By MaryEllen Tribby & Joe Polish
I share this with you because of the amount of positive comments I have received lately from an interview I did with my pal, Joe Polish, THREE YEARS ago. I cannot publish it in its entirety because of its length but I did cream some extremely important business secrets.
Joe: You hang out in Florida. You do a lot of cool stuff. You've made millions of dollars for companies you've built, companies you’ve worked with and for … And there are literally, God knows how many thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who have made money as a result of your advice. You are awesome. I've seen you speak several times. We hung out with Richard Branson in a private setting recently and did a brainstorm group where, you know, you and him totally hit it off. And you're phenomenal.
I mean you just have done so many cool things… And on top of that, you teach women how to be, you know, great entrepreneurs and lead a balanced life even with so much stuff on their plate. Plus, you've raised money for foundations and you have a lot of important causes…
To you, business is more than just making money: it's about building a life and making a great contribution to the world. And those are some of the things I want to talk to you about today.
So what else didn't I mention that people need to know about you before we teach people how to make some money?
ME: Well, for me it's all about having that balance in life. And when you have real balance in life, there is no difference between work and fun, you know? Like you said, when we were hanging out with Richard Branson, was that work or was that fun? Well that was both, right?
ME: That's when you know that you've got the life you want to have… When you're doing things that are making your business money AND that's what you want to be doing. That's the key, especially with WorkingMomsOnly.com. You know, working moms have this incredible influence and responsibility and they've got to get to a point where they've got the life they want to live.
Joe: Yeah absolutely…I think out of all of the different people in the United States and probably worldwide, the hardest working people have got to be working mothers and single mothers raising children.
Joe: Yeah. So I think what you're doing is phenomenal. What, out of all the different things that you could focus and spend your time on, AND you being a mother, why did you resonate with working moms? I mean why has that become your core group, your core audience that you want to help and who I know you're so darned passionate about?
ME: I am. Well I have been so blessed, you know? I have three great kids. And they're healthy and they're smart and they're compassionate. They're good kids. And I'm very fortunate. I have a wonderful spouse. I have a wonderful partner. And so, when I would run companies, I'd be CEO of a $70 million company or a $30 million company but I'd also be speaking around the world and writing books. And a lot of times working moms would come up to me and they would say, “How can you do this? How do you do it?” And you know what? You can do it. It's just that you really have to understand the tools. And that's why I want to give working moms the tools because of the responsibility that they have in this world.
We can have it all. You don't have to pick one or the other. You don't have to pick between your husband, your kids, and your career. I mean I know my kids are better off because I have a career that I'm great at and that I believe in. My kids can do anything because of that.
It's just something I've always wanted to do. I've always wanted to go out there and start this company and it's finally come to fruition and within the year, I'm going to have a community of a million working moms.
Joe: Gotcha, gotcha. Well that's great. Well, you know, there's just so many different things I can talk to you about but I'm going to really focus it in on making business work and doing it with the least amount of stress and work and hardship and mistakes as one can avoid.
And that's why I want to borrow your expertise and your brain for our conversation here.
So I've heard you say that the biggest entrepreneurial curse is having, let's just say, four projects halfway done. Halfway done, well, that’s gonna yield zero revenue. But if you’ve got one project 100% finished, that brings cash in the door.
And we live in a day and age where there are so many things vying for our attention - I mean there's even a book called The Attention Economy - peoples' attention is everywhere. And I think that statement, you know, the biggest entrepreneurial curse which you said, four projects halfway done yield nothing, really speaks to that lack of attention. One project 100% finished brings cash in the door.
Can you speak to that 'cause I think before we go into techniques and methods and list building and offers and copy and all of these things I'm going to talk and ask you about, what do you mean by that?
ME: Okay well, you know, this is something I've seen for years and years and years. And a lot of people almost kind of joke about it and say, “well I'm a serial entrepreneur.” But that's not what a serial entrepreneur is. I see this all the time that people get a great idea to launch a new product, whether it's an internet marketing product or a health product or a financial product or write a book or write an e-book.
And they start on this project and, halfway through, something else hits them, another great idea hits them. So they put that first project to the side and they start on the second one. Then halfway through that the next, you know, great idea hits them. So in the meantime they've got three, four, five projects that are almost complete… but that's doing nothing for their bottom line.
It's doing nothing for their business. And what it is actually doing is it's frustrating everyone around them. If they've got a team, their entire team is frustrated and miserable at this point because they know that these four other great ideas are yielding zero revenue to the bottom line of that organization. Meanwhile they're trying to manage the entrepreneur on their next project.
