Ask the Readers: Are You In It Alone?

questions-cardI left my day job and opened up shop as an entrepreneur 21 years ago. And, though I didn’t know it then, that was the day my father stopped understanding me.

My dad was a professor. His dad was an entrepreneur. He didn’t like his dad.

So, when I became an entrepreneur, it was the beginning of a great divide, though we didn’t see it at the time.

Sometimes, this great divide is more clear. A young woman signed up for the Audience Business Masterclass recently. She’s a very bright college student, and her parents had supported her in everything she tried to do – right up to the day she started the Audience Business Masterclass. Her parents got incredibly angry, and she was scared and hurt.

It can be a lot better than that, too.

Sometimes, being an entrepreneur runs in the family. In fact, we have three ABM students – a father, a daughter, and her husband – all in the Audience Business Masterclass, each one running his or her own business. And there are couples and partners making their businesses work, too, of course.

Is It Important to Be In It With Someone?

It matters. It hurts when we are not understood. And collaboration feels wonderful.

But it also matters for our success in business. I once asked a top expert in franchising what the key to success in managing a franchise was. With franchises, we are talking about a system where a person buys a business with location, content, marketing, and business plan all in place. And he told me, quite simply, that the number one predictor of success is whether or not one’s husband or wife really supports the effort.

So, today’s blog post is to share your experience of being in the business of starting a business – alone, or not alone.

You may be the only one running the business. Or you may be working with a friend or family member.

If You’re In It Alone:

  • Does your family or spouse (personal partner) understand?
  • Are they supportive?
  • Are they resentful or contentious about time or money?
  • Are they afraid of the uncertainty?
  • Do they just not get it?
  • Do they think you’re nuts?

If You Are With a Partner Who’s Also In It With You:

  • When is it loving and fun?
  • Do you hate each other sometimes? Do you need to get away from each other?
  • Can you separate business from personal life? How do you do that?

So, whether you’re in it alone or together, what’s that like? What works? What doesn’t? What hurts? What’s wonderful?

What’s what? ;-)

Please share your experience – your pains and pleasures of being an entrepreneur in, around, and maybe in spite of family – in the comments below. It’s a chance to vent, feel the sympathy of folks who will understand, and help one another be a bit less alone on the journey.

Do You Own Your Business, Or Does Your Business Own You?

business goalsI was talking with a business coaching client of ours a short while ago about her business goals.  Her comment to me was, “David, it feels like the business owns me.”

Can you relate?

Have you ever felt like your business owns you and not like you own your business?  It’s been my experience that a lot of business owners feel like they are trapped in the very business they started because they wanted to be in control of their business life.

If this sounds like you – if you’re struggling to own your business, instead of letting it owning you, here are four concrete suggestions to put yourself back in the driver’s seat as you build your business.
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CEI 062: Live Your Legend with Scott Dinsmore

Scott DinsmoreIf you’re stuck in a job that you don’t love, or your trying to figure out what you do love, then today’s podcast is for you.

Meet Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend. Scott is all about helping people find and do work that they’re really excited about. The work that excites you could be starting your own business or becoming an entrepreneur, but it could also mean finding the perfect position in a company or organization.

Like Steve Kamb, our guest on last week’s podcast, Scott is also very big on community. A big part of finding and doing work that you love is surrounding yourself with the people who will make it possible. Sometimes, those people can be found offline. And sometimes, you find a supportive, interesting community online – which is a big part of what makes Live Your Legend so successful.

Are you ready to delve into how to find the work that you’re excited about? If so, click play on the podcast below to tune into Danny and Scott’s conversation about finding work you love, and how to surround yourself with the right people.

Podcast run time: 24 min 35 seconds
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Entrepreneurship: The Three Little Pigs’ Lessons for Success

entrepreneurshipDo you remember the childhood fable, The Three Little Pigs?  Their mother sends them out into the world to “seek” their fortune.

Until recently, I never realized they were entrepreneurs like us, but they are!

You know the story – the first pig builds a house made of straw.

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

“No, no, no. Not by the hair on my chinny, chin-chin.”

“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

The big, bad wolf destroys the straw house. Failure!

The second little pig builds his house from sticks and the big, bad wolf demolishes that one, too. Double failure!

Both pigs escape to their third brother’s house, who built his home out of bricks. Success!

It’s here, safe at last in the third brother’s home, that the three little pigs have a chance to show of their entrepreneurship and wisdom.

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What to Do When Your Business Won’t Say “I Love You” Back

small business planRaise your hand if you’ve heard the one about it taking five years before your small business really gets up and running. Go ahead. No one’s looking.

