Andrew Porteous is known for his energy and honesty, and a commitment to personal change and growth.
Andrew likes business, having a banking and entrepreneurial background he is involved with several organisations such as:
A&M Partners (a business English training company)
A&M Training (his personal training company)
Oak Meadows (the horse ranch where Andrew lives)
Andofit (a small private real estate company)
Uni Rhein Waal (as lecturer)
NIFR ( Niederrheinisches Institut Für Resilienz-start up company)
At any time he may also have up to 10 other businesses that he coaches from home personally for their success.
May you enjoy contacting him personally by email: Andrew.Porteous@AMtraining.de
He looks forward to connecting with you
Your business is only as big as you are. I learned that the hard way, taking walks. A wise Chinese man once said; “Man who thinks he leads and has no one following, is only taking walk”.
Building a business is really about building yourself. If that sounds like too much work then it might help to change the way you feel and think about it. It really is a lot of fun, is it worth it? Yes.
Do not make the mistakes I made. I would like to pass on the essence of learning gained over a twenty year period. I started with less than nothing, in debt, but today I can build a successful business within a few months, part time, starting from only an idea. I started off as many do, alone, working for clients hard won, doing all my own paper work, and trying to stay on top of it all, many of us do this. But its not natural. Does it feel natural to you?
Of course not. Human beings were meant to work in teams, meant to cooperate, to move in harmony towards a common goal. That feels right, and you could be leading that process. Actually I hope you will lead that process, that’s why I am writing this article.
Building a business is one of the most exciting and fulfilling things in life you can do.
You can learn faster than I did, in this article I offer a condensed version of twenty years of trying thousands of different methods, reading hundreds of books on business and proving which methods worked consistently.
I come from a lower middle class background, from a country called New Zealand. It’s a beautiful land, but the state houses we moved between didn’t reflect that when I was a lad. My Mum was always trying to do better for us, but she herself came from a poor family, with little financial education. My Dad was always trying to make a fast buck. “Get in, get out”, “make the big deal”, “get in lots of investment money to be rich”, but he lacked a few essentials then, which I think he now has, to make money consistently. I learned from him that without integrity you are never going to make it feel real.
That is why the first part of this article deals with the essential mental lessons I learned that laid the foundation for the business skills and abilities. Without following these lessons, applying them to your own life and drawing conclusions with which to work on, chances are, your foundation will be unsound.
I have practiced these lessons in 3 different countries, they are universal truths which work wherever you are.
From my Dad I got the feeling of business, and learned many lessons of what to do, but this is the most important lesson I learned. The first lesson.
1# THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS
Start in the field that interests you most, start small, just yourself, then start working with other people. Then add people, share ownership according to the needs of your employees, try to work with freelancers.
You can do it faster if you wish, it is not about the speed you build your company, it is necessary however to take the same careful steps each time, every time. Perhaps you have been naturally gifted, or have a lot of experience, and can start further down the track. If you do not have natural talent, are not powerful from morning to night, and lack experience, then you are reading the right article. My advice is to stick to the steps outlined here, prepare mentally, start small, build up with success, reduce and manage risk and follow the plan. Becoming wealthy can be boring, that’s why you need perseverance.
2# TRY AND TRY AGAIN
Perseverance, if you have heard it once you have heard it a thousand times. Learning all the business skills and knowledge I needed was relatively easy, I did that by reading wonderful books, taking (cheap) seminars, and listening to tapes.
It also took action, specifically putting in to practice what you learn, making mistakes, re-adjusting, and implementing further. What I really had problems with was following through. I was the problem.
Much of the material I would read or study showed me an idea, but didn’t give me the courage to get out there and do it. My mind was great at making excuses, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”, “that’s too big for me”, or “how can I do that with my background”, I wonder what is going on in your head when you read this?
It got so bad for me in New Zealand, that in 1997 I had borrowed an Amway vacuum cleaner from a distributor, and went door to door cleaning mattresses of dust mites for 10 NZD a mattress (5 Dollars a side). It wasn’t enough to survive for a 25 year old, and a humbling experience to say the least.
Humility helps in life, if it is balanced. What I really needed then was a kick in the seat of my confidence.
