Chris Snoyer and I had the opportunity to meet in December 2015, after meeting on LinkedIn. We quickly found common ground in our motivation and ambition to get out into the world and share our passion. Chris and I decided that sharing this conversation with you was the best way to get the message out about the importance of life and business planning, all while meeting interesting people along the way.
Zoe: Why is it important for you to know which direction you want to head in?
Chris: I think the two most important things in planning are being able to identify where you want to go, and then, identifying which direction you’re currently heading in, so that you can create a plan to change if you don’t like it.
Is it always important to have a plan?
This is just a straight YES. Having a plan is very important, and equally important is to have somebody to hold you accountable to those plans. When you’re making decisions on a daily basis, and especially making decisions during life’s major moments, you need to know that the things you’re working on are helping you reach your longer term goals.
What about side projects – Do they take you away from the big, long-term goal?
I certainly hope not, because I’m juggling a few as we speak! Your side projects should contribute to your larger goals, be it directly or indirectly. Sometimes it is obvious – If you’re an arborist and are paid to cut down and remove trees, it makes a ton of sense to also have a business selling chopped firewood. Other times, it’s less obvious, and you might see a residual benefit from something you mostly chose to do for fun.
Right now, I’m working on a content series now that is going to be a lot of fun to produce. The odds that this endeavor will make me rich and famous are slim, but it is absolutely an opportunity for me to show my existing network that I’m able to discuss business topics in an authentic and light-hearted way. That’s the kind of person I want to do business with, so why not flex that muscle myself? As much fun as I’m having with this project, I still view all time dedicated to it as productive!
I feel the same way. I find that being passionate about more than one thing is what makes the quality of work better overall! What advice would you give others when they are planning?
Focus on tangible or measurable results. We all have similar goals if you speak vaguely. Who doesn’t want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise? You need get more specific. It should be a goal that can be reverse engineered. For example:
Goal: Make 10% more money in my first quarter of 2016!
Specifically: Grow the promotional products side of my business.
Measurable: Add 12 new clients in this portfolio, producing $X in profit
Actionable: To add 12 new clients, I’ll need 48 opportunities. To get 48 opportunities, I’ll need 240 right party connects. To get 240 right party connects 1040 outbound….. Actionable take-away: Make 20 outbound connections per week.
You can put in a different example, or even a different framework, it’s just important that there’s a real plan here. Since you’re going to be constantly reflecting on your goals (right?!), you’ll know when adjustments need to be made.
What’s enough of a reason to do something? Health? Long-term goals? Family? Money?
People all seem to have a different bar for this, but I don’t think it should be that way. I saw a great quote (in a great article) the other day from Ben Casnocha that said, “Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They’re attached to people.” This quote is related to his belief that people should have an Interesting People Fund as a long-term investment in their network. I hadn’t heard it formalized in this type of language before, but it lines up with my answer to the question.
It’s an opportunity to learn something new, receive some advice or help from another. or help another succeed. All great things, and all will either help you achieve the goals you’ve laid out. Don’t underestimate how motivating it can be for you when you help another person reach their goals!
So when you’re busy working towards your goals, all while meeting new people along the way…what’s more important – is it about the journey or the destination?
BOTH. It’s important to have both in mind, but you need to be aware that the destination is going to change many, many times during the journey. One of the most fascinating things for me as I meet more and more entrepreneurs is all the different ways people are making money in this world. It’s really cool to see people turning their passions into their professions, and in some cases changing professions when they find a new passion. Zoe, I know you know all about this! I think it’s a much healthier lifestyle than the traditional approach of asking someone to decide on their entire professional career when they can’t even legally drink a beer.
I couldn’t agree more. Understanding that other’s journeys and destinations are different than our own is empowering and motivating. Our differences make the world a richer and more innovative place. Our unique experiences, often described as “AHA” moments, can lead us to question and decide which direction we want to go in.
So what moments have affected your choices?
The really good moments, and the really bad ones, I’d say. Funny enough, I actually think both can be affirmations that you’re on the right path already, and that maybe you just need to tweak a few things or develop new skills.
In my experience, the bad moments are what help me refine my practices so that I can make more good moments. The good comes with the bad, and vice versa. Accepting that is a big part of what allows me to get through hard times.
“So what?” is a question I ask myself on the really bad days. I learned this from smart friend with a great first name, Chris Ackroyd, who wrote a piece about why your problems aren’t really a big deal. Often times, his technique will help you boil down seemingly large issues into insignificant issues that can be fixed with a tweak or two to your plans or approach. You may realize that it’s not quite time flip your life on it’s head!
Great advice. Any final thoughts, Chris?
Set some goals. Make a plan. Go meet some interesting people. Drink some beer with those people, and ask some of them to hold you accountable to your plans! Make it a great year!
Chris Snoyer is an entrepreneur who spends his time doing things that he loves, and meeting interesting people! He is the President of Crunch Payments + Incentives, and the Co-Founder of a tech startup, Spiffy, which aims to remove the negative stigma attached to training retail employees (a tall task!). If you’re the type who is passionate about pursuing the potential within yourself and others, reach out to book a call, coffee, or beer!
Zoe Share founded Schmooz Media in 2014 after she completed her Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program at the University of Waterloo. Prior to founding Schmooz, Zoe was a classroom teacher. She graduated from the University of Toronto with both a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Education. When Zoe started Schmooz, her love of language, learning and connecting people and ideas was matched by her passion for business, transparency and best practices.