“Desire Get Things Done”
Originally entitled What do you REALLY want,our second podcast looks deeper than that and talks about desire v want, the differences between that would be nice, and Hell Yes, that’s what I am having. We’ll find out how desire has fuelled our business, and how it is essential for you to grow your businesses.
Big Idea Podcast Episode 2
Below is the transcription of our podcast for you to read through if you prefer:
John: Welcome once again to Episode 2 of the Big Idea podcast, where it is our job to help small business think bigger. This podcast is filmed in front of a live audience. It’s not a live studio audience, but it is a live Facebook audience.
Jason, how do the lovely listeners of this podcast get into Facebook group and watch us?
Jason: Very simply. You just go to Facebook and type into the search bar, “Big Idea podcast.” Find our page or find our group. Then ask to join. We’ll then approve you and you’ll be in. You’ll be able to see all of our podcasts we filmed up until now.
Obviously we’re only on Episode 2 so you can catch up on last week’s. You can then keep the conversation going throughout the actual podcast.
That came out really rubbish.
John: That was brilliant. [inaudible 00:00:51] [crosstalk 00:00:53] You can tell it’s Episode 2.
Jason: It’s Episode 2.
John: We’re Episode 2. We’re off to a … You had it nailed.
Jason: Yeah. Just get in the group. Watch the videos live, because it’s more entertaining and then yeah, you can [comment 00:01:01]. After the show.
John: It’s Big Idea podcast. Search for that on your Facebook and we’ll let you in there. You can also find the show notes for today’s episode. We forgot to mention that last week, so you can also find last week’s show notes at bigidea.co.uk/podcast.
Today’s topic is what do you really want? Actually, that’s what I’ve got on my script but we changed the title at the last minute. It is “Desire gets stuff done.”
Desire is, in my mind, the second magic ingredient of success. I still haven’t found a better name for these five things but I’m going to call them the magic ingredients of success. Last week, we kind of covered environment, which is the fourth one. Makes sense to start with the fourth.
Then come in with the second. We are working to the same structure, I think, as George Lucas, whereby …
Jason: You don’t [inaudible 00:01:59] that’s coming out.
John: You don’t just do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Let’s just start with Episode 4. Then ignore the Phantom Menace because that was crap and we’ll go straight into the second one.
The second of my magic ingredients of success is desire, because desire, it gets stuff done. It gets you the skill that you need. I mean, if I think back to when I used to have a day job … I used to work as a civil servant before I launched my own business. This is going back literally 15, 16 years ago, so the summer of 2000, I was a civil servant. I absolutely hated my job, with a passion, just absolutely, you know, dreaded it.
I would go into work and I would enjoy the commute more than I would enjoy actually sitting at my desk. I would just sit there and I would wish the time away. I’d sit there and I’d look at the clock and I’d work out how many minutes it was before I could actually leave, how many seconds it was before I could clock off. I’d get my calculator out and work out, “Actually, how much am I being paid to being here. How much am I wasting per hour here?”
It even got to the point whereby I took up smoking again, because I gave up smoking about nine months before, and I started smoking again just so I could get 5 minutes off in the morning, 5 minutes off in the afternoon for a cigarette break.
Jason: Gotta love the civil service breaks.
John: It was that hatred for my job that gave me the desire that I needed to start my own business.
Jason: So what do you call desire? Your definition?
John: Burning passion. I really, really wanted to start my own business. It wasn’t just a case of, well, it would be nice to have my own business. I’d quite like to have my own business. No. This was, “I want out of my job. I need to leave my job. How can I do that?”
Jason: How much you really want something? [crosstalk 00:04:05]John: It is the difference between what would be nice and what is almost a need. Yeah, I would say it’s the difference between wanting and needing. To me, a desire is a need to, or certainly a very, very strong want. For me, wanting to leave my job was such a strong pull that even though I knew nothing about the internet … I didn’t even have a computer when I started. Literally, I went in and I bought …
Jason: I know something that you can do. I really hate my job so much, I’m going to do something completely different.
