Today’s hustle culture dupes young and hungry biz owners (as well as the old and seasoned ones) into optimization:
You must optimize every millisecond of your life otherwise your business will crash or burn or something.
But from my vantage point, there are more than a few problems with obsessing over optimization.
First, one of the common things people “optimize” is their morning routine. How do they optimize their morning, you ask?
Well, first, they use the loo (to borrow some UK slang) and gulp down an 8 oz glass of water. Then, immediately after, they meditate for 8 hours. Do a 16 hour workout. Make a smoothie that contains more sugar than humanity itself ate throughout the first 1,000 years of civilization. Then they journal. Then they have their gratitude practice. Then they stretch and do yoga. Then they go back to the gym for another 12-hour workout. Then they read an entire non-fiction book. When that’s all finished, they wake up their kids and take them to school. Then they sit down and start working.
Sounds like a metric fvckton of procrastination if’n you ask me.
A much easier, more effective, albeit less “optimized” morning routine would be more like my morning routine:
Wake up and use the loo.
(And the ??? can be whatever. Maybe I go to the gym or go on an early morning walk. Maybe I ask Peanut if’n she wants to go get breakfast. Or maybe I decide to, gasp, fall back asleep and get a few more hours of beauty rest.)
Or another example:
In an ideal world, you shouldn’t mix creatine with caffeine. I won’t get into all the science here, but caffeine has a cancellation effect on creatine. And so, the optimization nerd will avoid taking his creatine pills or shake until hours after his last cup of jo for the day.
Problem here is, and I’m speaking from personal experience with this one, whenever I remembered this, I’d push my protein and creatine shake to the end of the day. Inevitably, there were more than one occasion where I’d completely forget my protein and creatine shake until I was already drifting away into dreamland.
And, of course, this applies even more so to email:
Email optimization nerds obsess over vanity metrics that do not matter. They’ve got their email down to a science—well, if you ask them anyway. But when you take a peek behind their ESP, you see they leave a lot of moolah on table, which is the entire point of email marketing in the first place.
Instead of being consistent, they’ll obsess over which days are the best time to send an email. They’ll analyze all their subject lines, and figure out the “perfect” formula for subject lines, not realizing that over time, these “perfect” formulas become tired and repetitive. They’ll look for slight and ultimately meaningless tweaks in their emails—like switching the color of their button from green to red—and create “best practices.”
Not saying that none of this stuff isn’t good. But these optimization nerds make it their entire personality, their entire email marketing strategy.
A better, more effective, and yes, more profitable approach is as follows:
Send all sorts of emails, at all sorts of times, and all sorts of days to keep your audience on its toes. But this strategy requires consistency.
Y’see, more often than not, optimization is really just an excuse to procrastinate. You get to fool yourself into thinking you’re being productive. But at the end of the day, you just got a cheap hit of dopamine for accomplishing nothing that actually drives the business needle forward.
Many such cases of this infecting otherwise smart entrepreneurs like a plague.
Good news is, I have an antidote:
Hit reply, and let’s set up a quick call. If’n we’re a good fit, I won’t optimize your emails, and instead I’ll install an email marketing strategy (including writing all the copy and managing all the sending) that optimizes your revenue.
John “anti-optimization” Brandt