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One Career Path Leads to Another

tutors-on-tv.jpgToday on The Bigg Success Show, we did another installment of Tutors on TV. We love the sound effect so much we had to bring it out again!

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marylynnWho ever said you can’t learn anything from watching television? Today, we’ll pull out a syndicated show. We recently caught the Waterworks episode of The Cosby Show. In this episode, Cliff (played by Bill Cosby) decided to fix the tile in the bathroom.

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georgeWhen I was in the plumbing business, it seemed like just about every time someone called after trying to fix something themselves, it turned out to be more expensive than if they had just called us in the first place!

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Well, that’s exactly what happened! Cliff got in over his head. Clair (Cliff’s wife) and Theo (their son) began calling plumbers (without Cliff’s knowledge). In the midst of it, Sondra (their oldest daughter) called Clair, who filled her in on what was going on.

Sondra told Clair about some friends from college who had their own plumbing business. Cliff was perplexed – why would someone with a good degree from a good college become a plumber?

Jennifer (the head of the crew) said that trying something new isn’t throwing your field away. She went on to give some examples:

  • Gauguin was a stock broker before he became a painter.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – was a doctor before creating his unforgettable character, Sherlock Holmes.
  • Shirley Chisholm had a Master’s in Elementary Education before she became a Congresswoman.
  • Gandhi studied law before he became … well, Gandhi. 

Is there a profession lying within you just waiting to get out?

For many people, the second time’s a charm. The second career is the one that leads them to bigg success.

So if you find yourself considering a career change, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, here are a few tips:

You are the entrepreneur of your life. One of the things that entrepreneurs understand is that change means opportunity. So don’t resist change, welcome it. Better yet, look for it.

Next, redefine yourself. Bigg success is life on your own terms. Don’t define yourself too narrowly. Broaden your terms to find your bigg opportunity.

For example, if you’re in sales, do you sell tangibles or intangibles? No matter which one it is, there are a lot of occupations and industries to which your skills are transferable.

You’re still going to the same destination. You’re just going to ride in a different vehicle. For example – if you find yourself out of work, think about what you loved about your last job? What were you really good at? Look for those same things in your next career.

Remember that where there’s growth, there’s opportunity. A rising tide lifts all boats, as the saying goes. So look for industries or sectors where the number of jobs is expected to rise in the years ahead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a great place to research that.

You may find yourself going through a difficult time. You may find yourself longing for something better.

Think about Gauguin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Chisholm and Gandhi. They found the second time was a charm.

Take all that you’ve learned about yourself and look for your opportunity for bigg success.

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Would you like more tips and tools to live your life on your own terms?
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much the gift of your time today. Please join us next time when we think about school days. We’ll ask, “As adults, can we earn extra credit?” Until then, here’s to your BIGG success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00414-061109.mp3

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The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

tpentrepreneur We were joined today by Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a serial entrepreneur and author of the just released book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Times, and is a frequent guest on one of our favorite television shows, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

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marylynn
The first thing we have to ask is … what the heck is a “toilet paper entrepreneur”?

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mikeA toilet paper entrepreneur sheds insight on what entrepreneurialism is all about. What a lot of us read in Inc., Fortune Small Business, and Fast Company is what Google, Facebook, and YouTube did. They’re overnight successes. The dirty truth is that “overnight success” is ten to fifteen years of hard work for most entrepreneurs. Just like with entrepreneurship, there’s the stuff that happens in the bathroom that no one talks about. So the title came from an experience we’ve all had. We’re in the restroom and we’ve done what we came to do. We look over and, sure enough, there’s only three sheets dangling there. It’s in that moment where true entrepreneurialism kicks in. We do the incredible – we grab the toilet seat like a pommel horse, stretch the foot out, hook the garbage can, root through it and find three sheets and the torn up cardboard roll. With that, we’re able to complete the job!

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georgeMaybe Sheryl Crow is the quintessential Toilet Paper Entrepreneur because she can get by with one sheet! Seriously, that’s a great analogy – entrepreneurs find a way to get the job done, no matter what.

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mike
No matter what. A true entrepreneur will dig deep and use things no one would ever consider.

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marylynnDon’t you think that the Facebook guys and the Google guys did that at some point? We often hear that some of these overnight successes are created in a garage. They do the same thing too, don’t they?

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mikeThey do in the sense that that’s how they all started. The only difference is Google received funding within a year. That’s what I call the “full roll” of cash. Most entrepreneurs don’t ever receive funding. There’s a path when you don’t get that money; there’s other ways of doing it, sometimes just as quickly.

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marylynn
In your book, you say that sometimes money is actually a detriment to entrepreneurs.

