When enough is enough – 8 steps for getting out of the start-up rut

Ger out of the Rut

I’ve never had the urge to celebrate successes. For me those mark the end of a road, rather than the beginning of another. I enjoy them, but I believe tooting my own horn about it is redundant. Failures on the other hand are another story. I love them, and as of lately, they seem to love me back.

In my modest experience both as a human being and as a struggling consultant, there is no balance between good and bad things that happen to you on daily basis. It’s either raining frogs, or every problem you have miraculously sorts itself out in a blink of an eye. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because balance is boring.

Balance = comfort zone = no growth (both personal & professional)

We all welcome the good times, but how we get back on the horse after a fall is what truly defines our capabilities and motivations.  When it comes to business, here’s some of my tips for getting out of the rut:

1. Never doubt yourself – constantly repeat to yourself that you believe in your skills and that you are 110% committed to achieving your goal. Sometimes it’s harder, because people will try to put you down, but you can’t let a random individual define you.
2. Make sure you find the right people along the way – support systems are crucial when you are starting your own thing. Even though you always need an objective opinion, sometimes the ‘mommy’ appraisal gives you the extra push you need to keep going.
3. Select your partners very VERY carefully – think you can make it on your own? Great! If not, make sure you take the time to find the right partner. And if you find yourself in a scenario where you thought you had one, but things go south, don’t be afraid to let go. It’s just business. Look up and move forward.
4. Dream big, but scale with a realistic pace – dreams are sometimes what truly keeps us in the race. However, don’t make the mistake of having 20 great ideas that just rot around in your brain. Pick 1 or 2 and focus all your energy in realizing them. If that doesn’t pan out, at least you have a list of 18 more to try out.
Get out of Rut!5. Don’t be afraid to be yourself – a lot of people start doing their own thing because they saw a model that works and think they can duplicate it at their local market. Do something you are truly passionate about and the model will build itself around that.
6. Network, network, network – worn out, but can’t emphasize it enough. You can’t expand your contacts, potential clients, etc. if you’re not out there mingling. Put your best smile forward and see what happens. I guarantee you’ll be surprised.
7. Have your priorities straight – especially when dealing with clients, you have to have a defined working model or a plan of action, because without one, you end up losing your focus of the big picture and end up wasting time solving irrelevant minor details.
8. Play a little make-believe – I am young enough as it is, so when I am trying to book a new client, there is no room for doubt. I make sure the client knows I mean business and if I have to exaggerate a bit to grab their attention, so be it. Earn your respect.

And if all of the above don’t work, sometimes I just look at myself in the mirror and say enough is enough to snap myself out of it, only to come out stronger. That’s why I’d take raining frogs over unicorns and rainbows any day!

xo,

Teddy T

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10 types of people you need in your life

If you’ve had the luck to be brought in a good family environment, like I was, you’ve probably heard from an early stage this washed-up (but still relevant) sentence: ‘You can be whoever you want to be when you grow up, it’s up to you!’

And don’t get me wrong. For the most part, that’s right. I feel in control of my destiny, I know success won’t fall into my lap, I gotta work hard for it. However, a lot of people don’t realize that your values, your beliefs and understandings in life are inevitably going to be influenced by the environment you are in and the people you surround yourself with. Even though we keep insisting we are adults and have figured all of this out by now, we also realize that we keep changing and learning till the very end. That’s why it’s important to have the right people along for the ride:

1. The wise guy – doesn’t care about what your opinion is on a subject, he will tell it like it is. You can try and bullshit your way into a relationship (platonic or otherwise), but he will see right through you and walk away.

Why you need them in your life: That person will bring a realistic perspective on any situation. You know you can trust them and you respect them for not pretending to be someone they are not. They will keep you grounded every time you are tempted to lie or misrepresent yourself.

2. The social butterfly – this person seems to know everybody who’s anybody. They are always at a social event or meeting new people. That’s how you probably got caught in their orbit – you were charmed after 5 minutes of talking with them and you know you’ll never get bored when they are around.

Why you need them in your life: Great way to meet new and inspiring people, great way to keep you motivated on your own goals in life. Tonight you’re going out with a bunch of hipsters, tomorrow you’re having coffee with a high-end designer or the CEO of a local company. Variety is key.

3. The ‘party hard or go home’ – you have a special relationship with this person. You might not see each other every day, but when you do it’s a night to remember. You know each other’s dirty secrets because you’ve probably shared them over a beer or five.

Why you need them in your life: Despite their ease with which they get you in trouble, they also keep your young and rebellious spirit alive. And it’s just nice to know that once in a while you can let your guard down and act like a teenager without anyone judging!

4. The comedian – it’s plain and simple, this person can lighten the mood at any time. They can actually make you laugh out loud!

Why you need them in your life: They always know what to say to make you smile and chances are, they are usually the ones you call when you are feeling down and need good old cheering up.

5. The ex – hear me out. I don’t mean the great dramatic love story went wrong. I mean that sweet individual that you used to go out with a long time ago, that somehow turned out to be a better friend than significant other. They get you on a level that other friends don’t, because of the already shared intimacy.

Why you need them in your life: Because they are genuinely great people who care about you because of you, nothing more. If you need their help they will come running and vice versa. Just because you care and wish them well.

6. The couple – they are always together and seem to have life all figured out. They go to the same social events, they’ve probably already bought an apartment and are planning a wedding in the near future.