How I started building the character to follow through is lesson #4. Don’t think it is disclipline, or hard work, or banging your head against a brick wall. Life is more beautiful than that. You need to be able to let go of your stress and the conditioning of the past, and embrace your souls dream. Something that comes from down inside, something that will make you feel valuable and useful to the world, catch that thought, look at it, explore further, ask “why this”? Build pictures in your mind, see yourself doing it, what does the picture look like?, what are the people saying? If it is positive, you are on the right track, if negative, ask why. Write down the answers your brain gives you. Look at them objectively. Are they obstacles to be overcome, or are they lack of self confidence. If the second, see lesson #5, if the first go back to that picture and try and see a way to creatively get around them.
I have spent a lot of time understanding how my brain works doing NLP among other things, and any self-reflective activity, if accompanied by practical effort to improve and grow, will show great rewards over time.
I want to share with you something that our school system has turned upside down. We are rewarded in school for not making mistakes, and correctly memorising data. We are rewarded in life by first learning from others mistakes, and then making mistakes as learning experiences. I remember people getting angry at me for not holding regrets over my errors. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t feel guilty, or sorry for what I had done. I simply quietly told myself it wouldn’t happen again. Sometimes it did, but I would get up, brush myself off and keep trying.
Each mistake should make you stronger, and instead of there being only one right answer, there are many. If you are not scared of making mistakes, you can understand that mistakes are only learning, learn faster from them, and life is much easier for you.
As Robert Kiosaki said, “Mistakes are magic”. Ask yourself…what can I learn from this? Where is the message for me? Is there something good about this?
3# WORK ON YOUR EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE
Most success or business books I read didn’t want to touch this subject, but today it is essential to talk about it. We all have screwed up lives, just to different degrees. Even if you had a relatively normal upbringing, there are still conditioning elements, from society, from school, from parents, and the corporate world holding you back.
What I am getting at is that today, in this fast paced world, it is essential for a manager, or any leader of people to get open and honest 360 degree feedback in order to grow. The world gives it to you whether you like it or not. You just have to get quiet enough to listen.
Not only feedback concerning your technical competencies, but more importantly how your behaviour as a leader effects your employees, those you love, and especially how you talk to yourself.
The safest way, without your employees feeling unsure of your motives, is to receive therapy occasionally. Michael Jorden did it by going home to his folks, sitting all night at a poker table in a smoke filled room listening to people who had lived twice as long as he had. Bill Gates listens to Warren Buffet, for me, I needed experts in the emotional field first. Especially as business success never took off until I got that part handled. I started out with emotions I didn’t like, but couldn’t stop them from coming up. So I got experts over time, at little cost, to help me out with my mixed up background.
If you feel you can relate to this, I’m happy. Most of the real growth doesn’t come by realising you need someone to take care of the paper work. You knew that a while back. What you may need in this case is someone asking you “what is holding you back”, and 95 times out of a hundred it will not be a logical reason. And that’s O.K. Your expert can deal with the answer. That’s what experts are for.
A further note on experts. As I grew, my companies grew and I found myself naturally dealing with people with more and more expertise, while I became familiar with more and more areas of business. I think it is natural when you start out to get your friend to develop your website, market by word of mouth, use free advertising methods etc- this is good. Start small and build up.
Once your cashflow starts to build, it is a good idea to pay for experts, generally the saying “you get what you pay for” is true, especially when it comes to specialists who are working for themselves. Make sure you get referrals.
4# DARE TO DREAM
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “dangerous men dream with eyes open”. Dreaming is something your soul actually needs. It needs a reason. The business needs a soul, and that comes out of your dream, your vision. Your employees need something to hang on to. A pay check just isn’t enough these days to retain and develop good people. Furthermore your customers and clients love to see a team that is not just after the empty idea of money, but trying to attain something greater, for the benefit of all concerned.
5# CONCERNTRATE ONLY ON YOUR CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
I thank Steven Covey for this idea. If you haven’t already read his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” then I recommend you get it. I couldn’t actually get through it when I first got a copy. It simply required too much personal change, I wasn’t ready. Just keep the book, and go through it as you are able.
Remember, Life is a Journey not a destination, enjoy the journey.