The image he shared read: "Your dreams don't have to be 'big'. They just have to be yours." Gary V went on to add that you should be focusing on what truly makes you happy or something that seems awesome to you. What he said are the ideas at the very core of what 'Good to Great' was inspiring me to write about. If you want to build a great brand or even just a better life for yourself, just be you.
Success is About Building Skills and Knowledge Around What You Love
Many people think that they need special skills or knowledge to be successful. While in part that is true, what actually needs to come first is you and what you care about. What are you most passionate about? If you look at the greatest entrepreneurs, a lot of them pursued simply what they thought was awesome. Then, they figured out how they could be the best in the world on a niche or niches related to their passion.
After that, they figured out how they could measure profitability in that given field. Only after all that did they focus on developing related skills and knowledge. Whatever they couldn't do themselves, they brought in the people that could build a company around a very focused concept that was created by the intersection of passion, opportunity, and profitability. Everyone brought onto a pursuit needs to share in the passion and buy into the concept, or they are the wrong people to be working with.
Everything starts with you. Yes, skills and knowledge are important, but it's important to know what you want first, then build your knowledge and skills around that. In the book 'Good to Great' this was called building a "Hedgehog Concept" - keeping your focus while ignoring everything else that doesn't fit.
Even the Greatest Companies Start With One
One of the most important and interesting aspects of 'Good to Great' is discovering what it takes to take a good company to a great one in terms of leadership. The vast majority of companies still seem to think that it takes a charismatic individual - often bordering or even being egotistical - to drive success. Yet again and again, it's humble but incredibly driven and focused leaders that effect the best changes in organizations, and not just in big businesses.
What's even more interesting to me is that 'Good to Great' was written in 2001, and yet the ideas don't seem to have been adopted on much of a scale. Sure, some people listened and build better organizations I'm sure. Many of the corporations featured in the book have continued to endure. Some haven't. But that's because they lost their focus.
Success Begins With You, The Real You
On an individual level, it does seem more people are realizing that, yes, success starts with you. Yet, we still see so much posturing, and more than ever with the explosion of.social.media. not only did social media not exist in 2001 as it does now, but the internet was still fairly new in the mainstream. Today it seems like you have to have incredible charisma and do whatever it takes to get likes and followers. You need the right skills and experience or you're just not going to make it.
Not only are the things many people that seem to be successful not sustainable, but we need to recognize that it's still the same humble folks dedicated to the success of the Enterprise over themselves still working behind the scenes building up everything. But, what is happening more is entrepreneurs are.selling off their projects for big money and just moving onto new ones. Many of these business flippers just want the best for what they've created and are happy to let it go and move onto another passion. But as it's always been, great endeavors still start with one or two people who just set out to do something they thought was awesome.
But, You Don't Have to Go Big to Be Great
One of the final lessons of 'Good to Great' was that you don't have to create a big corporation, go public, or even flip your business to be successful. You just have to stay focused, put the enterprise first, and involve yourself with the right people. "Get the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus," as is repeated over and over again in 'Good to Great'. They need to be people who believe in your concept and are willing to adapt and learn according to what needs to be done.
Even if you are going solo in your business, you still need people to believe. It may be your vendors and customers. You don't even have to have employees to find the right people. They might be social media influencers or PR people. They could be a marketer or private investor. It doesn't matter if you want to keep it small, as long as it's what makes your enterprise successful. What you may find is that so many people believe in your concept that they will grow it for you without anyone asking them to.
In fact, you shouldn't just be happy with just building something good. Even if it's successful, never stop finding ways to improve. When there's a shift in your field, face the facts and adapt to remain the best in a changing world. That's as long as it's still within the parameters you set for yourself, even if it means a dramatic shift in the product or service you offer.
So, What Do I Want to Start?
If you want a great example of going into a field just because you think it's awesome, look no further than my seemingly spontaneous venture, Digital Collectibles Journal. I simply woke up one day and said I need to create this website. I'm very familiar with traditional collectibles, both physical and digital, but not nearly as much about blockchain and crypto collectibles, which is the hot new trend at the moment.
