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(D) WEEK Seven REFLECTION: FROM IMPOSSIBLE TO INEVITABLE

How SaaS and Other Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Authors: Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Taking Ownership to the Next Level

Nothing builds loyalty faster in employees than showing them you trust them and empowering them to learn and produce. Ross and Lemkin say “You need to shake things up with yourself and your people: both (a) where people physically sit and (b) what they do for their job…When an employee excels at a job, you want to keep them there…By keeping them doing what they do best (today), they’ll excel in that job (today)…But if they get stuck there, at some point it’s going to stifle them and you’ll miss out on who they would become and how they could contribute in even bigger or broader ways.”

Let’s unpack that! Almost 100% of the prospective employees I have interviewed over the last 5 years have said their number one reason for exploring new employment opportunities was for opportunities of growth. At times they couldn’t specify what growth opportunities they were looking for, but they knew they wanted to be able to grow with a company.

The best thing you can do in that case is set that person (all of them) up for exponential success.Challenge them in new ways that stretches them beyond their current position. In some cases you can stretch them towards their interest, in other cases you can stretch them towards their strengths.

Ross and Lemkin describe four (4) types of employees (+1)

  1. (Mini) CEO: natural internal entrepreneur that isn’t afraid to take charge and push a program forward. They are highly motivated and also highly agitated. Give these employees bigger challenges even when they resist. If they do resist, educate them on why the assignment is important.
  2. Careerist: People that are content with climbing the ladder. Capable. Problem Solving. Trustworthy. Dependable. Come up with new goals and opportunities for them to own – otherwise, they may become clockers (spoiler).
  3. Clockers: Someone who Is there only for the paycheck, clocking in and out and doing little else. To get you money’s worth, clearly define job expectations and embrace hard conversations about what is expected in meeting them.
  4. Complainers: Great at identifying problems, but either don’t know hot to fix them, make excuses, or are just plain stuck. You have to dig for the truth with them.
  5. Toxic: They are abusive to work with or for. There is nothing you can do to change them. You can either (a) suck it up, or (b) quit.

The authors recommend focusing on the CEOs and Careerists. My experience is that those people will take pride in what they are doing and work hard to move the company forward. Those around them will either remove themselves or you can put measures in place to performance manage them out (when necessary).

Don’t Call it a come back

I’m pretty ashamed to come back to my site and make my first post in nearly 7 years. I have no *good* excuse for being gone so long. Besides the fact that I do not find the same joy in blogging as I do in being creative in other ways.

BUT, I have a great reason for returning.

For years I ran away from furthering my education because I didn’t want any more educational debt. I stacked up enough debt while obtaining my bachelors degree. Not as much as others, I am aware. I’m grateful for that.

Last summer I stopped making excuses and applied for a program that I had been researching for years. It was finally time to make that leap. I chose Western Carolina University’s Masters of Innovative Leadership and Entrepreneurship (MILE).

I am currently enrolled in a course titled Entrepreneurial Innovation (ENT 601-50). This course has led me back to my blog. Sorry if you are chocking on the dust.

Over the next fe weeks I will be posting my responses to books I am reading, assignments that I am completing or maybe just to say hi.

Happy reading!

The Superbowl needs ME!

I am on another quest. Marketing material for companies and promoting your company is expensive. I can afford the graphic design element to it because that’s what I do! The distribution is the part that cost a pretty penny in my case. I subscribe to receive entrepreneur emails and newsletters. Today was a golden treat in that there was an opportunity for me to enter my business to receive a free commercial during the Superbowl…WOW! What a great marketing opportunity. The approximate cost for Intuit (who is sponsoring this opportunity) is about $25 million. An amount of money I hope to one day see.

All I ask is that you help me by voting for my company, Kalidescope, here: http://intuit.me/1b1EhMD!

Very Productive Day!

On days were I make it in bed, but still feel accomplished means I’m winning!

I cannot end the day without sending a huge THANK YOU and shout out to my friends and family that are constantly sending me leads and referrals for graphic design opportunities. Besides it showing that my passion is important to them, I am so grateful that they think of my work and skills enough to potentially share with the world.

I was watching (more like listening) to Oprah’s Master Class on O dot com as she interviewed India.Arie and this quote not only stuck with me, it got me through the day: “Your real job in the world is to be you.” On days or weeks or months and for some years where you feel like you want to quit or feel like being you isn’t enough, remember that it is! Chances are there are a list of people that are admiring you and thinking about what you mean to them.

Pull positive energy from people that not only are successful, but comfortable with sharing the struggles of how they got there. Most of them will say that they wanted to quit at some point or another. Don’t give up! <—that was for me too.

DIY – Push Pin Board

This is a recycled project. I originally made this oversized piece with the damask pattern for the headboard over the platform bed I also “Did Myself”. When I moved locations from one home to the next, I decided that I no longer wanted it to function as my headboard, but rather an oversized push pin board to display photographs that I was given by family and friends or photographs I’d taken myself.

The decorative nails and ribbon was added after its use as a headboard to give it the support needed to hold photographs.

