Search Results for: mistake binder

Embrace Mistakes – Create Your Own Mistake Binder


We’ve been conditioned by our education system that mistakes are bad. Too many mistakes and you can fail a course. Too many failed courses and you could find yourself being left behind a grade. This system continues in the workplace, where mistakes often mean lost revenue. Too many mistakes and you receive a bad review. Too many bad reviews and you could find yourself on the unemployment line. It’s a system focused on the negative. No wonder so many of us wallow in negative mindsets as adults. Mistakes should be embraced. They represent the true learning experiences. The only real purpose in focusing on mistakes is to learn from them and then move on to make more mistakes, and then continue to embrace each one like a precious learning experience. The truly best mistakes are the huge ones. They offer the best learning experience. Mistakes should be encouraged and met with positive emotions, not anger. After learning how the wealthy embrace their mistakes, I made a point in my own business and life to embrace mistakes, write them down and cherish them. I now keep a binder on all of the mistakes I make and then list next to each one the right thing I should have done. Start your own Mistake Binder today. Review it once a month so the education is reinforced. When we learn to embrace our mistakes it shifts our thinking from negative to positive and will help us move forward in life, one mistake at a time.

The Binder System


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I’ve been using something I call the Binder System since I discovered it during my Rich Habits Study. The Binder System helps you in your quest for success. Each binder is a tool in your success tool belt.

Fact Binder

In my research, I found that self-made millionaires were dedicated to daily growth and daily self-improvement. Each day, they sought to increase their knowledge through reading, listening to audio books, listening to podcasts, watching educational video, attending seminars, webinars, tele-seminars, participating in formal or informal mastermind groups and asking questions of others to gain more insight and expertise. This enabled them to grow their knowledge each day to help them evolve into the person they needed to become in order to realize success.

While reading is important, retaining important information uncovered in your reading is critical to learning new facts and information. One strategy to do this is the Fact Binder. In your Fact Binder create various topic sections that are meaningful to you. Each day, after reading, add any new facts or information to your Fact Binder. You can even add a section titled: “New Words” where you add any new words you come across in your reading. Writing down what you read has a way of reinforcing what you just read. Abraham Lincoln would write things down 3 times in order to commit them to memory. The physical act of writing somehow acts to create a new neural pathway that allows the new facts or information to stick. Once a week go over the new information you added. That will help reinforce the learning.

Mistake Binder

The Mistake Binder is a running list of every mistake you make in life. Each mistake is documented on one page. You want to document four things on that one page: WHAT went wrong WHY did it go wrong HOW to avoid repeating it in the future LESSON you learned The goal is to get into the habit of filling your Mistake Binder with page after page of mistakes that you make. Then spend a few minutes every other week reviewing your Mistake Binder. This helps make the learning stick and will also keep the mistakes in working memory, acting like a radar system, alerting them when you are about to repeat a mistake. The Mistake Binder will take the taboo out of making mistakes and will change your negative perception regarding mistakes. You’ll soon find yourself embracing your mistakes and the lessons they teach.

Book Binder

This is a binder where, in 1-2 pages, you summarize the key points of every book you read. This binder gives you immediate access to these key points at any time.

Vision Binder

The Vision Binder includes a picture of every dream that you one day hope to realize. It gives you instant access to each dream, allowing you to easily document and review each dream. By periodically  reviewing each dream, you help consolidate it into long-term memory, allowing your subconscious to go to work behind the scenes to help you make your dream a reality.

Goal Binder

In this binder you list every one of the goals you want to accomplish in order to help you realize each one of your dreams. In my Goal Binder I put at the top of each page one dream. Then, on the same page, I list all of the goals I will need to achieve in order for that dream to be realized. In the Goal Binder each dream is your destination and the goals are your GPS – how you get there.

The Vision Binder


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As many of you know, I ‘m big on binders:

  • Fact Binder
  • Mistake Binder
  • Book Binder – This is a binder where, in 1-2 pages, you summarize the key points of every book you read.

I literally have 5 of these binders at my feet in my home office that I use almost every day to help me along the way in my success journey. I can’t take the credit for the idea, however. About a dozen of the self-made millionaires from my Rich Habits study gave me the Binder idea.

There’s another Binder idea I’d like to share with you called the Vision Binder. This is a binder that includes pictures of all of your dreams: your future home, future vacation home, future vacation destinations, future goals (pictures of goals you hope to achieve one day), future awards (awards you hope to win one day), future relationships (famous people you hope to get to know one day), etc.

The beauty of the Vision Binder is that you can continue to fill it and refer to it, day after day, without worrying about running out of room. Vision Boards are bulky and limited in terms of space and not very practical. Building your Vision Binder is a fun thing to do. Plus, every time you add something new to it, it immediately puts you in a positive mindset. You get happy, optimistic and enthusiastic every time you open it. Your personal, customized Vision Binder will keep you focused on your dreams and goals. It will keep you motivated and inspired. It will shift your mindset from negative to positive every time you open it. Start your Vision Binder today. Add it to your arsenal of success tools.


