A Look Inside The Launch of Daymond John’s, The Power Of Broke

Post-for-today-april-23

Over this past year, we have had the great fortune of being involved in the book launch for Daymond John’s, The Power Of Broke, which is now a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller.

In this video, Gary and I give you an inside look into what it took to not only achieve this very lofty goal of hitting The New York Times Best-Seller List, as the category we were competing in was fierce, but far surpass our expectations.

We discuss how the launch was executed, and the absolute necessity of having a team behind you who works together as one strategic unit.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

The Only Reason To Start A Business

Hustle Branding- Kind Snacks

The life of an entrepreneur is extremely challenging. You sacrifice time with your friends & your family, you are on call 24 hours a day and the risk is extremely high. You put all your time, money and effort, all your blood sweat and tears… for what?

A few weeks ago, I did an article in Forbes with David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott called The Journey To Selling A Billion KIND Bars 

The article is about Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Founder of Kind Snacks who has written an incredible book called Do The Kind Thing,  which every aspiring entrepreneur should read. Not because it is one of the most incredible entrepreneurial stories you will ever come across (which it is), but to understand the power of starting a business with a purpose.

The biggest mistake people make in my opinion is trying to start a business for the sole purpose of making money. Money is not a purpose and starting a business without a higher purpose can lead you down a very dark path. Many people (myself included) have made this tragic mistake.

In order to make it all worthwhile there is one ingredient you need that will carry you over valleys and allow you to face the daily challenges with a never give up and never give in mentality.

I encourage you to read Daniel’s book, Do The Kind Thing and find the ingredient you need to start your business and make it last.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

 

A Must-Read Book To Avoid Entrepreneur’s Burnout

Hustle Branding- Entrepreneur's Burnout Burnout

If you are a follower of Hustle Branding you are aware that Gary and I believe there should be extreme hustle in everything you do in your journey as an entrepreneur.

In today’s video, I discuss a new book that changed my perspective not on the hustle itself, but rather on how to prepare yourself to sustain the hustle. I have seen more people than I care to admit become ‘successful’ from the outside, only to wither up and die because they never took care of themselves on the inside during their journey.

We all think we are invincible (I know I did) however there will be times for all of us when life takes an unexpected turn. It is at those times that you need to have developed a very strong foundation to be able to weather whatever storm comes your way. This book helped me  understand the extreme necessity of taking care of myself from the inside-out… physically, mentally and spiritually. It also helped me re-evaluate the true meaning of why I am on the journey in the first place.

This life-changing book, And I Breathed,  was sent to me as a gift from the author, Jason Garner, the former CEO of Global music for Live Nation when he learned of an illness in my family that turned my life upside down last year. Both Jason and the magical wisdom in this book got me through some of the darkest hours in my life as I spent 4 months every day at the hospital watching someone I care about the most fighting for his life.

I encourage you to read Jason’s book, and apply the wisdom in the pages to re-gain control of what is most important to you.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

 

Daymond John’s, ‘Power of Broke’

Hustle Branding- The Power of Broke

Many people believe that the main ingredient necessary to get a business off the ground is money. In today’s video I discuss Daymond John’s new upcoming release, The Power of Broke which offers incredible insight into the the hidden power that entrepreneurs have at their disposal which unfortunately they do not recognize.

Daymond uses case studies to highlight some of the most incredible success stories of entrepreneurs that had absolutely nothing to do with money and everything to do with utilizing resources and hustle to get their businesses off the ground.

I also discuss why his two previous books, Display of Power and The Brand Within should be required reading for every aspiring entrepreneur and small business to properly prepare you for the journey ahead.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

8 Traits Of The Incredible Team Behind Shark Tank’s Daymond John

Hustle Branding- Daymond John

I was with Daymond a few weeks ago to prepare for a webinar he was doing on the subject of entrepreneurship. The webinar went extremely well as about 900 companies were represented on the webinar and questions were flying in on the bottom of the computer screen in his office.

One of the questions was about what he felt the reason why he is still so on top of his game despite the fact that he no longer necessarily needs to worry so much about money as he did in the past when he was building FUBU.

Without hesitation Daymond mentioned that he gives the credit to having an incredible team surrounded by people that are better than him.

What Makes A Great Leader

As I have said in the past, the jack of all trades.. is a jackass. The greatest leaders find people who are better than them in their particular skill set. Henry Ford was one of the greatest examples that true leaders are defined by how well they can put a team together. He was frequently questioned about his lack of ‘overall knowledge.’

Ford put that to bed when he answered one day by saying (and I am paraphrasing), “why would I waste my time learning a little bit about everything when I can push a button in my office and provide any of you the exact answer you need?’ Henry Ford showed that the greatest leaders show the benefits of  what is called, specialized knowledge.

Being I am with Daymond’s team on a frequent basis and attend his weekly team meetings I have to say I know his team extremely well and Daymond, like Ford, has created an exceptional team of specialized knowledge. That is what makes Daymond a great leader.

