The hard thing isn’t usually what you think it is. In the entrepreneurial journey there are a lot of emotions, life gets down right shitty some days. There is hope though. You’re on a journey only the greatest minds of our world start out on. A journey that most won’t try make. The journey of a true entrepreneur is plagued with disappointment, triumph, and even more let down. As long as you stay a little more positive than those negative thoughts you’re going to come out the other side a winner.
When you’re in it, it sucks. There’s no way to describe it. It’s a necessary evil, without the years of failure there is no learning, and no learning means no company.
What is the struggle?
Something every entrepreneur human being goes through. The longer you can last, the further you will go. A lot of people don’t last. The Struggle eats them up, destroys their soul, and all they’re left with is a scared, hurtful attitude towards anything outside of what is expected. Protectionism sets in the status quo is the only way of doing things.
Why do we have to struggle?
Simple, the universe doesn’t give you anything for free. Nothing in life is easy. The more you struggle, the better the reward.
There’s a famous quote from Bill Gates “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”. You have to struggle, there’s no easy way about it. You have to go through the bad to appreciate the good.
How long has the struggle been around?
The struggle has been around since the dawn of civilization. Our ancestors went through it. Anyone who has done anything worth talking about has been through it. Anyone who has that crease near the corner of the eye, you know the one, the one that lets you know they’ve been through a lot.
When we’re in the struggle our minds are our greatest enemy. We tell ourselves lies, we’re delusional, we create a reality in our heads that’s just not true. Humans are amazing at finding every possible way a plan can fail. We find every loophole that might come back to bite us in the ass. In this horrible state of mind we never look for the positive horizon with the attitude of it gets better. No instead we try to warn our subconscious with these thoughts, it’s a defence mechanism sounding the alarm bells.
We had a really intense discussion in our office the other day and the question was asked, what do you do when you have a bad day? (Other than play that catchy Daniel Powter song by the same name)
We had varied answers but what was interesting was that everyone could relate, everyone has bad days. No one is immune from bad days, EVERYONE has them. Everybody.So to figure out what to do about a bad day seems like something we all should talk about.
“No matter what business you’re in, to thrive you must fight the presumption that you know your customer.”
As soon as you claim to “know your ideal customer” you’ve lost. You no longer try to impress, you develop a standard operating procedure, you try and stream line your operation at the detriment of your customer. Always, always, ALWAYS ask for feedback and never shut down a customer from speaking their mind, even if you disagree. The fact that you are willing to open yourself up to feedback it a step ahead of everyone else.
John Cleese’s advice is so perfect for creatives, “if you do something a bit original nobody gets it at the start”. You can’t be discouraged when someone doesn’t like your new idea. They just don’t get it yet.
I used to have the wallpaper on my computer of a Seth Godin quote: “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame and even dangerously bad ideas.”.
No one understands an original idea in it’s first form, that’s why you shouldn’t get discouraged when people don’t like your ideas. The trick is to keep coming up with ideas, that way, when someone doesn’t like one of your ideas that’s just fine, tomorrow you’ll come up with another and the day after that another. As long as you keep creating, keep trying, and keep pushing yourself to get to that “one” person to say, “I get it”, you’ll be just fine. It’s that endless pursuit that makes it fun isn’t it?
How The Golden Rule Applies To Your Social Media Strategy
Common sense is not so common when it comes to social media.“Businesses act too much like businesses online” – Conrad Hewitt
Conrad shares with us why he thinks a lot of companies get it wrong with it comes to social media and their online marketing presence. Running accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram he sees it all right now and from the sounds of it he’s not happy! It’s easy to sound professional and to echo “business jargon”, it’s hard to create a personality that people come to like and trust.
It’s hard to argue against developing a personality online with so many local examples (@ReginaPolice, @KiltedBroker, @Eric_Dillon, @BradWall, @Nenshi). All these folks don’t exactly “follow the rules” when it comes to social and their fans absolutely adore it. Don’t take yourself (or your business) to seriously online.
With the amount of options we all have to buy what you are selling from someone else, you have to figure out a way to cut through the clutter. Being different is now the safest thing your brand can be.
This week on #InTheLab I get to talk to Kirstin from Wiegers Financial & Benefits. I’ve talked about them lots over the past year. They do things differently, they aren’t afraid to zag in a market of a lot of zigging going on. They do things like “Wiegers Care For Kids” which this past year raised $225,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. They have a very dedicated staff, they seem like a high level sports team. They just click.
I asked Kirstin about culture in the video above and what it’s like working at Wiegers in beautiful Saskatoon.
