What if a habit is not an addiction?

File:Brain-Computer intrusive.jpgIf a habit is not an addiction, then it’s not a habit. It’s just plain old will power.  It’s discipline. It’s self-control.

A habit is the opposite. It’s something you do instinctively. Something you do effortlessly without much control.  It may even be something that causes you some degree of pain when you don’t do it. Something that requires will power to stop doing, not to start doing.

For some reason, however, we only apply this thinking to bad habits. It’s common to acknowledge that bad habits sneak up on you without much effort. Think about it, who works hard everyday to create a bad habit?

Yet, when the discussion of habits is on building good habits we lose site of this.  The reality is that “good” habits aren’t habits at all.  If they were, there wouldn’t be so many people out there still trying to figure out how to create good habits.

It doesn’t matter if you do something for 21, 30, 60 90, or 365 days in a row.  Unless you become literally addicted to the activity, you will still need will power, discipline and self-control to do it again the next time.

The #1 reason NOT to start blogging

File:Worn ATM.jpg
So you want to blog for money? Be warned, blogging is far from an ATM.

Today I read a fantastic blog post by design blogger Colleen Eakins titled I Want to Blog to Make Money. In this post Colleen recaps a discussion she had with a friend in which she stated the following:

Saying “I want to blog to make money” without any other goals, purpose, etc behind it, is like saying “I want to randomly make a commercial to air on tv.” 

I thought that this statement was the perfect analogy.  Just as Coleen suggest, broadcasting a commercial is not a product just like blogging is not a product.  They’re both valuable communication tools that can sell products if you reach the right audience with the right message.

Yes, established businesses can make money from using these tools. However, it’s very rare for individuals to personally benefit.  This is why the need to make money is the #1 reason NOT to start blogging.

I can think of much better ways to write for money other than blogging. First of all, you would be better off doing some freelance writing project via a site like Fiverr or Odesk if making money is an immediate need.

Don’t get me wrong, blogging is a valuable branding, marketing and overall communication tool when you have altruistic motives. However, if you’re going to blog primarily for self-serving purposes, then you should just forget about it.

Excited about the chance to switch to solar power

I’ve been thinking about switching my house to solar power for at least 5 years.  I’ve been looking at several companies across the U.S. vying for this emerging market, but there is one company in particular that really excites me named SolarCity.

SolarCity is the nation’s largest provider of rooftop solar systems. In the one year since it went public in December 2012, the stock price has grown to more than 5 times its IPO price.  Needless to say there’s a lot of momentum and excitement behind SolarCity.

The way SolarCity works is that it allows homeowners to get rooftop solar systems for little or no upfront cost, then it sells the power to them on a monthly basis promising that their overall utility bill will be noticeably less than it was. This payment model is perfect for homeowners who want to use a renewable energy like solar power, but don’t want to pay the upfront cost.

I really like the idea of being able to switch my house over to solar power without having to shell out tons of cash up front.  Today I went to the SolarCity website to check to see if they were operating in my zip code.  As it turns out, they’re not in Atlanta, yet.  For now, I just scheduled a solar consultation with them to ask a few questions.

You can check if SolarCity is available in your city here.

 

My Three Favorite Quotes from Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

A 1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Museum

Yesterday I recommended you watch a movie about an unsung entrepreneur named Tucker Preston. The movie is called  Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988).

Since I love quotes so much, I thought I’d share my three favorite quotes from this movie:

1.  “If you’re selling candy, what do you advertise, rotting teeth?”

 

2. “Captains go down with their ships, not businessmen.”

 

3. “You’re too good a salesman not to look a customer in the eyes.”

Inspiring Movie I Recommend for Entrepreneurs

Tuckerposter.jpgTonight I watched a very inspiring movie about a man that epitomizes the heart of an entrepreneur. The name of the movie was Tucker: The Man and His Dream starring Jeff Bridges.

This movie is a 1988 bio pic recounting the true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs you’ve never heard of: Preston Tucker.

Tucker was an American engineer from the 1940’s who was on a mission to build the best car in the world at a time when car manufacturing was dominated by the mediocre manufacturing of the big three Detroit automakers.

He faced a tremendous amount of adversity while on this entrepreneurial journey. A journey that has many parallels with the modern day story of how Tesla Motors was founded by Elon Musk.

In short, watch this movie as soon as you can and please share with me what you think.

