In business, hubris can serve you extremely well. Confidence in your mission, your capabilities, and your opportunities can separate you from the pack. A healthy ego can make or break a businessman, and I often encourage the people I work with to move through their career with self-assurance. But while hubris and ego can help get a project started, I have seen it become a liability more times than I can count.Read More
When it comes to building and selling a company, the path to success is pretty direct. In order to enjoy a successful exit, business owners need to keep cost down, revenue high, and growth promising. That may sound simple enough, but just because the path is direct does not mean that it is easy.Read More
When someone refers to the “season of giving”, most people conjure up images of roaring fires, volunteers in Santa hats ringing donation bells, and ample amounts of family time. The holiday season calls generosity forward in a way that helps unite communities in a beautiful way. I know that I personally, always find myself in a giving spirit around that time of the year.Read More
A few weeks ago I came across an article that completely transformed my thinking. The piece is titled This One Question Will Make Every Decision In Your Life Easier, and you can find it on Medium.com. The article profiles the British rowing team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. They started out as a mediocre team, but once they started asking themselves “Will it make the boat go faster?” they completely turned themselves around and wound up taking home the gold.Read More
Have you ever donated money and thought, “I wonder where that’s really going?” It is a sad reality that donated funds do not always wind up where we think they will. In fact, you can actually find entire charitable organizations whose sole mission is to help you find other charitable organizations worth giving your money to. This phenomenon of your money not going where you think it will happens at every level. Some organizations spend most of your donation on operational expenses, some are outright scams – even the guy asking for change on the corner probably won’t be spending that money on food.
The trick is finding reputable organizations that will use your money responsibly. You want a charity that is transparent.Read More
When people hear that I am an entrepreneur, images of power suits and beautiful office suites often pop into their heads. After all, when we see entrepreneurial success on network television, it almost always takes the form of someone in designer clothing dashing across a busy city street in order to make it to their swanky office in time for the big meeting. All decisions are made mid-stride and everyone you see is confident and successful. You know what they don’t show you? Someone crouched over a computer 12 hours a day drinking cheap coffee and pouring over spreadsheets, relying on cold hard facts rather than their gut.Read More
Have you ever heard the phrase, Jack of all trades, master of none? What it implies is that someone who tries to be sort of good at everything, will never be incredibly good at anything. Basically, anyone looking for a diverse set of skills and a wide breadth of knowledge will never be an expert.
That describes entrepreneurs exactly.Read More
A few months ago, I spoke with a writer at Inc. about how entrepreneurs can stay open to new opportunities, both in business and in philanthropy. You can read the full piece here. In the article, we discuss how good entrepreneurs look for openings and needs within different markets, and how working harder and longer than your competition is what will ultimately get you across the finish line. The piece more than covers why it is important to look for new opportunities, but it falls short of what a good entrepreneur does when an opportunity arrives. Here’s the big secret; that opportunity is going to change.Read More
I am an entrepreneur. At least, that is how most people see me. I launch, grow, and sell businesses, and I have been lucky enough to enjoy some success. But while I love what I do – there really is nothing like the thrill of getting a new business off of the ground – if I am ever asked do define myself, I prefer to call myself a philanthropist. I have been focused on giving back for my entire life. Ever since the Boy Scouts taught me to value generosity, I have looked for ways to bolster others. It is the reason I seek financial success so aggressively, and why I began The Blake Johnson Alliance.Read More
Let’s talk about grit. Grit is what separates the winners from the quitters. Grit gets you through the tough times – the struggles. But grit isn’t just about buckling down and doing what is tough for the sake of getting it done. In order for someone to truly possess and exhibit grit, there are three essential things that have to be present:
3) AppreciationRead More
I was recently spending some time with a friend of mine from college. Since our time as freshman roommates, I have made a life for myself in business, and he has become a medical doctor. Even though we have had wildly different experiences since the time we split a dorm room, I realized that he is one of the few people in this world that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can trust.Read More
Every single person on this planet is unique. Everyone develops their own skill sets, takes different things from their educations, experiences childhood differently, and values things their own way. It is true that if you are smart and dedicated, you can turn your uniqueness into a super power, but the sad reality is that your individuality can just as easily lead to your demise.Read More
I am often asked what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. What skills or qualities are prerequisites for successfully launching a business? In my opinion, the most important ability in any successful businessperson is the ability to prioritize.
Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Let’s say there are four wildfires raging at one time. Three are relatively minor, but one is large, and is getting closer to civilization. What should the firefighters do? Should they attack the smaller ones first and claim easy victories? Or should they go after the largest, most life threatening blaze first? The answer here should be obvious.Read More
Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. This may strike you as pessimistic, but when it comes to launching a business, it is incredibly pragmatic. Throughout my career I have started a half a dozen businesses, and I noticed the same phenomenon with every single one of them. Everything I did took twice as long as I thought it would, cost twice as much, and was twice as hard to accomplish. That lesson was hard learned the first time around. It lead to a lot of frustration and sleepless nights, but ever since then the journey has become incrementally easier.Read More
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When does a company cease to be an idea and instead becomes a real business? Is it when you get your tax ID? When you hire employees? When you accept investment? To me, the ultimate measure of a business is whether or not it can provide a product that people will buy.Read More
Years ago, in the midst of a heated argument, I heard someone stop the discussion and say of their opponent, “I want to hear their side of the story before I respond.” Now, I mentioned this little piece of wisdom in my previous post, “Moderation is Key,” but it bears repeating here. Instead of immediately launching into his take of the events at the crux of the disagreement, this man stopped in order to entertain the opportunity of discovering more information. He wanted to make sure he had a solid understanding of his opponent’s position before he responded with is own thoughts and feelings on the matter. This may seem like a simple thing, but for something as simple and fundamental as having all of the information before choosing a side, it is incredibly difficult, and incredibly rare.Read More
We live in an age of automation. Jobs are being taken over by machines. I have discussed this before in my blogs, The American Dream is Quickly Dying, and The Problem with Automation, but it bears addressing again. It is shocking to me to see how drastically certain industries have changed. When I was growing up, reporters controlled the flow of news. Today, the only space left for them seems to be in deep investigative journalism, since anyone and everyone with a twitter account now covers breaking news. I used to have to book family vacations through travel agents. Now, sophisticated searching databases like Kayak and Google Flights have all but eliminated the need for one. I am sure that reporters in the 80s and travel agents in the 90s thought that they had job security, and yet where are they today?Read More
Today is Theodore Roosevelt’s 160th birthday. Here is my favorite thing that he ever said.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled, nor where the doer of good deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who knows the great devotions, the great enthusiasms and who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best wins, knowing the thrills of high achievement but who if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."Read More
Over the past few weeks as I watched the Kavanough hearing unfold, I couldn’t help but reflect on how divided and critical everyone seems to be today. Maybe it is because I am getting older, or maybe it has always been like this, but it is shocking for me to see how quickly and easily one person can become the scapegoat of some group’s agenda. The moment someone sticks their head out, their entire life becomes fair game. This hearing is incredibly emotional for a lot of people, so let me just say that I am not here align myself with either Kavanaugh or Ford. I am here to preach a stance of moderation.Read More