I was raised in a normal, loving family with both parents. Yet, I could find myself in some of the attitudes and situations mentioned in Deliver Him (I read the Kindle version, but it disappeared from the store, so I linked to the paperback I found).
Also, I know some people who had very difficult relationships with their fathers, and I could see how this book could be instrumental in their healing. If that’s your story, or your father was absent in your life, AND you are a Christian, Deliver Him is certainly a book for you.
The only CON I found in this book comes from the nature of the book. It is very narrowly focused on one thing, and one thing only: to heal from the wounds caused by a father or fatherly figure in your life.
Thus, sometimes it really sounds like everything on Earth is the fault of men, fathers in particular. Like if they were perfect, the whole world would have been perfect. In my humble opinion, we have enough problems with the attacks on manhood as Christianity understands it. We don’t need to provide more ammo to our opponents.
Yet, there is some merit to this approach. I’ve just participated in a men’s conference, and the father wound was the main topic.
We sat around the table, eight grown men, and we started writing letters to our fathers. In no time, two guys were sobbing and crying. Both of them now have a correct relationship with their fathers. I have an OK relationship with my father, yet, I needed to wipe a tear or two myself.
The guy who led the workshop reconciled with his father, went through the healing process, yet, he lost his composure a few times during his speech.
Father wound is a real thing and probably touches every man on this planet. Probably, it is impossible to balance this message and does not sound like blaming fathers for the evil in the world.
1. Focus on Self-Analysis.
It is right down my alley. Even if your father was/has been great, it is worth exploring such an important relationship in your life. That conference I mentioned above definitely convinced me that a father wound is an issue that is universal and deeply affecting each man.
I firmly believe that any kind of self-analysis is better than ignorance. When it comes to such a deep issue, it’s a no-brainer.
2. Get God’s Help.
In my Christian perspective, cooperating with the Lord is always superior to depending on your own strength. Renwick Feagin wrote this book in a way, so it is an exercise book on how to lean on God while healing your father wound.
And this is the way to success. On your own, it is too easy to lie to yourself: that it doesn’t apply to you, that you have already reconciled with your father, that your situation is unique, etc.
Nope. Every man is affected by his father wound, and it is so much easier to deal with it with God’s help.
3. A Convincing Personal Account.
Renwick went through a lot in his life, and he is not afraid to put out there his personal testimonial. In the world of fake superficial sweetness of social media, every ounce of vulnerability is valuable. Deliver Him contains tons of vulnerability.
Renwick doesn’t hold punches when it comes to revealing his difficult history. He also provides guidance for the healing process based on his own experience. It worked for him. It worked for people he personally helped with father wounds.
I was convinced by this book it is the right way to engage into the healing process.
4. The Perfect Structure.
Deliver Him is ideally structured. Personal accounts are mingled with spiritual instructions in an ideal balance. There are plenty of examples on how to go through specific exercises, examples of the problems father wounds create and what benefits the healing process can provide.
And the exercises at the end of each chapter? They were excellent, over the top! So detailed, full of clear, technical advice on how to perform each step. This is exactly what a man overwhelmed with emotions needs when going through the difficult process of revealing and healing his wounds.
Deliver Him is a great resource, and I recommend it to every man. Doubly so, to men who are aware that their relationship with their father was far from perfect; or non-existent – boys raised without a dad carry similar, or deeper, wounds than boys who were abused and bullied.
If you are a Christian and a male, this book is no-brainer. Do yourself a favor and grab it ASAP. Do this favor to your close ones and the whole world.
The Vacation Effect for Entrepreneurs is a small book, but worth its weight in gold. I already knew quite a few, various how-tos because I read another of Denise’s books back in 2022, The Busy Entrepreneur’s Guide To Creating A Lifestyle Business. I still found some golden nuggets in The Vacation Effect for Entrepreneurs. While the how-tos were golden, the inspiration and motivation were even more valuable.
