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education reform

Education Reform: Why It’s Important for Creatives to Get Involved

With everything that’s been going on in the news cycle, I thought it’d be a great time to bring up the topic of education system reform. Seems this topic isn’t discussed nearly as much as it could be.

I believe that our current education system is part of the problem in both the National Socialist vs International Communist debate as well as people not seeking appropriate shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Personally, in my teens and twenties, for example, I wouldn’t have stuck around to get hit by a hurricane. And when it comes to protests, even when I felt the need to get involved with one, I would have ducked out whenever it got violent and the police showed up.

Today, in both situations, people are playing the role of victim and not taking responsibility for their own actions. They’re saying that the government needs to take more control and tell them or the other side what to do.

The question is… can you blame them? Not necessarily.

In recent years, it appears that the greater education system has practically said it’s ok to act this way. (Safe spaces anyone???)

However, I don’t believe that’s the truth. And in fact, successful people are only successful based on their own desires and efforts. They’re the ones who have put in the extra time and commitment to make their dreams come true.

Sure others help them along the way, but it’s because they made the initial effort to do more in life. Once they began on their own journey, they met people along the way who were going in the same direction.

So how can we make the world a better place? Help change how students are educated.

Changing Education for the Better

What does that even mean?

Since this post was originally published on October 14, 2010, I’ve heard of various schools doing better work with their students. Traditional schools are starting to make classes that help their students realize their full potential.

Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily the norm.

In fact, in Indiana, we still have what are called Core 40 diplomas. To many, it might be considered common sense to educate people in a well rounded manner. However, sometimes that model simply doesn’t work. Some of the individuals who are on the route to get a Core 40 diploma might have done better in a field that school can’t even touch; such as learning how to be a performing artist, an athlete, community leader, or even being a great business builder. (Personally I’m a knowledge junkie, so school was always a drug for me… except for the tests!)

Discussing Possible Solutions:

In the below RSA Animate, I wanted to share with you a video which introduced me to a guy by the name of Sir Ken Robinson. Great guy and has totally changed my perspective in why public education needs to be separated from public schooling.

It was after listening to him, that I was able to start putting two and two together. Soon after, I was re-introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk (not the Wine Library version, but instead the version we know today). If you didn’t know, Gary is completely for Education Reform (start at 12:30):

And then, I was later introduced to the School Sucks Project with Brett Veinotte. Here’s the first episode of the show from 2009. Later in the show’s life, it kinda went away from why I originally tuned in – but those first 20 or so episodes are great material.

 

Something Else to Consider

In many states, the classes that are usually cut first in public schooling are not your STEM classes. They’re not the reading, writing, or social studies classes either. For many systems, they are the “optional” classes. This includes the art, the music, and other “special” classes. You can clearly see which classes are more important to various school boards based on the classes they cut. The problem is that there are students who excel in these special classes more so than the other classes they’re in. That being the case, you can probably understand why I’ve never really been a fan of the “No Child Left Behind” act.

Generally speaking, its result has been to limit everyone’s potential to the same standardized schooling.

So why are these classes the ones normally on the chopping block? I believe it’s because many standardized tests are primarily focused on testing upon vocabulary, math, and writing. The better these test scores are in primary schooling, the better a student can perform in secondary schooling. After being in secondary school myself as a student for 9 years, I realized one main thing about learning in a “formal” secondary education: it makes you better at following orders and instructions. It makes you better suited to work a job.

 

Changing the Education System

Government isn’t the Answer:

So, I believe it’s up to us – the Creatives, the Entrepreneurs, the Rebels – whatever you want to call us – to start coming up with alternative methods of educating those around us.

The world is moving too quickly to let the old system continue to be the primary method of education. Not only that, but those who are in control of it, have no problem teaching its students that it’s ok to rely on the government to provide security.

That’s not what the government is for.

We Need to Empower People’s Individual Strengths – Not Give a One Size Fits All Solution:

In the past five years, I have become even more aware that there are other talents that could be measured for intelligence. However, for one reason or another they are not. And, in fact, the evidence is piling up.

Outside of the types that IQ measures (being linguistic verbal and logical mathematical), nine different types of intelligence have been identified.

Many private primary and secondary school systems have taken note of this as well. They have started to focus on developing intellectual leaders in different fields of intelligence. I’m convinced that making this a vital part of education is the answer to making any country, including the U.S., a player in the new economy.

However, most students still go through the traditional education curriculum that is still rated by a very narrow measure. This worries me. I find it disconcerting that many students are still being taught and measured in a way that is only useful in following directions. The problem today is that with the today’s global economy, this mindset has given us a 10% unemployment rate.

I believe the longer that this goes unchecked, the higher our future unemployment rates will go. It will be the result of an ever increasing ratio of people who should be taught to excel at their strength vs those who are mentored in their natural strengths. In other words, there will be a heck of alot more people trying to take orders than giving them.

Conclusion:

So here’s the bottom line.

It’s been 8 years since I got my masters. It’s been 5 since I haven’t taught in formal education.

I don’t believe it’s totally fair to try and pin every one down in one or two measurements of intelligence. Especially when we’re told by so many people that we need to celebrate our differences.

But funny enough, that’s what the US’s Prussian Education based system focuses on doing.

