This is sponsored by the Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Futur.
Joey Cofone is the CEO and co-founder of Baron Fig, a company that has succeeded by perfecting a simple tool crucial to the creative entrepreneur: the notebook. Launched in 2013 with a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, Baron Fig has gone on to expand its offerings and its business, but simplicity remains a common theme in both Joey’s business and his life.
As it turns out, a lot of Joey’s success comes from the fact that he knows what it’s like on the other side. As a child, he was adopted and lost his mother to cancer. He was adopted again, by his grandfather a master plumber who taught him hard work.
Sadly, Joey’s grandfather passed away when he was 17 and the moment he became a legal adult, he was kicked out of his home by his step-grandmother. Embarrassed and reluctant to ask for help, Joey spent a couple weeks sleeping in his car before his cousin noticed and took him in.
These real-life experiences from his youth have led Joey to make big moves in his life, like giving up his fruitful freelance design career to start an unproven notebook company with his friend from college. Where others would consider such a thing too risky, Joey says, “If that’s the only thing that’s stopping me… then it’s not a fear I should give into.”
Joey’s risk paid off and he will continue to take big risks in the future. His journey from sleeping in his car to becoming an award-winning graphic designer and co-founder of a successful business wasn’t easy, and Joey quickly learned the value of simplifying his business and staying focused on his goals. When asked how he was able to keep his work life balanced yet productive, Joey shared the following tips:
1. Start at the end and work backwards
Once Joey and his business partner figure out a goal, they work backwards to determine every step that needs to be taken to get them there. This allows them to be more goal-oriented and efficient with their time.
2. Point, don’t plan
Instead of having rigid deadlines (planning), Joey allows for some leeway. He knows life is unpredictable and you can’t account for everything. As long as he’s headed in the right direction, Joey has no problem adjusting his timetable accordingly and allowing himself to spend more time doing what’s important.
3. Take mini-vacations
Joey believes it’s important to have a life outside of the office, so he makes sure all his employees leave by 5. For Joey, getting a daily chance to refresh is more productive than working nonstop and then breaking for longer, less frequent periods of time.
4. You can’t delegate your biggest problems
It’s ok not to have all the answers right away. As a small business owner, you may find yourself in a situation where you feel like you can’t figure it out. Joey reminds us that in those moments, you have to tell yourself you will figure it out, but you may not be in control of when you do.
A recent newlywed, outside the office, Joey is embarking on building a family of his own. He and his wife live by a new mantra – somewhat more genial than his grandfather’s adage: “We have everything we need to be happy.” Joey says that happiness is a choice, and though Baron Fig will continue to grow and bloom – just like the trees they plant in exchange for every sale of their signature notebook – he will continue to find pleasure in the simple joys of life.
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