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The Necessity Project

What is truly necessary to have a thriving business today? Does every business need an online presence? Is social media replacing websites? These, among others, are questions that we'll seek to answer here through interviews, articles and research. Join me in finding the answers.
Advice

Advice

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Advice from those that have gone before us is important, almost necessary.

The problem arises when the advice coming in doesn’t match with the goals we have for our lives. It might be hard to ignore out of respect or courtesy. But a scrutiny of the source is vitally important as well.

Advice from the wrong place could destroy. Even easier to overlook, is bad advice from a seemingly good source.

September 26, 2014Read More
It’s gonna be difficult.

It’s gonna be difficult.

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That goes for anything you do in life that matters.

I mostly say this so I can tell it to myself (again). Doing the hard work is just that, hard. It’s not always fun. It’s always difficult and it only sometimes pays off.

It’s the hope we have within us that drives us to do that work that matters though. It’s not about the accolades or the destination. It’s not about the thrills of barely making ends meet (Trust me on this one).

It’s about the small possibility of making major change. Change that matters. Change that’s hard to grasp.

It’s gonna be difficult. Now get started.

August 21, 2014Read More
It’s really about perspective

It’s really about perspective

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The past few months have been very interesting for me and my family. We are making some much needed changes and the one thing that keeps coming up is perspective.

The first thing I’ve learned about it is that almost everyone has a different one. It depends on how you look at a situation as to whether you will understand it like the person that is going through it. It depends on your situation, what you’ve been through in the past and countless other variables.

We are embarking on a major downsizing and lifestyle change. Our main goal with it is to be debt free. Since the mortgage is the last thing, our new, smaller house, will be paid for in cash. Our secondary goal is to live more simple. We feel we have a large storage building we pay a lot for every month and there’s a lot of space that’s nice to have but not really necessary to life.

The funny thing is, when we tell people we are going from 1825 square feet down to 1000, we get some crazy looks. People can’t understand why in the world we would downsize when we have a perfectly good house. They also don’t get why we care to be debt free so much or why I don’t just get a regular job.

Perspective. We see things differently because we want to. We see our future unfolding in a certain way that may or may not be close what happens. Regardless of whether or not you agree with someone’s perspective on a situation, at least have the respect to understand that they aren’t asking you to do the same thing.

August 20, 2014Read More
I want to draw a cat for you. (Not me of course)

I want to draw a cat for you. (Not me of course)

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Speaking of creating something different, this guy embodies just about everything I’ve ever said about making something so ridiculous that people can’t not buy it.

IWantToDrawACatForYou.com is just plain stupid. Stupid awesome if you look at what he’s done.

  • Created something incredibly unique
  • Acted on his idea
  • Targeted a niche market
  • Stuck with it

See what I did there with that acronym? :D

But in all seriousness, this is a business that will take off as we can tell from the counter on his site. He’s already sold over 17,000 of these drawings that literally take him about 3 minutes from start to finish. They aren’t good. They aren’t fancy. But they are something we can’t help but share and talk about.

Creating something that people talk about isn’t easy. And it’s even more difficult to act on the idea when most likely everyone he pitched it to thought he was nuts. Who would buy that?!

Well, apparently Mark Cuban sees the vision. He just invested $25,000 for 33% of the company.

What’s your ridiculous idea?

August 15, 2014Read More
Quitters, Linchpins and Swamp Family Members

Quitters, Linchpins and Swamp Family Members

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The making of a word will come with some funny looks. It will come with some that think something better could have been created or that it never should have been mentioned at all. That’s exactly what we want when we’re dealing with art that matters though.

Art that matters isn’t for everyone. It’s not for the masses or even for the many. It’s for the few that want to be part of a small army and take a new word into their vocabulary. Here’s a few you may or may not know that have tribes:

You probably know of more that I don’t. The small tribe you’re a part of most likely also has some lingo specific to “your people.” That’s what niches are all about these days and that’s who you market to, not the masses.

