Entrepreneurs: Don’t Forget to Dream

It’s starting to dawn on me. 🌅

If I want ZEV Media to be successful — no, if I want to be successful — then I need a North Star. ⭐️

Normally, I don’t like to get too “Zen” 🧘‍♂️ or philosophical, but I realize now that I need a clearer picture of my what I want. I must pursue dreams far greater than the sum of my business goals. 🥅

I’ve heard it said that if your motivation is money, you’ll make a little money. But if your motivation is something greater than money, you’ll probably get a whole lot more. 💰

My primary motivation is not big money. I’m driven by the idea of building something greater than myself that impacts others positively and allows me to live life on my own terms. 💪

I’m more motivated by freedom than I am by money. 🇺🇸

However, even that is not enough. While this may sound crazy, I think that simply wanting my business to grow and succeed is still thinking too small. 🤔

No, it’s time to reach for the stars. ☁️ ✨ Beyond the stars actually, and to get back in touch with my greater purpose and overall vision of the life I want to lead and the legacy I wish to leave behind.

It’s time for higher level thinking. Often, we #entrepreneurs get so wrapped up in the day-to-day — the meetings, the calls 📱 , the deadlines, the sales, the clients/customers, that we forget to pause, step back, and look at the bigger picture.

Business is business, but don’t think for a second that it’s never personal. ❤️

Entrepreneurship is a deeply personal game. It will force you to get more in touch with who you are and face yourself in an open, vulnerable, honest and often uncomfortable way.

Sure, you’ve got to spend most of your time quantitatively on keeping your clients and customers happy, especially in the beginning.

Don’t get distracted with fantasies of exits or things you’re going to buy some day or ideas for second and third businesses. There is time for that, but there are urgent and important matters at hand right now.

Still, make time to dream. 💭 To fantasize just a little. To step back, dig deep, soul search, and maintain perspective on what matters to you in life. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe doing this now and then will help you truly reach your potential and make you an even better #entrepreneur. ☕️

 

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How Do You Do Social Media Marketing for a Boring Business?

What do you do when your business or your client doesn’t have a “story” or anything interesting to share on their blog or social media?

“We sell garbage bags. What are we supposed to talk about?” “Nothing exciting happens here.”

Sure, you understand that stories sell. But, how do you story-tell when you’re in a “boring” business? How do you turn people on when your business isn’t sexy? 💋

My advice:

Go beyond WHAT you do when creating content on social. When coming up with content to share on social media, dig deeper into your WHY — the reason you exist, the problems you solve, and the role you fulfill in the lives of others. 🤔

And, then expand beyond what it is you do for a living. Because the truth is we’re all short on time and attention spans. Your target audience doesn’t want to hear only about you, your industry, or what you do.

They’re interested in themselves and the things they care about.

So, when crafting content, you don’t have to make it all about your business, product, or service.

In fact, you should focus primarily on what will educate, inspire, or entertain the audience. That will give you the attention equity you need before you can ever hope to generate a lead or make a sale. 🌈

It can be as simple as sharing an article about something relevant to your audience and featuring your take on it in the caption.

It might be simple tips, pieces of advice, or short funny clips that relate to your audience’s pain points. 🎥

Your blog, social pages, vlog, or podcast can be the trade journal, TV show, or radio show of your industry. 📺

Regarding the example above, you can feature content that highlights neighborhood heroes who are cleaning up their communities.

Think outside the box and have some fun with it! 😀

Staying Organized and on Top of Your Life as an Entrepreneur

So it’s a gray semi-rainy Sunday. 🌧 No big plans today. Just using this day to catch up. And, I don’t even mean on content creation or client work. Sure, I did a little of that. I have to! But, I mean simple things (which I often put off and dislike) such as errands, laundry, cleaning, and online orders for the home.

As a single guy, these things aren’t hard to do. Nonetheless, I have to be very self motivated to do them! 😄 And, as an #entrepreneur with ADHD, I find such tasks difficult and tedious. However, I go into hyperfocus when it comes to my work because I enjoy it. 🤓 But, the simple and mundane boring tasks of everyday life? Pretty unenthused.

Still, I get a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment knocking out every single task on my checklist 📝 — cleaning the bathroom from top to bottom, sweeping up, laundry, getting things I need, etc.

