Will It Come Down To Desperation For Me?

by Mark
(Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA)

starting a quick money business dog walkingI like your site and the story and articles. I really appreciate the detailed explanations of the car wash, dog walk, and lawn maintenance businesses.

I'm just not sure I have the physical strength at age 39, nor enough interest to do well at those. But it may come down to desperation.

I still haven't even applied myself at my natural abilities, after working a wage slave job that I've hated for 17 years. I'm also so foggy on what my real interests are... I seem to just jump from one thing to another.

Now I have a wife and 3 kids to take care of and no savings and barely getting by and my hourly job is going to end soon.

What resources or help do you suggest for someone like me? I really feel I need a mentor or an adviser. So I am starting to ask guys at church, but only one of them is an entrepreneur full-time.


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----- Arturo's Reply to Mark -----
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Thank you for visiting our site, Mark. As it turned out, you arrived to a portion of it whose content targets an audience who is a bit older than half your age. So I can appreciate your feeling in considering the quick-start recommendations that we make to them as mostly unsuitable to your situation as a husband and father.

Here's an excellent example of the type of person for whom we encouraged these types of physically challenging quick-money ventures and how effective they can be at advancing their interests and experience.

The basic assumptions that we're making for those wanting to start any of these quick money, cash-based ventures is that they will have the stamina, support and determination to execute aggressively on them, driven by a near desperation to avoid college debt, long-term unemployment or the fear of not having any other way to develop entry level employment skills, plus an innate desire not to put all their career eggs in the one-employer basket from the very start. For someone like you our assumptions are quite different.

Your comments give us a good opportunity to share these assumptions and some thoughts about what you may wish to consider doing.

Let's begin with the following assumption. We believe that someone facing unemployment does not necessarily find himself in a financially unfit situation – financially precarious situation yes, financially unfit maybe not. But this is a question every person confronting the prospects of unemployment must ask himself, "Am I financially unfit to begin a business now that I'm confronting unemployment?" If the answer is yes, then your options are limited unless you're willing to make a radical change in your lifestyle.

When I say radical, I mean RADICAL, as in you need to get down to the root of things and redo just about everything possible to change your future. This starts with a reworking of your expectations about where you should have been by this point in your life. And, as a married man, you can't think alone about this. Your wife has expectations as well. Is she willing to be as radical as you may have to become to change the future? Or, with children around you, are you already living the future and must you then confront today the choices that you made 20 years ago?

This is something only your wife and you can speak to. But let me give you some pointers, if you don't mind, to make the dialogue easier to start.

  • Aim for the same objective. You are a team. How do you complement each other? Be the man. Take the lead. But be practical. Listen to her insight about what may be feasible to accomplish together.

  • List the resources available to you two.

  • Define your priorities in the open.

  • Determine what objectives may be achievable with the resources available in the order of priority you two agree to follow together.

This is thinking like a business already, Mark.
starting a  business when unemployed crossroads
Next, you say that you have no savings, no future in your job, no financial wiggle room, no physical strength. Thank you for your inventory of what you cannot count on to move ahead. Let's focus on what you do have for a moment.

Do you have intellectual capital? Do you have social capital? Do you manage your time? What do you know to do well? Who do you know who is willing to get involved collaboratively with you? Are you controlling your available time, scheduling it for productive use in serving someone in need? Focus on what's under your control. This is how you avoid worry. Become so busy with doing what you can that you're left with no time or space in which to worry. But be purposeful.

And here's where you have a plain weakness to overcome immediately. You seem to have no purpose. You cannot lead without a purpose. You say that you've failed to apply yourself to your natural abilities? What are your natural abilities? Are you crystal clear about them? Here. Do yourself a favor and take this free temperament test and develop a vocabulary about your overall preferences. Then pay $40 and get the career seeker package at the Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential (MAPP) and become intimately aware of your strengths. Start building off of them. Overcome your key weakness, which is a lack of clarity and focus.

When you're done with all this that I've assigned to you, come back here and I'll help you with your next step. Come prepared, however.

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May 24, 2012
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From Deperation into Success...Possible?
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

I want you to know I am taking what you said very seriously... I really appreciate your insight and being candid with me. I believe we can turn my desperation into success.

I'm glad you started with the topic of finances.

Never having been able to generate a consistent, growing income, going from one wage slave job to another that don't build on each other or develop my skills or align with any of my abilities or interests has been my biggest downfall.

Never having any clarity on how to develop skills or experience around my natural gifts (and not really knowing what my gifts are) has been very frustrating.

I've tried many side businesses... But lack of clarity and understanding of myself and lack of any capital to experiment with led to most of my little attempts at businesses dying before they ever got off the ground.

I think I'm unfit financially for anything besides a "bootstrap" type business where I start with a low cost product or service that I can do on the side and let the small profits help build the business, one piece at a time. But this type of business, no matter what it is, requires a steady job while doing the bootstrap process.

I've never had a steady job with any future and I don't see how I'm ever going to get one. Jobs require experience or training, and a certain level of drive to excel. My only experience is in jobs that I'm a bad fit for, that eventually lead to my layoff or burnout, like my current position. The doctors have warned me to reduce the high stress I am under for my health as well.

My wife and I have made some sacrifices (some even radical ones) to cut back on our lifestyle and survive on some of my lower paying helpdesk support jobs. We have really slimmed down. But I don't know how to reduce rent. It's cheaper now than where we used to live. But it's still the biggest expense. And we don't have family we can live with. So that is one of our biggest financial challenges.

I took the two tests that you suggested and found them very beneficial. Here are some highlights of what the tests reaffirm:

  • I'm an INFP (my temperament is Idealist - Healer).

  • I like to make people, ideas, and things better.

  • I'm good with going deep, high quality, taking time, no deadlines.

  • I like to relate and find common ground and discuss/share truth, big picture, values.

  • I hunger for authenticity, clarity, kindness, trust, respect.

  • I react very protectively when I see innocent or defenseless people being hurt by others. And I too am pretty sensitive.

  • I'm diplomatic and like to write out my thoughts.

  • I don't do well with rules and regulations.

  • I can work well alone, but don't like to be alone too much.

Now...

To your question about what am I good at and what can I use right now... (to be continued)

May 24, 2012
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From Deperation into Success...Possible? (Cont'd)
by: Mark

Arturo,

I don't know if I have a lot of intellectual capital in a specific area. I am a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none who has "dabbled" in several things. I don't have a network of people established. But I just moved and have met some great people that I am building solid relationships with.

My wife and I are better at managing time and have done things like putting the TV away, cutting out activities that aren't important, etc. We do spend a fair amount of time with out kids each day, and make family time our priority.

I do have some time to work on a business or whatever I need to do now.

I haven't had many consistent hobbies, except for playing guitar at home and at church. So other than info about some guitar music, church music and plenty of info about the instrument (I even built a guitar once), I don't know much more.

So the above stuff about guitar/music and the tests you recommended that I take did suggest a potential direction, I think, namely teaching guitar, starting as a side business and then going from there.

I am not a great guitar player, but I believe I have enough experience and ability to at least teach beginners. I found a couple of guitar teachers who teach others how to get into the business. They pointed out that I don't have all the skills, but that I probably have enough to go ahead and get started.

So, other than lack of financial capital to survive our tough situation, and knowing my job will end in a month or two, the biggest challenge seems to be going from this "sinking ship" of a poorly fit job choice that I made years ago, to finding out my real gifts and passions, that have been buried under years of working mostly from my weaknesses and getting burned out.

How do I turn this situation into income?

