I’m obsessed with the new Discovery Network show Undercover Billionaire. I’ve asked a ton of people if they’ve watched it and they said “No” … so maybe I’m the only one? Undercover Billionaire is a reality television series on the Discovery Channel. The show follows billionaire Glenn Stearns, founder of Stearns Lending, as he attempts to start a million-dollar business in Erie, Pennsylvania over the course of 90 days, starting with only $100 and a pick-up truck. Please watch it so it doesn’t get cancelled – I need another season!
When you are building a business from scratch, I’ve found it helpful to be around others who are doing the same. You have some of the same problems, have hit some of the same crossroads, have some of the same ‘things’ that every business has to do (think business loans, first hires, best agency for digital advertising). I’m lucky - I have friends and mentors that are building businesses at the same time…but it’s funny, when I started watching Undercover Billionaire, I bonded with the main character - feeling like we were on the same team – each building our companies at the same time. Since I am lucky enough to have an incredible group of followers who are engaged in our business, I thought I’d share some of the things that Undercover Billionaire reminded me about business…and life. Here’s the short list:
1. Sometimes you are in an old pick-up truck, and you have no money.
In order to build something, you have to set a vision and drive towards your goal – and do that all the time.
It all starts with a plan. In Undercover Billionaire, the main character Glenn is used to having tons of money and resources and the premise of the show is that he starts with $100 and an old pick-up truck. What does he do first? Builds a plan. For your company, a business plan is your roadmap. You will change it, but you have to have a vision for what you are shooting for to move things forward. It’s essential.
Of course we have a business plan for Jane Winchester, but continuing to develop and refine the plan is essential to success. I get lazy sometimes and think I have the plan in my head. That’s BS. Write it down, set goals, drive forward, learn, update plan…rinse wash repeat.
2. You get knocked down. Get back up, move forward.
LOL sounds extreme but there are moments in a small business where you literally feel like you get beaten up all day. Money, product, customers, your sanity. You get kicked down - sometimes a few times in a day – and the key to success is getting back up and stepping forward. The same day if possible.
It sounds so simple… “if you get told “no” just get over it and move on”. But it has been one of the hardest things I have learned, the resiliency you need to get a business off the ground is immeasurable. I am pretty good with bad news and detours, but sometimes you have days that are filled with them. On the days where things are flying at you left and right and it feels all dead ends - keep pushing. Everyone gets the bad news and diversions, it’s not personal – do not let them derail you. PS this is me literally coaching myself lol.
Here are some of the no’s we have gotten - no’s that hit hard:
-- The product we were making you for one price, well we have to increase that by 25%. That kills. I can’t charge more for my product because you changed your mind.
--YES you finally got into the store you worship – well, they want to return everything.
--Finally, the prestigious magazine you idolize asks for samples for a shoot. You pay to produce samples, send gifts and even overnight everything for a ton of $ (that you don’t have)… and they don’t use anything. Barely looks like they opened the package you sent.
HMMM just a few examples of the everyday. I know it sounds bad, but it’s all part of the business. Use the “highs” to slingshot you between challenges.
In Undercover Billionaire – WOW the main character gets bad news a lot. It feels like nothing is going right, and he just keeps going. Everyday. Because he has no choice. And in the end, he moves forward despite the knock-downs. His resiliency is inspiring.
I have found that practicing resiliency can help you manage it. How? When the tough stuff happens I say – I was expecting tough things…here’s my chance to make a change. Take the hit, use your brain to find solutions and move forward. Sometimes an opportunity comes from a failure. Having a system of dealing with it can numb some of the emotional disappointment that can derail you.
3. Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.
AHHHH this is so major and so easy to lose sight of. Spending time on the wrong stuff, effort mis-spent…that’s not good for a small business owner. In the show, Glenn has invested in a flip house and he just can’t get it done in time for the total re-do profit. In order to not loose momentum for his business, he sells the house sooner and for less just to keep the big-picture business moving. This was the right move. I now think about smaller issues I am facing and try and assess if they are holding us back on bigger forward momentum – if so, act fast to get them out of the way.
4. Being humble, open and honest gets you support. You need support to succeed.
I think for a long time I thought I could do it all by myself. WOW was that wrong. As I have learned to trust others for what they are best at, I have been able to use their knowledge to build my business. I see this working in major ways.
We really saw this in the show, networking and using the power of a network is an incredible way to build your brand. Honestly telling the brand story attracts people that are excited by your product. This has been one of the most rewarding things about Jane Winchester – we love telling the story, blogging, interacting with customers and talking about what we are excited about. I’ve seen that ignite people and they become advocates for our brand. PS this isn’t new news: every article on how millennials shop (and most people shop?) talks about authenticity. You can see the main character in Undercover Billionaire be really real about his vision (lol except the billionaire part) and he gets people to work for him for free!
That’s my short list - my giant take-aways from watching Glenn build his business, I realized. Building a successful company is so much like building a successful life. Make a plan! Know what makes you happy and build a path to get there. When you get bad news, digest (and take a moment to process) and then move forward. Get the big stuff right. And be good to people. Who knew a reality show could be so inspiring 😊. Thanks Glenn!