A Peak Inside Daymond’s Team

When I look around the room there are a lot of people who were there from the very first days of FUBU. Anyone who has been there from the beginning who has earned his trust Daymond has gone out of his way to find a position for. To be clear, if there is no position, there is nothing he can do, however when I say he tries extremely hard, I mean it. Like I said, he only works with people he trusts.

There are also plenty of people who are not from his original days. They are very impressive and as you can probably guess, very loyal and trustworthy.

Here are some of the qualities I have observed in the team meetings that makes Daymond’s team work so well:

1) Family

Daymond’s team is a family in every sense of the word. Every person truly is acting to better the team. They are not trying to grandstand nor are they trying to put others down, something that I have seemed to witness more times than I care to count in my years in the business world.

2) Accountability

Every department is completely responsible for their agenda. There is no crossover.

3) Open To Suggestion

Despite the fact that each department is completely responsible for its agenda, once the department member gives his or her update, the room is open for any feedback, comments or suggestions.

What’s so powerful is that each department is not only open to suggestion but actually eager for feedback as there are no egos in the room. Let me repeat and create a whole separate line for this and make it bold…

 There are no egos in the room.

4) Masterminds

Once you take away any possibility of ego conflict, amazing things happen. Every week, there seems to always be a comment or suggestion that someone makes from another department that ends up creating an even greater solution.

Since Daymond’s favorite book is Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich, I will use the principle   of mastermind groups. When two or more people come together to discuss something, a third ‘consciousness’ is created which makes the idea even better.

It is also important to note that quite often, a department may tend to get lost in the trees, and masterminds and teams create a very useful outside perspective that a person may not see because well, like I said they get stuck in the trees and need someone to give them an objective view of the forest. Companies who get stuck in the trees often bring in outside consultants, or external agencies.

If you would like to learn more about this, click here.

5) The Power Of Deadlines

Reports are turned in the end of every month. I think this is extremely important as I have found if you don’t have a deadline or write down your progress… you will not make progress.

6) Listening

When everyone goes around the room and Daymond is at the meeting… he listens. He does not interrupt, and does not let any ego get in the way. He will only comment if he feels he can add value. As I have mentioned before, I believe listening is Daymond’s greatest skill and he uses it to great advantage over the other Sharks on Shark Tank.

For more on the power of listening, click here

7)  Correspondence is excellent

The team circulates information to the rest of the company extremely well, not only from the end of the month reports but on a daily basis. Correspondence and clarity are essential to business.

8)  There is no micro-managing

This I believe is the most important… . If you don’t do your job then you become a pain in Daymond’s behind. This has not happened much as Daymond is very clear about how he hates micromanaging as he simply does not have the time… nor do his division heads… nor does anyone.

I’m sure there are many things I have missed but these 8 points are the most important characteristics that come to my head when I think of Daymond’s team.

Please add to the discussion and let me know what you think are the greatest attributes of a team.

Have a great day!

MJ

A Look Inside The Extraordinary Hustle of Shark Tank’s Daymond John

Hustle Branding- Daymond John's Hustle

I have always known Daymond to possess extreme hustle, a trait I believe is essential for the success of every entrepreneur. A few years back, however, when I started doing some things with Daymond again I noticed that his hustle had even increased and I wasn’t quite sure why.

Why would someone who doesn’t need to hustle anymore increase his hustle?

While there are many different reasons why people hustle, I believe hustle is inside the DNA of every true entrepreneur. Just because you start a business does not mean you are an entrepreneur as many people try the entrepreneurial route only to realize it was not for them.

Entrepreneurs go through far more valleys than peaks and it is the hustle inside them that pushes them to never give up and never give in. That does not mean entrepreneurs don’t stop to re-gather, re-assess and re-strategize. It is well documented that Daymond did that a number of times before finally correcting his mistakes and finding his way to the other side.

While many entrepreneurs have initial hustle, I believe in order to keep the hustle the reasons why you hustle change. That is where I found the answer to these questions I was asking myself…

Why does Daymond keep hustling… & why in the world is he even hustling harder now when he clearly doesn’t have to?

Let’s look at 3 types of hustle Daymond has possessed and the type of hustle he has that keeps re-inventing his need to hustle even more today than ever before.

1) The Hustle To Secure Your Mask First

Any entrepreneur worth his or her own salt will tell you the importance of securing the mask tightly around you before securing the mask around other people. The reason is simple… you can’t help anyone if you can’t help yourself.

Back when I met Daymond 20 years ago, he didn’t even have a full set of samples. To go from that point to where he is now takes such insane hustle I can write a book about it. Luckily, I don’t have to, since he beat me to the punch and told the whole story in his first book, Display of Power which should be required reading for every entrepreneur.

While his hustle in the beginning may have been more for monetary reasons (as I believe it should have been), I believe his hustle now is for different reasons.

2) The Hustle To Be The Best of The Best

One big reason for Daymond’s hustle today is that he has a tremendous appetite to be the best of the best in the branding world.

