When former First Lady Barbara Bush penned her autobiography, her editor placed limits on the frequency with which she could use the words “close friend,” “wonderful” (once per page) and “precious” (once per chapter). She was widely known for her loving nature, her positive outlook on life and her sharp wit. “Not bad to have had a life that was filled with wonderful people and happenings, precious family, and many close friends,” she pointedly wrote on the first page of her memoir.
In honor of Bush’s passing on Tuesday at age 92, here are some of her most enduring pieces of wisdom — and a few trademark zingers — about literacy, love and life.
“Love brings a tear. Friends bring a tear. A smile, sweetness, even a kind word brings a tear. In a life of privilege there are lots of tears.” (From her autobiography, 1994)
“Whether you are talking about education, career or service, you are talking about life … and life really must have joy. It’s supposed to be fun!” (From her Wellesley College commencement address, 1990)
“You have two choices in life: You can like what you do, or you can dislike it. I have chosen to like it.” (From the Barbara Pierce Bush online memorial)
“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” (From the George H.W. Bush Library Center)
“Believe in something larger than yourself… Get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society.” (From her Wellesley College commencement address, 1990)
“The home is the child’s first school, the parent is the child’s first teacher, and reading is the child’s first subject.” (From the Barbara Pierce Bush online memorial)
“One of the many things we have learned in all our travels is that it’s the people who count… Most people everywhere are interesting, and if you can’t find a friend, then maybe there is something wrong with you.” (From her autobiography, 1994)
On George H.W. Bush:
“I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children, they just about throw up.” (From the Barbara Pierce Bush online memorial)
“One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life … to marry George Bush … is because he made me laugh. It’s true, sometimes we’ve laughed through our tears … but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds.” (From her Wellesley College commencement address, 1990)
“Once, when George and I were visiting after we were married, Mother asked him not to go to the bathroom at night because he woke her up when he flushed the toilet. George, already inventive at 21 years of age, went out the window!” (From her autobiography, 1994)
“He is my hero.” (From her autobiography, 1994)
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Hayden Field
I sat down with entrepreneur David Schloss to learn just that. David Schloss’ expertise is Facebook advertising. But in 2014, at age 25, he nearly became completely irrelevant. It had been a tough year. Things weren’t clicking. On Halloween that year, David had zero dollars in his bank account. He was only 72 hours away from either coming up with his rent payment or getting kicked out. His car was two weeks away from getting impounded. It felt like walls were closing in. His business was crumbling. In this period of confusion, anxiety, self-doubt, and worry, David was a single decision away from committing “career suicide,” and going back to a 9-to-5 day job.
Thankfully, for David, he turned things around. He didn’t go back to being an employee. Instead, he navigated through the tough time and today is the proud owner of a successful and thriving company. What changed? How did this one entrepreneur break through? How did he get up from his rock bottom? Here are four keys entrepreneurs can use to make it through the tough time, get on track, and rise up in business and life.
1. Let yourself be vulnerable.
Sometimes we hit walls. We struggle. Sometimes we lose. Too often as entrepreneurs, we hide those struggles. The problem is, if you don’t let yourself be real and vulnerable when you’re struggling, you will actually hold yourself back from progressing through the tough time.
In David’s period of uncertainty, being vulnerable proved to be a powerful key in his turnaround. David had hundreds of business friends on Facebook. Realizing he needed help, David reached out to every last one of them for advice and guidance. Two things happened. First, he discovered that he wasn’t alone — many other entrepreneurs had gone through similar things. That helped him develop confidence that he could get through it too. Second, they gave him actionable advice to get on the right track.
Had David stayed “closed up,” he wouldn’t have had the support he needed from others to help him move forward. When you’re in a tough spot, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sharing the struggle is the bravest thing you can do. Being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.
2. Develop a vision.
Ask yourself, “What do I want to create?”
It’s difficult to know if you’re progressing when you don’t know where you’re going. Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, writes about beginning with the end in mind. Know where you want to end up at the beginning of the trip. Reverse engineer what you want to do and where you want to go. That will become your North Star guiding your direction.
David developed a vision for the future he wanted to create. He used the advice from his colleagues to help him get super clear on his vision and direction. It’s that vision got him get out of bed in the morning and motivated his work.
Vision is critical. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
3. Create an action plan.
Vision is where you’re going, action is what gets you there. You’ve heard “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” While that’s true, there’s an important distinction to be made — your plan must be based on “action” instead of based on “results.”
In my first book, Fish Out of Water, I explain how successful “sharks” focus on what’s inside their control, vs. outside their control. While the result is not always directly within your control, action is.