We have to help others get more creative. Period. We can’t rely on the schooling system to do it. In fact, we have to separate public education from public schooling.

Lack of creativity is hurting the US. If the US is in trouble, the rest of the world can’t be doing so hot. People still come here to get away from the crap that’s going on in their homelands.

We have to remain the the shining city on the hill.

So that being the case – I’m curious. Are you connected to public primary or secondary schooling? Have you seen any signs of a change to focus more on building students in other types of intelligence? If so, what results do you predict from that change?

how to be an entrepreneur

Learning How to be an Entrepreneur: A Review of 2 Years of Business, Podcasting, and Life with Laila Rahmatian (AoL 100)

It’s been nearly 2 years since I started this podcast. In those two years, I’ve been able to meet a ton of awesome people. Many who have been great connections that have opened me up to various ideas and new concepts. Even new ways of thinking.

The same could be said for Laila Rahmatian, who joined the show as frequent co-host after her first interview on session 14.

Since then, we’ve both had our growing pains and learning curves as we’ve climbed the entrepreneurial ladder.

In this session, we go over everything we’ve learned in the last couple of years. From taking a stand and using your past to be part of your future to not having to re-create the wheel, we’ve learned a ton!

Join us as we recap some of that information and discuss some of the common themes that we’ve learned along the way.

Thanks for spending some time with us and enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • What’s Laila been up to recently since she was last on the show? 8:53
  • How has a goal of traveling more been able to give her the power to get more accomplished? 16:15
  • Where’s JC at in business after 100 sessions of the AoL podcast? 19:14
  • Things that Laila has learned while being involved with the AoL Podcast? 34:34
  • What has JC learned through doing the podcast thus far? 44:27
  • What are common themes that we’ve heard about throughout the different interviews of the show? 52:56
  • What’s a short roadmap that new entrepreneurs should follow as they’re getting started based on what we’ve learned through 100
  • podcasts? 1:11:50
  • What are we looking forward to working on from here? 1:20:56
  • Who are three influencers that have helped Laila get to where she is today? 1:23:54
  • JC’s Top 3 favorite books to tell others about? 1:25:22
  • Something Laila still wishes was a thing? 1:26:57
  • What was the smallest decision that JC made that had the largest impact on his life? 1:29:28
  • What is something Laila thinks all high school students must know? 1:31:02
  • Most awe-inspiring person JC has ever met in person? 1:32:54
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Why Laila Quit Her Job:

Why Laila Chose NOT to take the Professional Engineer Exam:

Reflection: 2 Years After Wedding:

Why You Need the Perfect Wedding Photographer:

how to be an entrepreneur how to be an entrepreneur how to be an entrepreneur how to be an entrepreneur


Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business: 11 Tips to Get More Social on the “Professional” Platform

Ever since my interview of Mirna Bacun back in session 18, I’ve been a proponent of folks starting groups on LinkedIn if they thought that their clientele would sooner be found on there than on Facebook.

Another reason that you might want to start a group on there is that it has a few more functions than groups on Facebook have these days – including a digest of activity.

There’s other reasons, but you can find out more about that in my interview with Myr here.

In the meantime, everyone that does business online SHOULD have at least a profile on LinkedIn. You never know who’s going to run across your account – and frankly, you can share things over there just as easily as you can on Facebook.

In this post, which was originally posted back on September 30th, 2010, I went over how you can make your account easier to find for those looking to fill a position. Back then, I was still trying to get hired by a startup – so I wrote it in that perspective. Eventually, I did land a position through that old advice – but I think it’s time that this post get’s a bit of an update! – JC

What is LinkedIn, Really?

Since graduating, one thing has definitely been on my mind as I’ve been looking into professional networking: LinkedIn. To those of us not familiar with it, I’ll just say that it’s basically a Facebook for professionals. It has many features that Facebook has except without all the personal clutter that makes Facebook is known for.

Here’s a review of the new LinkedIn User Interface in 2017 by Paul Wilson to get you up to speed if you’ve never made an account on the platform before:

If you’re a professional or business owner and you DON’T have a LinkedIn account, then you might be missing out. Sure, you can make plenty of noise through having your own Facebook Group these days, but if not everyone uses Facebook for business – yet. So having an up-to-date account on LinkedIn pointing to your account on Facebook (if that’s where they can find you most often) might be the best solution.

Tips on Using LinkedIn

That being the case, here are a few things that you want to focus on when getting involved with LinkedIn:

1. Make sure you Create a 100% full Profile.

This includes getting 3 recommendations and a nice (professional) picture for yourself.

2. Use Keywords in your Profile.

For me I try to use terms related to online business development, brand development, and social media consulting. The more often you use particular keywords in your profile, the easier it is for LinkedIn’s search engine to find you. This makes it easier for others to find you if they look for that particular term.

3. Update your Profile Regularly.

Just like other social media platforms, people take interest in you if you post more frequently. One way to do this is by linking your profile to your other social media accounts. That way, whatever you post over there will be seen on LinkedIn. However, if you’re posting super personal information regularly, you might want to reconsider doing this. The best course of action is simply posting native material to LinkedIn.

4. Find and Participate in the Groups You Care About!

Just like groups on Facebook, Groups in LinkedIn can be a great place to meet liked minded individuals that can help you get to where you’re trying to get to in your career.

