Table of Contents
Title Page
Copyright Page
Chapter 1 - How and Why—Doing and Being
Where You Are
Chapter 2 - Decide—The Change You Want to Make
Current State
Build by Extension
Build New
Chapter 3 - How Do You Feel about the Future?—Be Disposed toward Success
Cultivate Curiosity
Be Ambitious
Nurture Creativity
Chapter 4 - Business—Building Blocks
Common Business Building Blocks
Design What’s Constructible
Chapter 5 - How Can You Get There?—Preparing Yourself for the Future
Be a Conscious Discloser
Be Ahistorical
Learning Methods
Chapter 6 - The Right Architecture for You—and Keeping It Flexible
The Problem of Choice
Creating a Set of Options for Your Future
Elements of the Beyond Booked Solid Report
Chapter 7 - What Do You Need to Get There?—What You Have, What You Need
Closing the Gaps
Your Resources
Chapter 8 - What Do You Want?—Defining and Measuring Your Objectives
Projects and Constraints
Relieving and Applying Constraints
Measuring Project Success
Chapter 9 - Projects—How to Get Things Done
Simple Rules for Getting Things Done
Playing Catch with Hal
Dealing with the Inevitable
Observe the Change You’ve Wrought
Chapter 10 - Systems—A Business That Runs Itself
When to Build a System
Building Systems
Getting It Right the First Time—and Fixing Problems as They Occur
Chapter 11 - How To—Hire Others, Outsource, and Leverage Yourself
Strategic Alliances and Partnerships
Leverage Is Being a Leader and Getting Others to Take the Lead
Chapter 12 - Integrate—People and Process
People or Processes
The Right Process Leads to the Right Results
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Don’t Overwork People
People versus Technology
Chapter 13 - Live—The Balance
Finding Flow
Have a Hobby
Chapter 14 - Case Studies—Real People, Real Businesses
Brandon Hartsell and Sunstone Yoga
Ron Quintero and My Resource Center, Mortgage Leaders Edge, Debt Advisory ...
Mike Berkley and the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness and Women’s Health
Lori Kliman and Heather White and Cupcakes by Heather and Lori
Brian Scudamore and 1-800-Got-Junk?
Jonathan Hunt and FundNet.ca
Kody Bateman and SendOutCards.com
About the Author

Beyond Booked Solid reveals the secret to earning more and working less—leverage. And it’s probably not what you think. Port has done it again. Simply brilliant.
—Barry Moltz, Entrepreneur and author of Bounce!
Beyond Booked Solid succeeds on every level, combining inspiring stories of real-life business owners with philosophical insights and the highest level strategic thinking—all wrapped up in a great “how-to” framework. This is a must-read for anyone wishing to achieve entrepreneurial success and personal fulfillment at the same time.
—Sandra Yancey, Founder and CEO, eWomenNetwork, Inc.
Michael Port has done it again! With a simple process that can apply to almost any business, he provides a blueprint for taking your business to the next level—where you can work less and accomplish more. If your business is successful, but only with your constant supervision, rush out and buy this book.
—Marci Alboher, Author of “One Person/Multiple Careers & Columnist,” The New York Times
Contrary to what Donald Trump says, bigger is not always better. Instead, wouldn’t you rather make more money and work less? You can with Beyond Booked Solid. Port offers a remarkable system for innovating in your business that is the key to doing less and accomplishing more. Highly recommended.
—Aaron Altscher, Owner of Altscher Marketing Consulting and NBC’s The Apprentice, LA
Every once in a long while, a book comes along that stands head and shoulders above the rest and sets a new standard. This is one of those rare books. When you’re ready to demolish the invisible barriers between yourself and massive success—and transform your business as well as your life—read this book.
—Frank Rumbauskas, New York Times bestselling author of Never Cold Call
Beyond Booked Solid is a must-read for those striving to understand the changing environment that we live and work in. You will learn that abundant living comes from a balance between working hard and letting go. This book will teach you what that really means. It will also give you essential insights that will take you from average results to massive success in business and in life. Read this one with pen in hand and get ready to learn something big.
—Kody Bateman, Founder and CEO, SendOutCards


To David Port, MD,
George Lyons Sensei, and Hal Macomber . . .
for opening my eyes to the pursuit of mastery.

