This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Kris Ward. Kris is an entrepreneur and founder of Shadowblast, a leading marketing agency in Canada. She is the author of the best-selling book and philosophy - Win the Hour, Win the Day. The systems Kris has developed and teaches help entrepreneurs not only better grow and run their businesses, but flourish in their personal life as well.
These systems were proven and put to the test when Kris went through a very tragic time in her life. You see, Kris is a widow. Her business was thriving and she had a wonderful life with the love of her life until her husband, John, passed away from cancer. The diagnosis came out of nowhere and was grim. Kris was determined to make the time they had left together the best she could. So she put work aside and immersed herself into John and making their last moments together the best she could. It was during this time, that her systems around Winning the Hour and Winning the Day were put to the test.
As Kris says, “My team did an excellent job following what we had put into place and I am forever grateful for them. They followed our best practices and the business ran smoothly without any issues.” Clients didn’t even know she was absent. It’s these principles that I am excited for Kris to share with you in this episode to teach you how to go from overwhelmed and overworked to thriving on your terms in life and business.
Podcast: NOW Your Business
Kris was in business for over 4 years in her marketing agency when she found herself being overworked and had to find a way to make things easier. Her husband, John was her biggest fan and supporter, but she felt like she was letting him down with the time she was spending away.
She had always pushed back in “time management” because she was highly productive and did a lot more in a day than most people did. But she made the decision to really study how she could do even more with less and started to put some strategies in place. As Kris says, “It’s strategy vs. systems.”
And she did it. She went from working around the clock to working about 6-7 hours a day. It was just a couple years later that John was diagnosed with cancer. Just the doctor’s visits, chemo, etc. alone was time consuming, not to mention the emotional toil it took. Kris made the decision not to waste their time. They traveled and did a bunch of things together to make the most of their time and because of the strategies and systems of Win the Hour, Win the Day, she was able to work only 2-3 hours per week – for 2 years. And her business still thrived.
Her clients were shocked when they found out. They didn’t even know she was out and began to ask questions about how she was able to do it.
So Kris started helping people find “time empowerment.” She got rid of 80% of their “to do list” and 100% of their guilt.
“So many of us think that grinding it out is part of the entrepreneur journey when it’s not. Your passion and your work should support your life, not consume it.”
What’s the most important lesson you learned about life from your husband and going through what you went through together?
- The definition of what a problem is has changed completely. You find out what matters and what a real problem is takes on a new meaning.
- Ask the question, “Is that REALLY a problem?”
What mind shift must happen to take back control of your time?
- Any powerful change comes from a mind shift.
- It doesn’t happen from just finding some secret or strategy.
- Many of us have never been taught to respect or understand the foundations of time.
- We don’t look at our “Time Bank Account” and fundamentally, we are building everything we do on a flawed structure.
- Seeing the issue is the problem for most.
What is the issue people don’t see? Where do they falter?
- People don’t really understand or see their calendar as their “Time Bank Account”
- You don’t put things in you do every day, you put the external things.
- You hit the day thinking you have 8 hours to do everything in with your external appts., but you are not taking into account everything else you need to do – which may show, you only have 4 hours to do everything in.
- The one thing you cannot buy more of or change is time.
- We use a calendar as a reactive thing, but don’t use it as a GPS to navigate our business or our day – which is the foundation of the problem.
At the 14 min mark, Kris gives a great example of how we fight for our limitations instead of removing them…
Tell us about Win the Hour, Win the Day, and the Freedom Formula
- Focus. Studies are showing even more about the impact of not focusing or multi-tasking. It is almost the equivalent of being on drugs when it comes to impairing your productivity.
- You cannot shine a flashlight on two things at the same time. You must get serious about how and where you focus.
- To get better - Start with your creative work first in your day. Your first hour of work is incredibly important.
- Break things down and work backwards of what needs to be done to reach your outcome or goal.
At the 20 min mark, Kris shares the truth about “to do” lists…
- Get rid of 80% of your “to do” list by getting ridding of your bad habits. A to do list is really a list of rotating emergencies for most people.
- The biggest mistake people make is thinking a “to do” list is a plan or strategy when it is not. It cannot be truly measured.
What is the right way to plan to be productive?
- You have to work backwards to plan right. We do it in our personal lives all the time, but not in business very much.
- This is how you can create real plans and then systems around them to make a business go so that it can work on its own.
- Next, having a calendar that you know how much time you have for what you want to do makes you effective.
- You can then measure your progress by the steps from working backward and scheduling the tasks needed to reach to outcome or goal in your calendar with the time really have available.
At the 26-minute mark, Kris shares her thoughts on times of day we are more productive…
- Studies show we are more productive in the morning after sleeping. The science bares it out.
- No matter what you think, your brain is more tired later in the day.
- Do your creative work, first. You will see a major difference.
- Do more mundane, autopilot type tasks later in the day.
What is the #1 thing people can do starting right now to make the biggest difference in their productivity?
- Respect and really use your calendar as the tool that it is and can be for you.
- Put what you do in day in it and see what time you have left.
- Don’t fill it up and make busy work.
- Just be realistic about where you time goes and not as a diary for what happened yesterday.
- Put the things you do each day week in and out in your calendar at the times you typically do them. Standing meetings, specific tasks you have to do each week and so on. You’ll be amazed at what time you actually have left for real work.
Top tips on how to market a product or service?
- Be careful of having disjointed messaging. It needs to be consistent – the same message.
- Be careful not the change your persona or represent yourself differently for different audiences in social media. You don’t have to do that. Be how you are. Remember the “social” in social media.
- The idea of social media is to get to know, like, and trust people. If you are different online than you are in person, it will catch up with you.
- Be careful not to “present” – talk to people instead of presenting to them.
- Don’t over think it. Be you.
At the 41 minute mark, Kris talks about how to better automate your business and have it run for you.
- It doesn’t require the time and money that everyone thinks it does.
- Outsource obviously
- It is not just about strategies and systems, but keeping them as simple and easy to follow as possible to get the outcome desired.
- You do need a team around you to do it. But you can outsource a lot of it if you are willing and a little creative about it.
- Ask, “How do I do this once and make it duplicatable so it can be passed on and done by someone else?”
What is something you think every entrepreneur should know?
- Business should be fun.
- You should not have to sacrifice your life for your dreams.
- You don’t have to “pay the dues” in the traditional sense.
- Your goal should be create the systems to replace and reduce your hours not increase them.
Best Quote: So many of us think that grinding it out is part of the entrepreneur journey when it’s not. Your passion and your work should support your life, not consume it.
Kris's Misfit 3:
- Lighten up and have fun, no matter what you do – business should be fun.
- Don’t’ get caught up in the “busyness” and lose sight of the passion you set out to put into the world for what you are doing,
- You are business athlete and you need to take care of the machine – your body. It’s the most important machine there is. Eat well, exercise, sleep right, etc.