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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!

podcasting trends

CJ Ripka on the History, Future, and Trends of Podcasting – It’s Raw and Real! (AoL 077)

Podcasts are one of the most used ways to get your message out there. Whether it’s for fun, you’re syndicating as a radio show, or you’re using it to deliver content for your business, podcasts are gaining popularity all the time.

For me, I’ve been listening to them since 2010 and producing them since 2013.

However, today’s guest, has a heck of a lot more experience in this world than I do. In fact, he’s been around the media a good part of his life.

In this chat with Chris (aka CJ Ripka on his podcast Raw and Real), I wanted to find out more about the medium itself.

Where it came from, why it’s called a podcast, ways people are being successful with it today, and some of the things he believes are in the not too distant future for the medium.

As usual, I also find out how he got the wealth of knowledge he has. If you have similar interests and you love podcast tech, then hopefully it will shed some light on what your next steps might be!

As always, thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • When did Chris get into media production? 5:48
  • Where did the interest come from in working with media? 8:30
  • How did he start with podcasting? 12:16
  • What’s his thoughts in there being different perspectives in how podcasting production should be done? 13:48
  • Where the term podcasting come from? 17:10
  • Who are some of the early podcasters that are still around? 21:30
  • Why Chris believes that some of the niches that exist in podcasting are going to dissolve soon. 25:15
  • What are some things that any podcaster should think about and/or consider when they want to tweak their show? 27:56
  • What are some ways to build a larger audience? 31:54
  • Who is one of the more memorable guests that Chris has had on his live stream show, Raw and Real? 33:02
  • What’s going on in the rest of 2017 for Chris? 35:06
  • Who are three influencers who have helped him get where he is? 37:20
  • What is the hardest thing that he’s ever had to say no to? 39:55
  • What would be something you’d find in Chris’ edition of the Creative Entrepreneur’s Handbook? 40:28
  • What advice does he often hear adults giving to children that he calls bs on? 41:21
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 42:12
  • … 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:

Raw and Real Episode 3 with Dr. Rob Garcia:

Current Facebook Live Format interview with Rob:

Chris is Interview by Dennis Langlais of the Five Minute Bark Podcast

Finding Your Place After the Military Interview:

how old is podcasting
where did the name podcast come from?
nothing happens over night
national guard production engineer

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!

How to Grow Your Network and Start Setting Up Meetings TODAY

Networking is vital to building your reach as a creator. Whether you’re starting a nonprofit, a business, or just wanting to build awareness of whatever else you might be doing, you’re going to have grow your network.

In this post, I’m going to share with you how you can start meeting like minded people today. This is the first step in building key relationships to help expand your community, audience, and/or business.

 

Get Started Locally

Many people in business are used to going to networking meetings in their local area. BNI, Toastmasters, and the Rotary are just a clubs you can meet other business owners. The great part about these particular clubs is that they’re everywhere.

There are a couple of places where you start looking for groups with similar interests to yours: meetup.com & eventbrite.com. The events that you might find might not be down the street, but they’ll be worth the drive.

For example, when I was first getting my feet wet when it came to entrepreneurship here in Indy, I would go to 3+ meetings a month where entrepreneurs could get together and discuss the newest and coolest things.

After a while, what I came to find out, especially here in Indy, was that I would tend to see the same people each week.

That’s great if what you’re looking to do is build solid foundational relationships. In fact, you might need to start there. However, after a while, the same people can only help you get your reach so far.

You need to keep meeting new people.

When you start feeling the itch to expand, it’s time to change things up.

 

Getting Out Of Your Town

Going to Conventions

For most industries, the way to meet people has been to gather in places where the leaders of the industries would gather. Conventions have been a part of history for a very long time. Maybe not to the extent that they are today, but they’ve been there.

When people think of conventions, they might think of something like Comic Con or CES. (Both are two that I want to check out before too long.)

I’ve been to my fair share of conventions. When the second trilogy of the Star Wars movies was coming out, I went to a Star Wars convention here in Indy called Celebration. A couple of years later, I went to a few trade shows, and then I started going to a series of business conventions.

Going to events like these – especially to those that you have a deep interest in topics discussed there – is one of the best feelings you can feel. I’m not sure how to entirely describe the feeling, but the best way that I can describe it is like going to a toy store (Toys ‘R Us for me) when you were in middle school.

You understand what it means to be there and there’s just so much potential of what could be.

