. And what he said this morning was the process, structure, and routine that he's put into his system over the course of the past year and a half is not only going to just help him get through this crisis, but here's what he said confidently. He's going to grow through this crisis. He's going to do bigger numbers through this crisis. He already knows the numbers he's going to do. It's predictable for him. More people eat. He sells food products. So more people at home, more people are eating. He knows he's going to grow and he has a plan of how to get there.
So even in the middle of a crisis where literally it feels like up is down and down is up and black is white and white is black, let's get real, you keep expecting to open the window and literally see pigs fly. It's so weird out there. But because of process, structure, and routine, Cosmo, Darian, he knows he's going to grow and he knows he's going to be able to provide for his team members and he knows there's an opportunity there. In fact, he's hiring right now. And so here's what I want us all to know is that process, structure, and routine won't just save you as a person, as an individual. I already did that podcast. It will save your entire business. And here's what we watched through the foreclosure crisis. Is that the... Sorry. The process that we shared with our team, the process they were involved in, the weekly planning, the daily huddles, the monthly waterfalls, quarterly planning, the way that we showed them how we were staying together as a company, the way that we were in routine every day with the daily huddle, it was predictable. You know what you're doing, you know what people are going to say. It's a time to connect. All of that structure that we had our team in kept them moving forward. It saved them in so many ways and they would share it with us all the time.
So it's your responsibility as a leader in a crisis like this to create process, structure, and routine that creates, it creates a momentum bubble. Like you need to be the unreasonable person that says we are going to grow, we are going to get through this. We're going to be okay. We're going to make it through this and the way that you do that is through process, structure, and routine. And every day, I get up today and I feel so grateful that we already have our company up and running in this because we get into our daily huddle and it feels like we are all just experiencing a normal day. And we get our stuff done and we're checking it off on our weekly commitments.
And of course every person on my team is more activated, on a higher level of alert. They're having a harder time just like everybody else. I don't want to say that this is like the miracle that's going to make it so you don't feel it at all. Like I said, I'm definitely feeling it from going to Whole Foods this morning and seeing how different it was. But when I get back into my process, structure, and routine, it's like I can block all that out. I can get work done, I can continue to make progress, I can continue to contribute to my team members, contribute to our clients, spend time with my family in a way that makes us move forward. And so I want you to do the same thing.
And so if you run a business and you've been running it in a way where there's not process, there's not structure, there's not routine, here's what I want you to know about entering a crisis. And this is like, let's get real. In a great economy, in a good economy when things are going really well, like they were just a few weeks ago, you can get away with running a business without process, structure, and routine. We call it a business based on force of personality. You show up every day and you make it happen. And those of you who have been running a business without process, structure, and routine, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It takes energy every day to show up and get the trains running on time, get everybody moving in the right direction. It's your personality is the structure, the process. You're enforcing it by just being there and telling people what to do.
It's exhausting. It literally, without process, structure, and routine, you are in permanent transactional management where you're telling people what to do, checking that it got done, and telling them what to do again. Do you even just feel how energetically draining it was to listen to me talk about that, much less do it. When you install process, structure, and routine, you get out of transactional management and in a crisis like this one, you do not have time to tell people what to do, check that it got done, and tell them what to do again because one, you just don't have time. Two, it's going to create massive decision making fatigue for you because you're going to be looking at everyone and figuring out what they're going to do and the more inputs you have in a crisis, the more decision making points you have in a crisis, the less strategic you will be.
So process, structure, and routine will help you offload decisions. It will help you stop making split decisions and making decisions, like telling people what to do, checking that it got done, and telling them what to do again. Instead, when you create process in your business, especially in a crisis, you give people clear outcomes, you tell them where you are going, they know with clarity where you're headed so that they can get there on their own.
Then you coach success along the way and if you coach success along the way, your team will not fail. If you're talking to them, if you're helping them, if they are giving you the feedback, if you know what's going on and you know what they're pursuing, you can help them actually do better in a crisis. And if you give people clear outcomes, coach success along the way, you'll get leveraged results. And today, more than ever in our business, you need to be getting, in all of our businesses, we need leverage results.
