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Adopting A Mini Bet Approach To Your Work

Making mini bets for your work is better than having to go all in. When you spread the risk, you don’t have to be fixated on one thing working.

Our lives are filled with projects that present opportunities and ideas. Sometimes you might get the result you wanted. On other occasions, you have to count your losses and walk away.

Over the past few years, I have ramped up the approach to make continual mini bets. 

Let me explain what it means:

— Investing time over money in delivering new projects

— Having other projects happening at the same time

— Be persistent, but not overly committed to time and resources

— Focusing more when the results are apparent 

— Leaving when the outcomes aren’t showing

— When something is working, consider more resources

In this article, let me show what I have done and how it can be a framework to consider. 

How It Helps

Being able to make mini bets is a way to see what can hit home, but without leaving you barren and despondent. If you fail to see a return, you move on.

When it works, you feel more comfortable coming back to it again and again. It doesn’t mean every time is going to be fruitful, you just have to be comfortable and a degree of uncertainty is what you are stepping forwards with. 

When things don’t go according to plan, it’s time to reassess or just move away completely. Read more here on it’s not always going to work as you want.

Showing You, My Hand

Spreading the risk means you are constantly looking at where to invest further. 

Let me explain, with examples, from my side and what I mean. This is activity from YATM during 2022.

YATM Lunch Club Bristol – We are about to restart our lunchtime gatherings in another location (it’s this November, join in here). 

The mini bet I am putting on here is for people to attend an event that was last in Bristol in February 2020.

YATM Game Nite – This is our way to encourage people to head out after work and play board games. 

The mini bet here is can people think differently and want to head out for what they might consider a ‘work event’ that isn’t networking or drinking becomes the focus. 

YATM Creator Day – This is our annual event where the drive is people working together and encouragement to produce something that might be holding them back ie. time, nerves, or topic. 

The mini bet I am putting here is when it comes to gathering people for a substantial event, it doesn’t have to be called a ‘conference’ and listen to talks on ‘business’.

YATM Good Bad – This is a LinkedIn Audio event every Friday at 11.45am where a different host each week asks people how their week has been. 

The mini bet here is if a LinkedIn Audio event can be delivered by multiple people, rather than one host/account.

YATM Schaef At The Seaside – This is when we brought a well known marketing name, Mark Schaefer, for a series of events.

The mini bet here is if you can bring the community in on the event where everyone gets the attention and feels like they are at the front. It becomes a celebration of togetherness.

From these examples, let me share how mini bets work:

— A portfolio of bets are made

— Some may have a better likelihood of working out than others

— Each outcome won’t be life-changing, but can lead to something stronger

— The only way you will find out if something will work, is to take a seat at the table and play

— The payoff is by seeing what works and walking away from what doesn’t 

— The more mini bets that are made, it is easier to stick to the commitment you give

Let me highlight though that this is not easy. It is not your job to know what works, it is the audience who decides.

You can’t approach thinking that what you are going to deliver is going to work. Risk is at the centre, all the time. There will be a need to rework and modify. It can provide clues and routes to follow. However, taking a risk and pushing away the sameness is where the reward lives.

How You Can Think About It

Here is how you can approach these mini bets, where you can be comfortable with your actions, knowing that when it works, the reward is there to explore further. Or when it doesn’t, you can walk away without feeling burnt.

Work on what can pay off.

This relates to working on projects that link to your overall message or initiative. There has to be a way for people to make that association between delivery and meaning. You have to hedge your bets on something relatable to what others know you for.

Don’t go all in, spread out. This might feel like spinning plates, but the more you mix activity (over some time), the more you can join up ideas. Even better, you can use one activity to promote another. 

Accept that life doesn’t give you the results you wished for.

It becomes easier for people to buy in if you have an audience. At the same time, if you want to deliver a format that people haven’t seen before, then there is that element of the unknown and be convinced that it is for them. It is about finding opportunities that can fit with others. 

Timing isn’t everything. 

If you wait for the right moment, it has probably passed. There is never the right moment to strike, only a willingness to be curious and explore where a mini bet can take you. Back in 2020 we thought we were onto a good thing when we introduced an in-person event in Bristol, only a month later, Covid struck. Don’t sit on ideas, strike fast!

Make a worthy go of it.

The easiest thing to do is walk away, but before it’s time to cast aside, perhaps it could mean a slight tweak and reassess how everything looks. For instance, when YATM started, it was very quiet. It wasn’t until I started reaching out to subscribers to get to know them a bit better, that they started to let others know. Every good idea has to go through a period of conflict at some point. Is your idea worth standing up for?

Go where the risk is low. 

When you invest a sizeable amount of money and energy on one thing, your willingness for something to work surpasses a rational judgement. You become fixated on that desire to produce a return and might not provide the results you want ie. lack of take up/sign up. When you swap money for time and personal drive, you can spread your risk and make more mini bets.  

Bet more on your strengths.

It works when you lean into your capabilities. For instance, one of my strengths is bringing people together and the enthusiasm that goes into it (you could say being a good host). Focus on where you can bring energy and your motivation. 

Be prepared for the truth.

It pays to trust your intuition and acknowledge that not everything will go the way that you want. When that happens and after you have spent time assessing and modifying perhaps it is time to walk away. Sometimes the worse thing you can do is blindly persevere. The Betting and Gaming Council changed ‘When The Fun Stops, Stop’ to ‘Take Time To Think.’ Both are true.


Let’s Round-Up

Diversifying and being flexible where you are not wholeheartedly centred on one delivery, means you can build a portfolio of activities that can add up to something worthwhile.  

We have to find out what strikes a chord with others and the only way of doing that is to be proactive.

The decisions we are faced with come down to stepping up and making something happen. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment, it could be just testing out to see if an idea you have can progress or be validated by others. 

If you don’t step forward though and make that bet, you will never know! Making these mini bets helps you spread the risk and you to be comfortable when others decide. 


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