So You Want A More Successful Business? Invest In Yourself FIRST!

I Want Toys!

I want to talk to you about lessons learned, and lessons taught. Let me take you way back to the 1990’s. I owned a recording studio that did jingles, and commercials, and all this other stuff. I decided to start a new business called, “Sound Publications.” Part of the impetus of that was that I wanted to create products, physical products. One of the first products that I created was something called a “daycare manual.” Now, okay. Dude owns a recording studio, why is he writing a book about daycare? Well, in the process of things that I was doing, I was invited to be on the board of directors of the Illinois State Home Daycare Association.

At the same time, my sister and some other friends were opening home daycares. What I realized is that they needed guidance. They needed some kind of manual to run their business. I decided to create a course. What I did is, I wrote this course, and I had a bunch of recording done on instruction, hired a voiceover person, did a ton of interviews, and put together a complete workbook with everything that they needed. Everything from forms for intake, to legal information, to things that would help people run their business better. Man, I was on top of the world. Got this great package, it was in a binder with eight cassettes in there, probably about 6-10 hours of training; I don’t remember specifically how much.

Then, I decided to take it to the next level. There was a National Daycare Convention in New York City. I bought a booth, and the booth was probably about $8,000. I could do it locally, but I also had to have that shipped out to New York, and went out to this daycare conference. I’m standing at this daycare conference, and you’re just standing there for hours, and hours, and hours, and people would come up to the booth, and they’d look at the training manual and they’d go, “Oh, this is cool, this is exactly what I need.” Then, they’d leave the booth, walk across the way, go down a little bit, and just start spilling money out buying toys.

Man, I was just so bummed. I think we sold two manuals the whole time, and the whole process probably cost about $10,000, which is probably closer to $25,000 today. I learned a big lesson, and that was that people wanted to invest in things, but they didn’t want to invest in themselves. That’s what I’ve learned over the course of the years, is the difference between an entrepreneur, and a “wantrepreneur.” A wantrepreneur just wants to get their hands in, and do things, and make things happen, and meet people, and sell things. An entrepreneur really understands investment. Not just investment in their business, but investment in themselves.

History Repeats Itself

Now, starting in 2001 when I opened this business, I kind of did it again. I bought gear, and I was reinventing myself, and constantly trying to grow my business. I wasn’t focusing as hard on myself. In 2013, okay, so now we’re talking 12 years after I started the business, I started writing my book, “It’s Not About You, It’s About Bacon: Relationship Marketing in a Social Media World.” That’s when it hit me. I needed to invest in myself. That’s exactly what I did. In order to make the book successful, I needed to go out and find other people who have had successful books, and successful book launches. I needed to learn from people who had already executed what it was that I was trying to do.

From there, I realized that investing in yourself means going and finding people who have actually executed what it is that you’re trying to do, and learn from them. Now, there are tons of coaches, and tons of experts out there. A lot of people that can follow formulas, they can buy into franchises, and programs, and all of that stuff. That’s cool, but unless they’ve done it for themselves, it’s really, really hard to teach people the nuances of doing it for them – in other words, helping them get through the process.

Books & Audio Books

Let me tell you what I learned throughout the course of this time. The first thing was, I needed to start getting back into books. Now, I’m not a great reader. I wrote four books, but I’m not a great reader or a great writer. What I started doing was listening to audio books constantly. I would invest in audio books based on the kind of things that I needed to learn step-by -tep. Some of my favorite audio books are “The E-Myth,” “The 4-Hour Work Week,” and “Platform,” by Michael Hyatt. I mean, there are some great books out there.

Podcasts

I’d listen to all of these books, and then I started taking it to the next level. I started listening to some podcasts. I started listening to podcasts by Michael O’Neil, and Pat Flynn, and Joel Comm, John Lee Dumas, and Bob Burg. For some of these people, I’ve read their books. I love their stuff. Some haven’t written books yet. I was learning from the experts that had been there and done that. Then I took it to another level. In the process of writing my book, I hired my first coach. The whole premise of that first coach was that I needed to hire somebody who has written successful books, promoted successful books, and helped me actually to get where I needed to be.

Coaching

Boy, that opened up my mind, because I hired Felicia Slattery. She was my first coach. She had written a handful of books, and was a great speaker, and taught me how to get out there and speak, promote my book, create products, and more importantly, how to meet influencers, how to meet these people that I was listening to, and get to know them, and get to take it to the next level. Since then, many more coaches have specifically helped me with sales, with setting up systems, with learning how to do specific things like Facebook ads. The current coach that I work with is Marla Tabaka (listen to her episode on the Bacon Podcast) who taught me mindset.

Masterminds

The other thing that I learned about was masterminds. Sitting down with a whole bunch of other people that have gone through what you have not gone through yet, and have the experience to say, “Look, this is the way that you need to deal with these problems,” or, “These are the things that you’re not looking at.” As business owners, we tend to be too close to the forest to see the trees.

Conferences

Another piece of the puzzle that I had to learn is I had to get out of my own way, and get out of my comfort zone, and go to conferences. That’s where I got to meet influencers. The way I got to meet them is I volunteered. I setup mics, I helped them do the tech, cause that’s something that I know how to do. I got to put mics on these people, and because I got to know them one on one they would sit down and have a coffee, or a glass of wine, or whatever, and would talk to me, because I wasn’t just somebody sitting in the audience, or somebody they were trying to sell something to. I was somebody showing servant leadership.

Then I got to know a lot of these people, and these are some of my best guests on this podcast. I’ve got some great guests coming up. Through these influencers, I’ve met other influencers, and have constantly grown myself, and gone to additional conferences. That’s how I’ve learned to grow my business.

Final Thoughts

Over the course of the last four years, my business has been booming. Over the first 12 years of the business it was stagnant. By investing in myself, I learned how to really make a difference in my business. Now, the question I have to ask you, are you investing in yourself? Are you reading books? Listening to podcasts, hiring coaches? Going to masterminds, getting out of your comfort zone and going to conferences? Invest in yourself, and watch what happens.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Comment below and share your experiences and suggestions on how you’ve invested in yourself!

To learn more about this and other topics on Internet Marketing, visit our podcast website at http://www.baconpodcast.com/podcasts/

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