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This business coaching lesson shares tips for surviving entrepreneurship.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Necessity is the mother of invention. -English Proverb
  • Lesson Nugget: You can't be successful in something new until you go for it, and leave bit of the comfort/safety that you are currently in.
  • Lesson Nugget: There has to be someone who is "leading the direction" of the company. You won't get very far if all you concentrate on is your daily tasks.
  • "I drew up lists and lists of people to call, and slowly worked my way down them. Most of them rejected the idea of paying for advertising in an unpublished magazine, but gradually I began to find ways of attracting their attention. I would call up National Westminster Bank and tell them that Lloyds Bank had just taken out a full-page advertisement; would they like to advertise alongside Lloyds Bank?" -Richard Branson

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-I noticed, too, this is one thing. It's always been said that necessity is the mother of all invention. And this is what I do. This is stupid, but this is what I did.

My wife and I-- I might have told you this story before. But my buddy, Josh, comes over and he notices that we have this apartment. And in this glorious apartment at 71st and Louis, we have wedding candles. We have gifts. We have all that. You know that stuff you get as wedding gifts?

You get all that stuff, and it's all just kind of gathered. We got a red cooler as a gift. And then he's looking around and he's like, do you not have the AC on in here? It's in Oklahoma. It's like 102. And I go, yeah, no, no AC. No, no, no. And he's like, your cables have melted, bro.

And so I'm just thinking like, in pride. I'm like my wife goes to work at Office Depot. She goes to ORU as a cheerleader. And she comes home and, did we book anything today? You know, we try to book weddings and try to book gigs for our entertainment company. And I'm always, no. But hey, hey. How's your day? Like and I'm super interested in her day, because I don't talk about.

Well, at a certain time, I kind of realized like, I'm not going to be able to have the AC on in my entire live if I don't book something. And so I was afraid to make cold calls, but I'm like, I'm doing it. And I'm just going to make 50 a day, or I'm not going to eat. And I actually made that decision. I'm like , I'm literally not going to eat a meal until I book something.

And so that was kind of my thing. And I find there's little tricks. I've met a lot of entrepreneurs that kind of burn their bridge. They don't have a way to go back.

-Right, right.

-Do you agree with that method? Or is that kind of crazy?

-I do. I think it's survival mode. Whether it's pride, whether it's money that you need. Freedom, financial freedom. What it is that's kind of holding you, everyone has that.

-Do you have to just jump, though?

-You have to jump. You're not going to be successful till you jump and try it. My thing I would always say, because I worked at Banana Republic in college, in the summer.

-Did you work there for the discount? And you bought-- you spent all your money on the stuff?

-I did.

-OK, yeah.

-But I always said, I can go work at Banana Republic. If all else fails, I'll go to Banana Republic. I know I can get a job there. So you think, you can get a job. If you go, just go leap and try, because you can always get a job in corporate America again.

-Life is not a dress rehearsal.


-And I think that anybody-- in my family, we have some family health issues we're dealing with. Everybody watching this, I'm sure you know somebody who's passed recently, or you knew somebody who's dealing with a health issue. We all have something. And when you realize that life is not a dress rehearsal, we get one shot, I'm kind of like you. I'm like let's just do it.


-I mean I don't want to be crazy. I have five kids. So I don't want my kids like living in my shopping cart with me as I try these crazy ideas.

But anyway, so now at the core of every business, there is a business owner who's like pig-headed--


-About achieving their dreams, and they know where they're going. I found this at the core of every business. If you look at Steve Jobs, you look at Bill Gates, you look at the guy who owns the chain of grocery stores in your community, the guy who owns the sod farm. They're not the most complicated humans.


But they're all pig-headed. They've got that kind of like, this will be successful. And you're like, but it doesn't even work on paper. And like, whatever. Let's do it. And they just kind of have that. And they need a support staff, too. You're pig-headed, but you're nice. You know what I mean? You are.

-Is that a compliment?

-I mean it, though. This is one of these-- it's like reverse. It's like a Jedi compliment. You are, you've always been very determined about your goals since I've known you. But at the same time, you're nice. Talk to me about being pig-headed. What does that mean on a daily basis? I mean how do you stay determined?

-Yeah, I mean I think someone has to be that big visionary that's taking you where you're going to go in your company. So know somebody has to think of the next thing, the next thing, to take it to the top. So I think, you know--

-So I'm going to give you some examples. You were starting your company, OK? You were trying to sell ads. You're cold-calling businesses to try-- how many cold calls did you make before you got that first deal?

