My Better Half on Entrepreneurship

a7f8890d2c852cdde6dbc1a452de20f1

Erin thought it might be fun for me to write a blog about entrepreneurship, seeing as I am now a full-fledged entrepreneur. It is kind of a broad topic of course…like being asked to write a blog about business. But since I am a new entrepreneur, I guess I can talk about how that feels.

A little background first. For the past two years I have been helping a company re-start, pivot, re-launch, etc. As I think Erin mentioned before, it is a shopping platform that we brand for non-profits so they can raise money or offer cash back shopping as a benefit for their members (there are other applications like loyalty programs for banks, but that is the easiest to understand). I am now the full time CEO. Only we don’t have the money to pay me just yet, so I have also started a loyalty consulting business and that is what is paying the bills. So two full time, start-up businesses that demand a lot of my time. Want to know what that feels like?

It feels like I need to raise my game. A lot.

I suppose that goes without saying. I liken it to going from Associate to Partner at a law firm or Intern to Medical Doctor. More is expected of you from day one and you just have to step up.

But I am taking this as an opportunity to self-assess. To really think about the person I want to be, both in my career and my personal life. To really ask myself, “Am I doing what it takes to get to where I want to be?” The answer is no. In just about every facet of my life I am falling short. I imagine the answer is no for most people. In fact, I would bet the answer is no for everyone. No one is perfect after all.

Success can be defined in a multitude of ways and is different for each of us. I won’t go into what I have in mind right now…perhaps a blog for another day…but I can tell you that the list is daunting. I have a lot to improve upon if I want to get to where I think I should be. For me this is exciting, not scary. I have to change how I approach life. There needs to be a shift. I cannot expect to do the same things and achieve different results. And I cannot be okay with little shifts or short-lived big ones (or God forbid short-lived little ones). They need to be big and they need to be permanent. I have to reach past whatever goals I have set for myself in the past and try for something completely outside of my comfort zone. Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land upon the stars…as they say.

I think this is what super successful people do. They don’t place limits on what they can accomplish. They believe if someone else can do it, why not me? Or even when no one else has done it, why not me? If making money is the goal, then set out to be Bill Gates. If you want to be an actor, then set Meryl Streep as the bar. Successful people work to set themselves up to have the opportunity. But most importantly, they put their all into it. I think if I am honest with myself, I would have to say that I have yet to put my all into anything. To put it all on the line. I think that is what has to happen now.

And so I begin to look at all the things I do out of habit (or the things that aren’t habit that should be). I look at where I need to be more disciplined. And I begin changing. I force myself to overcome my ADD and read a document more carefully. To go to the gym 3 times a week no matter what. To plan more thoroughly for that meeting. To practice before that speech. To be more careful about where I spend my time and who I spend it with. To make the time with Erin a higher quality, without lessening it. To ensure I do the same when I am a father. To ask more questions. To ask better ones. To dedicate myself more, but to less. To take time to step back and think. To breathe. To surround myself with the right people. And to listen to them more intently. To better distinguish the truth from what I want to believe. To ensure I don’t let limits get in my way. To find the balance between being realistic and dreaming of what could be.

I am embarking upon an adventure. An opportunity to be more than I am today. An opportunity to live up to the potential I believe I have. Talent and potential are great. But it is the application of will power and focused determination that must accompany these in order to succeed. Easier said than done. But what in life worth doing isn’t?
-Andrew

c50578128c09d20cebe4f2b4d915c95d


30 comments

  1. Hi Andrew,

    I read your wife’s blog every day…from all the way across the Atlantic. I have been following the blog for a couple of years now for a number of reasons. The main one: I think she is brave, disciplined and driven and the more she does the more hope I derive for myself. Erin is an inspiring person. For over 5 years I have been trying to make a jump from lawyering to some design-related business. But there is some unnamed force holding me back…it’s not fear of failing or fear of losing my shirt. But I imagine it must help to have a supportive partner…a cheering section if you will. Humans need a little validation from others . I feel this is a boost to an entrepreneur as financial backing from a bank must be. Your post today sounded like it was directed right at me. So for the first time I took the time to comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope it inspires me to make the push. Erin sounds like she is a great cheering section. Good luck with your businesses.