Being neat and organized and decluttering is not part of my career, but it is a part of life. The feeling afterward is gratifying and allows me to think creatively and perform even better at the things I actually enjoy and do for a living.

Do you have any tips for organization or making everyday chores a little more enjoyable? Suggestions are welcome!

 

Are You Thinking About Short-term Cash or Long-term Legacy?

The other day, a client asked us to do something that requires a bit extra effort and time on our part than is required by our arrangement.

“How much will it cost?” he asked. I was a bit surprised.

Until this moment, I hadn’t even thought to charge him extra for this service. “No extra charge at all!” I told him happily.

Thinking about it the next day, I realized that some people might have used that experience as an opportunity to make a little extra easy money. 💰 And, yet here I was feeling so great that I was able to tell him that it was no charge.

I realized that I genuinely feel happier providing value by giving the client a little surprise and delight than I do getting some quick cash. Obviously, we need to make a living and provide for ourselves and our families. I don’t work for free or on the cheap. But, I’m focused on the long-term. I strive to build positive values and long-term thinking into my company. Now, I don’t expect that this client will necessarily stay with us or refer us or even give us a good review, because of this event. But, I do think by doing good and putting out good into the world, we will earn a reputation and a legacy which will pay off greatly in the future.

 

Entrepreneurship Requires Flexibility

Rigidity has no place in business. Especially not for startups and new entrepreneurs. There is often a gap between the projects and accounts we want and the projects and accounts we actually get. At least in the beginning. And, that’s ok.

I think too many people are married to process and formulas. They want their “ideal” clients, but overlook too many of the prospects that come their way, only wanting to take on projects or accounts with big budgets and lots of breathing room that will allow them to flex their muscle, test their thesis, apply all the “theory” that they know so they can create their dream portfolio. If only real life was like that!

The real world is nothing like the classroom. By no means should you compromise your ethical or professional integrity. However, I believe that you should be flexible and open to potential opportunities that may not seem so “sexy” to you, but can help you build and solidify your place in the market.

4 Tips to Help You Manage and Delegate — Crucial for Entrepreneurs

There is a big difference between doing and managing. I’ve freelanced as a content writer for over 5 years and now I’m getting my first taste of managing others.

Currently, I’m managing a small team of three, which includes another writer, as well as a social media marketer and a Facebook ads specialist.

Mastering the skill of delegating is crucial to being able to scale and grow a business. It’s scary to relinquish control and allow someone else to do something you usually do yourself, but it’s something you must to do if you want to get to the next level and not remain a solopreneur.

So far, I’ve learned a few things that can help:

1) Spoon-feed. Something may be obvious to you but not to the person you hired. Prepare notes for them, communicate clearly, and give them everything they need to succeed.

2) Don’t micromanage. Resist the urge to hover and nitpick. Even if you think you can do a better job (you probably can), you need to give them breathing room to thrive.

3) Empathize. Put yourself in their shoes. Maybe you’ve been on the other side of the table (I have). Understand their needs for direction. Pay fairly and on time. Be kind.

4) Make peace with disappointment. Consider yourself lucky if they get it right on the first try. If they don’t, you likely didn’t communicate clearly. Have patience and be willing to help.

Entrepreneurial Self Care: Don’t Sacrifice Health for the Wealth

I think in the entrepreneur/business world, hustle is often promoted even at the expense of taking good care of health. As if you’re going to be more on your game when sleep deprived, eating fried greasy food, and out of shape? I don’t buy into this myth and I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we know we can’t be as productive when we neglect health.

In the case of someone like myself who has a lot of restless, creative energy, but is given to distraction, exercise and eating healthy isn’t a luxury I can worry about once I’ve “made it.” It directly correlates with my mood and my performance at work.

My mind and my ability to problem solve is infinitely better when I’m physically active. This is one reason that I recently built myself a standing desk. And I work increasingly more on my phone.

The old days of making excuses for sitting around because I work in digital are obsolete.

I sit here typing this post on the locker room bench in the gym inspired and fueled by endorphins after a workout which followed a busy morning of prospecting on LinkedIn DM, follow up calls, and closing a new client.

No doubt in mind, this will power me through the rest of the day. This is the BEST way to start the morning and the week! 💪