John: You know what that was? We said last week about careful who you listen to. I was listening, at the time, to the newspapers. To television. To magazines. Who were telling me that there was this magical thing called the internet. All you need is an idea. If you’ve got an idea, you can be a billionaire.
It was the likes of Brent Hoberman, just set up lastminute.com and was like, “Oh right. He’s had an idea for a travel website. Cool.” He’s now a billionaire. It’s like, why? Because he’s had an idea. Fantastic. I can do it. I can have an idea.
Literally, I bought a computer. Taught myself marketing. Taught myself web design and then kind of didn’t make any money. You know, it didn’t transpire that I was suddenly becoming this multi-millionaire just because I had an idea. What I then found was that actually what I needed to do was to work at that business, say, four hours a day on top of the day job and unpaid.
I was working kind of 18, 19 hours a day many days, which if I hadn’t had that strong desire, I would have given up. [crosstalk 00:06:01]Jason: Only after a period of trying it out. Isn’t it? [crosstalk 00:06:03]John: Tried that. Didn’t work. Whereas actually this was tried that, didn’t work, got to make this work. I think …
It was a tough time because I literally … I was so stressed out, because of the job. But I knew, that actually, yeah, if I get home at … you know, I used to work split hours. I’d leave for work at 1 in the afternoon and I’d work 1 til 9. I’d come home at 9. I’d get home about half past 9, have something to eat. Then I’d go up to my spare room about 10 o’clock and I’d work 10 at night to, say, 1 in the morning.
Then I’d get up at 9, 10 in the morning. Do a couple of hours in the morning on my business and then go to work. Obviously eventually I managed to turn that round. I was actually earning some money doing the business. Then it got to the point where I was actually … It was costing me money to go and do the day job. Yeah, without that desire to actually spend basically 18 months unpaid, pulling in four hours a day on top of the day job, doing something I didn’t know anything about.
Without the desire, I wouldn’t have actually done that. I liken, again, if … That’s when I had really strong desire. The next thing I could think of when I had a real lack of desire, which was many years later. You remember, kind of, we … You joined the company in 2003, didn’t you?
Jason: Yep, I did.
John: Yeah, April Fool’s Day, I think.
Jason: April Fool’s Day 2003. I’ve been a fool ever since, but that’s what we’re here for. That’s good. It was nice and easy, wasn’t it? It was kind of a simple existence really than what we were doing with [net free 00:08:01] stuff and things like that. It was easy. We put things up. Money came in. Put things up, money came in. That was really good.
Actually, this is really isn’t, wasn’t it?
John: I think what we did then is we tried to scale the business, because the main reason we tried to scale it. We didn’t need to scale it. The business was doing phenomenally well. We were earning very good money. [All 00:08:20] were working from home and it was the golden age of the internet almost for us, wasn’t it?
But we made the mistake of listening to someone we shouldn’t have been listening to. In particular, we were listening to someone who wanted to create, say, a 100 million pound business. Someone who wanted to have, sort of, the skyscrapers and the fast cars and the yachts and everything. That wasn’t what we wanted but we listened to somebody and basically, it was someone else’s dream. We were living someone else’s dream.
We massively expanded and we went from, what? We had three members of staff, so it was myself, you and Ryan, wasn’t it? So it was the three of us, nice little team. All working on this one website. We had a little bit of kind of … We had another little side business, doing pay-per-click, but essentially we had one or two nice businesses, earning good money. Brilliant.
I think over the course of about 12 months, we went from three members of staff and, say, 1 or 2 businesses to 15 members of staff.
Jason: It went certainly …
John: Two offices.
Jason: Two offices. We started off …
John: 30 businesses.
Jason: We grew out of that a little bit, didn’t we? We had somebody else who we took in and kind of grew a different area, because [lead 00:09:39] generation was the big thing at the time as well. Actually, we could do this quite easily.
We worked with one particular partner that we generated leads for and yeah. That’s it. It was working pretty well. Basically, it was going from strength to strength until two things happened. The customer that wanted leads no longer wanted those leads and Google decided they wanted to play around with search results and things, wasn’t it?
Where we were doing really well in search results and things like that, all of a sudden, we weren’t.
