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Profitable Passions – Part 1

career_renegade We are privileged to have a special guest on The Bigg Success Show today. Jonathan Fields is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and author of the recently released book Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.

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marylynn
So Jonathan, you’re a renegade. That sounds so fun … so dangerous.

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jonathanWell you know I live my life all around danger. But the renegade side is just taking a different approach to how you earn a living. It’s almost like taking everything everybody says you can’t do and won’t succeed at and then somehow figuring out how to do it.

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The limitations of others

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georgeI think that’s a great point. It doesn’t matter if it works for anybody else. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

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jonathanAbsolutely. And it’s funny … people think it’s age-dependent to a certain extent and I’ve had people who were 16 come to me and say, “Hey listen. I can’t get anybody to take me seriously because I’m 16 years old, but I have mad skills in the IT world.” And then I’ve had people come to me who are 55 and say, “I have this idea and nobody will take me seriously because I’m too old or I have too much on the line.” But the reality is that you make your own opportunities in life. When people say, “You can’t do that” what they’re really saying is, “I can’t do that. So who do you think you are to try?” You have to understand that and step outside that limitation. Realize that it’s their limitation and not yours. If there’s something you truly believe in, just do it.

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Becoming a renegade

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marylynnLet’s go back to your renegade story. You were a lawyer making good money and you decided to walk away to follow your passion. What motivated you to do it and how did you get past your fears and go for it?

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jonathanDepending on how you look at it, I had the good fortune or the bad fortune of having a bit of a health issue. I was actually not too deeply into my law career at the job and the career and the firm that everybody wants to be at making a great living. After working a three-week stint with very little sleep and very little downtime, my immune system essentially shut down. My body was, literally, physically rejecting my career. So I started making a list of things that I thought would be really cool to do, that I love to do, and that I could somehow figure out a way to make a living at.

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It’s not the hours

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marylynnDoesn’t being an entrepreneur take as much time? I hear a lot of people saying that they don’t want to be a business owner because of the time that it takes.

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jonathanAbsolutely. Being an entrepreneur takes as much time, if not more time. But it’s not so much the hours that you put in, as it is how you spend those hours, which determine your satisfaction with what you’re doing. I put in a lot of hours – between writing and running different businesses – but I have control over those hours. I’m a family person so there’s nothing more important to me than having time with my wife and my daughter. So I wrap those business hours around the time that I know I want to spend with my family. I make breakfast and lunch for my daughter. I hang out with her in the morning. I pick her up from school. And then I may work a little bit in the evening after everybody goes to bed. The flip side is that when I wake up, I can’t wait to work. I’m bummed when I can’t work because I love what I do so much. So when that’s how you define work, hours don’t really mean a whole lot anymore. The bigger challenge becomes balancing multiple passions so that you have enough time to intelligently honor whatever your commitments to those passions are.

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Is now the right time?

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georgeJonathan – it would seem like the objection a lot of people might have – there are times to start a business and there are times not to start a business. Like right now, is this a good time to be a renegade?

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jonathanThat’s a great question. In my mind, it’s a phenomenal time. Some of the biggest companies that are out there today were started during the last substantial recession. Within any time where there’s economic challenge, very often the people who are willing to take risks, when everybody else is awash in a sea of paralysis, are the people who end up being in a phenomenally better place once we emerge from whatever’s going on. They tend to be really well positioned to move forward aggressively. The challenge with what’s happening now is credit. A lot of people are saying, “Listen, I would be willing to take a risk.” Hundreds of thousands are out of a job. They’re saying, “I can’t go back to that job. If I had access to money, I actually might take the risk but I don’t.” But what’s really interesting is that there is a massive move to creating entrepreneurship online where you can swap work for money. It’s not so much that people don’t have the money anymore because you don’t need a whole lot. It’s that they don’t have the knowledge of what’s capable when you tap the online world. All you need for that is a broadband connection and a little bit of money to get going. You can literally transform a lot of knowledge that you have into monetizable businesses if you know how to do it.

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marylynnSo if your specialty is marketing, you can create your own brand online. Instead of just having your local clients, now you can have a shot at international clients.

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jonathanYeah. Being online opens up a worldwide market to you – whether it’s marketing or making kooky hats. There may be only 100 people in your town that would support a kooky hat store. But if you open up your market to online, maybe there’s thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands. You also don’t have to pay the rent for a storefront. You’re cutting a massive amount of your fixed overhead. I’ve been an entrepreneur, both online and in the brick-and-mortar world, so I understand the issues of overhead very well from both worlds.

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Learn more about Jonathan at his Career Renegade site.

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Thanks so much for stopping by our site today. Join us next time when we continue our discussion with Jonathan. He gives more great advice for all you career renegades who want to get a business going. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00319-012909.mp3

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Marketing in Tough Times: Part 1

marketing1 Today on The Bigg Success Show, we begin a discussion with John Jantsch. John is the author of the great book, Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. Forbes chose his Duct Tape Marketing blog as one of their favorites and Harvard features it on their marketing site. He also writes a monthly column and does a podcast for Entrepreneur magazine.

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marylynn
That’s a long intro and it’s not even everything!

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john
That’s good … we wouldn’t want to bore people right off the bat!

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marylynnJohn, I have to tell you. You’re the guy we wanted to come to because with everything going on with the economy, small businesses are struggling right now. A lot of the money that they might have had for advertising and marketing just isn’t there right now. So we want to talk with you about how to promote yourself on a shoestring budget.