Hey, I didn’t find any CONs of this book! Of course, you can nitpick that Denise’s approach may not be doable for every entrepreneur… You always can nitpick. But the author used my favorite approach: she painted the picture in front of readers and told them to take whatever they want and deem doable from her framework.
Instead of brainless nitpicking, let’s dive into the various excellent…
The number one sin when it comes to cash flow management in small business is not managing it at all. “I don’t know where it all goes” is not the right answer for the business owner. In fact, it is the answer that kills most small businesses. 82% of them, to be precise.
Cash flow deserves your attention, or else… “Or else,” in this case, means bankruptcy.
Before you even start managing your cash flow, you need to have a clue about your costs and revenue streams. Not only about their volume, but also their nature. Not paying your contractor for a month or a quarter may not prove fatal, but not paying due taxes to IRS? It may be beyond fatal, depending on your business and private liabilities.
The same goes with revenue streams. It’s great you invoiced your customer for the job finished today. But when will the money appear in your bank account? In a week? Or maybe sixty days? You still need to pay your people and cover your bills in those sixty days!
Level #0: Tracking
If you “don’t know where it all goes,” you need to start tracking your expenses (and income) immediately. If you are organized enough to have all the payments registered in one place, this is the perfect place to start. But small business is a wild creature prone to whims of the owner and the nature of the beast.
For example, I have dozens of income streams, and sometimes they are miniscule. Often, I cannot control how I’m getting paid. Amazon transfers my book royalties directly to my bank account in euro. Findaways pays me via PayPal. Customers from Reedsy pay me via Stripe. It already makes things more complex than they should be.
But that’s not all. I have a customer who transfers money to me regularly into my PLN bank account. Another, who pays me in Euro. If I get a Polish customer, they also pay me in Polish Zloty.
However, the revenue part of my business is simple comparing to the cost part. I have subscriptions paid via debit cards connected to my US dollar account. I have subscriptions paid via PayPal. I pay for Amazon ads with debit cards, in different currencies on different markets to save on the exchange rates. I pay my accountant in PLN – and my taxes and social security fees. I pay my virtual assistants via Wise.
It’s a crazy mishmash, and I track it all in Google sheets to have one place where I can see my real cash balance.
If your financial/accounting system doesn’t resemble a Frankenstein monster patched together from many different parts, tracking your finances should be a breeze. If it looks exactly like Frankenstein (like my maze of payments), you still need to track each incoming and outgoing cent. Even if you have to do it manually in a Google sheet.
Paraphrasing Peter Drucker: “You cannot manage what you don’t measure.”
Tracking your money gives you the idea – or precise numbers – of how much funds you really need on a monthly basis to operate.
Different Kinds of Costs
There are a few categories of costs you should be especially aware:
-tax and legal liabilities
-recurring fixed costs
The first category is important because it can be the difference between living with an axe over your head or the axe chopping your business’ head off.
Salaries are of sensitive nature because your people have stomachs. Their kids too. If you don’t pay them, you may not have people to work for you next month.
Fixed costs are self-explanatory. If you have a brick-and-mortar business and you won’t pay the rent for your “bricks,” you will be out of business in no time. There are some categories of costs that simply must be paid so you can continue to operate.
Operational costs are something different – those are the costs necessary to deliver your products and services. In other words, they are dependent on the volume you deliver. For example, I pay a freelancer for creating the ads for my customers. The more ads we create, the more I pay, but if there is no activity, I pay nothing. Thus, this is not a fixed cost.
Different Income Streams
Tracking only your costs is not enough, especially in an enterprise. You could’ve skipped it if you are an employee and receive the same check every month. However, in business the revenue is not only volatile, it also often comes from many different sources.
For example, my income comes from three main sources – book royalties, coaching, and my book advertising business. Yet, each of those sources divides further into more streams. My book royalties come from audiobooks, eBooks and paperbacks; from Amazon, Draft2Digital, Findaways, and PublishDrive. I don’t even count the sparse payments for foreign rights and other 1-time payments.