John: Yeah. That led to, for me, a real lack of desire. I’d gone from, “Right, I really, really want/need to be running my own business” to “I think I want to have a 100 million pound a year business”, with, you know say, 15 members of staff was the start. I want 15 members of staff. I want the skyscraper. I want the fast cars. I want the yacht and the private jet.
Actually, no. I didn’t want that. But I was hanging around with people who did. Who you hang around with is one of the main criteria against the environment that you surround yourself with. What happened there was actually what I thought … whereas 2002, 2003 we were living the dream. 2004, 2005, we’re living someone else’s dream. Well, that was our nightmare.
Certainly for me it was. I just, you know, it was a lack of desire, because I didn’t want that. You know, I ended up literally walking away from the business in 2005, wasn’t it?
Jason: Yeah. It must have been.
John: Because literally, I’d launched this business then five years later, I don’t want to be running this business. You know.
Jason: Staffing issues. Everybody kind of goes through those sorts of things, wasn’t it? It was the offices and all the things which come out of that as well. You really didn’t enjoy it at all.
John: Because I’d gone from, like, being entrepreneur. You know, literally sat in my bedroom, just let’s have an idea, let’s earn some money, let’s do this. Brilliant. We earn loads of money. To I’m an HR manager now. “Okay, there’s no toilet roll in the toilet.” Okay, is that my job to sort that out, is it?
Okay. “Well, the fridge isn’t working.” Okay. “So and so slept with my girlfriend.” Oh. Christ. Did they? All of a sudden, it was like what the hell happened to my business that I was running? Now, all of a sudden, we’ve got 30 different businesses that we’re running. We’re trying to bloody take on Yahoo in our main business. This is not what I want.
Literally, I walked away. Then it got to stage whereby I think a year later, I actually returned. A lot of the staff had actually, shall we say organically left?
John: Because it was such a horrible place to work, wasn’t it? It was a nightmare. It was horrible for us. It was horrible for the staff. As a result, one by one, the staff all kind of walked away. Those that didn’t walk away were kind of encouraged to leave.
Things came to a head in 2006. I then returned. We made, I think, three people redundant. Shut down … We’d already shut down one of the offices and we shut down the other office, which that will be another podcast in itself. Never sign a full repairing lease.
Then that all of a sudden, we’d gone from being a very, very nice place two years earlier to being in survival mode. Literally, we had no cash to pay the bills. We had very little money coming in. We had VAT bills that were due. It was just … We went into survival mode and it was literally that desire to survive that kept us going.
Again, all of a sudden now, the desire was, “I’m not going to lose my house. I’m not actually going to go bankrupt here. I’m not going to lose everything.” Let’s max out the credit cards. Let’s go without pay for six months. Let’s work 100-hour weeks. Let’s do whatever is necessary to survive.
If the desire to survive wasn’t there, if I actually didn’t care, if it didn’t really matter if the business went under and “Oh, some people might lose their jobs.” “I can always start again.” Then I wouldn’t have been asked to do half of that stuff because that desire … Because the desire to survive was there, I was willing to do whatever was necessary. Again, that’s the same as when I started out.
It’s the same when we needed to survive. The desire is what led to doing whatever was needed. The next kind of point that I’m looking towards is about 2009. Maybe 2008. Jack, my first kid, was born in August 2009. I remember Christmas 2008, we’d discovered we were going to have a baby. I remember instantly overnight, my priorities changed. It just went into all of a sudden … you know, I was quite heavily into stock trading at the time. I was just into trading stocks and shares.
Taking good risk with them but earning good money with that. All of a sudden, literally I think, the day I found out that we were going to be parents, was the day I came out of the stock market and said, “Right, okay. I can no longer take … I’m no longer willing to take those risks.”
The desire for high-risk, high-reward just literally, someone flipped the switch and that evaporated overnight. Then I remember, a year later, so Jack at this point would be three months old and I’m in this happy new parent stage … I remember I was sat at the [MOT 00:15:39] garage. Someone had bought me Sir Alan Sugar’s … He was Sir Alan Sugar at the time. Sir Alan Sugar’s autobiography.
