103: What it feels like to fail

I was laying on the couch, curled up in a ball. 
I felt sick to my stomach.
I knew I was failing, and I was on the edge of coming to terms with it.

For those of us who call ourselves entrepreneurs, we face these hard moments.
These moments where we know that despite our best efforts, we have failed at something.

We know it's part of the journey... but that doesn't make it any easier. 

After 3 months of pouring countless hours of my life into building Content Allies, I realized it was destined for failure. 

I could keep pushing, but it was like trying to shove a boulder up a hill.

We had customers.
We had team members.
But in my heart, I knew it was fucked...

So I sat there paralyzed, feeling absolutely nauseous. 

But in reality, what I felt was indecision.
I felt fear to make the decision that I knew had to be made. 

I had been feeling this for weeks, and I kept suppressing it.
Now, in this final moment before making the decisions, the emotions reached a level of making me physically ill. 

Then, in a span of about 3 hours, I finalized the decision.
First, I finalized it to myself.
Second, I declared it to my wife.
Third, I declared it to my mentor.

And by hour 4, I felt free and on top of the world.

Quitting isn't easy. It's self-declared failure. 
But sometimes it's the right thing to do. 

102: Build on principle

The path of entrepreneurship can be a winding and crazy road. 
It can take you all sorts of random places.
And there is the problem...


You see, most entrepreneurs go through their careers just jumping on whatever opportunity or idea strikes them next.

As a result, their career becomes this disconnected journey of random attempts and failures.

Consider another way...

Consider that you need a guiding principle. 
A core purpose statement that defines your decisions. 

You need something that you can use as a filter to run all future business opportunities and decisions through.

For example, here is my filter. 

The purpose behind the businesses I build is to create more freedom, not less, for the owners, team members, and customers.

That is my purpose. Freedom.

When I look at any new opportunity, I evaluate if it achieves that freedom for everyone involved. 

If not, it's an easy decision to walk away or avoid it. 

What is your guiding principle?

101: Building a Tribe

A tribe consists of 3 things.

  1. A leader

  2. A shared interest

  3. A way to communicate

This simple concept from Seth Godin's famous book tribes immediately struck home when I started re-reading the book.

Despite how simple it is, it's very easy to forget these fundamental building blocks of building a tribe like movement. 

At times, I have forgotten that I need to step up as a leader if I want others to follow.

Often, my message was all over the place and it was hard for my tribe to rally around a shared interest. 

And for years, I have done very little to let my audience and readers figure out ways to communicate with each other. 

Basically, I've done a poor job at building a tribe for the past few years. I've ignored the essentials, and despite pulling people toward me, I did little to keep them here by building a tribe. 

If you want to build a tribe you must lead.
If you want to build a tribe, you must rally people around a shared interest.
If you want to build a tribe, you must give them a way to communicate and connect with each other.

That is the path to building a tribe.
It's not hard.
But it takes work. 

100: What do you think we do?

"What do you think we do?" 
This simple question is extremely powerful when building a new business.

When you are trying to push the envelope, it is often hard to get your messaging and positioning correct in your marketing materials.

You write version, after version, of the website.
Yet for some reason, everyone still misinterprets what all you offer.

So here is a tip...

The next time you are on a sales call ask your prospect "What do you think we do?" at the start of the meeting.

Instead of you pitching to them, open up and ask them to explain their perception of you. 

First, this will actually create a fun dynamic of the conversation as it's a bit of a unique and different way to open up the conversation.

Second, this lets you know where their head is already at so you can close any gaps or misunderstandings they may have.

Third, this will give you massive insights into how people are perceiving you so you can adjust your messaging to fix misconceptions. 

099: Knowing is not enough

Have you ever met that person who likes to shell out advice from all the books they have read? 

They tell you all of these ideas and theories that they picked up.
But when you look at what they have actually accomplished, they are struggling.

I know this person, because for a long time I WAS this person. 
I read every book around.
And I would shell out advice to others around me like I knew what was up.

But there was a problem...

I wasn't living 90% of what I learned. 
While I knew things in theory, I was not taking the actions to live that which I learned.

You see, it's easy to read a lot of books, consume a lot of information, and acquire knowledge. 

In today's day and age, there is more information and knowledge available than ever before.

But what is hard is to actually take that information and do something with it.

It's hard to read a book, and then actually implement what you learned.
It's hard to focus on a few key sources of knowledge, and tune out all the rest which is a distraction.
It's hard to actually live everything you are learning. 

But consider that this is what defines great men and women from those who spend their life in struggle.

It's not how much they know.
It's the fact that they live what they know. 

