As a serial entrepreneur now with more than 18 start-ups under my belt, there are a few things that the school of hard knocks has taught me that I would like to pass along to you today so that you might shorten your own learning curve because that’s what a a good entrepreneur really does… learns quickly, solves problems and try to shorten their learning curve..
But there are several really big mistake I’ve made, through my own stupidity & fear, that I see other entrepreneurs making, that if you can overcome you can quickly accelerate your journey to success.
These mistakes are so obvious that they stands out like a hot pink pair of neon shorts at a conservative country club pool, especially in America.
What are those mistakes?
Mistake Number 1: The “Self Reliant, I know everything, I don’t need help Attitude”
Now how do I know that?
Well let me share with you a chapter from my own life that I believe is the reason why it happened to me.
It began when I was very young. In retrospect I had the entrepreneurial bent from the beginning. It seemed my brother and I were always coming up with ideas and inventions. My parents however, not being entrepreneurial in nature, were not able to see this inclination and harness it in a way that would have properly developed the gift. Instead we were left to fend for ourselves with no guidance what so ever on how to take an idea from inception to market. So sadly most of the ideas fell by the way side.
But that did not deter me from coming up with new ideas. Eventually I started to figure out how to take an idea from inception to bring it to the market place.
My very first product was when I was living in Lake Tahoe. I had stumbled upon these really neat tooth pick ideas of rolling wet toothpicks in Hot Cinnamon and then spray them with water and roll them again and again. When you sucked on them your mouth was pleasantly delighted. I would make several dozen of these in my mom’s kitchen pack them up and bring them to school where I would sell them for $.25/piece. This was before selling Raffle tickets door to door was taking flight. From painting street curbs to lemon-aid stands I seemed to look for ways to build a business. But…
I really wish some one would have come along side and said “Hey Roger I see your passion and what you are trying to do, why don’t you let me help you and give you some advice and guide you along the process?”
As a result I had to figure everything out on my own. That unfortunately created some very bad habits of being “Self-Reliant”. Now don’t get me wrong here… that’s not to say that we must be disciplined and persistent at things, and some times we have to rely on ourselves, but when we rely solely on ourselves, we actually end up hurting ourselves and others as we fail to benefit from the wisdom of those wise sages who have gone before us.
There has been an entire industry that has blossomed around this concept called “DIY” or “Do It Your Self” and the really sad part of it is that many who have used this approach have worn it as a badge of honor and promoted it as “The American Way”
This, my friend, is one of our greatest down falls in my opinion because, first of all America was built on the idea of loving your neighbor and sacrificing ourselves for the benefit of others. This idea of helping your fellow neighbor when they needed some salt, or helping them to build a barn, established a feeling of community and love and created a bond.. Today instead, with out going to far off track here, we lock our doors and hardly ever speak to our neighbors. Many are sitting around craving connection and instead bury themselves in their technology trying to connect through tweets, Face Book and the myriad of other ways online, but if we are honest we must say it falls very short. But that is another post.
Take Away Lesson # 1: Don’t try and DIY.
Reach out to those who have gone on before you and enroll their help. If you have to pay them, DO IT. It will shorten your learning curve, task out the things that some one else really can do better, and allow you to reach your destination much faster.
Think of it this way.
Would you like to invest $1200 and just get on a plane, with people who know how to fly well and fly to Hawaii for two weeks of bliss, or spend 6 months and $12,000 studying and practicing how to fly an airplane yourself and then finally fly to Hawaii?
I think you get the idea. Yeah it may be cool to say you learned how to fly a teeny tiny plane. But I’d rather invest the $1200 get to Hawaii and invest the other $10,800 in a business building seminar, so I could learn how to keep my next million so eventually I could purchase my own Lear jet.
2) My second mistake was not breaking through the emotional price barrier soon enough. Realize that we all have a financial barrier we are accustomed to based on how long we have been at the income we currently make. One of my mentors Larry Thompson taught me that we can normally just imagine making twice our income. So If you make say $48,000 a year, it’s pretty hard for you to shell out $3,500 on a workshop or website.
I would seek help and find that my emotional comfort zone concerning money was not set high enough. I would find some one who could help for $1500 and back then that was a lot of money. My thought was “I can’t afford it”. Well I learned the hard way again that “I could not afford NOT TO.” Understand that by not investing you slow your growth, miss opportunities you could have taken advantage of if you were ready, and allow your competitors to leap frog you because you were basically afraid to step out.
My break through came when I invested $3500 in my first Internet Marketing weekend. It was a guy name Matt Bacak and he invited me to his office for three days, Friday to Sunday and revealed the secrets to putting your website on steroids. That year my $3500 investment turned into $120,000. That $120,000 was then rolled into another program and that put us into making $45,500 a week. That is not a typo. Forty Five Thousand Five Hundred Dollars a week.