I remember I was sat in [MOT 00:15:49] garage, reading this biography. At the time, still thinking, “I need to build this big business like Amstrad, like Virgin. I’m gonna build this massive business that’s gonna have loads of staff and we’re going to have these big offices.” Even then, I still thought that was what I wanted. Until I read this one line in the book. It just said, “I never really saw my kids when they were growing up.” That just hit me like a bloody sledgehammer.
I was like, “That’s not what I want.” What I want is to see my kids. I want to be there for them when they grow up. I want to be that dad who’s at every sports day, at every assembly. [Doing 00:16:35] all that pays taxes there anyway. That all of a sudden was like, “Yeah, that desire is there for me now.” It’s kind of …
It’s strange how your desires can change. You need to be aware of that. I thought they changed a year before they did. Yeah, your back story changes and you think, what you want is not what you want.
Jason: It’s interesting because one of the questions on Facebook, actually today, from today, was from Joe [inaudible 00:17:10], how do you get a good work-life balance. That kind of revelation really, in terms of change of desires and things like that, is kind of going some way on that.
John: It is. It’s what you want.
Jason: We won’t be discussing it in full because it is a topic of it’s own, as well as the other questions you asked of us, Joe. It certainly fits in with the desire aspect.
John: It does, yeah. I think that’s at least a half hour podcast all on its own, is work-life balance. I mean, it is. It’s that desire to either, you know, I’m gonna create this type of business. Going back to Grant Cardone again, he is adamant that he is going to have it all. He’s gonna be the best dad. He’s gonna be the best husband. He’s gonna build a $4 billion real estate empire but he’s not doing all of that at the same time.
If he’s off building a $4 billion real estate empire, in the two hours, four hours, half a day, a week, whatever, he’s doing whatever is necessary to do that. He’s not being the best dad in the world. He’s not being the best father in the world. What he is doing is he’s blocking out that time and he’s scheduling that time and he’s saying, “Right, between the hours of 4 and 5, I am best dad in the world.”
The $4 billion real estate empire, that can be put to one side. I think it’s, for me, the key thing is the word balance in there. It’s not balance. It’s balancing. You never achieve work-life balance without balancing work and life. You’ll always go too far one way, too far the other way, you know? You’ll either be spending all your time with your friends and family and neglecting your business. Or you’ll be spending all your time in your business and you’ll be neglecting your friends and family.
The easiest way around that is to block out time. Yeah, we will cover that …
Jason: …another day. That’s it. Another question we had was from Jackie, again in the Facebook group, but that was after last week’s. That was, how can I create a strong desire for my products to persuade the customer to buy rather than selling to them?
Again, that’s going to be a topic all of its own, I’m sure, but we can fit this into desire, can’t we?
John: Yeah, I think so. It is again, getting your customer to go from, “I want your product. I would quite like your product” to “I need that product.” Or particularly, “I need to take action now.”
You said without selling. I presume you mean without literally doing hard selling face-to-face, pushing on telesales, et cetera. You’re looking at marketing. You’re looking at your positioning within your marketing. You need to create scarcity, I think. That’s probably the easiest way to create desire for any product, is to say I’ve only got ten of these and there’s a hundred people who want them.
Because then you haven’t got to sell them because the desire for those hundred people to get their hands on one of these ten products will create that. Now, I don’t know whether you’re able to create scarcity with products, as such, whether that’s in terms of limited editions.
Jason: I think with what Jackie does, they are all custom build.
John: So one of a kind?
John: Then that helps. It does and it doesn’t because obviously you can’t always create your product but if it’s bespoke design, then your time could be what’s scarce. It could be, “Well, actually, we’ve only got space for three clients in the next quarter. I’m sending this letter or this brochure is going out to 300 people.” “If you want to be one of the three, you need to take action now.”
I would perhaps put a time limited offer in there. You know, whether that’s to just get a reaction, just to get somebody to put their hand up or whether that’s to get an order.
A good example of this, actually, is we’re recording this two weeks before Christmas. I had a leaflet through the door from a local estate agent yesterday. It was literally, “If you instruct us to sell your home before” – and I think the deadline was something like next Saturday so it’s a 7-day window – “we’ll give you a hamper.” Now, Christmas is notoriously a slow time for property. This leaflet just tried to create a little bit of scarcity by saying, “Look, people selling their homes are few and far between but the buyers are still out there.”
