En Route to Saenthood:

#10 My Next Big Worry

This series is about what I’m learning, observing and experiencing while building my startup Saent (pronounce “Saint”). The good, the bad and especially the ugly, each time in under 500 words.

Me worrying over my Next Big Worry List.

Besides a strange approach to goal setting, there’s another unconventional trick up my sleeve: The Next Big Worry List.

Running a growing company, your job changes constantly (Ben Horowitz puts it at a new job description every six months). In the beginning, you’re the only person doing everything. Writing copy, making wireframes, managing your social media, whatever it takes to get your idea off the ground.

Then you start adding people to the team, which is where we are at with Saent. This means you’re suddenly doing more recruiting and making sure everyone is working towards the same goal. Six months from now, I’m sure my job will look different once more.

The constant
One task will stay constant though: I’m the one to keep the overview and have an eye on the longer term, as opposed to only being caught up in the day-to-day.

A good leader looks a few steps ahead: what problems are we likely to run into? Which people will we need within a few months? What opportunities are coming up because of new market developments?

As you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of running your startup, this eye on the long term is usually the first thing to go. This also applies to me, even though I tried tricks to counter this tendency:

  • Scheduling look-out-of-the-window-and-think-time in my calendar. Didn’t work.
  • Putting it on my todo list (“Think”). Also didn’t work.
  • I have participated in strategy retreats, which work when you get bigger, but still, you can’t do them every week.

Then I came up with The Next Big Worry List.

As you might have guessed, this list includes my next biggest worry. Two weeks ago, it was our company registration in Hong Kong (solved, thanks Fleur!). Last week, it was our crowdfunding launch plan (solved! More on that soon…). Now it is the scalability of the Saent software.

The two ingredients
Listing my biggest worry of the moment is just the first ingredient of The Next Big Worry List.

The second one is trying to get ahead on the list as far as possible. Once I’ve solved my next biggest worry, I try to think through what will be the next one. Then the next one, and so on.

Note this doesn’t mean a task or project needs to be completely finished to be removed from the list. It simply means the worrying part has been addressed and taken care off.

For example: our crowdfunding launch still has to be further planned and then executed, but we’ve brought the right people on board. I’m now as confident as one can get that we have a good chance of nailing this.

By having a Next Big Worry List and trying to get ahead on the list, you make thinking about the future something tangible. Give it a try and if you think this can also work for others, please hit the Recommend button below. Thanks!

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Saent is for people who want to live fulfilling, rich lives. For those crazy people who want to make a difference, and who are willing to work hard and make sacrifices to do so. Who believe in inspiring themselves and others, and take joy and pride in improvement and achievement.

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