Category

System Mastery

Your own VPN

vpn
vpnI was talking to some other Digital Nomads about security on the Internet at a party. Someone just moved in from an iffy freedom country and he asked what VPNs we used, that’s Virtual Private Network which allows you to use the Internet as if you were in another country, encryption and everything. Everybody had different opinions and which one was best and such was discussed.
What I didn’t like about all of them is that a commercial operation of a VPN means that their IP address is very well known and can be blocked. I wanted my own IP address to avoid that issue. All the commercial free and paid VPNs I used Netflix knew about and blocked them outright.
I did a search in LifeHacker.com techy hub for people who are way more technical than I am and found this article. I also read the software the article suggestions readme file and just followed the directions, pretty much copy and paste, very easy.
Plus there is no additional software you need on your computer. This solution runs with Mac and Windows operating system resources you already have.
Oh and Netflix has no idea because it’s my own VPN just for me and no one else.

I’m not a techy

techy
I was recently told that I’m a complete failure at being a techy. And I completely agree. Because, I’m not a techy. I have a business degree. I’ve never said I’m a techy. My partner has told people that I’m a techy because well let’s face it when I meet her she could barely turn her computers on in her office. I did her first website design, for free. And I got a free dinner for fixing her computer. We later started dating and we are very happy together.
 
I’ve had people say I’m a techy too because I’m a big believer in systems. A business is essentially a system made up of people and software. If anything I’m a systems guy. And so I do know about software to get things done but I’m not a techy. I don’t know how to program and if I did, it would break. Back in the 90’s when I started out after college I did have to do some programming. It was an epic disaster. I was working at American Express and I weekly broke the “build” when they would compile the last AOL check your card balance app. I was famous for it. I had to remind my boss that I was a system tester and shouldn’t be programming in the first place and that I was “volunteered” to program because I was the senior guy at the age of 25 there. Having me program was of course a big mistake.
 
On the side during nights and weekends I did write a software program in what’s called a 4G programming system which means I drew the buttons and text fields on a window and it generated the code and compiled it, I had to write very little code which was easy. The program did well in the market. I quit AMEX and became a full-time entrepreneur and have been one ever since. But I outsource all techy things since 1999 when I learned about that when working at AMEX. Thank you AMEX.
 
So no I’m not a techy. And even as an entrepreneur I haven’t sold a techy product in many many years. I focus on spiritual and self-help products and services and occasionally on the side help others systemize what they do as long as it’s cool.
 
I do like techy things. Totally love my AppleTV and I have no desire to program anything for it. My iPhone is full of apps, totally love trying out new ones. I geek out looking at the latest tech stuff at Product Hunt. Seriously some great stuff there. You can see my favorite picks at https://www.producthunt.com/@chrissherrod

4 Steps to Automate Your Business

Automate

While starting a business can be a lot of fun, getting that business to grow can be less exciting. Many entrepreneurs tend to lose enthusiasm after the launch phase, and develop that itch to move on to the next thing. I developed a four-step business that makes it easy to grow businesses and leaves you with plenty of time to dream up your next project. Learn how to take the pain points out of your growth phase with these easy steps.

AutomateStep one: Prepare to automate your business. 
Step one paves the way for business automation by taking a hard look at the processes and procedures used to run your business. If you can embrace this step, the rest of the process will flow much smoother. At this point, you need to think about how you conduct your business, and develop a system of process that makes the workflow easier.

Step two: Create the written procedures. 
After you have committed to processes in step one, formalize them by writing them down. Working alone or together with your manager, create a Standard Operating Folder, Strategist Operating Document, Standard Operating Procedure Template, and Dashboard Document. Then build out these documents with detailed procedures on each task that needs to be done. Write as if you were explaining the process start to finish to someone new to the organization. This way, you will capture the level of detail needed to be comprehensive. You can use any program you like to create these programs; we have successfully used Google Drive and Skitch.

Step three: Systemize your procedures. 
Now that you have committed to business procedures, develop the various systems that track what gets done and what needs to be completed. Without systems in place, you risk missing out on critical components of projects. Avoid using email for this task, as team members are just too overwhelmed with email as it is. We recommend Asana, which is available in both app and desktop format. Asana allows you to set deliverables, track progress across team members, and chat over video, audio, or instant messaging using their HipChat utility. Don’t forget to add a custom support ticketing system, such as Fresh Desk or Zen Desk. These allow you to get a full history of what is going on, track response times, and hand issues from one team member to another easily.

Step four: Train your staff. 
With everything in place, all that’s left is training team members so they understand the systems and how to work with your procedures. Particularly at the outset, you’ll need to check in on employees, especially if they are new, to ensure that everything is working as it should be. Again, Asana works well for this purpose.

Putting these procedures and system in place isn’t particularly fun, but they are necessary to have a company run smoothly. If you put time into them, you will only have to do them once to leverage ongoing business growth.

Resources
Check out my templates for Standard Operating Folder, Strategist Operating Document, Standard Operating Procedure and Dashboard Document on Google Drive here.

How to outsource everything but your sex life

Christopher Sherrod at La Costa Resort

Christopher Sherrod at La Costa ResortI celebrated my birthday last week. Thai massage, comedy club, meals with friends, trip to a safari park with the family, resort, another massage, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, on and on.

I need a vacation from my vacation to recover.

But seriously, it was my best birthday yet.

I want to think my family and friends for the amazing time. Especially my love Nan Akasha.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to be with her, she is so amazing.

Christopher Sherrod at San Diego Zoo Safari ParkWith our business I’ve been perfecting outsourcing and have an amazing team.

We had close to a record week while I was partying and enjoying my birthday week.

Nan focuses on connecting with her audience. I focus on having the business run smoothly.

So I’ve hired assistants, tech people, transcribers, marketing help, graphic designers, traffic generators, maids, handymen ( I have no idea how to fix anything in my home ), mechanics ( ditto for cars, double ditto actually ), private tutors for our daughter, lawyers, accountants, financial advice and tons more. I outsource almost everything except my sex life because…well duh and exercise because I haven’t figured out how to get someone else to do it for me.

Christopher Sherrod at Chopra CenterI’ve had an assistant since 2000, over 14 years and I enjoy directing and leading my team.

I focus on actually not doing anything but telling people what to do, training, operating procedures. Finding the best way to get things done.

I thought it was boring and nobody wanted to hear about it.

Nan got all the attention speaking and writing and I sat around on my iPhone directing and reading a lot.

Not exactly sexy.

But at the resort I just got back from I was encouraged to share my lifestyle as I was sipping a fine Merlot at the pool overlooking the golf course. And I got a new client at the same time.

I’m thankful for my business, it takes good care of me.

La Costa Resort