I was drinking an espresso, which Seth Godin had made using his very expensive and fancy espresso machine.
It was 2002, and I was sitting in Seth’s office with a small group of entrepreneurs.
We were discussing the future of marketing, and our individual marketing challenges.
“I’m in the radio business,” I said to Seth. “What advice do you have for me?”
Seth didn’t even miss a beat.
A lot of people are worried about this Friday, December 21, 2012.
Some are even excited about it.
Many believe that December 21 is the day the world will end. This idea is fueled by speculations about the Mayan Calendar.
Why is it important for you to follow your heart, and pursue your dream – your destiny – of being an entrepreneur?
Why does it matter if you start your business, or hang out your shingle as freelancer?
It’s because the desires of your heart are placed within you by your Creator.
I recently attended a Mastermind Meeting at the headquarters of Inc. Magazine in New York City.
What impressed me most about this meeting was the level of sharing that took place.
But before I go any further, it’s probably worth defining what a “Mastermind Meeting” really is.
The term “Mastermind” was popularized by Napoleon Hill, who wrote the book, Think and Grow Rich. In Hill’s own words, a Mastermind meeting is: ”The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
So what is with the weird terminology? Nothing weird. Hill says…
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”
In other words, two heads are better than one.
As these overachieving entrepreneurs came together in Inc. Magazine’s boardroom, each person shared for 15 minutes or so. We all brought our best distinctions about creating membership sites and online communities.
As far as I could tell, no one held anything back. I was impressed by their generosity, their commitment to giving their very best, and the level at which they are each playing the game.
I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my new friends, many of whom I met for the very first time at this gathering.
I’m preparing for a last-minute trip to New York City.
I was invited to a high-level mastermind meeting with some of the nation’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs, at the Inc. Magazine boardroom.
I’m filled with excitement.
There was a time in my life when such a meeting would have filled me with anxiety.
I am a positive person.
I always believe and have faith for the best possible outcomes, that I am guided by God in everything that I do, and protected from my mistakes when I’m not listening to Him carefully.
That being said, I also believe God gives us wisdom for dealing with practical matters in our lives.
When it comes to our business, I believe we should believe for the best, and plan for the worst. I call this “positive pessimism”.
What does this look like for information marketers?
It means we should set up our companies so that we can still make money even in the worst of circumstances. This translates to:
- Making certain your margins are high.
- Keeping your costs as low as possible.
- Always planning for very low response rates.
Planning for poor results allows us to build in safety nets, so that even if our campaigns don’t work the way we hope, we can still be profitable.
This is much better than the way most people plan their businesses: planning for the best, and counting on it in order to make the bills.
Question for you: What do you think of the idea of positive pessimism?
When you have a hot idea, act on it as soon as possible.
Get an inspiration for a new ad campaign? Get that campaign launched today.
Have an idea for a new book? Start writing before the sun sets tonight.
The point is, the longer you wait between inspired idea and efficient execution, the less likely you will ever complete or accomplish your great idea.
The faster you can act on an idea, the more likely it is that you will complete it — and profit from it.
The reverse is also true.
Question for you: What is your “speed to process” ratio? Do you act quickly on your ideas? Or do you collect them in a notebook, hoping you’ll do them “some day/later”? How is that working out for you?
Most entrepreneurs like to think of themselves as pioneers. Trailblazers. Adventurers.
It’s a very romantic image, isn’t it?
There’s only one problem: in the Americas, the pioneers were the ones found along the trail with arrows in their back.
If you are committed to being a pioneer, you are also committed to receiving the arrows.
If you don’t want that kind of risk, it might be best to let other people be pioneers, and for you to follow after they’ve taken the risks, and done the dangerous work. You might be happier as a “settler”.
This is not an indictment of your character. For instance, you’re not being a pioneer if you become an accountant. Or even a CEO. But both can be very profitable and honorable career choices.
On the other hand, staking your future on an uncertain technology startup is pioneering. We love to hear the success stories – the “outliers”. What we typically don’t hear about is the hundreds of thousands of people who go off on the pioneering trail, never to return.
So you have to ask yourself: arrows, or no arrows?
Question: Are you more of a pioneer, or a “settler”?
Today is Independence Day in the United States.
July 4th is the day we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
By signing that document, our Founding Fathers threw off the yoke of bondage and declared our freedom as a nation.
The declaration was bold. Brave.
And it required backing up.
Whether you think the economy is killing your business or you think the economy is supporting your business, you’re right.
The destiny of your business is, with very rare exception, not determined by the economy.
So what determines the destiny of your business?
Your beliefs about the destiny of your businesss.
Think with me.
Your beliefs are nothing more (or less) than a feeling of certainty about a particular thing.
Whatever you are certain about, you act on.
What you act on determines your outcome.
To change the outcomes you are experiencing (in business or anything else), change your beliefs.
At the very least, examine them carefully.
If your beliefs are not supporting you… why would you cling to them?
You beat the economy by not believing you are its victim.