Field Notes Creator's Work-Life Advice

advice_125In an interesting little riff on the “Dear Abby” advice column, Co.Design recently turned over a reader question about how to handle an ever-growing small business (actually three small businesses) to Jim Coudal, founder of Coudal Partners, and co-creator of the popular Field Notes line of pocket notebooks.

Like most advice from people who have clearly “made it,” the thoughts themselves are nothing that haven’t occurred to most of us with functioning nervous systems – its value lies in the fact that its source has accomplished those things we’d probably like to add to our CVs.

Here are Coudal’s two golden pillars:

1. Rent office space. Yes, this sounds like a complete luxury to those of us already living from paycheck to paycheck. But Coudal’s rationale is a good one. “If I’m at home and I need to get some work done, even just an hour’s worth in the middle of a Sunday morning, I go to the studio and do it there. The commute helps me focus on the task at hand and, by keeping work at work and home at home, I’m much better at both.” Presumably the cost of renting space, whether it’s at your local space-share scheme or an honest-to-goodness office, can be written off your taxes to some extent. (Consult an accountant on this one, please.)

2. Delegate. Again, easy for a successful business person to say, but Coudal Partners’ example is an inspiring one. Once they stopped pursuing growth for growth’s sake and delegated the administrative duties to others, they developed their own spin-off businesses: Field Notes and the online ad network The Deck.

“No job is all answering questions and making strategic decisions. Identify the administrative stuff that supports all that and offload to someone else. Do it immediately. Start with the small things and you’ll find it easier to grow your business by delegating some of the big things, too.”

Got it, Jim – all nicely written down in our Field Notes book 🙂


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