I have been in business for myself since 1993. I am what you would call not-quite a Keeper of Wisdom. But I’ve sure been round the block a time or two. But, I made up for it by trying a lot of smart things and a lot of dumb things. Would you like to know what worked?
First, let start with what didn’t work so you do not waste you time and give up on your dreams to own your own business like I almost did. #1 lesson, Never, no matter how hard it gets, and it will get hard, really hard, and people will tell you to just go back and get a real job, never give up on your dreams. When you do you fire yourself! Master that and you are 3/4 of the way home.
Here are the dumb things that I did in the order of their occurrence:
1) Started my business with barely enough to live on
You see many times when you start a business, you do it because you are really good at doing something in the corporate or the non-profit worlds. There really is not other option to come from, unless you are royalty or a dictator in the World today. I guess you could start from just being you too, come to think of it.
One thing is for certain, you have to be able to learn. You do not have to be smart
( God knows I am not)but you have to be extremely intelligent, meaning you know how to, and you love to learn. I guess that is, lesson #2.
But you have to learn and do, and learn and do and test, test, test, That is the real world of marketing and sales for that matter. Learning without action is a hobby.
I decided I was having so much success at sales, marketing, and advertising my educational programs at a World Renown Institution. Actually it was two. The first, was the Cranbrook Institute of Science. The second, was the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL. and now that I think about it, it was Three, World Renown Non-profit Institutions that I cut my business teeth on. I worked at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago to in the early years.
I was fortunate, and I am very grateful for the business foundation I got in these three institutions. Prior to that I was on a National Tour, traveling the country, my science show in a trunk in the back of my $2,000 Citation, as Mr. Wizard’s Assistant. I’d go around the country, blowing stuff up and explaining the science behind it in Elementary and Jr. High Schools. It was there, that I learned to “work an audience” of up to 800 people.
That tour took me to Cranbrook Institute of Science, and they said if you ever want a job, stop by. I guess they liked my science show when I was on tour.
Before that, fresh out of college, with a Bachelors in Science, in a Pre-gradutae/PreMed curriculum degree, I ended up in the #2 Cancer Research Center at the time. Long story short, I did not work out in that job, as my hands are way to big to be a bench, research scientist my dream job! It was a cool job, and I learned how to clone human fibroblasts. I will always be grateful for that experience,
I will be most grateful til the day I die fro my business foundation training in PR, Advertising and Marketing, because that is where I ran my first business that grossed $250,000( at the time I thought I was all that and a bag of Doritos) I son hot the glass ceiling there. Even though I had networked my way into co-founding a national photography and video competition, that had three other large aquariums as partners, they could not pay me any more salary because people horizontal than me would never make any more. But it was there that I spoke in front of my first audience of 5,000 people. I recommend the experience for everyone!
Lesson #3 Become a good public speaker
Lesson #4 always be setting higher goals that is how you grow
Lesson #5 Get out there and talk to people, you never know what it will lead to.
So I took my leap from there, right into the open arms of The Museum of Science and Industry. Long story short, that experience, was a step backward, and forward at the same time( that is a series in itself) that landed me wanting to start my own business. I had been successful in the Non-profit world how different could it be? I was good in business! LOL
Wow! When I look back at how naive I was…..it is lucky I am alive today to talk about it.
You see ladies and gentleman…being in business for yourself is a competitive Jungle. That’s what my Dad used to say. I think he got pretty jaded early on. It is a dog eat dog jungle, when you start out, you have no idea what you just got yourself into, can any of you relate to that feeling?
Actually, for me I was completely clueless. So I had to learn to sell and market without any training, by the sweat of my brow, by using my street smarts, which I had very few of, and by the luck of running into a good friend that kind of showed me the ropes by example. Ed Graziano, of Corporate Event Interactive, Ed and Linda( my friend his wife, she introduced me to Ed) if you are reading this We (Stephanie and I a whole other chapter to be written 🙂 Love that woman!) will forever be your friends, and I am forever grateful for you helping me start my business by running yours. You were great mentors.
Lesson # 6 Get a mentor I’ve had about 5 in my life.
The typical scenario goes something like this:
1) You are disgruntled at your job because you are making your boss look slow, and they always would apologize as you were leaving them. “I should have let you do it your way Right?”
2) So, You believe yourself to be an “expert” YOU think at something…what it is doesn’t matter…YOU are going to start your own business.
3) Because now you have to sell what you do to???????????????????
What no one just called and wanted to give you money? Really, what is wrong with them?
4) Oh, yeah, YOU are in business…did you ever take a business class? Oops!
5) OK, how hard can it be?
6) YOU have a nice office, with a computer, well you rented all that. You are set up in business, but you have no idea how to advertise. You have no idea, how to use marketing to make yourself an authority in your subject so people will search you out. You have no idea about networking with professionals and getting quality introductions and never getting on the phone yourself, unless you are consulting with paying clients.