-Oh, probably 25 or 30 until I got even just a nibble for the first, because nobody wants to be the first.

-And then you got an appointment.


-Then how many appointments did it take before you got a deal? Did you close the first appointment?

-No. I didn't close the first appointment. But definitely the ball started rolling once I got a couple on there, some big name people and all that. Word started getting out.

-But I mean at some point, you had nobody.

-Nobody, for a long time.

-Nobody wanted to advertise with you because nobody was there.

-Right. So you're trying to get sales, but you've got to build the audience. So we really hooked the marketing PR to build that, and still try to do sales at the same time.

-I want to tie this in real quick, if you can do this photo here of my main man, Richard Bronson here. Richard-- is it Branson or Bronson? Why do I always say--

DEEDRA DETERMAN: It's Bronson, right?

-Bronson, this person. Anyway, this guy-- look. He looks like Austin Powers over there. Well this is what he does. He says, I drew up lists and lists of people to call, and slowly worked my way down them. Most of them rejected the idea of paying for advertising in an unpublished magazine, but gradually I began to see ways to attract their attention. I would call up National Westminster Bank, and tell them that Lloyd's Bank had just taken out a full-page advertisement. Would they want to advertise alongside Lloyd's Bank?

This is a guy-- he started a magazine called The Student, after he basically dropped out of high school, because he's dyslexic. Now he started a paper, and he can't read. And he sold his first ad, and he couldn't even write articles.

DEEDRA DETERMAN: That's crazy.

-His first interview was Mick Jagger. And so it's craziness, but that is how every business starts.

-Yeah, and you're going to get nos. Of course, you're going to get nos. You have to just--

-Do you even care?

-No. You have to just--

-You don't care at all?

-Well, I would say that my skin is thicker and tougher now than it was the very beginning. You know, first couple, I'm like, why would you not want to buy my website?

-Are you still human, though? Like if someone says something mean to you, do you still care? Or do you not even care at all? On a human level, I mean, have you gotten to that point where people can say mean things, it doesn't--

-People can say mean things in business, and I'm pretty confident about that. If it's personal or it if has to do with my kids, don't do that. Mama bear.

CLAY CLARK: I guess I kind of-- I'm probably just a jerk. But I don't really-- I mean I've kind of become like Teflon when it comes to that sort of stuff. So I think it's huge, though. If you're an entrepreneur, you've got to have tough skin, right?

-You do. You do, yes.

-I mean it's got to be huge.

-You're going to get nos,


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: In order to be successful, you have to be, or hire someone that is, organized in daily plans, goals, etc.
  • "Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements." - Napoleon Hill
  • Ask Yourself: Do I know what numbers I need to hit to survive, to break even, and to hit my goals?
  • Step 3 (From Surviving to Thriving): Take the time to plot your course and determine how you are going to get there.
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: Where would you want to go?
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: What charities would you want to support?
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: What friends would you want to go visit?


-Now I've also heard that purposeful people tend to walk faster, because they know where they're going.


-You walk fast.


-I want to talk about this, do you always know where you're going? Do you always have a to do list?

-Oh, absolutely.

-You do?

-Oh, yeah, whether-- and I've been like that since I was young. I mean, I'm organized, and I think organization is a huge part of being successful as well. Because if you have stuff everywhere and you can't-- if you aren't organized, you've got to hire a right hand person that is. But keeping your stuff organized, and every day I'm looking at my list. I mean, I've got 10 lists over there.

-And I want to recap this, because it's huge. Step one, we have to define success. If we're going to move beyond surviving to thriving, we have to know where does that-- where we want to go. Then we have to make a decision. You got to jump--


- --got to commit. And the third step here, and this is our third step here, is we have to take the time to plot the course, to figure out how we're going to do it. Now, Napoleon Hill famously said this-- this is the success author Napoleon Hill, who I named my son after-- it's Aubrey Napoleon Hill Clark, I couldn't get the first name, I wanted the first name-- says cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements. You have to ask yourself, you're starting a business, the real question-- this takes time-- how much money do I need to make on an annual basis to survive, and to meet my most basic needs? You have to ask this question.


-Do you remember that, when you're going, I have to sell at least this many ads to feed myself.

-Oh yeah, to get a paycheck, to finally get some cash.

-I remember I had to do four events a month to turn the AC on.

-Oh yeah.

