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

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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

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’

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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

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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

Don’t Create A Startup, Create A Conspiracy!

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Today it seems like we’re in a churn and burn state of mind. I look across the myriad of start-ups that pop up every second on the second, and begin to think that speed has become a strategy over quality. To a certain degree that strategy works, but it works at the expense of quality and differentiation.

Building on that strategy is not a failure but a bad case of self inflicted poor decisions that starts off as a bad cold and ends ultimately in death. A slow death is better because the pain is negligible – for most people.

Success hinges on investment, and return relies on compounding. The entrepreneurs that would rather go the slow death route are investing time, money and resources that slowly but surely kill off their companies. Those mis-guided decisions compounded over time return nothing, nada and eventually end in despair.

The Entrepreneur’s Mission

 To avoid sickness and hopefully death we must start at the beginning and ask, “Why do entrepreneurs (you) become entrepreneurs?”

After reading Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One, he stated, that the function of an entrepreneur is ‘to conspire to change the world.’ Those are big shoes to fill for anyone to get their mind around. I know that wasn’t my frame of mind when I started my first business. Was it yours – is it yours? I probably would have folded up the tent long ago and trekked back home to a cozy 9-to-5 – which I’ve done before.

On that trek (process) I lost something and gained something else. I learned how to do what everyone else was doing (loss), and simultaneously learned that agreement by large committee is strategic dilution. In other words, if enough piranhas pick at something (self interests) long enough an idea goes from being a living and breathing process to a carcass with only remnants left of the original idea.

Obviously there are exceptions but how many brands keep the process an inspirational journey throughout.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

Creating A Conspiracy

 I learned that entrepreneurs start businesses because they believe things can be done differently and ultimately better. The art of bringing an idea to market without dilution is why entrepreneurs exist. So yes, conspiracy is a good word to use when talking about entrepreneurs.

No matter whether you’re a mom and pops startup, or the next Facebook, your modus operandi is the same – to create new thinking clear of traditional thinking. When it’s all said and done, a startup’s survival and eventual growth depends on continuous radical (I stop using disruptive) thinking.

This thinking starts with a question that entrepreneurs must ask, what do we do exceptionally well compared to our competition? That’s where the conspiracy starts.

–       Apple

–       GoPro

–       Under Armour

–       AirBnB

–       Facebook

–       Tesla

–       Virgin

–       And many others

These brands did not start as startups. They were(are) conspirators. They dominated a niche with a new way of thinking, and then scaled. Business plan done!

Tom Peters once said, “Why would you plan to be like someone else one year from now today – to be a year behind?”

Amen Tom!

The Takeaway

 Be a trailblazer! To copy is not a form of flattery; it’s a means to a disastrous end. Iteration is good – if it’s significant. Take rational big risks. Don’t be afraid to fall flat on your face – your face will get used to it. There was a point you couldn’t walk, ride a bike… you fell, but you also learned how to advance.

Creating and building a conspiracy takes the same process!

*NOTE: You will notice Daymond & MJ are offering 6 free chapters below from the 3 books. I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity as we will not offer this forever! A Lot of people get upset when we take an offer down so don’t let that be you ’cause I’m telling you now! :-)

Stay hungry, & HUSTLE HARD!

Gary

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

What Aspiring Startups And Music Artists Share In Common

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It continues to amaze me that most people feel comfortable in moving in the same current as others. There seems to be a relief in knowing that others are doing the same things. Maybe it’s a mentality of ‘we will all fail or succeed together’ that makes us think in that way.

In business that way of thinking can get you killed – if you are an entrepreneur.

I like to compare the similarities of contrasting business segments. Usually I do so in hopes of finding a similar thread of consistency that propels both segments into success.

Recently, I was thinking how much of a journey to success is similar between aspiring startups and music artists. Both industries seem to operate in a parallel universe where the people with the money are all challenged with investing, or may be even gambling today for a significant return in the future.

Investor vs. Record Label

In most industries there is a person or company that funds the ideas. Record labels fund artists and venture capitalists and investors fund entrepreneurs. Both have limited resources on what they can invest their money in –  which puts extreme pressure on entrepreneurs to develop cool, innovative and useful products and services that deliver significant value to a market segment.