So, why jump on the hot new bandwagon? That's actually not what I'm doing. What I recognized was a shift towards digital collectibles being stored and easily exchanged on blockchain technology such as has been made popular by the Ethereum blockchain.
But, I'm not a techie. I think it's awesome, but I'm just a writer. I know a lot about collectibles and I have a casual knowledge of the top crypto currency and crypto wallets and such. But, what makes me think I can be the best in the field of writing about digital collectibles?
This is where focus comes in. The Journal aims to be a curator of great content surrounding digital collectibles - especially blockchain and crypto collectibles - as it develops. I know enough to comment on it intelligently. I keep learning every day.
True Success Doesn't Happen Overnight, So Just Set Goals and Believe in What You Are Doing
I made it a point not to fully launch until I reached 100 articles on the journal. However, I did share my early pieces on social media, to positive returns. Still, I'm sticking to my plan and not "going big" until there's enough for the Journal to sustain itself with constant sharing. I'm not even reaching out for PR outside of my social shares until I reach that 100 post milestone.
All I did early on was a pre-launch sequence. I let people know that it was there just a couple days after the domain name was purchased and redirected and social media accounts were set up. I just wanted to be sure that I would get some people interested, which I did. Very early, I caught the attention of a game developer who loved what I had to say about their game. That was all the verification I needed.to know I had the right concept.
The aim of the Digital Collectibles Journal is to become the best content curator in the digital collectibles industry and related fields. There are great sites out there already, but not one who focuses just on the collectibles themselves. I grew up a gamer and collector and combining these two things is awesome for me. Any profitability, which I base on affiliate and referral income per thousand page views, is a bonus.
What is Your Key Focus? What Ties Everything Together?
At the heart of what I'm doing with the Digital Collectibles Journal is something much more basic than content curation. My key focus that ties the whole project is the very thing that's driving the push towards blockchain game: true ownership of your in game currency and items. These are digital collectibles that are getting a lot of attention by the finance.community. But, it’s that gamers are finally able to truly invest in the games they love that I’m most excited about.
Essentially, I'm just being a journalist. I'm documenting what I'm seeing as it transpires. I had to shift my focus away from trading card games and sports cards but those things are developing blockchain counterparts. I'm no celebrity and I wouldn't consider myself that charismatic. But what I am good at is identifying trends and writing about them. The problem has long been that I would shift my focus around too much and I couldn't focus on building on just one thing.
I became a jack of all trades and a master of none. I forgot to focus on what I'm best at, writing intelligently about trends and identifying what's sustainable. In an emerging industry, that's key.
What About Diversifying? Isn't a Hedgehog Concept Too Limiting?
Notice that I called my journal, Digital Collectibles Journal, and not Crypto Collectibles, or Blockchain Collectibles. Heck originally it was going to be Blockchain Gaming Journal. I intentionally didn't pigeonhole myself. There are many digital collectible platforms not on the blockchain… but they may soon enough adopt a crypto token just to keep up. But even if they don't, I don't plan on simply leaving them out.
Not everyone is going to buy into blockchain collectibles. I know plenty who aren't. What's important is to stay open and adaptable without losing focus, something I've done throughout my life. It's where most people go wrong. That doesn't mean you shouldn't diversify. In fact you can run multiple businesses and ventures at once successfully. Gary V is the perfect example.
The key is to have a focus that ties together everything you do. I have no intentions of abandoning Brand Shamans to focus on a single venture because it ties into exactly what I want the Journal to be. It's about bringing the unique things that individuals and small businesses are looking to share with the world into focus. The Journal is just a part of that. The entire Media Network has that goal.
Don’t Settle for Second Best, and Be the Best At What YOU Do!
What you have to ask yourself is how you can make a venture into the best that it can be at something. Never settle for second best, and certainly not third or fourth best. Individuals and small businesses may not think that it's possible but it is, if you have the right focus. The Brand Shamans are all about guiding you to find the right focus. Whether your business is failing or not, it doesn't matter. Even successful businesses, no matter the scale, can always improve.
The change always starts with you. Focus on the best you have to offer, whatever that takes, and make whatever you're doing into a great venture. If you can't do that, it's time to find the right venture for you.
Next up: What You Need to Stop Doing is Important As What You Are Doing