Level #1: Bank Accounts
Once you have a loose idea where your money comes from and where it all goes, you can get busy with setting up a simple system, which will show your cash flow at one glance.
In almost the whole civilized world, you need a bank account to run a business anyway. In most countries, it is required. Hence, you use what’s required to setup your cash flow solution.
The Profit First concept is based on the envelope system from the personal finance world. You get incoming money, and then you allocate your cash for specific purposes. And you do that all within your bank.
You need a few to several bank accounts for that purpose. First and foremost, you need the Incoming Account. This is where all your clients send their payments to. This is the only function of this account: to collect payments. You don’t use it for any other goal. You don’t pay ANYTHING from it: no taxes, bills, subscriptions. Nothing. It serves to accumulate the revenue streams.
Then, you need a few (or more) accounts for different purposes, like your grandma needed a few envelopes to manage her cash. You will need a minimum of four such accounts: taxes, owners, opex (operating expenses), and profits. It is recommended that the taxes and profits accounts are in a different bank and not easily accessible to limit the temptation of borrowing from them to pay yourself, your contractors, employees, etc. Once the money is transferred into those accounts it is untouchable.
You can make this system as robust as you prefer. I send owner’s pay to my private account, but then I allocate money further within digital envelopes: for mortgage, bills, Christmas gifts, car repairs, white goods, gas, and so on. The same goes for my business. I have a separate account from which I pay my VAs and a few accounts in different currencies to pay for goods and services. This is my way to lower the costs (I save on exchange rates) and to make sure I have the funds necessary to pay my various business bills.
You can also use the Profit First system to fund your future investments. Let’s say you want to hire a new person. You create a new bank account and name it ‘New hire,’ and each month you put there a slice of your revenue after taxes. When you will be ready to hire, you will have no headache where to get money for an additional salary. Also, allocating a part of your revenue in advance will clearly show you if your business is healthy enough to afford yet another employee.
When buying a piece of an expensive equipment, the principle is the same – keep setting aside a fraction of your revenue for a few months till you can actually afford it.
Level #2: Thresholds
OK, but how much of your revenue is dedicated to salaries, and how much for a new hire or equipment? This is where Profit First thresholds come into play. Exactly like your grandmother knew how much she should put into each envelope, you need to know how much to allocate into the bank accounts you created.
Profit First thresholds are the centerpiece of the whole system. You tracked your income and revenue streams, and you created the bank accounts, so you can now put the thresholds into use.
So, what are Profit First thresholds, and what do they do? Each of them is a simple percentage metric, which tells you how much of your revenue you should allocate into specific accounts.
Let’s stick to the simplest example: you have only five accounts – incoming, taxes, owner’s, opex (operating expenses), and profits. The incoming bank account is just a “bag” for collecting money. Then, the thresholds inform you how much to transfer to each of the remaining four accounts. Let’s say, 10% goes for taxes, 50% for owner’s salary, 35% for operating expenses, and 5% for profits.
You can have more bank accounts (a new hire…) and thresholds. Of course, the laws of the math require that all the thresholds sum up to 100%. So, if in the above example, you want to start setting aside money for a new employee, you need to open another bank account and assign a threshold to it. Let’s say, 5%. But where to get that 5% from? Stealing from Uncle Sam is a bad idea, so definitely not from the tax account. You can diminish your profits, but never to zero. Thus, take 4% from profits and 1% from owner’s. The new set of thresholds looks like this:
New hire: 5%
Seriously, you can have as many objectives connected to bank accounts, as you wish. Currently, I have seven in my business, and I’ll soon add the eighth because I’ve been delusional about my fixed costs and need to take the proper care of them.
What is the main benefit of Profit First thresholds? Automation. You don’t need to think about what to do with your money. Its destiny is already determined. When a client pays you $100, you put $10 in the tax account, you take $49 for yourself, save $5 for a new hire, set aside $1 of profit, and transfer $35 to your opex account.