Ideas are cheap, but having a plan, vision and a purpose become prerequisites of those that get funded vs. those who do not. The music artist and the startup have a common responsibility and reality – complete and full differentiation among its competitors. The ‘reality’ part of the equation seems to often elude both, whether it be the music artist or entrepreneur. Many aspiring music artists look in the mirror & tend to give themselves more credit than they deserve, and entrepreneurs fall in that same trap. The judge and jury is the customer and their voice can be heard loud and clear – they either support you with a purchase or they don’t. That’s ultimate metric!

{MJ wrote an article about this here}

To a certain degree, entrepreneurs have a double-sided sword they have to walk; an idea that’s far reaching and maybe too risky versus an idea that’s not innovative enough that gets lost, never to be seen. The closer the entrepreneur and investor are in understanding the realities – the better fit and probably the better outcome will be realized.

 Startups and Music Artists

Initially, the most important thing to know is the approach you will have entering a marketplace and what you want your audience to take away from you.  Kanye West positioned himself as a talented renegade type of artist while Taylor Swift has positioned her self as ‘wholesome’ and ‘Americana.’ Think of it as understanding your brand purpose and building a personality around it. Aspiring startups have the same challenge as music artists – building authenticity and value while increasing their ability to engage with their audience in a unique way.

Though it may be a lot to think about, it’s easier to get that sorted early in your brand development process than to have your target market ‘guessing’ who you are and what you have to offer.

As a music artist has to continually refine their lyrics and several other aspects to their end product, startups are no different. Peter Thiel (PayPal Founder) once said in a video, “ Starting a business is about iteration not laborious research” … he later said, “The latter is cocky and inflexible.”

Translation? Build something, put it out there, and tweak it and repeat until you have a product that is relevant and considerably differentiated from its competitors.

 The Few That Fall Between The Cracks

The very reason you love a particular music artist is the same for brands you love. Great brands don’t always have the coolest products, just like your favorite singer may not have the best voice from a technical standpoint. No matter the physical assets, the brand must communicate certain qualities that embrace the values of their marketplace. It is all about learning how to create a brand personality.

The best explanation of how to create a brand personality is from a video I watched a few years back;

 “ Build up a picture of the kind of brand you think you are. As the brand is learning what it is, It’s also learning what it is not.”

With many startups and music artists, creating a brand personality is often overlooked and usually ignored all together. As  products becoming more blurred, with regard to differentiation, there has to be value established outside of the product or service.

To learn more about this, I suggest watching a short video module I created entitled, 3 Components To designing A Brand Identity.

 The Take-Away

As we can see, startups and music artists have very similar challenges in breaking through and becoming successful. Though a valuable and innovative product or service is the price of entry in building a successful startup, I encourage you to build a soul at the core of your business that reflects the ideals and aspirations of your audience.

Stay Hungry & Hustle Hard!

Gary

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

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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

5 Brilliant But Simple Ways To Build An Authentic and Relevant Brand

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The world of business has forever changed amidst the numerous platforms and channels that have invaded our personal space with the intent on selling us something. Most companies don’t understand the etiquette or the unspoken rules that govern these prolific social watering holes that we call Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and it’s only a matter of time before they fall victim to a crime that they committed willingly.

A crime usually means someone has broken a rule of some sort- but here the crime is from not taking action, or simply believing you can keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. – INSANITY.

This past weekend I watched a movie with my wife called “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau, with a host of cameo appearances from Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson and many others. The movie captures a super star chef’s journey of success, failure and passion.  This was a small low budget movie with a big message of – Integrity!

This movie can serve as a blueprint for how businesses (small and large) can build great brands with integrity, passion and creativity. Instead of settling for insanity, companies need and must focus every ounce of their existence in relationship building and that involves extreme transparency.

There were 5 brilliant but simple ideas from this movie that will help any business communicate authenticity in a relevant and crystal clear way.