5. Add anyone you meet in Business and Life

Just like adding people to Facebook, don’t be afraid to ask them to be LinkedIn! Just like in Facebook, the more people you’re connected to, the better off you are in networking. Those are selective in whom they select to be part of their list aren’t doing themselves any favors. (When inviting them on LinkedIn, be sure to use a custom message.)

6. Get familiar with Browsing your Connections’ Connections.

You never know who knows the people you know. As David Anderson said, “You’re only one person away from having everything come true that you want in life.”

7. Start following particular companies that you might enjoy working with.

When you do this it will be announced to people in your network. Answering questions in groups does wonders to get you noticed as well.

8. Don’t be afraid to leave Recommendations for people.

In fact, when you leave recommendations for people – more often than not, they’ll return the favor. This makes you look hella awesome!

9.  Share What You Know

If you know something about a company such as an event or the fact that they’re hiring, let others know!

This is another way of building rapport with members of your network. What goes around, should come around!

10. Use that Search Feature!

On many websites this feature gets overlooked as it tends to be somewhat frustrating to use. Not the case at LinkedIn. Use it to find potential clients or groups that you want to work with.

11. Create Your Own Group

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, having your own group is a great way to develop a following. Myr was ahead of her time when she created her formula – so if building a following on LinkedIn is key to building your business – don’t hesitate and get educated!

Action Steps

With it’s update this past year, LinkedIn is stepping up its game. It functions more and more like Facebook, which, in general, makes it easier for people to navigate. Again, the big difference is that the audiences are completely different. Even though you can do business on Facebook, it’s still the exception and not the norm.

If you haven’t been on LinkedIn for awhile or feel you have to spend a lot of time there to make it worth your while – think again!

business partnership

A Quick Guide to Forming a Productive Business Partnership

Last week, I got the great news that AMS was finally a licensing company.

The news officially went live on the net via this post on Endurance Sportswire.

We’re licensing our Viking Dash series to a company in California known as Spectrum Sports Management. They are known for doing fun and unique runs. Viking seems like a great match for them!

That said, as a board, we didn’t jump to this decision quickly. We had a list we used to make sure we found exactly who we needed to help further this brand.

Because partnering is no easy task. It needs to be treated with care in who you’re choosing – you have to be particular with whom you’re bringing on or negotiating a contract – such as a license – with.

So in today’s post, we’ll be looking at some of the things you should consider in partnering with others in a new business venture.

 

Matching Values

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that when people are building romantic relationships, many people do so with someone they don’t share values with. I know for me, I had a list of 100 some traits and qualities I was looking for when I met and started dating Maria.

She hit on a good number of them. In retrospect, I’m pretty happy I made that list. Thanks LTD for the giving me the idea! 😉

The same thing should be done when looking for a partner in building a business. You need to have a list of qualities that you believe are important in someone who’s essentially going to be another spouse of yours in many ways. Your business is the baby in this situation.

So just like if you were dating, you need to be asking certain questions to find out if you align. However, I wouldn’t go doing it in an office – that just has interview written all over it.

No, instead I’d opt for something informal where you’re just getting to know each other. For me and Maria, we had tons of coffee “dates” where we would just chat and find out more about each other.

Same thing can be done when starting a business.

 

Ideas for Questions:

“Date” questions for a potential co-founder should get to not only find out about their character, but also their business savvy.

Here’s a few examples that I’d ask when seeing if someone lines up with your believes:

  • What do you want out of a business?
  • What do you like about this particular idea?
  • Where you see this business going?
  • Where do you see your role in 2, 3, or 5 years?
  • How do you find good employees when you’re ready for that step?
  • What are you expectations of an employee?
  • What are you expectations of me?
  • Is there anything that I should know about your family that might cause periodic issues with your ability to help with the business?
  • How do you feel about the business contributing to nonprofit or political causes?

 

Complementary Skills and Personality

When I was searching for my wife, I knew that I wanted someone that was intelligent but I also knew that this person had to have a complementary skill set.

I know there’s just some things that I have no interest in doing or am simply not good at. I was talking to Albert about this in a recent Ascension Council meeting and mentioned that there are some things that Maria does 100x better than me – or cares about things that I don’t:

  • Making the bed everyday
  • Laundry
  • Tidying up

Albert and I both prefer organized chaos – but that’s because we’re both idea guys. Our wives seem to be more of the executor types.

In a business situation, you need to be looking for this at all different levels – but it’s especially true at the cofounder level.

As John Maxwell says, “Take advantage of your strengths, and hire for your weaknesses”. Well in this case, you’re not hiring – you’re partnering! It’s going to be even more important here.

  • So if you’re broke, you need someone that has money.
  • Are you good at creating? Then you’re going to need a marketer.
  • If you’re good at design, then perhaps your partner needs to be good at writing code.
  • Are you a strong Dominant (D) personality? Then you’re going to need someone who’s supportive. Or if you’re a the Calculative (C) type, you’ll need someone who’s Imaginary (I).

Of course there’s examples out there where having two or more founders have similar skills, it’s not often the case. The more well rounded the leadership is, the better this thing is going to have!

 

Start with the End in Mind

Earlier I wanted you to make sure you asked questions that were pertaining to the future of the business. The reason for this is that if you do end up doing well with the business, then there might come a time where you’re thinking of an Exit Strategy.