I do have a heart for not only my own family but other people and families to escape the corporate rat race and build businesses and family economics. I'm hoping the Lord will someday use me to help people in that regard, but right now...I'm a bad example.

Currently, I have started taking guitar lessons again. I will try to find some students soon, to at least get started on teaching lessons, and see how I do. I'm hoping to find a job in Colorado Springs to pay the bills. (I am in contact with some recruiters).

Without having tried it yet, I don't know if guitar teaching is the long term solution. I feel I haven't found my exact niche or my passion. So I am looking around constantly for advice in this area.

To me what it all comes down to is getting help from people on how to get out of this "trap" and to find and get back on the right track, while still providing at least the basics for my family. I'm a person of faith, and believe God is sovereign even over challenges. I know He will use some of my new friends and folks like you to help me see His will and direction for me.

Thanks for your time,

Mark

May 28, 2012
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Aligning Your Business To Your Calling
by: Arturo F Munoz

Mark, you've spent your adult life working mostly from your weaknesses and getting burned out in poorly fit jobs with a crisis looming in the next 8 to 10 weeks. These are your words.

Give me a cause you'd fight for. Make it BIG. Here's your criteria:

What will get you...
  • To break out of a cocoon of reservation and timidity?

  • To shun criticism and deal face forth with conflict?

  • To set aside idealism and leave you with no time to focus on your shortcomings?

  • To stick to a discipline of self promotion and organization?

And what will get you to do all this for at least 1 year? Give me a cause, a prime mover, your calling.

What kind of guitar teaching can you see yourself doing that would become a cause – a fight worth fighting?

You're going to need a career doubling as your calling. Short of this, you'll likely have a very hard row to hoe to build a business that can give you both security and also satisfaction.

All businesses involve work that we hate to do but is necessary to complete for business continuity's sake. I'm sure your work experience has given you plenty of insight into this aspect of work. But to ensure that you succeed as an entrepreneur – or even as an employee somewhere – you must become a master at something. No more jack-of-all-trades. Be a master.

You must concentrate effort and dedicate yourself 5,000 hours to achieve mastery. At 20 hours per week that's 5 years of devotion. Are you willing to commit?

You can start with 1,000 hours which, without a doubt, you already have. This gives you competence. But to reach heights where eagles alone dare, you must stretch wings to the tune of 5 times more than a competent seagull can flap.

Are you willing? Are you ready? This commitment will take you well into your 50's. Are you determined to step forward and not look back?

What kind of a protégé would you like to mentor? Can you help someone become a virtuoso? You need not be one yourself. You only need the trust of parents with gifted children and willing to pay. Do you have what it takes to build an academy devoted to gifted students?

Maybe by using a method like Suzuki, you could serve more than one student at a time without losing that intimate connection that mentors alone can offer.

Do you have enough knowledge of guitar that you could create an instructions system using video (YouTube) that shows how to go from basic to mastery in, say, 100 steps to build this credibility? You don't have to be the only one being recorded. Are you willing to partner with other instructors? But it should be your YouTube Channel.

Would you be willing to refine your online presence to mentor students remotely via Skype, for example, after starting locally with enough students to build credibility?

Mark, so much depends on what you envision as worth striving for. What's a BIG cause for you that involves a guitar, your values and you?

May 29, 2012
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Going for a BIG Cause
by: Mark

Thanks Arturo…another great reply. Your discernment and clarity amaze me.

I agree that finding my calling or a BIG cause, and focusing with all my might to become a master is the way to go for me. What the BIG cause is... that's the million dollar question.

When you narrow down what we've been discussing, you're exactly right! What will help me? Breakout, charge forward, face the enemy, focus, take action, promote, stay disciplined.

While I want so badly to narrow this down to one area, I don't believe I can without advice and time with others to help me see this. My heart and knowledge tell me it's in there somewhere.

The Lord probably hasn't shown me yet, because I haven't been mature enough to handle it. I can tell you about many things that I deeply care about, but I can't seem to put together into something to focus on and earn money from. Maybe we can sort through these to find some clues that I'm not seeing.

Here are the things that do seem worth fighting for:
  • I will fight for peace and justice when others are subjected to malicious behavior or unfair harm.

  • When I see or experience something that "moves me" and asserts one or more of my values in nature or music, or in photography/video I become an evangelist to share that art, information, or experience. When I have found things like this, which is not that often, I have gone out of my way to spend lots of time setting up a web page or making a presentation, or working on learning the music. But I've never found a way to consistently string a bunch of these random inspirations together in a way that makes sense to myself or others.

  • I believe strongly in family and in sacrificing modern cultural treasures to build the real treasure of a big, loving, God-honoring family.

  • I long for the values of our country's forefathers that built this nation and were based on the same faith I have. I think entrepreneurship and trusting in God are a huge part of that. I would love to help myself and others grab hold of these values in all areas of life and become good entrepreneurs who are free from the modern socialist structures and popular corporate values.

  • When I see lots of waste or corruption/unfairness or really poor quality, I love to go all out and sink my teeth into a project to look for ways to correct these problems and make a plan and at least kick off the execution, but this only applies to people, places, tasks that I care about and line up with my values.

  • When my family or I or even someone we have a relationship with has a big need or want that we have at least a partial interest or concern for, then I will fight and be diligent to find the resources and affordable ways to meet that need or desire whether it's learning a new skill and building it myself, finding a good deal, or finding someone we can trust to provide it at a fair and reasonable price... (to be continued)

May 29, 2012
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Going for a BIG Cause (Cont'd)
by: Mark

  • (cont'd) For example, modifying the house to accommodate children, building my own guitar worth twice what I spent, helping someone avoid a rip-off and finding an honest mechanic, instructing someone how to use available free tools on the internet rather than wasting money on an expensive tool or service, etc... all of which I have done.

  • Writing from personal experience and research to help people see truth and past common misconceptions, to help them try something they thought they couldn't, or to play peacemaker.

  • I like to win and beat the bad guys... whether in athletics, conquering fear, exposing evil deeds... for example I wanted to conquer my fear of heights and encourage others when I went rock climbing and repelling when I was younger and just this last weekend... always a thrill to do at least once... or pushing myself to win in a team sport... or seeing the "nice guy" team win against the "thugs" in football, baseball etc... Or keeping track of what the liars and manipulators are doing to help those who are being deceived or hurt.


Now, as far as guitar teaching, I like your suggestions, several of which are new and refreshing, and sound very helpful, a couple of which I already thought of.

Honestly, after reading about 30 or more articles about being a good guitar teacher, and reading your comments, I know that I have some of the natural abilities to teach and help students. However, I don't feel driven to do so at the moment, and honestly don't see why people need me in particular.

I don't think I have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that would give anybody a reason to choose me. Since I haven't done any guitar teaching, at this point it doesn't seem like something I just want to do for any sort of calling or purpose. It just sounds better than what I'm currently doing.

But as you point out, that's not good enough.

Now it's very possible that after I attempt to teach a few students, I might discover a spark or a motivation that would drive me to teach guitar. I did try teaching my daughter. But she wasn't really motivated and neither was I beyond just spending time with her and helping her get good at something she enjoyed. The guitar and music was not the driving force.

If I had millions of dollars and no financial responsibilities and plenty of time, I would find the best local teacher and spend 3 hours a day or more for 6 months to a year or more getting better and finding my "voice" with the guitar. I don't have one yet.

I should have done this when I was younger, but I didn't. And I don't have a clear purpose, other than discovery, which doesn't seem to be enough, to be that devoted right now.

