…but they didn't know YOU

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Almost EVERYBODY dreams of someday….

Writing a book
Traveling the world
Being a star
Starting a business

and it’s easy to TALK about it.

But talk is cheap.

As soon as you get any farther than climbing the ladder at a J.O.B., the herd thins real fast.

There’s always an excuse. The kids, the college savings, I need to spend more time with my family, yada yada.

And frankly, the entrepreneurial journal is lonely and painful. Nobody really knows what you deal with. I remember the first time I hired someone (Jeremy), I was beside myself with paranoia. “What if payday arrives and I can’t produce the dinero?”

Once I wrote a blog post that said “How many of you have mortgaged your house to meet payroll” and it seemed like almost everybody.

There’s the obvious stuff you’ve gotta overcome. Stuff like that. But there’s a whole buncha not-so-obvious stuff too. Like learning to go out and sell something when your heart is throbbing with fear. Like finding out that even though you don’t know any more than anybody else, YOU are the only one willing to take charge, so… you’re in charge.

You don’t say to yourself “I’m the only one who seems to know what needs to get done around here” because you’re a narcissist.

You say that cuz it’s true.

Welcome to the world of The Buck Stops Here.

When The Buck Stops Here, 95% of people will not understand the world you live in, because the world THEY live in is: The buck stops somewhere else.

You can’t go to church and complain about your $36,000 tax bill. They won’t understand. “Cry me a river.”

You also can’t head down to the local pub and complain about how someone wants to give 1 year free maternity and paternity leave to Everyone. Someone might throw a beer bottle at you.

Kind of a thankless job sometimes.

But it does have its rewards.

A whole BUNCH of people on Planet Perry have written a book, traveled the world, been a star (at least in some tiny corner of the world) and yes, started a business.

I think one of the greatest things is the quality of your peers.

The herd is thin and the ones that are left – well, they certainly have the smell of battle on ’em.

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And you find that, contrary to stereotypes, they’re actually EXTREMELY generous. Heck, they’re just so happy to be sitting across the table eating burgers with someone who UNDERSTANDS them, they’ll tell you anything you wanna know.

And every syllable drips with experience and struggle and victory.

The entrepreneurial life is one where you fail more often than you succeed.

You come to understand there is something blessed, maybe even sacred about failure.

It has this odd way of letting you know your place in the world. As long as you don’t get complacent, it keeps your ego solidly in check.

You know that half the things you think are true probably aren’t, and half the things you KNOW are true are almost certain to change next week.

You surf the edge of chaos, enjoying the thrill of the ride. The agony and the ecstasy.

Some people said you’d never be anybody. You were learning disabled or a “C” student or you couldn’t concentrate or you were a pain in the ass or whatever.

They judged you however they judged you.

But they didn’t know YOU. The real you deep inside, the one who decided, somewhere along the way, that dodging the swinging tire irons and rolling with the punches was better than a life of quiet desperation.

I always loved the old bit of advice to professors: “Be nice to the A students because someday they’ll become your fellow professors. Be nice to the B students because their parents sign your paychecks. And be nice to the C students cuz someday they’re gonna build you a performing arts center.”

Today my Roundtable 1 group is meeting here in Chicago. Mostly we’re C students (myself included) with a touch of ADHD, and most of us are a pain in the ass, and we’re all misfits. It’s the gathering of the great Hermit Colony.

And it’s a blast.

Just know that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing today, if you’ve chosen the lesser-trod path of more failure than success, more uncertainty than exact answers, and The Buck Stops Here, you’ve won OUR respect.

And most importantly, YOURS.

Seize the Day.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

20 Comments on “…but they didn't know YOU”

  1. Beautifully put Perry, thank you so much. I’m out in the trenches with the rest of you, no extra mortgage on the house so far (I had to sell my stock at some time but hey) and now at a point where we have just received great acclaim for an innovation we’ve been sweating on for the last 3 years. What a joy that is, and it’s amazing how this all fits the hermit format. Also liked your Pink Floyd reference, they’re great too :-)

  2. Wow great post Perry! Just what I needed. I was just thinking yesterday about what it means to be a misfit of society. I am doubly a misfit – I am an acupuncturist which makes me an oddball from the start. Added to that I am now a freak in my own profession – almost every other acupuncturist hates even the word “Marketing”, while I am bordering on obsessive about it.

    So when I get one those moments of loneliness and doubt that come with the path of the entrepreneur, the first thing I do is to read one of your posts or listen to the latest Mastermind seminar. And before long I’m back in the zone again, spurred on by the only voices who actually get what I do and who are equally obsessive about entrepreneurial mastery.

    Here’s to Planet Perry!

  3. “You know that half the things you think are true probably aren’t.” — that’s something you mentioned in an earlier email this year that’s stuck in my head since then. I think you also suggested 50% was even too high a percentage.

