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You Can Change Your LifeClay Hebert

Or at least that’s what Clay Hebert did.

In 2008, Clay was at a crossroads.  Should he continue to work for Accenture, where he had a guaranteed salary and could easily move up the ladder?  Or should he branch off on his own path, a path completely uncertain and paved with obstacles and possible failure points.

It turns out serendipity was on his side: it just so happened that as Clay began soul-searching, he noticed a blog post by Seth Godin titled ‘If You Could Change Your Life’…

Would you?

And for Clay, the answer was yes.

Starting From Scratch

After the 6 month intensive MBA program, Clay went straight into bootstrapping his first business: Tribes Win.

At Tribes Win, Clay worked with a plethora of clientele, from entrepreneurs to authors, and helped them build their Tribes.

After the success with Tribes Win, Clay moved onto bootstrapping two more companies: Workhacks.com and Spindows.com

Both businesses have the chance to redefine their genres (and yes, you should check them out).

Things we talk about:

Spindows

  • The fear of walking away from a guarantee into the unknown
  • How to overcome fear
  • The difference between Freelancer and Entrepreneur (and why it’s crucial you know the difference)
  • “Product Market Fit” – and why you need to use it, whether you’re a writer or an entrepreneur
  • The power of the lean startup versus conventional business development
  • Why you should TEST and VALIDATE your business before you jump into your next venture
  • How to multi-task like a ninja…but also why it’s not recommended for most people!

Quotes to Live by From the Interview:

“Don’t start by building, start by validating.” (tweeeeet!)

“Get out of the building and talk to actual customers.” (tweet it!)

Socialize:

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Additional Show Notes:

Crush It

Hugh Mcleod

Spindows

Purple Cow

Tribes Win

Work Hacks

The Lean Startup

Launch Rock

Skillshare

Re-Route to What?2 Days with Seth Godin

This past weekend, while I was finishing up my new book, I had a Community seasons 1-3 marathon playing in the background (some of the best writing on TV, bar none).

There are so many great lines from the show, but one scene had me in tears of laughter, followed by some really deep thought on the choices we make in life (don’t worry, I’ll explain).

In this episode, Greendale (the community college the protagonists attend) is competing with a neighboring community college to be the first community college to simulate a moon landing.

After a series of ridiculous events, the main characters end up stuck inside a Kentucky Fried Chicken RV Moon Landing Simulator (I said it was ridiculous).

The only way to get out of the simulator is to successfully fake land on the moon.

But there’s a problem: the group of protagonists caught in the simulator have no idea how to use it.  The only person who can help them is their friend outside of the simulator: Abed.  Abed proceeds to lead a group of students to coordinate the fake moon landing before the competing school does– it’s a race against time and every second counts.

At one point, Chang, their ex-Spanish professor, races up to Abed holding a piece of equipment in his hands:

Chang: I worked out a way for them to reroute the power from the auxiliary battery!

Abed: Reroute to what?

*Chang silently walks backwards out of the room

Life and Choices

aintgotnogrammar: Señor Chang: I’ve worked out a way for them to re-route the power from the auxiliary battery! Abed: Re-route to what?

In a lot of ways, life is a lot like this scene.

The only problem is we’re usually playing the part of Chang…

Life throws us into a situation and we need to figure out how to get through it unscathed.

But instead of working on the important things – the things that will actually fix the problem or complete the mission – we put our time and effort into the things that are ultimately inconsequential to our project.

I was speaking with an aspiring writer the other day.  I asked him how his book was coming.

He told me it’s been really hard.  It’s taken him way longer than he expected.

I told him that’s normal – it takes time.  I asked him how much time he put toward writing this week.

None.

But he did find some great logo designers online for cheap.

Just last week, I was on the phone with an aspiring entrepreneur friend of mine.

As an entrepreneur, your main job is making sales.  If you’re not selling, you’re not really an entrepreneur.  My friend knows this.

I asked him how many sales calls he made, and how many people he’s spoken to about buying his product.

None. 

But he did find a cool plugin that adds social media buttons to all of his pages.

Another person I know picked my brain about entrepreneurship and starting a business.