David got clear on where he wanted to go, then made a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly plan of action of how he was going to get there. To him, success wasn’t based on the amount of money he made; it was based on the actions he took to make that money. He believed that if he took the right actions, results would come as a byproduct of those actions — and they did.
Decide what you want, then focus on the thing you can control to get there. Focus on action.
It’s no surprise that things don’t always go the way we planned. Persistence is a decision to keep moving towards the vision no matter the hiccups along the way. It’s not just doing “what it takes.” It’s doing “whatever it takes.” It’s falling down, and getting up again anyway. Life is like a chess game. You create a plan and a strategy, but how you win will not be the exact way you planned. Why? There are many unknown variables. It’s continuing to take the action, and not turning back.
Things didn’t abruptly become sunshine and roses while David was in the day-to-day grind, but he persisted no matter what. That’s why he is where he is today. Planning is what gets you moving, persistence is what keeps you going.
Entrepreneurship is an exciting adventure and a fulfilling journey, not just a satisfying destination. It’s not just about where we are going, but who we become throughout the process. David began to realize he wasn’t even the same person anymore. He was changing. It was like he was a butterfly now and, while he didn’t know it at the time, the low point was his metamorphosis.
As I talked about in a recent podcast interview, often times it’s the struggle that turns us into a great entrepreneur. So just remember, when you’re in a tough spot as an entrepreneur, it only means you’re being reborn into the new you. The exciting question is, what will your metamorphosis look like?
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Calvin Wayman
About nine years ago I was 30 years old, and after building several profitable companies I was dead broke. The kind of broke where bill collectors were calling and I did not know where I was going to get my rent payment. That’s tough to admit for someone like me who’s proud of the things I’ve accomplished on my own because I worked extremely hard.
I was down. I felt like an idiot because here I was, this big shot spending a bunch of money on cars and drinks and other ridiculous things I thought were cool, and just like that, it was all gone. And when I say just like that, I mean that literally. One day my company was managing millions of dollars, the next day I barely had a penny. All of this because I didn’t structure my business to be agile enough to move with the times.
Let me tell you how it happened. Years before I founded my current startup, I built a successful marketing agency. We catered to one niche — the mortgage industry — which was booming at the time. The marketing agency was stable, and the revenue stream was strong, so I got complacent. In my mind, I had it all figured out and thought, “This is what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life.” I put everything I had into that agency. The idea of merging into another revenue stream or diversifying outside of that vertical never even crossed my mind. And then the mortgage industry imploded, the credit market plummeted, and I went from having tens of millions of dollars worth of clients on Tuesday to having zero on Wednesday.
That kind of experience would break a lot of people. And yes, I was obviously devastated, but I licked my wounds and got ready to bounce back with my next venture. For this business, I took on a partner and we hypothesized that building software to help people save their homes would be a billion-dollar business. At the time, we didn’t know anything about software. We hired a third-party company that no one had ever heard of. We spent over a year building the software and tweaking the design to perfection and raised a million dollars in capital investment for the project.
Then we put our feet to the ground and blazed ahead, never getting any feedback from potential customers. So of course when we finally launched, there was dead silence. Our idea fell flat on its face and we lost all the money we raised because we jumped headfirst without even testing a prototype.
I learned a lot from those two experiences, but one of the biggest lessons is that you have to be agile if you’re going to succeed. You can’t get comfortable once you’ve had a little success. The world moves way too fast and technology is too much of a game-changer to ever think you can settle into one way of approaching your business.
My grandfather used to mention the Russian expression: “The wise man learns from someone else’s mistakes, the smart man learns from his own, and the stupid one never learns.” Clearly, I wasn’t wise, because the same failure to be agile that tripped me up has been the stumbling block for thousands of entrepreneurs before me. But I am smart. Every time I’ve been kicked in the face, I’ve learned how to block. When I’ve fallen, I’ve learned where to lay down extra padding. When I run into roadblocks, I’ve learned how to change directions. That’s agility, and I learned all that the hard way — from my own screw-ups.
But you can avoid all of that and learn from my mistakes. Here are a few suggestions so you don’t fall into the same trap:
Focus on the process, not the end result.
Just because you started out with a vision doesn’t mean that’s what you’re going to end up with. Agility means being prepared to change directions if things aren’t working out. Some of the most successful businesses in the world started out as something completely different. The entrepreneurs that built these businesses shifted, pivoted and made a space for themselves where their vision worked. If you look at your business as an experiment, then you never fail. You’re just working on the right formula.
Pay attention to the market and be ready to give it what it wants.