  2. Very thoughtful. I do set goals for myself because I’ve found over the years everything wonderful that has happened to me was once just a goal on paper. It is EXTREMELY hard to change yourself in a significant way but the only person who can do that for you is you. I went from being a procrastinator (I’d file my income tax on April 14 even when I was getting money back) to being annoyingly early on everything (our Christmas cards and letters are ready to go out in November). It was not easy. And the full change took a couple years.
    Good luck (although a lot of good luck is mostly hard work) on your goals.

  3. Your post is exactly what I needed to see today so thank you. I spent 2 years changing my life to get where I wanted to go. I stopped watching tv, committed to exercise and diet change, quit a stressful job ant got where I wanted to be. Then last year I faced some challenges that caused me to stop committing 100 percent to the things that were important to me. This affected everything in my life especially my health. Since the new year I have recommitted but I have to rebuild some areas from scratch. I think having a constant mind set of course correction to make sure you don’t get lost is essential. I waited too long to do that and lost my way. I won’t allow that to happen again. I think your plan to optimize your life is wonderful. Editing out things that are not important is the key and this may disappoint other people. You have to do it anyway.

  4. Andrew, I wish I could keep you in my back pocket for motivation; maybe you should think about motivational speaking later on in your life? Erin is a lucky gal.
    I applaud your constant internal evaluation and your drive to improve. That is what will propel you onward and upward!

    Erin, as my family would say: This guy’s a keeper! (Although I think you already knew that.)

  5. Thank you for your inspiring thoughts Andrew. I’m an event planner (interior designer at heart) and have hired many motivational speakers. If you are interested in pursuing this route honestly what I’ve noticed is people either write a book and/or establish a popular blog (check http://www.entrepreneuronfire.com/blog) or they happen to be a celebrity, pro athlete, politician – someone that has name recognition. I just relocated to Phoenix and am the Director of Events for Infusionsoft – our mission is to help Small Businesses succeed through automated systems like follow up email marketing, managing contact lists almost like a virtual assistant working 24/7 etc. I know that there have been talks to discount our services to non-profits – when this happens I will pass it on or if you just want to cruise our website http://www.infusionsoft.com/ – seriously I’m not a sales person – best of luck with your new ventures! Erin I LOVE your blog and you inspire me as well!

  6. I love reading you Andrew, thank you for sharing. You Andrew, and your support for Erin are actually what kept me coming back to this blog over the years because I love reading you as a team. You both deserve everything good that comes your way, but you also don’t rest on your laurels, always striving instead to do, and push one another to be better. I hope us as readers provide for you both as EK the first commenter on this thread described, in that we give you something in return for all you share with us providing you validation as “entrepreneurs as financial backing from a bank must be.” You are a dynamic duo indeed :)

  7. Andrew may I make 2 suggestions?
    1. Meditation. It’s a free gift you give yourself. Check “the Mindfulness Solution ”
    2. My husband has ADD. (although magically he never forgets a golf date!)
    try to have people around you to pick up the details that really bore you. Then you can use your true gifts to grow the business.

  8. Have you ever thought about writing a blog???? :)
    Good things are going to come not only because you are a good guy but because you have all the right intentions!

  9. You two are a great inspiration to get up and do something with the opportunity that life gives us .I had a health scare a couple of years ago and had to give up my position with an interior design company .I read Elements of Style over the Xmas break , and the book and your blog have given me a real boost to get out and promote my fledgling home based design studio. Thank you both.

  10. Andrew,

    Absolutely loved and resonated with your post. I am constantly picturing the person I want to be in 5, 10, 15, 30 years and asking myself whether what I’m doing currently reflects my journey to those goals.

    My own husband is an entrepreneur as well—-I know how hard it can be. He has taught me some really valuable lessons—mostly about relentless hard work. He literally works 7 days a week—-every single week. He usually doesn’t take a vacation unless someone has passed away and a funeral is happening (like you can even call that a vacation).

