Cashing in on Your God Given Talents; Making A Lifestyle of What You Love



Itching to do what really makes you tick

There are a lot of people out there who know by all means what they want to do with their life when they are very young children. The question asked to many of what they really want to be when they grow up resonates with us forever, and we may change our minds many times along the way. Some people think that athletes have it really easy, and are jealous of their success. But if you participated in a rigorous training session with a high paid athlete, you could change your tune. They absolutely love what they do, but their dedication level is staggering. When many people are young, they may feel they have a knack to be a doctor, or a scientist, or teacher. But along the way you can encounter obstacles, difficulties these days with student loans, and the world can move right underneath your feet. For better or for worse, it can show you not only your priorities, but the things you really love to do most and you may have to face questions of how much you are willing to sacrifice.

What level of compromise do you accept?

One statement that has been said in the marketing realm before is that “everyone is just crabs pulling each other down, and a few crabs or squids get out of the bucket and do something big”. This was in relation to writing a book, starting a profitable company, or finding a way to escape the rat race. Think of this modern day scenario: a couple has a child, mortgage, and other bills, and decides to start a tax preparation business. They engage fully in the venture, and are able to pay their expenses and continue a happy life together. But they realize that crunching the numbers, dealing with the quarterly filings, and occasional abusive client is making them miserable. It’s a very hard rut to be stuck in, because the need to pay monthly expenses is dire, but they are not really doing their life’s work, or their calling. Many record store owners went through a tough time when media became more digital, having to lose the storefronts and space that they loved, but were able to reinvent themselves in the online world.

The steps to optimizing your gifts in the long run

One commenter on a marketing blog stated that “Just liking or enjoying something isn’t enough to commit to the true passion level”. We see a lot of people involved in fitness, running, rock climbing, and novelists really have to persevere to get themselves to the finish line. What they define as happiness and success is what governs them; the number of hours put in does not have to burn you out. To really optimize your gift and how you want it to work for you, the hurdles in your way may make you squeamish, but a true talent will get you through the hardest of times. Forming an alliance with other marketers or niche products is a great first step, as well as keeping up to date with your passion by articles and more market research.

A talent like music is so deeply layered, with first steps to maximize your gifts wondering if you want to stay solo, collaborate, do original music, or just covers. With multiple social media outlets your passion may have to run high to cover your content across all of them, and stay fresh. The content and product kings right now definitely cover the culinary and travel adventure world quite well; However there is a lot of room left in the cooking field. As a marketer I really loved the segment in the film “Up in the Air” that talks about your true passion. George Clooney is laying off a worker from an office job, and asks him what his true passion was years ago before the pressure of paying bills seeped in. He admits that he would love to run a restaurant, and Clooney gently talks him into it.

One Final note

If talking to people and reaching out is your strength, an extra bravo to you! Go to all the local trade shows, business meetings, and partner-ups you can find locally, for you will stand out. Don’t be eager about the bottom line and exactly what is at stake, just be yourself and form powerful friendships with others in business. When you reach out and do a favor for someone else locally or nationally, they will be eager to see exactly what your passions are and what drove you into your business; and someday the favor could come back in the form of much higher reach or success.

How to Handle Irate Customers; a Necessary Evil of Some Entrepreneur Startups

angry There are some forms of startup businesses where you have next to no customer service obligations. Those are the kinds in which perhaps you just sell one product, and it is such a simple, straightforward product that when the customer whips out their debit card, they know exactly what they are getting, and can simply return it for a refund if they don’t like it. You can streamline and automate these types of product sales, and also outsource customer service.

For a fee there are many companies that’ll answer the calls for you, and hear complaints or suggestions. This would be ideal, but the reason we’re writing today’s article is that in the early stages or with certain other services, the irate customer may find his way… TO YOU!

Sometimes it is after they ‘ve talked to everyone else. Sometimes if you are a restaurant owner, it is face to face, after a bad dining experience. And if you are someone like an artist or blog writer, you may get someone who all of a sudden has time on their hands to give you bad reviews and spread mean stories of the worst kind. If you encounter a dissatisfied customer on the phone, there are a couple of things you can do. Assuming that you are at the top of the chain, the best approach is to apologize once or twice and then offer a solution. If you are not in a position where you are forced to bend over backwards, believe it or not, we are going to go against corporate mantra here. Offer to provide a re-shipment or refund.

When you are working for someone else, they may want you to bend over backwards and listen to long stories of why someone doesn’t like your product. In this situation, as a new business owner you must be willing to compromise. If the customer does not respond to your solution and keeps going on and on about why they did not like the product, steer them in another direction by saying, “Yes, I understand how should we fix this?”

By being your own boss, you should want to give stellar customer service, but the customer on the line really should not be allowed to belittle you. Remember, you went into business for yourself to choose who you wanted to do business with. If at that point the customer accuses you of being unsympathetic, remind them you apologized and ask once again how to fix it. I know it sounds a little curt, but it works.