The Exit Strategy needs to be in stone at the beginning. The business you and your partner(s) are building – are you going to hold onto it as a lifestyle building business? Or are you going to build it and sell the right of the business if a bidder comes along with a ton of money?

Or, perhaps another case is that you need money to keep the thing going – you consider starting to sell stocks vs “keeping it in the family”. Are either of you the type that wants the opposite of what the other wants?

This is stuff you want to consider.

 

Background Check

When Maria and I were dating, she asked me a ton of background check questions. Did I have kids? Was I a convict? Did I have chicken pox? Well… maybe not that last one – but you get the idea!

Anyway, you want to do the same for your future business partner as well.

Find out the answers to these questions:

  • Does the candidate move from project to project without getting anything done?
  • Have they ever owned a business themselves or ever been part of a successful one?
  • Have they ever had financial issues?
  • Do other people get a bad vibe from them?

 

Just remember that no one is perfect and sometimes troubled pasts make a person that much more committed to what they’re doing now with their life. Sometimes people actually learn from their mistakes. If they have had a spotted background, see what they’ve learned from it.

 

Take Them for a Test Drive!

Well, not literally, of course. But if you’ve never worked with this person before now, you need to see what they’re like with other projects.

In the dating world, you can continue to date. I know for Maria and I we just felt like we were long lost friends. Really, the only thing we ever have quarrels about are our dogkids and whether or not they were sleeping on the bed recently or not. I imagine that in the future, when we do conflict, it’ll probably be about the kids!

In business, you want to have this trial time as well – even if it’s with friends you’ve had forever.

Start a working relationship and see how things go in smaller projects. Find out if they’re as committed as you’d like. Are they flaky about time? Do they even have the same vision as you? Maybe they’re just too naive about certain things that might drive you crazy?

These issues can mount up over time and you should know about them first before you build something on a larger scale with them!

When you believe it’s time to move to the next level, make sure you get a founders’ partnership agreement. It should include things like:

 

  • The contribution and obligations to the company of each party
  • How long a party must be with the company to vest in percentages of their promised ownership
  • Whether partners can be fired or bought out and under what conditions
  • What voting percentages are required to validate any of these actions
  • Any other issues unique to the business

 

If a partner is reluctant to put something as big as this agreement in writing, then there’s a big red flag there.

I mean, it’s like going without a prenuptial agreement in a marriage after you already have a fortune. It just doesn’t make sense!

 

A Special Note About Friends as Business Partners:

One of the original people involved in AMS was recently in a lawsuit with us. Needless to say, he’s no longer considered a friend after what he did and wasting the time of all parties involved.

The thing is – you can’t predict what’s going to happen down the line.

So here’s a few tips with this.

You need to realize that if you do decide to get in business with friends, that things can potentially go south and the friendship will more than likely go that way too.

Don’t ever go into business with family or friends just because they’re family or friends. Again, make sure you take time to test them out first. Just because you know someone as a friend, doesn’t mean you know them as a business person.

If a friend screws up bad once and promises that they’ll correct their ways, you can give them a second chance – you still like them as a friend. A great way to make sure it doesn’t happen again is to draft a secondary “social” contract with them saying what they’ll do to make up for how they screwed up. Another part of that new contract needs to mention what will happen if they do screw up again. Let them help make it so they believe it’s fair punishment as well.

 

Action Steps:

If in the future you find yourself negotiating partnerships, make sure you give it some deep thought. A business is a baby and if it has multiple parents, it needs them to work together and not fight about little things all the time or one getting the short end of the stick.

When you have great partnerships from the beginning, anything is possible. However, that said, if you have to carry dead weight – then it’s going to be twice as hard.

Have you had a partnership that worked extremely well or fell apart? Have any questions or comments about this post?

Let me know below!

 

personal mission

4 Steps to Discovering Your Own Personal Mission

This past week, I had the opportunity to be a guest on Gregory Diehl’s podcast Uncomfortable Conversations with Gregory.

We talked about a number of things, but one of the key points we discussed was how so many people would be better off if they could simply put a mission in their lives.

This is a phrase I learned from speaker and author David Anderson and it’s been resonating with me ever since I watched his TEDx presentation as part of my prep for his AoL interview.

Sure I had heard of businesses having missions, but I never thought about how it could apply to individuals. Not only that, but it encapsulates basically everything we know about passion and purpose.

If a person has a mission – I feel they have these two things figured out. So it’s not necessarily about helping people find their purpose OR their passion. It’s about helping folks find the combination of the two.


Since I’ll be releasing this chat with David this week as session 92, I thought I’d touch on a bit more about the topic – and look at how someone can develop their own mission.

 

Be Aware that there is a Choice

For the longest time in my life, I had this feeling that my purpose in life was designated by forces outside of my control. I felt like I was at the mercy of the world around me.

It’s easy to believe this because the world around us is setup to make us feel like that. It’s learned helplessness.  In the podcast with Gregory, we discussed how a lot of this problem is started with our current form of academia.

It makes sense as your typical 9 to 5 needs you to be compliant to the organization at large.

(It was this mentality which let me spend so much time in a major that while it made use of my skills, wasn’t really meant for me.)