It is important to note that this ‘shark-like appetite’ (pardon the pun) to be the best does not come from a yearning for the praise of others, but rather because it is a demand he puts on himself to constantly elevate his game.

Branding is his stomping ground, he owns it, and he hustles harder than anyone I know to learn more every day.  He has a passion to create great brands, make good brands great and make great brands even greater.

3) Hustling To Help Others

Today, I notice a huge motivator for Daymond’s hustle is how much he genuinely loves seeing other people succeed around him. Now that he has secured his mask financially so to speak, he has the opportunity to help others experience the joy of success. That is one of the traits I admire the most about him.

I remember I took a ride to Baltimore with him this summer to visit someone he was mentoring and, for a good stretch of the ride he was talking about how excited he was to be in a position to help others.

I sit in a meeting once a week with Daymond and his team (if Daymond isn’t traveling) and Daymond is so proud of the wins as he sees how it is changing lives. Not just the lives of the people in the room, but the lives of the people who each department represents. In a given meeting, one leader from one division may be talking about a win that helped 50 people. Go around the room and the numbers add up.

Daymond is making a lot of people successful, however he never takes the credit as he always gives it to the team. Yes, of course the team deserves it… but so does he.

4) Extreme Hustle= Little Sleep

I normally go to sleep around 1130 and wake up around 5am. I’ve tried to cut the hours but I can’t. Many times when reach out to Daymond, I’ll see his response in the morning and notice he sent the reply around 2 or 3 in the morning… and then I see him doing his entrepreneur roll call at 5am! (If you don’t know about his entrepreneur roll call follow him on Facebook here.)

How in the world can someone get 2-3 hours of sleep and still keep it moving without skipping a beat?

I think you know the answer to that… HUSTLE

The Wrap Up

Most entrepreneurs learn to delegate responsibilities as their businesses grow however no entrepreneur can ever delegate his or her own hustle.

Hustle, in my opinion, is the secret ingredient, “the fire” that keeps the dream going within every entrepreneur. If that fire goes out, you will never have that secret ingredient to push you through the stumbling blocks and overcome the bumps, lumps, scrapes and bruises to come out the other side.

Do you have a quick story of hustle you can share that may help someone reading this post?

Have a great day & HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

The 1 Risk You NEVER Want To Take

shutterstock_305913215

Freshman year in college I had a crush on this girl Suzanne. HUGE crush. She was in a class I took and my stomach was literally in knots the entire semester. I was so afraid to talk to her it was ridiculous.

I would sit across the room and it appeared that we would catch eyes and she would give me a big smile. My response, naturally, was to immediately turn my head and look away. She must’ve been smiling at someone else. Or maybe she was trying to be polite. Then she would do it again… maybe she was just trying to be polite again… I couldn’t risk it. Yeah, it wasn’t worth the risk.

Senior year I ran into her at a party and needless to say, we hooked up. I couldn’t believe it! We were hanging out in my room that night and she told me she had dreamed about this moment since freshman year. What the f**k??

I remember the moment she said that I was elated, and pissed at the same time… pissed at myself of course as I had been dreaming about it too!! What a moron I had been! She could’ve been my girlfriend all this time! Needless to say, I wasted four years because I had absolutely no idea how to face fear. Strike one…

Strike Two

When I had my first fashion company, there was a female buyer who would come to our booth in Vegas at the semi annual tradeshow to buy our line… I had the biggest crush on her it was insane… story sound familiar? Anyway, blah, blah, blah, I was scared out of my mind and just couldn’t take the risk. Yeah, it wasn’t worth the risk.

14 years later (yes four-teen) I ran into her… and we hooked up. Guess what? She said the same thing! Holy sh*t! What a moron I was! … and this one was marriage material!! This time, however, I was married to my business so the timing wasn’t right. I wasted fourteen years because I wasn’t willing to take a risk and didn’t know how to overcome rejection.

This happened over and over again in my personal life and in business… until it didn’t.

A Call To Action For Anyone with A Dream

 You want to know the only risk in life? The 1 risk you never want to take? Please listen…

 The only risk in life is… to never take one.

I read a post the other day from a guy that shares a lot of our content at Hustle Branding on a regular basis. His name is Timothy Van Sype. He has been very loyal to us over the past few years. I stumbled across a post he wrote today and it turns out he… well I’m not gonna spoil the story, read the post here.

I have seen people who haven’t followed their dreams and have chosen to take the safe route and it is a very ugly picture. There is a tremendous amount of regret and a ton of resentment for those who convinced them not to go after what they want.

The truth is that there should be no resentment as it’s your choice, not theirs. Do not let anyone ever stand in the way of pursuing your dream. If you have a dream, find a way to make it happen or at the very least find a way to try. At least then, you will never have any regrets.  A few weeks ago I did a post about a speech that Jim Carrey made that summed it up perfectly. It’s called The Courage To Fail at What You Want

Single and 44

At the time of this writing I am single. I am single, largely in part because I refuse to let anyone stand in the way of going after what I want. That’s the selfish part. Here’s the selfless part… I used to not be single. I used to not be single a lot. Every woman I have ever had has had to settle for second place and that is not fair to them. To be more clear, I was not fair to them.