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johnA lot of small business owners have done that. The headlines are that the Dow is down. Big companies are cutting back all kinds of jobs. The newspaper industry is in turmoil because of losing advertisers. But the typical small business owner is not putting out hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. In many cases, they have gotten to where they’ve gotten because they worked on a shoestring anyway. I wrote a column this week for a publication and talked about the natural competitive advantages of small business. I think that we can have this tendency to get in this “the sky is falling” mode and quite frankly, my experience at least is, that it’s not falling on the small business owner. The small business owner is now finding that the market momentum, sheer momentum, is perhaps not carrying them and that they have to get better at doing some of the things that maybe they should have been doing anyway. But my current soap box right now is to say, “Hey, everything is okay. Let’s just buckle in and do some things right.” So that was my long-winded intro to answer your question. Right now is the best time ever to get closer to your customer.

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george
So what are some customer-building strategies that don’t require spending a lot of money?

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johnYour customer, whether it’s a business or an individual, is feeling some of this economic pressure as well. This is a great time to huddle up and say, “What more can we be doing with you, for you? How can we get together and help each other?” Strategic partnerships have always been a great way to go for folks who are strapped for making the phone ring. Go out and find other people that have your ideal customer in mind. Find ways to co-brand some of your marketing materials, put workshops on together, or maybe just literally pass out each other’s materials. One of the greatest partnerships I ever put together was a plumbing contractor. They were going into people’s house every day. So we said to them, “Let’s find an electrical contractor, a roofing contractor, and three or four other people who treat their customers the way you like. Why don’t you all start going in and recommending each other?” You know how that happens – once you develop trust with a customer, they’ll ask you for every resource you can give them! So doing things like that – things people should be doing, good times and bad. It really does put the spotlight on them now if you haven’t been doing them.

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Thanks for reading today’s post. Next time, we’ll continue our conversation with John. He discusses ways to add value for customer loyalty. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00308-011409.mp3

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Starting from Scratch – Part 2

scratch_beginnings

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we continued our discussion with Adam Shepard. Adam is the author of the book Scratch Beginnings, which describes his year-long real-life experiment to see if the American Dream is still alive. Last time, Adam told us about the initial stages of his experiment and what it took to begin his path toward independence. Let’s get back to the conversation …

georgeAdam, have you ever thought about becoming a Wall Street investment banker, losing all your money and turning to the government for help?

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adam_shepard
I have not.

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Starting from Scratch – Part 1

scratch_beginnings

We had a special guest today on The Bigg Success Show.

Adam Shepard is the author of Scratch Beginnings. After graduating from college, he conducted a real-life experiment, by starting out homeless with only $25 and the clothes on his back, to see if the American Dream is still alive. His book chronicles his year-long journey. Here’s a summary of the conversation …

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marylynnI loved your book, Adam. There were times when I couldn’t put it down because I was worried about you! I can’t imagine what your mom and your dad must have felt.

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adam_shepard
They definitely did not sleep much on that first night … that’s for sure.

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Your Emotions and Your Money

expert-session_joan We’ve all witnessed the ups and downs of the stock market. Recently, it seems there have been more “downs” than “ups.” There are a number of ways to respond. We’ve heard from many people that they’re afraid to open their quarterly statements.

In another Bigg Success Show Expert Session, we talked with Joan Sotkin. Joan is the creator of the popular web site Prosperity Place and the author of the award-winning book, Build Your Money Muscles. Joan has been helping people understand and improve their relationship with money for over 25 years.

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5 Feelings People Associate with Money

Joan has an interesting take on money. She says that the emotions you bring to your money – those underlying feelings you have – greatly impact how you manage your money.

During our Expert Session, Joan told us about the five major feelings that people associate with their money: 

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joanWhat you bring to your numbers is based on who you are – how you think, what you believe, and how you feel. In my book, I identify the five major feelings that people act out through their money – anger, shame, deprivation, a sense of being trapped, and a sense of aloneness. One of the main feelings people act out with their money is their sense of aloneness. “I can’t run out of money; I can only run out of people, because money is always attached to people. So if I owe you money, you won’t forget about me.”

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We found this very interesting. Owing someone money may enter our minds as a good thing, because it means we have a relationship.

Another thing we like about the Expert Session is Joan goes into the feelings about retirement plans. She digs in deeper to explore feelings of anger and fear.  

Why more money may bring more struggles

A lot of people find that the more money they make, the more difficulties they have. Why is this? Here’s what Joan says:

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joanThere are nine exercises in my book. I start with turning the toilet paper around in a new direction so you can get used to changing. People have to adapt to the process of change because it’s very uncomfortable. When you change, you go through a period of disorientation. When you move from one house to another house you want to be in, stupid things happen. You don’t where anything is. You lose your keys or your wallet. You bump into walls. I call those the “moving stupids.” When you start changing how you “be” in the world – when you start responding differently to things – your life is going to change. That gets uncomfortable. I spoke to someone the other day who said, “I’m just at that place again. Every time I start making more money, something happens and I get back to the same old point again.” Because you have to learn how to deal with more money. It feels different. It’s amazing how much feeling comes with money — $10,000 feels different than $1,000. It’s that disorientation of change that makes people give up what they’re doing and go back to their old ways of doing things.

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Even before this financial turmoil we’re going through kicked in, we read that there is the psychological profession is experiencing growth helping people understand the psychology behind their money decisions. We applaud Joan for being ahead of her time, because she’s been looking at this for years!

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We dig even deeper in our Bigg Success Show Expert Session
called
Finding Peace in Financial Chaos.

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In addition to what we’ve already discussed, Joan talks about how your financial identity and the vocabulary you use affect your results. You’ll also learn how to connect to your feelings so you manage your money better. And there’s so much more in the forty minute discussion in one easy-to-download track!

Next time, we’ll talk about time vampires. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00251-102708.mp3

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