-I'm the man, and my wife would be attracted to my air conditioning. But I was so excited, I remember that. And when I first got the booking with the Holiday Inn, they agreed to book me for six nights a week for four weeks, and I didn't have my goals out front, I really didn't.


-So I never thought about like, if I'm there six nights a week for four weeks, I thought, that's 24 bookings. That's six times what I need to be a--


-I never thought about like, but then I will never see my wife. I just was like, I'm gonna do it!


-And so I didn't have that out in front of me, but I did know what my most basic needs were. Now, how would-- if you basically-- if you're growing this company, and you know what your most basic needs are, you also have to know how many deals you have to get to achieve your goals.


-Did you know how many advertisers you needed to hit your goals?

-The funny thing is when we started, I just I went after anybody and everybody, so I was getting $500 here, $700 here, just a bunch of little advertisers. And as we grew, I thought, what if I had five people paying $5,000 a month.

CLAY CLARK: OK, so you thought that.

-Right. It took a while.


-It took hitting the streets, and getting all this little money, and doing a lot of work for a little money--


- --to finally have that epiphany of why wouldn't I have five big guys, that I can give all my attention to? I needed to make about 25, 30 a month to pay everything, and start to make a profit. So I quickly went that way, and that's when we started really excelling.

-So again, just thinking about this, we have to know what our break even point is, we have to know how many deals we have to have just to survive, then we have to know how much we need to really hit our goals and to do something big. Now we don't know, and I'm just asking you this, and Deedra, if I'm missing an area-- I'm going to go through these, and if I'm missing something you tell me here.

But if you had all the money in the world, what would you be doing? I always like to ask that question, and then I make a list from that point forward. So what places would you like to see? Did you and your husband have a list of like, well, if we had some money we'd go here?

-Yeah, vacations, yes.

-Was it Delaware, or where did you guys put--

-No, we love to ski, so we ski every Christmas.




-We already know I'm crazy.

-So I'm asking you right now, if you're watching this-- and editing guys, let's put this on the screen here-- but if you had all the money in the world, where would you want to go? Where would you want to go, OK? What places would you want to see?

Next, is what friends would you want to go visit? Did you have people that you were like, we have a little money, maybe I can go visit her?

-Yeah, sure.

-Yeah, so who would you want to visit, that's a big one. Cars you would like to own? Was that something you had on your list?

-I'm not like a huge car person.


-I mean, my car is loaded with kid stuff, and soccer stuff, and snacks--

-Little vomit over here, and a little bit of dirt--

-When my kids are older, I'm going to have a sweet car, just right now--

-Yeah, I'm not a big car guy either. Now, what friends would you like to spend more time with, talked about that. What charities would you want to support? I know some people who are watching this right now being like, I don't even care about myself, because I'm better than that Clay guy. But they have a bunch of charities they want to do. They want to make money and give that money--


- --to a charity.


-Did you have any charities--

-I do, our little school's trying to raise money and build a school, so that's a huge part of my motivation. And it's just, the more I work, the more I can give, and help the school and church, and all that.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: What things would you like to buy?
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: What kind of house would you want to buy?
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: How many hours would you ideally want to work?
  • If You Had All The Money In The World: In terms of your lifestyle what are the things you want?
  • Lesson Nugget: Figure out how much you need to earn weekly to hit your goals, and then figure out how much business you need to do to hit that weekly amount.


-Now I'm going to fly through another one. Like a house, like a house you'd want to-- did you have any housing goals?

-Yeah. Absolutely.



-So you have that. Things you want to buy-- do you have things you wanted to buy?


-Did you make a list of things you wanted?



-And then, how many hours you ideally want to work. This is something crazy. It blew my mind. Some of the video guys know this guy. But there's a guy I'm working with, and he-- and if you're watching this, Dominic, this is for you, buddy. This is for you.

But he's a teacher. He's teaching at a local school. And he's like, I'm not making any money. You know, I'm working all the time. I love teaching kids. I love making money. I love teaching, I love making money. I love teaching kids.

And he was like, I want to have a business. But I don't really want to work more than, like, you know, five or 10 hours a week.


-I think right now he's clearing about $800 a week, with only working five hours a week. And it's just like because he's built this system, you know? So he's got tutors that are out there tutoring.