So... there's my thinking out loud to explain why I haven't taken action on teaching guitar yet, and why I don't see the calling or cause worth fighting for... I am certainly open to some encouragement that might help give me that "spark", if you see one.

Thanks again,

Mark

May 30, 2012
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A Big Cause Means ONE Big Cause
by: Arturo F Munoz

Mark, I'm going to be blunt because the situation requires it. Take a deep breath.

It's best if you forget entrepreneurship as your best option for improving your lot, unless you make an immediate commitment to focused thinking, pithy speech and frugal use of time and effort.

I'm going to require your next response to be no larger than 400 words, if you wish me to reply to it. Here's why. You need to force yourself into a new discipline. Sticking to 400 words will give you the necessary sensation to this. This sensation must become a compulsion.

When I said to give me a BIG cause you'd fight for, I meant ONE and the BIGGEST you'd take on that would fulfill the 4 criteria I gave you. You didn't deliver. Had I been a customer and asked you to give me what I wanted, you'd have lost the sale. This is how you go out of business before even being in business.

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie said "Concentration is my motto – first honesty, then industry, then concentration." He went from being an immigrant factory worker to founding Carnegie Steel Company which served as the key component to what came to be known as U.S. Steel Corporation. You seem honest and industrious. Add what's missing for your success. Concentrate.

Misgivings are contrary to concentration. Misgivings are the product of doubt and "he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

One common characteristic between misgiving, doubt and hesitation is generality. You're very general with your descriptions of "things that do seem worth fighting for." No good! Be precise! Be decisive! Choose one thing: what's best. Then stick to it. Jam a stick in the ground and get started.

You can't swing between an amorphous "fighting for peace and justice", over to a nebulous fighting for "home and country", back to an abstract fighting against "waste and corruption", over to an ethereal “playing the peacemaker” and back to a puerile "beating the bad guys" and expect success. Your problem is not that you lack a USP or years of skilled guitar playing or a definitive voice as a musician.

Your problem is that you don't stop swinging in space, so you don't progress in any particular direction before regressing once you change directions again. This is double-mindedness and instability. Don't suppose you will receive what you wish for.

Your assignment to encourage you with a jolt to get off your swing is to answer in 250 words or less the crucial question "What chief task can I undertake in which I'd be most difficult to replace?" (You know enough about yourself to answer this.)

Then use your remaining 150 words to tie your answer to a specific group of people who need this task unambiguously done for them.

I'll wait for your reply.

May 30, 2012
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Re: ONE Big Cause
by: Mark

Ok Arturo. I agree with everything you have said. I freely admit my struggles with doubt, double-mindedness, swinging around, and being too general.

Thanks for forcing me to 400 words or less. I'm surprised you didn't sooner. Thanks so much for the article. I've always enjoyed reading Mr. North's articles... I had kind of forgotten about him, but will go back to his wisdom.

I will attempt to answer your question, just as you asked, after some sleep, some prayer, a full day's work and after speaking with my family and trying to narrow things down.

I'll be in touch soon,

Mark

May 30, 2012
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Re: ONE Big Cause
by: Arturo F Munoz

I'm surprised you didn't sooner.

Mark, I didn't sooner because I needed to ensure you had the necessary material to focus on and work from. You've taken the various tests. You've answered my various questions. But now we need a hub to build from. So it's time to remove from the work table anything that is not pertinent to the task at hand.

The task at hand is to delimit the thing of most significance that not only you're best at doing and motivates you to continuous progress but also may lend itself to commercial purpose and viability.

With this defined, a wide road of possibilities opens up before you.

Your intuitive nature by now must have signaled to you loud and clear that this obfuscation in finding a purpose is a major obstacle in your way. So find the art in getting to a solution. Make that today's challenge.

I know it's tough to study ourselves. Familiarity breeds a sort of tiredness even contempt that can keep us from really knowing ourselves well enough to do what we must. But knowing is not even half the battle. You can ask your wife and she will most likely nail you spot on halo and all. The key is in doing something with that information.

At this moment the action to undertake is to choose. Make a choice to select one and only one thing that you're willing to stick to for 12 months. I'm not big on visualization. But there is a place for envisioning at times what we'd like.

Where do you see yourself next summer? Where would you like to be and why? When you get there, would it have mattered? If you knew you'd die the moment you got there, would you have chosen to get there and not somewhere else 12 months earlier?

Don't restrain yourself about possibilities. Let your creative juices flow. But once you've spent yourself in every direction, choose. Choose the one that will make a difference and for which you were put on this earth to do it.

I'm going to give you one piece of advice that may or may not work for you. But it's worth the try. Go out and do something you'd rather not do, but which gets your body tired if your head is about to explode. Clean the yard, mow the lawn, paint the house, prune the rose bush, wash the cars, build the fence. Just get your hands and feet moving and leave your head alone for a while.

Then come back to write and write for as long as you want. Next leave the writing alone for a couple of days and then come back and edit down to essentials. Have someone review your final draft and give you feedback. Then post your results when you're convinced that they reflect what truly is within you.

Jun 01, 2012
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ONE Big Cause Identified: Promoting Entrepreneurship
by: Mark

Arturo,

Below is my response after working with my wife to narrow things down. She was a big help.

First let me mention some good news. My boss mentioned a few days ago that we'd likely sign a new 6-month contract. This will take some of the current pressure off.

Now onto the questions you asked me.

The task where I can be irreplaceable and passionate is helping people find ways to make work more purposeful, more efficient, more entrepreneurial. My wife and I know that this is the direction I am headed and where my heart is. We know that the best way I can do this is by setting an example first, then producing various kinds of content, and working with small groups or individuals through it.

I have been in a position most of my life to constantly find ways to be more efficient, economical and resourceful, whether at home or in my jobs... and entrepreneurial on the side. I now have become an evangelist to people I know about family-based entrepreneurship, usually just referring people to the experts, like you. I may be a beginner, but I will be committed to this end for the rest of my life.

First, I will set an example by building my own micro-business(es) on the side next to my job(s) until I can authentically say that I’ve done it and learned the important lessons to help others. This is phase 1 and may take some time.

The idea that my wife and I are excited about is to find a healthy niche market of people looking for help in repairing or modifying guitars affordably from home. I will build on my previous experience in assembling, repairing and modifying my own guitars and learn as much as I can, documenting the work well, shooting videos, marketing and selling some of my work, and injecting my values and interests into the mix.

After phase 1, the audience will be men who like myself are looking for alternatives to traditional employment and seek to work with purpose, vision and their families, but who weren’t trained from the beginning to do so.

I’ve been doing the "looking and trying out" for years. But as we have fleshed out in this post, my lack of focus, doubt, double-mindedness, etc. have been getting in the way and kept me on the first lap as an amateur…

But by God’s grace, these same mistakes have also forced me to face challenges and hardships that I believe are part of the preparation for being able to help others.

Jun 01, 2012
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Every Cause Contains A Crisis
by: Arturo F Munoz

You've done it, Mark! Bravo! You've focused.

First, I want to say I'm glad that your employer has managed to grant you some breathing space. Continue to redeem your personal time and you will steadily advance, now that you're gaining greater clarity about your objectives.

Second, welcome to the sponsorship of entrepreneurship club! Few causes are more challenging or rewarding! Stimulating slaves to freedom is hard labor. Just ask Moses... But leading them to a Promised Land of freedom is worth it.

Time to work on your narrative, nevertheless.

How are you going to wrap your skills in questioning, observing, experimenting and networking around a backbone of associating things for people who are overwhelmed with the idea of becoming entrepreneurial somehow?

