Hi! My name is Derek Dearden, and I have been running businesses from my home, pictured below, since 1981.
For most of that time, I've been developing software and designing computer systems, but there's a wealth of opportunities available to almost anyone now, thanks to the Internet.

What do You really want out of Life?

This simple three-minute exercise had a dramatic impact on the 31 entrepreneurs who came to my Business Building Workshop at the Heathrow Sheraton in July:

We first of all selected a time a little way into the future - say between five and ten years - and then went through a guided visualisation of what we intend our lives to be like by then...

Why not do it for yourself? Just sit down somewhere quiet and private, turn on your speakers or headphones and hit the Play button:

Flash Audio  

(It may take a little while for the buttons to load if you don't have a fast connection)

What most of us found striking about this exercise was how simple it was, and yet how rare it is for us to create any kind of image of where we are trying to get to in life. But if we haven't done that, how are we going to know whether our business is serving the goals we are committed to, or whether we are going to end up being a mere servant to our business? (I bet you can think of a few business owners who ended up in that position!).

We then went on to take about fifteen minutes to cost out what it was going to take in financial terms to live the lifestyle we'd just envisioned. Despite the fact that most of the participants had not created wildly extravagant visons of their future, they were shocked to find out how much they were likely to need to earn if they were ever going to achieve it in reality. This was one typical reaction:

About the first thing that came up as I was doing that exercise is the question: is this how I think it is going to be? - Or how I want it to be? And that makes it very clear to me that there’s actually a gap between what I’m really expecting at the moment, and what I aspire to...

Part of what I want from today arose out of this… resignation I’m beginning to acquire about actually having the long run lifestyle that I want...

Well, if I don’t make some kind of substantial alteration to how I’m conducting my life... particularly the way that I earn money, it’s going to be a bit like it is now, except I’m going to have a nicer house and a bigger mortgage.

By the end of the day, the mood in the room was buoyant and optimistic - we'd covered both the 'big picture' strategies and business models to work with, and the 'nitty-gritty' tactics and techniques. Participants had made a start on creating an action plan to go to work on this week - to move towards living the life they are committed to.

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