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You Can’t Do Nothing

nothingYou can’t do nothing. We learned in mathematics that if you multiply two negatives together, the product is a positive.

You can’t do nothing. Grammatically, we know that two negatives make a positive. So “not doing nothing” is doing something.

You can’t do nothing in life either. Doing nothing is a choice. Usually not a conscious choice, but a choice nonetheless. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

Listen to this post. Click the player to hear George & Mary-Lynn on The BIGG Success Show podcast.

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Doing something while attempting to do nothing

Maybe you’re unhappy in your career. What are you doing about it? A lot of people do something while attempting to do nothing. They bitch. They whine. They complain.

It’s not productive. They make themselves more miserable. They make everyone around them miserable too.

You’re a BIGG goal-getter. If you’re unhappy at work, you’ll change jobs or consider a career change. Right? You’ll do something productive.

Not doing anything of substance

Some people dream of being an entrepreneur, of starting their own small business. They think about it. They fantasize about it. They may even talk about it.

But they never do anything of substance. They choose to do nothing while time marches on. We humans don’t have the choice of staying in place. We either move forward or we fall backward.

You can’t do nothing. Many people try. They all fail. They choose to remain stuck. They choose to accept their place in life. But not you…you choose life on your own terms. That’s BIGG success!

Are you ready to do something? Maybe we can help. Send us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave us a voice message at 888.455.2444. See all of our services.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/biggsuccess/00690-041911.mp3

Image in this post from Flickr

Is Getting a Job Riskier Than Starting a Business?

Play at your own riskWe were recently walking through the retail business area of our campus – our campus “downtown” you might call it. In the middle of the main block, two storefronts in a row were boarded up.

It’s a reminder that small businesses fail. The dreams of two or more entrepreneurs were unrealized. Lives were disrupted. Money may have been lost.

The most cited number is misinterpreted

Like us, you’ve probably heard it over and over again. It usually goes something like this:

“Starting a business is risky. Ninety percent of all entrepreneurial ventures fail within the first year.”

Some people say two years or five years. It doesn’t matter; the number is daunting.

We think the origin of this number stems from The State of Small Business: A Report to the President for the year 1994. We got it via Entrepreneurial Finance by Janet Kilholm Smith and Richard Smith.

The 90% number so often quoted is a misinterpretation of the data. The research actually showed that nearly 91 businesses ceased operations for every 100 startups, on average for the five years from 1990 to 1994.

To understand the misunderstanding, let’s say 100 new jobs were created in the past year while 91 people got laid off. Would we say we had a 91% job loss rate? Or would we say the net gain is 9 jobs?

When it comes to jobs, net gains are reported. When the subject is startups, the failure rate is cited. Why the difference?

The actual failure rate of startups

Scott Shane takes a different approach in his excellent book, The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By. His data shows that, if 100 entrepreneurial ventures were started today, the expected number of failures each year would be:

failure rate chart

While his numbers look a whole lot better, the odds are still stacked against startup entrepreneurs. But statistics are funny things.

The failure rate for employees

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released the results of a long-term study on labor market mobility. You can go to their news release if you want the details. In general, they showed that if 100 people started a new job today, only 67 would still hold that same job in a year. In five years, only 32 will hold the same position in five years.

So the survival rate for jobs is lower than the survival rate for startups!

We can hear the chorus of objections.

Some of these employees may have been promoted.

Others may have elected to take another job – maybe even a better one.

Of course, some were involuntarily let go.

Even then, many of them may have been eligible for unemployment.

In any case, they didn’t have money at risk like entrepreneurs do.

The number rarely discussed

Well said! However, it also highlights what we often ignore when we cite statistics about the failure rate of startups:

Some of the startup entrepreneurs may have ceased operations for a better opportunity – as an employee or an entrepreneur.

And then there’s the statistic we haven’t talked about yet. In fact, almost no one ever talks about it. Its source is the same as the 90% statistic mentioned earlier.

Only 9% of startups cease operations with unpaid obligations, on average.

Few entrepreneurs actually walk away owing money. They may have lost what they invested. However, no one else did. Suddenly, entrepreneuring doesn’t sound quite as risky as we are led to believe by popular lore

Freedom or security is the age old argument. It turns out there are risks in both employment and entrepreneuring. Successful entrepreneurs are masters at risk mitigation.

You can reduce the risk of leaving your job with a little advance preparation. Test yourself against these 10 signs you’re ready to quit your job and start a business. And check out The Entrepreneur Equation by the amazing Carol Roth.