Not a bad return I’m sure you would agree.
Mistake Number Two can be called… Operating in the poverty mentality.
So many entrepreneurs I come across are boot strapping their dream because, one, they are not asking for help and two, they limit funds and because their funds are limited they are terrified to spend that money. So they try and get everything they can for free. That my friend is the Poverty Mentality!
Instead…dig down deep and rely on that dormant courage and faith to invest seriously in your business.
Yes you want to use your money wisely and barter where you can, but there seems to be this poverty mentality where people are afraid to let go of their cash and do everything them-selves. In reality they are being a cheap miser.
Think it through…that kind of thinking is actually hurting all of us. Because, you see, when you pay some one to help you, you are empowering them to do a good job for you. It saves you time, shortens your path to success, and actually saves you money in the long run!
When you try and get the cheapest price you end up hurting both you and them because they now don’t have the resources to help you and you don’t get the quality work you and your business deserve. It’s your baby…doesn’t she deserve the best?
Does that mean you find the most expensive person?
Of course not.
We all know plenty of people who got ripped off paying way too high a price. Sure there are many out there who promote they can help, and many are scam artists, but the really good people know what they are doing. Pay them what they are worth. As a matter of fact…
If you want to stand out, when you have found the right person to help you and they tell you what the investment will be, offer them a little bit more.
WHAT! I can just hear you scream.
Let me share a secret with you.
That approach will not only show them that you both appreciate them and value their time and talents, it will also cause them to put in a little more elbow grease to make sure your project is done extra well because they realize that you are the kind of client they want to do business with again and again. So they won’t want to let you down. That was something my mentor Jim Rohn taught me. He used to say sophisticated people don’t take a chance on poor service so they give something over and above what is expected. When you “TIP” “To Insure Promptness” those people will hover over you and take really good care of you. So apply that principle to business….
Take away lesson #2: Invest Seriously in Your Business ~ Pay for the
expertise you need.
It may take a little more faith and courage, and you may want to do your due diligence before forking over serious cash. But once you know that the knowledge you need is locked away in a person or service, drum up the courage and stretch your emotional money comfort zone and invest in getting the help.
My third and final mistake cost me millions of dollars.
What was that mistake?
Trying to get things perfect before getting going. I would work tirelessly on a project trying to get it to be just right. Get the right website image, the perfect packaging, video and the whole deal. What eventually happened was back in 2006/7 a well known marketer, I won’t say who, saw my template online as I was testing it and took the ideas from my sales letter and crafted a program and ran with it. While I was trying to get it perfect he created a report and modeled our exact process and made $7 Million Dollars with that idea. Had I moved quicker it would have been me who had earned that $7,000,000.
So Take Away Lesson #3: “It’s Better To Get Started Than To Get It Right” ~ Mike Litman!
You learn more through failure than through success. You’ll get valuable feed back from the market place if you just get it out their quickly. Even with the quirks in your program. When the competition comes out with version number 1 you’ll be on version number 10.7
So get off the pot and get going. Stop trying to get it right, perfect, just get it going and learn along the way.
Some final food for thought….
There seems to be a growing trend online which I am pleased to see where people are helping others. Like Danny Iny for example at Fire PoleMarketing. He took a tremendous step of faith and launched out to help other entrepreneurs learn one of the many missing links to how a business works.
At No Charge!
But it blossomed out to where the students he helped, then did like wise and reached out to some non-profits that were selected and helped them. And it’s not stopping there. He has created a movement that this article is all about.
I see way to many entrepreneurs taking the long road to make their dream come to pass and ignore all the people who can truly help them. Especially in America because they have this “I can do it myself mentality” Truth be told. No person is an “island unto themselves.” It takes lots of people to help you get to where you are going even when you think you have done it yourself.
So the overall take away here is humble yourself and enroll the help of others. Pay them if you have to. AND GET GOING TODAY!!!
Now Danny did not ask me to do this so this is from my heart.
I’ve spent the better part of 20 years building businesses. I’ve traveled the world and seen thousands of people from all kinds of contents and have become really good at reading people.
Danny is one of the few people on line that we have come to trust. He cares, knows his stuff, and gives way more than he get’s. That’s one of the reasons we have invited him to be one of our trusted advisers in The Entrepreneurs Pit Stop.
He can help you with what he knows so don’t be afraid and don’t be a cheap you know what.
Pay him to help you and shorten your learning curve.
You won’t regret it!
That’s it for today so remember to always “Fly Right”
Upward & Onward;