Not too long ago, I introduced you to my newest project. It’s called HomeschoolGoods and it will be a community of authors and buyers that want to cause a ruckus in the education industry. We want to change the way homeschool, unschool or any other alternative education works in terms of resources by giving a platform to creators to share their resources. In turn, we hope to cause change in the education industry as a whole and introduce a new level of quality to the marketplace. It’s gonna be a big job.

So today I introduce you to a new word that I believe describes most every parent that wants to educate their child, regardless of what facility (home, outdoors, school rooms, etc) they are learning in. Today you become an educator and an artist. You teach and you make a ruckus. You lead by example and you show how to dream. You allow for growth and you harness individual talents.

Today, you are an Educartist.

If you feel so inclined, join the community for free.

August 13, 2014Read More
The boat hotel and six meal restaurant

The boat hotel and six meal restaurant

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Being different is hard to do. It’s hard because we are inclined to build something safe that doesn’t stand out. We don’t want to be called out of the norm, so we play it safe.

But if we’re really honest, we know that the only thing that really gets talked about are the things that are vastly different.

The first story that highlights this is the boat hotel I heard about this morning. It’s located in Italy (I believe) and isn’t even open for business yet. It’s several stories high and books for $300 to $1600 a night depending on what you get. The largest rooms have balconies large enough to hold 20 people. That’s a serious hotel room…and this is a boat! The other thing is that it doesn’t even have a motor. It’s parked in the canal (which they had to lower the water level 5 feet to get it under the bridges) and won’t be moving for a long time. It’s different and it will be an incredible tourist attraction for years to come.

The second is a local restaurant in my town. They have a few locations nearby but still keep a small town feel. They offer only 6 main meals and they’re all the same price. There’s little customization that can be done and next to no choices. But the main thing they have going for them is simplicity. Simplicity in choice all the way around is what makes it work. And they are the only place in town that has a wait almost every single night, sometimes up to a couple hours.

So what do these two have in common that I would call them out in the same post?

They’re remarkable. In service? Maybe. In quality? Possibly. But most definitely in differentiation. They are both worth making a remark about. And that alone will provide them success for years to come.

[It's worth noting that being remarkable isn't easy. It it were, we'd all be so. I'm still working on making something worth remarking about. I hope you're on that path too.]

August 12, 2014Read More
A little jewel in a gigantic book

A little jewel in a gigantic book

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I’m reading through, very slowly, “Whatcha gonna do with that duck?” by Seth Godin.

Basically, it’s a collection of blog posts from several years of writing that are categorized for you. I came across one that really struck me in light of my project. Here’s a sample from the post.

“New media creates a blizzard of tactical opportunities for marketers, and many of them cost nothing but time, which means you don’t need as much approval and support to launch them.”

He’s talking about tactics like Twitter, Facebook, etc of course. These are versus the actual strategy we need…

“”Building a permission asset so we can grow our influence with our best customers over time” is a strategy. Using email, twitter or RSS along with newsletters, contests and a human voice are all tactics. In my experience, people get obsessed about tactical detail before they embrace a strategy… and as a result, when a tactic fails, they begin to question the strategy that they never really embraced in the first place.”

This has caused me to really begin to think through the strategy and forget the tactics for now. I’ll continue to post, but that’s not the core of what I’m building.

I hope this helps you in your journey as well. Think of the long term, not the easy-to-do things.

Here’s the full post just in case you were wondering.

August 7, 2014Read More
The longest road course in the US.

The longest road course in the US.

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In a little town near me, there is a road course that is the longest in the US. It’s not well known to most, but it’s very well known to those that care about recreational racing. The other thing is that it’s exclusive to members. (Except you can tour it if you want). Those members pay a crazy amount of money in my opinion to be part of this club. And they’re happy to do it because it provides them with something they value more than dollar amount.

From this, we learn 3 very important things about what every brand should be.

  1. Not for everyone
    It’s not for everyone because it doesn’t need to be. Being an exclusive member makes it all the more valuable to the members and all the less interesting to those that don’t care enough to be “in.” Not everyone wants to race for fun.
  2. Value
    The amount of money exchanged to be a member doesn’t matter. The people that want to be members there are happy to pay the rate because, in their minds, the value they get from being a member is worth far more. (Notice the differentiation between rate and value.)
  3. Steal a model that works
    They stole the model of a golf country club. It’s the exact same model from a membership perspective except instead of caddy’s, you have a pit crew and instead of golf carts, you have 700 horse power. Same model, different industry.