You don’t need to fiddle with your money – ever again. You don’t need to steal from Paul to pay Peter – never again. You will always have the money to pay your taxes, bills, salaries… and you will always have some profit, even if it will be as tiny as 1% of your revenue.
How to assess your initial Profit First thresholds? Guesstimate! This is where tracking and analyzing past data pays off. If you have been in business for three years, you can estimate how much in taxes you really pay. I cannot tell you this. Not even an experienced accountant can tell you this out of the blue. Each business is different. The exemplary thresholds above are more suitable for a solopreneur with an online business – low revenue, so he consumes the main bulk of it; relatively low costs of running a business, relatively low taxes.
However, in case of a bigger brick and mortar business, the thresholds could’ve been very different: 0% of taxes, cos’ the business is in the red. 60% for operating expenses, including installments for the heavy equipment (thus no profits and high costs). 5% of owner’s salary, because the revenue is over a million, so it is enough for a modest lifestyle.
Level #3: Leveraging the Profit First System
Now, you have everything in place – bank accounts and thresholds. All you need to do is to use them, and keep using them.
The revenue comes to your incoming account. Every so often, you distribute the revenue among your bank accounts according to your Profit First thresholds.
In his book, Mike Michalowicz recommends doing it twice a month, on the 10th and 25th day of the month – thus you will have money for bills and salaries, which are usually paid at the middle or the beginning/end of the month.
But you can do it as often as it makes sense for you. Maybe you have such an abundance of cash that once a month is enough for you. Personally, I do it 4-7 times a month because I’m chronically short on cash (which only proves that I need to adjust my percentages). Yes, it obviously consumes more of my time, but the allocation of the funds is the business activity I enjoy the most. I don’t mind it at all; in fact, I’m always looking forward to it. I eagerly check my receivables if they summed up to a few hundred bucks and then play the Profit First game.
Which, by the way, is the way I recommend to anybody who starts implementing the Profit First system. The more often you are using it, the faster it becomes your habit. If you perform the funds allocation every few hundred bucks, in a few weeks it may become your second nature.
Michalowicz also recommends to login to your bank account once a day and check your accounts’ balances. This is the real benefit of the system: you are feeling the pulse of your business. Cash flow is like a blood circulation system for your organism. Sometimes blood flows slower, sometimes your pulse accelerates, especially when you increase your physical effort. Your overall health depends on your bloodstream. The health of your business depends on your cash flow.
Once every quarter, you use your tax and profit accounts to pay taxes and do profits distribution. At the end of the year, you may make a few serious decisions about investing your profits. That’s it. So much financial headache is blown out of the water with just a few daily, bi-monthly and quarterly actions.
Peace of Mind
If you properly implement the Profit First system, it provides peace of mind incomparable with any other “accounting” system. It eliminates dozens of daily financial dilemmas:
Should I pay this bill or that contractor?
Will this client pay before I need to process the payroll for my team?
If I pay my personal bills this month, can I still afford to pay my business’ bills?
Everything is predetermined and automated. The only decisions you need to make are about the allocation percentages and you will make them only every so often – you will cut your costs, so you will be able to allocate more for profits; or you will get a better feel for how high your real tax fee is and lower that threshold; or you will get a few new customers, so your overall revenue will jump, and you will modify Profit First percentages accordingly.
The beauty of this system is that it is so intuitive. You will have a look at your bank accounts every day. You will supervise the distribution of funds. You will quickly notice the places where you are short on cash. What is more, you will have concrete data and numbers to crunch, not just your gut feeling.
Like a bloodstream, your business’ cash flow needs constant adjustments. With the Profit First systems, making those adjustments comes naturally.
No More Overstretch
Another big benefit of Profit First is that it makes it really hard to be careless with your money. No more:
“Let’s buy this truck!”
“Let’s hire a new person!”
“Let’s move to a bigger office!”
You can do all of the above, but when following the Profit First system, you will have to find the place to get this money from. Should you cut your own salary? Increase revenue? Or maybe your threshold for the operating expenses was high enough that you can accommodate this investment? One glance at your data will provide you the right answer.
