Mortality. Immortality.

I write.

I record my voice.

I capture my likeness in stills and motion pictures.

These digital assets are almost immortal.

Sure the internet could collapse, my files could disappear, and my legacy could vanish.

But digital information could feasibly live on forever.

We, on the other hand, have expiration dates. We may not know the date, but until a medical breakthrough changes the game, we’re all on the way out.

That’s a sobering fact, but I use it to push me to work harder, connect more deeply, and love more openly.

The digital assets I leave behind are part of my legacy.  Are you building one, and if not…why not?

How to start a company in under one week

There are hundreds of types of companies you could start.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive step by step to cover every kind of company.

This is for someone looking to start a service business, or informational products company (e.g Photographer, SEO, Social Media Consultant, Life Coach, Real Estate Agent, Blogger.)

ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

  • What does your company do? Write down what your business does as if you are explaining it to an 8 year old.
  • Who do you want to work with?  Be specific.  (if you need help, use our target audience Mad-libs tool.)
  • What is your company name?  Check to see if anyone else is using it and if the website name is available.
  • What are 3 problems you solve?
  • What are 3 services/products you offer?
  • What are you going to charge for your services?
  • How are you going to invoice people or collect payments?
  • What other types of businesses can you partner with?  Look for related companies. (e.g. SEOs work well with Web Developers, Massage Therapists work well with Chiropractors, Real Estate Agents work well with Mortgage Brokers.)

FIND THESE PEOPLE

  • Accountant
  • Attorney

DO THIS

  • Register the business. I registered as an LLC. (Ask your accountant)
  • Get a Tax ID number (EIN)
  • Get business cards.
  • Build a website on your own domain.
  • Get a branded email address.  No Gmail, no Yahoo, no AOL.  It should be a yourname@yourcompany.com email address.
  • Have your attorney write your agreements. If you are not an attorney, do not write your own agreements.
  • Write down all of the reasons someone would choose not to work with you. Acknowledge these objections and determine the paths around it.

NEXT

  • Go find clients/buyers.

The Entrepreneurs Guide to Supply and Demand

In the beginning, no one calls you. The supply of you is abundant, the demand is flat or non-existent.

You set your prices low and you get a client. You keep your prices low and get more clients.

Your supply of time becomes less, more people want to work with you. There is more demand for you than supply of you.

You can either add more supply by hiring, or you can raise prices to reduce demand.

Prices can only go up so much before you price yourself out of getting the work, and you can only hire when your revenue is high enough to support it.

You must understand this dynamic in order to grow beyond a one-person shop.

*Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive economics class, it is a lesson in how supply and demand will matter to an entrepreneur building a service business from scratch.

The Taste Of Success

Success often tastes sweet, the flavor lingers on your palate, and once you’ve had a taste, you hunger for more.

The taste of grit and determination is the only thing that can prepare you for the sweet taste of success; the sweetness is amplified by the harsh and bitter taste that preceded it.

What’s unfortunate, is that many companies water down the sweet taste of success for their people. They don’t reward enough, and they remove the meaning from the work.  The grit isn’t bitter, but bland.  The success isn’t sweet enough to delight the palate and overwhelm the senses, but instead tastes artificial and empty.

As my company enters the next stage and our team grows, I want everyone to taste true success, to revel in the meaning and purpose of what they do, and to understand what it means to accomplish something that requires them to dig deep.

As an educator, I am not giving my students the answer and I am not trying to convince them that they should want to learn.  Instead, I am giving them the tools to learn for themselves as it is done in the real world.  By the end of the class, they should feel a greater sense of accomplishment than in any other class.  That’s the goal.

We need more people who play the game hungry, looking for their next taste of true success.  With both my company and my class, I am trying to build those people.

 

The Levels of Ambition

Ambition is an internal desire to accomplish something with the understanding that it will take hard work and determination.

You could be satisfied after accomplishing that thing you wanted to do. That’s one level.

But true ambition never ends as every accomplishment is a stepping stone to another challenge.

Winning tactics

What does it mean to win, and what is the way to get there?

One tactic to achieve what you want in life is to be a bulldozer.  Go into situations, establish yourself as the alpha and get what you want.

