Be productive, set goals, make a marketing stragety, sell, grow, buy …

Dear reader,

since the beginning of Ribalon, I increasingly started to receive all sorts of invitations to various meetings, seminars and workshop about how I should run my business. From companies, agents, all sorts of “professionals” (real or fake).

When I answered and attended some, I’ve been advised to use a certain marketing strategy, was taught how to write a business plan and how to sell my services. All in terms to attract more “customers”, to bring in some investors, to increase productivity with as little efforts as possible, etc. In general – how the business should be, from the bottom down and reverse. It was not advice form a friend, but rather a comment from an expert who was convinced knows better about my company than I do.

Guess what. How I run my business is non of their business.

I don’t want to increase my productivity by appointing 10 clients a day. I rather do just one, but really do a great job with “only” one.

I don’t want to “sell” my services. They are not to be sold. They are to make people’s lives better.

I don’t want to adjust my price to the market. Quality has no “price”. I believe in the triangulation cheap – fast – good cannot go together (see the picture below). You have to pick the combination of the two you like. So if you want it good and fast, it’s not gonna be cheap, But if you want it to be fast and cheap, it’s not going to be good. I somehow refuse to do that. Your choice.

I don’t want to create the needs in people, so that they would need my services and would keep coming back. I want them to fly and to leave me as soon as possible, because this means they have taken up with their lives and I’ve done my job well.

I don’t want advice from someone who doesn’t care and only wants to make profits. But I do value feedback from people who do care. Who want to make this world a better place. Who want to see me grow, because they believe I do a good job. Who want to share their knowledge because they know it’s not theirs to keep it. Who care about other people. And environment. And who don’t think numbers, but instead think melodies.

I don’t want to make my company an investment opportunity for people who would like to buy it and later on sell it to a third party who pollutes our waters. Instead I want to sleep well at night and I want to keep the feeling that I love my job and that what I’m doing is exactly what I want and how I want. At the end of my life I want to look back and count all the memories I’ve created and I want to open my box where I keep them and read about all the stories from many people that I (hopefully have) touched. And I want to remember all the wonderful people I had an opportunity to learn from and create together. That’s my business strategy.

I want to make it the hard way. I want to put much efforts to it. I know I could probably buy my doctorate and nobody would find out, but what quality and worth would that have? For others? For me?

So I’ve created a filter and marked all these offers to make me a super modern enterpreneur a spam. Appologies if I’ve ofended someone. But I’m not sorry.

Now I’m off to do a two-day training at some new organization I’ve never worked with before. I’m really excited to meet and work with new people. Every time it’s different. And I remember each meeting as something magical.

I would if I were you – a Word about the Discipline

Dear reader,

sometimes people say to me they envy me – my work, all my travels, my looks, my grades, my home, even my cat … saying things like: “Oh if I were you, I could do so many things, but I just can’t. It’s too difficult. I just.. can’t. You have it easy – you have everything. I wish I was so lucky”.

Well, sure, I have a splendid life, thank you. On the surface maybe. But what you see is only a top layer, you don’t see the long hours I’ve spent mastering a certain skill, you don’t see days of reading, doubting, worrying, you don’t see all the way I had to walk to get me where I am. And you don’t see that I’m never standing still, never resting on my achievements.

I used to be a professional ballet dancer. Not a very good one, but good enough to be in choir of the National Ballet Theatre. I’d spend at least 3 hours a day practising (weekends included). The same moves over and over, until perfection (or injury). I used to play violin. It took me several years before I could bring the melody out of the instrument without sounding like cats in heat. It really was 10% talent and 90% of work. And by that I don’t mean work for fun. It’s really hard work that you don’t always like, nor you always have the right moods to do it, but you do it anyway. You don’t see the results, but you go on, keep trying in hope that you might get just a little better than you were yesterday.

Then I grew up, went to the university and became lazy :).

Now what I do, not for a nice figure, but to stay in shape because I sit a lot, is I run. Several times a week. Not every day, but mostly. In any weather condition. Not much, a couple of miles, but enough to be really sweaty in the end. I do that straight out of bed in the morning at 6 o’clock – do some yoga warm up exercises and then I go. So often it happens that I’d rather stay in bed and cuddle a bit. Or I’m really tired and just can’t get out. Or it’s raining. Or it is too dark/wet/cold or I’m running late because the alarm clock didn’t work. So many excuses EVERY SINGLE TIME! Want to know the trick? I don’t listen. At least try not to listen (do fail at that a lot, otherwise I would tell you I run every day, and that’s not true). And as soon as I put my sneakers on, the excuses fade away and I feel really proud for being strong enough to do the right thing. Then usually I step into some mud or manure or I twist my ankle, but still, it feels good.

So if today I’m good at something or I have something, I had to work to get that. There is no such thing as a goal achieved fast and easy without any efforts. Or at least not a worthy goal. You might look for some comfort in adverts promising to get you happier, slimmer, healthier in no time, but they’re not real. Sure you can nowadays simply buy many things, even things like a degree, trust, etc. But deep down you know these things have no value. The most valuable things you own, you earn by trying really hard to obtain them. And when you do, you know how much they are worth in terms of self-respect, pride, reputation and last but not least, these things last. Even if you loose a job, home or someone harms you, you know you can do it again. All over if you have to.

So no reason to worship or be jealous. You can do it too. If I can, so can you. If you fail or the result is not coming or revealing itself instantly, you’re not alone in this. I am too.


… to believe in tomorrow (A. Hepburn). This picture is from my garden – I’m still learning how to take care of the plants and these flowers were the only thing that survived this year. Not much, but good enough to be a perfect motif for today’s post.