27 April 2013 ~ 3 Comments

You don’t have to be the best…

There’s always a lot of pressure to make the best product.  To be better then your competition, to have the best service, the  best price, the best design, the best support.. the list goes on and on… Although while I do agree you should strive to have the best support, all that other stuff doesn’t matter.

First of all, and most obvious – best, is subjective.

What you think is the best, someone else may think is the worst. What you hate, someone else will love, so throw that whole idea of ‘best’ out the window.  If you are trying to be better at what you think is the best, you will never reach it.  You can’t beat the best by doing what the best is doing.  If you do what other people are doing, the most you can expect is to catch up to them, but never pass.

The key is, they are the best at doing what they do.  You will not be the best at doing what someone else is doing, the only way to be the best, is to be your best.

People for some reason are lead to believe that we are competing with each other  when really we are only competing with ourselves.

Being the best at what you do, isn’t doing what someone else is doing, but better.

Being the best at what you do, is to be the best at what you do.

 

Take those ideas and run with them.  When it’s something nobody else has done, don’t be scared – this is your time to make an impact.

I see it all around me – one person finds success with something, then six months later every other person is doing it.  Most of them wondering why it’s not making much of an impact.

The problem is you put yourself into competition with them.. now you are competing with someone, to be them.  You will never be them, so why are you doing what they do?

The key here is to just go for it – if you think no one will accept it, then you are in the right track – if you find yourself with an unprecedented idea – then here is your chance to make a change.

 

People don’t care about the “best”  product, they care about it being YOUR best product.

Your customers have found you and use your business because it is YOUR business.  Not because it’s the best, because it isn’t.

You need to be you, your business needs to be your business, you need to do what you do.  Running your business after someone else’s, or letting them seed you with ideas, is a recipe for failure.

The only way to succeed, is to be yourself, and do your business your way.

And if you’re lucky.. your way will fail 16 times in a row.  🙂

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08 October 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Hidden Opportunities

There are a lot of times when something you consider devastating happens to your life, but at the risk of being overly-cliche; every cloud has a silver lining.  Whenever I have a friend who loses their job or experiences some other type of major life event, generally perceived negatively, I congratulate them.  When you are faced with adverse conditions, you are being given a giant opportunity to succeed.

