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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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.

 

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! 💪

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.

Should Everyone Be an Entrepreneur?

I worked a 15-hour day the other day with almost non-stop meetings, phone-calls, and regular laptop/smartphone detailed work from 9 am until midnight. Even when attempting to eat or try to catch my breath for a minute, I’d be interrupted. Now, I’ll admit that is pretty exceptional rather than the rule for me right now. I usually work normal 7-10 hours.

However, I had a realization that the busier my business gets, the more days like that I’m going to have.

The good news?

I LOVE it. ❤️ 😃

Sure, it will be necessary to wake up insanely early and require creativity to make time for other things. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Why? Because I value the freedom of determining my own destiny and not answering to a boss over normal hours and a steady paycheck.

If you think you want to be an entrepreneur, understand the trade-offs. You may be happy as an entrepreneur/business owner, but you may be miserable. You may love being employed in a job you love where you feel that your skills and talents are valued, but you’re not responsible for the whole organization or aspects you don’t like. Or, you may prize autonomy over all like I do. It’s up to you. It takes honest thought and self-reflection and trying things to know. Nobody can tell you which is best for you.

A New Bill May Hurt Entrepreneurs and Startups in NYC

This week, I came across the following article about a bill that would make it illegal for bosses in New York City to contact employees after work hours.

https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/a-new-bill-would-make-it-illegal-for-nyc-bosses-to-contact-employees-after-work-hours-032218

Following the example of France and several European countries that implemented a similar measure, this bill seeks to help workers in NYC retain a sense of work-life balance that is more difficult to maintain in the age of digital communication.

I think such a bill would be both unnecessary and potentially harmful.

First of all, an email does not require an immediate response and if your boss is so abusive and disrespectful that he/she does expect you to respond immediately at all hours of the night OR it’s the type of job that necessitates being on-call and you’re unhappy, then find a new place to work. It’s that simple.

Secondly, it’s up to YOU to set boundaries or know what kind of job or culture it’s going to be before you start a new job. If that’s not a job you can handle, keep an eye out for new opportunities. 

Finally, NYC is a working city. It’s a different lifestyle than that of Europe or many other places. Neither is good or bad. Just different. A law like this may rob NYC and the United States of its entrepreneurial spirit and the hustle mentality that makes it so vibrant and alive.

While the idealistic sentiments behind this bill are well-intentioned and I don’t support offending employers in the slightest, making it a punishable offense to email after hours could hurt business owners and employees alike.

There is no reason to legislate such a measure, especially when every job is different and messages/emails, unlike phone-calls, can always be responded to later. The nuances of each career must be taken into account.

Anyway, I don’t think this bill will pass.