    Anyhow, glad to see you mentioning it again, reminding us (or just me) that many of the beliefs and “truths” we stand on as we go about our lives are thin illusions — that break for many people, sooner or later, causing confusion, anger, and other kinds of suffering.

  4. I have tenaciously held on to entrepreneurship when my accountant told me I need to think about doing something else, when I haven’t made a dime, when my husband doesn’t want to talk about what I am working on because he “doesn’t understand any of that stuff”, when aqaintences ask me “what exactly do you do again?”, when I’ve spent my last $10 & I didn’t know when or where more was going to come from, when I’ve had to summon up the courage to do things that isn’t in my nature to do, and when in the face of reality, I would rather lose everything than go back to working for someone else.

    It ain’t easy, but it is who I am. What else do you do with that?

  5. Perry, I sent this post on today to one of my mushing students who has been subject to the “you can’t do this” syndrome that we all have experienced. My comment to her: ” From one of my mentors…this email is about entrepreneurs, but mushing is VERY VERY much the same…Enjoy!!!”

    She did, and so did I. I have realized in no small part that the 10 year odyssey of training my own team from scratch, developing and honing my mushing chops from ZERO to enter and FINISH the biggest competition in the mushing world (the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, aka “The Last Great Race on Earth”)…yeah, that IS pretty darned good preparation for the life of an entrepreneur. For example,

    • Team development. I can’t pull the sled for 1150 miles, I have to outsource that. My team members and I, we don’t speak the same language, we are not motivated by the same rewards. But I had to build a solid team, and mutual trust, that I could literally bet my life on.

    • Mastering new skills. I was responsible for everything having to do with the care of my team and myself and getting us down the trail. Encountering and conquering all sorts of new challenges we’d never experienced in training. My team and I were the consummate professionals. Truly, the Buck Stops Here.

    • Perseverance…Showing up and Getting back up. When I got seriously injured early in the Iditarod, it NEVER crossed my mind to scratch. It was just one more thing to deal with, like the crappy trail, too warm temps, thawing meat, etc. A well-meaning judge suggested to me (strongly) that I drop some dogs, to make it easier on myself to care for the team because I was injured. I refused to consider that either. How could I look any of my team members in the eye and say “You can’t go because I’m a little bruised and sore.” Doesn’t work that way. They’d each worked so hard to get here, they deserved the chance to finish. So we stuck it out together.

    • Gratitude. It takes the virtual village to build a business, and a sled dog team, and compete successfully at the highest level, which is what we entrepreneurs do every day, regardless of the size and scope of our businesses. First, second, third order effects of what others do support and help us…and likewise, our efforts ripple outward to help and support others. Not too bad for the Hermit Colony, eh?

    Distance mushers are right up there with entrepreneurs as denizens of the Hermit Colony – we of course are often way more comfortable around our dogs than around other people – and yet I can’t possibly escape the interconnectedness of the webs we weave.

    Distance mushing, like being an entrepreneur, may as well be a trip to Mars from most people’s perspective. When I left corporate America, many of my friends shook their heads and said “Why?” When I announced my plans to run the Iditarod with a team I trained myself to celebrate my 50th birthday, EVERYONE I know thought I couldn’t/shouldn’t/wouldn’t do it.

    Most of them said so out loud, many to my face. The others didn’t have enough guts to say it, but you could read it in their expressions, body language and what didn’t get said. NO WAY you can do that Liz.

    Many of them acknowledged no way THEY could do it, couldn’t even imagine it. Too cold, too lonely, too much sleep deprivation, too much hardship, too much time, have to sacrifice EVERYTHING for the Dream. Sound familiar?

    A friend of mine who’s also an Iditarod veteran, was told once that she should encourage someone to run Iditarod. She shot back: “No! I’d be the last one to coax anyone into this. It will beat you raw – emotionally and physically. It will strip you bare – emotionally and financially. It will test all your relationships because of the time, emotional and financial burdens. And in the end, if everything goes well – you get a belt buckle and a patch. If you don’t want it more than anything else in the world – it isn’t for you.”

    Pretty well sums up the entrepreneurial quest too, doesn’t it? Damned proud of what we all do.

  6. I admire those who have mortgaged their house, I really do. I did it one to inject cash into my business. Also what I liked about this article was the part when you say that entrepreneurs experienced more failure than success and that´s true and it´s very often.

  7. I`ve really enjoyed reading this post. I loved the paragraph about “mortgaged your house to meet payroll”. I haven`t done that just yet, but I admire those who have. But I had to one time to inject cash into my business…

    Another thing I liked about this article was the part when you say that entrepreneurs experienced more failure than success and that´s true too and it´s very often….