098: Become a lifelong student

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Chris Ducker. Chris is a major online influencer with a massive following on his personal brand, paid membership sites, and multiple businesses that run on the backend of his website. 

One of the first things that Chris said on the interview hit home "At the Core, I'm just a sales and marketing professional. I just keep learning and studying this craft."

Even after launch several multi-million dollar businesses, Chris still studies. 
He still reads. 
He still works on improving his sales and marketing abilities every single day.

And that is the mindset you must get in. 
Into this place where you keep learning sales and marketing EVERY SINGLE DAY.

There is no end game for this craft.
You are always a student.

And the better you get at sales and marketing.
The better your businesses get.

So become a student.
And stay a student. 

It is the key to a fulfilling and successful path as an entrepreneur. 

097: Beyond tactics

We are in a world of digital marketing.
Of quick fixes. Fast tactics. And measurable ROI's. 

While there are many amazing things that have come with the rise of digital, there are also bad.

And one is the simple act of neglecting the brand. 
Of neglecting your story.
Of assuming you don't need to focus on that.

The truth is, all of those digital metrics are heavily influenced by one other thing.
Your brand, your story, and your marketing.

These subtle things that you can't just A/B test. 

These all matter. 
It's not to say that analytics and digital marketing don't.
But it's simply that they are not everything. 

If you want to build something that lasts... build a brand and a message that matters. 

096: Two types of ego

It's often looked at as "bad" if you have a big ego.

But I would beg to differ.

Anyone who has accomplished anything substantial in life has an ego.
They have to in order to stand up to all of the scrutiny that show up when they start to rise.

Yet there is healthy, and unhealthy ego.

In Ayn Rand's famous book "The Fountainhead" she illustrates this perfectly.

On one hand, you have Howard Roark. The innovative architect. 

Roark doesn't care what others thing, and stays true to the path he knows is right for himself.

Others hate his work, ridicule him, and try to destroy him.
But he does not deviate for others. 
And as a result leaves an unforgettable mark on the world.

Roark has ego. 
But his ego is driven by certainty.
That is the healthy kind of ego.

On the other side, you have Peter Keating. The popular architect.

Keating lives for what others think of him. Every decision he makes is to be popular in the eyes of others.

But Keating lies to himself every day. 
He cheats and steals in order to maintain his fame. 
And in the end, he drives his life to a place of absolute misery.

Keating has ego.
But his ego is driven by vanity and caring what others think.
That is the unhealthy kind of ego.

Check your ego. 
Is it driven by certainty? Or vanity?

095: Be real. Be patient. Be a leader.

If you want to lead someone to a better place, you must first be real with them. 
You can't cover up your true thoughts, or try to sugar coat what you think.
You need to open up, be raw, and let them know what you really think.

Second, you must be patient.
Others won't evolve at the same pace you do. 
You may tell them a truth, but it may take them a while to accept it as fact.

Third, you must lead them to a better place by first living it yourself.
If you want someone to move from where they are today to a new way of operating, you must do that yourself first. 
You must be a leader and blaze that path for them.

You must first live the path you want them to follow. 
Without living the path you want others to follow, you are leading from a place of hypocrisy.

If you want others to follow you, you must lead by teaching that which you have learned.
That is the bare minimum.

Be real.
Be patient.
Be a leader.

That is how you lead others to growing and evolving themselves. 

094: Assume Success

"So I have this new idea for a business, do you think this will work?" - A friend asked me this yesterday... 

And years ago, I used to ask this same question whenever I had a business idea.

Now, with any business concept, you need to do due diligence to makesure it will financially work.

But for most business ideas, if you can find a parallel company that is pretty similar, then it will work... if you work...

The problem I had for years is that I was "looking for a right idea". 
I thought my success would come when I picked the right path to go down. 

And then a mentor asked me "Assuming you will succeed at whatever you do, why are you going to choose this business?"

And that question changed me... because it assumed I would succeed no matter what.

Stop questioning yourself. 
Stop questioning your idea. 

Instead, you need certainty and commitment. 

You need certainty that the path you are going down is the one that you want for your life.
And then you just need to commit. 

Pick a path and commit to it. 

When you commit. You will succeed.

Because you are saying "I am going to make this happen, no matter what. When it gets hard, I will find a way. When I hit roadblocks, I will pivot. I am committed."

Stop questioning if your decision is right.
Assume you will succeed at whatever you do.
Choose what you want for your life.
And commit. 

093: Your life is by default

Consider that your life, as it exists today is a result of you being reactionary. 

It is a result of you defaulting into wherever the whims of the world take you.

It's not a pleasant thing to hear, but for a majority of people, this is reality.