Is it too late when it becomes a buzzword?

The startup world is full of buzzwords. Year after year new buzzwords hit the world by storm, thousands of entrepreneurs jump on the bandwagon, and voilà — millions of dollars of venture capital money flood the market.

Case in point is the buzzword “wearable” technology. These devices are headlining this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and have been the main event at several other tech conferences over the last 12 months.  In short, wearable technology is not only a red hot buzzword, but also a red hot business.

In the past, my perspective was that it was a missed opportunity once a buzzword hits the proverbial tipping point as wearables did back in 2013, and what social media did back in 2008 among other recent buzzwords. Now, however, I believe this perspective is wrong.

2008 was still just the beginning of the social media business opportunity. Just like 2014 is still just the beginning of the wearable business opportunity.

The best time for entrepreneurs to get in the game is once a buzzword first hits the mainstream. There are a few reasons for this

1. You don’t have to waste money educating people about the new technology as other startups and the media has already done this for you.

2. It’s easier to find partners and team members with experience working with the new technology

3. The demand for the new technology already exists

Pioneering a technology and creating a new buzzword is fun and rewarding, but so is being a fast follower. So when it comes to the wearable technology frenzy, we’re still in the 1st inning of entrepreneurs cashing in on this bandwagon.

Inspiration changes everything

File:Sunset at Huntington Beach.jpgThe difference between doing an activity you’re inspired to do and one that you aren’t is like night and day.

When you’re inspired, you wake up early to get started. When you’re inspired, you stay up late to finish as much as you can. When you’re inspired, working hard is effortless.

On the other hand, when you aren’t inspired and instead feel indifferent about doing an activity, nothing comes easy. You know that feeling when you hit the snooze button over and over again. That feeling when you can’t wait until the day is over…

Inspiration changes everything. It’s both a full proof cure for procrastination and laziness.

 

The first pancake is never perfect

File:Blueberry pancakes (3).jpgBelieve it or not, making pancakes is a lot like entrepreneurship. When you make pancakes, the first one typically comes out a little deformed and even a little burned or under cooked.

After that first one, you get a feel for your pancake flipping technique and then every pancake gets better from that point forward.

This process is such a great analogy for an entrepreneur’s journey. As a first time entrepreneur, your first business is just like that first pancake. It won’t be perfect, but you have to keep at it if you want to get better.

The Hard Part of Entrepreneurship is NOT Showing Up

Sisyphus as described by Homer in the Odyssey.
Sisyphus as described by Homer in the Odyssey.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Everyone knows this. However, many people misinterpret the hard part. From the outside looking in it appears the hard part is quitting your job, building your product, and launching your business. Or said another way, just showing up. The reality is that showing up is the easy part.

Quitting your job isn’t hard at all. It’s actually pretty easy and it feels good too. I will admit that it’s slightly difficult to commit to an idea and build your product, but once you figure that out, launching the business is also relatively easy.

With that said, everything up to this point is the bright side of entrepreneurship. Quitting your job, building your product, and launching your business are all fun. It’s the stuff that makes a great book.

What doesn’t make a great book is the grunt work that comes next. The day-to-day grind of testing customer acquisition processes that don’t work. The day-to-day grind of waking up at 4 am and going to bed at midnight not knowing if you made any progress. The day-to-day grind of trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.

I’ll be the first to admit that I got this wrong. 18 months ago when I drank the startup Kool-aid and quit my job, I thought showing up was the hard part. Now that reality has set in, it’s time to find out what real entrepreneurship is all about.

Start the new year launching a new business with guru Seth Godin

seth-godin-new-business-toolboxSeth Godin is the #1 marketing guru on the web. So why not start the year using his tips and tricks to launch a new business?

This is exactly what I’m doing.  As a subscriber to Seth Godin’s daily blog, I wake up every morning with fresh inspiration from him in my inbox. This morning, instead of his normal blog post, Seth Godin shared a new course he is teaching titled The New Business Toolbox: Help Your New Business Do It Right The First Time.

He is teaching the course on a site named Skillshare, and it’s only $19.00, with a $10.00 discount using this link here.

Seth Godin describes the course as:

…seven lessons plus an intro about business models, together with exercises for each. You get about an hour of original video, along with ebooks, exercises and a chance to post your questions and your work.

The course starts on January 15th.  I’ll be there, will you?