  8. Perry – you’re a genius. I stepped out of 9 – 5 ville 12 years ago – I couldnt stand the “who is going to stay in the office the longest” competition. Basically I was a rubbish employee. Since I went out on my own I worried as my estate car ran out of petrol and then it blew a gasket on the motorway and ruined the engine. I havent made big time but it feels like big time every day as I go for it without the help of a J-O-B. I dont think many would understand. But I now have 1 good solid business that didnt make me a fortune but helped me pay my bills, and also the most fantastic cafe that just opened – I may have spent my last dime on it but I think its gonna succeed, thanks to God. Every day has uncertainty but I wouldnt have it any other way. I dont know about changing the world but we’ll give it a go!!

  9. After excelling in the education, doing the practical and waiting (far too long) I realized my first career was never going to appear. I’d never be more than an unpaid volunteer within my ‘vocation.’ It was a complete lack of return on a lifetime of investment.

    I hated the management ‘career’ that I’d fallen into but settled on an acceptable position that gave me some time to write and even publish a few novels. As an author I felt like a bit of a fraud because I was more interested in movies than books.

    To ensure I had nothing to rely on the recession hit. So goodbye to management.

    Then I discovered screenwriting–the craft of creating movies. It has an incredibly high failure rate; partly because most would-be screenwriters ignore basic formatting but more often because they just can’t tell an outstanding story.

    It’s a huge adjustment but there is hope. My publisher would like to see a screenplay of my first novel by spring.

    Wish me luck. ;-)

  10. Perry, excellent job of articulating why I enjoy working with entrepreneurs, in my own business, so much. You write very well for a “C student”!

    And Carol – have a very happy birthday!

  11. Nothing like being an entrepreneur to make you feel alive.

    Sometimes I fantasize about going back to a 9-5 job, “steady” paycheck and holiday entitlements.

    But it doesn’t take me to long to realize I will be miserable again within weeks… living a life of quiet desperation like most other folks out there.

    That’s not for me.

    One day I’ll look back over my life and be proud that I constantly stepped out of my comfort zone.

  12. Perry,
    Your 10/2/2012 article brought back a memory from the night before the first job. I was about to program a computer in a new industry – geothermal versus cement manufacture. This shaking fear came over me as I thought, “What if I can’t do it?” A firm response from somewhere in my gut came back, “You have to and you will.”
    That was the most profound acknowledgement of my capabilities that I ever had – right there, in that moment, dealing with a fear that has never been an option again throughout my 30 years of consulting.

  13. Perry,
    I always get a kick out of your messages. In return, here’s a video I think you’ll appreciate. It’s of Larry Smith, an economics professor and personal friend, doing an independent TED talk at the University of Waterloo. Suffice it to say that Larry has received standing ovations for economics lectures. Imagine that! The tile of this piece is, “Why You’ll Fail to Have a Great Career”. I think you’ll like it.


  14. Great read as usual! I have taken this road less traveled, walked to the fire instead of run, maintained a belief in myself and ideas and have run to the top of the mountain in a hail of bullets as they rain down on me.

    I am now catching these bullets in my teeth, spitting them out, and asking the unseen foes “is that all you got?!” Bring it!

    I ditched the corporate suit, jet and fancy stuff to engage in battle, at a time when most thought I was nuts. Many still do.

    My wife/partner of 28 years left because she didn’t see the value, dream or future of what I was doing. She has the kids, pets and a nice monthly check to tide her over, and calm her fears. But, she does not have my spirit!

    Now, I have investors, threatened competitors and many others interested in what I have been doing and built. While I can’t say I have made a fortune yet (and that’s not the goal), I can say it has been worth every minute and restless night’s “one eye open” sleep and wouldn’t change a thing.

    It’s people like those in and around Planet Perry that give the daily dose of optimism that we can change the world and our lives, one idea and passionate belief at a time.

    Keep up the good fight, it sure beats the alternative!

  15. Hey Perry,

    Today is my birthday – since I’ve been following the entrepreneurial journey since I opened my first business way back in 1978 – this was the best birthday greeting ever…

    “Just know that wherever you are, whatever you’re doing today, if you’ve chosen the lesser-trod path of more failure than success, more uncertainty than exact answers, and The Buck Stops Here, you’ve won OUR respect.”

    I traded my “brick and mortar” stores back in 2000 for the 10 step commute down the hall to my home office where the tools of the trade have been my phone and computer. (My biggest challenge at the time was learning how to use the “mouse” – talk about a steep learning curve!)

    I’ve come a long way… and today I make a 6 figure income mostly from affiliate sales. I can’t imagine living any other way.

    My heart felt thanks to you for sharing your pearls of wisdom with our Hermit Colony over the years.

    Your new title should be – Master of Misfits!;-)

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