    The thing I find most difficult about his entrepreneurial ventures is how it seems so hard for those around you to understand the end goal. People are constantly ribbing him (and me) about why he couldn’t make this function, or take off one Saturday or whatever it may be. Why he hasn’t given some of his profits (that he puts back into the business) toward a bigger house or nicer car. It is absolutely true that if it were that easy that everyone would do it.

    I am a big supporter of entrepreneurs, not only for my husband’s sake, but because they are the people that innovate, create and make our world a better place.

    I look up to Erin in a big big way—-she is an amazing designer, blogger and author. I think it’s wonderful that both of you have such a drive and entrepreneurial spirit—glad to know that there are other couples like us who are walking the walk and have had tremendous success at it!

  11. Andrew,

    You should consider speaking at a TED conference. According to their website “At TED, we search year-round for presenters who will inform and inspire, surprise and delight. ” I would say, and I’m sure that the rest of the EOS readers/fans would agree, that applies to you (and of course you too Erin).

    Best wishes in your entrepreneurial pursuits and adventures!

  12. a reassuring read andrew. i too am an entrepreneur, my 25th year, and one never stops learning, shifting and improving, nor striving for it.
    my life quote is ‘leap and the net will appear’. sit has guided me well. sounds you are off to a soaring success.
    wishing my best
    debra

  13. So true! And, when you do reach a goal you realize it wasn’t as impossible as you thought it once was. I’ve always been extra cautious and my husband has made so many calculated moves that paid off. It has really made me realize I can do so much more in my own life.

  14. Nice post, Andrew. As you know, for the past year I have been going through the same challenges. Let me know if you ever need a peer to bounce off ideas.

    – Joe K

  15. Well said, as always.

    I recently had a conversation with someone about what it’s like owning a company, and two things I realized during the course of the conversation could be added to your list.

    1. Take the time to step back and assess – note the changes, see the areas that still need work, and most importantly, find satisfaction in the successes.

    2. Never become complacent.

    Looking forward to catching up with you…

  16. Ok now I feel like I really have to step up my game too, but it’s so hard! Life is so overwhelming sometimes and 2015 has already created a total atressbsll over here! Would love to hear about your non-profit and what programs could be appropriate for our public school PTO fundraising, we’re always looking for new innovative products! Do great that you’re doing this. S promised we’ll have to catch up soon, the Doring maybe?

  17. In reading this I immediately thought of a couple of books that have helped me in my career and thought you may find them interesting. The first is The One Thing by Gary Keller – this is my go to book, I’ve read it an embarrassing number of times. The books focus is about learning how to focus and go from entrepreneurial to purposeful. I highly recommend it. The other is Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John Maxwell. You may have already read this but if not it’s a great read.

    Thank you for your words Andrew! I concur with everyone’s statement above that you should consider motivational speaking.

  18. Hey there,

    Have you ever heard of the ” partners card”
    It is a huge program in Texas.. Houston and Dallas in particular.
    It is a program where all participating retailers give 20% off ALL merchanidise
    In stores during a 10 day period in Oct.
    You purchase the card for 70 dollars and that all goes to charity ( not sure but I think it is breast cancer…Susan b. Koman).

    I have lived in about a dozen different states.. No one does this except Texas.
    Is this what kind of business you are getting into?

    I think it is a great program… Not a new idea but a solid business.

    I would most defiantly invest in a start up like that.

    Good luck..
    This is just a FYI kinda thing…
    I love Erin’s blog have followed her for years…
    And turned my 29 year old daughter on to her as well.
    Although… I never leave a coment… And have yet to buy her book. Sorry.
    Good luck with your new adventure.

    1. Thanks! I have heard of that in other forms…there is a holiday shopping one, etc. And yes, it is roughly the same thing we are trying to do. Hoping we can get the financing squared away…

  19. Bravo Andrew, you have it all right I would say, now just go out and do it. I am sure you can, since you have thoroughly thought it out, placed your goals and are executing them. It’s only a matter of time, keeping your eye on the ball, never stopping and reaching and dreaming! I am looking forward to following your journey. You both are a dream team if you ask me. xo Nancy

Comments are closed.