I am quite certain there will be a time in my life that I will be ready to take the risks and not put anyone in second place while I’m doing it. Now just happens NOT to be that time.

No Time But The Present

I have made a ton of mistakes in my life both in business and personally but as my man, The Shark, Daymond John says, if you are not making mistakes you are not making moves. I shot a video with him about how to learn from failure a few months back.

I encourage you to take the risk to go after your dreams. I encourage you to take those dreams and put a plan together and set some goals to turn those dreams into reality. In my last post, I talked about something Denzel Washington said to a bunch of kids at an acting class on the 2 ingredients you need that will teach you how to achieve your goals. It is also something that Think and Grow Rich and some of the greatest business books and business minds have repeatedly said.

I write this post with extra passion today because I hate to see people living someone else’s dream. Some people very close to me are and it kills me as, like I said, meeting people who failed to go after their dreams is an ugly picture. They are like the walking dead. Every person has a dream or at least had one a long time ago that maybe they have since forgotten on his or her journey. If you are one of those people, remember, it’s never too late. The right time to live your life the way you want to live it is always right now.

Live your dreams, hustle your ass off and know that failure is just part of the journey. And also know… one never truly fails until they give up.

Have a great day and Hustle hard,

MJ

 

 

2 Required Ingredients Every Startup Entrepreneur Must Have To Achieve Any Goal

test-MJ-HB

I recently watched a very inspiring video of Denzel Washington speaking to a group of aspiring actors at a theater. Denzel was discussing with them the 2 components necessary to achieve any goal. It is the same 2 ingredients that are expressed in Napoleon Hill’s, Think & Grow Rich, The Magic of Thinking Big and through the thoughts and expressions of many great leaders today.

Though I cater this post to the startup entrepreneur for the purposes of our Hustle Branding audience, these ingredients can be used for any goal whether personal or business.

Have a great day… & don’t forget to HUSTLE HARD!

MJ

The Courage To Fail At What You Want

John-Wayne-courage-quotes

I recently watched a speech that the  great actor/comedian Jim Carrey gave at The Maharishi University of Management. In his speech, there is a section where he discusses his own personal experience with both the pain of taking the safe route versus following your passion and going after what you want & love.

In this post I wanted to re-enforce what he said in hopes to motivate you to keep up your passion, never give up on what you believe and go after what you want (& love).

I have included a link to the entire Jim Carrey video here. Go to the 11:18 minute mark and see what he had to say and judge for yourself and give me your thoughts.

Have a great day!

MJ

 

The Insane Power Of Singular Focus

RBOVo

Staying focused on a single goal is one of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur. It is also without question, one of the most important ingredients necessary in order to achieve any level of success in business and in life.

In today’s post, I talk about a video Tyler Perry posted a number of years ago which not only explains the insane power of singular focus but also how he was able to use that focus to achieve his tremendous level of success.

If you have watched the video above, I strongly recommend watching Tyler Perry’s video, here.

 

Have a great day!

 

MJ

The Entrepreneur’s Definition of Murphy’s Law

Murphys-law

The power of Murphy’s Law and, most importantly, whether it can hold you back or help move you forward in your entrepreneurial journey all depends upon your definition and perspective of the word.

In today’s post, I discuss the entrepreneur’s definition of Murphy’s law, and how viewing it through the proper lens will allow you to not only prevent it from holding you back, but also give you power over it so you can make it work for you to achieve your goals.

 

Have a great day!

 

MJ

 

How To Build a Great Business Without Knowing Anything

Henry Ford

In today’s post I discuss how Henry Ford built an empire by using the power of specialized knowledge to build a billion dollar business. Ford gives the best example I know on the necessity of building a great team who all have their own area of expertise which, when combined, make your company as a whole far greater than the sum of its parts.

 

 

Have a great day!

 

MJ

 

 

2 Must-Read Books For Every Entrepreneur That I Almost Never Read!

0d504476141414d92614a83d0a1ccda0

I think every great entrepreneur has certain books that he or she thinks have played an integral part in achieving his (or her) goals and dreams. In today’s post I discuss two books which have greatly influenced me and why I stubbornly refused to read them for such a long time.

 

 

In the comment section below tell me about the book the has most influenced you and why. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Have a great day!

 

MJ

The Lifelong Struggle Of A Serial Entrepreneur

The Lifelong Struggle Of A Serial Entrepreneur

In today’s post I discuss the great struggle entrepreneurs have creating a work-life balance and how a recent family situation made me change the way I looked at my business.

Tell me what work-life experiences you have been though as an entrepreneur and how you have succeeded OR failed at achieving the balance we so crave.

Have a great day!

MJ

5 Powerful Ways To Bag The Elephant

Hustle-Branding--Bag-The-Elephant

In the movie Wall Street, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) through a lot of perseverance and hard work managed to bag the elephant, Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas).

