John Lee Dumas: Alright, guys. Time for another Question and Answer session. I am really excited. Today, we’re going to change it up just a little bit because I’ve been getting some great emails from Fire Nation in general. Just some really open and honest emails. Everyone who’s sent me one knows that I’m very quick to respond. I love getting emails from all of you guys. Two in particular were really long, thought out and personal, so I wanted to share them today with the rest of Fire Nation in lieu of question and answers. We’ll pick up the question and answers tomorrow. Let’s focus on these two personal emails that I received and go from there because I know that we’ll all get a lot out of this.
“Good morning, John. Let me start by saying that I’m an avid listener and fan of your podcast. I’ve only been listening for less than a week, but I haven’t even touched my Pandora since I discovered your podcast. Well done. I was listening to your weekend bonus 2 round today during my run and nearly ran straight home to write you. The man with the mobile bartender service, Imperial something, he asked about how to get great staff. You are brilliant, but your answer was kind of bland and pretty ineffective. For that, I have an answer. I want to keep this very concise, so if I stripped it too much, let me know and I’ll be happy to elaborate.”
“I run and operate a hair and makeup agency in Las Vegas. In my line of work, freelancers are a dime a dozen. Anyone who goes and buys a professional product can call themselves a makeup artist within a week and get very good money for it. So why would someone want to work for me on a commission split instead of working for themselves and taking the whole pie? Quite simply, I make sure that on every level, I add value to my workers that they would not have on their own and I get them invested in the company for more than dollars. Here’s what I mean. As long as you have someone working for you who is only in it for the paycheck, you will get only a body back. You can’t buy loyalty, you can’t buy dedication, you can’t buy passion. I treat my artists with the same dedication, attention and goodness that I treat our company clients. I’ve gone far out of my way to add so much value to their working for us that they would lose significantly more than a paycheck if they left.”
“That’s not to say I have not a couple of doozies. I have. But in the past three years I’ve been operating my business, I’ve only had to let two go. In a business notorious for high turnover, I’ve managed to keep my artists longer than most with such dedication that on a few times I’ve had to talk to them about something not being right, they’ve been brought to tears for disappointing me and/or their teammates. Also, I’ve made sure that they’ve developed and attached themselves to their teammates and our unit. What that’s done for my business is that when there’s a mistake, they don’t only recognize they disappointed me, but they’ve put others in jeopardy because each one of their successes depends on our successes as a unit. If the company does not have a five star reputation, then the high workflow goes down, which affects everyone’s paycheck. I have deliberately fostered their building relationships with each other. They would not want to do something that would jeopardize their teammates, and because I go out of my way to make sure they understand how valuable they are to me – because they truly are – they wouldn’t want to bring harm to me or my business through carelessness.”
“Sorry. That wasn’t very concise. Bottom line, when you want to have the best staff possible, get them invested in more than a paycheck. And with that, I’m off to make the world a more beautiful place. Cheers! P.S. proof is in the emails, right? I’ve got a waiting list of artists who want to come work for me, and it’s not because they get paid more because they’re offered the exact same pay rate as any salon in town.”
Wow! Well, that’s a very powerful email, Fire Nation, for so many reasons, and I have no doubt that the person who runs this salon has an extremely successful salon because they’re applying these principles. I wanted to read this email in its entirety for a number of reasons. One, I do my best at EntrepreneurOnFire every day to bring you guys the kind of information that I think could be valuable to you on your entrepreneurial journey. I’ve stressed time and time again that we need to foster a community of entrepreneurs and help each other. In this case, this salon owner has so much more experience that could help out the bartender than I do. So this email is a perfect example of how we can all come together and really combine our forces and just foster the best environment for everybody out there. My pride comes a distant second to the number one goal of EntrepreneurOnFire, and that is to provide you, Fire Nation, with the best information possible.
Now this second email was also quite touching for another reason. So please, take a minute, listen to this email, and if you guys have any question or comments about the previous email or about the email I’m about to read, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll make sure that your messages get to either one of these people.
“Hi, John. Not too long ago, I wrote a post titled “What If?” about my first ever entrepreneurial venture, Kate’s Copy. If you talk to any successful entrepreneur, they would tell you that the life of Kate’s Copy simply wasn’t long enough. I didn’t pour enough into it. I didn’t let it grow. Something that I didn’t talk about in the “What If?” are the three top reasons why I left Kate’s Copy behind. One, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t identify my target audience, my customer. Two, my vision was too broad. And until I had a clear idea of what Kate’s Copy was going to be, I knew it couldn’t grow. Then three, I didn’t have an income or health insurance, and this made me very, very uncomfortable. I see starting a business as something that can be very basic. You need an idea or a vision or a business plan that explains the who, what, when, why and where of that idea or vision. You need the resources to nurture your business and you need the drive, commitment and confidence to pull it all together. Everything else comes along naturally.”
“So it’s pretty obvious why I dropped Kate’s Copy, right? I sort of had an idea or vision, but my business plan didn’t quite spell it out. I couldn’t identify my customer and my vision was too broad. I had the resources – computer, pen, paper, knowledge, practice – but resources don’t do the work for you. Most important of all, I didn’t have the drive and commitment to stick with it. I was too distracted and uncomfortable with the fact that I wasn’t making money and that I didn’t have any health insurance. It stressed me out to think that what I was working towards might not ever amount to anything, and this deeply damaged my confidence in what I was doing.”
“I recently started listening to your podcast, EntrepreneurOnFire.com. I love how you take your listeners on a 30 minute journey through the struggles and the aha moments and the current successes of your spotlighted entrepreneur. I love how it airs five days a week. It’s pretty amazing considering how many podcasts are lucky to air once a week. I also really enjoy the bonus Question and Answer episodes. When I heard your offer about emailing a question, I didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the offer. Kate’s Copy is still very much on my mind. I think about working at my current job, which I love, and I wonder if and how it’s possible to continue creating and crafting a passion on the side. So I sent you an email with the question, ‘Do you believe that someone can work fulltime 8 to 5 and simultaneously build a successful business on their own? If so, what’s your advice?’”
“Your answer was inspiring. You feel strongly that building a successful business of your own isn’t an impossibility simply because you have a fulltime job. I loved your comprehensive answer, including the thought that it’s all about setting a schedule you’re going to stick to where you’re going to learn something every day, where you’re going to make progress every day. I started writing some things down as I was listening to EntrepreneurOnFire and I repeated out loud the part about where you’re going to learn something every day, where you’re going to make progress every day. What I took away from this is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Not right now anyway. It’s as simple as a schedule. And for me, it’s as simple as writing. Writing for writing’s sake.”
Well, Kate, Kate’s Copy obviously has a ton of potential on a lot of levels. There’s just such a need out there these days for great writers and for great copy. It’s obviously something that you’re passionate about and I’m really happy that my answer to your question helped you out in some way. I really think that for the rest of Fire Nation, this email can really be helpful for people to understand that there are so many others out there that are going through the same fears, struggles and issues that you’re going through right now. Kate’s Copy never had the chance to succeed because Kate was never able to fully give it her 100% commitment and passion, and sometimes, that’s just the case.
I hope that all of you out there realize that you’re not alone. All of us here at Fire Nation are behind you to support you, and I really hope that on some level, you start your entrepreneurial journey today. Until next time, Fire Nation. Prepare to ignite.
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