On Being a Madman: 9 Steps to Becoming a Stark Raving Lunatic for Your Business


Mad Men
Barbie and Ken as Mad Men TV characters © Splash News

Holiday for a Madwoman
I am spending my holiday weekend relaxing for the first time since I started my practice. And I mean that quite literally. I have been so focused and consumed by my practice that when I asked one of my mentors what else I could do to make my practice grow she strongly suggested that I schedule some ‘me’ time immediately. I don’t tell you this so you can think I am so awesome because I work hard. I actually quite hate when business owners are constantly bitching about how hard they work. As if being an entrepreneur who makes their own schedule and determines how much money they’ll make is supposed to be easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it, no?
Back to why I am telling you about my first ‘holiday’ from my business. My husband and I laid in bed, ate leftovers and watched hours upon hours of BBC America. Yes, we watched everything from Law & Order UK to Top Gear. All. Day. It was awesome! We also caught a few episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (a fantastically entertaining show that has good lessons in entrepreneurship in every episode).
What Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Can Teach You About Entrepreneurship

One of the episodes we caught was about a restaurant in Paris called Piccolo Teatro owned by a young woman. As with all episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, the restaurant was in complete disarray when Chef Ramsay arrived. The chef was an eccentric who made the worst looking dishes anyone has ever seen, the waitress was the owner’s best friend who didn’t take her job seriously and the owner herself, well, we’ll get to that. Being the miracle worker that he is, Chef Ramsay turns the place around with new staff and a new menu. By the end of the week the place is filled with hungry tourists. When he visits the restaurant for a follow up just six weeks later, he learns that the restaurant has closed.
What a disappointment, right? Well, let’s go back to Little Miss Restaurant Owner. It turns out that she got the money to buy the restaurant from her father and had no clue about the restaurant business and was not trying to find out. In practically every scene in the episode; she was talking on the phone, leisurely smoking a cigarette or bitching about how stressed out she was. For a hardworking entrepreneur, it was hard to watch. I was screaming at the tele (that’s TV in British)! The restaurant failed because the owner didn’t give a bloody damn about her business nor her father’s investment money.
You Must Give Your Business Your All

So, what is my point? My point is that if you want to start a business that has any chance of surviving (and I hope you do because it is freaking awesome!), then you better get ready to work harder than you have ever worked in your entire life. In fact, you should be downright ready to become a madman (or woman) for your business!
9 Steps to Becoming a Stark Raving Lunatic for Your Business
By now, you know I love to do two things: help people and write lists. So here is my list to help you become an absolute raving madman or woman (mad about your business that is):

  1. Get up early! And no, 10am is nowhere near early. If you are anything like me, you are so excited about your business and the fact that you don’t have to go to a job you hate, that you won’t be able to sleep past 5 AM anyway. I personally, wake up at around 5:30 AM. I recommend getting out of bed no later than 6 AM. That is the first step to being a madman. Why? Because sane people don’t do it, that’s why!
  2. Go to bed late. Yes, you read that correctly. Get up early and go to bed late! You have way too much stuff to do to spend much time sleeping. In fact, bank on not sleeping for the first year of your business. Alright, I am kidding . . . sort of. You should get sleep but do not expect to live a life of leisure by any means!
  3. Read voraciously. Read every single article, blog post and book there is on entrepreneurship, business and your particular trade. No, you won’t be able to read every single article, post and book but madmen have lofty goals of taking over the world. This is quite a small goal in comparison, no?
  4. Write voraciously. All that reading will lead to lots of ideas for writing. Writing a blog is the foundation of social media marketing. So write, write, write. And then market your business through your articles like a social media madman!
  5. Make friends with your arch-enemies. Also known as your competition. Madmen need to know their competition so they can annihilate them. And so you can make clear to customers why your business will better serve their needs. If your business doesn’t better serve their needs, figure out a way to do that!
  6. Make long lists in your “spare time”. I use the term “spare time” loosely, of course. You are a business owner. Therefore, you should have a to-do list the size of Texas. Make a list of everything you need to do (and I mean everything) and cross it off as you do it. (Actually, making a to-do list has the side effect of making you less of a madman but do it anyway!)
  7. Save money like a madwoman. Save money like a mother of six! (Now there’s a madwoman if we ever heard of one, am I right?) You must keep overhead extraordinarily low so you can go mad with your profits in the future. For example: (true story) The screen on our fancy universal remote is broken and my husband suggested that we get a new one. I gave him a lecture on what that $75 could do if we invested it in the business rather than a useless remote! (I then apologized because even though I am a madwoman, that does not mean I don’t want to stay married).
  8. Make relax time double as business time. Okay, so even madmen and women need to have relax time. But make your relax time do double-time for you by watching TV shows and movies that feature business owners or take a walk downtown and take photos you can use on your blog posts. You get my point, right?
  9. Ignore sane people. Some sane people (i.e., non-business owners) will constantly tell you how mad you are (as if it’s a bad thing). Don’t listen to them! Unless they have built a successful business they have no idea about what it takes to achieve maddening success. So tune them out and stay focused.

Obviously, I am being a bit facetious. But it is in incredibly important to believe in your business and give it 110% everyday. Only then will investors, business partners and customers believe in it, too. If you need an example, look at celebrities. They are clearly a mad bunch, aren’t they? Sure, now they have money so they can pay people to help them with their madness but can you imagine how mad they were before they achieved success?
Do you have madman-like tendencies? Tell us about them in the comments. We should all be looking for ways to expand our madness! 🙂

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