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6 What If You Needed to Fire Yourself?

I had an interesting conversation with one of the most dynamic free agent entrepreneurs I know.

It all started when he wrote to tell me he had taken a job.

A what, a job?

How could that be, I mean, he was living the dream.

scott ginsbergMy friend is the author of over twenty books, speaks to groups all over the world and is a seeming non-stop fountain of ideas.

Oh, and he had built, in my view, one of the strongest personal brands I’ve encountered.

But, you know what else, he was burned out going it alone and had no desire to scale in order to burn out even more, so he a made a decision.

Actually, the first thing he did was take the summer off so he could think about what he wanted to do next.

I think that’s the world we live in going forward. You don’t necessarily need to have a job, a career or a business so much as you need to have a life full of things that keep you motivated.

For some that means a never ending stream of projects, while for others that means remaking themselves every few years in order to pursue something exciting and new.

As I think about my own journey over the last couple of decades, it may be true that I’ve not been employed in the traditional sense, but I’ve also not stayed still hacking away at building my business.

In fact, in the twenty-five or so years I’ve been on my own working as a small business entrepreneur, I’ve recreated my business in pretty significant ways at least four times.

My friend, mentioned above, is Scott Ginsberg, you may know him as “the nametag guy.” I shared Scott’s amazing story in my book The Referral Engine. Scott’s worn a name tag every day since some time in 2000 and built a loyal and rabid following around his constant theme of approachability.

A few months ago Scott went on sabbatical to figure out how to save himself from burnout. He’s still the nametag guy and he still writes and speaks, and by the way sings, but he’s also an idea guy for New York based Makeable creating something he calls thinkmaps.

Yep, in order to stay true to his entrepreneurial spirit, he took a job that lets him continue to expand his journey by day, while holding onto his own unique brand by night.

I think Scott’s approach to how he found the next stone on the path is equally revealing and instructional. Instead of heading over to a job board Scott researched and located a target list of companies that he felt represented the culture and innovative energy he craved.

Then he contacted the CEOs of these organizations and requested an interview – not a job interview, though. Scott is a publisher, like we all are today, and so he asked to interview the CEO as a journalist and consequently changed the dynamic of what essentially was his introduction to the organization.

From these interviews Scott was able to connect with and engage the organization that he eventually chose to go to work for.

I asked Scott if he ever felt as though he had failed his entrepreneurial dream somehow and his response was – “not at all, failure would have been to continue to do what I was doing without passion, failure would have been to lose my wife over that.”

I guess my main point for so many of my small business entrepreneur readers is that your option for how to create fulfilling work is only limited by your imagination’s ability to create scenarios that excite you.

The definition of work, of career, of what is and is not a business are forever altered and can be molded to fit anything that excites and feeds your soul if you choose to explore it intentionally.

6 Ideas Are Free, Execution Is Priceless

Marketing podcast with Scott Ginsberg (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is Scott Ginsberg, author of 12 books, creator of the legendary nametag franchise. Readers of my book The Referral Engine met Scott and read about his incredible habit of wearing a name tag every single day of his life for over ten years and counting.

Scott is one of my favorite writers, to meet him in person you’ll find a warm, frequently excited and always approachable human being that you’ll enjoy passing the time with. His vibrant personality comes through just as powerfully in his writing as well – even as he produces content at a clip that would make most writers pale.

If you want a daily dose of passion, inspiration and some very useful and practical ideas, go subscribe to his Hello, my name is BLOG!

In this episode we talk about Scott’s latest book Ideas Are Free, Execution is Priceless:366 Actionable Ideas, Challenging Insights and Disturbing Questions to Help You Take Action on What Matters. Scott refers to this book as a business devotional and fittingly the book is designed with daily snack sized messages that are designed to inspire you to action.

You can flip to today’s date, look up some advice for your birthday or just flip to any page and the book will work its magic. I read a lot of books and this style of daily snack sized reading is so easy to work into your daily routine.

Ginsberg’s mantra throughout this book is – “You don’t need another idea – you need an “I did!”

Listen to the entire podcast and you’ll get a feel for just how great each nugget in this book is.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

26 Simplify

There is a somewhat famous Albert Einstein quote that goes: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

I think the application of that thinking to marketing, and more specifically marketing messages, is crucial, now more than ever. Confusion breeds caution and caution breeds no sale. No matter how complex your solutions are you must find a way to communicate them in very simple terms – terms that make it very easy for the prospect to jump directly to results.

There are two very important paths that one must develop in an effort to simplify their business and brand promise – message and process.

Your core message should be simple, clear, consistent, and buzzable. One of my favorite examples of this strategy is a St. Louis entrepreneur by the name of Scott Ginsberg – Scott, or Hello My Name Is Scott as some know him, has done the same simple, clear, and buzzable thing for 3000 + days and it is his business. (Go find out for yourself!)

Your process should be simple, clear, consistent and visual. By process I mean, generically, how someone gets the results they are after through your product, service, or engagement. For some, it may be an actual mappable set of steps that makes explanation of “how you work” a simple affair. For others, a diagram of success might help tell the story. (Two books on this subject you might check out – The Back of the Napkin – Dan Roam and slide:ology – Nancy Duarte.)

Here’s the diagram I use to demonstrate the components of a Duct Tape Marketing system and marketing plan. I keep working on it trying to get it down to one or two words, but not simpler.