Image in this post from nosheep

From One Job a Week to the Career for Life

One_Week_Job_ProjectWe were excited to have a repeat guest on our show today. Sean Aiken wasn’t able to hold a job for more than a week for a whole year … because he wanted it that way! Now he’s made a career for life.

52 jobs in 52 weeks is quite an accomplishment. We talked with Sean back in July 2008, shortly after he had completed that phase of his project. Now he’s documented the whole thing in a recently released book and film about the project.

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George KruegerI’d say you’ve been busy since we last talked.

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Sean AikenI’ve been extremely busy. After I finished the 52 weeks, it was time to sit down and put what I learned on paper. When I was out on the road, in a different job each week, it was tough to take a step back and think about what I was taking away from the experience. I really enjoyed the writing process and being able to put things in perspective.

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Mary-Lynn FosterFor our audience members who are new to you and this one week job process, you did everything from park ranger to radio DJ – which I always like because I did that, too. And it all culminated in being the mayor!

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Sean AikenYeah, everything from fashion buyer in Manhatten to firefighter in Florida, baker in Brooklyn, cowboy in Wyoming, astronomer in Hawaii, advertising executive, stock trader … right across the board!

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George KruegerSean, what sparked this whole crazy idea?

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Sean AikenIt goes back to my final year in college. I was on the cusp of graduation realizing that I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career for life. My dad said, “It doesn’t matter what you do. Just make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about.” It made me think about how many people are in the same situation, same job – 20, 30 or 40 years like my dad – and they don’t necessarily enjoy what they’re doing. So I made a promise to myself that I’d find something I was passionate about. I came up with the idea to start the one week job project as a way of seeing what I like and don’t like in a job and what I need in a career to be happy.

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What we love about this is you created the platform with the web site to chronicle this. You’ve turned it into a book and a documentary film. And you’ve also turned this into a business. Can you share a little bit about that?

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Sean AikenThe book advance helped me afford to write it. I’m also doing talks at high schools, colleges and companies. Then we just started a program which allows other people to have a similar experience to what I did. We’re sending people out on the road this summer to perform eight different one-week jobs.

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Mary-Lynn FosterSo you’ve turned this into a career for life! And again, you’re filtering that through your web site so you’ll chronicle that.

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Sean AikenExactly. The idea is that it builds a movement – so it’s not just me. It’s that online community with our web site. People can follow the progress of other people doing one-week jobs.

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George KruegerAlong the way, you’ve gotten a lot of press. But you’ve also faced some criticism. I noticed Ian – the director and producer of your documentary – did a post on your blog about a month or so ago about a person who had replied to your interview in Globe and Mail. This person said that you represent all that’s wrong with young people. How do you respond to that?

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Sean AikenIt’s definitely a cynical view. It’s almost a mindset: “Hey, I’m unhappy in my job. Who do you think you are to come in here and try to be happy in your career? Work is supposed to be hard. You’re not supposed to enjoy it.” I think it’s a misconception of a younger generation – they’re lazy and unwilling to do the hard work to get where they want to go. It doesn’t have anything to do with being lazy. We have higher expectations of the work force. When you’re looking for something that matches your skill sets but also your passions and values, it becomes more difficult, especially in today’s economy.

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George KruegerOne of the great lessons there, too, is that if you’re doing something of any significance, some people are going to criticize you.

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Mary-Lynn FosterI can’t imagine why anybody would say you’re being lazy. I mean 52 jobs in 52 weeks … you were able to keep that going. It’s one thing to have the concept; it’s another thing to make it happen. And you did!

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George KruegerYeah, many of us have these crazy ideas. But you have to figure out a way to actually put it into action.

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In this process, Sean has discovered his passion, and found a career for life. We highly recommend that you read the book to find out what it is!

Thanks Sean for sharing your time and wisdom with all of us!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | Podcast:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00595-061010.mp3

(Image in today’s post from One Week Job)

Engage Your Employees in 10 Syllables

0-building-blocksResearch shows it. We know it.

Engaged employees are more productive. Productive employees help us grow sales faster than costs. Therefore, engaged employees are key to increasing your bottom line.

How’s that for a logic exercise?

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Let’s discuss four words – which all begin with the letter “C” – that will help you engage your employees in ten syllables:

First, a one syllable word: Care
Really and truly care about your employees – not as workers, as people.

Throw the old adage about mixing business and friendship out the door. That’s yesterday’s mindset. For every time it bites you in the butt, there will be many times when it serves you well.

Let your people get to know you. Get to know your people individually, personally and professionally.

We work harder for people we like. We like people who care about us.

