It’s been a whirlwind of a month for Mr. Beckley and I. As you know, we traveled to Los Angeles to attend the Business of Design Conference, hosted by David Shepherd (AKA our fearless leader) at the fabulous SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. This interior design conference is held for members and non-members of the Business Practices Network, created by David.
Mr. Beckley is worn out from all this travel and as I prepared this post, here is what he was up to. And in case you were wondering, now you know….he sleeps naked.
I personally love this interview as David spent time alone talking with Mr. Beckley without me in the room and it’s all here for you to read. No editing, so you get to hear their heart-to-heart uncut. I was laughing out loud.
A few shots of LA and the SLS Hotel as well to get you in the mood……
Without further ado –
Mr B.: Tell us about the BOD Conference, where it’s been and where it’s headed and why now is the best time to be a part of it.
Well, Mr. Beckley, as you probably know, it takes as long as ten years to get a Ph.D. (That’s 70 years in, well, you know.) The best reason for a designer to become a part of the 2013 BoD Conference—my 10th and last—is that I’m going to try to squeeze ten years into one. Attendees at the 2013 Conference (August 29-30, 2013 in Las Vegas) will learn the “101 Best Practices” that I’ve discovered during my decade as a design business consultant, and will receive (at no additional charge) the “Ultimate Design Library,” ten years worth of documents, audio, and video that would sell separately for tens of thousands of dollars. Several people have approached me about taking the BoD Conference forward in some way, so 2013 may not be THE last, but it will be MY last. I hope you can attend.
Okay, Mr. Beckley…enough selling…let’s get serious… By the way, if you were to get a Ph.D., people would have to call you “Dr. Beckley,” which would be pretty impressive. Just a thought… I’ve never had a dog called doctor, but I did have one called Aretha.
Mr. B: The emphasis on the Fall BOD Conference for 2012 was “Simplify”. How are you doing this in your own career and applying it to your life as an example to designers everywhere?
One of the reasons I’m stepping away from the conference business, is that I need to work full time on my book, The Path, in order to fully convey the power of simplicity to small business owners. It is EVERYTHING! Despite the media portrayal of the noble entrepreneur, the facts are that precious few build sustainably profitable businesses, and the primary reason is they get overwhelmed by complexity. The only solution, of course, is to simplify.
In my own business, I have completely retooled Websites (to very simple, easy to modify platforms) payment processors, CRM tools (customer relationship management) and my entire business model. If a business owner can’t express a clear, compelling strategy in a single sentence or tagline, they can be sure they have allowed their strategy to “evolve” into some sort of multi-headed beast that only compounds the complexity. (No, Mr. Beckley, there is not actually such thing as a multi-headed beast so you can come out from under the chair.)
As I presented at BoD12, and am writing in The Path, it may not be entirely possible for an entrepreneur to “unwind” the rat’s nest that has grown up around them. They may have to simultaneously create a parallel new business model, and gradually transfer the key assets from the old (complex) model to the new (simple) one. That is what I have been doing for over a year in preparation for my transition out of the conference business. You were there in Los Angeles when I first used the phrase, “…building a ‘new’ life boat.” Not sure if that will stick, but you get the point.
While it may sound boring to some, simplifying one’s life can be about having checklists, schedules, and routines. I have downsized my living space (fewer lightbulbs to change is but one of a hundred factors that come into play due to large spaces.) Like Steve Jobs, who didn’t want to have to think about it, I tend to wear the same thing every day, eat the same thing much of the time, workout at the same time. Simplicity is not having to think about the trivial, saving brain power for the crucial. For me, the crucial things are reading, researching, and writing. Anything that gets in the way of those, has to be examined and considered expendable, including having to walk a damn dog three times a day!
Wait! Mr. Beckley! Come back…I was just kidding. I’d love to have a dog…but I’m in between right now.
Mr. B: What is the most important part of your business plan that you want to “get the word out” about? Is it your webinars, etc. and how are they helping designers be their best?
Gee, think how hypocritical it would be for me to give a windy, complex answer here! I want every small business owner in America to become educated, entertained…and inspired…from my monthly Webinars at www.entreinspire.com! Membership is only $19/mo, I put over 80 hours into preparing them to be thought-provoking and motivational, and they are truly changing lives. Individuals can try the first one for a buck and cancel anytime with a single click. They can also sign up for free daily messages of strategy and hope. I call that a no-brainer.
Ha! That’s funny, Mr. Beckley! You call poodles “no brainers…” No…they didn’t! Called you a wiener dog? That was really rude. You don’t look anything like a wiener…but I’d keep the hair long if I were you.
Mr. B: How do pets play into your life? Have dogs been a part of your life and your business (I would love to hear about the search dog from on of your BOD conferences in NY?). Also are there any other charities like this that are near and dear to your heart?
I was never without a dog for my first 45 years. My birth-dog was a mutt named Peppa who was about six when I was born, but lived until about 15. She used to hear the school bus from afar and run down to the corner where she would sit and wait for me to get off the bus. That’s love, Mr. Beckley. And that’s what I love about your vastly superior species—you love unconditionally. We humans put all sorts of strings and conditions on things, but you forgive instantly and look at us like we are the demigods we imagine ourselves to be, yet consistently prove that we are not. Except in your eyes!
My favorite dog was my last, a Lab mix named Kita. She was the smartest dog I ever knew, and the sweetest. Sweet that is unless you came near one of my kids and then she would gladly rip your throat out. Ask any cable man or other stranger that came into our house and wandered too near one of my boys. I had to move to a small place in Chicago for a couple of years—a small apartment up 48 stairs. Taking her outside was an ordeal and the windows were too small for her to see out. She got sadder and sadder, so I arranged for a relative who lived on a lakefront in Michigan to take her. Didn’t know how a Texas girl would adjust to the snow, but she loved it! I let her live out her life there, but I think of her often, and am starting to weep slightly as I write this.
Both my sons have Labs and, I’m sure always will. My first and only grandchild has daily hug-fests with her big yellow dog. I’m confident this comforts her, improves her immune system, and makes her a warmer, more compassionate person. I don’t think she could ride on your back, Mr. Beckley, but I know you’re every bit as warm.
What’s that? Oh yes, and intelligent. What? Yes, of course…charming, too.
And I’m proud that through my BoD Conferences, I’ve been able to give $10,000 to the Searchdog foundation so that they can train a pup to go out and help rescue people trapped under rubble. We had the actual dog come to our event in New York a couple of years ago. You should have been there, Mr. Beckley! Yes…I guess not being born yet is a good excuse…
Mr. B: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Yes, my definition of anxiety, something that many entrepreneurs feel often. “Anxiety is the space between reality and wishfulness.” This philosophy contends that there are no “good” things or “bad” things…just “real” things. And as soon as we trade the wishes for the real, the anxiety will disappear and, paradoxically, we’ll be closer to the wish.
I think that’s it, Mr. Beckley. Mr. Beckley? Where did you go? Oh, there you are. Here let me open the door for you, but I hope it’s not a reflection of this interview.