By contrast, you could be vulnerable and deeply connect with another person. This can help you develop closer relationships, build trust, and establish a strong network. A strong network and strong bonds of trust can help you go very far in life.

The more conscious you are about what tactics are effective, the more conscious you must be of how those tactics work, and the question naturally arises about integrity.

  • If you know that being vulnerable and open is effective, does that make it any less genuine?
  • If you understand how people’s brains are inclined to work, and use that knowledge to gain what you want, is that wrong?

Perhaps the secret is that there is some middle ground.  Somewhere that you can be yourself, be grounded, be open, be vulnerable, yet still understand how to get what you want, all while keeping the other person smiling.  Maybe it’s less about winning than it is creating win-win situations?  

Just a thought. 

Educated

For virtually my entire educational career, I was a B student.

In less than two weeks, I will begin teaching a course at Drexel University.

So as you can imagine I’ve been thinking a lot about how to structure my course using methods that I hope mirror real world experiences.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I, a lifetime B student, have been given the opportunity to educate others. I wondered if some of my teachers had been B students, or C students…some of them may have even done worse in school. But then I began to wonder if it even matters?

What I’ve learned is due in large part to the work I’ve done outside of school instead of the expensive curriculum of my undergraduate and graduate degrees.  Most of what has helped  me succeed in my business is the result of 5-10 books that I’ve read, several hundred blogs and podcasts that I’ve consumed, and all of the writing I’ve done.  My sales experience isn’t a product of schooling, but rather real world lessons in persuasion, and books I chose to read about influence.

Education isn’t school.  Education is what happens when someone decides to learn.  Few teachers will be able to educate a closed mind, or one unwilling to learn.

For my course, I’m going to focus much less on being a teacher, and instead try to inspire my students to want to learn, and give them the tools to do so.

Climbing rocks

I went rock climbing last week…it was my first time.

Aside from being “amazing” because it unleashes my inner desire to be Spider-Man, I think the experience of rock climbing very closely mirrors being an entrepreneur.

You look up (or out) and see the goal, in this case the top.

You see the path to get there, and as time goes on, you get better at reading the course.

You begin to climb and inevitably, if you are truly pushing yourself, you arrive at a point where you don’t quite know what to do.  You worry about slipping and falling all the way back to the bottom.  But you know you just need to take the next step, get to the next stage of the course.

You keep pushing and eventually, you get to the top.  You’ve succeeded.  And as you slowly lower yourself back to the start, you begin thinking about the next challenge, the bigger wall, the smaller grips, the courses that require more skill.

The exhilaration of getting to the top is incredible.  The small wins along the way up feel great.  It’s challenging and rewarding.

I still always worry about slipping and falling in my business.  Unlike rock climbing, there is no one there holding the rope, making sure I don’t hit the ground.

So much like rock climbing, it’s a matter of taking a deep breath, reading the terrain and making the next move.

When are you going to get a REAL job?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this horribly condescending statement.

Whether you are a freelancer or someone that has chosen to start a business, you will undoubtedly encounter those that suggest you stop your foolish pursuits and go get a “real job.”

They will say this, and seemingly without the slightest awareness of how infuriating it is to those of us that have CHOSEN this path. They somehow don’t seem to grasp that it implies that we are not REALLY working.  Do I have a “fake job?”

When will the stigma stop?

I work just as hard, if not harder, than many people with “real jobs.” So do tons of other freelancers and entrepreneurs around this country.  Why?  Because our lives depend on it.  We don’t get the comfort of a regular paycheck, we must hunt to eat.  But, we also have a freedom that those with a “real job” may never understand.

The probability of me finding a “real job” that is as rewarding as my building my own company are somewhere near ZERO.

It has been estimated that 40% of the entire workforce in this country will be freelancers and individuals that work for themselves by the year 2020.

I’m not advocating that everyone quit their job and become freelancers.

I’m not saying it’s an us-versus-them situation.

All I’m saying is that if you are part of the traditional workforce please don’t imply that those of us that are building our own company, or working as a freelancer don’t have “real jobs.”  It’s insulting.

#ItIsARealJob

Recharge

I love writing here.

I know a lot of you love reading these posts.

I’m taking a week off to recharge my creative batteries. I need a few nights of absent-minded television, or curling up on the couch with my dog to read a book.

I’ll be back next week.