I recently posted a tweet about how Brand Stories™ is now fully booked for the summer. Between my video business, my portrait business and my passion projects - I’m going to have a very busy summer ahead.
As much as I love business, it’s actually the last item on my priorities list (which is basic AF, btw). The first two are health and family, which are leaps and bounds more important in the grand scheme of things.
🚨 If you only read one thing - read this:
I am not taking any meetings/zoom calls this summer. I'm booked solid until September, so I need to balance my time between my current clients, my health, my business(es) and my relationships. Anything else has to wait.
- It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you.
- It’s not that I don’t want you to be successful.
- It’s not that my time is more important than yours.
- It's not that I think you're doing anything less than I am. You're likely doing better than you think and you probably don't need my input anyways.
I'm just trying to allocate my time to the priorities that are most important to me and my family.
Zoom was the hero we needed.
When the pandemic hit the transition to Zoom-based everything was fast and hard. Before long, every conceivable interaction between humans was done using a pivotal piece of software that connected us all. In the last year I've attended virtual:
- ✅ Client calls
- ✅ Birthday parties
- ✅ Home tours
- ✅ Game nights
- ✅ Gender reveal parties
- ✅ Dr appointments
On one hand I’m grateful the technology exists to connect people, families and businesses during a pandemic. We couldn’t have done it without Zoom. It kept my business humming along and ensured vital things like court proceedings could continue.
On the other hand, spending the last year staring at a screen has been absolutely exhausting - and I need a break.
Meetings were the worst thing about working in tech.
Working at Unbounce was an absolute blast. It was by far the best job I've ever had and the culture there was second to none. I look back fondly to how much I learned and the connections I made. Plus, the CEO Rick Perrault is a fantastic human being.
With that being said, my calendar was a constant mishmash of conflicting priorities. I’d say 80% of the meetings I attended weren’t productive and could’ve been summed up in an email.
Not only did these meetings waste my time, but they wasted the time of all the people in attendance. If you add each persons’ hourly rate, these meetings were costly. Between meetings, slack messages, emails and the community - there was no time left over for deep work.
I often had to work on evenings and weekends just to get shit done.
One of my favourite creators on YouTube, Oliur, made a video about how he manages his time making $100k/month. He talks about how he avoids meetings as much as possible. He has multiple online businesses, channels and revenue streams and he’d rather spend his time actually building them.
Naval Navikant (founder of Angel List and all around great human) is also a vocal ally of the anti-meeting movement. He avoids any non-transactional meetings and leans towards walking meetings when possible.
Then there's Pieter Levels (founder of nomadlist.com, remoteok.io, hoodmaps.com) who wrote a phenomenal piece recently about why he’s unreachable to messages/dm’s. He even went as far as replacing his Contact page with the article (bold move, love it). I’m not anywhere near his level yet (no pun intended), but I totally see where he's coming from.
Zoom calls are just meetings, but worse.
As nice as it is to see people’s faces, Zoom takes up way too much mental processing power. You’re also prone to technical hiccups and audio/video issues. It's no wonder we get so exhausted afterwards; Zoom fatigue is real.
Most Zoom calls could be a phone call. Most phone calls could be an email. And most emails would be totally unnecessary if more people put in the leg-work to google their question before asking someone to solve it for them.
I can’t recall the last time I left a zoom meeting feeling energized. 😪
A few exceptions
There’s a few places Zoom meetings still make sense. In my video business I use Zoom for our deep dives and video reveals. During these meetings I’m looking at things like body language, facial expressions and voice tonality to uncover the most important bits of information that allow us to make a better product.
Zoom also makes sense if the information is going to be shared in a scaleable way. A 1-on-1 call where I’m sharing the same info that I shared on the previous call is a waste of everyones time.
But recording that content so it can be shared externally (via podcast, blog post, YouTube video, news article) allows unlimited people to benefit from the information, which is a better use of our collective time.
There’s other commitments I have with my inner circle, but even those are transitioning to phone calls, in-person coffees, airbnb retreats and camping trips now that restrictions are opening back up.
😠 Addressing the Haters
Q. “You can’t run a business without Zoom calls!”
A. Bullshit. When you put the right systems/processes in place, Zoom calls become irrelevant. I’ve only had 1 or 2 zoom calls with my team of contractors in the last year, the rest is done via text/slack.
Q. “Are you saying you’re too busy to help me???”
A. Yes and no. I love helping people. Every business I’ve built makes money by helping people solve their problems. When I work with a client directly, their priorities become my priorities and I treat them as such.
The difference is scale. Instead of spending an hour on a zoom call to answer one person’s question, I’d rather answer that question in a video/blog post or other online resource that can be accessed by hundreds (or thousands!) of people.
Q. “I still need your help with something. What are my options?”
- 🎬 Video Production: If you’re looking to create a high-impact brand video for your business, you can apply to work with me here. Note: We’re currently booking well into September at this point. The sooner you reach out the sooner I can get you booked in.
- 🐦 Tweet Me: Twitter requires us to focus our conversation to the most important bits. It also allows other people to discover the Q&A, which provides more scaleable value in the long run. Find me here.
- 📫 Email Me: If your issue is sensitive (for example if you don't want your employer to see you tweeting about leaving your job) then send me an email. I carve out a bit of time each Sunday to respond to as many people as I can.
- 👨💻 Hire Me: If you need me to dig into something super critical, I still offer a limited number of direct consulting spots each month. My hourly rate is $250 USD/hr and you can request a booking here.
- 🌐 DYOG (Do Your Own Googling): This is a cop-out answer but it’s probably the most important one. You wouldn’t believe how little I actually know. I’m just really good at googling things. The earths entire history of knowledge is available on the Internet. There's a good chance you don't need to hire me to Google things for you.
Be honest... Do you actually enjoy Zoom meetings? Do you love having a jam-packed calendar with conflicting priorities and requirements? Do you like being too busy for your own health/family?
I’m not doing anything special. My time is no more valuable than yours. There is no right or wrong answers here. How we choose to spend our time is a personal choice and will be different for each person.
The most important part is that you find the path that’s right for you.