Things have changed quite a bit since Wall Street as the hustle days of cold calling have been replaced by digital cold calling, namely emails, newsletters and social media which, not only are not nearly as effective because of its impersonal nature, but because it is much easier to disregard them as spam with the push of a button than it is to try to hang up the phone on someone while they are talking.

Though there are several ways to bag the elephant, there are 5 big ones, in my opinion, which produce the most favorable results.

1)   Know The Elephant

Knowing the elephant is one big way to bag the elephant. The problem however is, believe it or not, knowing the elephant can often hurt you more than it can help you if you don’t approach things the right way… (we will discuss this topic in my next post on how not to lose your elephant after he is in the bag}

Knowing the elephant is always the easiest way to bag the elephant so long as you know what to do as there is a big difference between knowing the elephant and bagging the elephant.

In order to bag the elephant that you know, you must understand the perspective of the elephant and put yourself inside the mind of the elephant.

Fact: Elephants get pitched every day for investments.

Fact: If you pitch the elephant simply because you think you are in with the elephant you will be dishonorably discharged from the circle of the elephant quicker than you can say, “Oh, no you too?”

The best way to bag the elephant you know is to work backwards. Knowing the elephant is only beneficial when you take into consideration what the elephant actually needs.

The best way to explain this to you is to give you an example:

My friend Fred (rest in peace) knew an elephant at the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart. Fred was smart. One day, while having lunch with the elephant, he asked the Wal-Mart elephant (let’s call him Bob) what he was looking for or what items and categories could be improved in his stores.

Bob told him what he was looking for and Fred worked backwards. He went to factories all over the world explaining what he was looking for. Fred knew what his elephant wanted and where his prices needed to be.

By working backwards and understanding the needs and wants of the elephant, and by feeding the ego of the elephant by putting the elephant in a superior position, Fred made a small fortune.

2)   Know the gatekeeper

If you remember, Bud Fox got very friendly with Gordon Gekko’s Gatekeeper, Natalie.

Fact: If you don’t get close with the gatekeeper, your chances are extremely small you will never get through the gate to meet face to face with your elephant.

Fact: Most elephants choose callous, rude and intolerable gatekeepers.

There is a reason for this. Elephants get bombarded with calls from people trying to bag them. This is why the elephants pick gatekeepers who know how to sift through the BS that comes in on a daily basis.

In order to bag the gatekeeper you must find out what he or she likes and work on your relationship with him (or her) with the same passion as if that person was the elephant him or herself.

3)   Bag the Competitor Of Your Elephant

Fact: The elephant always has a nemesis or two (underestimation).

Fact: Elephants are extra-ordinarily competitive

Getting the interest of the elephant’s competitor will get inside of your elephant’s head. Elephants are typically vain and will think, “why didn’t he (or she) approach me?

It doesn’t matter if the elephant’s competitor is not a good match for you or not. Use the elephant’s competitor as bait to make yourself more desirable.

4)   Promote Your Elephant (even if they don’t know you)

One of the biggest benefits of having a digital presence is the accessibility it gives to reach anyone at anytime.  Don’t confuse that between being able to get someone to actually pay attention to you anytime. Here’s a fact that may help you with that part:

Fact: Elephants love their ego’s fed.

Find a way to promote your elephant in a way that is visible to them. Even elephants like to get bigger. If you have developed a strong digital presence whether through social media, a blog or some other platform, mentioning your elephant in your blog or in social media is often the best way to get recognized as that person will like to re-circulate any information that is said about them.

Don’t just try this once. If you want to reach out to an elephant you need to be consistent in your promotion.

If they have a blog, make comments on your elephant’s blog and try to establish a relationship the best you can.

Note: Don’t ask for anything when you start promoting your elephant’s content or they will see right through your intentions. After some time has passed and your elephant has acknowledged your presence and some appreciation, you can try to establish a personal relationship and go from there.

5)   Play the numbers

Don’t wait to establish a relationship with your elephant to move on to the next elephant. Call 500 elephants a day. Be relentless in your pursuit of bagging an elephant. Take every shot possible and hold nothing back.

Some of the most successful people in the world started off cold-calling on Wall-Street. I was not one of them but Gary was and to this day, Gary still doesn’t hesitate picking up the phone to bag any elephant that he has an interest in bagging.

The Wrap-Up

Hopefully this has given you some better insight into the art of bagging an elephant. Figure out who are the elephants in your market you would like to target and then go out and take action!

Please be sure to let me know any of your experience bagging elephants below and if there is anything I missed, add your thoughts and I will be sure to respond!

One last note: I’m not through with the elephant. If you enjoyed this post, I recommend you read Gordon Gekko Was Wrong.

Have a great day!

 

MJ

How To Be The Most Interesting Person In The World

Intesting-man

A while back, I saw a tweet from Ted Rubin, king of RonR (return on relationship) and someone who I have a lot of respect for, mainly due to his viewpoint of how to conduct yourself in business through the seemingly basic principle of being good to others (hence the term he coined, Return On Relationship).

