New Direction

Things have changed with this blog.  I will be writing these columns every Thursday and presenting them as a kind of personal letter.  Why?  Because I want a more honest and direct interaction with my readers.  I will be writing about  my adventures, good, bad and otherwise as a way of sharing the learning experience.

One of the first things I learned in my journey through life is everyone has a method.  We all cope (and manage our lives) according to our personal point of view.  The methods I use to manage my business may not fit the personality or goals of someone else.  Through these weekely columns, however, I intend to share some of the “Evergreen” techniques that are common to every type of business on the planet.

In fact, in the thousands of years businesses have been in existence, the only thing that has really changed is technology.  The basics of marketing, selling value to a customer, and developing long-term business relationships are essentially the same.  No deep, dark mysteries available to a chosen few.

Customers need to (1) know you, (2) like you and (3) trust you.  When all three of those elements come together, a business relationship can develop that can, often, last a lifetime.

How does a business grow and develop?  It starts with what you know about the value of your product to the marketplace.  The deeper and more focused that knowledge, the greater the potential of the business to grow and flourish.

Next, who do you know who will agree with you and support your efforts, either through providing loans, marketing support or contacts?  Even in today’s world where a lot of business is done on the Internet, personal relationships still count.

Finally, who knows you by reputation?  Do you say what you’ll do and do what you say?  Is the value you bring to the table consistent, measurable and trustworthy?  This concept still holds true even in todays Internet business models.

What is the keystone?  What brings it all together?  Need.  What does the market need?  How can that need be fulfilled?

As human beings one of the most essential needs is the ability to communicate, whether that happens in a group setting, through email or cell phone.  Up to about 1993, when the first “Smart Phone” was introduced, not much happened.  Once people became aware of the value of the technology, however, demand skyrocketed.  Now nearly everyone (there are some exceptions) has a cell phone with Internet capacity and tons of apps for nearly any need.  (NOTE:  The concept of a cell phone actually goes back to World War 1, so the technology isn’t really all that new). 

Social demands and expectations change our perceptions of what we need to be part of the social group.  Everything evolves, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  Most of the time demand, need and expectations balance out somehow.

NEXT WEEK:  Corporate vs Entrepreneurial Thinking

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Why I Don’t Use Twitter

When I came back from Vietnam the conflict was unpopular.  Emotions were high and veterans of the conflict were easy targets for that anger.  It was especially hurtful because the reasons we were there were not entirely clear.  Were we fighting communism?  Were there other reasons we didn’t know about?  Why were we there?

That stress, for me, was made even more dramatic when I started looking for a job.  At one point I was sitting across from a pastor who told me, to my face, that we were all baby killers.  He and every member of his congregation knew, without question, everyone of us who served in Vietnam were baby killers.

At the time, I was in shock.  Over time, I came to understand, but not accept he point of view.  It still hurts, even to this day, but I understand where he was coming from.

What does this have to do with Twitter?  The pastor told me what he believed to my face.  He didn’t hide behind a Twitter or Facebook account.  As valuable as Twitter accounts can be for self-expression and sharing, they are also used by Trolls (bullies) who attack because of the anonymity these accounts allow.

I respect the pastor and his point of view.  I don’t respect those who use a Twitter account as a bully pulpit, regardless of who they are, their rank or status.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

If Only – Part 3 (three-part series)

The best mentors I ever worked with sat with me, shared their knowledge and experience and didn’t make promises.  The worst either wanted me to find deals for them with the promise of a fee, or they just wanted $10,000 of money I didn’t have (with the advice to max out my credit cards) to pay for their time and expertise.

Sorry, but I’ve been down that road a bit too often.  Thanks, but no thanks.

I did, however, almost get caught thanks to exhaustion when I left my previous project.

I recently dealt with a so-called real estate expert who promised and didn’t deliver.  I got lots of emails about commercial properties that didn’t fit my goals, but none of my emails asking for clarification ever got answered.  The relationship, in line with the title of this column, started out as an “If Only”.

I have since regained my perspective.