Here’s the situation – many of these traditional jobs are on the verge of disappearing due to mega automation changes in the not too distant future.

Followers are going to have problems in this next economy, if they don’t figure out their own mission.

Religion doesn’t Necessarily Help

Over this past weekend, I thought about this mission dilemma more and more. During my travels around the state, I listened to a few more podcasts of Lewis Howes. One where he interviewed Rob Bell and another with John Gray. From these conversations, I realized that some organized religions might make their believers feel this way as well.

People go to church when they need support. I think it’s a great place to start. What Lakewood Church has done, whether you agree with the doctrine, has made going to church actually kind of cool.

However, as Rob Bell talks about in his chat, Jesus was all about reaching out to those with needs – not waiting for them to come to “the temple”. Not only did he go out and try to help the people where they were, he was very interested in the viewpoints of the people he was with.

This is very interesting to me. It seems very much like how a good coach works with their clients. They go out of their way to find people to help and not tell them exactly what to do.

On the other hand, Rob also goes on to discuss how many churches seem to focus mostly on teaching those that are there – not actively seeking new membership or engaging with folks who might actually need the support.

Again, this is backing that follower mentality.

This mentality is all around us. I just want you to know that you do have a choice to break free and do what you feel is important.

(If you’re into the study of Christianity at all, you should check out both of these interviews – especially Rob’s. Several revelations were discussed that I don’t think most people know.)

 

Start Action on Your New Journey

If you do opt to start on your new journey, you actually have to take action to get moving. Just because you choose to go this different route, doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. You have to take action to do it.

For many people, including myself, this is the hardest step. Taking action.

Indirect Inspiration

For about 4 years I had an opportunity to pursue a new path – but tried to stay in the status quo for as long as I could. I had spent so much time getting my degrees, I didn’t want that time to go to waste. But slowly and surely, my new path made itself ever more present. I was just too chicken to pursue it; to step out and be different.

As I mentioned on the podcast with Gregory, it usually takes a deep pain or significant loss in one’s life to move people from the “comfortable / follow the rules” path to one where they’re setting the standard.

For me, it was the sudden loss of my mom which affected me this way. Besides myself, she was the only one at that point that I felt I had to prove that my life up to that point wasn’t a waste of time. She, herself, had put a lot of time and energy into my career – I couldn’t disappoint her.

Even if I personally felt I wasn’t a good fit for what I had been pursuing. Then when she passed, I realized that following that path didn’t really pan out for her – so I wasn’t going to make the same mistake.

 

Direct Inspiration

That said, it might need to take a more direct action to nudge us out of our current path.

Lewis had another interview with Andy Frisella. Who found, in about 30 seconds, his life’s path had completely changed. He went from being a normal guy to having a violent brush with death.

After being disfigured from a knife attack, he had to figure out how to spin his new look in a way that people would remember him positively. This completely changed who he was.

In both cases – things were suddenly and radically different. And as Andy said, you can either spend your time trying to get things back to “normal” or you can go an entirely different route.

He and I chose to go entirely new journeys on new routes.

 

Shift Your Locus of Control

Those routes were both dependent of our new circumstances. And they both came to us in a matter we didn’t have any control over. But does that mean that a bad situation has to happen to anyone who wants to control their own path?

Not necessarily.

What it does mean is that you need to shift your locus of control. Instead of letting the world guide the direction you’re going and what you’re doing, you need to decide that YOU are the one in charge of your own success.

You have to move from being a thermometer to the thermostat of your world.

 

Choose What’s Best For You

Now, as you know, I’m a huge proponent of entrepreneurship. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best course for everyone. Sure, I think anyone can do it (or be a part of it), but they need to believe they can perform in the arena themselves.

I feel, along with the other members of the New Inceptions team, that being an entrepreneur is a greatest example of someone expressing their own personal freedom when it comes to the work they do.

In a traditional 9 to 5, you’ll always have to report to a higher-up. But, at the same time, the success of the organization doesn’t solely ride on your ability to perform.

Whereas an entrepreneur, if they fail to perform and haven’t made the business passive income based, then the company is going to struggle.

So it’s really your decision on how much responsibility you want. For me, personally, I come from a family of movers and shakers, so it was fairly simple for me to make the leap once I had to make the decision.

If neither sound terribly great, you might prefer to be an intrapreneur (or something else in the middle). If you can find a company or institution which will allow to work at that capacity, it might be the best option for you. (That’s where several huge entrepreneurs started – so it’s not necessarily a one way ticket.)

 

 

Action Steps: Develop a Personal Mission Statement

Once you figure out where you want to be at and how you want to carry out your purpose, it might be helpful to develop a mission statement. That way if you need to be reminded daily or simply when times get tough what you’re working towards, you’ll have it available to remind you.

Again, be sure to check out David’s TEDx talk if you haven’t to seen it yet. And this week when session 92 is published, you’ll find out that he actually has another one on top of the one he mentioned in his talk.

Also, if you have figured out what your mission is (without or without an actual written statement), I’d love to hear it below!

 

live your dreams

How to Live Your Dreams: A Definitive Guide

Whether you call it living off your passion, living your dreams, or simply working your mission, it’s no secret that if you really want to be successful in life, you’re going to have to do what satisfies you.