Mina Samuels, meeting you and working with you has been the birthday present of the decade. Actually, that may be an understatement. Hal Macomber, for your invaluable contributions to this work and for your friendship, leadership, and mentorship. I remember the first time I met you. I liked you as much then as I do now. Gayla DeHart for challenging me to write this book and for helping me to conceive it. You are an inspiration. I hang on every word you say. Elizabeth Marshall, for your intelligence and talent. Yale definitely does not want their degree back. Kathryn Green, every writer should be so lucky to have an agent like you . . . and an editor like Matt Holt. Amy Ewart, you and your team deserve more than thanks for managing me (and my business), not to mention for overlooking my unusual expectations and impatience. Oh, and for coming up with the title of the book. Gosh, what don’t you do? Kody Bateman, Dr. Mike Berkley, Brandon Hartsell, Jonathan Hunt, Lori Kliman, Ron Quintero, Brian Scudamore, and Heather White for sharing your stories. I hope I did you justice. Bob D’Amico (who did the illustrations for this book), you are a consummate professional. Kevin McAleer (who designed the process maps), you are a perfectionist of the best kind. Peter Hurley (who took the picture for the cover), you may just be the best photographer in the world. Asking others to read early drafts of a manuscript is asking a lot, so many thanks to those who took the time, like Shannon Vargo, Cara Lumen, Bea Fields, and Iva Peele. The members of Bucks County Aikido for practicing with me. Domo arigato-gozaimashita. Of course, Mom and Dad, none of this would be possible without you two. I love you very much. Shannon, your book is next. It will change the world.

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.
—Albert Einstein
As a seasoned professional, you know that for every problem you successfully overcome—such as needing more clients, the topic I focused on in my first book—another more challenging problem inevitably follows, such as how to grow your business when all of your time is booked with clients.
With every success comes new challenges, and this repeated cycle is a constant state of being for the entrepreneur. Each time we solve a problem, we begin a new game at a higher level, one in which we’re facing new problems.
Most of our business problems are self-created because we’ve stepped up to a higher level of play. If you are willing to solve the problems you face, the sky is the limit. Each problem you confront in your business is just a bit bigger than your current capacity to handle it. Oh, I know sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. Sometimes it seems like the problems we face are insurmountable, especially those that lead us into the unknown. That’s why we need to solve our new problems with a more sophisticated level of thinking than the one that created the problems in the first place. If you can do that, you will continue to increase your capacity for doing bigger and better things in the world. That’s what I try to do every day. Is it easy? No. Are there “three easy steps”? Doubtful. But is it worth it? Absolutely.
I will show you how to make more money and to work less on the things that you dislike, that frustrate you, or that you are simply not good at doing. I will show you how to turn a one-person operation into a highly successful enterprise that serves many more clients than you ever dreamed possible. That’s what I mean when I say a “bigger, better business.” It doesn’t mean you work more (though you may have to in the very short term), and it doesn’t even necessarily mean you end up with an office full of employees you have to manage. It means learning how to leverage what you’re good at so you can afford to focus on what you love in your work and in the rest of your life. After all, it’s your business and your life; you can and should run them your way.
Right now this may seem more like a dream than a possible reality. But as you shift your thinking and take action using the techniques and strategies this book, you will see that it is entirely possible to achieve your dream and that it can happen much faster than you ever imagined.
In The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker wrote, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
My first book, Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling (Wiley, 2006), was born out of the issues I faced as someone who wasn’t comfortable with the typical marketing and sales mentality. I needed to create a marketing system that I could rely on to sustain my business. My approach works. On average, 90 percent of the people who fully implement the strategies I teach in the Book Yourself Solid 15-Week Group Coaching Program increase their revenues by over 40 percent within the first year of completing the program. Book Yourself Solid addressed the first basic function of a business as identified by Drucker.
This book, Beyond Booked Solid, was born out of the challenges, problems, and struggles I have faced since writing Book Yourself Solid. Every word is based on the sweat, tears, laughter, and joy of building a bigger, better business that leverages the power of people and processes and generates more money while the business owner (who could be you!) works less.
In thinking about how to grow your businesses, do you find yourself in any of these situations?