Brand Compass

Like the late great Steve Jobs once said, “What you say no to is just as important as what you say yes to.”  What he was really saying is, don’t compromise yourself or brand on things that don’t add value to it and aren’t aligned with your values. Conviction is simple to talk, but often times harder to walk. Every business goes through a variety of decisions it has to make to increase its ability to survive and hopefully succeed.

Many times the decisions that don’t serve the company well end up diluting its true value and sometimes killing it altogether. Businesses are like people – feed it the right stuff and it will perform – feed it the wrong stuff and its health suffers.

Brand Obsession

Often an over-used word, passion is what people can see and feel. Yes, it’s great to be passionate about what you do, but it is equally important that your marketplace sees your passion. Love is rarely used in business, but it’s the fuel for a business or businessperson. People and companies who leave us spellbound are usually obsessed about something – a cause so to speak.

Why? It’s a state of mind most of us don’t understand because we don’t have one of our own, and we become mesmerized by those who are so single-minded and purposeful. Find your obsession and it will ignite you and your customers.

Note: To learn more about this watch How The World’s Best Have Obsessed Their Way To Success

Brand Service

Underrated and under utilized by most companies – serving is giving unconditionally. Serving is not a marketing concept but rather an authentic expression of your intent and purpose. Making a contribution to your marketplace shows that your mission is not solely on profit, but it reinforces your company as a participating member of the community.

Starbucks is a great example of a company who serves its community, environment and coffee bean growers. Find the community(s) you would like to serve and get involved.

Brand Micro Stories

Now brand experiences can be shared real time. Pictures and videos of what happens within your company can serve as a portal for customers to get a closer peek at the people behind the company. This helps communicate your brand purpose, essence… in a more dynamic and engaging way. Think of each visual piece of your brand as a puzzle that keeps getting bigger, but continually adds up to create a clearer picture of what you’re about.

Brand Socialite

People care and see value in knowing the people behind the company. The best way to engage with your targeted market is to move to the conversations that are relevant to your brand, and become a part of the conversations. But it doesn’t stop there; you can’t just be involved in the conversations- you have to add value to them.

It’s much like a socialite that attends the right events, parties and gathering relevant to his/her business – he/she eventually becomes a valuable resource to that specific cause. Quit throwing darts at a dartboard blind folded and start getting closer to the people and conversations surrounding your business.

Allow people to follow you on your journey, so they can discover what you care about and why.

ALWAYS, HUSTLE HARD

Gary Oneil

 

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Consider Adversity The Breakfast Of Champions

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Failure and setbacks continue to ‘appear’ as giant hurdles that seem impossible to overcome. If only we realized that setbacks are opportunities for us to grow! I recently looked at my own progress in this area, and started to link my success to my ability to find silver linings in otherwise tough situations.

Once you build this skill-set you will be able to overcome the different challenges that present themselves throughout both your personal and business life. So TREAT SETBACKS AS SETUPS, so you can reach your potential and realize your dreams!

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!

Gary

The 1 Critical Question That Entrepreneurs Must Answer To Be Successful

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In this video, I talk about a very important question that many businesses and startups have trouble answering. I consider this question a very important one in building a successful business.

The majority of the answers come back as a laundry list of what they do. Of course, this response does not answer the most critical question facing a businesses  success and its eventual differentiation proposition. Ultimately, we all have to answer this question – because if we don’t our customer will surely do it for us.

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!

 

Gary

 

The Entrepreneur’s Definition of Murphy’s Law

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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

 

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

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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

How To Be The Most Interesting Person In The World

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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

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

 

The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: A Case study of Fight vs. Flight

FightOrFlight

Every entrepreneur will invariably have times when they think the cards are stacked up against them so high that their chances of turning things around are slim to none.

In today’s video, I discuss billion dollar giant Ecko Unlimited (Marc Ecko’s clothing brand), and BNW (my and Gary’s first clothing brand), and how different perspectives between the two produced two drastically different outcomes.

This is the first of a 2-part series of posts which will discuss how entrepreneurs react when dealing with adversity.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice.

 

Have a great day!

