Becoming a better entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are insane, they take huge risks, put everything on the line – all for the sake of doing what they love – starting and building companies. To be an entrepreneur you have to be confident and know what it takes to make it happen – I love saying that! You can’t let anything stand in your way of getting things done…nothing.

And, these same traits that are necessary to be a great entrepreneur might also be holding you back from becoming even more than you thought you could be.

Let’s take a look at what might be holding you back and see what we can do to push you to be better.

You

You need to wake up each morning and look seriously in the mirror. The one who is going to hold you back is you. The first person you need to learn to lead is yourself. And, if you can’t lead yourself, how do you expect to cast vision and lead a team. You can’t. Look in the mirror every morning and get yourself in check.

A level entrepreneurs attract an A level team

If you think you are the shining star and you don’t need anyone else, then you suck. You deserve to have you ass beat and thrown out into the streets. Great entrepreneurs know that they need to surround themselves with the best and brightest team. The better the team the better the outcome.

Over the years I’ve built both A level teams and B and C level teams. Let’s just say the B and C level teams taught me a very valuable lesson: take the time to hire the best and don’t settle for anything less.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

A mentor use to tell me to always keep a high level of communication. He use to ream my ass everyday about communication to the point I finally learned. He beat it into me and I am so thankful he did.

If you want to piss people off, fail to communicate with them. This is no different at home with your wife or your kids. You need to communicate. Let your people know what’s going on, both good and bad – I’ve learned this lesson too.

Invest in creating a culture that communicates well and rewards for it too.

Built a family not just a team

Stop looking at your team as people who just make you money. Look at your team as if they were family. Care for them, love on them – not physically, and do what you can to always be there for them – that is what family does.

Always be understanding, put yourself in their shoes, and do what you can to help them pursue their goals and dreams. It’s not just a team that you should be building, you should be building a family.

——-

How about you? 

What can you do to be a better entrepreneur?

 

Winning requires failure

I know that I’ve talked allot about failure lately, but it is just so real and awesome! People who are afraid to fail don’t end up doing much with their lives. God built us to fail. And God built is to fall. We just have to keep getting back up and thriving everyday to win.

If you think failure isn’t part of winning in life then you are more than a failure, you are an idiot.

Wait a minute, who is this guy saying that failure is awesome. How can failure be seen as awesome? If you honestly have to ask that question, you are not fit for what it takes to win. Winning requires failure.

If I offended you, I’m not sorry. You need to keep your job, play it safe, and do what you do best…working for someone else. There is nothing wrong with that. Not everyone is built to push the envelope to the point of literally breaking bones – back in my racing days, if you hadn’t broken a bone you got weird looks like, “You are a racer, no way, shut up!”.

If you’ve decided to keep reading this and you’re not totally pissed off, let’s be honest about something. Failure is brutal and more often than not, it hurts like hell. Some of the worst pain you’ve ever felt. Sometimes it’s even so bad that it takes you to your knees crying and weeping like a little baby – I’ve been there. Not because of physical pain, but more because of mental and emotional pain. It’s cool to man up and cry….I won’t judge you.

In my racing days we used to have a saying, “If you’re not falling down, you’re not going fast”. It’s true. This meant that if you were playing it safe and not pushing the envelope then you probably weren’t winning races. You were losing races. See, the guys and girls who gave it all they had and took changes won the races. And, the races they didn’t win, they went down hard, got back up, and kept riding.

Winning is hard, failing is hard, but it’s just what has to happen if you want to win. You can’t be afraid to push the envelope and get a little nuts. Yeah, you will fail and it will hurt like hell. Just get back up, learn from it, and move on.

In my racing days, I took some bad crashes where I broke bones, messed up organs, and busted up my face. But, it never stopped me from getting right back on the bike and having a good time.

Take some chances, push the envelope, get nuts, and do it now before you end up living some boring ass life.

Have a great week friends!

 

Writing is hard business

He dropped out of college. He was a cook, salesman, diplomatist and a farmer. The guy knew absolutely nothing about marketing, and not a lick of copy writing experience. He was unemployed at 38 when he tried to get an adverting agency to hire him.

Image Credit: Ogilvy on Advertising

No American agency would hire this guy, and then, a London agency picked him up and gave him a chance. Three years later, he became the most famous copywriter in the world, and in due course built the tenth biggest agency in the world.

Who am I talking about? One of the most respected and sought after wizards in the advertising industry, british-born David Ogilvy. In 1948 he started what would eventually be Ogilvy & Mather, a Manhattan-based advertising agency that has since been responsible for some of the worlds most recognized ad campaigns.

So, what makes a guy like this put out some of the best work in the world? It’s not what you would think. Read the letter below written by Ogilvy in 1955 to a Mr. Ray Calt to find out.

April 19, 1955

Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.

2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.

3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.

4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.

5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every concievable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.

6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.

7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.

9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.

10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.

11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)

12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.

Altogether it is a slow and laborious business. I understand that some copywriters have much greater facility.

Yours sincerely,

D.O.

(Source: The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners

Face it, your idea sucks, and it’s time to move on

I have a message for you: Face it, your idea sucks, and it’s time to move on.

Stop placing ideas in the same class as relationships. Relationships are things that are built to last forever, ideas, they just come and go.

If you’re holding onto your idea to tightly, and it’s serious failing, it’s time to let it go. It’s time to move on and put it behind you – the facts are right there. Get over it. The idea probably wasn’t that cool anyways.

See, things like relationships and marriages you stick out forever. No matter what, you stick them out. Yes, the good times, the bad times, and all the time. You make a commitment and you fight to stay together – thick and thin baby.

Ideas on the other hand, you don’t stick them out. If an idea is failing, you bag it and move onto a new idea.

Don’t let your fear of moving on hold you back from pursuing a new idea. You will find another idea and it will be way sexier than the last one. If it was your first one, that’s cool, just remember it that way. Learn from  it, figure out what you can do better, and get pumped up about the next idea!

Please, for your own sake, don’t sit there any longer weeping like a damn baby. Get over it and move on.

——

How about you?

Do you have trouble moving on with new ideas?

 

San Diego startup community is making it happen

Friday, I attended an event put on by Brant Cooper and the startup community in San Diego. Brant Cooper helps startups get started – they need it sometimes. He is also the author of the popular lean startup book “The Entrepreneurs Guide to Customer Development.” Give him a Google, he is writer, speaker, consultant, and all around cool guy.

David Cohen, the founder and CEO of TechStars was in the house talking about their accelerator program and what it takes to grow a localized startup/tech scene. The event was packed and very well received.

It was cool to see all the people sharing their ideas, their companies, and their efforts/hard work to continue building the startup community. I tell you what, this is a community you need to watch – something is taking shape and fast.

Heading into the event I had no expectation other than to hear David speak and to see what the startup scene was like in San Diego. I was blown away after just being there a few minutes. I wasn’t expecting it, honestly.

After the talk by David Cohen, Brant had organized FREE beer at a pub on campus at UCSD. Yes, free beer! That topped it off for me. Great event, great people, and free beer. I’m sold!

Talking with the different entrepreneurs, you got a sense that everyone is not out for themselves and what you can do for them, but what can they do to support the overall effort of building the community. You don’t see this very often, so it was enlightening. That is what it takes – people supporting people to grow and get things done.

Lets just say this, people are fired up and they’re putting in the work to make a killer startup community happen. Let’s support them.

Keep it up San Diego! And, thanks for the warm welcome and free beer! You rock!