[inaudible 00:21:50] The flip side of that. I think there aren’t buyers out there, but hey, that’s marketing, not lying. But I think what they’ve done is they created a very good way of actually creating desire at the time when there is none. It’s Christmas. We are literally two weeks away from Christmas now. Nobody’s thinking about selling their home. If they are, they’re thinking, “Well, I’ll do that in January.”What this estate agent had done had said, “Well, [inaudible 00:22:21] that, we’ve got bills to pay in January. Our staff still want paying. It’s still a work day for the next two weeks. Let’s get some people on the books.” They’ve just created an offer which, to me, does create desire in the right person. Obviously you need to be in the right frame of mind anyway to do that.Another thing that could work for Jackie in terms of creating desire for products is endorsements. I don’t know if she’s got the facility to use any celebrities, whether that’s local celebrities. They don’t need to be super expensive. She can get a D-list celebrity. I mean, who won X Factor at the weekend, because I’m sure they’ll be available by the time …Jason: Facebook said Matt [crosstalk 00:23:05]John: By the time this podcast goes out, they will be available, I’m sure.Jason: I’m sure Facebook’s said Matt’s won but who knows? I didn’t really follow it.
John: I have no idea who Matt is.
Jason: There we go.
John: I was just aware that there was … [crosstalk 00:23:17]Jason: There was Saara. [crosstalk 00:23:19] From Sweden, Poland. I don’t know. Wherever Sharon Osbourne thought she was from.
John: No idea.
That’s a couple of questions we’ve had from people in the Facebook group. Quick plug again for the Facebook group. If you’re not already in there, just search “Big Idea podcast” on Facebook. Get your ass in there, and you can ask us some questions as Jackie and Joe did. We can answer them here for you in the podcast.
The other thing I want to talk about now is goals. Goals is something we’ll keep coming back to. Goals is actually the first of my secret ingredients. With the link to desire, because you have to link your goals to desire, because you can set fantastic goals. I mean …
Jason: Christmas is coming, isn’t it? January is a good time to set goals. Everybody waits until January to join a gym, join a [slimming 00:24:15] group. Yes.
John: You can set a goal of saying, “Right, I’m going to lose two stone in six months.” You can make it a smart goal, too, because we love smart … I mean, I hate …
One thing I really hate is acronyms and smart – something measurable … Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based.
Jason: Not just clever then.
John: No, no.
John: No, smart. You know, you can set that goal and say, “Actually I’m going to lose two stone in three months” or whatever. If it’s not linked to your desires, then you’re not going to achieve the goal. Yeah, I could set that goal. I’m going to lose two stone in three months but which do I desire more? Which is my need?
Do I desire a six-pack or do I desire a cupcake? If it’s a six-pack, then cupcakes are, to quote our friend Grant Cardone again, treasonous to your goals. Treasonous to your goals.
Jason: He says it twice as well.
John: He does. It must be a Southern [crosstalk 00:25:25].
I mean, I used to have a mentor who talked about having habits that were incongruent with your goals. To me, yeah, incongruent, it’s a nice word. Everyone knows what it means, but it doesn’t have the same gravitas as treasonous, because everyone who studied history in England knows what happens to people who commit treason.
Jason: Not nice things.
John: It’s not nice. In terms of, if you want to lose weight, cupcakes and chocolate are treasonous to your goals. If you want to create a $100 million business than dicking about on Facebook and getting drunk every night is treasonous to your goals. If you don’t think that your habits or habits like that are not treasonous, then what that tells you is your desire for the goal isn’t high enough.
I can sit in there and say, “I saw something over the weekend” … It was on the Apprentice, last [year 00:26:44]. They had a helicopter tour of London and then someone said, “Right, I’m going to forget 250,000 [inaudible 00:26:47]. I want the helicopter.”
Then I thought, actually, I [said 00:26:54] I think I’d like a helicopter. I could set a goal now. In 12 months’ time, we’re going to have a helicopter. But what actions have I got to take? What habits have I got to change in my life to get that helicopter? Well, yeah. It would be nice to have a helicopter. So that’s not a desire. That’s a want.