Why you need them in your life: These people are the picture of a perfect relationship. They seem to have life all figured out and you can actually call them adults without chuckling. When you start feeling like a kid that doesn’t know anything, you take a look at them and know that yes, it is possible to be that confident in life.

7. The couch potato – because let’s face it, sometimes you just want to stop running and relax with some good company. They don’t care how you look or how presentable you are. All they care is that you can relax and have the occasional glass of wine/ beer with them at the comfort of your own homes.

Why you need them in your life: They are good at slowing you down. They are the ‘stop and smell the roses’ types. Around them, you realize beauty is in the small things and in occasionally having a break from life and recharging your batteries.

8. The sports freak – opposite to the couch potato, these are the people that will make you push your limits and get out of your comfort zone.

Why you need them in your life: They scream out discipline. Their crazy daily routines make you feel bad about sleeping in. They can motivate you to change your habits, to get out there and to try new things.

9. The entrepreneur – these people are the ‘crazy ones’. They always have great ideas or are always running to another meeting with a potential client. And even though their schedules are crazy busy, they always seem to have a smile on their face.

Why you need them in your life: You simply can’t get enough of their enthusiasm. They inspire you to want more from life and to look for true happiness. Their minds are sharp and always ready for a good debate. And that stimulates you to keep working on yourself.

10. The ‘you in 10 years’ – they are basically who you aspire to be in 10 years. They have the same way of thinking, they’ve already made the same mistakes you were thinking of making, and are happy with who they’ve become.

Why you need them in your life: They can be great mentors. You need to picture the person you aspire to become and if you actually meet them, you can learn a lot from their experience and wisdom. And it’s kinda cool to think you could be this awesome in 10 years.

And there you have it. The 10 types of people I need in my life to keep me going.

xo,

Teddy T

P.S. I love all my friends and wouldn’t have it any other way. I thank all of them for putting up with my crazy self and I thank them for always being there for me.

What if Santa went corporate?

‘Tis the holiday season and as a marketer I can’t help but pay attention to all the holiday ads, ATL & BTL promotions and other consumer gimmicks with which I am currently being bombarded on daily basis. Some naively done, some over-exploiting the same run down holiday spirit mumbo jumbo, but some flawless in their creativity and innovative in their design.

One particular creative piece brought to my attention was the mock-strategy pitch for a corporation called ‘Santa’, created by an UK based Communications agency ironically called Quietroom. See, what the team has done is to create a whole corporate communications and consumer communications strategy for.. well… Santa. And this is no joke! The pitch is complete with brand analysis, communication channels, tone of voice and even a ‘Curve of credulity’ explaining the phasing of belief-in-Santa distributed by the age of the consumer. I have only one word for it: EPIC!

The rest of the presentation you can find here. Trust me, it’s well worth spending 5 minutes on browsing through it and I guarantee you’ll be grinning by the end.

A very creative way of showing the rest of the world what your agency is capable of, kudos to the whole team behind the Santa Branding Book!

Happy Holidays Everybody!

xo,

Teddy T

P.S. Special thanks to a dear friend and a brilliant social media marketer – Gergana Tyaneva, for showing me this great advertising piece, go and check her out.

On crossroads and the beauty of crazy people

Some people are addicted to the tranquility brought by certainty. It calms them to know. Just to know. They are pleased with the expectedness of life and terrified if the natural order of their daily routines is in some way disrupted. I’m sometimes jealous of such people, because they have it easy.

They are content with what surrounds them and wouldn’t even think about changing the status quo. Their happiness is found in the predictability of the mundane. The worst fear for them would be to be put on a crossroad. The endless possibilities hidden in the uncertainty of one’s reality. This is what excites me. I am addicted to the butterflies in my stomach every time I need to make an important decision. I take time to play out in my head each scenario, each potential outcome. The impossibility of knowing which way to go is my sweet torment. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because it is on those crossroads where dreams are born. Wild, unthinkable dreams which, ironically, you’ve already planned out step by step in your head. They seem so far away yet so close and touchable. I constantly find myself on crossroads, a feeling so mesmerizing and full of anticipation, that I wouldn’t want it to end. I’ve ditched the stability of a corporate job to chase down dreams of entrepreneurship and innovation. I might be nobody, but in my head I’ve already made it. Once I made the initial jump down, while I am still falling with no ground beneath my feet is when I feel my whole being revitalize. And I can’t help but smile at the irony of my own craziness. Because when I tell my friends I’ve turned a new leaf and decided to start my own company that’s the word I keep hearing the most: ‘crazy’. I will not expect success to magically fall on my lap. I will not back down and admit defeat unless I know I’ve done everything in my power to not surrender. So yes, in that sense I am crazy. Crazy for not wanting tranquility in my daily life. Crazy for leaving a stable job, a stable salary and a stable environment. And crazy for saying:

‘Screw what’s expected of me, I choose to carve my own path!’

That is all there is to breaking the chain of the mundane. Admitting to others and to yourself that you just might be a little kuku, and that’s OK. I’ve found a mentor, a role model that made me want to take the first step. I am grateful that I see a future of endless possibilities I can’t wait to explore.  And the best thing is that along the way, I’ve met other crazies, each with a spark in the eye, each with a dream in their pocket.

So dear friends, don’t be afraid to take the leap, don’t hide in your comfort zone. My humblest opinion is that life starts happening once you step out of your box and embrace the unknown. And if you feel like you need that little extra push, I leave you with the words of the great Frederick Douglas:

xo,

Teddy T