A Head Full of Good Business Ideas

“When you get right down to the root of the meaning of the word ‘succeed,’ you find that it simply means to follow through.” – F. W. Nichol

ETR’s Info Marketing Bootcamp is just over a week away, and some ETR readers are still on the fence about whether or not they should attend. James Hennis, a reader from Waynesboro, MO, wrote to tell me why he’s hesitating. “Will I truly come away with a new and unique and complete business – or at least the ideal way to expand an existing business?” James asks. “I do not want to waste my time and money to get there only to find out that all we get is a head full of ideas and no follow-up leadership to help bring them to life. Please, be honest and let me know the whole truth.”

I’m glad James asked this question, because I’m betting that quite a few ETR readers are wondering the same thing. If you haven’t reserved a spot at Bootcamp because you aren’t sure if it’s worth it, pay close attention.

James is right. If you attend ETR’s Info Marketing Bootcamp, you will come away with a head full of good business ideas. And he is right, too, about the follow-up. Nobody will be assigned to you to direct you and make sure you take advantage of those good ideas.

Business seminars don’t work that way.

You assemble 100 or 200 fledgling entrepreneurs. Then you put a dozen qualified experts in front of them, and they spill their guts, telling everything they know. If you can do that, you’ve put on a hell of a good seminar.

Self-motivated individuals follow up on their own. It happens every year. We get testimonials from people who take the ideas they’ve been given at our seminars and use them to create or build their businesses.

But we have noticed that many people never follow up. We’ve offered free follow-up via networking and forums, but, as we’ve told you many times in ETR, people often don’t value what they can get for free.

So at this upcoming Bootcamp, we’ll be taking an exciting new approach that will nearly guarantee attendees will stay motivated afterward: a continuing-education program that will explore, on an ongoing basis, all the latest, best, and most profitable marketing strategies. And we’ll show you exactly how YOU can use them to build a very substantial business of your own.

We’ll be revealing more details about this new program at Bootcamp.

During my Bootcamp presentation, I plan to talk about the importance of taking action. I will also give a preliminary presentation of my soon-to-be-released book, Ready, Fire, Aim, in which I identify four stages of business growth and explain the likely problems, challenges, and opportunities that arise at each one. I’ll also tell attendees what specific skills they need to acquire to effectively take their businesses through those stages to get to the next level.

I can do all that – and whether you are a wannabe entrepreneur, an experienced business owner, or a profit center manager, that should help you a great deal. But I cannot force you to learn those skills or even to believe that what I’m telling you is worth listening to.

Every time I write an essay or publish a book or give a speech, I share my best ideas and most relevant experiences. I hold nothing back and present my thoughts as clearly as I can. The suggestions I make are always those that have worked for me many times over and have also worked for people I have mentored. I am, therefore, usually 90 percent confident that they will work for others. But I have learned, sadly, that most of those who read or hear my suggestions don’t follow through with them.

That’s okay. Everyone must chart his own path in life. But why, I wonder, do these same people keep asking for advice?

Is it because they are lazy or stupid or foolish? I don’t think so. In fact, having spoken to many of them, I have the impression that they are just as intelligent and motivated as those who succeed.

Some of them do nothing because they don’t believe my advice has any value. These are the people who criticize me, saying, “This is nothing new. I’ve heard all of this before. Tell me something I don’t know.” As if the key to their future success were some piece of information that is brand-new.

Think about that line of thinking. It’s a dictionary definition for specious. Brand-new advice sounds like just the right thing – but when you apply logic to this idea, you can quickly see that it is ludicrous. The reason why these people say they have heard my advice before is because they have – from other successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs. Read my writing or hear me talk and you will get many of the same ideas that you get from people like Robert Ringer, Jack Welch, Jay Abraham, Robert Kiyosaki, Dale Carnegie, and Donald Trump. Why? Because at some deeper level, there are just a handful of fundamental truths about success.

One of the most important truths about success, by the way (and this you’ll hear from all of the above-mentioned people) is that it is a formula: 10 percent good ideas and 90 percent action. (Read Robert Ringer’s book Action for much more about this.)

Let’s get back to James and his question about attending our upcoming Bootcamp. James is not like those who disguise their refusal to sign up – to act – by criticizing the ideas they expect to get. He acknowledges that when he goes to business seminars he leaves with a “head full of good ideas.” He understands something important that the knee-jerk critics don’t: that – for some reason – he has trouble putting the good ideas he gets at business seminars into action.

I haven’t yet done enough thinking on this subject to claim I have an answer for him. But here are a few admissions and thoughts that might get us closer to where we need to go.

1. I understand what it’s like to want to do something, yet fail to take the appropriate action. This is a problem I haven’t yet personally fixed. (If it were fixed, I’d weigh 10 pounds less than I do.)

2. I believe that there are other areas of James’ life where he does take action. If he thinks about what he does well and consistently, he’ll see that is true.

3. If he does have the capacity to take action in some areas, he has to discover why he hasn’t been able to do so in the realm of entrepreneurship

4. Based on my own experience, I’d have to guess that James won’t ever break through as an entrepreneur on his own, because he hasn’t had the experience of succeeding on his own and he needs that to feel confident.

That’s how I was and still am: confident and productive in some areas and afraid and incapable of action in others. My salvation in business was “chicken entrepreneurship” – becoming so good as an employee that I was able to “force” my boss to cut me in on the action. James should do that now.

5. If James wants to be in the information-publishing business, he should get a job with an information-publishing company and do everything he can to become a superstar employee. (I explained exactly how to do this in my book Automatic Wealth for Grads… and Anyone Else Just Starting Out But be forewarned: If you’re one of those looking for some never-heard-before solution, you will be disappointed. The book is filled with practical, proven, and therefore heard-before ideas.) Once James has superstar status, he’ll either get the incentive-based compensation he’s hoping for or he will finally have the confidence to take action on his own.

6. As anyone knows who has read my bio on the ETR website or in one of my books, I wanted to become successful in business for many years before I actually did. What spurred me into action was a 14-session Dale Carnegie program. It was very expensive for me at the time. I was making about $35,000 a year and it cost, I think, about $1,500. But it changed my life. And guess what? Nobody at Dale Carnegie held my hand or coached me. I had to do it myself.

The one thing the Dale Carnegie program did offer – and this came from the fact that it was organized as a series of 14 weekly meetings – was the chance to “report” my actions… or lack of action… to my fellow students. That made a difference, because I didn’t want to embarrass myself by doing nothing.

Bottom line: Success is determined by a combination of ideas and action. You will get the ideas you need at Bootcamp – but we can’t force you to take action. The people at ETR are, as I said, working on a program that can help motivate you to act on all the good ideas you’ll hear at Bootcamp. But, in the end, YOU must be responsible for following through.

If you are motivated to start a business and you have invested time and money toward that goal but you find that you haven’t kept at it after your initial effort, then you should NOT come to Bootcamp. We can’t make you take action. All we can do is to point out ways that will make success come easier and faster if you DO take action.

And if you have any ideas about what we could do to help people like you be more tenacious, please tell the people at ETR. They would love to be able to “force” each and every person who takes one of our business-building programs or attends one of our seminars to follow through. Send your ideas to ReaderFeedback@gmail.com and – if they make sense – they’ll be instituted. If you can’t think of anything, though, it’s probably better to abandon your dreams for a better life and learn to enjoy the life that you are destined to live out.

I’m in your corner – whatever you do.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]