You’ve got to link it and you’ve got to have the habits and the structure in your daily routine to match that desire. People say, “it’s all right. I’ve got will power.” Well, will power is finite. It’s like a battery charger. You run out of will power. The only thing that keeps you going is that reserve of desire, because again, let’s go back to the weight loss. This is brilliant because this is going to be going out in January, isn’t it?
Jason: It’s going out in January, yes.
John: Fantastic. They’ll be lots of people who will be listening to this now who will be, as part of their New Year’s resolution, that will be, “I’m going to lose weight this year. And I’m not going to eat cupcakes in January. I’m not going to eat anything bad in January. And I’m going to go to the gym five times a week.”
What are they going to rely on to do that. They’re going to rely on will power. They’re great for about four or five days. Then they think, “[fuck 00:28:09] me, I’m hungry. And I hurt. I don’t want to go to the gym. It’s cold outside. It’s dark and I don’t want to go.” What’s happened there is that will power, which was lovely and high when they set the goal is now plummeting down and all they’ve got left is the reserves of desire.
If they don’t have a strong enough desire, then those reserves are really bloody low. By February, they ain’t going to be going to the gym and they’re going to be sat there, munching on their fish and chips, thinking, “I must lose weight for the summer. I’m going to lose weight for the summer.”
That’s kind of most of desire. The one thing that I’ve always said about sort of desire is I think back to the kids again. In our house, we banned the word “can’t”, because it’s one of the words that … I don’t know. My kids come out with it really easily. Do yours do that?
Jason: I can’t do that. Go brush your teeth. I can’t do that. You have done it. You can do it.
John: Why not? Do you not have a toothbrush? Do you not have toothpaste? Then you can do it.
It’s an automatic response from children, I think. “Go do your homework.”
“Okay. Have you done it this at school?”
“Okay. You can do it.”
“okay, so what’s the truth?”
“I don’t want to do it.”
Bingo. There are thing that either you can’t do. You’re physically restrained from doing them. In that case, you can use the word “can’t.” There are things you can’t yet do. In which case, put the word “yet” in there. That’s fine. Then there are things you don’t want to do, which is desire-based. That’s fine. If you don’t want to, tell me you don’t want to do something but don’t tell me you can’t do it.
We were on holiday last year and in the hotel we were staying at, they had this little park. They had monkey bars there. Jack really wanted to do the monkey bars. Jack’s my 7-year-old now. He had one quick go. Came over to me, looking really upset.
“Daddy, Daddy. I can’t do it.”
I was very, very hopeful with him. I said, “no. You can’t do it yet.”
“What do you mean?”
“You can’t do it yet.” I said just keep trying and you will be able to do it. You know, he didn’t believe me for a minute that I knew what I was talking about. He went over and tried again. Come back. “No, no. Daddy, Daddy. I can’t do it.”
I said, “Well, you couldn’t do two bars just now and you’ve just done three. You literally can’t do the whole bars yet.” Okay. By the time he’d done it, he was like “Oh, I can do it.” Now instantly, he now just knows I have to take him to monkey bars. He knows “I can’t yet”. That word.
That’s, I think, it for our second episode. That’s it for the second secret ingredient. I’m loving that, really [inaudible 00:31:17].
Jason: It’ll [crosstalk 00:31:20]John: If you desire to be here next week, then we will be talking about another of my favourite subjects, which is the power of compounding, where I will try my best not to mention Grant Cardone and we will just be talking non-stop about Warren Buffett, because he is the hero of compounding. You will be hearing all about his snowballs and everything.
That’s here next week. In the meantime, get over to the Facebook community.
Jason: Big Idea podcast.
John: That’s it.
Jason: Search it in the search engine there on Facebook. Find us, ask to join. We’ll accept you. There you are. Straight into the conversation.
John: Fantastic. Don’t forget to read the show notes for this week’s episode and indeed any episode you want to see at bigidea.co.uk/podcast. Thanks a lot, everybody, and we will see you next week. Bye bye.
Jason: See you. Bye.