The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Teddy Roosevelt.

Not everyone is unique

This post will take you 15 minutes to fully understand. You will also have to watch 3 videos. You have been warned.

I have spent two months trying to formulate this idea I have and I am still not able to do it. Since I am at a stand still I have decided to just put what I am seeing out there and let people make what they will out of it.

Several months back I saw the video for Goyte’s song “Somebody I used To Know” for the first time. I then saw a cover version done by a group called Walk of the Earth. Then I saw a parody of that cover by the group The Key of Awesome. I was completely taken back by the progression made from one song. I could not help but feel that there was a lesson there that could be translated into business.

Goyte wrote and performed a song that got popular. It is a wonderful song and the video makes it even better. Watch it here now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY

 

The band Walk of The Earth then did an AMAZING cover of it. They took something that existed and put their own twist on it. It worked and they became pretty popular. They did not rebuild the wheel. They just took what they saw and made it their own. Watch that here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsoRSI7ei4E&feature=related

 

NEXT the comedy group The Key of Awesome did a parody of the Walk of the Earth cover version. Three versions all linked. All three are popular and made these people known to larger audiences, but they were all based in one song. Just three different visions of the same thing. Watch it here.

 

So I have spent months trying to put to words how in business you do not need to re-invent the wheel. You do not need something completely original. You just need your version of it. Do not try to be exactly like the most popular one because that NEVER works. See something and put your twist on it to make it unique and people will find it and love it if it is worthy.

So there you go. Oh, and I think I am getting sick.

Monday monday

The point of all of this is to try to let people into the real mind of what it is like to be an entrepreneur. I am writing this as much as I can to try and show both the ups and the downs.
Also I do not proofread and barely bother to spell check. Deal with it. My time has value and if you do not know what I am saying because I used to instead of too then go get a job as a proofreader.

Today is Monday and I had a rough weekend. Rough on both my body and mind. I will not go into the details but it is still all with me and it is making it hard to focus on the task at hand. The bank, the landlord, the utilities, and everyone else expecting to be paid do not care that I had a hard weekend. They do not care that my mind wants to be elsewhere right now. They do not care about any of that at all. They all expect to get paid, get calls returned, and get engaged in the conversations we dropped on Friday. So while I sit here feeling like I am failing on so many levels in my personal life I must still plow forward with getting the people on the business side the things that they depend on me for.

That is what it is like some days. You bet your ass I want to be at home right now spending time with my wife and children but I have responsibilities that keep my wife and children in a home with food inside of it. I do not get to take “mental health days” because I want to work on things. I barely am willing to take sick days unless it involves me possibly dying.
So ya…..you want to be the boss you are going to have days like this. Days where you can not call into work with some bullshit excuse as to why you can not do your job that day.  Days where you know your family hates the fact that you work so much and so often. Days where you hate the fact that you work so much and so often. Days where you do not want to talk business at all.

Still want to be the boss?

What Thursday is like

Up at the crack of 8:30 today so that I could say bye to the kids and get ready for a meeting at 10AM.
I know. You are saying “8:30 Mark? It must be nice.” I would tend to agree if I was not awake at 2AM looking at adwords and tracking clicks though. I am a night owl by nature and when you send people emails at 2AM they know you work.
Anyway, off to the meeting this morning. Meeting with the guys at DealPen for a presentation on social marketing for business. Not what you are thinking however. This was about making connections and improving communication through social media, not trying to sell your stuff.
All in all it was two hours well spent.
Have another meeting with the guys there tomorrow and before that I am meeting with Jeffery Brown who was with Apple in the 80’s as an inovation guy. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.
Plowing forward on figuring out the next steps for Otterology.com. Sounds like it will involve me creating a giant software company and forgoing sleep for the next several years. Nothing really new there.
Over the next few months I will be meeting with people on the side of the table I want to be on in 10 years.

A whole new world and I can not imagine doing anything else with my life.

Fear will cause you to hesitate and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true

Easily the most common excuse I hear when debating about taking the leap into starting their own business is fear. More so than money or even time. I call it an excuse because that is what it is. Yes it has validity. Yes there is much to lose. Yes, yes, yes. I get all the reasons for the fear.
I also understand that you can never become anything beyond common without taking chances and confronting those fears. Now lets be honest, most people are quite happy being common. There is nothing wrong with common. Wake up to that alarm buzzing at 6AM, hit the snooze. Drag yourself up at 6:15, shower, brush the pearls, and get dressed. Head down the stairs for a cup of coffee to get you going and then out of the garage and off to work. Looking forward to Fridays, paydays, and holidays. Nothing at all wrong with having that for the majority of people.

If you are reading this however I imagine you are not the majority of people.
Fear is caused by the unknown a lot of the time. That means getting to know what you are doing.
If you want to be an entrepreneur you HAVE to be able to take chances and that means fear. When you take a chance you can lose. The key, in my opinion, is to work the odds into your favor. This means several things that most people either are unwilling, unable, or just do not know to do.
1- Do your homework. Know your business. Know your competition BEFORE you start. You need to know why someone would do business with you instead of the others.

2- Know if you can make money at it. It’s all about  making money. Let’s be honest here, doing what you love is great but if you can not pay the bills you will be doing it for a very short time.

3- Living lean. When you start a business money is your life blood. That means its time to cut back. There are many things you can do to cut back. Eating out, parties, bars, cable, and the list goes on. Look at only what you NEED. 

4- Keep your job if you can. If not pick up a job you can work and still get your business going. I worked for 2 years full time before I could quit and even then I worked part time for awhile to make ends meet.

5- DON’T GET IT IF YOU DON’T NEED IT. Starting a business is not an excuse to buy more stuff. Do you need an office? Can you do it from home? Do you need a new computer?

These are just some ideas of how to minimize risk and make you feel more comfortable taking the leap. Hopefully you get something from it and if not go punch a time-clock.

Mark