• You feel trapped into providing one-on-one services and are unable to leverage your time to explore ways to generate multiple revenue streams.
• You have lots of great ideas, but lack the wherewithal to implement them.
• You believe that your business will suffer if other people serve your clients because you are the only one who can deliver your services.
• You worry about your people and project management skills because you spend precious time hiring and training due to staff turnover (time that could be better spent on growing your business).
• You think you ought to fly solo without truly understanding the need for a strong network of support, both personally and professionally.
• You know that you lack the right systems or procedures to support the ongoing business development, marketing, and administrative activities of the business. As you get busier, you stop marketing and find that your business becomes inconsistent; or you get bogged down with paperwork and end up staying at the office several hours later than you intended.
• You lack the right tools to forecast and budget effectively, so you’re constantly worried about where the next dollar is coming from. You end up making financial decisions without really understanding the implications.
• You have trouble incorporating work/life balance. There’s never enough time for family and friends, exercise, hobbies, travel, and all the other things you keep promising yourself you’ll do . . . when you have the time.
If you identify with any of these issues, you’re in the right place. I can help you approach your business from a new and inspired perspective so you can focus first on serving your clients and then on growing your business.
This book, Beyond Booked Solid, focuses on what Peter Drucker identified as the second basic function of your business—innovation. It will help you discover your capacity to innovate in your business, through creativity and systems thinking, so you can make the changes necessary in your business to go beyond booked solid.
This book gives you the strategies, techniques, and tips you need to build a bigger, better business. It will inspire you to take action and help you stay accountable so you build the business that’s best for you. And by the way, growth (a bigger, better business) can mean many things—bigger revenues, bigger profits, bigger operations. It’s up to you what it will mean in your business. Growth is a very different challenge from booking yourself solid.
You may have read my first book, Book Yourself Solid. However, it’s certainly not a necessary prerequisite. No matter what stage of business development you’re in, you can benefit from the methods you’ll find in this book. But if you aren’t booked solid yet, you may want to go back and read Book Yourself Solid, too. If you have read it, then you’re familiar with its step-by-step process and sequential exercises. Each chapter builds on the previous chapter and requires that you work through everything up to that point.
Don’t do that with this book! Unlike booking yourself solid, going beyond booked solid is not a matter of steps 1-2-3. It is not a matter of picking off a menu. Building a bigger, better business is an organic, iterative, and ongoing process. You can’t dabble. Nor can you obsess. If you try a little of this from here and a little of that from there, you will not reach your goal. However, if you obsess over perfection, don’t start until all of your ducks are in a row, try to do everything all at once, or never let anything go because it’s not quite perfect enough, you won’t reach your goal either.
Read this book all the way through. You need to see what the whole process is first. This will help to create an open space in your mind, to think about where you want to go and how you want to get there. Once you are thinking about your objectives, you can go back and work through the process (master the process), applying what you have learned. The process of mastery is like beginning an apprenticeship. The changes to your business (and to yourself) are not going to happen all at once, but they will happen. What’s inside this book may change what’s inside you. You may discover your untapped capacity to do great things in the world.
This book is about what Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, calls “elegance,” the balance between dabbling and obsessing that enables you to build your business—without losing yourself. You can run your business, and your life, in your way. It’s what I call mastery—the focus and the application you need to excel at something. The book is not so much a workbook—though it has that element—as it is a book that will guide you to a new way of seeing your business and taking action to change it. This book is about finding new ways of being. As I said, read through the book once. Then read through it again and start building your bigger, better business . . . and pursue mastery.
In Beyond Booked Solid, we’ll look at how and why some small business owners make the leap and build a bigger, better business and others don’t. The how are the practical, brass tacks things you can do to grow your business—the action steps you can take, such as designing a better structure and putting the right systems in place. The why are the ways you need to think and be, to innovate, to collaborate, and to complete the projects you will have to do to achieve your objectives; it is being successful from the inside out. I think of it this way—how is doing; why is being.
In Beyond Booked Solid, we’ll decide the scope of the change you want to make now that you’re booked solid—because being booked solid isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, is it? Then we’ll investigate a variety of business building blocks with which you can create a better, more leveraged, business architecture for the future, so you really can earn more money while working less. And, finally, we’ll reconceive your business structure to go beyond booked solid.