Mistake University is Always Accepting New Students


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Mistakes are beautiful things. They not only teach you what not to do, they also help point you in the right direction. Mistakes are so critical to your success that they should be documented and studied.

There’s a tool I use to do just that. I call it my Mistake Binder. The Mistake Binder is a running list of every mistake I’ve made since I started it back in 2013. Each mistake is documented on one page. You want to document four things on that one page:

  1. WHAT went wrong.
  2. WHY did it go wrong.
  3. HOW to avoid repeating it in the future.
  4. LESSON you learned.

The goal is to fill your Mistake Binder with page after page of mistakes that you’ve made. Every other week spend a few minutes reviewing your Mistake Binder. This helps make the learning stick and will also keep the mistakes in your working memory, acting like a radar system, alerting you when you are about to repeat a mistake. The Mistake Binder will take the taboo out of making mistakes and will change your negative perception regarding mistakes. You’ll soon find yourself embracing mistakes and the lessons they teach.

Teaching Kids to be Entrepreneurs

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Becoming a successful entrepreneur is not easy. I spent five years studying 177 self-made millionaires and I have to say, they are among the most courageous, fearless individuals I have ever met. They put everything on the line. They took enormous risks in the pursuit of their dreams. If you want your children to grow up to be entrepreneurs, then there are certain things you can do as a parent to help them learn how to be an entrepreneur. [Read more…]

Top 10 Rich Habits in Running a Construction Business

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It is not easy running a construction business. There are many pitfalls and numerous ways to lose money. But, if you follow some basic steps you can not only make a living, you can become very wealthy.

Successful construction contractors have learned there are certain things you absolutely must do right all the time and certain skills you must have or acquire in order to make it in this very competitive industry. In this article I will summarize the top 10 Rich Habits in running a construction contractors, in their order of importance.

Most Important Factor: Hands On Experience

Do not even think about starting a construction contractor business unless you have at least five years of broad (meaning, not specialized) construction experience. The only exception to this is if you intend on specializing in one area and one area only. We call this a niche. Niche’s can be very profitable, but they can also go away, change or be replaced by technology, new products, changes in the industry or societal changes. The best chance for success in the general contractor business is to gain experience doing everything.

This general experience has many benefits. It gives you the ability to identify and hire competent individuals, fire incompetent ones, evaluate good work product and identify poor work product. Probably the most important thing it gives you is the ability to transition from being a technician to being a manager. The best experience comes from small to mid-sized construction companies that require you to be a jack of all trades. Larger companies have a tendency to pigeonhole you into niches. That is fine if your business model is a niche, but if you start a general contractor construction business with skills in only a few niche areas, you will fail unless you hire to your weaknesses.

Second Most Important Factor: Outstanding Accounting System

If you do not have a sound accounting system your construction business will eventually fail. This CPA has witnessed this too many times than I care to recount. Sound accounting systems allow you to evaluate whether or not you make a profit on a job by job basis. Going with gut instinct is dangerous and fraught with risk. A sound accounting system helps you identify those things you do right on each job as well as the mistakes you’ve made. Numbers don’t lie.

Unfortunately, my experience has shown me that most construction contractors pay little attention to their system of accounting. There is a fear that proper accounting will set the business owner up for higher taxes. Thus, cash received on a job and cash disbursed go unreported in an effort to avoid tax.

What a mistake.

I don’t care how great you think your intuition is, if you don’t have an accounting of every penny on each job, you can rest assured you are flying blind and losing money on each job. You will go out of business and your family life will suffer.

If you decide to start your own business, you need to act like a professional business owner and that means creating a sound accounting system. Failed accounting systems lead to litigation, failure and bankruptcy.

Third Most Important Factor: Proven Processes = Success

When you have hands on experience in the industry, forged by many years (at least five years) of working in every facet of the construction business, you are better able to make the transition from technician to manager. Effective management requires that you have sound procedures on many aspects of your business. Well-defined, proven processes, along with task-specific checklists, allows you to drill your workers on every aspect of a task within a job.

You should have a process with accompanying checklists for every major task within a job. This eliminates human error and allows you to make corrections before the task is completed. Processes are a construction company owner’s #1 management tool. You must develop a process for each job and each task. This process must be in writing and stored in a binder for each job, along with the task checklist. The task checklist should be calendarized. Your jobs binder should include the following:

Tab #1 – A copy of the signed contract and any change orders.
Tab #2 – Budget for the job. Budget for each change order.
Tab #3 – Accounting for income and expenses. The income portion would include the contract bid price, monies received either as deposits or as the stages of the project are completed and monies received for change orders.
Tab #4 – Task List Summary.
Tab #5 – Task #1 Process Summary and Checklist.
Tab #6 – Task #2 Process Summary and Checklist.

Last Tab – Customer sign off letter on completed work along with standard testimonial letter signed by customer, listing customer’s name and contact information along with permission to use the testimonial in marketing and as a reference for prospective customers.