I am a strong believer in the getting is in the giving and it seems as if Ted seems to be quite an authority on giving so, when he mentioned that Dale Carnegie’s, How To Win Friends and Influence People was on the top of his list of must-read books, I knew that needed to be the next in my Audible queue.

I finished the book a few weeks ago and am happy to report that Ted was right on the money. There were so many takeaways I have from the book that I will be dedicating a number of posts on Hustle Branding to discussing some of the principles.

There is a reason I am very passionate about this subject as I went a very long time in my business career believing that in order to get the respect of people I needed to be ruthless and feared by all. I simply thought that was the only way to be successful. The result was not pretty. I just became an a*shole who had some money in his pocket. Nothing less, nothing more.

Today,  if I can’t win the respect of people and still maintain a kind and giving mindset, I simply won’t do business with them.

So what in the world does this have to do with learning how to be the most interesting person in the world?

If you read the book you probably know the answer to this question. If you haven’t, let me give you the cliff notes answer in two words…

be interest-ed.

Interesting People Who Are The Opposite Of interesting

I have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough throughout my years to have met a number of people who have achieved very high levels of fame, power and fortune. I was very excited when this started happening to me. Now, however, it quite often is more of a burden than something I look forward to.

Why? Well, for the most part, they are very predictable. Though I always try to go in with an open mind and no negative assumptions, invariably most of these people lose me after 15-20 minutes of listening to them talk about their favorite topic…themselves.

The Hidden Gem of Being Interest-ed

In my opinion, there are tremendous advantages to being interest-ed that most people seem to either overlook or completely ignore. You should see after this list that, as ironic as it may seem, the more interest-ed you are, the more interesting you become by default.

Let’s look at a few reasons why:

1)   By being interest-ed, you stay in constant learning mode. There is a phrase (I’m slightly paraphrasing), the more that is revealed, the more that is required. The truth is, we can never master anything. No matter what the skill, we can always get better and no matter what the subject we can always learn more and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know.

Staying in constant learning mode will negate any sense of complacency and allow your skill or knowledge to be extremely impressive without even trying… The result? …. You will be infinitely more interesting.

2)   The more you show interest in someone, the greater your ability becomes to network and grow, both personally and professionally. I have seen people spend entire conversations talking about themselves and then simply turn around and leave the person they were talking AT (as opposed to talking TO). When this happens there is a tragedy that occurs that the person never realizes unless it is pointed out. Let’s look at one such tragedy…

I witnessed a (one-sided) conversation where a ‘friend ‘ of mine was talking to someone about this amazing technology he had developed and his company was in the process of looking for investors to fund their early-stage growth. He finished his conversation and then walked away from the person.

A few minutes after the conversation, I was talking to my ‘friend’ and I asked him if he bothered to ask the person he was talking AT what he did for a living. My ‘friend’ said he hadn’t bothered to ask him so he asked me why I brought it up. I answered, “He invests in early stage technology companies.” … IDIOT.

3)   Most people think that the key to selling is to show how great your product or service is and wow the client into the buy. Though that may be the end game, the way you sell a product or service is, not to show how interesting your product or service is, but to show INTEREST in the client, listen to what he or she is looking for and then reverse engineer your thinking into how your product and/or service will fill that need.

You never go in talking about how great your product or service is. You go in with questions, and showing interest, then you simply work backwards. That is the only way to develop the connection to turn the prospective client into an actual customer.

4)   Showing interest and asking questions, plays into the ego of the other party. This is exactly what you want as it allows you to gather intelligence that you otherwise would not be able to gather if you are too busy talking about yourself.

The more interest you show in people, the more they will let their guards down and feel comfortable telling you more about themselves. As Gordon Gekko says, information is the single greatest commodity in the world. Personally, I disagree and believe it is the second most important commodity as I feel there is one thing infinitely more important. You can read about my thoughts on this here.

5)   Being interested never gets old. People don’t get tired talking about themselves but they do get tired listening to you. No one kicked anyone out of a party or failed to invite anyone to a gathering because they were too interest-ed.

Let’s be clear, there is a difference between being pesky and nosy and being genuinely interested. How many times, on the other hand have you not wanted to invite someone because you are sick of them talking about themselves?

So be interesting by being interes-ted. Learn to shut-up and listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!

I encourage you to go out and take this knowledge today and turn yourself into the most interesting person in the world… and stay thirsty my friends! … and thanks Ted!

Have a great day!

MJ

 Note: To read Ted’s book, Return On Relationship, click here.
 To read How To Win Friends and Influence People, click here

The 5 Super Skills Of Great Leaders

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 6.58.09 AM

leader_goodLast year, I started following the interesting content provided by Fishbowl CEO David Williams and President Mary Michelle Scott.

I quickly became fascinated with their perspective on running a business because it felt real, down to earth, and gusty.  This amazing company dared to try new things and share what they were learning with the world.