What do I mean by business architecture? The architecture of your business is how you do business and it is how you will grow. It is what Hal Macomber, cofounder of Lean Project Consulting, Inc., and an important contributor to this book, calls the structures for fulfillment in your business. It is how you create and deliver your product or service. A better architecture may include outsourcing busywork, systematizing operations, producing projects, exploring opportunities for passive revenue, and leveraging your marketing efforts so that you are able to work creatively on building the business, have more free time, and, ultimately, think bigger about who you are and what you have to offer the world. To go beyond booked solid, you will need to think more consciously about your architecture and likely do some restructuring.
As we are delving into the action steps you will take, we’ll also rediscover the power of ongoing innovation in our businesses—why you will succeed. We’ll set goals for the future and get there. We’ll master the art of the project and how to work with others. We’ll explore the fine points of collaborating, cooperating, and delegating to get things done because your business will grow faster when others do it with you and for you.
Finally, we’ll look at how to put your operations on autopilot to save your sanity and to give you freedom. We’ll find the delicate balance between people and processes—how to get great people to execute great processes so that your business virtually runs itself. Breakdown is inevitable, so we’ll learn how to protect against the repercussions and get the train back on the tracks. We’ll also, for once and for all, finally achieve a work/life balance, because ultimately this balance is at the heart of why you can be someone who serves others as you serve your destiny.
Here’s a sneak preview of what’s inside:
• The four criteria necessary to build a business that takes you beyond booked solid: profitability, scalability, excellence, and leverage
• How to innovate in your business
• How to cultivate the right attitude for success (this is not only about being positive)
• How to reduce the hours you work and make more money
• How to work with people inside and outside your business
• How to complete remarkable projects
• How to expand the business into a bigger operation and leverage being booked solid, potentially doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling sales within the first year
• How to find opportunities for earning passive and leveraged revenue
• How to systematize all areas of the business so the business runs without the business owner (that’s you)
• How to cost-effectively delegate virtually all administrative and busywork to others—without necessarily having more employees
• How to prioritize tasks and projects to make sure things get done
• How to, once and for all, consistently take time off to “sharpen the saw” and increase your creativity
• How to balance the demands of work with a rich personal life
Throughout the book, I’ll refer to a number of entrepreneurs, using their experiences as real-work examples. You may be itching to know their whole stories, and you will. In the final chapter, we’ll look at how real people have built bigger, better businesses, their successes, and what we can learn from their mistakes.
I have had to dig very deep to grow my business from a training and consulting business, in which I was fully responsible for every function of the business, from bookkeeping to booking appointments, from Web site design to window washing, from lead generation to licking envelopes, and every other detail of running a one-person business. I’m sure you know this scene well.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to turn the corner. Where I was once able to serve no more than 30 clients a month, I now serve an average of 500 clients a month in my intensive coaching programs and thousands more every month through my books and CD programs, live events, and keynote addresses all over the world. I have redesigned the business to support as many clients as I choose—with no limit on the number I can serve.
If you are willing to dig down to the roots of your problems, rather than just hacking at the leaves, then the process revealed in the pages of this book can help you grow a formidable business that will yield fruit for years to come. Your business, your life, your way—it’s all inside.
Read on and experience the results. And remember, read once and absorb, then read again and take action.
The book includes written exercises that will support you in the process. You’ll want to retain your responses to the written exercises for regular review and, of course, for implementation. I have also prepared a free downloadable Beyond Booked Solid (BBS) Toolkit that includes additional resource and support materials, including the essential BBS Report. Simply visit my Web site and download the Toolkit before you get started.
Go to www.BeyondBookedSolid.com right now and download your free copy of the BBS Toolkit before you turn another page.
At the Web site, you’ll also find my blog that builds on what’s in all of my books. It’s a place you can ask questions and comment on what I’m doing or how you’re doing.
Although you’ll no doubt get great value just from reading this book, the real value—along with your success—lies in your decision to take an active role by tapping into your creativity, doing the exercises, adjusting your perspective, making changes in your business, and learning new ways of being. You will continue an evolutionary journey of personal and business development that will empower you to achieve the success you know you’re capable of attaining.