In other words, how can you become an innovator-entrepreneur who leads others into a purposeful, efficient renewal of their minds regarding their time, labor and resources and a community of potential customers around them?

Yes, you must exemplify this in your own experience. But you must first also know what experience you need to gain to make it useful in guiding others.

Who therefore are these others? Let's start there.

Who is this "healthy niche market of people" you want to guide? Is it truly those who are "looking for help in repairing or modifying guitars affordably from home"? Just because you've previously assembled, repaired and modified guitars, it doesn't mean there is a viable financial future for you in taking on a "guitar hero cause".

Do you see yourself as expert in the ranks of someone like this, for instance?







Let's instead approach our new situation from the following angle: Who is your ideal client who would want to hear about family-based entrepreneurship from you, and what specifically does this person stand to gain from paying you to guide them in becoming entrepreneurial? What's their crisis?

Be very precise. You've started a journey.

Jun 02, 2012
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And The Crisis Is... (Part 1)
by: Mark

Arturo, you said:
"In other words, how can you become an innovator-entrepreneur who leads others into a purposeful, efficient renewal of their minds regarding their time, labor and resources and a community of potential customers around them?

My answer:
  • Overall, I'll be so through a combination of continuing to study and read from those who've gone before me and offering to help others with similar values build their business using research, advice, and pitching in, while saving them money, will get me on the path to become this person.

  • I've been studying some great resources (audios/books) on these issues... I will continue to be a disciple of the authors, men at church, and others that I have been learning from, like yourself, to learn the wisdom, truths, and stories that bring this stuff to life... so I can in turn tell the stories, share the victories, share the wisdom, and inspire others to seek out purposeful, biblical, family-based entrepreneurship.

  • I will need to synthesize this information, do additional research, and use my ability to put things into to easy to understand terms.

  • Then I need to develop my own angle by listening to what guys are saying and struggling with.

  • I'll use the great online forums I have found, doing some local networking, and talking to guys at church, etc.

You said:
Let's instead approach our new situation from the following angle: Who is your ideal client who would want to hear about family-based entrepreneurship from you, and what specifically does this person stand to gain from paying you to guide them in becoming entrepreneurial? What's their crisis?

The crisis is the breaking down of our culture, the family, increased socialism trumping freedom and entrepreneurship.

  • My ideal client is the man who has at least a wife, and a child or more, who is starting to see the futility of the world's systems, like socialism, industrialism, corporate America...
  • Men who are longing to live out their values in their work, or who don't feel a since of accomplishment and who might feel like a pawn with no purpose.
  • I think, with a little engagement into a discussion on the next generation, these men can see, like I did, the changes that need to be made to align their lives with what they believe and know in their heart... and so, out of love, they can bless their children to also live out these values.
  • So these will be men of faith, who need encouragement and are willing to go against the status quo, or who probably are used to not following the crowd.

Jun 02, 2012
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And The Crisis Is... (Part 2)
by: Mark

Getting back now to the guitar repair micro-business idea, it is a way to learn some entrepreneurial lessons and develop some stories to share, and a fun way to make some extra money and get my family involved.

The microbusiness part is flexible, but this idea we've come up with seems better than teaching guitar, in that it involves family, creating, repairing, marketing, internet, local sales, etc. I can even blend in my values of redemption and other issues related to work.

Your question was:

Who is this "healthy niche market of people" you want to guide? Is it truly those who are "looking for help in repairing or modifying guitars affordably from home"? Just because you've previously assembled, repaired and modified guitars, it doesn't mean there is a viable financial future for you in taking on a "guitar hero cause".

My answer:

The idea for a microbusiness that we came up with wasn't so much about becoming a Luthier or world-class guitar builder... The idea was to show guitarists, hobbyists and mechanically inclined folks who have the interest and the need that it really isn't too hard to do a lot of the basic guitar repairs and to build a basic guitar or kit, given the right tools and instructions.

My wife and daughter can even use their skills to help me out with some of this stuff. This would be great on video. It was through a couple of books and the stewmac.com website, that I learned enough basics to do these things myself once or twice.

I also feel I can help people filter through all the info and simplify depending on what they want. I can do the research, make things easy to understand and focus more on the market of folks like me who need a "working-class" guitar repaired, customized or built.

Check out warmoth.com. They cover a lot of this market. I almost went with them originally, but I really wanted to build my own guitar body from scratch and make something truly unique and that fit my particular needs.

I feel that if I continue to develop a knack for presenting info through a website, videos, blogging, then finding good products that I can be an affiliate for in addition to packaging my own info products will be great things to do, if for no other reason than to learn to build and online business.

But I do see some good potential and a decent market from my research so far with several possibilities on how this business could pan out.

But it starts with doing some work myself, helping others, looking for multiple ways to monetize based on what people are talking about and looking for, kind of the "build the following" first approach (with some "easier" sales) and then continuing to ask and offer to give them more of what they want.

I think I will discover just how big (or small) this niche can be and where I need to filter as I interact in forums and do research.

Jun 03, 2012
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And The Crisis Is... (Part 3)
by: Mark

Lastly, Arturo, thanks for the encouraging comments... I appreciate you helping me gain clarity.

I realize my responses were long again. I see some room for improvement.

I also am very open to suggestions on getting on the right track to become a leader, learn the needed skills, and to build a story that will help and inspire people to make the changes that they need to move toward family entrepreneurship.

Mark

Jun 04, 2012
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We're Still Lacking A Crisis Here
by: Arturo F Munoz

Alright, Mark. You've said a lot to me. But we must distill down to essentials. It helps when you force yourself to say less. With you less is more. So keep trying.

Since you also have a tendency to digress and, thus, lose focus, keep an eye out for verbosity. If you see you could have said the same with half the words, take twice the time to write half.

Next, let's concentrate on what will really make a difference at this moment. Moving you out of your "Field Of Dreams" narcosis is step one. You said:
I feel that if I continue to develop a knack for presenting info through a website, videos, blogging, then finding good products that I can be an affiliate for in addition to packaging my own info products will be great things to do, if for no other reason than to learn to build an online business.

"...if for no other reason than"? I thought you wanted a business not a hobby. Time to move from feeling to knowing.

You can't expect to launch a venture that can outpace the respite you got from your employer if you're talking about needing to synthesize this, study that, network on this, develop a knack for that and so on. The Terence Mann mentality of "They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing...and they'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack" is ludicrous drivel. Is that how the movie theater treated you when you asked to watch the movie?

My point is that you don't start with doing some work yourself, helping others, looking for multiple ways to monetize based on what people are talking about and looking for – kind of the "if you build it, they will come" Field of Dreams approach. No, sir. You start with a laser sharp idea of how to show guitarists, hobbyists and the mechanically inclined how easy it is to build and repair a basic guitar using the right tools, because there's something in it for them to learn to do this from you.

Can you tell me what that is? What's in it for them? What do these 3 specific types of people, facing a cultural, familial, civil and economic breakdown, gain in learning to repair basic guitars through you? Say it in 50 words or less and say no more until after I respond to that.

Jun 05, 2012
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Re: We're Still Lacking A Crisis Here
by: Mark

Arturo,

Let me try to answer your recent questions instead of asking another.

Who is the client? What's the crisis? What's in it for them by coming to me?
  1. The client is men of faith who have families and want to do entrepreneurial work based on risk, faith, and results that will involve and disciple their whole families.

  2. The crisis is all those things – financial pressures, cultural/peer/family pressures, lack of knowledge, lack of encouragement, even lack of mentors and work models – that prevent these men from transitioning to entrepreneurial work.