We walk along the status quo, then some external thing in the world happens, and we react to it. 
Our emotions take charge of us.
The stories we tell ourselves influence our decision.
And we simply react... 

Now there is a flip side to this... It's not easy to learn, but the possibility on the other side is amazing.

The flip side is that we build a life by design, instead of default.

We are living our life, and then some external trigger hits us.

And in this moment, instead of reacting to this external event, we attack it.
We are not taken off guard by this event, but instead we see it as an opportunity. 

When you begin to look at life through this lens, you realize how often in life you have reacted to whatever the world has thrown at you.

The next time the world throws something at you. 

Step back, evaluate the situation.
Look at the facts vs your emotions about the situation.
And then make a decision.

It's not easy to do. 
But it will change you from a life of default, to a life of design. 

092: What is your customers gap?

If you want anyone to buy from you, they must cross a gap...

Today, that potential customer has a series of beliefs, stories, patterns, pains, and behaviors. 

They operate by these behaviors, and these behaviors make up how they view the world.

Well, in order for them to buy from you, you must accomplish one of two things.

First, you must create something that supports their current belief pattern. That's the simple easy route, but has often become quite commoditized. 

Or second, you must change their belief patterns. 

You must change what they believe is possible.
You must change the stories they tell themselves.
You must activate a desire within them for something more.
Or activate a desire to alleviate themselves of pain.

In order to compel someone to action, you must identify this gap between where that customer exists today... and what beliefs they must have to buy your product.

That is the gap.

Identify that gap for your customer. 
And then use your marketing to guide and seduce them through that journey. 

091: Your customers should thank you

"Thank you so much for everything you guys are doing. This is great."

That is the kind of message you want to be hearing from your prospects.

Even though they are PAYING YOU, you want to design a marketing system, and delivery system that has them grateful for you.

The old school game of marketing was all about just getting people to buy.

The infomercials selling stupid products.
The door to door salesman who you never saw again....

Those people didn't really care. 
And they had no repercussions if you didn't like your purchase.

But in today's digital age, things are much different.

The buyer is enabled, and the buyer has power.
They can go to social media and tear you down if you upset them.
They can ruin your reputation if you treat them wrong. 

And so the entire dynamic has changed. 

First, you must make marketing promises that your product will actually deliver on. 
Second, you must sell from a place of integrity with a product you believe in.
Third, you must deliver beyond expectations on everything you sold and marketed.

If you can do that, people will be thanking you, even when they are PAYING YOU.

You should not be thanking your customers.
It should be the other way around. 

090: Leaders require certainty

In todays world of technology, very little is certain. 

"Change is the only constant" this has become the motto and rallying call of todays leaders.

And amidst all of this change, most people flounder. They operate reactively, and from a place of fear, and doubt.

They make a decision, but they question if it was the right decision... 

Well I will have you consider that the chaos will never change. 
But instead, you must change.

You must grow as a leader and level up in your certainty and confidence.
You must make decisions amidst the chaos, and be ruthlessly committed to them. 

For example, a few years back when I was floundering in business, I would set goals for myself, yet I rarely hit them.

I would set a 3 month goal for myself, and then about a month in, I would see how hard it was going to be to hit the goal, I would talk myself out of it and back down...

I didn't have the certainty and confidence in myself to deliver, so I sabotaged.

Today, I set a target, and I hit it. 
I say I am going to do something, and I do it.

It's not a question of "Will this work?" 
It's a question of "What is required to make this work?"

I'm certain in myself and my abilities. 
And I will do what is required to make it work.

If you want to be a leader that people follow.
You need to build that certainty and confidence in yourself first. 

089: Leadership is commitment

It's easy to lead when things are easy, when everything is going your way.

What is hard is to lead when shit hits the fan, when nothing goes as planned.

Those are the true moments that test your leadership. 

And in those moments, as a leader, you must demonstrate one thing...


You must take a stand and do what you said you were going to do.
You must listen to the voice inside of you, make a decision, and execute.
You must commit to something, and drive toward it with unwavering certainty.

When you commit, you show courage and clarity to your team.

And when your team sees that in you, they will trust you, and they will follow. 

But if you lack commitment,
if you shrivel up in fear, 
if you are scared to handle the situation, 
if you try and blame others... 

Well that is the worst thing you can do as a leader.

Make a decision, and commit to what you are going to do. 
Demonstrate unwavering confidence in your decisions.
Because in that, people will trust you and put their confidence in you.

But it all starts first with getting committed...
And the key is that the commitment is not just a facade for other people.

The commitment is a genuine, courageous, commitment inside yourself. 

088: Recycle your content

When it comes to creating content, more isn't always better.

