The book Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Nike's founder, tells the unvarnished truth about starting a business. In my opinion, this is a must read for every entrepreneur. It's not a how to guide. It is a source of inspiration.
Phil Knight's secret to success is...
"The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us."
That's what his athletics coach Bill Bowerman used to tell him. That was their mantra for the 1500 meters.
If you're not an athlete then let me tell you. No matter how hard you train. If you want to win... it's going to hurt. As a rower we called this point "Call the doctor".It's the moment when you're already in pain and you are going to push for the finish. You're going to increase the pain to win or bust. That's why you've got to call the doctor. Because you know ahead of time, that it's going to hurt and this is what it takes to win.
The same thing is true with the 1500 meters. You're running 3.75 laps of the track. When the bell goes for the last lap, if you're in contention (in the pack of the first 4 or 5 runners) then you've had to work hard to get there. You've had to suffer just to be in a position to compete. When the bell goes, you've got a simple question to ask yourself. "How bad do you want it?
The answer to that question tells you how hard you will push yourself to win.
Phil Knight's Nike pitch to investors started with his success mantra.
"The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us."
And given the 18 years of struggle that the founding team went through, it's a true statement for the investors.
As you know, cowards don't start their own business. How many people do you know that want to be their own boss. But they value the security of a regular paycheck more. So they stay in their full-time job.
How many people do you know that start their own business and then quit. I'm a member of that club. I started a business. The turnover doubled every year for 3 years. Then the recession hit and I burned through my life savings paying for advertising that did not make sales. I quit because I ran out of money.
What would have happened if I found a way to stay in the game a little longer? I'll never know because I died along the way.
The truth is I quit because it got hard.
What separates people like Phil Knight from me is that when it got hard he didn't quit. Yes, he had to get another job to keep his dying business afloat. Yes, his wife worked in the business without taking a salary. Yes, the founding team worked there for the vision of what things could be because it was never a high paying job.
18 years later, they were all multi millionaires.
So what's the moral of the story?
Amazing things happen when you don't quit. Amazing things happen when you keep looking for another way to find your ideal customer, earn their trust and make them feel good about buying.
Let's face it. It takes time to earn the trust of your ideal customer. How much time? Longer than you want it to. And that's why you've got to stay in the game. If you stay in the game and you keep showing up then you will earn your customers' trust. That's the tipping point. That's the point when all the work you have been doing starts to generate the results you want.
And you'll never reach this tipping point if you quit too soon.
To better illustrate this point I'm going to quote from another world leader. Mahatma Gandhi.
When you first start writing a blog or publishing a podcast or videos on YouTube. It can feel like the world is ignoring you.
You invest time and effort to package your system in an easy to use step-by-step system. Then you give your investment of time and energy and passion away for free!
That's the point where it's easy to give up. Or fail to publish every week.
That's what I did the first year I started publishing a blog. I would write a few posts and then something would happen and I would stop and then I'd pick it back up.
What's the result of sporadic publishing?
A lot less than what I hoped for. And a lot more than no publishing at all.
When people contacted me seemingly out of the blue for mentorship. I asked them how they heard about me. The answer was always because I've been reading your blog.
I don't care if the Google Analytics stats lie. I don't care if your ego reads the stats wrong. The truth is if you publish great content regularly then you will create trust in your market. When you create trust, you win.
So you've got to look for an internal reason to keep publishing. If you're looking for external validation you will be disappointed.
What's my reason for writing a blog every week... no matter what?
I know that the more I write, the better I can articulate my ideas. I know that the more I write, the better I get at writing. I know that the more I write, the better I can sell face to face... because I can articulate my ideas better.
I know that writing helps me to better understand a subject. If there's something I know and do instinctively, then writing down how I do it, helps me to better understand my own process. This becomes my get out of jail free card on the days when writing feels like blasting rock with your bare hands. It gives me a checklist or process to follow.
Yes, you read that right. I use my own blogs as a guide to help me when I'm short on ideas or struggling to do high quality consulting work.