Those that find that satisfaction in a traditional job (where they’re working for someone else) are increasingly becoming the minority.

A Forbes article in 2014 showed 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work. Sure, we’ve been climbing back up since 2010 – but when you look at the entire picture, we’ve been on a slide since 1987.

This said, it’s simple to understand why more and more people are opting to work for themselves. It’s the one way we can control our day to day working lives.

However, there are certain questions that come up time and time again when starting on this path.

In this guide, I’ll be looking at some of the most common concerns folks have when starting out with their first business and everything you need to get over those humps yourself.

Let’s get started.

Chapter 1: Passion is Optional – But it Helps!

There are two people that many people think of when the term passion is discussed. On one side, you have Gary Vaynerchuk, who says that if you want to stick with a business through the thick and thin, then it helps to have found your passion before you get started.

On the other hand, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame says that many of the folks that he’s talked to over the years have found out that they’re good at doing a certain job. After doing that the job for awhile, the passion follows.

For me, I’ve come to the conclusion that passion is nice to have. BUT – it’s not everything.

Find Your Mission

What is everything is an idea that David Anderson shared in his TEDx talk. He says that we need to have a mission in our life. Figuring out what this mission is for ourselves is truly how we’re going to succeed in whatever we do; we’ll make our career decisions based on that mission.

Now, to to find that mission you’ll have to put some time in and try some things out and see if you like them. You can’t just say “Oh, hey, yeah – I like to do <insert cool thing here>. You’ll really have no idea.

It’s important to go take dumb action, or what I like to call it, perform self-experimentation. You need see what you like to do, and then mold your mission around what you’ve learned from that action.

That’s really what you should be doing in the first 20+ years of your life: testing the waters. I believe that’s why many kids who have guided their own homeschooling properly are set up for success. They get to figure out what they like to do as opposed to formal education telling them.

I found a great guide to help you find your passion/mission. It’s over at Live Your Legend. Back in 2012, Scott Dinsmore (RIP, buddy) wrote about The 3 Simple (& Absolutely Required) Steps to Doing Work You Love: Live Your Legend’s Passionate Work Framework. This was one of many tools that I’ve used to find my own mission.

 

Chapter 2: How to Start a Business without a Degree?

They say that experience is the best teacher. So I make it a point to pay attention to people who have results that I want.

I’ve been doing this since college because I learned back then that there are definitely folks who teach things that they have no experience at. There were professors who taught business, even though they had never left academia. It was pure speculation or hearsay that’d they use to power their courses.

Likewise, in the rest of the world, there are people who never graduated college who are some of the best business teachers.

Recently I’ve been learning more about Russell Brunson and his Clickfunnels empire. In his new book, Expert Secrets, he wrote about how even he had the imposter syndrome early on. But now, 10 years later, he’s considered by many to be one of the big experts in online business!

Unless you’re going to start working with something that is highly specialized and regulated, then yes, you probably should get training before hand to do it. This would include some doctors, lawyers, dentists, construction, trainers, engineers, etc.

While not all of these require the same amount of education, they all should know what they’re doing before they get started.

 

Just in Time Learning

just in time learning

As a Creative, it’s important to practice Just-In-Time Learning.

Now, if you’re starting a business on something that doesn’t require previous education to get rolling, then you have the ability to be only one step ahead of the people you’re trying to serve.

In fact, when you’re getting going, that’s probably as far as you want to be. Because if you have much more, you might overload your brain with information you might not be ready for.

The way to do be only one step ahead of the folks you’re trying to serve is called Just in Time Learning. Note: You can also apply this method of learning to anything in life, not just what you’re helping clients with. If you’re looking to build a new skill, then practice it then. If you’re learning how to be more social – that’s a great time as well.

Note: If you’re interested in learning things quicker, then you should check out Jim Kwik.

His most recent interview I heard of his was with Jordan Harbinger. But he’s also been on the School of Greatness and other podcasts. If you like what you hear there, check out his show here.

 

Chapter 3: Is a Business Plan Needed?

When I was still studying at Purdue’s Burton Morgan Center, one of the things that came up again and again were business plans. In fact, it became so popular that there were business plan competitions. I’m sure there still are.

Truth be told, unless you’re partnering up with some folks, whether as co-founders, investors, or key clients, then you’re not going to need a traditional business plan.

However, what you’ll need to do is make sure you have focus and clarity in what you’re actually helping people do.

A resource I wanted to share with you guys is something our friends over at Fizzle put together.

It’s called the Business Sketch Template.

Fizzle’s Business Sketch Template

 

Business Mission Formula

Also, for the times when you need to express what you’re doing in a summary format, you can use the Business Mission Formula.

In this post, I shared a formula that goes like this:

I help X (your “niche” audience): _____________

Do/Understand Y (something you’re good at helping people with): _____________

So that they can Z (a benefit your audience would want): _____________

 

Which then, for me, I turned into:

I help aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs, artists, and experts

Discover, share, and monetize their life’s work

So that they can live a lifestyle they’re truly proud of.

Not only do you get a simple mission, but you also get an elevator pitch that you can share with others about what you actually do.

 

Wait, There’s More!

One more thing that I want to share with you guys from Fizzle is this awesome post where they shared 10 Steps to Start a Business. It’s a good follow up piece that I think you need to consider when starting your business.