  3. If they come to me with their crisis, I can gather, organize, and present information in a clear and detailed way to give them the knowledge, resources, encouragement and examples they need to make the transition.

I can do this best if I do my own family micro-business and share what I've learned from that along with my mentors.

Is this any closer to what you were looking for? Any ideas on how to setup our micro business to teach me as well as answer this crisis?

Thanks,

Mark

Jun 06, 2012
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The Crisis Of Getting To A Workable Crisis Baby
by: Arturo F Munoz

Mark, I deleted one of your two messages because in the first one you were rambling on. It reminded me of Led Zepplin...
Gonna ramble on, sing my song. Gotta keep-a-searchin' for my baby...
Gonna work my way, round the world. I can't stop this feelin' in my heart.
Gotta keep searchin' for my baby. I can't find my bluebird!

But this second one yields some good stuff, which I've highlighted in yellow. I think we might find your bluebird baby in it...if you stick closely to what I tell you next.

You want to work with men of faith who want to use entrepreneurship with their whole families to disciple them. They're lacking knowledge, encouragement, mentors and workable models, preventing them from transitioning to this kind of work. But with your help they gain the knowledge, resources, encouragement and examples needed to make the transition.

This is clear. But how do you overcome the anticipated response of "Says you"?

You need to make your proposition both believable as well as tangible. Saying that you'll be best at convincing your ideal client of the wonders of transitioning to entrepreneurship once you've achieved the very thing yourself with your own family is to dig your own early grave.

Promise what you can deliver, not what you wished you could deliver. Else, you'll continue rambling on.

A workable crisis baby might be something like this:

"I want to work with fathers of 8 to 16 year-olds who play guitar, enjoy hobbies and are mechanically-inclined and are looking for a way to connect with their troubled sons, discouraged by a broken home, fearful of school bullying, bored by too much idle time or numbed by wasted hours playing useless and violent video games. They seek to transition this critical relationship into greater intimacy to teach their boys both how to build something of value with their own hands and make money as a young craftman on the side to become entrepreneurial before they're lost to the system."

Dig?

Now tell me, what will these fathers learn from you?

Jun 07, 2012
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Re: The Crisis Of Getting To A Workable Crisis Baby
by: Mark

Arturo,

Your suggested "Crisis Baby" above definitely presents a great method to synthesize what I am "able" and "desire" to do in order to answer a crisis in my target audience.

Your suggestion sounds great... not a perfect fit for me... but this will get me started, helping me to start thinking within the correct framework to structure my "crisis baby".

I'll do some more work and get back with you.

Thanks again,

Mark

Jun 07, 2012
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The Method Is The Secret Sauce
by: Arturo F Munoz

Good catch, Mark! You spotted The Method.

You will find that by reworking the definition of your ideal target audience, but with the degree of precision that I illustrated in my earlier description of people who want to use the reparation of guitars for more than just fixing a broken musical instrument, you may refine for yourself both a business as well as a personal purpose that could quite practically fulfill a calling in your life.

As novelist Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton of "the pen is mightier than the sword" fame said:
Art and science have their meeting point in method.
Be sure to concentrate on the benefits that these people who would learn something useful from you will gain in engaging your services.

Don't be Machiavellian and attempt to confer benefits gradually, thinking that this way they will taste better. Load the boat to near sinking depths with them. And with them you will attract the very kind of people you wish to help.

Jun 12, 2012
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Re: The Method is the Secret Sauce
by: Mark

Arturo,

I'm really struggling to figure out the other half of the method, so as to "load the boat with benefits" to help others with what I already know.

I still don't feel clear on what my natural abilities and usable skills are.

I believe I would benefit from some training or starting a hobby or volunteering somewhere (I don't know where yet) for a while to help me clarify what I can actually do... and praying that I can survive my job in the mean time.

I do feel motivated to go to luthier school or to go to some sort of business coaching school (if there is such a thing) or start taking guitar lessons again. Yet all of these would require focus and commitment and debt, which would probably halt the starting of any business or side income...

Any suggestions?

After watching the video again of a luthier course at a well-respected community college about 1.5 hours from home ... I do think that would probably be the best training I could get, that I would probably be more excited about than anything.

But, I'm already partially self taught like some of the teachers there... I might do better to do the home or correspondence course with video, etc... or maybe find a more local luthier that I could just help out for free in exchange for some learning/mentoring...and probably could learn a lot faster that way, and just work in my garage, as I already have some tools.

I could just put an add on Craigslist and start making a little money doing repairs, tune-ups, etc... stuff I've already done... while I get better at guitar building an repair through correspondence training if I can't find a good affordable teacher nearby...

To me... this sounds more productive and action-oriented and profitable than getting too "big picture" right now... maybe I should just trust that the calling / big picture will develop as I do the learning and work on the side of my job.

Appreciate your help,

Mark

Jun 13, 2012
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So, After All This Work...
by: Arturo F Munoz

...Will it really have to come down to desperation for you, Mark, as you said at the opening of this thread?

All I can tell you at this point is that you must guard against the cooling of schooling with as much zeal as anyone confronting analysis paralysis.

You're proposing an either-or scenario that doesn't seem sensible in light of what you really have to do first and foremost, and that is simply decide which job can you undertake in which you'll be the most difficult to replace and then attempt to align it to a situation where you'll be paid to do said job.

You have a vast amount of knowledge already about yourself in print with all the tests that you took and reports that you received. And the question is NOT should you go back to school, but should you show certain guitarists, hobbyists and mechanically inclined people how to repair, rebuild or redesign guitars so they can accomplish something great in life, as I illustrated for you some fathers may want to do with their sons before they go wayward in today's culture.

I think you're losing focus again. So please read and re-read these lines that I've written for you now 3 times, and make a conscious choice.

If your choice is to start a hobby using Craigslist, that's perfectly OK. But do not kid yourself into thinking that this will become a successful business until you come to a point of realization, where you have truly overcome this ingrained vacillation in you.

Bonhoeffer said:
It is the characteristic excellence of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the fore and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.
Make your own alternatives, Mark. Then choose one and stick to it. It's all I can tell you. And this last step has been my decision.

All the best to you!

Jun 13, 2012
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It's Not Over Yet!
by: Anonymous

Hi Arturo,

Ouch... I had a feeling your response would be something like this.

"...simply decide which job can you undertake in which you'll be the most difficult to replace and then attempt to align it to a situation where you'll be paid to do said job."

I don't feel I've ever "done" anything in life where I'm difficult to replace. You name anything I've done, and I could tell you someone who could do it much better... except for one thing...

I am more sensitive than anyone I know. I would be really difficult to replace in situations that require someone who is sensitive, empathetic and caring about common experiences.

How on earth can I use this? I've researched this topic, and the typical health care, guidance counselor, nursing home stuff just sounds like a bad fit.

When I was trying to respond to your previous post about the secret sauce... I was thinking of counseling and coaching men with young families, who needed encouragement, support, knowledge and advice to "break out" of their "JOB trap" into a calling that would integrate their wife and children.

Your example didn't seem to hit the target, because I don't have the understanding of what it's like to have teenage boys yet. My boy is going on 3 years old. I'm not sure how empathetic or helpful I could be.

As for the other half of the method...

As an amateur in my guitar playing or repairing skills, I don't see how I can use that to "load the boat with benefits" to help anyone... except maybe this.

I've read many business people say that you just have to be a little better than someone else... so I would help newbies gain a little bit of guitar help or knowledge... just basics.

So here is my attempt to integrate these things:

I work with men with young families who need encouragement, support, knowledge and advice to break out of their "JOB trap" into a family-integrated calling, by sharing and demonstrating basic entrepreneurial skills in using my own lutherie and related hobbies, and by finding and interviewing like-minded people who have successfully broken-out and entered their calling.

