A while ago i was going through my morning emails and one started with ‘Monkeys! It’s all about monkeys!’. It was from one of my clients who i have kept in touch with for some mutual help and guidance in business and technical matters. The way he worded this message made me laugh for a long time but i knew what he meant.
The crock brain
Monkeys in this instance are workers - people who work for you so you can either focus on other things or just be free - and it may seem rude or even blackhearted but it was not meant as such. As his former monkey i could feel slightly insulted but i knew better. His Monty Python like choice of words was just to make me think harder. You see, very graphic language with a degree of emotional investment can “shock” us into a deeper, more focused way of thinking which yields better understanding.
If you are like my friend who has just seen my title, you are offended by the sheer thought of referring to your subordinates as ‘monkeys’. And that’s good, the sentence has started making the desired effect on you.
If you like the thought that’s also good, as long as you are emotionally invested in the thought your brain will put more attention on it.
Either way you perceive that sentence (good or bad) it is not important at all. The true message of the sentence is beyond the emotional bias your brain have attached to it. Your emotions here are used in the same way as in clickbait titles - it screams ‘PONDER ME!’
They say that if 1000 monkeys would randomly type, every day for several years in a row, they would produce all the necessary words to create all the works of Shakespeare. This is the essence of what my former client&boss was trying to tell me. You don’t need to do everything yourself, it does not need to be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect. If you want to move up in life you need to go with volume not endless ‘’perfecting’’ of a single thing.
You are only one human so you can only do so much in a day and you can only try X many new approaches and new things in a year. Since luck is just a synonym for improability you will have to try many things many times before you succeed with one. If you have more people working for you, you will fill that quota more quickly.
Now you see that the sentence was not intended derogatory? It was simply chosen to convey as much information as possible in as few words as possible. But there is one more aspect to that sentence - it’s ‘THE monkeys’.
You cannot just pick a random person and put him on a random task. You need to choose the right people for the right tasks. Some tasks will be best done by you, so choose yourself but make sure you are truly the best monkey for the job. If you choose yourself because of your ego or because you are skimp instead of because you have the best skills for the job you are hurting your endeavours.
These days people think you need to do EVERYTHING yourself… otherwise you “faked it” or something. Let’s take Bill Gates as an example. The Talkers nowadays talk how he isn’t that smart and how he isn’t competent at all; how his employees brought him undeserved success, etc. Realistically there are probably millions if not tens of millions of people “smarter” than he is, but why didn’t one of those people become a major success with a global empire?
Because they did something wrong. Either they weren’t good enough for some task, they didn’t promote themselves enough, they missed a deadline, etc. Whatever the reason is they could have avoided it by seeking help from more qualified people. Many business endeavours have failed due to egos and improper mindsets, no matter how “smart” the founders were. The Mensa club for example consists of people with the highest IQ on the planet, yet majority are not successful business owners.
We cannot realistically expect ourselves to be great at all fields necessary to create a multi million dollar business nor can we realistically expect that from anyone else. Consider all the necessary knowhow: accounting, legislation, PR, marketing, sourcing, technical stuff & programing, managing social networks, etc. Even if we could learn all that, we wouldn’t have enough time to do it all. Yet the society demands of us to do it all by ourselves or by some kind of a twisted logic we didn’t deserve our success.
Since we are all continuously conditioned by the society we start to demand this of ourselves. Some of us actually manage to do it by freelancing and similar gigs, but that way we can never create a big multi million dollar business. Additionally those demands breed a multitude of psychological distresses - like the imposter syndrome.
Saving your health by finding the right people
Not only is living up to the society's demands psychologically intense, it is also physically taxing. Burnt out freelancers and the “one man armies” are a dime a dozen. This can become a real issue which can manifest itself in many “modern day” diseases. But by employing other people to at least alleviate some of the load on you, you can function better, fester, make better decisions and conserve health at the same time.
In the initial stages when you have no more than $5 to spend, freelancing platforms like Fiverr come to our aid. Later our choice is much greater as we can hire people on Freelancer, Odesk, Upwork, etc. *n some freelancing platforms you can even pay with bitcoin.
Of course you can’t just pick a random gigster - well you can, but that will be a poor investment - you need to check them out carefully and choose the one that’s the best fit for you. You’ll find that that’s usually not the cheapest freelancer but you might be surprised over the variety of jobs some of them do. Sometimes they also know other freelancers who might be good for you so you don’t even need to search for new freelancers anymore.
Help them help you
‘Monkeys! It’s all about monkeys!’ does not mean you now get to play the big bad boss; it’s not allowance to be a slavedriver. If you can, pay them well; mind their health and familial obligations; be courteous and help them grow and advance. A happy monkey will do the best job it can.
Of course this doesn’t mean you let them run around with scissors on your time. They have a job which they need to do properly. You are the boss (err, alpha chimp) and they must be aware of it. If they become too accustomed to you the work will be poorly done and it’s time for your ways to part.
I’ve been on both sides of this freelancing thing and i must say i’m quite a fan of it. Classical employer-employee relationships cause too much dependence for both parties, which brings lack of control for both sides. Lack of control always results in stress and consequently interpersonal relationships become frictious. In the freelancing relationship both parties always have the freedom to leave yet their good names hold them in as long as they can to get the job done.
The freelancing relationship is best when both parties gain not only monetarily but also knowledge and experiences. You see, freelancers can always use the clients knowhow to up their game, and clients can always use the freelancers insight and expertise to make better decisions.
Sharing is the key.
For now this concludes my mini series on the business&market matters, feel free to read my other related articles if you have missed them before:
- Products are designed to fail
- Saving the economy by decreasing marketing margins
- manufacturing price
Disclaimer: i feel i must make a small disclaimer here to avoid offending too many readers. 1 - i know negative emotional bias does not always result in better information retention, but the third paragraph of this article is referring to the crock brain theory. 2 - i know many cannot yet afford to outsource (i couldn’t either when i started). 3 - this is in no way a ‘Do this and you will succeed’ article as i am nowhere near successful yet, this is only my “journal” of the things i have encountered so far on my journey.
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