There I was with my business partner, sitting in a restaurant with a successful entrepreneur. We offered to take him out to dinner in exchange for picking his brain. We wanted to pitch our business idea to see what he thought.
I had started this company before Launching Creative—I thought I was going sell it for millions of dollars. I was young, I was naive, I was very “Silicon Valley” about it. The most unexpected advice I received that night was: If you don’t watch Shark Tank. Go home, get on abc.com and watch it. Seriously.
I went home that night and watched the show. I was instantly hooked! (No pun intended.) Yes, I’m aware that it’s reality television. I’m more than aware that it’s hyped for entertainment (Kevin O’Leary isn’t a billionaire, for example). But I’m telling you, this is a fantastic show and it has taught me a lot about business. In fact, I’ve even applied these lessons to being a creative professional.
I thought I’d share 5 amazing quotes (and one bonus quote) from this show—1 for each shark.
A goal without a timeline is just a dream. —Robert Herjavec
As creatives, we need a timeline and we need to have measurable goals. Let’s say you have a boring day job (been there, done that) and you want to go into business for yourself—you want to be a freelancer. From the 2 examples below, which do you think is the dream and which do you think is the goal?
“I want to quit my job and do what I love”.
“I currently make $4,000 per month at my full time job and I work 40 hours per week. I want to start freelancing on the side. Within the next 100 days, I want to make $2,000 per month by working 20 hours per week. I want to have 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund. I’ll then transition out of my full time job, go full throttle with my new freelancing business, make over $4,000 per month when I’m working 40 hours per week, and then I’ll love what I do.”
Finding Opportunity is a matter of believing it’s there. —Barbara Corcoran
I wholeheartedly believe in self fulfilling prophecies. If you say, think, and believe that you’re always going to struggle financially…you’re always going to struggle financially. There’s this myth—this fallacy—that artists have to be starving artists. I’m here to tell you that such talk is destructive and it is only true if you believe it to be true (not to get into moral relativism…because I believe that moral relativism is a logical fallacy, but that’s a topic for another day).
Opportunity is out there, it really is. However, you just have to believe it’s out there. It’s very similar to wanting to buy a new car. Let’s say you want a new car and you decide you want to buy a black Honda Accord. You know where I’m going with this example, right? You know what I’m going to say—you’re going to start seeing black Honda Accords everywhere!
Why? Well, it’s because black Honda Accords will be on the forefront of your mind and you will notice them in places you normally wouldn’t notice. Opportunity is no different. When you put it on the forefront of your mind—when you think, talk, read, and dream about success you’re going to see opportunity everywhere.
We all want the freedom to make our own decisions. —Daymond John
My goodness, I think this is true for every creative. This is the beauty behind entrepreneurship and freelancing. When you’re in business for yourself, you’re able to make your own schedule. I remember when I had a full time day job—I sat in a cubicle every Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. It. Was. Awful.
We’re living in exciting times. We can be location independent. We can live anywhere we want. We don’t have to wait 40 years until we can travel—we can do it right now.
I’ve been talking to a web developer from the UK. He worked for a startup and was paid 6 figures per year. He decided to quit his job after saving up a nest egg, double his hourly rate, go into freelance full time, move to Southeast Asia, and work 20 hours a week. How. Cool. Is. That?!
You can do the same thing, I promise this is more attainable than you think. If you don’t want to sit in a cubicle all day, you don’t have to sit in a cubicle all day!
Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week. —Lori Greiner
I know I just talked about working 20 hours a week as a freelancer instead of 40 hours a week as an employee. It may seem like I’m about to contradict myself—but I promise I’m not. You definitely can work fewer hours, but it may take more work upfront to put your systems into place.
I’ve definitely been putting in more than 40 hours a week for Launching Creative. However, things won’t always be this way. I won’t always work this much. Besides, I’m more energized after working 12 hours a day for myself than I ever was after working 8 days at a job I hated.
It comes down to finding something you love to do and then just trying to be great at it. —Mark Cuban
This boils down to really mastering your craft. I was in a forum for freelancers recently and someone was asking for help—he couldn’t find clients. Someone asked what he specialized in. He replied, “I do a little bit of everything.”
“Maybe the reason you aren’t finding clients is because you’re doing ‘a little bit of everything’.” replied another user. There’s a saying I’ve been hearing a lot since immersing myself into the entrepreneurial world: The riches are in the niches.
A niche is a specific space within a specific industry. The truth is, if you’re trying to reach everyone you’re going to reach no one. At Launching Creative, my goal isn’t to reach everyone in the entire world. I don’t have a goal of hitting 7 billion views per day. I don’t blog about fashion, lifestyle, cupcakes, being a creative professional, easy mom recipes, and “manly” recipes…no! I just blog and podcast about being a creative professional—we’ve niched down to creatives who want to discover how to become business savvy.
Bonus quote from Mr. Wonderful
Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. —Kevin O’Leary
(Of course I’m not going to leave out Kevin O’Leary. And of course, his quote is freaking amazing as well.)
We’ve talked about sharing your ideas a lot. The fact of the matter is, nobody can hoard all of the good ideas in the world. Maybe you had a brilliant idea, only to discover that it has “already been done”. So what? Is that going to stop you?
You have a personal flair that nobody else can offer. You can offer something unique. The Launching Creative Podcast certainly wasn’t the first podcast to ever interview successful people. We did not let that stop us because we know we have something unique to offer.
—Nik Parks, Co-Founder of Launching Creative