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The “stuck in the gingerbread house” problem entrepreneurs face

Spoiler alert: the gingerbread house sabotages your impact

“As I’ve said, there may be something here that can help you, although I don’t know what. I’m simply too close to it.

— Ted Brautigan, The Dark Tower book VII

Today, we’re re-entering Stephen King’s Dark Tower world with this quote from a powerful psychic, Ted Brautigan.

Quick (non-spoilery) summary:

As the ka-tet of gunslingers try to save the Dark Tower from collapsing, they meet a powerful psychic on their way. He recorded a bunch of lengthy podcasts (as we’d call them today) explaining the history of how he got to where he was, that he recorded in a gingerbread house that existed outside the realm of time and space.

But instead of babbling about King’s story, let’s instead focus on the words Ted Brautigan said above, the last sentence in particular:

“I’m simply too close to it.”

This is a problem every single entrepreneur faces at one point or another on their entrepreneurial journey.

I’ve experienced this.

My clients experienced this.

You’ve (probably) experienced this.

The problem?

When you’re too close to something, it clouds your vision. It’s like staring at a TV when you’re 3 inches away from it.

Well, this same phenomenon happens all the time in business.

As an entrepreneur, nobody loves your business more than you. It’s the direct result of years (and mayhap even decades) of blood, sweat, and tears. While this level of closeness and intimacy is the reason your business succeeds, it’s also the cause of problems that you’re too close to see, let alone fix.

With Ted Brautigan, he was actively fighting against “the powers that be” (as we’ll call it to avoid spoilers), and as such, he couldn’t give his advice in a timely manner to help the ka-tet of gunslingers. That’s why he recorded 4 long-as-sin podcast episodes, so the gunslingers (with the advantage of being 50,000 feet up from the problem) could find the solutions to his problem.

And so it is with business.

Two quick examples, one from my business and one from a client’s business:

In my business, I hated prospecting. When I started my business, I had a barebones lead gen system. This system cost me nada, but it consumed 10-20 hours per week of my time. As my business grew, I had less and less time for prospecting, so I stopped doing it completely.

Then, one of my mentors called me an idiot for not outsourcing it. In hindsight, there couldn’t have been a more obvious solution. But since I was so close to the problem, the solution eluded me.

In my client’s business, his emails simply didn’t work. He tried the whole heavily-designed newsletter approach for years without any tangible results. I think he might’ve made $20k a year from email marketing before our paths crossed (and his list had 80k people on it).

I noticed the problem, implemented a plain-text strategy, cut the 80k list down to 10k (it has since grown to about 60k), and we started making money from emails. To date, I’ve generated over a million dollars for him through email, with our best month ever clocking it at about $350k from email alone.

Which brings me to the point:

Every business needs an Obvious Adams. Someone outside of your business—like yours truly mayhap—to identify and fix problems you’re too close to. Whether it be a partner, investor, coach, freelancer, agency, you name it.

Not only can this person fix problems you’re blind to, but if you partner with the right person (like your humble narrator here), they can also grow your email revenue by absurd amounts.

Just sum food for thought.


If you need an Obvious Adams in your business, grab a time here, and let’s see if we’re a good fit.


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