Stop Working and Start Dreaming – It’s Good For Business!


One of the most powerful and important tips I’d like to share with you in getting your marketing in order may at first glance appear to have nothing to do with marketing at all. But without it the rest is so much harder! And besides, it’s just a great tip for life in general!

Running a small business is tough going sometimes. It’s hard to find time to get everything done and the pressure can be enormous. Long hours, financial pressures, customer demands, etc… Everyone wants a piece of you, and all you ever seem to do is work. Sometimes you forget why you ever started it all in the first place. Ring a bell?

Sure, it’s important to plan, to get things done, fill customer orders and meet expectations, etc. We’ll get to that, but without doubt the most valuable bit of information I’ve picked up over the nearly 14 years I’ve been operating this business is the importance of stepping back from it all to allow myself time to dream. Ever heard the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”? Sometimes (often actually) we need to step back and see things from a different perspective.

For years I was trapped in getting things done, the day to day. I was efficient, skilled, reliable and all the things a really good worker needs to be. I needed to be more than a worker though, there’s lots of them around. There’s always someone that can do your job and often they can do it better than you. I needed to lead my business. And leaders, well, they aren’t quite as thick on the ground.

Over the years I’ve been making the transition, and I’m still making it. Here’s the thing, it’s easy to be drawn into the day to day. It’s comfortable there. But comfort isn’t the aim of the game, at least not for me. If I’d wanted comfort I would never have left my nice secure job in corporate Australia. (For those that know me personally you’ll spot a little irony in that word ‘secure’)

So… dreaming, really?

If you want to stop wasting marketing dollars this step is critical as it will stop you lurching from one random idea to the next, throwing money at the next big idea, and so on and so on…

The dream is all about the vision for your business and yourself, and this just may be a little harder than it sounds. It took me years to really define my vision, and when I did it was one of those lightbulb moments that changes your life. I can tell you this, it didn’t come to me while I was sitting at a computer cutting lines of code!

It came to me after many conversations with friends, mentors and customers, and it came in a flash.

This was my moment of awakening, when I realised something so fundamental, so obvious, so powerful that it changed the entire direction of our business and how I viewed myself. It now defines the business and where we’re going and it gives me purpose. It drives everything I do and underpins the business model.

The realisation was simply this: I am not a programmer!

After over twenty years of cutting code I realised in a moment that if I never wrote another line of code it would not matter one little bit! Lots of people can do it, it’s not rocket science. I can, and do, hire people to do it. I realised that my passion and my skill lay not in building websites but in helping our customers build their businesses through the tools and skills that our business provides. That’s a very different thing!

Suddenly I was walking a very different path. I saw an entirely different business than the one I had. I saw a future, a much better future. I began to surrender to that dream and things started to fall in to place. The old business model just didn’t make sense anymore. It felt too restricting, and it had to go!

I began putting the dream into a plan, but more on that in another article.

Where to dream?

It really doesn’t matter. Just make time to do it! I once asked an executive business coach a question: “If you could give me just one piece of advice as the owner of a business what would it be?” His response was not what I expected, but it’s gold. “Make time everyday to feel the grass between you toes!” And he meant literally! In other words, allow yourself time to dream.

You can dream while:

  • Sitting by a river
  • Sitting in a coffee shop and watching the world
  • Sitting in a hot spa
  • Visiting a library
  • Visiting an art gallery
  • Having a coffee with a friend
  • Having a chat with a mentor
  • Taking a long shower
  • Going for a run
  • Taking a walk

I’m sure you can find a number of appropriate and effective ways to encourage a little dreaming in a way that suits you.

Stepping away

The key to all of this is allowing yourself to step away from the doing and into the realm of letting ideas flow. It’s a challenge to stop doing and start dreaming, you may even feel guilty, but trust me you won’t regret it. You don’t need hours, 15 minutes may do the trick, but you do need it.

I’ll share with you in future articles some of the tools I use to aid my dreaming. Until then, get your shoes off and feel the grass between your toes and start dreaming yourself to a better business.



  1. Ross Mitchell on March 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hey Dave

    Great to see that some things I have said over the years resonate with people and really do work.

    Still take my shoes off and walk through the grass everyday.

    Feeling the grass on your feet really does centre you.

    Enjoy and good luck with the Tip Series

    • dave on March 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Ross,

      Yes indeed, some of us do listen! More to the point, some of us even put the wisdom into practice. Take care mate.

Leave a Comment