One of the biggest factors that will change the direction of a business idea is market feedback. When my business partner and I launched our software without ever getting a feel for what the market wanted, we ignored the only true validator of any great idea. Even if you’ve got investors throwing cash at you, all that means is that you’ve developed a convincing sales pitch. But if people don’t want to buy your product or service — no matter how many indicators of greatness you had — you need to let it go or pivot and take it back to the drawing board. Remember, my marketing agency was bringing in huge revenue until the mortgage industry crashed. Take time to diversify instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket.
Listen to feedback and let your community guide you.
I’ve started to integrate feedback and data into my business by operating skunk-works style with our community. We’ve set up a big lab where we launch ideas, get feedback from the community and build things that people want. This has been invaluable. But if you aren’t nimble enough to execute on the feedback consumers give or the ideas that your community generates, then it’s pointless.
The reality is that in business, things change, things break and things fall apart. When that happens, you need to be able to pick yourself up every time and say, “That was a great learning experience. What’s next?” That agility will clear the path for successful ideas not yet on the horizon.
Originally posted on Forbes by Jason Saltzman
The marketing landscape is more diverse than ever before, with marketing strategies spanning multiple channels. To stay relevant, you must conduct marketing audits from time to time. With so many tasks to execute, you might be walking a fine line and making a few (or several) blunders.
At Betaout, we’ve learned that these mistakes can cost you time and money you don’t have to waste. Avoid these missteps to help keep your marketing strategy in sync with your brand evolution.
1. Not taking the leap from personalization to individualization.
Everybody’s talking about personalization, but marketers still struggle to create meaningful customer experiences. The question isn’t whether you’re personalizing your messages — everyone is, to some extent. Answer these pressing questions instead:
- Are you still doing mass-level personalization by simply inserting your customers’ first names?
- Are you taking individualized insights into account?
Recent research reveals that only 6 percent of marketers worldwide report having a single customer view across online and offline channels. If you don’t fall in this narrow bracket (and the odds are slim, really), your marketing isn’t targeted enough.
2. Not following the cardinal 80/20 rule.
You’ve no doubt heard the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle: 80 percent of the effect comes from 20 percent of the causes. But are you using it in your marketing?
Whether your focus is on content marketing, social-media marketing or email marketing, 80 percent of your effort should be spent providing value to your audience. That leaves 20 percent of your effort for promotional activity. This keeps your audience engaged and builds a long-term relationship.
Brand-oriented messages fizzle. Customer-oriented ones will help you sizzle.
3. Ignoring retention marketing.
Retention marketing should be the backbone of your marketing strategy. Why? Two reasons: It’s easier to sell to someone you’ve built a relationship with, and it’s more profitable to sell to your existing customers.
Need some convincing? Check out these stats:
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is somewhere in the 5 to 20 percent range.
- Acquiring a new customer costs six to seven times what you’ll spend to retain an existing one.
Once someone becomes your customer, make sure you don’t stop marketing to him or her. Customer loyalty is hard to come by nowadays. It all boils down to creating value so they’ll remain customers for life.
4. Not documenting your content-marketing strategy.
Content marketing currently is your best bet to rise above the noise. No wonder it’s employed by 94 percent of small businesses, 93 percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies and 77 percent of business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations. Now, contrast that with the markedly smaller proportions of groups with a written content-marketing plan: 37 percent of B2B marketers and 40 percent of B2C marketers.
Document your content-marketing strategy before you start creating stories and other materials around your brand. It will make content creation and distribution not only easier but more effective, too.
5. Ignoring new channels and platforms.
The most successful companies do what they can to leverage every marketing channel. They don’t just stick with the same old channels and strategies. According to a Harvard Business School study, retailers that took advantage of multiple channels were more profitable than those employing only a single channel.
The digital world constantly is evolving. Adopting the relevant, emerging marketing channels is paramount to connect with your audiences.
6. Using email as a promotional tool.
There was an era in email marketing when emails were used solely for promotional purposes. Modern professionals know email marketing plays a critical role in building trust-based relationships to engage, convert and retain customers. Neglecting these responsibilities can have serious repercussions for any online business. If you want your email marketing to be a success, you need to accept a major mindset shift: Use email as an engagement tool, not a promotional one.
7. Not spending time crafting your message.
This is the single-biggest mistake marketers make. They simply don’t pay enough attention to crafting the message before they push it out to an audience.
Carefully think through what you want your customer or potential client to believe. Whether you’re writing a blog post, composing an email, writing a Facebook status update or creating popup copy, every word you write should convey your message clearly and convincingly.
When it comes to marketing, it’s not just channel that matters: it’s also the message.
The future of marketing will be highly complex, and it will reward only those who can provide meaningful experiences to customers. If you want to succeed in the digital age, you’ve got to get the customer experience right.
Originally posted on Entrepreneur.com by Reshu Rathi