Come to Beyond Booked Solid with an open heart and mind. Set aside any preconceived notions of what it means to build a bigger, better business—the way you’ve seen it done, or think it should be done, may not actually be the best path for you. Inside is an opportunity to create a new and inspired way of working. You will find creative and profit-producing advice for eliminating the feeling of being overwhelmed and for avoiding feelings of frustration and isolation. Let your future reveal itself—day by day. Let me lead you to a business booked solid with high-paying clients, a business that will continue to grow (and grow and grow) and allow you to work less (and less and less).
I hope that your journey to a bigger, better business is filled with abundance, meaning, and joy. I am honored to walk next to you on this path. I know that your breakthrough to even greater success is near and that you will continue to sustain that success through your faith in yourself, your inner strength, and your confidence.
As significant personal or professional questions come up, please get in touch with me. I’m always delighted to hear from you and to have the opportunity to help. You can reach me at questions@michaelport.com.
Ready to go beyond booked solid? Let’s do it!

How and Why—Doing and Being
In all living there is a certain narrowness of application which leads to breadth of power. We have to concentrate on a thing in order to master it. Then we must be broad enough not to be narrowed by our specialties.
—Ralf W. Sockman
So you want to go beyond booked solid? Great. Now what? Before we plunge in, let’s understand the framework of our future success—what I call the how and the why: how we will build a bigger, better business and why we will achieve our objective.
Going beyond booked solid means working on your business. E-Myth author Michael E. Gerber best describes this idea of working on your business while working in your business. Working in your business is making sure the service or the product you offer to the market is as good as it can be. You’ve successfully figured out how best to work in your business. That’s why you’re booked solid. Now you need to work on your business. Working on your business refers to the improvements you can make in everything from how you approach your business, to how it’s structured, to the systems you have in place to help you run the business. There’s a catch: You can’t just stop working in your business to focus on the business. You need to work “on” your business, while working “in” your business. This allows you to make money and to get real-time results at the same time. It helps you to create, produce, and sustain your business faster. It is how you will succeed.
However, it’s not enough to work in and on your business. To that, let’s add while working on yourself. Your business is a reflection of who you are and what you can handle. And, of course, the real bottom line is your life—and enjoyment of it. You can work all you want, but if in the end you are dissatisfied with your life, unfulfilled, and alienated from your family and friends because you never see them, what’s the point? As we work through this book, keep in mind what it’s all for. It’s important to stay tuned in to your needs from the beginning. Working on yourself is about more than just your personal well-being. It’s about your professional and business well-being, too. It’s about having your business, and your life, your way. It is why you will succeed. It is why you will be able to absorb and to implement the extraordinary amount of content—tools, methods, and strategies to build your business—that you will find in these pages.
Where to start? That’s a question that can stop a project cold. You might feel overwhelmed by the number of things you can list right off the top of your head to do to work on your business, not to mention all the work you have to do in it. Then I come along with this book and suggest, for example, that you design a new architecture for your business. And that’s just one piece of how you will work on your business. But showing you how to work on your business is not enough. I will also show you why some people succeed and others don’t. Why? To go beyond booked solid, you’ll need to learn how to let go of some of your old ideas and get creative in your business—innovate. This innovation process requires you to open yourself up to new ideas, to find new ways of being—that’s why I call it working on yourself.


Maybe you’re thinking, “It’s business. What’s this about opening up?” Here’s why. Creating and sustaining a business at a new, higher level requires innovation. Without innovation, your ideas, the new business architecture you’ll design, will stay just that—ideas and dreams. Innovation starts with you. Every successful entrepreneur, indeed every successful person, is an innovator. You might be saying to yourself, “Not me, I’ll never invent the lightbulb.” Don’t confuse the idea of innovation with the idea of invention. Innovation is an inward-and outward-looking process. It is an essential part of the process of self-actualization or the pursuit of mastery, a concept I think is vital to success.
An innovator can change perspective and adopt new habits. Innovation is changing the way you do and see things. It is asking yourself, “How will I view my business differently today than I did yesterday?” I know you’re ready to do that because you’re reading this book. Of course, it is possible to shift perspective without taking deliberate action. We’re going to do more than that. We are going to develop new perspectives (that’s why this approach works) and then adopt new goals and new practices to reach those goals (that’s how this approach works).