So genuinely caring creates a competitive advantage. Isn’t that something? It happens spontaneously, though. It’s not something that can be forced.

Second, a two syllable word: Converse

Talk with your employees. Find out what is going well and what isn’t. Discover what would help them do their jobs better.

We believe in open book management. However we don’t believe that you have to tell all of your employees all the details. Be positively real.

Leaders have more on their plate than ever. Everybody is trying to do more with less. But don’t neglect your people.

Get out from behind your desk a few times a day. Walk around. Spend some time chatting with your people. It’s probably the most productive thing you can do.

Conversation creates concord. Listening is one way to show your people you care. Many people assume the worst. Keeping them informed tames the beast.

Third, a three syllable word: Celebrate!
Our news media thrives on bad news. Do the opposite. Make a bigg deal of good news. Celebrate! Whenever your team does something spectacular, pause and enjoy the moment.

There’s an old management technique called management by exception. Try this instead – manage for exceptional. Highlight people on your team who have done something outstanding.

Share the credit liberally. It’s a rookie mistake to do otherwise. There’s almost nothing you can do to engage your employees that goes as far as a genuine “atta boy” or “atta girl”.

Celebration encourages continuation. It’s fun to play for a winning team. We can’t wait for the next game, for the next opportunity to show what we can do. We look forward to the next victory. So we can celebrate again!

Fourth, a four syllable word: Collaborate

Michael Jordan said it best: “Talent wins games; teamwork wins championships.”

Encourage your people to share their ideas. It will make your life as a leader much easier.

Great leaders make decisions but the best answers often come from their people. Your employees will be more engaged when they see their ideas being adopted. That leads to bigg success!

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Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for the gift of your time today. Please join us next time when we ask, “Are you a volcano waiting to erupt?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00497-100909.mp3

Related posts

Engaging Your Employees

Artificial Dissemination – A Tool for Bigg Success

spinToday we’ll wrap up our discussion about artificial dissemination. Last time, we talked about three dangers of misstatements and exaggerations.

There’s another side to artificial dissemination. It can also be a tool if used carefully and properly. We’ll look at two ways to do that.

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Honest vs. Kind

Sometimes we face a battle. It’s not a battle between good and evil. It’s a battle between two competing forces for good. Should we be honest? Or should we be kind?

Picture this … your best friend just had a baby. He’s so proud that the buttons on his shirt are popping. He takes you to see the little guy. Now, the little guy is the ugliest baby you’ve ever seen. He’s so ugly you’re not even sure he’s human!

So your friend turns to you and says, “Isn’t he the best looking baby you’ve ever seen?”

Panic sets in. What do you say? Beads of sweat start forming on your forehead. Do you tell the truth? Or should you be nice?

Artificial dissemination can be used as a tool for kindness.

Authentic vs. “Fake it until you make it”

Now we want to talk about telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

That’s another battle which we must fight every day. We often hear that we should be authentic. Yet we also hear people say that you have to “fake it until you make it.”

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george I’m authentic every day … when I first get up. If I wanted to be authentic, I would never shave!

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marylynn
I wouldn’t wear any make-up!

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It is important to be true to yourself. People can spot a fake. But “fake it until you make it” doesn’t necessarily mean being someone you’re not.

Artificial dissemination can be a tool for casting yourself in the best light.

We’ve talked before about the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride. But people like to do business with successful people. When you’re at the bottom of the ride, you don’t have to tell the world. Just confide in a few close friends or trusted advisors and project an image of success to the rest of the world.

The whole world doesn’t have to know the whole truth. In many cases, with most people, part of the truth will suffice just fine! You’re not on the witness stand for crying out loud!

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marylynnI think with social media we sometimes broadcast things about ourselves, not remembering that hundreds or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people are going to see it.

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george
You have to manage your reputation just like companies manage their reputations.

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marylynnI remember seeing a tweet from a person I follow. She had just lost her job. I don’t remember what she said, but it was something that would have been better left unsaid.

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george The stories you tell about yourself shouldn’t be fiction. But occasionally, you may think of them as part of a docudrama. You can put a positive spin on things. Sometimes that leads to bigg success!

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Authentic or fake it until you make it. Where do you come down in the debate? Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks so much for reading our post today.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Please join us next time when we’ll discuss a surprising thing that others expect from you. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00444-072309.mp3

Related posts

Artificial Dissemination – 3 Dangers

How Honest Should You be with Your Employees?

Social Networking – The Line Between Work and Play

Relationship Building Blocks

(Image in today's post by clix)