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A Post-it note saved my career


A Post-it note saved my career

Shortly after quitting my job to focus full-time on my business, I quickly realised living in London while first trying to launch probably wasn't the smartest move.


I failed to effectively plan my financial exit and there I was, on a Friday afternoon, with a 25-year mortgage hanging over my head, balling my eyes out over my latest financial statement.


I had five weeks left before I was officially bankrupt.


It was time to stop procrastinating. I needed to stop focusing on TED talks and how many “likes” my latest Facebook post was generating, and instead focus on generating leads to get sales.

Productive Post-It by Mark Leruste v1.jpgTo get going I looked online for productivity tools to mix and match a few that worked. What really helped was drawing two lines across a sheet of paper in the shape of a cross. The top left corner was “Urgent”, top right “Very Important”, bottom left, “Kind of Important” and bottom right “Not important”.


Everything that needed to be done was dumped on to post-it notes. From updating my website banner to calling an organization I’d been meaning to get in touch with for months (not forgetting buying toothpaste…); I embraced the painful task of placing each post-it item in the right square on the “productivity” sheet.


And yes, I get it. Finishing the latest season of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix is a tough one to call. But trust me, put it in the “Not Important” box.


I had spent most of my time focusing on the bottom half of this to-do-list. And avoided doing the stuff that actually mattered. I know this is often the case with so many of us. So, I started grabbing one post-it note at a time in the top left corner and focusing on that. And for every three post-it I got through, I gave myself the permission to do a post-it in the “not important box” or “kind of important” box. After all, starting your own business is about creating the freedom you want, not creating a self-made prison.

Taking action meant that I contacted some really great organisations such as Virgin Startup, Escape The City, and The Clore Social Leadership Programme and asked to meet up for a coffee. Those meetings led to great conversations which eventually lead to my first paying clients.


I learnt that every business opportunity comes through a great conversation. And as much as we love getting down to inbox zero, or spending hours on social media, what we should really be aiming for is to getting in front of our prospective clients. No matter how scary that feels.

In case you’re wondering, September was the first month where I was able to pay my bills thanks to this coaching and facilitation.

A pack of Post-it notes saved my career. Tell me your simple methods to staying organised with your business in the comments below!

Thought Leader

Thank you Mark for blogging for us!

If anyone wants to know a little bit more about him, have a look at his weekly podcast and video blog The Unconventionalists.