If you're in a business that's growing, if you're in a business like Darian's, it's actually going to have an upswing. If you're in a business that you're going to be part of this reality distortion field where you're growing and nobody else is, believe me, I know how weird it is. I know how it feels. The more structure you can put in, the more routine you can put it in, the more that business will grow and the more you will protect that business throughout this crisis because here's what happens.
In a great market, you can make a lot of decisions and so can everyone on your team. When there's a crisis and people are thinking about food and like I was this morning, they're thinking about safety of their family. There's something about safety of their extended family, of friends, people around them. They're seeing the news where we're sharing nothing but crisis. Here's what you need to know and here's what I know from managing people for over 25 years now is that when that's going on in the world, they can't make as many good decisions. And when you create process and structure, where a lot of the decisions are made for people, where they know what to do most of the time and then they have to make fewer decisions, in a crisis like this, that will be an unfair advantage for your company. So the more process, structure, and routine you can build around you and your team members, the more you will fortify yourself to not just get through this crisis, but like Darian, to grow through this crisis.
And if you're in a business that's been dismantled... Like I'm not unrealistic. I know there's people out there. We have a couple of clients that had to lay off entire teams. Still, process, structure, and routine will save you. I just had a client this morning in one of our Facebook groups asked the question, she's disoriented, she doesn't know what direction to go. She's had to lay off her entire team because there's forced closures of her business. And then she was asking him, what do you do? Well, my advice to her was to jump into one of our products, momentum masterclass, which shows you how to assemble the motivation for a new process, a new structure, a new routine in the middle of a crisis. And I know she'll be able to build it and get there. So even if your business has been disassembled, a morning routine will save you on a day to day basis, figuring out what plan you have, where you are going will save you. And orienting towards the future, not staying in the pain, in the frustration, in the moment, but orienting towards the future will help you actually start pressing towards the future, which is what we do as entrepreneurs.
And so if you're in a place where you feel like it's been frustrating and challenging and you're not getting the momentum you want, process, structure and routine, will save you. And if you're running a business with a team and you want to talk about... And you need help with process and structure and routine for your team so that you can build that momentum bubble, go to predictablebusinesssolutions.com, answer a few questions for my team, and let us help you.
And I know that marketing says, you're not supposed to put two options on the end of anything, but this is an extraordinary time. If you're an entrepreneur with a team or without, and you feel overwhelmed, and you don't know what decisions to make next, go to momentummasterclass.com. There's a hundred different companies selling it online. They pirated us. So buy it from us. Make sure that you're buying it from the actual momentummasterclass.com and that's the only way you know you're getting it from us because then there's a supported Facebook group, and we will make sure that we are looking out for you and if you have questions, we'll answer them. And you're going to join a community of other people that are creating momentum right now in this crisis just like you.
Because here's what I want you to know. Process, structure, and routine will get us out of this. And while it feels so crazy and so different and so disorienting right now, I will admit even I have been disoriented today, here's what always happens, and what I keep reminding myself. In every crisis in history, entrepreneurs have risen above the noise, identified the opportunity, done what it takes to make it happen, gotten up into momentum, made things happen, and taken us and the rest of the world with them. And this is what we're going to do again. So by putting process, structure, and routine into your business, into your life, we're going to get there. We're going to rise above the noise. You are going to identify the opportunity. You are going to make it happen. Get into momentum and take us with you. That's what we've always done as entrepreneurs. That's what we will do in this crisis. And that's what we will do again.
So if you're an entrepreneur with a team and you need help with the structure of how to set everything up, go to predictablebusinesssystems.com. Sorry, predictablebusinesssolutions.com, let us show you exactly how to do that. And then if you're an individual, whether you have a team or not, if you need help with just getting through this crisis with the process and structure for an individual person, to reorient towards the future, to understand your strategic plan, to have clarity every day, to be excited about the day again. If you're feeling lackluster or frustrated or it's just not getting there, go to momentummasterclass.com. Let us help support you, get you back into momentum, but the right process and structure and routine around you, and you will get there.