When Plan A Doesn’t Work

I began 2015 with a big plan. I wanted to move from Dunedin to Auckland and establish a new life. After a year of laying the groundwork I’m  making the move. But the disruption of my industry has moved even faster . . .

My reasons for moving were simple: I have close family in Auckland – including two of the sweetest grand-children in the world, ever, –  AND most of my business clients are there now. Auckland is sucking people and businesses northwards – and, as we [almost] all know, partly because of that migrant demand, it is now one of the most expensive cities in the world to buy a home in.

Economically speaking this was a courageous plan. With its beautiful river and rural views, my current home on the outskirts of Dunedin would cost more than twice as much if it was in Auckland.


More now – prices are rising so fast that it would cost me almost 20% more to buy a house there this month than at the beginning of the year. I don’t plan to keep working forever, so if I had to take a mortgage or rent at first, I needed to be able to end up somewhere stable and mortgage free in five to ten years.

That didn’t seem insurmountable at the beginning of the year. If I was there I would have so many more opportunities to earn money – the ‘being there’ effect still matters in my line of work. Besides, my main reason for staying in the south – my mother – had died almost two years previously. I had no pressing personal or business commitments there.

But since it was a big move I decided that I needed to dip my toe in the water before jumping straight in. I decided I would commit to a regular presence in Auckland – I would fly there every two weeks, I’d do lots of  networking and conference-going, I’d stay in a range of different neighbourhoods and reconnect with friends and colleagues.  So that’s what I did.

But my Plan Didn’t Work. 

I had some excellent business successes, I did some great work – but it didn’t feel at all sustainable. Getting paid on time seemed to be a lot harder than it has been in the past. Where once the payment cycle was 30 days, I now had major corporate clients offering 60 day and [more recently] 90 day terms.

Imagine not being paid for your work till three months after you started a job. It’d have to be a dream job wouldn’t it? These weren’t.

That was the critical issue. The work.

Fundamental Disruption

My industry, like many others, is being disrupted by techno-culture. In one way that’s great for me since most of my work involves helping companies to keep up with the times. And it has lowered the costs of doing the work for me and my clients. 

But ne3W Main.001w technology, the pace of change and the ocean of information we live in have fundamentally altered the business rationale for market research. As the 3 Worlds model predicts – my clients – who have traditionally been advertising agencies and big corporates – are now suffering their own technoculture-driven disruption and it’s impacting back down the chain on suppliers like me.

I’ve adapted to that quite well in terms of subject matter and approach,  I think. I mean – I like to think so. Focusing on the 3 Worlds model and business strategy has helped enormously. The great work I’ve done this year has helped client  firms – large and small –  to act confidently in the face of rampant, sometimes chaotic, change.

But quite a lot of the rest has involved finding and sharing insights with people who really have no opportunity or ability to implement it. That’s frustrating for me and for them. Today, if you can’t execute rapidly and well, you’re going backwards.

So with much regret,  Plan A gets the chop. There’s too much potential downside, not enough potential upside.

Bring on Plan B. . .

You can find the beginnings of Plan B in my new website – wellmadelives.com.


It’s global, not local, online and therefore, location-independent. This site is aimed directly at people, not businesses – and it’s marketed via social media. It’s still insight-driven, but now the insights will help individuals to adapt to chaotic change.

At the moment it’s a side-gig, still in its early phases, but with an impressive list of blogs, guides, courses and e-books in the pipeline. Well I’m impressed. The intended topics include:

  • What’s Really Important? Knowing, Deciding and Doing . . .
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – What Marie Kondo Has Done
  • Essentialism for Women – Exploring Greg McKeown’s philosophy
  • Who Are You and What Do You Want – the first step to a well made life
  • Does Your Life Suck? [that’s just the working title ;)]
  • Obstacles to a Well-Made Life

It takes time to pivot so in Plan B, 2016 is a transitional year for my B2B work – and a chance for me to decide if it really still has legs. I hope to do more strategy work, which I love – focusing on execution – maybe run a series of interviews with great executors . . .

I’d appreciate any comments you may have – what do you think of Plan B – or do you think I should have persisted with Plan A? Please either comment below or contact me privately.

 If you’d like to be part of the WellMade Lives network, please click here.

Or, for business strategy, I think you’ll find a lot of value in joining the Windshift Network.

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