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8 Lessons For Entrepreneurs (That I May Have Learned the Hard Way)

Happy Anniversary to me. Yep, eight years and two months ago  (May 1, 2010) I re-entered the world of entrepreneurship by starting Converse Digital with a mere two weeks notice, no money in the bank, no investors, no credit line, a wife, four kids, a big mortgage payment and lots of private school tuitions. I’ve learned a lot along the way and today I wanted to share some of those lessons for entrepreneurs with you. 1) You Need an Entrepreneurship Runway The common rule of thumb for starting a business is to have at least a few months income in your bank. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that. I didn’t have the luxury so many of my fellow entrepreneurs have, where they don’t take a salary out of the company for months or years, instead reinvesting all profits to quickly grow the business. Nope, Converse Digital had to be cash flow positive from day one. But this lack of runway has been a blessing and a curse. It’s been a curse because I’ve never really had the chance to strategically grow the company. Sure, here and there we launch little initiatives like our Social Reconnaissance Products…or our CIBER product (that I don’t even have a full webpage live for yet – just a quick landing page), usually after they’ve been on the drawing board for months or more. But on the flip side, that lack of runway makes you scared. Every day you wake up expecting the other shoe to drop — for a client to fire you or cut their budget, or for that big project you were counting on to NOT come through, or my "favorite" — a client falls way behind [...]

By |July 3rd, 2018|

What Makes an Effective Leader

Organizations that don’t have a set of guiding principles find themselves struggling to be consistent and to always be moving towards their bigger picture goals. A lack of defined expectations also makes it difficult for your team to understand what makes an effective leader. If you don’t give them a sense of what the company values and how you expect your leaders to behave – they have to make it up as they go along. Those challenges become even more pronounced in times of rapid change. And if there’s anything you know for sure about our industry – it’s that we are experiencing a state of constant change. My podcast guest John Rossman had a front row seat in being one of the co-creators of the leadership principles that have steered one of the biggest titans of industry, Amazon. They too exist in an industry that doesn’t even begin to resemble itself from a decade ago! Since he left Amazon, John has been using what he learned to help clients define and live by their own guiding principles.  He also wrote the book, The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company. In our conversation, John talks about some of the most critical of Amazon’s principles and how they apply to agencies today: What makes an effective leader Why you need to get really clear on what your future looks like John’s favorite Amazon leadership principles Why you need to be proactive and take action The importance of prioritizing getting to the right answer over getting along Structuring interviews so you find the employees that are actually willing to grow and improve Amazon’s “think big” and why it’s all about experimentation John’s [...]

By |September 14th, 2017|
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