So I write my blog for selfish reasons and altruistic reasons. Yes I want it to help other entrepreneurs. Yes I want it to help me better understand my subject and articulate my ideas.
So, find a selfish reason why you're going to write a blog every week. Stay consistent to your goal for more than 3 months and you'll be amazed at what happens.
Money is not going to fall from the sky!
But you will earn trust in the market. You will get all the selfish benefits you want. And you'll get unexpected benefits.
This is an uncomfortable truth about success.
If you want to achieve something new, you're going to need new skills. There are 3 ways to get new skills:
Hiring in new skills is the fastest and easiest way to grow a business. This is how you can buy 10,000 hours of experience in an afternoon.
If we had the money then I'm sure that's what we would all do.
If hiring people isn't a viable solution then you can choose to learn from others or suffer through the school of hard knocks.
As someone that has suffered through the school of hard knocks and learned from others. I can tell you that the school of hard knocks costs more, takes longer, and kills more enthusiasm than learning from someone else.
I've enjoyed quick success because I've stood on the shoulders of giants. I've learned about copywriting and persuasion and product launches from other people. I've used their system and made it my own and enjoyed life-changing results.
Yes it cost money. Yes it took time. Yes it took courage. Yes it took me places beyond my wildest dreams. Yes I'm still learning from others today so I can reach my new goals.
The most successful people I know are the greatest students. These are the people that are happy to give you a book recommendation. These are the people that are happy to show you their daily study routine.
I still write sales letters out by hand on a daily basis. I still go through the letter once I've written it out to uncover the structure. I want to know the process that the copywriter is taking the reader on. I want to know how the copywriter is leading the reader to the sale with breathless excitement.
Equally, I want to know if and where they lost me in the message... and... why.
If I can understand why I struggle to finish a sales message. Then I know what to change in my own writing.
I enjoy studying. I enjoy getting better. And when I've got more work than time... my study time feels like a luxury that I can't afford.
The truth is that it's not a luxury. This is what I need to stay sharp. This is what I need to keep producing great work. This is what I need to always improve.
I've read every book Grant Cardone has written at least twice. His book The 10X Rule is his most famous. In my opinion, Be Obsessed Or Be Average is a much better book.
Because it gets to the heart of what you need to succeed.
The 10X Rule tells you that the road to success is a lot harder than you think. The rule is that it's 10 times harder than you think to achieve your goals.
That might be true. So, what do you need to succeed? The answer is you need to be obsessed. You need to love what you do. Or you won't do it.
I don't study copywriting every day because my boss tells me to. I do it because I love copywriting and persuasion. I do it because I want to be one of the greatest copywriters in the world. And this is the path to get there.
Passion fuels my actions. So it never feels like work. It feels like a blessing. And that's why I do it.
Notice how this is the same reason why I write and publish a blog every week. I'm doing it for myself and to help other entrepreneurs. That's why it gets done.
Even when I'm short on time and I want to slack off. By writing the blog when my back is against the wall. I learn something about myself and the subject matter.
There are business values and cultures that I use to hire people. In the same way that Phil Knight built a founding team that worked at Nike because of something greater than the money. I want to do the same. To do that I've written down the Vision, Values, and Cultures of my company.
This is a powerful way to pick myself up when I'm having a bad day. If I wouldn't employ myself on those days, then why should anyone else. If I can't live up to the vision and values that I have written. Then I need to do some exercise and clear my head before I sit down to write.
One of the values is failure. I say...
"If you are not failing then you aren't trying hard enough. If you aren't failing then you are playing things too safe."
This is an easier value to say than to live by. And that's why I've written it down. That's why I read it every day. To try and encourage myself to live by my highest standards.
Let's face it. Doing the same thing over and over again is easy. It's safe. It's comfortable.
If you're happy with the results, that's all you need to do.