He was interested in starting a carwash.  I thought it was a great idea – carwashes can make some really great money in the right areas.  After talking conceptually about it for some time, I gave him some pointers for where to start (identify cashflowing carwashes; figure out their business model; copy it).

He told me my tips were great and they’ll come in handy after he goes to business school.

These are just a few examples from my own experience.  There are many more like this.

Isn’t it clear what the problem is?

The Simple Solution

Is to stop hiding and start doing the hard work.

Whatever it is you want to do – write a book, build a business, create or break a habit – isn’t it glaringly obvious that you already have all the tools you need to begin right now?

The answer isn’t a logo designer – it’s you sitting down to write your book.  The answer isn’t a plugin to get people to your facebook account – it’s you selling your product.  The answer isn’t business school – it’s you hustling to figure it out.

Seth Godin opened up the Revolution conference back in 2012 with this thought: everybody is so worried about getting their ducks lined up in a row that they spend all their time lining up their ducks…

Well here’s the truth – you already have your ducks, and they’re already lined up.

So now what are you going to do?

Start Doing the Hard Work

This isn’t a sparring match – this is the main event.

Like AJ Leon says: this is your one and only life.

How are you going to live that life?

You can continue to prepare to live the life you intend to live, you can spend your time getting your ducks lined up in a row, and you can put all your effort into rerouting the power from the auxiliary battery…

Or you can start living the life you choose this instant.

Want to write a book?  Sit down and write.  Want to be an entrepreneur?  Start selling.  Want to start a brick and mortar business?  Validate your business model and get hustling.

Yes, that means doing the hard work – now, not later – but it doesn’t happen any other way.

And why would we want it to?

Good luck, and keep creating.

[Don't fight your inner creative battle alone - Join the Resistance]

Photo credit: imelenchon from morguefile.com

Preparing for Opportunity

Time is not a luxury we have.

I wish it was.  And I wish I could get more on demand.

If I had an extra 36 hours a day, I would have time to read all the books I want to read, study all the materials I want to study, and write all the pages I want to write (and, for once, get enough sleep).

But I don’t have an extra 36 hours.  Neither do you.

Instead, we each have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

We are at the mercy of the finite.

And in those finite hours, you have a choice: you have the choice to start – you also have the choice not to.

But I’ll say this: unless you start (even if you think you’re not ready) you’ll never be prepared.  And unless you prepare opportunity WILL pass you by.

Luck or Choice

This doesn’t have to be a big deal, of course.  You may prefer to relax, live in the moment, and take your time.  After a long day at the office, we all deserve to unwind and watch a couple hours of tv…

And maybe the weekends are your only days off; the only time you can truly unwind, so why NOT treat yourself?  Maybe you even had a great year – hit record numbers or worked enough hours to secure a bigger bonus.  You deserve to rest…

And those hours you deserve to rest will add up to days, those days to weeks, and those weeks to years…

And in a few years, you’ll come across an article for a writer who self-published a book and sold over a million copies, or you’ll read about a start-up making millions from an IPO, or you’ll hear about investors hitting it big thanks to well-timed real estate purchases…and you might think to yourself – well those people, they had it different.  They had a certain education, or a certain upbringing, or a certain network of people that got them to where they are today…

But they didn’t.

They had 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

But instead of taking a break, they spent those hours struggling, sweating and working

Those hours that you spent unwinding, they spent creating.

The hours you rested, they toiled.

The days you relaxed, they hustled.

And along the way, they suffered, and fell, and failed a thousand times more than you.

It wasn’t pretty while they were in the thick of it – they didn’t know how it would work out – but they set about doing it regardless.

No, they were not randomly fortunate; they were disciplined and particular and focused.

A Single Opportunity

There is an opportunity presented to you – to ALL of us – every day.

It’s the opportunity to start the next project, to finish building something great, or to ship that silly thing that might not work.

And the truth is just that: it won’t always work. 

Things will break and it might take you years to hit your tipping point.

But if you never start, finish, or ship, you will never be prepared – and opportunity will laugh at you from the rear view mirror.

And that is the only way to truly fail.

So start now.

Be bold.

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