Get One

Passionate idea people are beautiful. The dreams and the excitement are contagious. And most of those dreams and visions go nowhere.

We can see the big end goal, the helping of thousands of underserved people. There's an image of our firm with people all across the world, or our software platform linking thousands of buyers and sellers, or shipping 1,000 units per month of our new cool gadget.

But what stands between the grand vision and today's current reality? More often than not it's one customer that's not your mother or your friend.

Once one customer comes in the door and they are delighted, a second and third come along. Now you've started a real entity. Money is coming in, money is going out, and most importantly people are being served.

You may be losing money every month, and that's OK. When you know how to find people that want your thing and people to pay for it (those that pay and those that use are not always the same), you can work out the details later.

For any of this to happen requires a first revenue generating user. Then a second and a third until a sustainable financial model is developed.

All of this is to say that we need to walk before we can run. Our vision may be helping thousands per year. To help thousands, someone has to be first, and second, and third...

There is simply no getting around this paradigm. To have something big, you have to start with a first user. To become an adult, you have to start as a child.

Can you get one user for your thing? If you can, do it and put all the rest of the noise on hold. The other issues will be there when you get back.

Anger for Greater Good

Anger can be a great motivator. When anger turns into action, change happens.

When we organize a boycott, write an article,  bring together a roundtable discussion, mentor someone, help a neighbor, participate in a business or non-profit that aligns with our mission, or any of the hundreds of other activities we can do; that is when we see the benefits of anger.

What does not help is getting angry and just complaining. Complaining is bad for the soul and repels the very people you want to engage.

Every action plants a seed in the forest of greater good. The more plants, the greater the size of the forest. Our systems encourage the planting of bad seeds. Fight the tide by planting more good seeds than bad and eventually the forest of greater good will overtake the forest of doing evil.

Anger can be a great motivator. But anger without action breeds discontent and ill health. When enough of us turn anger into greater good action is when the tide changes.



How to Make Selling Easy

Stand for Something

When we stand for something, features (beyond the minimum requirements) become irrelevant.

The hardest part about selling is building trust. Stand for something; then you'll have the confidence of those in your camp. They'll buy from you because they like you and genuinely want to support your commitment.

When we stand for something in public, we speak for those that feel unheard and this builds engagement no advertising or PR can offer.


How Fear Invalidated Months of Work

A client recently sought council on some very specific features and benefits of a product under design. Finally, after some prodding, she agreed that what she needed to do was speak directly with prospects instead of spending money on a consultant (sometimes we need to fire customers to help them).

But she was frightened to talk with target prospects and spent several more months making guesses at design and copy. Her product eventually launched but by the time she got to sales and profits she was burned out and hated the process. Her family life and career had suffered. All because she was scared to ask her prospects a few simple questions.

In the end, what makes your project or product successful is getting someone to pay for it and be happy they did so after use.

So before building something, talk to the people you plan on selling to and make sure it's something they want to buy.

In startup circles, this is called Customer Development, and it's critical to launching successfully.




* No relationship, affiliate or otherwise, exists with those linked in this post.

Just in Time Learning vs. Just in Case Learning

Entrepreneurs and especially wantrapreneurs are addicted to learning. When classes and books are consumed because the knowledge will be valuable "someday," it's just-in-case learning.

Courses taken that we execute on and produce right away are just-in-time learning. We learn and do simultaneously.

The problem is just-in-case learning can become counter-productive.

There is nothing wrong with learning purely for the love of learning. It's a great gift.

However, if the idea is to start and grow something, every minute spent reading and taking in new information, if not used immediately, is a waste of the most precious resource, time. When starting out time needs to be spent producing.

Producing can be creating leads, setting up systems, creating content or otherwise doing work that gets us closer to revenue generating activities.

If you're about to start a new training ask yourself if this is something you can implement right away. If it's not, but you still want to do it because you'll enjoy the experience, then, by all means, do the training.

But know that when you're doing just-in-case learning, put it in the fun and entertainment bucket because listening to videos is leisure.

Doing exercises and sharing the results (just-in-time training) is work. And it's work that propels starting something great.


Your Million Dollar Race Horse

What if you had a million dollar race horse? Would you feed it mediocre food? Would you let it skip random exercise days? Would you let it oversleep and then get drunk a few times a week? Of course, you wouldn't.

Do you let yourself do these things?

Why do we treat ourselves so much worse than we treat pets or possessions?




* Thanks to "Evolved Enterprise" by Yanik Silver for the inspiration.

How to Get Lucky

Ask successful entrepreneurs about their story and the conversation almost always comes to a point when the business owner says "I was at the Widgets International conference and got lucky, I met Big Influencer." While the event may have felt like luck, lots of things had to happen before that moment to leverage the happenstance meeting into something bigger.

The chance meeting turned into something bigger because the entrepreneur had already put in the work. She built her website, had blog posts up and things being sold or given away. It wasn't perfect, but it let Big Influencer know that she had been getting stuff done and not just thinking and dreaming.

Then she spent the money and time to go to the conference where Big Influencer was hanging out.

That "lucky" encounter at the conference was not coincidental. By putting in the work first, then spending time going to the show, connecting with Big Influencer was just a matter of time.

The "chance encounter" will grow into something bigger when we have our work to show as fertilizer for the relationship.