If you want better results. Or you want to seize a new opportunity. Then you are going to sail through uncharted waters. If you don't have a map. You will hit the rocks! That's a fact. This uncomfortable truth about success gives you 2 choices.
I have to remind myself that standing in a boxing ring is a privilege. A privilege that took years of hard work to achieve. And... when you stand in a boxing ring, you will get hit. That's a fact. It's an uncomfortable fact that lies at the heart of success. Accept that fact. Learn from your mistakes. And you'll grow.
Get punched in the face and throw in the towel.
Obviously, you can train so the hits don't knock you out. In fact, making failure survivable is another success principle that you can read about here: https://www.rolandeva.co.uk/2019/02/05/what-to-do-if-youve-got-a-small-advertising-or-marketing-budget/
How do you stop the hits from knocking you out? You learn from others and you don't bet the farm.
When you make failure survivable, you can learn from your mistakes. You can get better. You can push yourself to new levels of achievement and success.
That's my success formula.
It builds on the words of Mahatma Gandhi and Phil Knight because the success lever is your platform.
Your platform is your trust in the market. It's also your email list, your blog readers, your podcast listeners and your YouTube subscribers.
How do you build your platform? By giving away free information that earns the trust of your ideal customer. How do you do that?
You stay in the game. You remember that at first they will ignore you. Then they will laugh at you. Then they will fight you. Then you win.
So stay in the game long after the weak have died. Stay in the game for selfish reasons. Give. Give. Then give a little more. That's how you build your platform. With a platform of trust. You can build a business beyond your wildest imagination.
So, if you're not enjoying the level of success that you want and you haven't quit. Celebrate the fact that you are still in the game. Celebrate the fact that you are still betting on yourself and your vision. Then ask yourself, what skills you need to learn to take you where you want to go. The good news is that the skills you need to learn fall into these 3 categories
Those are the 3 things you need to build a business.
Build your product or deliver a fantastic service. If you can't build it then good sales are only going to put you out of business faster.
I'm assuming you can build it. I'm assuming that you've got a great product or service and that you are struggling to sell it. How do you sell it? With these 3 steps...
Then you've got to count the money. This is accounting and internal reporting. Reporting holds the keys to improving your offer to make more sales. Reporting also shows you how to increase your profitability by cost or time saving.
If you keep your eye on those 3 business levers. You won't go wrong.
The uncomfortable truth about success is that it starts with staying in the game... no matter what.
The fact that you're still here, tells me that you know and accept that about entrepreneurship.
If you commit to a ritual of daily improvement. Then you'll learn the skills to take you where you want to go. If you learn from others then you will succeed much faster than suffering through the school of hard knocks.
If you keep building your platform (trust in the market) then you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
If you've found this useful then please leave a comment below.
If this can help someone you know then please share it with them.
Until next time...
P.S. When bankruptcy stole my first business. I made a commitment to myself to discover a repeatable system to turn strangers into customers on demand. A journey that ended when I made £30,105 in 9 days… without making a single sales call.
It's a system that I've used in many industries. To sell products and services ranging in price from £5 to £12,000.
A system that I've used repeatedly in campaigns that have dwarfed that initial success.
I'd like to show you how to use my simple 3 step system in your business so you can turn strangers into customers on demand. And build your dream business. A business that gives you the income and lifestyle you want.
Unfortunately, I can't show you how to use my simple 3-step system here. The post would run too long.
That's why I've written the book Consistent Profits Pyramid. The book shows you how to use my simple 3-step system in your business. So you can turn strangers into customers... on demand.
I'd like to give you a FREE copy.
To download your FREE copy now. Click the link below.
To download your FREE copy now. Click the link below.
I'm a copywriter and marketing expert that turns expertise into cash.
For the last 5 years, I've helped business owners to sell products and services in many industries. The products and services have ranged in price from £5 to £12,000.
My most successful campaign made £672,989 in 9 days.
I took that result and transformed it into a simple repeatable system. A system that I teach to ambitious entrepreneurs that want to make money on demand without a sales team.