Transfer copies of each testimonial letter to a separate “Testimonial Binder” that you will take with you to each prospect. This Testimonial Binder may be the only thing separating you from your competition. It gives assurance to prospects that you take customer satisfaction very seriously and may be the difference maker. It allows prospects an opportunity to reach out to previous customers in order to obtain references. It also shows the prospect your company is very organized and well run. Lastly, have a picture of the before and after on each job in this binder.

Fourth Most Important Factor: Strong Business Partnerships

A stable of competent subcontractors who have many years of experience working together is crucial to the success of a job. Each job is a team effort and having a strong network of competent individuals/businesses available to you for each job, and who understand your businesses processes, will make each job run much more efficiently. Efficiency and competency = profit on each job.

Fifth Most Important Factor: Project Bidding Process

You can be the most skilled, best managed construction company, with a stable of talented subcontractors and still go out of business if you do not have a strong process in place on bidding for each job. You can lose your shirt if you underbid a job.

How does this happen?

The most common cause of underbidding is not doing your homework and relying on your gut or unverified estimates rather than a fail safe process of checking and double checking each cost within each task. The devil in any construction job is in the details.

The bidding process is very much like your business plan for each job. It must identify every task, every cost and each cost must be checked and double checked before bidding on the job.

Where many construction contractors go wrong is in estimating the cost of tasks incorrectly. These incorrect estimates are caused by flawed assumptions on the tasks and the associated costs, which is the result of not accurately verifying and then re-verifying every task and every cost. It is a painstaking process, but you must get the bid right. Your assumptions on each task must be vetted not once but at least twice. You know the rule: measure twice cut once. This adage is particularly true in the bidding process.

Sixth Most Important Factor: Marketing

Everyone in the construction business understands the importance of referrals. Most of your prospective customers come by way of referral. But referrals are not enough. What should be part of your marketing tool belt?

1. You should have an active web site that includes customer testimonials front and center.
2. You should join a local networking group.
3. You should join a local civic or business organization.
4. You should provide valuable assistance to local community non-profit groups (one or two non-profits is enough).
5. You should have a regular process of bidding jobs that are not referral-based.
6. You should have a process for direct mailings and/or social media marketing.
7. You should have business cards, stationary, job site signs.
8. You should advertise online.
9. Customer Testimonial Binder (referenced above).
10. You should have brochures you can hand out at events or give to prospects.

Seventh Most Important Factor: Stay Current With Technology and Replace Old Equipment/Tools

You must upgrade your equipment and tools to stay current with technological changes. This will not only improve efficiency but also the quality of each job. You must also replace old equipment and tools in order to get each job completed efficiently and on time.

You will know when it is time for new equipment and tools when the old equipment and tools begin breaking down at a rate that causes recurring delays. When equipment/tools breakdown it can cause cost overruns and result in late completions. No matter how good the quality of your work is, missing completion dates damages your reputation.

Eighth Most Important Factor: Hire To Your Weaknesses

No matter how much experience you have, and how skilled you may be, there are certain things each one of us does well and certain things we do badly. More often than not, the things we do well are the things we enjoy doing and the things we do badly are the things we hate doing.

A skilled business owner will hire people who have strengths in areas the business owner has weaknesses.

As an example, one of my clients nearly went out of business because he did not like having to make calls to collect receivables. My advise to him? Hire someone who is expert in collections. He took me up on my advise and eventually, his collections expert, became his partner. His business is thriving now.

Hire to your weakness and watch your business boom.

Ninth Most Important Factor: Document Mistakes and Failures

This should be incorporated into your Job Process/Task List Binder. You must learn from your mistakes. Mistakes should not be considered anything other than an experience learned. Document those bad experiences and incorporate them into your job process and task list binder so as to never repeat them again.

Tenth Most Important Factor: Change Orders

Most contracts include language regarding change orders. Change orders are caused by many factors, which is beyond the scope of this article. But let me be clear in saying that you must cost out every change order as if you were costing out the job in the initial bidding process.

You must then process the change order (list each task and assign a date of completion for each task) and attach a task checklist for each new task resulting from the change order.

Lastly, you must get the customer to understand and sign off on the change order or you will not collect your full price for the job. Many construction contractors do a poor job in addressing change orders. They are reluctant to highlight it with the customer and, consequently, gloss over it in an effort to avoid confrontation.

The reason?

The likelihood of change orders occurring are not adequately addressed up front when you are bidding on the job – this means you are not managing the expectations of the customer during the bidding process.

Customers only see the price you gave them in the initial bid and that is what they focus on.

You must address the likelihood of a change order occurring at the outset of the bidding process and before the contract is signed. If a customer understands from the very beginning that change orders do occur often and that a change order will increase the price of the job, you will be less shy about confronting the customer when a change order becomes necessary.

Remember, success is a process. And so too is failure.

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Everything You Need to Know to Succeed as an Author

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Prior to writing my first book, I had never written a book before, never promoted a book before and I knew no one who did any of those things.

My journey has been the most difficult undertaking of my life. Everything I learned, I learned through the School of Hard Knocks.

But, eventually, I figured things out. I learned what to do and what not to do.

And then I sold a lot of books.

[Read more…]