DIY-PushPinBoard

DIY: Dining Room Chair Reupholstry

I was fortunate to be given a dining room table with 6 chairs. The wood had a 70s, maybe 80s, look to it. It had brown wood and brown faux leather chairs. Knew the leather had to go. I was originally ok with leaving the table and chairs the original table, but I found a damask patterned roll of fabric at Hancock Fabric for a really great price, so I bought enough for the head board I was working on and the chairs.

reupholsteredchair
DIY: Reupholstered Dining Room Chairs

Most upholstered chairs have screws on the bottom to separate the cushion from the chair. I removed the cushion and began spray painting the wood black (to coordinate with the fabric, have fun with the color). While the paint dried, I used the original foam from the chair, but removed the leather. That way I didn’t have to purchase new foam or cut it to fit the shape of the chair.

Using a staple gun, I wrapped the foam with the fabric and it was ready to go! By the time all 6 chairs were covered, the black paint was dry and ready for the top clear coat for protection. I chose to use a matte finish as oppose to glossy.

DIY – Coffee Table

This is the first DIY project that I mentioned from Pinterest. It was super easy to make as well. Probably easier than the wine rack because it didn’t require any wood cutting. The make up of this coffee table is crates found at Michaels and table feet found at Lowes. These crates are $13, but most Michael stores always have coupons for either a dollar amount or percentage off.

DIY-CoffeeTable
DIY: Coffee Table

Without the coupons, the crates were actually more than I wanted to pay, but I was able to find a 40% off one item and 25% off total purchase coupon (visit their website or sign up to receive their emails). This is how much I spent on this project:

  • 4 wooden crates from Michaels for $36.41 (after coupons)
  • 4 Artesian Small Round Bun (table feet) – $11.12 (2.78 each)
  • 4 Straight Top Plate (connects the table feet to the table) – $6.72 (1.68 each)
  • 3 cans of black spray paint – $9.20

The project ended up being more than I anticipated.  I after thinking about how functional it was, I was ok with spending $64 on a coffee table. Not only is it a coffee table, it also has storage. I would rather pay $64 than have to buy a coffee table and book shelf!

 

DIY: End Table Pair

I can’t tell you how palette crazy I am! I think it was the cutest idea to create functional pieces from reclaimed wood, palettes, old items around the house, etc. I used to go to furniture stores and walk right back out because nothing was ever in my budget. My budget is extremely modest these days because I have put myself on a student loan repayment plan. This plan ties up any extra money I have at the end of my bills, to pay extra towards my student loans. Right now I have put my self about 2 years ahead of schedule to pay off the highest interest loan that I have. I’ll probably write about that later.

So, I never actually said it, but this is a wooden palette creation (inspired from Pintrest as well). I found a palette that was slimmer than most and thought it would be great for an end table. Normally I get my wood cut at Lowes, but that’s when I buy it in pieces. Since palettes are already assembled, they won’t cut them. I knew at this point that I would be creating pieces in the future, so I decided to invest in an electric wood cutter (I’m sure that’s not the technical name for it). This tool cost me about $39.97 on sale. Yes! I love reduced priced items.

DIY-OversizedShelving
DIY: End Table (1 of 2)

I cut the palette at both ends. This left a piece in the middle (that I later used to create a small shelf that I will post later). I was going to cut it in half, but the brackets at the bottom would only support a 12 inch ledge.

I had to add a piece of wood that I was able to get from the scrap pile at Lowes for a small fee because the gaps in the palette were too far apart to hold anything on the surface. I had to add “l shaped” brackets at the front for support. I’m sure you can tell, but I am obsessed with black furniture, so I spray painted them black.

For the finishing touch and so that it can hang on the wall, I added decorative brackets at the bottom. These are actually small enough to use as a shelve too, but enough space on top to double as a table.

This project cost about $34.74:

  • Wood palette – FREE
  • L shaped brackets – $3.75 each (4 total – 2 for each table)
  • Decorative brackets – $10.54 (4 total – comes in packs of 2 at $5.27)
  • 3 cans of black spray paint – $2.30 each

If you chose to do this, feel free to try different sizes. Just remember to have a plan before you start!

 

Interior Design Proposition. Hmmm…Maybe!

I just received a serious inquiry to decorate a Facebook friend’s house. What?! That is so awesome to me. I’ve never seen myself as an interior designer, but that’s true about other things I have successfully  completed as well. Sometimes I feel like I am doing too much with my creativity because there is so much that I have in my head that I want to share, but who said it can’t all be connected!?

Not only does someone want to pay me to come to Atlanta, Georgia (about 5 hours from where I live), I also had someone suggest opening a small store to sell some of the items I have created. My first thought was “but it’s do it yourself”, then I was like well…do it yourself within your means! So, maybe it’s not in your cards to create certain things. The ironic thing about Laura Liz suggesting I open a store it that I have definitely thought to do that before. I have so much I would sell. Baby steps though, renting space costs money!

If I am going to give this a serious try, I have to get started. Bye!

A Day in the Country

My dad lived has lived in Pittsburgh for the last 15 years, up until a few months ago. He moved back to his hometown which is only about 1.75 hours away. Being this close has allowed me to spend more time with him. In this time I have help him pick out lighting, flooring, paint colors and combinations, and all the small finishings a renovated home would need. It still looks like a construction site so I haven’t be able to see the beauty in it just let, but I have found a few other things around that make my heart smile:

Rowland Paws. Tiger and Me.
His new pit pup. The cutest dog ever. One reason is because he follows him around everywhere. Their bond is amazing to me, even though I feel like Tiger (the pit pup) is trying to take my place!

 

Alston Loop Pines - Rowland, NC
These pine trees in front of dad’s house are easily 50 years old on land that once belonged to his parent’s parent’s (and possibly further back).

Tiger, Fathers Day 2013