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You probably heard the term “spirit of the entrepreneur” uttered from time to time – as I have – in an attempt to define a certain characteristic of an individual. The independent, creative, professional type who relies solely on his/her skills to carve out a special niche and make a life for him/herself without having to rely on someone (a boss) or something (the government) to provide it.
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The entrepreneur and the independent contractor (known also as commission sales persons in some circles) share many qualities and tendencies. Both take certain risks by foregoing a salary and opt for compensation based solely on their own performance. Both are relatively independent; and both are creative in their own uniquely special way. Having been a commission salesman for most of my adult life probably explains my respect for entrepreneurs and captivation of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Hi, I’m Tony from New Jersey USA. My background is in professional sales with a big chunk (32 years) devoted to real estate sales as a sales associate and broker, mortgage broker and mortgage lending services. Please see my profile page for more background information.
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In discussing entrepreneurship and writing articles on the subject, it seems logical to me – or sensible anyway – to begin the discussion by agreeing on exactly what the word or term means to us as participants in the discussion.
Entrepreneurship is the process of creating or seizing an opportunity, and pursuing it…Read more!
Part of that Web experience I referred to earlier is contacts made and relationships formed with other marketing professionals. One such professional is copywriter John Forde of the Copywriter’s Roundtable who sent me a recent article which I found insightful, motivational (especially in a New Year), and humorous.
Here’s an excerpt from that article titled, How To Reinvent Yourself. I hope you get as much enjoyment and insight from it as I did:
Lots of people just seem like they were born great. I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about. From leaving the hospital nursery ward to ovations and tears from the nurses… and graduating summa cum laude from kindergarten…
To catching their own touchdown passes on the playground… papering bird cages with scholarship offers from the Ivy Leagues… and making billion
dollar fortunes selling widgets they dreamed up one morning in the shower. The threads of their very DNA are 24 carat gold fiber… they wrote, direct, and star in their own biopics… and ‘getting the girl?’
Forget about it. The girls get them instead, as buxom beauties with trust funds and graduate degrees line up to be counted. These are the greats. The blessed. The destined that history long awaited and whose legends will be whispered generations hence, into the ears of children.
And then there’s you. The sad sack whose dropped toast has always hit the ground butter-side down. You, who gulped air at the genetic pool, got dealt a deck of all jokers, and whose mouth-spoon is plastic not silver. The girl? She laughs at you. What’s the point of trying, you’ve asked. And a wind echoes back, ‘there isn’t one.’ You haven’t even two sticks to rub together, and even if you did, they would both have short ends.
You’d crawl under a rock and eat mud for breakfast, if you could, but even the bugs won’t have you. I know what you’re thinking…”Hey, wait a minute, you flaming SOB of an e-letter writer — I’m not THAT bad off!” To which I reply…
“MY POINT EXACTLY.”
You’d sock a stranger in the mouth for talking about you like that. So why tolerate it when it’s you kicking at yourself, hobnail boots and all? Point being, you’re probably neither as great or the failure you think you are. And in either case, there’s always an opportunity to change something for the better.
Mike was cut from his high-school basketball team before he became Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time. Steve got stuck in a learning-disabled class back in junior high school, before he dropped out. But he still grew up to be Steven Spielberg, history’s most financially successful film director.
And I’m sure you’ve heard about N.J. Baker. Talent agents told her she’d be better of as a secretary. She decided to go on to be Marilyn Monroe instead.
Or how about Jerry, who froze up his first night on stage and couldn’t talk, but went on to become Jerry Seinfeld anyway — now worth over $800 million and climbing. All floundered before they flew.
And I’m just getting started.
Then you’ve also got Mozart and Elvis, the Beatles and Beethoven, Babe Ruth, Dr. Seuss, Monet, Stephen King, Charlie Chaplin, and Fred Astaire… Not to mention, Harrison Ford, Harry Truman, the Wright Brothers, and Sidney Poitier…
As well as Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Oliver Stone, and Winston Churchill. The list goes on and on. And on.
If you’ve read any “success” book of the last twenty years (and surely longer), I’m sure you already know that true greats learn to shrug off and even learn from failure. Failure is the key to experimentation. And experimentation is the key to finding the shortest, straightest path to repeatable success.
If you ever hope to get anywhere, including out from under that muddy, bug-friendly rock, it’s clear: you have to get over the fear of looking stupid, now and again. But after you’ve diligently discovered what’s not working, what comes next? Reinvention. The truly greats don’t just succeed by failing, they succeed by changing course. Sometimes, even changing course before any failure is evident. Just to stay fresh.
But why reinvent the wheel, you say? (An invention which, by the way, has changed a’plenty over time… which is why you don’t have chiseled stone tires on your bicycle today.) Wasn’t, for instance, New Coke a case of someone fixing what wasn’t broken? Sure.
New Coke was a classic error. So were “Surge” cola and “OK Soda” as well as “Choglit,” all three of them just a few of a legion of failed Coca-Cola products. But lucky for Coke, when New Coke flopped, they still had their failure antenna up and learned from the blunder. Not only did they build on that discovery — that their customers were loyal to a brand not just a taste in the can — they were able to grow even bigger, faster because of it.
(Billionaire investor Warren Buffett owes a huge stake of his giant fortune to buying Coke shares in 1988, three years AFTER their flop with New Coke. And he still owns most of those shares today.)
WHAT AM I SAYING HERE?
What I’m saying is simply this: Now is the winter of your discontent. Or at least, it should be. I don’t believe for a second, and I’m sure you don’t either, that any of the successful people we talked about above were born to succeed. Nor to I believe — and you shouldn’t either — that any of them succeeded only by luck or simply believing in themselves. Those things can help, sure, but they’re never everything.
The truth is, anybody who ever gets anywhere has to reinvent his or her process. Either a little or a lot. Embracing that idea could go a long way to making you more creative and successful this year.
Do keep on doing what works, of course. Heck, do more of it. Good habits matter. In fact, they’re worthy of their own issue-long diatribe. But be open to the idea that life, the universe, and everything is like direct mail. That is, the surest path to a blockbuster success is to change a little something… and test, test, test.
Brought to you by John Forde at, www.copywritersroundtable.com Thanks!