For many people, innovation can be overwhelming. It can be scary. We can feel trapped by our business, stuck in habits, practices, and perspectives. “I conduct seminars,” you might think. The idea of webinars or monthly newsletters may seem beyond your reach. You feel safe with your present practices. I know. I’ve been there. I still am, because it’s not a one-shot deal. You can’t innovate and be done with it. Innovation, building a bigger, better business, is an organic process, iterative and ongoing. Every time you solve a problem or meet a challenge, a new one presents itself. It is a process of creation, maintenance, and destruction followed by re-creation and so on. It’s very rare to be able to dust off your hands and say, “Now then, I’m done.”
Hal Macomber, whose insight was invaluable to this book, likes to use the orange juice carton example to illustrate this cycle of innovation. For a long time, orange juice was sold in cardboard cartons with cardboard spouts. But orange juice in this form (i.e., not frozen concentrate) didn’t last very long. So something had to be done to give the orange juice longer shelf life. Pasteurization turned out to be the answer, which was great, except for one thing: Orange juice (which is a long-lasting acid liquid) degraded the cardboard spout. One challenge solved, another presented. Something had to be done, or the paperboard industry couldn’t supply cartons to the orange juice producers anymore. The next innovation was the plastic spout on the cardboard juice container. Great, again. Of course, the plastic spout likely brought its own new challenges, but we won’t get into those. As each new hurdle is overcome, another presents itself. And the cycle repeats again and again.
If you want to go beyond booked solid, you’ll need to take the plunge and become an innovator. I’ll show you that it’s not nearly as daunting as it seems. In fact, it can and should be exhilarating, which is not to say it won’t be hard work—it will be, but that’s okay because in the end you’ll be earning more and working less, and the process of innovation will continue. On top of that, you’ll be experiencing the deep sense of purpose that comes from the pursuit of mastery.
What does it really mean to innovate? Divesting the busywork that takes up too much of your time, which would be better spent with your clients on your “real” work—that’s innovating. Figuring out how to outsource the mechanisms for keeping in touch with clients through regular mailings or other contact—that’s innovating. Implementing new record-keeping systems—that’s innovating. Finding little ways to alleviate annoyances—that’s innovating. Restructuring your business so it’s built for growth, while at the same time lightening your load—that’s innovating.
In fact, this whole book is about innovating—learning and developing new ways of doing things, and committing to mastery. Now that you’re booked solid, what you want next is up to you. It’s not just about choosing and implementing. It’s not about becoming remarkable—because being able to keep a business afloat is a remarkable achievement in its own right. You’ve already done that and better. You’re booked solid or on your way. Innovating is about being able to create a new story for your future without being trapped by your past. It means being someone who can simultaneously transcend their history to achieve goals well beyond their standard expectations, while at the same time respecting and incorporating the best of what they’ve learned from their past (being what’s called ahistorical.) This book suggests a way of engaging in the world that will keep you innovating, creating (and recreating) the business you want.
Real life is messy. Be prepared to leap ahead at points and circle back at others. You’ll be cultivating your innovation skills at the same time that you’re building your new architecture. You’ll be implementing systems at the same time that you’re choosing the right business building blocks. Your business, like life, is an always changing, dynamic enterprise. The most importantly thing might be flexibility. Like the tree that bends in the wind but doesn’t break, you need to be open and resilient. It’s a lifelong process. So, we’ll talk, too, about how to stay on course. That said, here goes.

Where You Are

If you are booked solid, you are in one of two camps: Either you are pleased with the size of your business but would like to increase your fees, spend fewer hours working, and feel more confident using your Red Velvet Rope Policy (I talked about this policy in Book Yourself Solid; it is your filtration system that ensures you work with ideal clients who energize and inspire you and, most importantly, allow you to do your best work); or you want to significantly grow your business and serve many more people, open more locations, and hire more staff. In both cases what you will learn to do is leverage more so you work less. When I say “bigger,” that can mean more profitable but not necessarily a larger operation. It’s a matter of scope.
