As with any startup entrepreneur you start out with lots of hopes and dreams. And along the way, you expect both good and bad with the hope that there is more good than bad.
The guiding principle for any startup entrepreneur is to spend as little money as possible while accomplishing your goals. It’s about being a good steward of your financial and other resources.It’s about making sure that you’re making money first instead of just spending it.
Here is my short list of both.
I recently had my BEST enchantment encounter with none other than the man himself, Guy Kawasaki. It all started with a story he wrote in MacUser magazine in the 1990s. Fast forward to a few years ago as I began writing my book and the story so kept with me that I wrote the story that Guy wrote about in my book. Here is what I put in my book on page 239:
About 1990 Robin Williams self published The Little Mac Book and The Mac is not a Typewriter and a larger publishing company QUE Publishing published The Big Mac Book. When Robin’s book began selling, they changed the title to be similar to hers. Guy Kawasaki picked up on the story and wrote about it in his MacUser column and published the publisher’s fax number because, as Robin stated in her open letter to QUE, they “were just not nice.” In turn QUE’s book just faded away and hers took off. Thanks Guy and Robin, for the inspirational success for the little guy against “not nice” big companies.
This last March I sent a PDF copy of my book to Guy and pointed him to the appropriate page in my book and to let him know that I appreciated his column and the story. What happened next was enchanting to me. As popular and well-known as Guy is, I e-mailed my PDF to him and was not expecting a response. Lo and behold, I got a direct response from Guy and a short, encouraging comment and then he asked me for my address so he could send a signed copy of his new book Enchantment. I sent in the requested information and a week later his book showed up, signed and ready to be read by me. I love books, a book a month for me.
Needless to say, it made my day getting his signed book, personally. Enchanting, indeed. Thanks, Guy, you enchanted me!
The flipside to enchantment is disenchantment, and here’s what a startup entrepreneur (and author) gets disenchanted with.
1. During a recent convention in March of this year in Denver the presenter (I’ll call him DC) was using a Mac to give his presentation. He’s a strong business person, otherwise he would not be speaking at this well known conference. I approached him with a copy of my book to share with him my story about goal setting and my accomplishment of getting my book published. After my short introduction and comment the speaker asked, “Is this book for me?”
Almost any struggling writers or entrepreneurs will tell you that we don’t have lots of money for marketing, in fact we always look for free stuff to get our company, product, and our customers to notice us. Because we pursue low-cost and no-cost marketing avenues, what inventory we have on hand is considered “precious” and money that is spent and requires sales to recoup our investment. I hesitated not knowing what the gentleman would do with my book. Would he read it? Would he make a comment about it at some point? I then decided to let him have my copy with the hope that he might talk about it at some point. It’s been months and not one peep from him.
2. During Startup Weekend in Denver on June 3-5, I engaged in conversations with other individuals about the start up experience and, if they asked me what I did, I shared with them my start up experience and about getting my book published. A lady about my age asked to take a look at my book, stating that she was about to finish her first book soon. I’m proud of my accomplishment of getting it done. After glancing at my book she asked me if she could take it home this Friday night and the return it on Sunday. I hesitated and quickly thought through whether I was going to let her borrow it or not. What would you do? You know the lady’s name, you can find out her contact information among Facebook and LinkedIn, she’s attending the event, so there’s no harm, right? I decided to give her the book and told her I would expect to see her on Sunday. She asked if she could have it and I said, “For $29.99, and I’ll even signed the book for you.” Wink, wink, assumptive sales comment here. I gave her the book and that was the last time I saw her. Shucks!
3. A nationally known speaker got my phone number from someone and called me and needed some Mac questions answered. She asked if she could ask some questions about Macs and how much would it cost her and I told her that I’d give her up to 30 minutes free so could see who I work. Laughingly she said, “Lots of people take from ‘the wealthy speakers’ and are considered ‘sponges’ and not providing ‘anything in return.’ ” She said she’d pay me after our 30 minutes of talking. I gave her my email and contact information and never heard back from her. But, I did get from her a LinkedIn email saying that “she’d love it if I would connect with her LinkedIn group.”
It’s the relationships, people.
It’s one thing to send a PDF to people because the cost to an author is nothing, however, each time we hand a book to a potential customer it’s our money the customer has in their hands until they hand it back, or pay for it. I gave a book to a potential customer a while back to look through and then turned to talk with another customer and after finishing our quick conversation turned back around and the first customer had walked away with my book in her hands. I caught up with her and asked for it back and she said, “Oh, I thought you gave it to me!” Yea, right.
At least my friend and fellow entrepreneur Michael Sitarzewski, of Callisto.fm for Podcasters, returned the book I gave him after reading it. Only another entrepreneur understands what it takes to make things happen and the costs to get it done. Those that disrespect another business person may not last as long.
As with any entrepreneur, you have lessons to learn. In my case, if anyone in the future asks to borrow my book I’ll ask them to send me an e-mail and I’ll send them a PDF copy. That way I don’t lose any money and they get to read my book “over the weekend.”
- Guy Kawasaki on the Art of Enchantment (entrepreneur.com)
- A Serial Entrepreneur’s Take On Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment (businessinsider.com)
- Guy Kawasaki on startup metrics, mistakes, and enchantment (thestartupfoundry.com)