The big difference between going to a toy store and going to a convention is that when you go to a convention, there’s other people there who are like you. They might have an audience already and doing what you want to do or they might be at your same level and have a missing piece to what you’re wanting to start.

Either way, conventions are a quick way to find people that understand you, think like you, and believe in what you’re doing as a creator.

 

Social Media:

While nothing can really replace the feeling of going to a convention, you can come close to the after effects (connecting with people) if you learn how to network on social media.

There’s a reason why you can max out your friends list on Facebook at 5000 people. Facebook really doesn’t expect you to really have that many deep relationships. However, they know there will be types of people who want to have as many connections as they can. Whether that’s for business or just for the heck of it, Facebook lets you do it.

So, if you’re a business owner or some other type of creator who wants to get their work known, don’t be afraid to network on Facebook.

For the last couple of years, ever since you had to pay for your page’s posts to reach more than 5% of your audience, groups have been making a huge comeback.

Luckily for you, there’s groups of all kinds.

If you want to build relationships outside of your town, you can start today. Just open up Facebook, search for something you’re interested in, find a group that looks somewhat alive, and then add value to the conversation.

Do that upwards of 20 some times (over a month) and people will know you provide value. Keep doing it over a few months, and you might actually start getting traction in that group as being a figure who knows what they’re talking about!

grow your networkAs Claude Errera of HBO said in session 72 of the podcastIt basically comes down to showing up.

As you’re engaging in those groups, feel free to add people as friends if they seem like they’re cool. Chances are they’ll accept and you can carry the conversation on outside of the group.

 

Making It Happen

Eventually you’re going to want to meet with people in person. Whether that’s face to face or through something like Skype, you’ll need to find a time to meet up with someone that you’ve started engaging with.

 

The Traditional Method:

When you’re looking to meetup with someone you’ve met outside of the usual events or groups you engage in, you might have an idea to send them an email to meet up. You send a few back and forth and you come up with a date and time to get together.

Then, you’re probably going to record it somewhere – unless you have a really good memory.

If you’re a busy person and have lots of meetings, or just like to keep track of things in a calendar, you might use one on your phone, computer, or perhaps online. For me, I use Google calendar for just about everything these days.

It wasn’t always that way. When I had a very repetitive schedule, I had no reason to use one.

Funny enough, I only started using a calendar when I had to start booking guests to interview on my podcast.

And now, I’ll just say it’s easier to write things down in a calendar then it is to try to remember all the events I have to be at or write them down on random pieces of paper.

A quick note: Always get the person’s email that you’re booking a meeting with. That way you can invite them through Google Calendar. This acts as sort of a confirmation that you’re actually putting it in your calendar. If they weren’t already, they’ll take you more seriously this way.

 

Automate It:

Since many podcasters have guests on their show like me, they have to set recording sessions on a regular basis.

Having to send multiple emails or messages and writing down the agreed upon date can take up a fair amount of time – especially if it’s repeated over and over.

To help gain back some of that time, there have been a few tools created over the years which can make this process much easier.

  • Calendly.com If you’re a host and you have a set schedule each week, then Calendly could definitely become one of your favorite tools. All you do is connect it to your Google calendar and let it know what types and length of meetings you’re wanting to do.
    After that, it will give you a link to share with people you want to meet with. Once you give it to them, they choose a time and you don’t have to have a trail of emails. Again, pretty handy if you have a set schedule each week!

 

  • Doodle.com This tool is one of my favorites because I have co-hosts who I work into the show whenever possible. It’s a solution for for more than 2 people.
    Instead of connecting this to your calendar, you manually pick a few dates and times you’re available to meet. Then, you share a poll with the other people you’re interested in meeting with. They vote on the times that they can get together and if a time has everyone match, that’s the one you choose to get together on.

There are other tools that are very similar to Calendly and Doodle, but I haven’t used them, so I can’t readily tell you the difference. Both of these do what I want them to do when needed!

 

Action Steps

Back in 2010 when I first started on my journey, groups on Facebook (or LinkedIn for that matter) weren’t as common as they are today. There’s literally no reason why you can’t start building your network today.

Here’s a few steps for you if you haven’t been leveraging Facebook to it’s fullest potential.