-And he, so for him, he was like, I want to have a lifestyle business. So I'm just going to ask you this right now. If you're watching this, and maybe you want to move to Costa Rica, one of the things you have here was this lifestyle. Like what, you know, in terms of your lifestyle--


---what are the things you want? And I'm just being real. Like maybe you want to work five hours a week. Maybe you, for me, like working is resting. And resting is work. But what are those things? Deedra, is there anything else that you and your family had kind of, on the goal list, that you-- was there any other motivations to start a business, where you were like, well, I started 918moms because I wanted to--

-Yeah. I mean, I think definitely thinking through all of that. And I was lucky to have a supportive husband that helped with the kids and kind of said, yes. You go do this. And I'll help be Mr. Mom, you know, for the ramp up. You know, I couldn't have done my business in five hours a week. I know that. But I also didn't go out and hire a bunch of people until I was making money. It was all about just me doing it until there's revenue coming in, and then start adding.

-Well, I'm going to walk through, real quick here on the board, because I think there's a neat little exercise that everybody can do here. And I don't know if you have a pen next to you or you can just type this in the little notes bar on Thrive, here. But what we do is, let's just say that you add up all the places that you want to see. All the places you want to see, all the places you want to go, all the stuff you want to buy, all the things you want to do, you add it all up. And let's just say that amount comes out to $100,000 a year. I'm just making up a number.

So if that's the case, we say, well, we're going to divide that by 52 weeks a year. OK? So, roughly, you have to make about $1,800 a week to get there. And that's when it starts to get real because you're like, whoa, whoa, whoa. 1,800? OK.

Now we have to ask ourself, how many clients? How many clients do I have to work with-- I can't write-- how many clients do I have to work with in order to equal 1,800? Like, how many? And I think that's where it gets real.


CALEB: So like, when you were doing 918moms, did you kind of have in your mind, like, if we get five advertisers, we could--

-Right. Yep. When's your break even? And when do you start making revenue? When can you start hiring?

-This is an exercise that almost no entrepreneur I've ever met does. It's bizarre. I meet people who have been in business for 30 years. And I say, well, what's your break even point? We have no idea. How many deals would you have to do to achieve your goals? I don't know.


-And to make it even crazier, I worked with a guy a few years ago who-- he had a business. And every time he did a deal, he only profited, like, $30. And he only had a capacity to do, like, 100 deals a week. So you're doing the math. And I'm like, Brosef? If you do 100 deals times three dollars, that's 300. So the most you could make in a week, ever, is 3,000 a week. And that's if you personally-- he was a designer who designed the heck out of stuff. And he was just designing, designing, designing.


-But he had such a low profit that he built himself a customer base who was loyal to paying those low prices.


-And he couldn't ever possibly get to that goal. So it's just bizarre how that happens. I want to ask you, if you started a business and you have this big idea, is there anything, any cautionary tale, that you would have for the folks watching this about figuring out your numbers? Because you've got some great wisdom about numbers and knowing your numbers. Can you maybe just talk about that, about what kind of numbers that you want to know or that you think every business owner should know?

-I mean, I think definitely, break even point. And from everyone I talk to, they want to know, when can I do my first hire? When can I hire people? Well, and also deciding, you know, how much do you need to live on? Do you need to be taking an income in, because that's always a hard part. When do you pay yourself?

-Well, I know for Thrive, for all you good folks at home-- let's just say, hypothetically, you're subscribing right now. You're not pirating. But then I would, basically, I pay myself a percentage of every person that subscribes because I wanted to tell the investors and everyone on the team, like, I'm not getting paid until we are offering value to people.


-And I think it's important. I mean, it's a good thing to say. But in every business, that's not practical.


-I mean, if you own a business-- I know a lot of business owners, about five right now in particular I can think of right now, who do not pay themselves at all from a business. And everyone else gets paid. And then they don't pay themselves.

DEEDRA: Right.

-So we've got to be thinking about these things. And I think it's really exciting. And Deedra, a little plug here for you, not that you need one, but you've helped companies grow and do their PR and their branding. And now today, you're kind of in, I think, maybe phase four of your career?


-You had the corporate job. Then you started the companies. And now you've got a big PR company you're growing. What do you see for the next five years for Deedra? What do you see for those years?

-I would love to have a bunch of national clients, you know, do PR, marketing. I mean, that's my favorite thing. So, I mean I can go in and do all the business coaching from the beginning. I love startups because I love the energy that people have. So you know, just that momentum and excitement and passion, I love to just dive in and do that and help them grow.

-Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate you. You were awesome.

-OK. Thank you.

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