Fizzle’s 10 Steps to Start a Business

 

Chapter 4: How to Know When It’s the Right Time to Start

Check out Kate Erickson’s Perspective on why you should start NOW

There is no right time. Period.

Ok, so those of you who know me, might realize that this is something that I struggled with for years. It never seemed like it was the right time until… it wasn’t.

I finally started working on New Inceptions full time when I decided to leave my post at AMS as a day to day content director.

Now in my second year of development, I’m almost 100 episodes into the AoL Podcast and have just as many (plus a few more) blog posts.

I feel that I’m finally in the creative groove – that I’m no longer experimenting.

In fact, there’s been some local opportunities that have started to pop up because of my continual focus.

That said, had I moved onto another job right after leaving AMS – or something that took up my creative time (like teaching a ridiculous subject to college kids) – then I wouldn’t be as far as I am.

If you’d like more perspective on this topic, Kate Erickson over at EoFire did a great write up of this topic.

 

 

Chapter 5: It Takes a Lot of Money to Start.

Live Off Your Passion

LYL’s Article on 6 Money Myths when Starting a Business

Actually, you couldn’t be further from the truth on this one. Some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs I know of started with nothing.

Take Dane Maxwell, known for starting The Foundation (TF), for example. The dude practically taught folks how to start businesses for free – it’s just knowing how to do presales and coming up with a really REALLY good idea for a business.

Of course getting the training from TF wasn’t cheap – but the knowledge that I got from there is practical to just about any idea out there.

There’s a post over at Live Your Legend that I thought would be of benefit to you if you’re struggling with this part as well.

In the post, Leah Hynes and Nazrin Murphie talk about 6 Myths that relate to money being a problem when it comes to living your dreams.

 

Chapter 6: How to Scale the Manpower of Your Bootstrap Business

Will It Fly book summary

Check out Pat Flynn’s Book, Will It Fly, If You want a Step By Step Procedure of Starting a Business

There are two beliefs which are very predominant in the psyche of new entrepreneurs. Either they feel they need to hire a staff right away to do what they’re doing or they feel that they have to do everything.

Here’s the thing. While you can, you don’t have to raise big money to get that business off the ground.

If you’re just starting out, you can just start out with a bootstrap business – which might be just yourself.

If this is the route you choose, then you really need to start knowing yourself well.

Who you are and what you’re capable of.

If you can make an income from providing value on your own, then scaling is going to be much easier.

So, test your idea.

Is that through being a consultant first? Then be a consultant. Perhaps it’s through being a freelancer in some other way?

Perhaps it’s through being a teacher, or one of the other 9 archetypes.

But find out if your thing, whatever it is, can actually support itself. If not, you can adjust easier as one person than you can as a “startup” with a team of people.
From there, that’s when you can start thinking about getting help as you start to scale your services.

Start Small

At first when you do get help, start small.  Starting with a VA is probably the best choice you have if you do online work.

You might be wondering, how will I know if I need help?

If feel there are two ways to know if you need help.

  • If the work that you’re doing over and over is something you could teach a high schooler to do in a week or two, then it might be time to find that high schooler.
  • If the work you’re doing doesn’t lie in your creative arena. Then that might be a sign as well.

If you answered yes to either one of these, then it might be time to think about getting some assistance.

If for some reason you don’t think that your budget would warrant bringing someone on, even as a VA, that’s ok.

Don’t forget, as someone who is running a lean business, bartering is an option. While it can be somewhat of a headache, it’s totally possible.

Or, perhaps there’s a college near you who has some students who might like to get internship experience.

Don’t overlook these other opportunities.

 

How to Not Get Superman Syndrome

For years, Pat Flynn would hire random VA’s to help him do some work here and there. But it was pretty sporadic.

After repeatedly being told by his friends that he needed to have a more permanent staff, though, he finally took the plunge and started Team Flynn.

Today, Pat is one of the biggest proponents of getting help as soon as possible. It has taken his business to the next level.

 

Chapter 7: You Don’t Have to be the Next Gary Vaynerchuk – #Anti-Hustle

Back in 2016, Gary really started making a big name for himself. His videos were everywhere. In fact, they were so well known that to many in the online entrepreneurial space, that mostly everyone thought that if they weren’t living and breathing their business all the time, then they’re not going anywhere.

Eventually, even the Fizzle Squad had to come and answer this issue:

Here’s the gist, though. If you’re not enjoying the rewards of your work, then you better LOVE the work you’re doing. Even so, there’s a thing called burnout. That’s a place you really don’t want to go – believe me.

In Gary’s case, I really believe he gets satisfaction of his 24/5 grind. It’s 24/5 because he doesn’t work on the weekends. In fact, somewhere I heard him say the reason his accounts go dark over the weekend is because that’s when he spends that time with his family.

 

Action Steps

So, there you have it. 7 different concerns that keep people from pulling the trigger all answered.

I hope that does a good job of answering them for you. If not, I’d love for you to comment below or shoot me an email.

If you don’t have any further questions, let me know which one(s) you had to deal with before you finally decided to get started.

P.S. If you want more info about starting your own business and want to get to it right away without wasting time, check out my FREE eBook, the 6 Cornerstones of a Successful Business.