When face to face, like a restaurant, surf shop, or ice cream store, what really stinks is that the customer can really use the element of surprise to their advantage. When you are working along and in your groove, it is really bad to just have someone sneak up on you with a bellowing, unhappy voice. There is one thing to do here that half of business owners never achieve, and it is because it is very difficult. That is to immediately smile. It is really waging warfare against the customer; it is very hard to keep raising your voice when someone is swearing at you. Some people will, but it gets you a little advantage and points right out of the gate. At that point, you are using the same strategy as on the phone, assuming you are all the way up the chain of command.

Then of course folks can write bad reviews your business or service. This can sometimes take a lot of time to fix. A lot of forums give you as the proprietor the chance to come and defend yourself. Always be graceful, and to the point. The biggest mistake business owners make is long winded, explanations of how the customer was the worst they encountered, etc. what you can do is be very simple and say, “Sorry you had a bad experience, in this line of business we do get a mix of satisfaction levels and always strive to receive the highest”. You will feel like it is not much of recourse, but at that point, you have to let the internet wars take their toll, and some will come to your business, some won’t. Some religiously read these reviews, and some don’t. Amazon has large sections and there are competitors who may even hire people to write bad reviews about your company.

At this point, the only thing to do is focus on the quality of service or craftsmanship and cross your fingers. Even though it is sometimes a monopoly, keep in mind your local cable company probably gets a lot of complaints and customers find their way to the sign-up form! Win some and lose some; these are at least some tips to help you keep your cool… while running your brand new baby startup.

Lessons for Entrepreneurs & Anyone with a Dream from ‘The Company Men’; a Film About Finance’s Stark Reality

“The Company Men” is an older film, but there are still many themes and ideas from the film that ring true. Ben Affleck stars as a man who is downsized at the peak of the recession from a company that provides global transportation. Over the events of one screwed up day many of us have lived through ourselves, he is laid off, to trim the fat. This is still happening rampantly in America; sometimes it is to boost stock price, sometimes it is a company’s survival method before they plummet to their eminent death. Entrepreneurs and folks who want to make it on their own have many lessons to learn from this film, even though it is about a salaried worker who is not an independent businessman.

In the beginning, the firm provides the laid off folks with a type of cross training or in house unemployment/placement agency. At first things seem all right, but after a few weeks everyone starts to get angry when no one calls them back and they are truly twiddling their thumbs. There is a first valuable lesson here; patience. If you have an idea, smartphone application template, or book that you want to market badly, there are several realities you must face. The first is trying to make money before your idea takes off. This is now harder than it ever has been in our country. If you are over even age 40 these days, you WILL be passed over on the hiring platform. The reason why is simply rising healthcare costs and competition; today’s hiring culture values youth. So where on earth can you earn money while you are waiting for your idea to take off?


If I was very crass or unsympathetic, I would tell you to work fast food, restaurant, etc. But since I am an entrepreneur myself, I happen to know that not having the aptitude for those things doesn’t make you lazy. But in reality if you have no experience doing this kind of work, you probably will not get hired in this market anyway. And so there are some things you CAN do to help yourself. If you have any computer skills whatsoever, you can try to narrow in on your local real estate market. If you send out emails to successful real estate agents with your vision and what you could do for them, it may not matter if you know nothing about selling homes. Real estate agents are a primary source of “side work”, or people who need tasks done and will pay for them.

With the market in a bit of an uptick right now, they may need data entry, call backs, graphic design or blog writing. Realtors can help you on your way to marketing your own product or becoming free. Even though they get a bad rap, they’re individuals in your city who may be looking for contractors. In “The Company Men”, Affleck takes a job doing construction with a relative. In a funny moment, he asks the co workers “Where are we eating today?” The co workers pull out their tin lunch pails, and he realizes that in the new economy, he may not be eating out for awhile. It is not portraying Affleck as spoiled or unthankful; rather someone who was living under a different set of economic rules. If you are working on something or an entrepreneur, taking another form of job to get by can crush your dreams. You are so tired by the end of the day that you may not have any more energy to put into your brainchild.

You can’t let this happen; so many in today’s climate do. When you’re closer than ever to making it, your friends and family will tell you the opposite. If you are doing something in sales where it’s all commission, people will have no faith in you. They will tell you to get an 8 dollar an hour job at Wal Mart and will respect you more. It’s only because they themselves are afraid of success. If you have to work at Wal Mart, that’s fine, but I am telling you to not pay attention to your peers after a certain point. You will be able to gauge when you can succeed and fail. In the end of this movie, Affleck finally ends back up with some of his co workers at a new job. It’s in a bit of a rundown location, and they are going to have to play by new economic rules. But the moral at the end of the movie is that they are so happy just to be making income again.

When your product or idea finally starts generating revenue, you may be so exhausted and out of it that you don’t have time to celebrate. Don’t forget to do this! There will be more hard work to do in the future, but later we will talk about setting up your billing structure, dealing with irate customers, and knowing when you yourself have to trim to make ends meet. Until then, stay in the race and read everything about marketing and your competition that you can get your hands on… you’re going to need it! And if you are sitting with an HR manager at a part time job to bridge the gap, and she tells you that you are a risk because you have bad credit… you can always tell her that most CEO’s had bad credit on their way up. What do you have to lose? There’s more than one way to play by these new rules.