“Always keep a clear and open mind”
I loathe the thought of conveying the idea that I am an advocate of cliché mantras; nevertheless, here we are, and I endorse my opening statement 110%.
I genuinely hate the idea of becoming confined to a box. Thinking in a linear fashion makes me feel as though I am hindering my own ability to peak. Far too often, when an individual decides to start a business, he/she becomes enamored by compartmentalized ideas of “How to…” I am rational enough to understand why some people immediately gravitate toward the “How to…” methods; people innately attain confidence amid proven methods of success. People fear failure. Fear is the brain’s reaction to a perceived stressful stimulus. What could be more stressful or frightening than failure? Truthfully, I can immediately think of at least 10 scenarios more stressful and frightening than failure:
- Cabbage patch dolls
- Sushi at room temperature
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Reality television
- The federal government
- First dates
- Windows 8
- Community pens
(Side note: The listed fears directly and truthfully coincide with me. True shit.)
All jokes aside – The fear, thought, and acknowledgement of failure leads to an inhibited ability to think, act, and ultimately succeed.
Remember today’s cliché mantra: “Always keep a clear and open mind”. When I started my company, Pretty Girl Movement, LLC., I went into the venture with the nothing to lose, everything to gain mentality (Side note: if you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Ryan Blair’s “Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain”). Again, I hate boxes. I don’t like to entertain any notions associated with the terms normal, standard, or step. Don’t misunderstand me; I dig Napoleon Hill and Malcom Gladwell. I love books. Attaining knowledge and becoming informed are important. However, I am a huge believer in utilizing information solely as a starting point of inquiry. Presented information doesn’t have to be the “end all”.
For instance, the majority of Pretty Girl Movement, LLC. operates via an e-commerce platform. Our domain is respectably high amid search engine results. In the beginning, I read books, articles, attended conferences, etc. and I established that search engine optimization (SEO) would play a large role in the success of Pretty Girl Movement, LLC. Certainly, the “How to….” approach suggested that if I wanted my e-commerce platform to succeed, then I needed to hire an SEO consultant. However, I am the CEO of a very small company, so keeping a clear and open mind transcends importance; it is essential. I literally can’t afford to habitually think in a straight line. Instead of taking the forthright approach (“How to…”: See the Step + Implement the Step = See the Results), I decided to analyze the step: What is search engine optimization? What does an SEO consultant do? How will it help me? How much will it cost? Can I do it myself?
Here’s the deal. I found that analyzing the “How to…” will save you time and money.
(Side note: I refer to my internal timeline and steps as click)
Anytime additional personnel/professionals become involved, then your entire click is compromised. I am the type of person who has a vision; I establish a plan of action, and I want it done now. You are instantaneously subjected to their “wait-list”. Speaking from experience, your sense of urgency is rarely taken into consideration when you are placed on another professional’s “wait-list”. CEO life can be hectic and sometimes delegation may be the most effective method of accomplishing a task, but if you do have the time and capacity to do it independently, then ruck up* and do it. You will maintain your click, and you may even develop a new skill set.
*Army slang; referring to ruck marches.
The more you understand, the less you’re willing to spend. I research everything. Every opportunity post-launch is research and development. I have a list of items in which I refuse to pay, because after doing some reading I found that I could successfully and professionally accomplish the tasks:
- Finding available domains
- Website design, launch, and maintenance
- Product design
- Creating marketing content
- Search engine optimization
- Product catalog design
- Legal consultation (I email my attorney; I don’t need to sit in his office…)
- Public relations (Emails and Phone #’s are easy to acquire)
As you begin to develop new skill sets and become more informed, your fiscal awareness and efficiency increases. I promise – 90% of the services you read about in a “How to…” book are easily and readily acquirable, as long as you are willing to read a little, try a lot, and fumble a few times. Cliché mantra #2: “…every wrong answer simply brings us one step closer to finding the right one.”
“Always keep a clear and open mind”
The “How to…” titled books are a great starting point. They will provide you with a foundation. Yes – Every house needs a foundation in order to stand, but not every standing house needs to be built the same. Your ability to be innovative and avoid “the box” will make you limitless. Adopt the nothing to lose, everything to gain mentality. FDR summed it up best when he stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Don’t allow fear of failure hinder your ability to grow as an entrepreneur.
Jordyn Short is the CEO, Founder and Creative Director of Pretty Girl Movement, LLC. The 24 year old fitness enthusiast is an active duty soldier and college senior majoring in cyber-security at the University of Maryland University College. She is currently stationed in Washington, DC.
Image CC by Tomasz Stasiuk