Cheers!

niche strategy

Make a Living From Your Passion: Which Niche Strategy Works Best For You?

After I posted last week about niche marketing and niche product development, I had some really interesting conversations with a few people. These discussions were with some relatively new entrepreneurs.

There were several questions that came up – including one that I’m going to discuss here.

The question is “Which niche strategy do I choose?”

I think it’s an important question because I really think it depends on where someone is in life on what kind of advice you can give them.

 

Getting to Know You:

So let’s say that we were meeting up, and you asked me how you could become an entrepreneur.

I would first ask you how imperative it is that you have money right away. I’d also check to see how you felt about your sales skills.

Because, let’s face it, if you have need money yesterday, and you have great sales skills, I’m going to have a much different answer for you than if you had your finances covered for a bit and you didn’t have the best sales skills.

The next question I’d ask is about your Why. Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?

If you’re reasoning is because you feel having a job that you need to report to on a daily basis isn’t for you, then I would agree that you might need to be your own boss. If you had a compelling mission that you felt that only you could achieve – then I would definitely agree that you should start your own business that could support that mission.

 

Scenario A:

But let’s look at this a bit closer. Here are two cases that many folks might find themselves in.

I find this traits with millennials quite a bit. Especially with those straight out of school – high school or college.

Does this describe you?

  1. You need money asap.
  2. No sales skills.
  3. It’s hard for you to tolerate having a regular day job.
  4. And you don’t know what your life purpose is.

That’s totally fine to be there. I’ve been there myself.

What I’d recommend is following the niche product development method. See if there’s some industry that you would like to get involved with and help them find a solution to a big pain.

But I’d also see if you couldn’t find some online work to utilize any skills you currently have.

Now, a couple of things on this. One – don’t confuse doing odd jobs here and there as working on your figuring out what your own mission is. Being a remote worker is a form of a job. But at least this way, you have some money coming in for part time work.

Another thing –  If you opt to do online work – do it in something you have at least an interest in developing as a craft. That way you can get paid to learn something you can use in your own business.

As to where to find this work, Fiverr is a great place to start. Then, if you feel like you might want to pursue some bigger freelance work, you can move over to sites like Upwork or Thumbtack.

If freelancing isn’t your thing, there are other places where you can find online work. Here’s a good write up by Katelyn Smith over at The Remote Nomad of sites that offer longer term work.

Whether you go long term or short term, again, the reason I suggest looking for online/remote work is because you need to still be making an income. Wherever you have a computer and broadband internet access, then you can work remotely as a VA.

 

Scenario B:

Another scenario I hear about fairly often are those who have had a job for awhile, but they know they want more.

Does this describe you?

  1. You have a bit of savings (or some other runway) available to be put towards a new business.
  2. You have ok to great sales skills.
  3. You’re ok with a day job, but it still leaves a void in you.
  4. You have or haven’t found your life purpose and/or mission.

 

Well, I’d also say to use the niche product development here as well. BUT, I might suggest that this is a great time to look at MLM’s as well.

As I previously covered in the last post, this is pretty much one of the few times where you should be using niche marketing right out of the box.

The deal with an MLM or “Multi-Level Marketing” opportunity is that it takes a certain level of sales awareness to not completely alienate yourself from people you already know. If you’ve never done sales (or know how to generate leads), then your experience might end up as more a social club for you more-so than a profitable opportunity.

This is what happened to me with LTD.

I loved the knowledge I got from the group and the relationships I built, but I never came to actually bringing in more money than I put in.

This was totally my fault. I wasn’t aware at how bad I was at sales when I first started. And those folks that I tried selling the idea to at the time… well the word “manipulation” is a bit closer to describing what I was actually doing.

That said, if you don’t know if you want to commit to starting your own business from scratch, then an MLM might be the right thing to do. They’re great training and a great network.

Or, if you think you are ready to start your own business, then you could potentially weave an MLM in there as well – if it aligns with what you’re looking to do.

 

Any Scenario:

Regardless of the direction you’re wanting to go, my main suggestion is this. Don’t feel like you don’t deserve success in your life – even if you feel like you’ve wasted precious hours of your life to this point.

Dane Maxwell put it like this once:

Most of us need to deal with our personal feelings of inadequacy. The greatest killer from our research at The Foundation is people dealing with the feeling of inadequacy.

You have always been fully adequate to do what you want to do. You just need the right path. Your feelings have nothing to do with you being successful or not. You just need the right path to follow. Trust this path, NOT your feeling.

If you can cut out all the noise and focus on building your business, you will absolutely excel fast and change your life. No longer do you need to be intimidated.”

In short, we’re all our worst critics. If you can learn to control those emotions or negative gut reactions, then you’re finally giving yourself the freedom to achieve something great in your life.

 

Action Steps:

I hope this gives you a bit more insight into answering this question of which strategy to use and when.

Please note that these are only two possible scenarios. Everyone has a unique situation. My goal was to look at two separate extremes.

If you’ve already started a business, I’d love to hear from you below in how you got started. Did you start first for the money or did you rock the passion perspective?

If you need help thinking about this further, shoot us an email through the contact tab above. Let’s get this figured out!

 

BONUS:

I thought I’d share this recent favorite of the #AskGaryVee show. Gary shares lots of of parallel thoughts throughout this one!