The articles were not your typical fare. They did not simply tell you what to do but told stories with passion that captured my interest.  Following their Forbes columns is an adventure in learning.  They write about everything from abolishing meetings, to solving the worlds problems on 3×5 cards.

The Fishbowl team has exceptional thoughts on leadership and how to build a culture within a company that thrives on a willingness to work together and create something incredible.  Easier said than done.

The reason why I was drawn to the articles was because I knew there must be quite a backstory that gave the leaders at Fishbowl the desire to empower their team. People don’t build an exceptional work culture by accident. It is not a talent that you are born with. It needs to be sculpted with a lot of experience and effort.

Dealing With Adversity

One of Forbes columns that captured my heart was, “A Lesson In Courage: The Story Of Cam, a very inspiring story of the courage and determination of David’s son Cam, and his battle with cancer. This past week, they sadly lost another amazing member of their team.  His name is Bryan Byrge, a young man with so much promise who was tragically killed while riding his bicycle to work.  One of their employees, a fellow elite athlete offered an amazing tribute to Bryan.

These Fishbowlers have their share of challenges and trials, what is interesting is how they all pull together during these times.

What It Takes To Be A Great Leader

It is important for people to understand that great leaders are not born; they are made. And all great leaders got a lot of help and inspiration along the way, though few like to admit it.

It is also extremely important to know that being a great leader has absolutely nothing to do with how much someone has in his or her wallet. I know a ton of people running hugely successful companies who are miserable and callous.

Being a great leader has everything to do with how you treat your people and how you trust and empower your team. Nearly every business leader relies on their team as the lifeblood of their business, whether they choose to believe it or not.

A Tremendous Book On Leadership

The 7 Non-Negotiables Of Winning, chronicles the personal trials of David, the rise of Fishbowl and the importance of teamwork to make a company grow and flourish. David often comments, “It’s not my book, it’s Fishbowl’s book.  It belongs to all of us.  It is our shared history and it is a great reminder to our team that we will never sell Fishbowl.”

Here are five of the main ingredients that I took away from reading The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning:

Let’s dive into this a bit:

1) Fail… a lot.

A leader fails a lot because that’s the only way he or she wins a lot. People need to understand that the difference between failing and succeeding is getting up one more time than they fall down.

2) Listen… a lot.

Leaders listen a lot because they need to learn why they failed and get help from people who have failed before them so they can learn from them to avoid making those same mistakes in the future. David and I have started a series on Forbes on this topic called The Lemon-Aide Interviews, which talks about how to learn from failure.

3) Strive… a lot.

Leaders strive a lot because great leaders never give up on what they believe in. It doesn’t mean they don’t analyze, change, and modify along the way. It means they keep trying until they succeed… no matter what.

4) Care… a lot

The_7_Non-Negotiables_of_Winning_book_coverGreat leaders must care a lot because if they don’t love what they do, and who they work with, there is no reason to do it. Life is too short to be self-centered.

5) Get back up… a lot.

Leaders get back up because they have to be in the game to have a chance to win. No one ever scored a goal, made a basket, or hit a home run while sitting on the bench.

Admirable Values Of The 7 Non Negotiables Of Winning

Fishbowl continues to practice these principles every day. The 7 Non-Negotiables are a blueprint on how to run a company with exceptional values and empowerment. My favorite line in the book is “our exit strategy is death.”

Here are a few of the items from the book that I enjoyed:

1)  Most of the people at Fishbowl own a part of the company.

2)  There is not a traditional hierarchy. Leaders work in pairs and they empower employees to manage themselves.

3)  There are as few company meetings as humanly possible. The philosophy is that meetings are productivity killers and there are often better ways to communicate what people need to do.

4)  People decide their own responsibilities and are accountable for one another as a team – not to some boss far removed from them.

5)  Pay structure is contingent on how the company performs, not on what the management thinks people should be paid.

6)  Fishbowl’s philosophy is to grow slow and steady rather than fast and reckless.

7)  Fishbowl believes that the most valuable asset is listening and seeking to understand.

Information By Itself Is Useless

This book is not simply a sit-back-and-learn kind of book. Information is great, but if it is never applied it means absolutely nothing. At the end of each chapter are exercises developed and used within Fishbowl.

This reminded me a lot of the principles of the old Tony Robbins tapes. To me, implementing action steps after teaching a lesson is the only way to get people off their rear-ends and actually get them to practice what they have been taught. Information that is not put to use right away is known to dissipate quite quickly.

A Few Last Thoughts

To be clear, this is not a book review. Nobody asked me to write this. I wrote this because if you are a leader, or some day want to be a leader, you need to read this book.

Too many people have the misconception that leaders lead only through fear and iron fists. This is 100 percent incorrect. Dictators lead with an iron fist. If you are a leader that means you have a team. If you have a team, your job is to create an environment for that team to thrive and flourish.

Have a great day!