 As most of you know I worked at Walmart for several years, the idea was to work there while going to college, and then to get a job in my field.  I was doing freelance web design and development since the age of around 14 when I was first approached by a comic book writer to do a website for him, once he discovered my age he backed out of the deal, but it planted a huge seed.  Up until that point the Internet was merely a tool for entertainment and of expression.  I had not, at that point, even began to comprehend that it could become a profitable path, as it was mostly just for fun.  It became very clear at that point, that it is what I wanted to do, discovering I could get paid for something I enjoy was like a huge lightbulb lit up in my head.
After High School, I went into College studying Multimedia Design & Production and a need for income became immediately clear.  I had a friend at the time that worked at Walmart and was in with the higher up people in the company, so when he came to me saying he could fairly easily get me a job there, I of course accepted, realizing I needed to get a car and didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in my parents house.  I began working part time while going to school.  I won’t bore you with the details of my career at Walmart, but the pay slowly and steadily increased, I was eventually offered a full time position, and then ultimately a position as a Department Manager.  At this point I was working my ass off to complete school and work full time at this company.  I had bought myself a new car, moved in with some friends, I saw my long term goals closing in, and it seemed like this was an effective route, my initial dreams of making money using the internet began to fade away into nothing.
In the Winter of 2009 amidst an Economic Collapse, the company began to drastically cut staffing, the workload was ever increasing, while the pay remained the same.  Eventually, like half of the current employees, I was let go from the company.  At the time this was devastating to me, I felt completely lost and hopeless with nowhere to go.  I still had relatively large car payments, rent, and lots of credit card debt I had accumulated throughout this time.  It was a very hard time for me, as to be expected. After I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, I tightened my laces and went back out there, I hustled and pushed, but with hundreds and thousands of other people also having recently lost their jobs as our economy collapsed, there were literally no jobs to be had, and the ones there were had literally hundreds of applicants.  When I finally did get a job offer it was only a very part time position, and it was back at the bottom of the ladder I had worked so many years to climb.  It became clear that this path was not going to work.
I had already established my business throughout the course of this, although it was highly neglected I still had clients every so often when I had the time between the long hours of work.  I realized that no one was going to create an opportunity for me.  It was a difficult lesson to learn but it changed my life forever.  I had learned the hard lesson that I need to make what I do a success, because no one is going to do it for me.  I began to push as hard as I could and put my whole life into what seemed like just a dream when I was a younger man.
It was a lot of tough work, but my client list began to slowly grow, as did my income.  At this point I was living back in my parents house because I was unable to make rent, but my business was growing.  During the course of 2010 I launched a couple of websites, I’m almost embarrassed to mention them because they were both really, really bad.  However despite my opinion of them, the sites began to develope some significant growth, and created an opportunity for me to expand my abilities in design and marketing, a field I hadn’t paid much attention to in the 6 years I worked at Walmart.  I was able to teach myself a lot of the advanced PHP and mySQL programming I needed to know to reach and exceed the goals I had set for myself.  I launched my first Traffic Exchange in November of 2010, and although it started slow, I had the support of the entire Traffic Exchange Industry.  In December of 2010, another life changing event hit.
Late one night in Late December, I was driving my car, it was my Birthday actually, and went on an overpass and hit a patch of ice.  My car then slid down the freeway at 50 MPH into the back of a stopped cop car.  Thankfully there were no injuries, but my car was demolished.
The insurance company quickly noted it was totaled, and gave me a check for the value of my car.  Again this was rough, I had the car within a year of being paid off, and now I had to start the process all over again.  I made a decision at this point to use the money I received from Insurance to buy a car out-right instead of a new one causing me years of payments, I bought a nicer used car.
Because of this lack of car payments and my growing success, I was able to dig myself completely out of debt in 2011, and ended the year with huge growth of my business, and a complete removal of my debt.  In 2012 I was able to get my own place, by myself.  Now in 2012 I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, I cut the landlord a check for 6 months of rent, completely furnished my new home, and am driving in a luxury car, with no payments, with no debt to my name.
Would this have happened if I hadn’t lost my job?  Absolutely not.  Losing my Job was quite literally the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  I went from working 50 hours a week, completely overworked and very, very unhappy.  I went form living in a two bedroom apartment with three people so we could make rent, freezing all winter cause none of us wanted to pay the high electric bill of turning on the unit’s ceiling heat.  I went from working my ass off, barely getting by – to the owner of a six-figure business that has grown exponentially for over 30 months straight.
I went from working my life away in the 9 to 5 rat race, struggling, accumulating debt, miserable and unhappy, to the most successful, happy, and free I have ever felt in my life, all because a giant corporation decided my wage was no longer worth paying.
When I lost my job, I was devestated, I thought I would never be able to go on – but in reality it opened up the biggest door for me I have had the good fortune to walk through.  When I totalled my car, I thought I was doomed, but it allowed me an opportunity, and allowed me to get entirely out of debt.   These sort of drastic life changes at first seem like horribly negative situations, but created an environment of motivation and opportunity to allow me to flourish with my dreams.
If you ask anyone in a 9 to 5 working environment what their dream job was growing up, none of them will say it is what they are doing now.  You will find a huge majority of people have traded their passion for stability, and none of them will tell you they would quit their stable job for a chance to experiment and try something new. I am included in that, I was miserable, very unhappy, every day I walked out of that store exhausted and questioning if it was even work pursuing, but I would see my car in the parking lot and be reminded of the debt and why I worked so hard there every day.  I was fooled into thinking that my “career” was freeing me from financial burdens, when actually it was the chain holding me to them.
The long winded point I am trying to make here is when you have an experience in life where you feel it is devastating, and you feel lost and don’t know what to do, you’ve lost your job, or your car, or your house – you have to turn it around and use it as motivation to drive you to do what you really want to do.  No one will quit their job to pursue their dreams, so losing your job is the biggest opportunity and motivator you have to achieve it.  Behind every point of struggle and pain in life, it is only disguising a lesson and an opportunity, but it is up to you to decide to take it.  If you lose your job, it is an opportunity to go for that dream job you’ve always wanted, or to start your own.  When you lose your car, it is an opportunity to get that car you’ve always wanted, or to cut your costs and put the money somewhere it is needed more.  When you lose your house, it is an opportunity to push towards that dream home you’ve always wanted.  You never would have quit your job to persue it, you never would have sold your car to get out of debt, you never would have moved out of your home to find something better (weather it be a better home, or a less expensive one for financial relief).  These things that happen in our lives our the biggest opportunities we have for success, so don’t sit there and feel sorry for yourself  letting the hidden opportunity pass you by.  Find the opportunity hidden in your failures and the difficult times in your life, because it is these things that define us as people, and define your success.

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