MF 095 : Why Being Wrong is Better than Being Vague, with Roland Ligtenberg
Roland Ligtenberg is the co-founder and VP of growth and business development of HouseCall Pro. Today, Roland will share why being wrong is a much better path to success than being vague.
Successes at a glance:
Co-founder and VP of growth and business development at HouseCall Pro.
A company that has built a scheduling and CRM platform for the home services economy that includes a network of:
House and carpet cleaning service providers
Allows customers to find home service professionals in their area and schedule appointments.
Provides a backend mission control tool (web and mobile) for service professionals.
Managing Partner / Co-Founder at Light Mountain Partners, a strategic consulting firm to startups.
Advisor at Ice House, a mobile software agency in Silicon Valley.
Product and Business Development Manager at Qualcomm.
How Roland gets inspired to conquer the day:
For Roland, it comes down to doing what you love. Roland grew up surrounded by the entrepreneurial and startup mindset in Silicon Valley. His father was an entrepreneur and from a young age, Roland was inspired to find his own path by creating and launching businesses. As Roland shares, when you love what you do, “then it’s not work.” Moreover, Roland rejects the notion of compartmentalizing your life into personal and professional buckets thru a “work-life balance” lens. The reason is that doing so reduces your life into two categories: 1) what you love to do and 2) what you must do to survive. Instead, Roland embraces the idea of loving what you do so you never have to work a day in your life. Thus, Roland finds the greatest inspiration from the work he’s doing at HouseCall Pro. One of the innovations that HouseCall Pro has added is an online chat via intercom, allowing customers to stay fully connected. Because of this, customers and professionals can not only communicate business needs faster but can provide real-time feedback on how HouseCall Pro has made their lives easier. Hearing these kinds of testimonials and comments inspires Roland the most; letting him know that his mission and HouseCall Pro’s objective are making a difference.
Moving Forward listeners, how many of you can say you love what you do? How many of you are still compartmentalizing, segregating what you do the majority of your days, M-F from what you do when you’re not at work. What if you could love what you do so much that the line would be completely blurred between “work” and “life” such that they almost become one and the same? If you’re feeling like that your job is simply a way for you to pass the time until you can do the things you love, then maybe it’s time to rethink that paradigm. Start seeing ways you can converge what you love and what you do, so they’re more closely aligned. Start making some pivots and start moving forward.
Setback or failure that led to pivot and shift:
In the early days of HouseCall Pro, Roland, and his team wanted to tackle the problem of how do we make it really easy to book a professional. They looked at Uber as a model and tried to implement an on-demand system for service professionals. The idea was to allow homeowners to book contractors and home service providers in real time. In other words, you need your plumbing fixed now, you can book the plumber and he or she will come right now. The problem was that most homeowners are not conditioned to think in terms of just-in-time delivery for home services – for a car ride, yes, for a plumbing or electrical problem, no. The fact was, homeowners have gotten used to calling a professional and scheduling a date/time for that professional to arrive. It was at this point that Roland and his team learned that the right-now Uber model wasn’t a good fit when it came to people’s homes. The pivot came in learning and adapting to what the customer really needed: a platform to schedule appointments w/ home services professionals at a specific date/time in the future.
Looking back on this experience and others, Roland has forged a philosophy which he has infused at HouseCall Pro: “it’s better to be wrong than vague.” What this means is that when you are trying something, be it a new venture, product or service, you have to learn as quickly as possible if it’s wrong. Once you identify it’s wrong, then you can learn from it so you can pivot. If you are stuck doing something that’s vague, you can be spinning your wheels for a very long time w/ no clarity on whether it’s a worthwhile course to continue with. As Roland shares, your time is a valuable asset. If you are wasting it on something that is vague, that time is opportunity cost that could be spent elsewhere. This is especially critical when you’re an entrepreneur because you’re not working for a paycheck or hourly wage. Your value is directly proportional w/ the time you invest in any project, product, service or endeavor.
Resource or cultural experience that inspired Roland to move forward:
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Blu-ray | Instant Video) : a documentary about a culinary master that showcases a rare dedication to an art and craft. This documentary has inspired Roland w/ to embrace failure as part of the entrepreneurial journey towards success and to dedicate your life to a pursuit.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (Hardcover | Kindle) : a great book to learn about leadership and management. As an entrepreneur and as your business grows, you will eventually evolve into these roles.
How Roland stays organized and manages his time:
Admittedly, Roland is “terrible at managing his time!” but shares two tips; a productivity practice and an online tool:
Identify your weak spots and focus some of your time and energy into improving them. In other words, don’t just focus on what you’re good at. As an entrepreneur, you will often have to take on tasks that, while not your strong suit, will help grow the business.
Don’t just block on time on your calendar for your to do list, but map out what you want to accomplish even if it doesn’t fit neatly into your crammed schedule.
Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
Zapier : allows software programs to talk to each other. Example: if a task or appointment pops up on your calendar, you may need a to do list. Or you may have an email w/ an attachment that you want to automatically download into Dropbox or Google Docs. Zapier allows you to automate tasks by connecting apps you use on a regular basis.
Roland’s tip for getting started on Zapier : start by identifying tasks you do on a regular basis via multiple apps. Then set up a “zap” to automate that task and have the apps talk to each other.
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Roland’s Advice for you to Move Forward:
If you think you should go do something but you’re questioning it, just go do it. As Roland shares, when you get older and look back on your life, you will often regret things you haven’t done but rarely will you regret the things that you have done. The things you have done, whether they succeeded or not, have made you the person you are today. As Roland shared on today’s episode, “it’s better to be wrong than vague.” Moving forward listeners, how many of you are playing safe by being vague? How many of you are trading time for money, waiting for the clock to ring you out so you can spend a few hours in the evening or weekend doing what you truly love? Are you inspired by what you do? Are you inspired by your customers’ or clients’ or audience’s success? If not, do something new. Don’t wait until Jan. 1. Start making those pivots now so you can look back on this moment as something that contributed to building a whole new you.
Connect with Roland:
If you want to connect w/ Roland directly, be proactive! He challenges you to be resourceful and find out how to contact him.
Read Leonard Kim’s blog post that explains why he doesn’t put his phone number on business cards.