7) Oops there is that other thing you forgot. You have to get paid for your expertise or you are not going to be able to pay the rent or mortgage on the office or your home
I actually shared an office with a friend of a friend who had a friend sharing the office. It was the size of a small kitchen about 700 square feet. There I learned how to sell. One the phone 50-140 calls a day, sometimes 200. Working as a gun-for-hire at barely enough to pay the rent and eat.
Then the recession, and make money opportunities too numerous to go into here(we’ll save that for a later post)
8) got out of that recession alive, OK back to building a business. OK, how do I go about doing that again?
Have you ever gone to a meeting with a prospect and get pitched a MLM business opportunity? Have you ever decided to go to that opportunity training meeting only to be taken to the apartment of his prospect who 5 minutes into the meeting( mind you, you are being trained in this MLM opportunity) the prospect decides that you must leave or she is going to call the cops!
Or, how about being used by corporate giants to get their agenda done, because you are good at meeting people of influence in society.
Or, Have you had your affiliate sales stolen?
Or, Have you gotten your friends, your dear, sweet friends into a lotion and potion deal only to have them try the products and you are embarrassed with the results?
Have you ever gone into a real estate meeting, pushed, by a mentor that you paid good money too, only to find out that you would have to take advantage of a couple that just went through heart surgery, and needed to have this money from the sale of their home to pay their medical bills…soon you realize there is no win woin like the slick salesman told you that saturday morning you attended the seminar.
Eventually the stress and strain of the fact that you are making no money, makes you go get another job, at night, bouncing( that is a whole series in itself), or since you own your business, you trick yourself into saying that working as an Independent contractor is really a business. The term was Corporate Carnie…..Oh the shame.
You were the guy or gal that was in the Library in College until 12Midnight every night while your friends were at the bar, that got you a 3.49/4.0, You tutored future doctors, (that made it into Med School) on Organic Chemistry, and you got a top 2% in the Nation Score on your ACS National Organic Chemistry exam, and here you are heloing college kids use an inflatable obstacle course, or helping a corporate sales team play team building games.
When do we get to talk about your business? You my point is, in business you do whatever it takes to make money under your umbrella of a business, until you learn how to sell, market and advertise well enough to get back to your core business.
Oh, yeah… How did I get to be helping executives in board rooms, and work on fund raising and sponsorship campaigns? How did I recruit professional marketing executives to be alliances with me an be my agents working on deals that topped out at $30,000,000…..I have no idea, I learned that everyone is important regardless of who you talk to in life. Each person knows people, huge people that have influence in society. I learned how to network. And i did a ton of it. I also learned to protect people of influence from the scavengers.
(by now you know I was talking about my story and yours) all business is the same. You either make money doing what you are good at, that provides value or you are literally out on the street.
You need to learn how to sell. Period
You need to learn how to sell in a complex selling situation unless you sell goods.
You need to learn how to market, to craft your message.
You need to learn how to advertise!
Don’t get overwhelmed! Remember, You are great at something, or you wouldn’t be in business.
In my networking and personal development path I ran into a group of remarkable marketers, sales people, and just good people. They are definitely Thinking out of the Box type people, but I would put their marketing campaigns up against the top agency’s I network with in their Internet marketing niche, which pretty much took over advertising and marketing in the agency world, so they are great marketers.
Now the title is Waves of Customers…That is why you came to this article or blog post and sorry for the disjointed writing style…not my forte’
So I am sitting in Orlando, FL listening to multi-million dollar marketers speak and it is what they talked about that will bring you waves of customers to your business….Here are the topics talked about today. The true secrets to marketing. real marketing, the kind that Fortune 1000 companies pay 24 million dollars for results like these gentleman do!
1) You have to change how you think to be in business
2) Be Yourself, don’t try to be something you are not because you will not be able to make your messages congruent and confused people do not buy.
3) Live in the Now…Be Successful Now not when you make it!
4) Comittment to never giving up until you get the results you want
6) Being a Quiet Giant, while everyone else is loud.
7) asking questions that resonate with your target market
8) Doing what you say you are going to do when you listen to the conversation in your head.
All topics that will help you get more customers in your business.
If you need to learn more about complex, multi-million dollar sales strategy go to my mentors the Samurai Business Group, ask to speak to Dan Kreuzer or Robert Lambert. They saved my life…literally.
If you just want to get more people to your website through Internet marketing and get on the first page of google with your message the multi-million dollar marketers that are out in the field every day getting results, that have sold over 70,000,000 dollars in marketing education for business owners is called Empower Network. Click the buttons to the side or go here to see what this is all about
This is just the beginning of my story as it relates to you getting more customers in your business. Stay tuned to further posts.
Thank You for reading…I believe you can be great in business. You are in the right place at the right time.