MJ

How To Be A Master Entrepreneur

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Black+beltscI recently finished Robert Greene’s book, Mastery, yet another master-piece of the author who brought us The 48 Laws Of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, The 50th Law and many others.

If you know me or are familiar with N2ITIV, you know that I  believe there is no such thing as an expert  (let alone a master) however, that being said, there was a very strong point that he drove home which I think is essential for every entrepreneur to know.

In order to master a skill, Greene concluded that it takes roughly 10,000 hours. If you include distractions, that amounts to approximately 9-10 years, assuming that’s pretty much all you do.

Therefore, how much time does it take to be a master entrepreneur?

How To Become A Master Entrepreneur

In my opinion, there are two answers to that question. The first answer is, quite simply, NEVER. It simply ain’t gonna happen. The other answer I have is also quite simple… 10,000 hours (or 9-10 years).

If you are an entrepreneur you should see that there appears to be a major flaw with that answer because being an entrepreneur requires quite a bit more than learning (or mastering) one particular skill-set or trade. The fact is that an entrepreneur must deal with a cross section of multiple trades and skills on a daily basis.

So how can you become a master entrepreneur in 10,000 hours?

Again, there is only one answer… working with other masters. Let me flesh this out a bit using a personal example.

The most recent project I have been working on is in a space that requires 5 main components:

 1)   A sales and marketing component

2)   A branding and product development component

3)   A complex financial component

4)   A legal component with heavy IP emphasis

5)   A software and coding component

In order to make sure each of the components are handled to the absolute best of their ability, I need the help of not one but 5 masters.

Again, I need to mention that I absolutely hate words like mastery, expert and/or guru HOWEVER, having a tremendous amount of respect for Robert Greene’s work and, being in total agreement with the point he is trying to make, I will make an exception in this case…

OK, back to my current venture…

The People Who Make Me Masterful

From the 5 components listed above, my new venture is in need of 5 such masters. Fortunately, I have four partners who fill 4/5 of the equation:

The first person is me. My mastery is sales and marketing and, fortunately, I have far exceeded 10,000 hours in that area.

The next master is Gary. Gary has a very extensive background in branding and product development having not only run companies with me, but also having run branding and product development for some of the largest and well known brands in the world. (23 years of experience altogether)

The next master is Big John, who I highlighted in my recent article on how to overcome fear. John has an extensive financial background, having worked on Wall Street on a very high level for well over 20 years.

Our fourth master, Ed is an attorney with an extensive background in IP law, and handles the legal work for some of the largest brands in music and entertainment. He also has 25+ years in this field.

72 Years?

If I were to try to handle the responsibilities myself, according to Greene, I would need a minimum of 40 years until I could be masterful enough to handle each area. Couple that with the software and coding component, I would have to be a minimum age of 72 before I could even begin to start a business with the mastery of these 5 areas (50 years out of college).

Hopefully you see where I am going. The only way to be a masterful entrepreneur is to have partners who are masters at what you need, or at least hire people who are masters in a given field.

According to Greene, the road to being a master is first observation, then apprenticeship, and finally, practice. If you are an entrepreneur or have aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur you need to know that there is no such thing as a master entrepreneur who achieves success on the efforts and expertise (and mastery) of him or herself alone.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

What Do You Need To Be  A Master Entrepreneur

Here’s a good rule to follow. Look at your business. Most of my businesses have consisted of 6 areas:

1-    Design

2-    Branding & product development

3-    Marketing & public relations

4-    Sales

5-    Financial

6-    Production

 Look at your company and break down what areas your company needs. Then figure out what can be done in-house and what can be done through outside help. Take those areas and make sure you have each department run by someone who has passed Greene’s criteria.

I know what you may be thinking… I am a startup entrepreneur ya dummy! I don’t have 10 minutes let alone 10 years, nor can I hire anyone with 10 years to help me!

I have an answer to that question. Email me with the subject line HELP ME YA DUMMY and I will respond to you within 48 hours… or leave a comment below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to explore a more in depth look at starting a business and raising money, Gary and I have shot 4 FREE product training videos that we have created that provides a much deeper and comprehensive look into starting a business. To visit that section, click here now.

Have a great day!

MJ