It’s the question that drives us

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Ever felt like there’s more to this world than what we see on the surface? For some reason I keep coming back to this scenario…

The Matrix. Here’s a short description of the movie from Wikipedia.

“The Matrix depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called “the Matrix”, created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer “Neo” learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the “dream world”.”       

 

I recently attended a Business Growth Workshop run by a large organisation. It was a free event. They had young people in training dressed as ‘agents’. All in stiff suits. Faceless faces with stuck on smiles. Were they out to intimidate or inspire? Hard to tell the difference. Nonetheless, there are a few good things I’d like to share with you on what I learnt from this workshop.

I learnt:

  • work ON your business, not IN it
  • STOP trying to make money, instead START building structures to make money
  • where I spent my TIME mattered
  • spend money on things that teach or build you up
  • good branding = influence = people willing to pay more
  • stop focusing on things that don’t matter
  • stop getting advice from the WRONG people, but rather from those you know can grow you
  • sometimes the people you learn from don’t always look the part
  • innovation is important
  • a skill can be taught
  • build good client relationships
  • do strategic thinking on your business at least once a week
  • ACTION a new idea everyday
  • always do more than you think you can
  • HARD WORK doesn’t pay off if you working on the wrong thing
  • sell the VISION of your business – not the dream
  • learn how to speak or present publicly

So this is great, right? I walked away with actionable things to improve.

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As great as this was, there were bad things too. It’s hard to SEE the bad when the good is looking so… well… good. It’s only when you dissect the good and dig deeper (coz that’s what freelancers have time to do), will you see the real intentions that lie beneath these businesses. I like to call them the ‘bulldozers’ of the business world. They like to call it ‘making money while you sleep’… the big trend these days.

There’s only two ways you make money while you sleep – someone once told me – you either steal it or you lie.

 

The bad things I learnt from this workshop:

  • intentional congruence (apparently they say you can’t Google this)
  • you can’t rely on your own instincts to build your business
  • don’t run your business with a job mentality
  • you will become whom you hang out with… ‘your network is your nett worth’
  • ‘If you want to be rich then hang out with RICH people’. How? Stalk them. (yeah right)
  • make your business a profit-making MACHINE
  • start being UNCOMFORTABLE with being comfortable
  • to make a profit you need to change your product and your marketing
  • see trends and take advantage of it
  • wanna be great? Then hang out with great people!
  • Tease. Please. Seize! (huh?)
  • its okay to borrow money to grow your business as long as you make a profit – long term thinking
  • you make your money when you BUY! (again, long term thinking)
  • CREDIT is better

 

This all still sounds kinda good, right? It makes sense. Many large corporations use this type of marketing where they focus their brand campaigns toward a common goal. Find the weak point of the audience, and use that knowledge to offer their business as the solution to a bigger and better business. Emphasis on BIGGER.

When I first wrote this post, it was in anger and disappointment. I rewrote it, and rewrote it some more until the anger was gone. Then I realised all business people need to market, brand and sell their services. Your survival depends a lot on this. The difference though is in HOW you go about doing this.

I’ve attended my fair share of business and creative workshops, seminars and talks. I see these events as opportunities to learn and network. Then give back what I’ve learnt in my blog posts.

Sadly, there’s not much that is completely new. Something we don’t already know about ourselves. Still, I really enjoy attending these events, watching people present on stage, taking precious time to prepare their ideas for the audience. I have a deep respect for speakers like that.

Except for the ‘bulldozers’. The one’s who sit back and openly brag about how much money they make while openly contradicting themselves. I heard things like ‘wanna be great? Then hang out with great people’ or ‘if you want to be rich then hang out with rich people’. Or my ‘favourite’… ‘Go big or go home’.

So I went home that day. I left the event a whole 10 minutes before it ended. Ohh! That really showed them! But, I didn’t return the second day. Even after I had committed myself to it. Even after they made a huge deal about commitment.

The thing about commitment is that it can only be done in trust and in honesty. The commitment itself needs to be true and transparent. So the problem with their commitment policy was that it wasn’t trustworthy, nor honest. I did not commit to one-long-sales-pitch! That annoyed me.

Business is not just about making profit. Maybe that mentality will be to the detriment of my business, but… it’s the human connection I intend to keep alive. If my business has to change WHO I am and trick people into buying into it, then it’s not worth keeping alive. There’s no value in that.

Ethics, values, and kick-ass skill, are things which should be in every authentic business. Not selfies with the Richard Branson or Donald Trump’s of the world.

Oddly enough these ‘bulldozers’ were spot on about a lot of things. They tapped into every human emotion on almost every level possible. Making sure they convinced someone – anyone! – into believing what they were saying. As they themselves say, ‘people buy on emotion, and they make their decision on logic’.

Of course there’s the possibility that I could be reading too much into this. I could be wrong.

I admit. I participated in their circus of applause. I laughed along, and I raised my hand in a YES! to almost everything they asked… almost convincing me until…

… they started selling their service. Little did I know they were doing this all along. And it’s not the selling that annoyed me. It’s the way they went about it.

By the way, they also warn you about people like me… the one’s who talk bad about ‘successful’ people. They say, ‘people don’t like to see others succeed’. And you know what – that’s true! I don’t want to see more bulldozer businesses around 😉

The only thing in this world that will bring you success and money is honesty, authenticity, and YOU!

You may partner up with others or collaborate to achieve this, but only you know how, with whom, and when this will happen. Trust your gut.

Which reminds me of another thing they say… ’don’t think – just do it now!’ That was right before they presented their services ranging from $10 000 and up.

We all know what’s good for us. Some are happy being the bulldozers. Others are happy being the saviours. You decide which one you fall under – are you the destroyer or the saviour in your business world?

I’m grateful for attending an event I wouldn’t normally attend. It gave me perspective. It made me question other businesses as well as my own. It inspired me to write this post.

Sometimes asking the right questions is far more important than the answers we arrive at. ‘It’s the question that drives us’ …

 

 

 

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