Am I back on track, at least a little?

Thanks,

Mark

Jun 15, 2012
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Here Begins Challenge #2
by: Arturo F Munoz


It's amazing what a little tough love can accomplish at critical times, eh Mark?

Yes, you're back on track, bro. Not by a little.

Here. Never forget this:

You may feel that you've never done anything in life where you'd be difficult to replace. Your wife and your son cannot but disagree with you. To them you are irreplaceable. Furthermore, it is your role as a husband and father which gives you insight other men don't have, even if they are themselves husbands or fathers. If they are neither, you're a scholar before them, because they're nowhere near to knowing and understanding what happens to a man when he commits to a marital relationship and the lifetime responsibility of fatherhood.

From your experience as a husband and father – an experience that you alone have had in these shoes because you alone are married to the woman you call your wife and you alone know the son you now father – it is more than possible for you to derive clear insight into which kinds of people you could help because of this unique experience that you today possess.

It's all a matter of pondering carefully someone else's need relative to what you know you can do because you have lived and experienced as much as you have with your wife and child, and much more now that you've coursed through nearly 40 years of life.

The sensitivity you possess makes you enviably unique in developing close-tied relationships. Working one-on-one must come easy for you. It's essential you look for people who want precisely this type of engagement. But understand something else.

Counseling, coaching and guiding can be wrapped in services rendered to men with young families, who are not necessarily looking for encouragement, support, knowledge or advice on how to break out of their "JOB trap" but on the benefits that come from doing that, once they find purpose to what they do with their wives and children.

Getting these men's goals aligned with a purpose for their families takes work and tools. You can provide both. Your challenge: To focus on the benefits to these.

Believe me, the skills you already have suffice in stimulating interest in others to learn from you. If they see this learning as a conduit to getting benefits only by engaging you, they'll pay you for it, if they want them badly enough and have the money.

Picture someone who has admired you and asked you sincerely “How do you do that?” And you know that this is a question masking a deeply felt need to use the answer to get a family together, to improve a relationship at risk, to provide a way to reconciliation, to gain an exit out of trouble.

If the question involves employment, fine. But if it involves learning to play a guitar to get a family singing together or learning to fix a guitar to create a family heirloom for a relative and such things, then even better.

Give it thought. Picture the one in need. You know him. Hear his call for your help.

Jun 22, 2012
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Re: Here Begins Challenge #2
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

Thanks for the encouragement. By the way, I failed to mention that before my first son, we have two daughters, an 11 year-old and a 6 year-old.

Ok, so let me make sure I understand the challenge...

I must find people in need of the benefits that come from breaking out of their "JOB trap", once they find purpose in their families and in escaping from the corporate job trap. Then I'm to provide the tools and support to get them those benefits through my skills in teaching guitar or fixing guitars.

You said, "Picture the one in need. You know him. Hear his call for your help."

Who are you speaking of here specifically? For example: Are we talking fathers already interested in these benefits, who are online looking for them, and who are interested in guitars?

Also, after having taken a good week or so off from our discussion, and getting a fresh perspective I can see that I haven't quite hit the mark with my mission statement, but that we are getting closer.

What can I do to get more clarity to tweak my mission/focus so that it really "resonates" with me and motivates me?

As always, I appreciate your insight and help.

Thanks,

Mark

Jun 22, 2012
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First Step in Challenge #2
by: Arturo F Munoz

Welcome back, Mark! You have so much to offer with such a lovely family. No doubt there is much other men with daughters could gain from knowing you.

You understood well what I said. To help align men's goals to a purpose for their families, they will need someone to call upon to hand them tools and support. But these men are motivated by the gains, by the benefits that come from achieving these goals. This is why you must focus on what they want to achieve and not on what you have to offer.

Mold what you have to offer to the benefits that these men want from both escaping the job trap and fulfilling a purpose for their families.

Who are these men? Good question.

Who do you want them to be? Who is your ideal client? Who do you enjoy working with the most? Who has told you before "I really could benefit from a bit of your time"? Who has praised you and said "I really would like you to speak to a friend of mine about this very subject"?

Have you known fathers already interested in specific benefits that you could deliver on, because they're online looking for them in the form of an interest in guitars? If the answer is no, then don't go there.

To be successful launching a micro-business you need as your first step to know beyond a shadow of a doubt the very individual that would absolutely go ga-ga over your determination and expertise in helping them reach their objectives.

This person cannot be a figment of your imagination. He must exist and you must know how he is thinking. You must know how to verbalize the internal dialogue taking place within his mind. It always starts with the phrase "I want" or "I wish".

"I wish I could make more of the time with my son..."
"I want to build deeper trust between my daughters and me..."
"I wish I knew how to leave this rat race..."

Find your ideal client and speak to him about his wishes and desires. Drive toward precision. Then draft them in the form of an internal dialogue. Return here and post that dialogue for us to continue working on what to do next.

Jun 23, 2012
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Re: First Step In Challenge #2
by: Mark

Thanks again Arturo,

Ok, so my current task is to find my ideal client and speak to him about his wishes and desires.

I don't get out much, stuck alone in my basement all day having to answer calls and emails from people who are not my ideal client, mostly secretaries and women working with men who do not share my values. So I think I need to start right now looking for people online or somewhere locally.

My first instinct is to just start looking around online forums or communities for people who share my values or personality or who also have one of my former hobbies. However, there are many different directions I could go.

Any suggestions on where I can start to find people online or locally that I can really connect with and to keep from wondering around aimlessly?

I've never been very social, and seem to only meet people I connect with in serendipitous ways, which hasn't really happened yet since I moved almost 2 months ago.

Thanks,
Mark

Jun 24, 2012
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Where To Find My Ideal Customer
by: Arturo F Munoz

Any suggestions on where I can start to find people online or locally that I can really connect with and to keep from wondering around aimlessly?

Oh, Mark, the blogosphere is such a vast place! I suggest you begin to gravitate toward the blogs and forums that solidly and consistently discuss the subject that interests your ideal customer. Where permitted, engage in online discussions with the owners of those blogs and their visitors.

Create a blog of your own and invite them to engage in discussion with you at your blog. Write on the subject of interest to your ideal customers and publish often. Become a voice in the blogosphere on the very subject of which you ought to be an expert.

The social networks are fantastic places for engaging like-minded people and testing your ideas. Take a stand and hold it. Make yourself noticeable. There are many places you can visit to gain deeper understanding on the subject of manhood and household leadership, and how to help families gain and work toward a common vision.

I recommend you start with places similar to these:

I recommend you also read this and this. Listen to Voddie Bauchum. He's priceless. Get ideas from him.


Whether online or offline, visit the places where your ideal customer goes and which you enjoy most going to as well. Develop a dialogue with them there.

Lastly, consider doing this to make sure whether what you wish to do with your skills is really what you want to do.

Jun 27, 2012
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Re: Where To Find My Ideal Customer
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

Thanks for the good info. We are familiar with and follow some already. The additional resources look great as well.

Currently we are refugees from the Colorado Springs fire. Not sure if we'll have a home to go back to... so I may be distracted for a while, but I'm hoping the situation of being in friends homes and maybe loosing our own will help me see some things more clearly.

I certainly am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to have my wife and all of my kids together with me, safe and sound.

Talk to you soon,
Mark

Jun 28, 2012
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Persevere
by: Arturo F Munoz

"...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).


What you're going through with your family will strengthen your bond and serve to help others look to you when their time of need comes, Mark. This is hopeful.