MJ

{Final Note}: David’s book is now available on Audible. I am an Audible fiend so I suggest downloading the book via Audible. David’s calm and soothing demeaner coupled with his clear narration makes the experience even better. Don’t take my word for it… listen to a sample of it here

 

7 Key Factors Every Entrepreneur Should Consider Before Throwing In The Towel

packers-dont-throw-in-the-towel1b

packers-dont-throw-in-the-towel1bIn last week’s post, I shot a video discussing the battle of fight vs flight when entrepreneurs face adversity. Today I want to discuss 7 key factors every entrepreneur should consider before he or she decides to throw in the towel.

Though I don’t believe an entrepreneur should ever quit, I do believe however, that there are a number of reasons why a company may want to stop, re-assess their situation and re-gather.

A friend and former colleague, Daymond John from ABC’s, Shark Tank did this a number of times with his clothing brand FUBU. He shut down FUBU a number of times to re-gather and come back with a new plan. The result? … He finally got it right and now has shipped over 7 billion dollars to date. More on Daymond and his creative hustle, here.

In my opinion, you have to put your company through a litmus test to determine whether you have what it takes to continue, or whether it may be time to re-think, re-structure and change your plan.

Here are 7 Things every entrepreneur should consider before throwing in the towel.

1) Proof Of Concept

Many people believe disruptive products or services are the key to the kingdom. The problem with disruption, however, is that if you are being disruptive, you are most likely trying to create a market that is not yet proven, thus you have to establish the proof of concept in a new and unproven market.

Proof of concept is quite simply, evidence that there is a customer base for what you are selling. 99% of companies are not disruptive even though they may think they may be. Being innovative and being disruptive are completely different. The following is the Wikipedia definition for disruptive innovation:

A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology.

Take a look at your brand and establish whether what you have created has a proof of concept.

If you have established a proof of concept (or you are entering a market that has already showed proof of concept) then I would advise against throwing in the towel. Perhaps you need to work on your differentiation, namely, what sets you apart from your competitors.

2) Traction

Much like proof of concept shows there is a market for what you are selling, traction shows that, not only is there a market for what you are selling, but that the market actually wants YOUR product or service compared to (or in addition) to your competition.

Too many people establish their product or service without the customer in mind. This is a huge mistake. I wrote a post about it called, How To  Brand Like An Idiot.

Developing traction doesn’t mean you need to put your product in a thousand stores, it simply means you have to put it in enough stores to show that your a product or service is something the market has a need for. More simply put, it provides further proof there is a customer for what you are selling.

If you have developed some traction, I would advise against throwing in the towel.

3) Distribution

After you have developed traction in the market, you need to expand your distribution enough to show that your product or service is scalable enough to make a living (and hopefully more). If your market is too small to make a living on, then you may need to re-think and re-strategize and develop a product or service that reaches a larger demographic.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you have to create a product or service for a large demographic. Many entrepreneurs do extremely well with a very small market size however the smaller your market, the larger your margins should be on what you are selling. Which brings me to the next factor…

4) Profit

To reiterate, you don’t need a huge market in order to have a successful brand. There are many brands that have a small market and flourish because what they are selling has a high price ticket.  Someone who makes 1000$ profit on every sale and supplies 100 stores makes $100,000. A company, on the other hand, who makes 100$ on each sale needs to supply 1000 stores to recognize the same profit.

If you have a product or service that has good margins, have already established proof of concept, gained some traction and established some distribution, I would advise against throwing in the towel.

5) Revenue

The same math applies to revenue. If you sell 1 widget to 1000 stores for 1$, your sales are $1000. If you sell 2000 widgets to only 1 store for 1$ your sales are double even though you only supply one store and your competitor sells 1000 stores.

Whether your product or service is low ticket or high ticket, if you keep an eye on the margins to make sure your sales are above your costs and there is enough revenue to show the market wants what you are offering, I would recommend against throwing in the towel.

6) Brand Recognition

If you are a marketing driven company, increased distribution and revenue should increase brand recognition.

It normally takes a lot of hard work and effort to establish brand recognition. The more brand recognition you have, the less inclined you should be to throw in the towel.

Brand recognition creates the one word that every business loves… licensing. Licensing, in my opinion is the entrepreneur’s trifecta… It allows them to have someone else help grow their brand, spend the money to grow it and pay them a fat royalty payment at the end of the year …  I will talk about the value of licensing over the next few weeks.

If you have established any level of brand recognition, I would recommend against throwing in the towel.

7) Hip-Pocket Clients

Take a look at your customer base and take a look at those customers who are in your hip pocket. Hip pocket customers are those customers who support you no matter what. Remember, 40 customers in your hip pocket are worth a heck of a lot more than 400 customers who will drop you the moment your sales slow down.

If you have a good enough supply of hip pocket customers, I would recommend you don’t throw in the towel just yet.

The Wrap-Up

Take a close look at these factors above. If you have a number of these on the list checked off, there should be a way to continue on your path to success. Remember, every entrepreneur is going to come across a million obstacles in his or her journey. The key is to know when to keep pushing, compared to when to regather and re-assess.

What challenges have you been through that have made you want to throw in the towel?

What did you do to overcome those challenges?

Have a great day!

MJ