Calling All Texans!

September 18th, 2009 by admin

Rich and Ron have been given the honor of receiving an invitation to present at the Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas!   The Wizard Academy was founded in 2000 as a nontraditional business school, and is an incubator for new techniques in education.  The faculty studies what gifted people do when they’re feeling inspired so they can reverse engineer their unconscious methods.  They recognize the value of intuition and teach how to do consciously what a gifted person does unconsciously.  The curriculum they teach is multi-layered, led by some of the most accomplished instructors in America, Canada, Britain and Australia – and now Bootstrap Business is part of this wonderful curriculum!

This special screening of the Bootstrap Business Boot Camp will be held next week, September 22 – 24 at the Wizard Academy campus.  This training will focus on extensive study surrounding the principles for small business success found in Bootstrap Business.  In a personal environment, registrant’s can test their business ideas, ask questions, and receive one-on-one feedback from the instructors.

To learn more about this special Wizard Academy Boot Camp or register for this 3-day event, please visit the Wizard Academy website.

Good luck to Rich and Ron!  And to everyone else – don’t miss out on this great event!

Abundance Mentality

September 10th, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

Attaining and maintaining an abundance mentality is absolutely crucial to your success as an entrepreneur.  Although this truth ties in nicely with the idea that life gives you what you expect it to, it deserves its own consideration. What is an abundance mentality?

An entrepreneur with an abundance mentality has the ability to recognize opportunities. Look out your window. Do you see $100 bills lying in the streets, just waiting for you to pick them up? They are out there; you simply need to learn to see them.

Benjamin Franklin often quoted the old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” To a certain extent, this is true. It’s better to have something than to have nothing at all. But here’s the thing: the world is absolutely brimming with bushes, and those bushes are bursting with birds! How did you get that bird in your hand in the first place? Can you do it again?

Remember that old Ben also said, “He that would fish must venture his bait.” Surely there’s a balance that needs to be found. I recall a young man who asked me to lunch to discuss an idea of his. He was sure it would change the world. The only problem was that he clutched onto the idea so tightly, so afraid of losing it or having it stolen by someone else, that he shared it with no one. As a result, this young man will likely take “the idea of the century” to the grave with him. He suffers from the opposite of abundance mentality: scarcity mentality.

Scarcity mentality causes people to cling tightly to their “bird in the hand” because they fear being left with nothing at all. This mentality results in individuals distrusting any or all who would be their partners and collaborators. They fear jeopardizing the “great idea.”

On the other hand, an abundance mentality allows you to plan and dream, work with others, and have faith that there are more opportunities out there than you know. Not only does this mindset allow you to relax and see things for what they are, it’s a lot more enjoyable!

When Ron and I began partnering on our business Ron was living the scarcity model. He had just been through a layoff and was focused on the risk rather than the opportunity. For me, it was different: everywhere I turned there was an abundance of prospects, just waiting to be plucked from the bushes. As the year went on, we did a flip-flop! Ron had learned to trust my abundance mentality, and in doing so, began to see and trust the opportunities himself. I had been through a tough year. After a soured partnership, I went into survival mode.

As you maneuver your way through business ventures, you may fluctuate between abundance and scarcity mentalities. Learn the warning signs, and be able to take applicable action to ensure your happiness, sanity, and success.

The Warning Signs

  • You are paranoid that partners, outsourced workers, or the UPS guy might steal your great idea.
  • Instead of surveying the situation and reacting accordingly, you find yourself sticking to an original plan, regardless of how things have changed.
  • You are reluctant to expand, add new people, or make choices that will require you to branch out of your comfort zone.
  • You buy antacids in bulk.
  • In the back of your mind, you feel like any success you’re experiencing could end at any moment, so you’re constantly on guard.

Does that sound like you? If so, you need a course correction!

Porter’s Points—Abundance Mentality

  • Spring for the office lunch or buy some Girl Scout cookies when your partner’s daughter comes around collecting orders. It’s good for the soul, and reminds you that things are not as tight as they may appear.
  • You are the driving force behind your idea. Without your passion, it wouldn’t be the same. Take the right steps to protect your intellectual property and get going!
  • Bend in response to new opportunities or setbacks. A small business’s agility is its trump card: large corporations don’t have that luxury.
  • Give! Philanthropy is the surest way to release you from unnecessary panic. Giving is a surefire cure for scarcity mentality.

The Secret

September 8th, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

Life gives you what you expect it to.

If you expect success, everything you do translates into success—even your failures. If you expect failure, everything you do translates into failures—even your successes. If you expect to be loved, you will be loved; and if you expect to be taken advantage of you will be taken advantage of. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This concept seems to be popping up everywhere lately.  I attempted to trace it back to its origin, the law of attraction. I found it in Buddhism, Confucianism, in the philosophy and psychology of William James, and the 2006 bestseller called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

My conclusion: this truth resonates throughout time and applies to our lives today.  We all know people who seem to get all the breaks: the woman down the street who wins all the beauty contests, the guy in the office across the hallway whose putts always fall. Everything they touch turns platinum.

Contrastingly, you likely know people who fill the casting call for the “Eeyores” of life.  You’re not sure whether to pity them or appreciate how sparkling your personality seems in comparison. They have low expectations and their mood persistently commiserates with the dismal, melancholy little rain cloud that seems to hover over them everywhere they go.

What made them this way? Luck of the draw? Lightning bolts on the equator? The truth is it’s no accident. It doesn’t just happen. They’ve expected nothing less, or more precisely, nothing more! They have used their will to make it so.

