Today, we interview Andy Hagans, an entrepreneur focused on helping members grow their online revenue at MonetizePros.com . Andy gives us insights into how he stays productive and motivated, and he reviews some of the lessons he has learned as an entrepreneur. Let’s jump right into the interview.
Can you sum up what you do in one sentence?
What is the first thing you do when you wake up and what is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
First thing: I brush my teeth. Last thing: I read (books or iPad). Reading helps me wind down and fall asleep faster.
What is the number one productivity killer you see and how do you stop it?
Among entrepreneurs and “would be” entrepreneurs, the biggest productivity killer I see is “managing”. What I mean is, a lot of entrepreneurs put too much time into thinking, planning, presenting, and talking about their business. Or obsessively checking their web stats or social media accounts. In which case, less time is spent on the actual business activity (making and selling the widget).
One article about this concept really inspired me several years back: google “DIFN” and you will find it (warning: language in that article is “R-rated”).
Do you have a favorite productivity tool?
Basecamp . Successful entrepreneurship, assuming you have a solid business plan, involves identifying high-value tasks, and then completing those tasks, efficiently. So I believe task management and accountability are central to the success of any startup. Basecamp is great for this.
What do you do when you aren’t feeling productive or motivated?
Honestly, I take a break. Could be an hour, a day, a week, or a month. Of course, it’s a luxury to be able to do that.
But it’s what I do. I generally try to re-charge my batteries by giving my time and focus to something completely unrelated to business. After I completed a major sale a few years ago, I took a few months as a break, and enrolled in an online art history course. A few months later, I quit the course (25 pages of research papers was my limit, apparently!), but my mind was fresh, and I was hungry to work again. These days, my breaks will more likely involve spending time with my son.
How do you set goals for yourself and what is your top priority goal this year?
I set goals for myself by discerning my current priorities, and then trying to quantify what I’d like to achieve (usually in numerical terms, and with a deadline). I’m a fan of the SMART system for goal-setting.
My New Year’s Resolution this year was to upgrade my sock rotation. I find that foot comfort and style both have a subtle effect on my mood and confidence. I achieved this goal relatively early in the year, thanks to some purchases from Murphy of Ireland and Corgi . I can also highly recommend Alpaca blends for summer wear, if you like to wear boots but want to stay cool.
Of course, that goal was my New Year’s Resolution, but I can’t say that it was the most important goal I had this year. My most important goal this year was to move my family out of Chicago, to a safer, less expensive, and more rural area. (I did achieve this goal.)
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made that you’ll never repeat?
Well in my business life, I don’t know that I could identify one huge mistake that will haunt me forever, or something like that. I will say, I’ve made plenty of mistakes! There is usually a common thread in the most severe of my business mistakes: I didn’t give another person “the benefit of the doubt”, or I was disrespectful to them in some way.
I’d like to say that time has mellowed me (and many failed startups have humbled me), so I strive to be as respectful as possible in all of my business relationships these days.
As far as the many failed businesses I’ve launched (no need to list them all here!), I don’t actually consider them to be mistakes. Failing as an entrepreneur is essentially a prerequisite to succeeding as an entrepreneur.
As someone who receives tons of emails everyday, what do you see in emails that makes you want to hit “delete” immediately?
The impersonal greeting: “Hello sir”, “Greetings”, or what have you. If you don’t know my first (or last) name, you’re probably not someone with whom I’d like to converse.
Do you have a role model or a mentor that has helped you stay productive and how did you find that mentor?
Well I can’t say that I have one particular mentor, in fact I’ve been blessed to be around many successful entrepreneurs, for virtually my entire life! All of these successful, productive entrepreneurs have taught me a ton: my dad ( Mark Hagans ), Patrick Gavin (CEO of Consumer Media Network ), Joe Thibault , Jim Atkinson , Michael Johnston, Jimmy Atkinson (Jim’s son!), Rich McIver , Brian Thibault (Joe’s son!), and at least a dozen others.
Again, I think I’m really lucky to have been physically around all of these entrepreneurs. You can always say that Steve Jobs is your hero, or something, but you probably didn’t get to observe Steve Jobs work for hours at a time. The best role models and mentors actually give you their time (even if they aren’t famous).
What is the most powerful thing you’ve ever seen, heard, or read?
Man this is a tough one. Probably this music video by Hootie And the Blowfish, I’ve always found it to be really profound.
Just kidding. The most powerful thing I’ve even witnessed was the birth of my son.
What do you do for fun to relax or clear your mind?
Oh man… my list of “hobbies” is about a mile long! Spend time with family, spend time with dogs, shooting sports (sporting clays, pistol range), reading, good wine, car stuff (I like Porsches)… the list goes on. Work to live, don’t live to work.
If you had the last living dinosaur on earth, how would you make money from it?
How wouldn’t I make money from it?
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