Remain hopeful and seize the time to become trustworthy. We're never more ready to offer trust than when we're most vulnerable.

Through trust you will be able to rebuild. Develop trust in others at this time of tribulation and you'll persevere.

Jul 04, 2012
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Re: Persevere
by: Mark

Thanks for the encouraging words, Arturo. By God's grace our house was untouched and we got to move back in this weekend. We were literally less than a football field away from some of the fire damage.

So, we are very thankful that our house was OK and also that some nice folks at church took us in and made our stay a pleasant one. The Lord really helped us to trust him and not worry about the outcome.

The seriousness of the event didn't really address my lack of clarity on calling, but it did help me appreciate my family more.

I read some good articles this week including one by Dr. North about Legacy.

I continue to feel drawn to work in the realm of ideas vs working directly with people or things... but I feel the need to apply those ideas to accomplish particular, creative goals.

Our recent discussions seem to still feel a little vague and don't seem to quite hit my desire to create and produce value... so I guess I haven't quite been able to put in words what "really" matters in a specific enough way...we've touched on things that I like and appreciate... but may not be my calling.

I am definitely a consumer right now with resources like you've shared and others like Generations with Vision materials... which I've been eating up.

I want to apply this stuff in my family and set an example and share fruit, more than I want to "take it on the road" and start trying to teach it or directly address other's problems. Does that make sense? Am I being too selfish or non-entrepreneurial?

Thanks,

Mark

Jul 06, 2012
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Stepping Into A New Comfort Zone
by: Arturo F Munoz

I'm so glad to learn that your family and you are alright after such a devastating experience for your community in Colorado Springs, Mark. I'm encouraged also to learn that you've found a deeper bond to family, as this certainly influences your priorities in life.

When you say that you continue to feel drawn to work in the realm of ideas vs. working directly with people or things, you're speaking of your preferences and the inventory of abilities that you have at your disposal to use for the benefit of others. To apply those ideas you need to step out into a new comfort zone. Take the tools out of the tool box and get to work with them.

Since you've been reading Gary North, you may consider a recent article he wrote about putting one's ideas to work. But don't simply read the article.

Follow the instructions it gives you. Step out into a new area of activity where you're comfortable expressing what you know but others are gaining from this expression of your knowledge.

Next, volunteer your services for any of countless events taking place in your local community. Step into an expressed area of need where your skills could add real value and observe how these needs further develop. This is how you can learn where to position yourself.

Practice this community involvement for several weeks to realize how your knowledge impacts actual people.

Jul 11, 2012
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Re: Stepping Into A New Comfort Zone
by: Mark

Arturo,

I read that Gary North article and a bunch more of his articles about teaching and using YouTube, etc. over the last month. I also read your recent post about the SPI Niche Duel. I have seen and read some of that before as well. I like his website.

I looked through the meet-up site to try and find people to get involved with... unfortunately nothing sounded appealing at first look.

I have been reading about and internet-based information businesses for years. I am in love with the information business model. It seems perfect for me. The thought of preparing blog posts (I've done a few in the past), creating videos, diagrams, audios...sounds like fun.

I've learned enough Wordpress to setup a couple of sites for my wife and myself. The trouble has always been figuring out "what" information to share or finding out something I care about AND know something about.

The thought of doing anything related to my job, sounds like torture.

When I surf around on YouTube, I watch music and guitar playing and guitar equipment videos and a few other entertainment or entrepreneurial self-help videos from time to time. I started my own guitar gear site in 2010, but I couldn't align it with any sort of goal, accomplishment, or value… so I eventually gave up on that one, hoping maybe I could try again someday if I could find a purpose and value in it.

I think one of the issues is that my family values and the circles I run in conflict with the lifestyle and values of many musicians.

At this point, without a clear mission or product or service I can offer, all I can do is play reporter and just research, synthesize, and retell what others have already said in some areas of "interest".

When I took an honest look at working with fathers, families, etc., I just felt like such an amateur... I'm not a good example. I may love my family. But I find myself repenting a lot of the same mistakes and seeking help from others. I don't have it figured out yet, and don't find myself generally helping anyone with father or family issues, nor does anyone look to me for that kind of help.

I would say I have somewhere between an interest to a passion for the following because of my recent past and childhood:
  • Playing guitar

  • Listening to guitar music

  • Researching and playing with guitar equipment, talking gear with other guitarists

  • Talking about self-employment / web businesses / working from home / industrial revolution

  • Football / fantasy football

  • The mountains, hiking, camping

  • History of tragic events or ghost towns

So, I think it comes down to getting past my burnout, and picking a subject such as the ones above, focusing and learning all I can and blogging, producing content, teaching, helping, etc.

Based on everything I've said since the beginning of the post, do you have a recommendation?

Thanks,

Mark

Jul 11, 2012
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It's Time To Take The Plunge, Mark.
by: Arturo F Munoz

Mark, you've written your most honest and insightful post and I'm glad, because you've come to the most critical crossroad that you've faced in all the weeks that we've been exchanging words.

Without knowing it, you've found all the answers already to starting your own business, but let me help you make the obvious plain to you.

It's good that, after all the temperament tests, and analysis, and a thorough review of your preferences and visions, and a listing of your personal strengths and skills, and even a confrontation with a severe crisis (a forest fire that nearly consumed your house) tossed in for good measure, you've finally come to a point of honesty where you've realized that you're not ready to be all that you thought at first you should be.

But this leaves you with one clear option:

You are ready to start on the trajectory to become what you can be, if you stick to it to get there!

Now take the plunge.

You think an Internet-based information business is perfect for you? So do I. And you have a variety of interests and passions you'd like to share with others? Share them. Start your online business. Do it this week. In fact, look at this and this, and do it TODAY.

Mark, what you've been in need of is clarity of conviction, thorough guidance and a push. You've gained the conviction in this long exchange that we've had. I've given you the guidance. Now here's the push.

You said you've used Wordpress. You're more than qualified to use SBI. (In fact, you're overqualified!) And not only will you love SBI for what it will empower you to do, but you will profit from it, because you will...
  • Have not only a thorough step-by-step process to follow to guide you in building your online business (and not just 1 more of 200,000,000 websites already out there in the world wide web) but also you will...
  • Have in one place all the key tools that you need to get started, plus you'll...
  • Rely on a community of online business owners to fall back on for support, all for an undoubtedly affordable price.

There is strength in numbers and you can learn from others who have already gone through what you're going through.

Watch this.

And I'm not just a promoter of SBI (when it makes sense to promote it), I'm also a client and I cannot encourage you more, now that we've come to this point in our conversation, to start your own business using SBI as your launch platform.

Decide today. I'm not sure I can help you more than this.

Jul 13, 2012
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Re: Time To Take The Plunge
by: Mark

Arturo,

Thanks for the encouraging response and confirmation.

I took the plunge and signed up with SBI! I think the action guide will really help me move forward, TAKE ACTION, talk less, and narrow down to a niche that I can turn into a profitable site.

I look forward to reporting back and telling you about my progress.

Thanks a bunch!
Mark

Jul 21, 2012
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Moving Forward
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

I just want to thank you again for your SBI suggestion. It's a great tool. I have found the overall structure and community to be even more comprehensive than I thought!

I think the keyword research training is so much better than anything else I've ever tried...and as other's have said the keywords research tools are some of the best! I have done lots of searches and tried to narrow things down. I have eliminated some possibilities, but still haven't found my niche yet... But I feel confident that I will eventually get there with such a great tool.