While I love creating content (this daily blog is an example), sometimes it's just not about adding more to the mix.

Instead, it's about recycling and repurposing what you already have.
It's about promotion, instead of creation.

At Lead Cookie, we have one single article that has driven a massive amount of leads and new customers to our business. It's our "How to Guide to Linkedin Lead Generation - https://jake-jorgovan.com/blog/a-how-to-guide-on-linkedin-lead-generation

This is what is called "Cornerstone Content".

It's some of your best content.
It's the foundational piece. 
It's what you want people to read to get educated so they buy from you.

I put A TON of work into that How to Guide, and in reality I could not publish content like that every week. I simply don't have that amount of prolific ideas.

But, what I can do is keep repurposing it, reposting it, and then promoting it in different ways.

I can focus the rest of my content around driving people back to that one cornerstone piece.

Less is more when it comes to content.

Create your cornerstone content, and drive people to it. 

087: What is your one win?

6 months from now, if you looked at your business, what would be a win?

Don't name off 3-4 different things.
Name one thing.

One is one, measurable, metric that would signal to you that you have hit the success that you wanted? 

When you name off 3-4 different things, you are listing out different tactics, or ways to get you to your win.

But those tactics can be distracting. 
Because the tactics are NOT the win.
They are just steps along the journey.

Some tactics may go like you plan, and others may fail.
And when you focus on the tactics, then your world crumbles when a tactic fails.

BUT, if instead you focus on the one single measurable outcome for your business, then will find a way.

One tactic may fail. That's ok.
You double down on the other tactic.
Or you re-evaluate and find a way. 

When you have your one clear measurable metric you are striving for, then you find a way to turn that into a reality. 

Define your win.
Make it measurable. 
Make it one thing. 

086: Awareness of your emotions

Everyday, you will find yourself triggered by a variety of things. 

Your family members, team members, your self... 

And when I say triggered, that means you get angry, frustrated, fearful, or experience any other broad range of strong emotions.

It could be an email from a customer.
A situation with your spouse. 
Or even just your own emotions and hormones bringing you down. 

But here's the thing. 

If you let yourself get wrapped up in your emotions, then it makes it hard to think straight. 

One negative email from a customer starts a train of thoughts... and 30 minutes later you believe "I'm going to lose everything!" 

It's natural for your mind to drift down these thoughts. 
It's your feelings and emotions taking control.

But the truth is, that doesn't serve you. 

Instead, if you catch your emotions early, and notice when you have been "triggered", then you can accept what happened for what it is, and think through the situation with a clear head.

You see a negative email and realize "This is one upset customer, I can deal with this." and you realize that it does not impact your business and service as a whole. 

You see the conflict for what it is, and you don't let your mind spiral the story into something bigger than it is. 

Awareness of your emotions. 
This is step one to changing how you respond to them. 

085: 100x Bigger?

"What would this look like if we were 100x bigger?"

That simple question is powerful to use when building a new business for scale.

For many entrepreneurs, we build for how things exist today. And if your goal is not to scale with your business, that is just fine.

But if you intend to 10x or 100x in size, then you must think differently. 
You must build today with 100x your current business in mind.

It's a simple question, but leads to powerful changes to how you approach problems.

And this can't just exist in your head as the entrepreneur...
It must also exist inside your teams head.

I remember when we had about 12 customers at Lead Cookie, and I told my team "Someday we will have 100"

That was a mindset shift for all of us.
And we began to look at and solve problems differently.

So if you are building to scale, then don't build to fix your problems of today.
Build as if you were 100x your current size. 

084: Why your team members leave

“You leave a leader if you don’t believe the leader anymore, or you want something that is beyond the scope of their leadership.” - Garrett J. White

One thing that many entrepreneurs don't realize about business is that their team often wants more than a paycheck.

They want a place to learn.
They want a place to grow. 
They want to feel as though they are in a company that is furthering their status in life.

Yet, many entrepreneurs fall short of this in two ways.

First, they treat the employees just like cogs in a machine. They don't invest in them, and enable them to grow. 

And eventually, those cogs get burnt up and annoyed with their situation and leave. 

You don't give them an ability to grow, so they eventually walk away.

Second, the leader stops growing and therefore is no longer someone the team member can learn from. 

Think about it this way. If you are leading a talented and driven person, then they are going to consistently be evolving and growing. 

And if you want to keep them engaged, YOU must be consistently evolving and growing. 
You must always be several steps ahead of them, so that they desire to continue to learn from you.

As soon as they desire to learn something that you can no longer provide, that is when they seek a position elsewhere.

If you want to keep your team around, rise as a leader. And keep rising. 
That will make you someone worth following.