I don’t watch a lot of television, but on more than one occasion I’ve come home to find my wife queuing up the TIVO and commanding me to sit down and watch Oprah. I’ve witnessed, from a distance, Oprah’s amazing ability to live this principle. From my perspective, she chose to expect the best from life. She chose to love. She chose to succeed. She chose to forgive. She will get everything from life she expects. And if you think she has fulfilled her expectations by now, my bet is that you’re very wrong. I conclude that Oprah expects more great things of herself and the world she lives in and loves, and always will.

Golfing great Jack Nicklaus seemed to convey genuine surprise every time he missed a shot. He literally expected each and every shot to be a winner. He knew what he could do, and did not waste time timidly hoping the putt might fall.

Decide what you want out of life! Write your expectations down. Call them goals, call them resolutions, call them whatever you want. Get your dreams down on paper, write them in your heart. Believe you will achieve them and go after them.

Viktor Frankl, survivor of the horrors that took place in Auschwitz and Dachau under a Nazi regime, wrote a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning.” This book is required reading for my team. In the midst of the worst possible scenarios he chose to expect the most out of life. His works kept him alive to become a paragon of this principle.  “We can’t always choose what happens to us but we can choose how to respond to what happens to us. It is our ultimate and final freedom. I had wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable ones. And I thought that if the point were demonstrated in a situation as extreme as that in a concentration camp, my book might gain a hearing. I therefore felt responsible for writing down what I had gone through, for I thought it might be helpful to people who are prone to despair.”  (Frankl, Viktor E. “Man’s Search for Meaning”)

I add my humble but zealous voice to those who have, do, and will yet live life against the backdrop of this truth: life gives you what you expect it to.

Porter’s Points – The Secret

  • Internalize this truth: Life really does give you what you expect it to.
  • Employ your will to make your success a reality.
  • It is not enough to just dream about what your success looks like. Exert the discipline required to achieve your dream.

Embracing Failure

September 1st, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

As you’ve tried to start a business, have you ever felt like a failure?  Maybe not such a bad thing, as we learn today!

Ron and I have a dear friend named Roger Reid who exemplifies the type of mindset and attitude necessary to thrive in times of turbulence. Roger was one of the most successful college basketball coaches in the United States during the 1990s. In 1996 Roger was involved in a nasty termination from a major university. After the termination, I stopped by his home to express my support. We talked for a while and after a bit he stated with a knowing smile, “I have finally found out how funny my jokes really are.”  Chuckling, he continued: “Before this experience everyone always laughed at my jokes. Now people only laugh when I’m actually funny.”

You will have times of turbulence as you build your business. Determine now how you will respond. Will you transform your failure into a step toward success?  Will your failures provide you an opportunity to gutcheck your jokes? Roger went on to achieve multiple successes in his chosen field. Roger Reid is wired for success. So are you.

Does failure break your heart? I sincerely hope not.  Reality dictates that you will experience failures as you start a business. Many of my most valued experiences have been my biggest failures, resulting in my biggest opportunities to learn and change. One of my favorite sayings is:

A stupid man never learns from his mistakes.

A smart man always learns from his mistakes.

A wise man learns from others’ mistakes.

As you shift into this mindset, you will learn to embrace failure and realize that it is part of the process. I have observed that great entrepreneurs seem to handle failure in a calm, competent, and confident manner.  Become passionate about understanding your failures.  It is the only way that you will learn from your mistakes and progress beyond them.

Thomas Edison failed hundreds of times before creating a filament for the light bulb. Despite the rough beginnings, he refused to become discouraged or view anything as a failure: “Every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward.”

One of my favorite sayings is: “Competence or incompetence always shows its head. It may take a day, a month, a year, maybe even 10 years or longer, but sooner or later it will show its head.” If you are competent, a failure is nothing more than a turn in your journey’s road, a step forward. It can actually make the process more exciting. You just have to refuse to allow your negative thoughts or naysayers to convince you that a setback or even a series of setbacks constitutes incompetence and marks you a failure.

Years ago I heard a story from one of my peers about a seminar where the speaker used an object lesson to illustrate this principle. He took a $100 dollar bill out of his pocket and asked the audience:

“Who wants this?”

Every hand shot up. He proceeded to crumple the $100 in a small ball and asked again,

“Who wants it now?”

Again, every hand shot up. He took the C-note and threw it on the floor and began jumping up and down on it.

“Who wants it now?”

Once more, all hands were in the air. Then came the real gem:

“You mean after I’ve crumpled it, jumped on it, and literally beat it up, you still want it? Why?”

One of the participants volunteered the answer.  “Because its value has not changed!”

So it is with you. You will get beat up, you will fail. But your value does not change. It doesn’t diminish. In fact, the rough treatment will actually increase your value!  There is definitely value in having a selective memory when you are an entrepreneur. Mark Twain captured the feeling: “The inability to forget is infinitely more devastating than the inability to remember.” Do not linger on the bad experiences. Take stock of where you are and appreciate how you got there.

Starting a business is not like baseball where it’s three strikes and you’re out. If you set it up properly, you can take as many pitches as you like and all that really matters is eventually getting the bat to connect firmly with the ball. It doesn’t matter if it takes one pitch or twenty. Just keep at it. Tweak your swing, change your grip, try a lighter bat, or move up in the batter’s box.  You will find the right combination and sooner or later you will connect.

Frequently as I gather with my entrepreneur buddies, our banter turns to battle scars. Near-death stories are told with relish and pride. They are badges of honor. Why? Because the journey, the failures, the experiences, and the lessons learned are the fun parts!

Porter’s Points – Embracing Failure

  • Learn to enjoy, embrace, and savor your failures.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, you can’t gain experience without failure—it’s a natural cycle.
  • Keep a journal of critical decisions and how they turned out. Write advice to yourself to follow in similar, future situations.