However, in most cases, I guess the answer will be: “Nope, we cannot afford this new shiny object.” Profit First grounds you in reality, provides a clear state of your bloodstream, I mean cash flow. It leaves no space for wishful thinking. It prevents you from making stupid and costly decisions.
In short, it saves your business’ butt from oblivion. 82% of small businesses go out of business because of their cash flow problems. Implement the Profit First system, and you will not be one of them.
In my practice, I’ve seen what people struggled with the most and what enabled them the most.
Creating new habits doesn’t have to be a slog. Here are five easy tips to eliminate the struggle from developing good habits:
1. Make It Tiny.
By far, the #1 struggle with developing habits comes from inflated ambition. Our minds are bombarded by media with incredible transformation stories, so we want impressive results and we want them NOW. Or, better yet, yesterday. Thus, when people develop a new habit, the #1 mistake is trying to do too much too quickly.
You try to lose weight by pumping iron for 3 hours a day.
You try to write a book by writing for 5 hours a day.
You try to learn a new language by learning 199 new words every day.
It is too much. Your subconscious will quickly rebel against such overcommitment.
The solution? Make your habit tiny; a tiny habit is an activity that:
-you do at least once a day,
-takes you less than 30 seconds,
-requires little effort.
Additional hack: design a tiny habit, which you can do multiple times a day, preferably dozens of times a day. Developing a habit takes 66 repetitions on average. With a tiny habit, you can compress this process into a few days.
Take the free Tiny Habits course. It starts every Monday, takes less than an hour for the whole week, and in the process you will develop three new habits.
2. Celebrate Your Habit.
Bad habits easily stick to us because they go hand in hand with our body’s reward system. You eat something sweet, and dopamine hits immediately. You yell at others, and you immediately feel powerful. You gulp alcohol, and you feel the boost of self-confidence in mere seconds.
However, good habits rarely can tap into this reward system so easily, if at all. For example, in the moment, working out or fasting is more of a punishment for the body, than a reward. Even purely intellectual habits, like reading or writing are, at best, neutral for our bodies.
Thus, in order to connote your good habit with a reward, you need to celebrate. That’s the fastest way to activate your body’s reward system, and the easiest way to make your habit pleasurable.
Here is what BJ Fogg, the inventor of the Tiny Habits framework, recommends for celebration:
Knowing the habit science is not obligatory – I developed dozens of habits being clueless about it – but helpful. The Tiny Habits course gives an excellent pill of habit knowledge: small, but practical and digestible. I can also recommend my blog post series about habits:
Get to know what a habit loop is, how to pick the right triggers, etc.
4. Get Someone Onboard.
We are VERY social animals. Don’t try to develop your habit by your own power. Leverage the help from others.
Photo by cottonbro studio from Pexels.com
Ideally, muster some support from someone who “has been there and done that” – had similar struggles, but overcame them and now has a habit you want to develop. Human beings learn by mimicry, this is how kids learn life. Just being around people who possess your desirable habit will “magically” rub off the habit from them.
But any support is much better than no support. Declare your goal. Talk with a friend. Find an accountability partner who wants to develop the same habit. Join a group focused on this habit. Get a coach.
Just involve minimum one other person in your personal quest.
5. Become Your Habit.
Make it part of your identity: “I am a person who…”
If that rings false in your ears, you can always use the variation: “I am becoming a person who…”
When I got the idea to become a writer, I put in my personal mission statement a sentence, “I’m becoming a writer.” I couldn’t truthfully tell myself I was a writer, so I used this trick.
Back then, I had been so clueless that I didn’t even know what it meant to be a writer. It took me the whole month to figure out that writers write! Yet, repeating that sentence from my personal mission statement put my mind on the right track. Nowadays, part of my personal identity is “I am a person who writes every day.”