My wife and I are currently attending a great conference here in Colorado called the "Equipping and Encouraging The Family Economy: The Nuts and Bolts of the Family Business." The speakers really speak to the vision I have and the direction I want to go. I think the conference will help my wife and I further clarify our first niche that we can build upon and help further clarify the multi-generational vision we have.

I am also halfway through reading a book that seems helpful: One Big Thing, Discovering What You Were Born To Do. So far I would recommend it for folks like myself trying to clarify their gifts and purpose.

I'll update you after another round of niche hunting.

Mark

Jul 22, 2012
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RE:Moving Forward
by: Arturo F Munoz

Mark, thank you for keeping me abreast of your progress! I'm thrilled by your advancement. You are in good hands with the SBI community. Spend all your time at this point finding that niche and securing the right domain. So much of your future success online depends on this. (More on the non-technical than on the technical subject matter, though.)

If you've not done so, I recommend you read the following thread that I developed with Cheflady. Although she is in a line of business that you likely won't pursue, she is one step ahead of you in that she already has a business.

For this reason, the conversation that she and I had will be of great value to you, because it concentrates on developing the basics for a unique sales proposition (USP) for her business, whose lessons will benefit you and anyone who, like you, is barely starting a business. A USP is the basis for ANY business. So, work through this thread and let it open your eyes and help you with your keyword search.

Remember that when it comes to keywords, you're looking to learn what a specific kind of people online is seeking for. But you must know in advance who your ideal customer should be and what you'd like to be to them (your USP). When you have these 2 clear in your mind, it will be easier to discover what words these seekers are using to find someone just like you online.

Jul 27, 2012
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Re: Moving Forward
by: Anonymous

Hi Arturo,

It really is all about the USP! I can see from your discussion from the Chef lady, that she definitely had some skills and experience, and thus the basics of a USP... and just needed to refine it.

I still don't have one yet. I find it gut-wrenching that at my age, I still can't figure it out. But again, as we've mentioned several times, I don't know what my core passions and abilities are. I may have a strong desire for a particular "method" or "business model" but the "meat" behind it is still missing.

I did come up with several new good ideas for a business this week, and went over them with my wife. When I have some time tonight or tomorrow, I will try some new keyword research based on these new ideas.

I kind of view the keyword research as a way to find out the audience or demand a lot faster than just talking to people offline... so I think if I stick with the keyword research, I should be able to weed through ideas a lot faster.

Mark

Jul 31, 2012
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A Possible Breakthrough?
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

In doing more SBI day 2 research and reading some of the case studies, and looking over my list of ideas, I discovered that I keep shunning some of my ideas because, I don't see how they line up with my values or what purpose it would serve, or what I could offer, or it seems like "everyone else is already doing it better".

However, these ideas that I have been setting aside are highly interesting to me... like guitar equipment, historical documentaries, fantasy football. etc.

For example, I have a strong interest in guitars and related equipment, and continue to learn about them just in my daily surfing and playing my own guitar... and the interest never goes away... even when I try to set this interest aside to "get down to business".

I also think I've set aside this particular interest because it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my core values.

So, it seems what I need to do, and may need help with, is to somehow inject or somehow attach some of my values into one of these hobby-like interests that on the surface don't seem related to my values and I don't feel I have a USP for.

What do you suggest I do to go from a strong interest into finding value and developing a USP?

Is it maybe all about interacting with people (maybe online at this point) and listening to their problems?

Thanks,

Mark

Aug 01, 2012
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RE: A Possible Breakthrough?
by: Arturo F Munoz

One cardinal ability an entrepreneur needs to learn to depend upon, Mark, is intuition. Follow your intuition, especially when you come to such a critical juncture as what you're now facing.

You cannot escape your values. You carry them within you and you will express them in all you do. You said that you enjoy "everything guitars" but you also want to "get down to business"? Well, get down to business with everything guitars.

It really isn't much more complicated than that.

What matters enormously next is that your interests align very well with those of others willing to depend on you for some benefit, and also willing to pay you for it.

This is where listening carefully comes into play.

As you look up keyword phrases containing the word 'guitar', for example, to produce your Master Keyword List, look for what people are seeking after, as if you were in a crowded room listening to 100 conversations on 100 topics about guitars.

Pay attention to what seems to be consistently showing up but poorly being addressed. Look at how much demand there may be for more information about such a topic, and whether there is decent monetization potential for it were you to start providing that information. It's just like being in that room full of people and deciding "If I butt into a conversation, should I start talking about this topic I'm hearing this group of people converse about right here, or should I talk about that other topic I'm hearing that group of people converse about right over there?"

The decision whether to talk or not depends not only on your interests and volume of knowledge about the topic, but also on the number of people who might be interested in listening more about the subject and even trade thoughts with you on it.

Do the same with other topics of interest to you, like history or fantasy football. You'll settle on one soon enough and you won't be able to help infuse those conversations with your values.

Your values you carry within you and cannot dismiss them no matter how hard you try. They're the fiber of your character. Don't worry about betraying them. You won't because you can't. They're in your DNA. And so is your intuition.

Aug 03, 2012
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Re: Your comments
by: Mark

Arturo,

Thanks once again for the clarity and encouragement. You've given me more hope and some great insight into how to keep moving forward and a better perspective on how to view my business.

I feel I am almost done with the brainstorming and will have a solid idea to pursue and continue on down the path with soon.

I'll be in touch,
Mark


Oct 14, 2012
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Update: Still Struggling
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

Long time, no post... sorry about that.

I was not able to "Pay attention to what seems to be consistently showing up but poorly being addressed." I don't feel gifted in seeing those things.

In my market research I feel that explaining how-to do things and reviewing and explaining products that are of interest to me, is the way to go, but even the guitar stuff or other things I've mentioned don't seem like areas where I know much beyond beginner level, and so I don't know what value I can add.

I answered your questionnaire you sent out today via your "Is it time to unsubscribe" email... You might be able to pick out which answers are mine.

But, I'll never give up... I've been at it for 20 years, I still am driven to escape corporate slavery for the sake of my family.

Mark

Oct 23, 2012
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New Priority: Find a Job... Just got laid off
by: Mark

Hi Arturo,

I finally got laid-off from my job. Now I have to find a new one. The only jobs I seem to qualify for don't pay enough to pay the bills... around $15 / hr for young guys with about 1 year experience.

My 17 years of experience, doesn't seem to help anymore... my generalist bent seems to be the problem. All the recruiters are looking for experience in specific technologies.

If I had capital, I would start my own IT support business... but I don't...

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Mark

Oct 24, 2012
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When Job Hunting Trumps Launching A Business
by: Arturo F Munoz

Mark, I'm sorry to learn that you're now facing the plight of the unemployed. But now you also got a frame of mind superior to the typical unemployed employee.

You've started down the path of a side online business, even if you're in your beginning stages. Twenty hours per week minimum. That's what you MUST dedicate to your side business faithfully from now on. No excuses. Two hours every day and all day Saturday.

But it's time also to turn to a 40-hour per week search for a source of income that can help you feed your family, pay the rent and fund your side venture until the venture can take care of all your needs.

You're about to work like you've never worked in all your life and, if you apply yourself with the right attitude and surround yourself with the appropriate support, you may discover this to be one of the most inspiring experiences of your life!

We're entering into a new topic. So, let's close this thread at this point and go to this form. Enter in it your current employment situation. Let's begin a new discussion to deal specifically with your immediate plight as an "unemployed entrepreneur."

Oct 25, 2012
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Thanks... Will do.
by: Mark

Thanks Arturo... I will use that link and start the next chapter.

Mark

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