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What are the most productive actions in your business?

​Checking off more items on your to-do list? Working longer hours? Getting another certification? Trying to make your website better?

Many such actions feel productive but don’t actually build your business. Besides having a “to do” list, you may want to define a TO-DROP list as well.

Otherwise you might be doing busy work that feels like movement, but isn’t really helping you grow your client base or make more impact.

Here is how I define “true productivity” in business:

It’s being in touch with your market, rather than being in your own head. …

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One up of the hangups a lot of us have — especially if we care about accuracy or fear being judged — is to not post content because we haven’t yet done enough research.

This is a trap, because for any topic, there will always be more research to do. It’s endless.

How then do we create content consistently, while respecting the need to do research?

My main recommendation for you is to be clear about separating your content production time from your research time.

Content production is the time you spend actually writing or recording.

Research is the time you spend on reading, searching, and taking notes.

If you combine these two modes, your content production will be continually delayed. As you do more research, you realize how much more research needs to be done! …

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“On a daily basis, I go from task to task, event to event, responding to the world’s demands, reacting to urgencies, emails, and deadlines. I don’t have any ‘thinking time’… to reflect, to reconnect to my deeper purpose & motivation.” — a reader wrote.

If that describes you, then this post is for you…

Schedule Self-Care First

When I schedule my calendar, self-care comes first:

  • Several times in each workday, I take a 60–90 minute break, which can include a snack, dog walk, and always, a 15–20 minute nap. These breaks allow me to mentally process how I’ve spent my day thus far, and briefly consider the next thing I’m doing. …

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(Especially if one of them is an influencer)

You’re a connector and love introducing people to each other. It can be a wonderful (sometimes career-changing) effect when it’s the right match!

Yet, when it’s the wrong match — unfortunately much of the time — by being the connector, you just added a burden to them. Now they’re in an awkward position you’ve forced them into, where one person, if they don’t want to connect, will come across as unfriendly or unapproachable.

Still, the benefits are big enough that it’s worth learning to do this well. You can make deep positive lasting impressions for many people.

Before you make an intro, think carefully about the following. …

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I’m about to launch a podcast. My audience suggested the playful name of “Business Tao with George Kao”. (Update: it’s launched!)

Some were concerned that the podcast name might be cultural/religious appropriation. (Nevermind that I’m Chinese, and can pronounce Tao te Ching more accurately than most Western Taoist scholars, and that Taoism is characteristically unattached from definitions and who gets credit for what…)

Still, the question inspired me to dive back into studying Taoist philosophical principles. In this post, I’ll briefly share how a few such principles might apply to Authentic Business.


A core principle of Taoism is to live authentically. To sense into how the flow of Life is calling to us, and to merge with that flow. …

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When you’re still aiming to get your first 50 (or 100) clients, maybe all you need is a one-page website. Truly.

Most of your clients are going to come from word-of-mouth anyway. So why are you working so hard to build a fancy website that takes you more than a few hours to do?

Let me share with you an example of a one-page website that I just came across…

If by the time you’re reading this, she’s made it fancier, I’ve made a video showing you her one-page website and why I think it’s effective:

What I like about it:

  1. Beautiful image that represents how she wants her clients to feel. …

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A client asked me to write up a roadmap to a kind of “four-hour workweek” for authentic business…

The best I can come up with is an 8-hour workweek. It’s more realistic, yet still minimal. Imagine: just 2 hours of work, 4 days a week. Quite a luxury, especially in these economic times!

Of course, it all depends on how much income you’re aiming for, and your current stage of business.

Let’s say you’d like to earn $4,000/month working just 8 hours per week.

This is a true privilege, compared to the median American wage of $3,333/mo working 40 hours a week!

To get there, you’d first have to build up an audience of true fans and resonant offerings, and then scale back your hours of work. …

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“From a marketing course I learned how to write my copy by using the hook-story-close model. The teacher showed how important it is to write to ‘the pain of my client’ in the hook part, and that I should even exaggerate the pain, make it like my client is in a dangerous situation (e.g. if you don’t act now, you’ll suffer dire consequences). The idea behind this is ‘The bigger the pain, the quicker the client will buy from you.’” — anonymous newsletter subscriber.

Sadly, this kind of mercenary marketing advice is too common.

Most of us heart-based people don’t enjoy this feeling of transactional marketing. We don’t want to create more negativity in the world. …

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“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

This is where so many of us heart-based entrepreneurs fall down: we try to mix our selling with our moments of content generosity. We know it doesn’t feel totally right. We may even sabotage our own efforts.

I recommend that we separate our content from our selling.

I’ll start with some context. I’ve observed what may be a 3-phase evolution in the online marketing industry. At least, it’s been true with my own process:

Phase 1: A pure focus on Selling / Enrollment.

It’s clear what the sales person is trying to do. Their primary purpose — transparent to them, and to you — is to sell you a product. …

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Do you ever feel like you’re bothering people, when you create/share content?

A participant in one of my workshops wrote:

“Consistency of communication is my goal. To hold myself more accountable to this and get over the problem I have with feeling that I am bothering people by sending them content via email or other means, even if they have signed up for my list!!”

You have an audience because they want to hear from you:

  • Your Facebook friends are interested in your opinions (believe it or not!)
  • Your followers on social media want to hear about your business.
  • Your newsletter subscribers look forward to your newest content! …


George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"

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