Want greater success? Be less accessible

The reason I use Clarity.fm

I used to let just about anyone connect with me on Skype for a 30 minute call.

That was back when I didn't realize how many people were willing to waste my time. For free.

Today I don't do that. And here's my rationale.

Sometimes the right call is to be less accessible

It's a challenging thing, right? Because you think, if I spend less time out there, or if I make it hard to reach me, I'm going to fade away into obscurity.

But the truth is that all that networking and phone time, without anything to show for it, simply results in wasted time.

Productivity requires focus and concentration. And you rather be known for getting actual things done, right? Rather than just being nice.

One university study found that a simple interruption would require over 45 minutes for someone to get back into the groove of what they were doing.

If you have just a few of those every day, guess what? You'll get nothing done.


Can I tell you about my friends, the Bourns?

I've told you before how I'm a big fan of small teams. It's not that I don't like 20, 40 and 60 person teams. I just prefer small teams who can crank out work.

Brian & Jennifer Bourn run a small team like that. They do design. They do development. And they do branding. And they have a system for doing it well.

I noticed them online about 18 months ago. I watched their announcements and releases (of client sites), and then noted that Brian would be speaking at the same event where I would be, about a year ago. His talk was fantastic and echoed a lot of what I had shared (though he did it better).

So I introduced myself and months later met his talented wife. You may have noticed, if you follow me on Twitter, that I tweet out a lot of their articles. It's because they're sharp and smart and I feel like it makes me look smarter to hang out and support such smart folks.

But why am I telling you about the Bourns?

Simple. I have a new site I want to launch (not this site, a different one) and a good friend told me not to design it myself. Just to get out of the way and “be the client.” Like I said, I like hanging around smart folks.

So I contacted the Bourns. Now, to be clear – I know them. I've taken them out to breakfast. We're friends. We hang out. Do you know what I didn't do? I didn't just call them on skype or hit them up via Facebook messaging.

I jumped thru their hoops – and let me tell you, their intake form goes on for miles (ok, maybe just several questions, but still).

And you know what they didn't do? They didn't just pick up the phone and call me. They could have. But they didn't.

You know why? Because they were busy. In the flow. And they have a system. They sent me an email with proposed times. I picked one. And we scheduled a call.

You know how else they “made me work?” They asked my budget. I didn't say, “I want the friend hookup.” I checked the box of the budget I was open to.

But that question is a hurdle as well.

Smart people have boundaries

What I'm really telling you is pretty simple. Smart people have boundaries.

  • They don't work for free.
  • They don't work for just anyone.
  • They're picky.
  • They're selective.
  • They don't let themselves be interrupted.
  • They create barriers to entry.
  • They make you work to meet up.
  • And when they're with you, they're focused.
  • Because they don't let themselves be interrupted.

So can I ask you the question you know I'm going to ask you? Especially if you're a freelancer….

Are you creating the boundaries you need, to be successful?