I just finished reading High-Hanging Fruit, the story of how Mark Rampolla started ZICO Coconut Water and turned it into a multi-million dollar company, eventually selling it to Coca-Cola. The part of the story that fascinated me was how Mark and his wife went through a process of reflecting about and clarifying their calling before coming up with this business idea. A move that proved to be foundational in their tumultuous 10-year journey to making millions of dollars. Continue reading
There’s a certain type of person that rubs me the wrong way: the arrogant jerk who is full of himself (I say him, because it’s usually a guy, though women are not immune from this attitude). Every now and then I come across a jerk and talking to him makes me angry. I used to dismiss everything a jerk says, but a few years ago I discovered that even jerks can give good advice.
My daughter started kindergarten a few months ago, and I usually take her to school in the morning. Most mornings we make it school just in time. I feel like I have to constantly keep my daughter focused and moving in the morning so we can make it. I started saying, “Put your hurry pants on,” which seems to work in getting my daughter to go faster. But upon reflection, I decided I didn’t want my daughter to hurry, but I did want her to move quickly. There’s a difference, but it’s a fine line between the two. My approach to my work is the same: I want to work quickly but I do not want to hurry.
Yesterday evening I came across the story of Estella Pyfrom and was deeply inspired. Estella is 80-years old and is boldly and courageously living out her calling into her retirement. 8 years ago she took part of her retirement money to start a new venture called Estella’s Brilliant Bus. She bought a bus, filled it with computers, and drove it to poor neighbourhoods to train underprivileged children to use technology.
A short summer sabbatical has been in the works ever since my wife and I took a month off 5 years ago (when we were 30 years old). The experience was very valuable and formative for both of us, so we decided to do it again. This summer we are each taking a month off to rest. My wife just finished her 4 weeks off (she writes about her experience of taking a Sabbatical as a mother of two young children on our personal blog), and I’ve just started mine.
One activity that is restful for me is reading. My 4 weeks off will be filled with extra sleep (read: naps), reflection, writing, and lots of reading (oh, and I also plan to play some Pokemon Go).
In the fall of 2012 I quit my job to become an entrepreneur. My first business was a blog about marriage and parenting that I ran with my wife. In terms of impact, it was a success (it is still being read by 100,000 people per year). In terms of being a profitable business, it was a failure. My second business was a marketing company. Thankfully, we’re in our third year of business and continue to be growing. Life as an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. It’s not for everyone. But more and more people are considering this route. A recent Forbes article estimates that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be self-employed. For anyone that is considering becoming an entrepreneur, I hope this list of pros and cons will be helpful in your decision making process.
Last weekend I attended the funeral of the father of my good friend. The church was packed with hundreds and hundreds of people. It may sound odd, but I find attending funerals to be very meaningful. This was a difficult time for my friend, as he was very close to his father. I felt that it was important to be at the funeral to support my friend. But from a selfish point of view, attending the funeral gave me a chance to reflect on death. Thinking about death has helped me to improve my business and my life. Here’s why.
Almost every small business owner and freelancer I talk to wants to grow their business. Growth doesn’t always mean more money. Growth could mean more profits. Growth could mean less work while keeping your revenues stable. Growth could mean more ideal customers and less non-ideal customers. That’s why I sometimes describe what we do at Coracle Marketing as helping small business owners “grow the way they want.” Every person has a different vision of how they want to grow their business. But whatever your definition of growth is, there are three main ways to achieve this.
Last week I completed the SLAP Boot Camp (valued at $200), a course put on by Silver Lining to help small business owners grow. My friend Carissa Reiniger is the CEO of Silver Lining and developed the SLAP Methodology which has been used by over 10,000 small businesses to grow. When she first started the company 9 years ago, she interviewed 400 small business owners to find out their biggest challenge. Through the interviews she found a common theme which she calls “The Cashflow/Capacity Catch-22”.
Last week I met with an entrepreneur, a bright young woman who was well connected, well educated, and had lots of potential in front of her. The problem was, she wasn’t making much money. The reason wasn’t because of a lack of opportunity. She had a lineup of people meeting with her to pitch her ideas and work with her. The reason was a lack of focus. Wanting to help, I gave her this advice: Clarify your calling and then figure out how you can live that out through your business.