  1. Clean up your profile. Make it look like it’s a run by someone who cares about how they present themselves to the world. If it’s easier to start another “professional” account, then do that instead. Make sure it’s filled out so that you appear as if you’re real.
  2. Add 5 groups that you think are in your realm of expertise.
  3. Look for conversations you can add value to and do it. Don’t force yourself onto conversation you know nothing about. 😉
  4. After a couple of days of engagement, feel free to add up to five people from the group. If they ask you about a new account (provided you made one in step 1), let them know the truth – you’re original profile is too cool for the group! 🙂

Anyhow, hope that helps you build out your network guys. Let me know if you’re struggling. Remember, the more friends you have that are building the same types of things you are, the faster you all will get to where you’re going.

 

Bonus Video on Booking Yourself Solid:

If you want to set up more potential client meetings, head on over to Fizzle and check out the course by Book Yourself Solid guru Jason Billows.

Here’s an interview of him with Paul McManus to give you a taste of what he’s about:

share your business

How to Share Your Business in a Meaningful Way

January is a month of implementation. Whether you’re beginning to work on something as common as committing to be in better physical condition or simply learning something new on a regular basis – many people commit to self-betterment in this month

Why should starting your own business be any different?

In the last two posts, we’ve looked at what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how they think differently than a typical employee. We also looked at some things that your website needs to have in order to be a functional portal for business.

So essentially, we’ve learned what it takes to run a business and we’ve discussed how to give ourselves a store front.

There’s one big thing that we need to iron down before we’ll start seeing success.

Define your new role in what you’re doing so it’s easy to tell others how you can help them.

 

The Importance of Knowing What You’re About

Until you know which direction you’re facing, you never going to arrive at your destination. Not only is that true in travel and life, but it’s also the same in business. You have to be clear on what you’re setting out to do.

You know when I was first starting out building New Inceptions, I kept asking myself what it was that I was setting out to do. Was I going to be a clone of Pat Flynn, Fizzle, or any of the other people I follow and just talk business all the time. Or should I try and do something a bit different. Something that’s a bit more personal for my audience?

 

It was hard for me to convey my thoughts and mission for the longest time in what I was doing. In fact, I changed the subtitle of New Inceptions several times in the last couple of years.

 

Journey to the New You became Empowering Renegade Work, which then ended up being Do Work That Matters.

The truth is that as I narrowed down the focus of what I was discussing, it seemed it lost a little bit more of what I was aiming to initially do.

 

Eventually, I landed on Navigation to Personal Freedom – which I think is the best all encompassing description of how I can help people.

I help people find themselves so that they can build a life which they enjoy.

 

Or, more specifically,

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.

 

I believe it’s when you get to this level of clarity that people can be like “Ah, I see how he can help me!”

Do you have this statement made for yourself? If not, keep reading…

Find Out How You Help People:

So how did I finally reach this level of clarity with how I can help people? Well, I ran across a formula that helped me locate it.

I’m going to share it with you guys in this post.

You can call it the Audience, Expertise, Benefit Formula.

And in its vanilla form, it looks 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): _____________

 

So, in my case, the formula would come out to be like this:

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.

 

Now it’s your turn, but hang on a second.

 

Back It Up with a Story:

We’ll want to add a compelling story behind why you choose the answer you’re going to choose.

Reason why? Because chances are if you’re at a networking event and people ask you why you do what you do, you’ll need it.

We, as humans, love stories. And the better the connections we make with our story to what we do, the more we’ll stand out to others.

So, for instance, in my case, it can be as simple as (here’s mine):


“Well, when I was going through school, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. For the longest time, I thought it was going to be something STEM related. So, I went to college and realized that what I thought was cool and fun at one point, was actually pretty tough for me. It was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. After I graduated, I realized how much of a mistake I had made and tried to rectify it in grad school. I soon realized that it wasn’t me that was wrong, it was the system trying to force me, that square peg, into that round hole.

So I started learning about personal and business development to turn my life around. (Because I also found out that I make a pretty lousy “Yes, sir.” employee.)

From there, people started wondering how I managed to change and I started teaching them what I had found out.”

 

Try to keep it as simple as that. It’s something you’ll want to have packaged in your mind. This will prevent you from having to spend time trying to think of it as you go.

 

Action Steps

Ok, so this week, let’s make sure we have an idea of how we can express what we do for people.

Use the formula to come up with something short and succinct. Try to be specific as possible.

If you’re struggling to fill this in, use yourself as the niche example. What you can help people with can be something that you wished you had when you were younger. If you can’t think of any benefits, then again, think of something you would have liked in that situation.

Then, give that mission some substance with a story. The more unique it is, the better. Be sure to make it something between a paragraph or two so it’s easy to remember and you can be ready to drop it on someone at any time.

Let me know below if you have any questions!