Now raise your hand if you actually thought that each year, your business would be one-fifth of the way closer. Yep. Me too.

Some time ago, I decided to spring the “L” word on my life coaching business. I mean, we had been together forever. We’d made it through some pretty hard stuff. Plus, we were already over a year into it. So it was about time we sealed the deal.

But no sooner had I said “I love you,” when it shot me a nervous smile and ran for the door.

How could it just not be that into me?
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The Truth About Writer’s Block: Common Misconceptions, Causes, and Remedies That Actually Work

crumpled paperWhen I was 20 years old, I stopped writing, and not by choice.

It happened suddenly and without explanation (or so it seemed). I went to sleep one day full of words, ideas and creativity, and woke up the next empty.

I was stuck, paralyzed, unable to commit even a single word to the page.

I would sit at my desk, ready to tackle that paper or short story, and nothing would come. I’d freeze. I’d stare at the screen for minutes that became hours, willing my thoughts to come, my hands to move across the keyboard. Still, nothing. So I would cry, give up, and fail again the next day.

Somehow, the writer in me had tied herself into knots. I was frustrated, confused and afraid. What was wrong with me? What if I could never write another word again?

This was my writer’s block. If any of this experience sounds familiar to you – if you feel helpless and fearful in the face of your writing, if you’re unable to move forward but don’t know why – you might be suffering from the same.

The good news is, I overcame writer’s block and you can, too.
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7 Lessons Learned from A Failed Business Partnership

business partnershipDo you often feel that you need a second opinion before doing something?

Have you outlined a great business plan, but you don’t feel confident enough to do it alone?

Would you rather bring your business idea to fruition faster?

Is the workload too big for you, but you can’t outsource, because you don’t have the money?

If you answered “Yes!” to at least a few of these questions, then you might benefit from having a business partner.

I answered yes to those questions just over two years ago, when I met my business partner.

Over the last two years, I’ve learned a lot about partnerships – what works, what doesn’t – and I wanted to pass on those lessons learned. These insights will be beneficial for you if you’re thinking about forming a business partnership, or if you’re already in a partnership.
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CEI 060: Building Community with Steve Kamb

CEI60For those of you who’ve been around Firepole for any length of time, you know that we’re big on building and interacting with an audience. However, many successful online businesses are also built around communities. And, while audience and community are related, they’re not the same thing.

So what’s the difference?

Danny invited Steve Kamb onto today’s podcast to answer that very question. Steve Kamb is the founder of Nerd Fitness, a huge global community of 200,000  people centered around exercise, health, and all things geek-tastic.

Back when Steve started Nerd Fitness, he wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing. But he knew he wanted to serve nerds who wanted to get healthier, but weren’t comfortable going to the gym or “normal” fitness sites. Over the last 6 years, though, Steve transformed his audience into a community, and figured out how to turn his passion into a business as well.

Just click play on the podcast below to learn more about Steve’s story, including his biggest project to date, and how he designed the life and business that he wanted. If you have any interest in building a community in your own business, today’s episode is a must-listen!

Podcast run time: 26  min 16 seconds

Download the transcript of this podcast.
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How to Find Your Next Big Blog Post Ideas – A Primer

blog post ideas Tweet it! Content marketing is like an adventure. It is unusual, exciting and hazardous.

It’s also a minefield; not everybody can navigate it successfully.

You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: the quality of the content you publish that determines the success or failure of your content marketing campaign.

Consistently producing, publishing and marketing high quality content will help build your relationship with your audience in the form of better awareness, credibility, increased website traffic and improved conversions.

I know what you are thinking: “Coming up with interesting, knowledgeable, value-added blog post ideas time after time is a task made in hell.”

You are right. Many hard working and astute content marketers have found their well-crafted campaigns coming apart purely because of their inability to come up with content their target audience will like reading.

But somebody’s got to do it. What if that somebody is you?
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How to Grow your Business as if Google Search Never Existed

grow your businessThey say that in life there are two things that are sure things: death and taxes.

However, in my business, I’d argue that there is a third: change. Tweet it! The internet is a constantly evolving thing – and Google is a huge part of that change and evolution.

Google constantly changes its algorithms – and when it does, the tactics that websites use to direct traffic must also change. Those algorithm changes have had devastating effects, causing some sites to lose all of their directing traffic overnight.

That said, it isn’t as though Google updates come with a manual. This means that SEO strategists and website owners are constantly left scrambling in an effort to find out how to get their content in the search rankings.

After all, without those rankings, our sites aren’t found. And if they aren’t found, it’s like they don’t exist; and what good does that do? The good news is that there are ways to grow your business without relying on Google search at all.
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