Identity is a powerful motivator. No excuse can get in its way. If you are clueless, you will figure it out. If you are exhausted, you will persevere. If you are discouraged, you will do your habit anyway.
Because this is who you are.
Be mindful about generating a dopamine boost for your new habit.
Get familiar with the habit science.
Get some social support.
Adopt this new habit as a part of your identity.
This is how you make developing a good habit less of a struggle and more of an adventure.
This is a very neat book, and I’m extremely grateful that it didn’t exist 10 years ago when I decided to start a side hustle.
Why? With the help of Use Your Job to Quit Your Job, I would have probably succeeded with some IT-related enterprise, because I had worked in IT back then. However, I SO much prefer being a writer and business coach 😛
As Jake Lang, the author of the book, said:
The process outlined in this chapter is nearly foolproof; it has worked for me and my eight businesses, and it has worked for thousands of other entrepreneurs who have gone through the process(…)”
He meant in that fragment the process of estimating a baseline market size, but it applies to the whole Jake’s framework. It works. It bears the proof of practice – it worked for thousands. It is nearly foolproof. Continue reading →
This is how Michael Gerber titled his famous book: The E-Myth (entrepreneur’s myth): I will do it all by myself.
Nope. If you try to succeed that way, you will burn yourself out. Your business growth will be capped by your own abilities and capabilities. Most likely, you will become the bottleneck of your business.
Humans are social creatures, all humans, including entrepreneurs. We want to believe in the lone strong wolf myth, but heck! – wolves are social animals too. Continue reading →
Isolation is the worst enemy. Collaboration is a path to success. OK, so how to actually get out of isolation as an entrepreneur?
There are four ways to do that, which I practiced myself and saw working. Plus, they are no secret, they were around for thousands of years, and they have been always working – because humans are social animals!
1. Accountability Setup.
Get one person, just one, to keep you accountable for specific venue, goal or project. The most important thing in this method is consistency. If you are to meet once a month for an hour, do it once a month – every month. If you are to call each other every morning at 8 am, put it in your calendar and stick to the schedule. Continue reading →
Jacob Coldwell is quickly becoming my new favorite author. I was delighted with his book, Listen Simply. I was even more impacted by Before You Begin.
The only CON I found in this book (and Listen Simply shares this affliction) is the speaker’s framework it sticks to:
Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you’ve told them.”
I don’t mind summarizing the message in points. In fact, it helps me to retain whatever I read and learned. However, I passionately dislike (bordering hate) a preamble to the message: “In this book or chapter, I’ll tell you…” Sheesh, just tell me the message! Don’t waste my time! And don’t spoil the fun!
Each and every one of those introductions fell flat on me, and the message itself was delivered in so much more an impactful and better way. Eliminating those sections would’ve shortened the book by about 20% and made the reading experience 100% better for me. Continue reading →
I have an aesthetic taste of a brick and I didn’t know that. When I started my author career, my Fiverr designers created covers for my books according to my guidelines… and they were absolutely terrible!
While working on my third book, I’d already connected with other authors in Facebook groups. When I shared a mock cover for my next book, one guy from the group took pity on me and made a much better cover for me, for free. Then, he revamped covers for my first two books. Continue reading →
Freelancers, solopreneurs, and business founders face the same enemy, and it is mostly invisible: isolation.
Isolation is the enemy of excellence.” – Aaron Walker
You are alone with your thoughts all day long. Even if you have a team, there are some limitations to what you can share with them.
Will they stay with you, if you admit you are not sure how you will pay their salary next month?
Wouldn’t the upcoming downturn in your industry scare them off to look for a job elsewhere?
So, you ponder those worries and issues alone, in isolation.
Small Business Administration says that problems with cash flow is the #1 reason why small businesses get out of business. I dare to disagree. Behind 95% of bankruptcy cases lurks isolation.
Entrepreneurs are human beings, and human beings are designed to thrive in a pack, not in isolation. Thus, alone, they do all kinds of stupid things, which they wouldn’t have committed, if they could share their burdens with others. Continue reading →