Dealing with the Pressure

So busy lately.

I feel like my startup is in crunch mode.

New accounts, keeping the ones that are still a fit, people joining the team, and steadily building momentum.

But the pressure to deliver builds.

The growth is good, but anything can happen. No time to rest. One piece could be moved and threaten to topple what has been built.

So, I keep my head down. Focused on what’s in front of me. Even if that means you don’t hear from me as much for a while or I share with you at odd times.

We’ve reached a critical phase in our first year and we’re determined to prove ourselves and win respect in the market.

Where are you in your career or business? What steps are you taking to continue your personal or professional growth?

Please let me know in the comments!

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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. ☕️

 

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.

 

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.

Riding the Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship

Expect the unexpected. That old phrase rings especially true for entrepreneurs. 🛎

One day things are cruising. 🚢 The next, you may be in crisis mode. And then the next moment you may experience unprecedented levels of growth! 📈

Yesterday morning: Closed a new deal and followed up with two leads.

This afternoon: One client still deciding if they are staying or going. Signed a renewal with a current client.📝

This morning: Lost an account and gained a new one in the span of an hour.

Some leads take months of negotiation and nothing happens. At other times, I’ll receive a message or phone call out of the blue and we start right away. 📱 Sure, some will insist on the importance of process and develop a system to minimize the unpredictability. And I’m certainly a fan of having a process. But, at the end of the day, business is business and in the real world 🌎 , not everything can be reduced to a neat little academic formulaic system.

This line of work is certainly not for the faint of heart ❤️ who enjoy stability and predictability. For those who don’t mind or even enjoy the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, it’s the ride of a lifetime. 🎢 😀 #entrepreneurship

Why I Love Being an Entrepreneur

There are a lot of things I love about being an entrepreneur launching a burgeoning business. Are there drawbacks? Sure. Every job has those. But on the whole, very happy and feel super blessed to be able to do what I’m doing and have the freedom even when things can be uncertain.

One thing I enjoy is the rush of closing a new deal. Sitting on the crowded NY subway this morning, I’m filled with excitement. Excitement at the possibility I may leave this meaning with some money in my hand. A lot? No, not so much. But, while money is necessary and important, I’m thrilled more by the chase. The pursuit. The idea of getting my foot in the door and being able to show a new client what we’re made of.

The fad of entrepreneurship with its focus on big exits and raising capital is so not my scene. I love those entrepreneurs with that hungry hustler spirit who think practically and bide their time, working tirelessly but taking pride in the little accomplishments and small steps along the way to success.

Branding is Telling Your Story

A storyteller.

That’s what I am.

That’s what I’ll always be.

I didn’t choose that role. It’s something I was born into.

Long before the word, “storyteller,” became a buzzword and way before the whole “marketers are storytellers” thing became a cliche, I was telling stories. Whether it was making up games and writing short stories and manuscripts as a kid or creating content for brands and communicating their message, it’s all from that same place.

While writing is my primary passion, and it may be yours as well, there are many ways to tell a story — Film, pictures, audio etc. We’re living in a time where content creation and distribution is democratized and cheaper and easier than ever before. That also means there’s more competition. But if you’re talented and you’re persistent, and you pay attention to the needs of your audience, you’ll break out of the noise.

So, start that podcast or that blog or that vlog or whatever suits your communication style and start communicating your story — your truth. When you tell a story that has people’s attention, countless opportunities will open up for you in life and in business.

Building a brand is ultimately what will help you differentiate and stand out in a crowded market.