This whole putting-yourself-out-there-publicly thing is quite nerve wracking. And while I really don’t like most components of self-marketing, the results have their advantages. When I was a 13 year old, I learned through auditioning for movies, plays and commercials how to hide my complete discomfort being in front of people. The secret was to convince myself that everyone really was my friend and wanted to hear from me. Then in today’s day and age where all sorts of forums exist for people to complain about your personal or professional style, efforts, or results – there always seems to be a small flow of negativity from haters. I won’t lie — criticism hurts. So I’ve learned that you just have to ignore it.
I’ve also learned that while there can be some negatives of putting yourself out there, embracing your public persona has tremendous advantages. I’ve definitely noticed that employees are much prouder of where they work and have a little more swagger when you are able to nurture good buzz for the company. Recent studies like this one also show that CEOs who create good social buzz make it easier to attract great customers — so I’m really excited to see if, amongst its multitude of benefits, we can also take this social thing to the bank.
So why this website? My favorite lessons learned over the years have been from others who have been willing to share their experiences. I love hearing the fantastic moves and the regrettable mistakes of others so I can leverage them or avoid them. And, while I don’t mind making my own mistakes, there’s no need to experience everything first hand.
When I was attending Brigham Young University, numerous entrepreneurs came in and shared their experiences. I held on to their every word. So interesting. So fascinating. An entrepreneur named John Knab told me to write my ideas down in a journal and that led me to starting my first business. Another entrepreneur, Jonathan Coon, told us students to read every magazine we could find to become smart about business and the markets in general, and I still devour dozens every month.
When I was back in those classrooms, I always told myself, that as I had experiences, I would take the time to share them and return the favor just as others had shared their experiences with me. I’ve spoken to other entrepreneurs at countless events. Someday I’ll probably finish a book I started several years ago. (I might need to wait until the statute of limitations expires on all of the crazy things we did to entertain ourselves while working 20-hour days.) In the meantime, to bridge the gap, I give unto the world my blog. I hope it’s a net-positive experience for all of us. If it’s egregiously obnoxious, horribly boring, or overly pretentious, I commit to considering penance via that barbed-chain cilice worn by the albino monk from Da Vinci Code. Ouch. Happy reading.