So, you know what? I'm not a big planner but I believe in a timeline. And just putting that visual representation out there, a timeline for your projects so that you can get it done, market it, move on. You know it doesn’t mean that you can't work on multiple projects in the same time period. But you've got to have a timeline for that project so that you know on X date it's done, it's yielding money for your company.
Joe: How do you actually come to that mindset-wise first? Because there certainly are the mechanics and there's lot of support materials including many that you've created that assist people in their thinking. Mindset-wise, when someone is excited about--and, let me just be very transparent here. I mean I'm a guy that's always loved bright, shiny objects. I mean when I hear about a new opportunity, oh my God, I get excited about it. I think it's super cool and I see opportunities in everything. And I see so many different options. And the challenge is … ‘when you have 1,000 options, you don't have any options’ is what a good friend of mine, Richard Rossi, says.
That's why it so resonates with me when I heard you talk about this. And when I've seen you say this to audiences filled with hundreds of people, everyone nods their head. This is something that everyone relates to, especially now when there's so many different things to read and look at. How do you get to that point where you just narrow your focus and can stick with something?
ME: This is what I do. You know, we were talking before, I'm a big believer in working out and that's the first thing I do every single day. I work out. And whether at the gym, on that elliptical, the tread or if I'm riding my bike or whatever I'm doing, I'm thinking. So when I come back from working out in the morning, the first thing I do is I go to this list I have on my computer about the ideas and projects I want to work on. And I make sure I outline what I just thought about and I get it down there. Okay? And so it's there for the day. I haven't lost it. I know what it is. And then I continue on what I'm working on. And then at the end of every single week I look at that list and I prioritize. And so what may happen, while I'm creating the product that I'm working on and that's coming to fruition, the order on which I work on the next one may change. And that's okay because I haven't started working on it yet.
Joe: Okay I gotcha.
ME: So don't lose anything--and that's what everybody thinks, if they don't do it right now they lose it. But you're not. It's not gone forever. Gosh like I said, I bought the URL WorkingMomsOnly.com, you know, two and a half years ago. It was always on the back burner. It was always there. I thought about it. I wrote things about it, you know, every day. But I was concentrating--I had a commitment to Early to Rise and I wanted to fulfill that commitment to Early to Rise, to my team, to Michael Masterson, you know? But I didn't lose this project.
Joe: So it's just not guilting yourself into thinking you've got to do it right now, it's just prioritizing.
ME: Absolutely. And that's what a balanced life comes down to. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Right? Nobody gets more hours, you know? We all have that. It's what we do with those hours that makes us hit our success meter.
Joe: Well out of all of the things that you've learned in hanging around with some of the most successful people on the planet, having created a tremendous amount of success for yourself, what are some of the biggest attributes of successful entrepreneurs who make it and failures who may work really hard but just never get any traction, never get off the ground?
ME: Well by far, this is why most entrepreneurs fail, right? It's not because they don't do the work, it's because they do the wrong work. Okay?
Joe: The wrong work.
ME: And it's so funny. I was writing last night a story about how I started creating my business from scratch. From scratch, from my house, a brand new business. And I was saying that a friend of mine, she quit her corporate job to become a marketing consultant. And the first thing she did was she went out and she rented office space.
And I said why are you renting office space? And she goes, huh, the housing market, it's in the crapper. I can get office space for $1,500 a month that would normally cost me $5,000 a month. Okay? So she's spent a month and a half looking for space. Then she spent another couple of weeks decorating this space, okay. Meanwhile, she didn't work on her website, she didn't work on a sales page. She didn't work on cultivating clients, any of that stuff. You know? And those six weeks that she started that business, basically, she had an office with no revenue coming in the door.
My first six weeks… well, I have a great laptop. I can take it anywhere. So I work by my pool. I work in my dining room. I work wherever I want. And what do I have? I have a website. I have customers. I have a sales letter. I have products. Okay? So you've got to prioritize, and in business it's the same thing, what's going to yield you money? Michael Masterson taught me this ready, fire, aim approach. You don't just aim, aim, aim, aim, aim… you just go, you fire. You ready, fire, aim.
So you just do it. You see what works. You see what sticks. You know? In Changing the Channel, in the book, we have a whole section on failed product launches, why they fail. Because people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars developing a product before they even know if it's going to resonate with the market. You know, as a marketer you have to assume that you know nothing. The market will tell you what they want. And of course most people market to what people think they need. And you don't market to what people need, you market to what people want.
To listen to this interview in its entirety, go to http://www.workingmomsonly.com/maryellenandjoeunplugged