Everyone has ideas. Entrepreneurs take action.
You know how there’s a debate on whether entrepreneurs are born or made? I believe the latter because, well, I certainly don’t feel I was born an entrepreneur. I grew up in the Northeast, outside of Boston, where there was certainly pressure to get good grades and go to a prestigious school. Not necessarily by my parents — they supported me no matter what — but more the culture was driving me in that direction. Early on I knew I wanted to be “successful,” but at a young age my formula to success was quite simple, it was money. I looked around and saw businessmen around me who seemed to have money so I figured I’d better go to business school. And that’s what I did, with the help of a partial football scholarship, I attended Bentley University where I earned my BS in Economics / Finance and my Masters in Finance while earning All-American honors in football. From there I figured I’d better use my degrees and went into finance, believing it would be a good way to make a good living, and all would be well when I climbed the corporate ladder to making six figures.
Well, five years into my career that happened, and that fulfillment I was hoping for…it wasn’t there. I decided to re-evaluate my definition of “success” and realized it had morphed from making a lot of money to just being happy. I sought out high achievers whose life I’d actually want to live and realized there were patterns in their lifestyle: They were all healthy and vital, they were making a big impact in the world, they were doing something they were passionate about and they were entrepreneurs. The seed had been planted.
The study of successful people led me on a journey of personal development that consisted of listening to podcasts on the way to work instead of music, changing out some TV time for reading books, and networking with successful people. This personal development opened up a whole new world for me…a world of what was possible as a network marketing professional beyond my corporate desk.
I feel that entrepreneurship is a muscle that we have to grow, develop and exercise over time to become successful network marketing professionals. Are some people born more apt to sway towards entrepreneurship? Sure. But I believe entrepreneurs are made and that is certainly my experience. I grew up and was basically funneled into the rat race of corporate America and before I knew it I was in my late 20s, seven years into my career and realizing that I was caught in this rat race and it would be fully up to me if I wanted to get out of it. It took intentionality and went against all the “muscles” I had developed to date, muscles that were comfortable in the safety and security of my cushy VP role at a finance firm.
I also believe there is really only one way to develop aptitude as an entrepreneur and that is by simply just doing it. Just taking action. You can read all the books, study all the business models, run all the numbers, NOTHING replaces actually going out into the market and doing what an entrepreneur does. So it is my belief that entrepreneurship is a muscle that we develop through use!
My wife Sandy has been my biggest inspiration to date. In part because she is someone who throughout her life has refused to settle for a life and a calling that she was not passionate about. In addition, proximity is everything. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with and I spent most of my time with Sandy…which rubbed off on me to believe I could be an entrepreneur. She had owned a small business, a healthy juice shop, while we were dating. That was her first step into professional entrepreneurship (she rocked out plenty of lemonade stands as a kid). She sold that business and moved through a few different jobs before landing in her passion: coaching people in health and business. She started her coaching business a few months before I started on a very similar path! We started out with different businesses but ended up partnering together. And now there is nothing we love more than building a life together through our passion for helping people. We help people become the best versions of themselves through their health, through their personal development, and through their business.
There are a few things that stand out about our company.
Starting businesses is a lot of fun (and a lot of work!) so we have several businesses. I’ll focus on one, in particular, we have a business and brand we’ve built around helping network marketing professionals develop daily habits to help build their direct selling businesses. It started with us solving our own problem and then realizing if it helped us, it could help many more people. And from there a business was born. We were on a flight home from a leadership retreat and were discussing how we wish we had something to track everything we did for our business in a given day, all in one place. An idea was born.
Everyone has ideas, entrepreneurs take action.
We started jotting out ideas on a napkin, literally, and the 90 Day Habits Journal was born then and there. What makes it stand out is that it is the only journal like it: built by network marketing professionals, for network marketing professionals by helping one track and build daily habits over a 90-day business cycle.
Business leaders need to build trust, credibility and authority in their industry.
Leaders must be willing to go first. Leadership and network marketing are stepping into the unknown. John Maxwell said, “leaders know the way, go the way and then show the way.”
To gain trust, credibility, and authority in your industry you must go the way first. If you are creating a health product or service, have you experienced your own transformation? Do you embody and live and breathe your product or service, or are you just looking to sell it to others? When your product or service has changed you, you simply are sharing it. When you aren’t a product of your product, you are selling it.
In this day and age, technology is so advanced, and it is such a great resource to help entrepreneurs build their businesses. But do you know what I’ve experienced? Word of mouth advertising and multi-level marketing/direct selling businesses will never go out of style. In fact, according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers around the world now say they trust word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. That means developing trust with our clients and potential clients is everything.
How do we do that? By showing up as authentically us.
That starts by knowing who we are and what we stand for and then living into that. Your brand should know its values and how it shows up and do just that. You as the network marketing professional should do the same. Seek to build rapport, add value and be authentic, and you will gain trust, credibility, and authority in your industry.
If there is one thing I have realized in transitioning from corporate America to network marketing entrepreneurship it is the importance of recognizing your team and casting a vision for your team. Jack Welch said, “A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organization, not as it is, but as it should be.” A shared vision is one of the most powerful forces known to man, so ensuring your network marketing business has a vision for what it is looking to do is vital.
Create a culture where your team is working towards and excited for that vision to come to life. Further, recognize and be grateful for your team. The corporate world certainly lacks recognition. You as a network marketing professional have an opportunity to create a culture of recognition.
People will often work harder to be seen and be recognized than to get a monetary raise. Put a 10 on everyone’s forehead and acknowledge a job well done, repeatedly.
There are many common mistakes that CEOs and founders make when they start a business, but there are ways to avoid these errors.
Often times we start a business based on what we want or what we like, without thinking about what our client wants or needs. We spend time, energy, even money building out a business tailored to our desires and what excites us without testing the market first.
Entrepreneurship is solving a problem in the marketplace. It's adding value to the marketplace. So we must start there. We must go to the market and either find a problem to solve or test the market to see if our product has demand. Sometimes that looks like solving your own problem and seeking if others experience the same problem as you. Start a business by solving a problem for your ideal client, instead of chasing after something you feel is shiny and cool. Write it down in your journal and see where it takes you. Also, the best way to start is to simply test your idea/product/service in the market BEFORE going off and spending all the time, money, energy building the business.