Your instinct might be to resist implementing the new ideas you’ll find in these pages: you are not sure whether they will work, whether your customers will like them, or whether you can maintain the current business while building the new business. The changes to your business can’t and won’t happen overnight. You are already too busy. But it will happen. It might involve a change in attitude and a little extra work for a while, but the long-term payoff of working more efficiently will profoundly change your future. And that’s what this book is about—your future.
Designing your business architecture is an ongoing process—the business is never complete, just as people are never complete. We are all a work in progress. Getting a degree, getting married, or starting your business may seem like end goals while you are working toward them, but they are really just starting points for the ever-evolving landscape of your life. Going beyond booked solid is committing to a life of mastery, always making changes and striving to improve.
Let’s look at how you will grow a bigger, better business and why you will succeed.

Decide—The Change You Want to Make
Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.
—Napoleon I
You’re booked solid. Now what?
Bigger is not always better, says Seth Godin, author of Small Is the New Big. And he may be right. What you are changing is the scope of your business. The scale may change, too, but it’s not a requirement of moving beyond booked solid. Don’t make assumptions regarding what you should do with your business. Even if you are perfectly clear on what you want to do, what I propose is that you consider multiple alternative structures for your emerging business. I’d like to help you choose your direction. I don’t want you to end up at the top rung of the ladder only to realize that you’ve climbed to the wrong destination. The choices you make are critical. Now that you’re booked solid, or are on your way, there’s a great deal at stake. You have less time to experiment and more expectations to meet based on promises that you’ve been making to your customers, associates, and partners (never mind promises you’ve made to family, friends, and yourself about where you want your life to be). This chapter offers a set of options to consider and to help you crystallize your vision and stoke your imagination. The actions you will ultimately take as a result of this thinking are a crucial part of how you will grow.
You may resist some of the suggestions or options. You may have preconceived notions and expectations that are limiting your growth. We all do. If you’ve believed something for a long time, it’s understandable that you may reject an alternative belief or option without reflecting on it fully or experiencing the alternative. If it were easy to build a bigger, better business that leverages the power of people and processes, then everyone would do it at the earliest possible moment. When you feel yourself resisting, consider why you feel constrained. Is the constraint real or self-imposed (self-inflicted)?
I have found, and continue to find, this process challenging. Over time, many of my beliefs and assumptions have been shattered. I’ve gotten knocked off my feet by a wave, only to stand up and get knocked down again. But I know in my heart that character is built not by chance, but by the number of times I keep getting back up. I’ve come to see the entrepreneurial initiative as an opportunity to lose something every day—something holding me back—and in the process earn success.
I once heard it said that the only person who likes change is a baby with a dirty diaper. Change is such an extraordinary, sometimes uncomfortable thing, isn’t it? So many of us crave it but fiercely resist it, fueling an ever-escalating inner civil war. In our society, we may have taken the privilege of comfort too far. It’s so easy to stay comfortable. Too warm? Adjust the air-conditioning another degree cooler. Too cold now? Turn the heat up a few degrees. We insulate ourselves against anything that is the least bit uncomfortable. I’m not talking about the extreme discomfort of not having a roof over your head or of being the victim of abuse or some other horrible circumstances. I’m talking about the everyday entitlement that leads us to believe that everything we want should be handed to us, that mastery can be attained through a bit of dabbling or by short bursts of obsessive attention.
I believe the process that we go through in this book will be rewarding if you are willing to purposely create a certain amount of discomfort for yourself, your associates, and probably for your family and friends, too. You will become more comfortable with discomfort. Then big things will happen. The goal is not making changes simply for the sake of change, but rather for the sake of continuing to serve the people you’re meant to serve and, at the same time, fulfill your destiny.
To help determine the best course of action for you, let’s establish where you are now, and then let’s see which of the two scenarios that follow best represents your situation.

Current State

You have a decent stable of clients who like (maybe love) you. You’re making ends meet. You love working with your clients; spending time with them; and dealing with their issues, needs, and desires (but maybe not as much as you used to). You’re relatively comfortable, except that you are spending a considerable—okay, a ridiculous—amount of time on stuff you hate doing and may not be very good at doing. You’re missing time with your family and friends. You’ve all but forgotten that you once had hobbies. In fact, you don’t have much of a life outside of work.