Take and apply those 3 things to your business and it will help. Make something that isn’t for everyone, provide more value than the rate you charge and steal a business model that is already working. Do that and you’re on a good path.

August 6, 2014Read More
The future of education and how we can begin to change it

The future of education and how we can begin to change it

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I don’t know where this world will take me in the coming months or years. I don’t know what stands around the next corner that will be in my way for making something that matters. I don’t know all the tactics, money, influence, time or resources that will be required. I don’t know pretty much anything that lies on the road ahead.

But I do know I’m going.

I’m going forward with an idea that I’ve been toying around with for awhile. One that will connect the homeschool and alternative education communities. One that will change the way this community works as a whole. One that will challenge the way we think about education in today’s society. Even if it only changes it for a tiny portion of people in this world, I’m going forward with it, because it matters.

But know that it doesn’t just matter to me. I’m not in this for me. I’m in this for the future of all our children. For the future of our education system, our political arenas, our jobs, our society as a whole. Maybe you say that this little project can’t make that much impact. Or that since it’s related to homeschool it won’t affect those other areas. Maybe you’re right. But maybe, you’re wrong.

I see a future where we don’t have the majority of our culture taking direction and waiting for instruction. I see a future where our education system helps foster dreams and goals instead of crushing them. One that celebrates when someone stands up and says, “I have a new way we can do this.”

In that future I see a slew of people that understand jobs must be created through means of personal creativity instead of handed down from “the man.” Where we take ownership in our jobs and make something that matters, even if it doesn’t pay a lot. I see a culture of people that do work they take pride in and do it for the simple fact that it will make a difference to someone at some point.

And yes, I see all this stemming from a small, but major change in how our children are educated. I’m not saying that homeschooling is the answer. I’m not saying it’s the only way or the best way. I believe each family needs to choose for themselves which route of education works best for them, and do it with all the passion they have available in them.

But I do also believe that choosing alternative education is a great way to pave a new path for our school system that so many know is broken. I salute the teachers in the arena that make a difference everyday. I salute the administration that works hard to be a safe haven for kids who have a terrible home life. I commend each and every person involved in the education of our society from elementary to private to college and beyond. I commend you because you are wanting to make a change and you are working in a system that works against you from it’s very core. You should be saluted for doing the hard work that matters.

With that said, I am committing to this new project. I hope you’ll stand with me if it matters to you. I hope you’ll help spread the word and be a part of this community that you belong to. I hope you’ll continue to push for change and help other families while doing the hard work that matters to yours.

But most of all, I hope you find this as a place of belonging. A place you can make a difference. A place you can matter. A place you’d be missed, if you were gone.

Join us: Homeschoolgoods.com

August 1, 2014Read More
Building your next project with enthusiam

Building your next project with enthusiam

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Building stuff matters. But only when you build stuff that actually matters to someone. Even if it’s just yourself. But if you want it to take on a life of it’s own, it has to matter to a group of people. That’s when it gets the traction to become more than just a little side project.

I have built a ton of things over the course of my career. Many have never been seen by the public, some seen by a few and almost all of them, failures. When I say failure I mean they didn’t take on a life of their own like I hoped they would have. Most didn’t get much traction at all and they got no more because I quit pushing. That’s me giving up on a project.

There have been a couple that, had I pushed, could have been something to some people. They could have made some money, served an audience, filled a gap. But I quit pushing because I got busy with my next venture. That’s probably not the best way to do things, but it’s how I have learned to build the next thing with as much enthusiasm as the previous. It’s a gift, I believe.

But then I came across a quote the other day that struck me on the head.

success_is

(Thanks @KentJulian for the tweet.)

That pretty much sums up my project life. And I think it should yours as well.

Which reminds me. I’m on my next adventure. Let me know what you think.

HomeschoolGoods.com – A marketplace selling digital homeschool resources from people just like you.

July 30, 2014Read More