I was recently interviewed about my background for an article on how I came to be THE leading marketing consultant to the IT industry. The writer penned the headline “From Homeless To The Most In-Demand IT Marketing Consultant In The World: How This Feisty, ‘No-Holds-Barred’ Redhead Emerges Triumphant Again And Again.”
When I read that, I laughed about the “emerges triumphant again and again.” I suppose to some it appears that way, but I can assure you I fumble, fall short, screw up, make bad decisions and miss the target FAR more than you might think. Seems like everything takes two to three times as long and is damned more difficult than it should be. The thing I DO have going for me is a pigheaded determination to stand back up and keep swinging long after others would have given up. Stubbornness IS a superpower when applied to the right things.
Of course, if you look at most people who succeed in business, you’ll see they didn’t get there by winning “again and again,” but more of a zigzagging from failure to failure, falling and getting up, dusting off, going under, over, around or through walls, getting punched, kicked and flamed the whole way, just too damned stubborn to give up. Occasionally, and I DO mean occasionally, you get a lucky break. But often that’s achieved by being out and doing things, not a result of a giant windfall of success that suddenly and unexpectedly descends upon you.
Steve Harvey, the now in-demand celebrity and host of one of my favorite guilty-pleasure TV shows, Family Feud, spent three years living in his car, struggling to score gigs as a comedian, sometimes surviving on less than $50 a week and siphoning gas out of cars in a parking lot to be able to drive to an audition. Today he’s worth over $100 million. Leno was picked up by the LA cops repeatedly for vagrancy. James Cameron struggled early on taking odd jobs as a janitor, truck driver and machinist, working for next to nothing until finally selling the rights to The Terminator for $1 with the stipulation that he be the director if the film was produced. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, grew up in a housing project and worked multiple dead-end jobs. John Paul DeJoria grew up in foster care in a poor LA neighborhood. He was also homeless twice – now a billionaire.
These stories aren’t just reserved for celebrities. Around here, we see clients who’ve lost it all to bankruptcy, a criminal act by a business partner or employee, a spouse gone wild, a major health issue or due to any number of unforeseen circumstances they weren’t prepared for – yet they turned it around.
One member, Pedro Nunez, CEO of IT Management Solutions, overcame a bankruptcy, divorce and health issues when he initially started his first business, but he turned it around and now is running a fast-growing MSP. Susan Fahrenkrug, founder of Advanced IT, came to us as a solo entrepreneur who had generated less than $90,000 in revenue for the entire year. But in less than 12 months, with no business partner, no list, no help and no lucky breaks (only hard work), she was at the $1 million mark. That’s HUGE. Another more recent client, Scott Hagizadegan, founder of Shield IT Networks, lost his first IT business when his partner spiraled out of control after an ugly divorce. Without complete ownership, he made the right decision to walk away from a profitable, successful $5 million business to start over – but was able to rebuild in under six months what had taken 21 years to build.
When you get stuck in business, a tow out of the muck can require as little as a single idea or good marketing campaign. Often, it requires a simultaneous effort of many things, all getting going at once. You do NOT want to wait for some kind soul to pluck you out of your mud pit. You’ll be waiting for a long time, sinking lower minute by minute.
Years ago I had a client who was deep in debt, unable to pay the rent, desperate for help. He needed a way to make money FAST. I suggested he start picking up the phone and calling ANYONE and EVERYONE he knew to let them know he had “recently experienced a relatively quiet month where I can afford to take on a few more clients.” Inelegant, but it worked. After making over 100 phone calls, he struck upon two people who said they would be interested in getting his help with an IT-related project. Not multimillion-dollar deals, but enough to get him over the hump and moving again. I told him to rinse and repeat that with any prospect he could find on LinkedIn, which he did. It illustrates that there’s always something you can do to get back up when you’ve fallen.
Being broke doesn’t mean you’re broken.
Everyone has low points and failures. It’s what you DO that determines if you turn things around or not. Most people stuck in failure mode are there because they resign themselves to their circumstances, convinced there’s “nothing” they can do. They’ll say, “I tried everything.” That’s simply NOT true. They are held in a failure loop by their crappy attitudes and unwillingness to take every and any small action they can to start extricating themselves. Want to get back up after a fall? Set your ego aside and be willing to take humble baby steps…to do things that may be unpleasant and uncomfortable…to do things you may feel are “beneath” you.
If you are an MSP struggling right now due to losing clients, marketing not working, leads and opportunities drying up, projects being canceled, clients not paying, etc., don’t despair. There ARE things you can do right now to win and pull yourself up. Join us at this upcoming Roadshow event for the lift you need: www.RecessionProofYourITBusiness.com