As for this blog and some of its products, yes, at some point I will be selling books and special reports.  I need to make a living.  I WON’T be selling promises, just techniques and methods which, with time, energy and effort, can work and can make a difference in the quality of someone’s life and lifestyle.

I may even produce workshops and seminars to share what I’ve learned.  That course has yet to be determined.

My overall goal is to avoid the “If Only” game and focus on what needs to be done and in what order to produce consistent, measurable results.  No pipe dreams, just focused results.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

If Only – Part 2 (three-part series)

I spent the better part of a day researching the idea of getting a real estate license.  The idea came up because we are planning on moving to a much smaller community in Oregon.  Being a real estate agent carries a degree of status in that community.  I looked at the cost of getting the license and then researched how much it would cost in time, energy and effort to build the business to the point where it would support me and my wife (for the record, it can take up to six-months).

As I did my research, I concluded that I was back to playing the “If Only” game again.  I sat down with a pen and paper and started asking some really pointed questions – ones that could only be answered yes or no.

Did I really want to spend time negotiating to list a house, negotiate prices, explain current laws, drive around the city showing off properties and having clients manage my time and effort?  The more questions I asked the larger the word NO grew until it filled an entire page.

An additional challenge has to do with the business itself, since there is a lot of ebb and flow or feast or famine cycles.  The NO started taking up two pages.

I may still take the courses in order to better understand the current laws and regulations in order to be an effective investor (yet to be determined), but I won’t be getting a state license any time soon.

Other questions I asked that lead to four big pages of NO:  will being a real estate agent give me the lifestyle I want?  Does being a real estate agent suit my personality?  My temperament?  My short and long-term goals?

Stopping the “If Only” game starts with being honest with yourself and your personal comfort zone.  When you are comfortable with yourself, you may discover that opportunities will find you.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

If Only – Part 1 (three- part series)

I spent a fair amount of my time playing the “If Only” game or some variation of it.  If only I lived in Boise, my life would be easier.  If only I had a degree in media technology, I could get a better job.  If only I moved back to Seattle, I would have a better quality of life.  If Only…..

Few of the “If Only” games worked out as expected.  Mostly because they were pipe dreams.  I was wishing and hoping things would change without looking closely at the real problem – my own fears, anxieties and frustrations.

When I moved to a new city, I had a six-month honeymoon before all my psychological luggage caught up to me.  After another year I started playing the “If Only” game again.

It’s taken a long time, but I have finally decided to accept who and what I am.  I still don’t love myself completely, but at least me, myself and I are starting to get along.

It also took a long time to accept that, where ever I go, there I am.  Moving to a new city or getting a new job doesn’t change who I am unless I make a conscious effort.

Becoming self-employed, which is the plan, is not going to change me.  I need to take stock of who I am and design a business model that fits who and what I am to the best of my ability.  Whatever I create is not going to be perfect because building a business and lifestyle are self-correcting processes.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Changing Hamster Wheels

I suppose that headline needs some explanation.

We recently thought about moving away from our home in the Pacific Northwest.  The plan worked until, suddenly, the financing fell through.  Back to square one.

One of the goals for the move was to change the direction of my life.  I’ve been an employee most of my life in some capacity or another.  In fact, even at 72, I still go into work every day.  Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m on a Hamster wheel, doing the same thing everyday and hoping for a different result (the classic definition of insanity.)

When I got news that our financing fell through two things happened:

First, I decided that the next time we do this (which may be within a year), all our financing will be in order BEFORE we list our house.

Second, I decided to change Hamster wheels.  The difference is I own the wheel and I can control how fast I need to spin it.  The best way to make a fortune, or at least live comfortably) is to own the wheel.  I can add as many gears and spindles (products and services) as I want, as long as I can control the spin of the wheel.

As for the insanity of doing the same things over and over I agree, a lot of that will happen.  The outcome, however, will be different.  At some point I can sell the business (or just shut it down), put my feet up and enjoy the sunset (or Seattle overcast, depending on where I end up.)

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