Untrain your brain, get off the email drip feed [Q&A]



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I chatted with Adii Pienaar, founder of WooThemes and PublicBeta to talk the entrepreneur lifestyle and creating good habits. We walked back through his time at Woothemes and his experience building a “support-first” competitive advantage. We also talked around being authentic and building a genuine brand. Here are the highlights from the call!

Ensure you get 8 hours sleep a night

Adii is an early riser, he’s been able to do this by compounding time-saving exercises with a real effort to get to sleep earlier each evening.

Breaking the bad habits and training himself to pick up positive habits is one of the ways Adii is able to get more done.  I’m not the morning person Adii is but certainly agree that routines and good habits form the foundations for great productivity.

Untrain your brain

All of us with smartphones can relate to subconsciously checking email at inappropriate times, over Dinner as an example.

Adii covered on the call that his brain was trained to be connected to work at all times, so a unique solution was to remove gmail from his smartphone for a couple of months, just long enough to form a new habit and break from the old one, in doing so “untraining” the brain from look for solace from a quick email refresh!

Building a remote team

Adii grew the Woothemes team slowly, building delegation and teamwork into the heart of the business.    One key takeaway from the call was the quick sensecheck of “Can this person do this 80% as well as I could”

Accepting that as an individual you can’t do everything, you should look to build systems and processes you can hire into, supporting the people you do hire on how to execute the activities you’re looking for help with.

Adii recommends assessing each task based on the following criteria:

1. What are your most important tasks
2. What are your core competencies

If tasks score low on the metrics above, you should look to outsource at a lower cost.  You should assess that your time is worth X, and someone else can do this for Y.

Your competitive advantage

Adii puts at least some of Woothemes’ success down to focusing on great customer service rather than features:

“We believe that if you’re building a business, don’t compete on features. It’s much easier or better to build competitive advantage by branding and superior customer support.

It’s interesting that support, obviously, works its way back into the branding. That’s actually what I believe is our competitive advantage today. For example, if you just take our themes, you can probably find themes that have more features than ours – they do more things than ours – but people still buy from WooThemes because of our reputation.”

Be authentic

More specifically if the brand is just you, Adii believes its important that personality transcends everything you do.

“You’ve got to build a brand that’s true to yourself, especially when you’re at the very start of your business journey and it’s only you – you’re the entrepreneur, you’re the owner.

It’s important to say that my brand is something that I as a person can relate to. If you’re a naturally open-minded individual, then those kind of characteristics should be transferred to the branding. That’s the easiest way to build a brand in a way that is authentic, that’s human, and that way, you attract the right type of customers you want to be in business with.”

Additional resources

Here is the Yes/No diagram we referred to in the interview:

You can catch up with Adii over at the awesome PublicBeta or by heading over to his blog adii.me.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/user/pindilem Pindile Mhandu

    Was looking for the YES/NO diagram for delegation or team building mentioned in the audio.

    • Liam at Freelancelift

      I’ve updated the post now to include that Pindile! Let me know if you have any questions on it.

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