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mikeI totally believe that money is a detriment. Money amplifies the habits we have. In my own life experience, I was 25 the first time I received a good chunk of change – a $250,000 investment. I bought nice furniture. I hired employees. I got a good car to impress people on sales calls. I wasted the money. When I didn’t have the money, I learned how to leverage it appropriately. Then as the business grew, and more money came in, I was able to use it as a vehicle for growth.

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george
Another thing that I found interesting is that you’re not a bigg believer in business plans.

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mikeI’m the antithesis of it. I just received some hate mail from a university professor saying that he couldn’t believe I said that.

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georgeHey, today was my business plan lecture by the way! I’m kidding – we actually don’t talk about business plans in my class.

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mikeIn my experience, business plans are wonderful dust collectors. If someone can project their own financials four or five years out, they should invest in stocks because, if you could do that only ninety days out, you could become a millionaire overnight.

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georgeI’m not an advocate of “ready, fire”; you do need to “ready, aim, fire”. But at the same time, it’s amazing how many times someone writes a full-fledged business plan and then, within a few months, they end up in a completely different business. And that business takes them to their success.

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mikeYes. So I think, in the early stages of a business, you have to be very cognizant of everything that’s going on, watch the consumers’ behavior, and then flow with the river and adjust the business, sometimes 180 degrees, to match what they want to buy.

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george
I thought you were going to say “flow with the toilet”!

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marylynnSince we’re back to toilet humor, tell us about one of the crappiest resources you used when you had nothing.

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mikeHere’s one little trick I’ve used – the most expensive cost, besides rent and your employees, is professional services … your attorneys, accountants and so forth. I go to the local colleges. They have CPAs and attorneys working there that are now professors. They are more than willing to give free advice and work up the documents with you. Sometimes the exchange is simply being a case study for their class. It saves me thousands and thousands of dollars. I still use it today.

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You can get a free chapter of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on Mike’s site. It’s a great book that we highly recommend to you. You’ll find it to be great bathroom reading!

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your time and wisdom with us. We wish you bigg success with this wonderful book.

Next time, we’ll talk about lovin’, touchin, and squeezin’. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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Customer Disservice: Policies That Repel Customers

We've been thinking about customer service lately, inspired by a trip and a book.

 

I was in Chicago recently and I had to use the restroom. I saw this little hot dog place. I thought that I could grab a dog for lunch and use their bathroom. As I approached the door, I saw a sign. The sign said, “No Public Restrooms.” So I stopped, looked around, and noticed a McDonald’s down the street. So I went to McDonald’s.

 

I could see a business limiting the use of their facilities to patrons, because some people will just use the bathroom and leave. But to not even let your customers use it … that seems a little extreme to me.

 

I learned this lesson the hard way. One of my earliest businesses was a Ben Franklin store – the old “five and dime.” We didn’t let the public use our bathrooms. There was one particular day every year when the town held a huge community sale. We got tons of traffic on that day, many needing to use the bathroom. People would come in and walk out because we said, “No”. Why wouldn’t they? We hadn’t served their immediate need. So we changed our policy – and most people who used the restroom did buy something.

 

This makes me think of the book, Our Toilets are Not for Customers by Floyd Coates. He tells the story about shopping for light fixtures. His house had been severely damaged by a tornado. He had to buy lights for his new house, so he went to a lighting store. He was about half done with his list – having already selected about $2,000 worth of merchandise – when he got the call of nature. He asked a clerk where their bathroom was. She said, “Our toilets are not for customers.” She went on, “There’s a place a couple of blocks down the street.” So he left … and he didn’t return – they didn’t get a dime out of him.

 

One of my professors, who became one of my mentors, said that most policies are created for 3% of the people – the exceptions – rather than the 97% who are responsible for the success of the business.

 

The #1 … and #2 … ways businesses flush money down the toilet

#1 – Create policies for 3% of their customers
The hot dog place in Chicago is the perfect example of this. Would more than 3% of the people who walk through the restaurant’s doors do their business without doing business with the restaurant? Yet all of their customers are affected by this policy.

#2 – Create policies for 3% of their employees
The renegades, you might call this 3% of employees. But the other 97% suffer for it. This results in lower morale among all the employees – especially the ones who did nothing wrong. Lower morale leads to lower productivity.

What’s that sound? Oh, that’s the sound of money getting flushed down the toilet!

This 3% rule is a good thing to think about before making any policy decision that affects customers or employees.

We’ve given one example, but there are so many more. What have you seen – as a customer or an employee? How do businesses flush money down the toilet?

 

 

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(Image by Leo Reynolds, CC 2.0)