It’s a “Work hard, play hard” mentality around the Wiegers office
“It’s really hard here some days”, Kirstin says, “it’s a demanding job and you work a lot some days but that’s what makes the fun days so worth it.” They’re a very busy financial and benefits firm that has been doing business in Saskatchewan for over 20 years. Started by Cliff and Deb Wiegers, they’ve built the company from the ground up. It’s truly a Saskatchewan entrepreneurial story.
Start a social committee
Scavenger hunts, dress-up days, office valentines, potlucks, and BBQs just to name a few. The Social Committee collects a fee from every employee (approximately $24 per year) and with it they plan themed days that get the team outside the office and outside their comfort zones!
Unapologetically have fun at work
I thought for sure they would have some pushback from employees who may not think a scavenger hunt is a “professional thing to do” for a business like Wiegers. But Kirstin said everyone loves to be a part of a “fun” office. It allows people to get along outside of the workplace walls, where you can really get to know someone.
We all need balance in life
If you expect unbelievable results from your employees you better be able to provide unbelievable culture. All these little “perks” add up to create a career It’s a lot easier to try and over-deliver at work for a company that cares about you and is willing to The heavy workloads are followed up with lots of training opportunities and of course all the different team building days they host.
The best employers understand what their team values
I think all organizations can learn something from Wiegers. They aren’t the “norm”, they are anything but boring, they care about company culture. If you expect people to perform at a high level day in, day out, you better be prepared to treat them at a high level.
For the cost of $24 per year, the staff pay into a fund that creates the coolest team building experiences possible.
***Side note about teams. I can relate. Every year a Volleyball team of mine doesn’t do so well, it 9/10 is because they didn’t get along good enough. A team that doesn’t get along off the court will never get along on the court. I discovered it the hard way. Don’t make my mistake, make sure your team gets along before playoffs start!
It’s bothered me for a while now. I give people my business card or a lottery ticket, they smile and the first thing they say is, “Oh we can’t be goofy like that!!” Well no $!%& Sherlock!! I don’t expect you to outright copy what we do, it’s the thought that matters. It’s the intention of being a little bit different in a lot of little ways.
The first thing I tell my class when teaching is that I’m only good at two things, baking chocolate chip cookies (I’m really good at it) and getting excited about Volleyball, as in coaching or helping a team. Everything else I’m not that good at. When you really think about it, no one is amazing at a lot of things. I mean some people just seem to be really good in several areas of their life. But when you find someone who’s amazing at something, usually they lack in many other areas of their life. And when I say “lack” I don’t mean we’re bad at those things, we just haven’t had the practice we need. I feel a lot of people need to have the power of being “smarter” than others, be it ego, self esteem or lack there of. Anyone in a leadership role (coach, teacher, professor, manager, boss) should never deliberately act smarter than anyone else. This comes out in correcting others, arguing, overtly disagreeing, putting others down, and generally being a know it all. Don’t be that person in life. No one likes a know it all.
The Oxford Philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote the now famous essay, The Fox and the Hedgehog. The Fox knows many things but the Hedgehog only knows one important thing. It’s an analogy that works for many different life situations. Psychologist Phillip Tetlock studied the political predictions of two different types of expert speculators, foxes and hedgehogs. Throughout the 20th century Hedgehogs were more likely to get prime time television slots on Fox political hour(they made the big bold predictions) but Foxes seems to be right far more often in their predictions. An anomaly in political predictions, the more press you get, the more you think you’re right.
“I am not very good at a lot of things.” -Jeph Maystruck
I like to look at the Fox and the Hedgehog in regards to my life. I was never the Jack of all trades growing up. I didn’t fix things around the house, I wasn’t overly helpful when things broke. I still don’t fix things around the house, I just not a fox. This amuses my family. I don’t change my own oil or winter tires. They usually bug me about it. Not any more!!
I say not any more because of what happened the other weekend. I bring my car over to my parents place and my family is going to help put on my winter tires. We get half way done when two tires won’t come off the vehicle. We literally tried and tried to no avail. I went home with two winter tires on and two summer tires. The next day I had to explain to the folks at Quicklane why I had two tires changed out already! ha! I told my family they can’t make fun of me for not wanting to be “handy”. I trust experts to do what they do best. Long live the hedgehogs.
You can get great at many things but you’re much better off to focus your attention on one thing and try to be the best in the world at it.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s critically acclaimed David and Goliath he starts the book off with an interesting story about the Biblical account of the famous underdog parable “David vs Goliath”. In class Gladwell style, he completely changes your mind about what had happened many, many years ago. Several factors contributed to the odds not being against David but were actually in his favour.