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The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I never liked doing homework. Heck, I never even liked going to class.

All through high school and college, I always did the very least bit of studying possible. This “slacker” style of mine worked just fine – until I enrolled in law school (I’ll save the story of why I decided to endure three more years of school for a future post).

Suddenly, my “do the absolute least work possible” strategy was no longer good enough to get top grades. So did I change my life-long attitude towards schoolwork? Nope. I just got used to being an average student instead of a top performer.

I worked two jobs all through law school, and started, as a hobby, what would become my first multi-million dollar business – a Fantasy Sports Game Company – during my final year. But I still avoided classes and homework like the plague.

Somehow, I managed to graduate from law school, and even though I didn’t want to be a lawyer I decided to take the Bar Exam that fall. “Might as well have something to fall back on,” I thought – and I knew that I would never have a better chance to pass this beast of a test than immediately after finishing law school.

But then I continued to work full time and ran my Fantasy Baseball leagues as a hobby all summer long, while just about every other recent law school graduate did nothing but take “Bar Review” courses and study for the big exam night and day – and those were people who had even attended classes and worked hard for three years! Meanwhile, I stubbornly held tight to my cocky attitude, boasting “I’ve never flunked a test in my life.”

Skip ahead to November. You can probably guess what I learned when I opened the letter to read my Bar Exam results: I had flunked. Sure, it was by a single point on only one part of the exam, but it was a big fat “F” nonetheless.

Finally, my cocky “I hate studying” strategy had been kicked in the butt once and for all.

I was shocked and embarrassed for a little while, but it wasn’t even a day later that I made a decision that has served me extremely well ever since: That would be the last thing I would do without giving 100%.

Which is why I view flunking the Bar Exam to be The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me – a monumental turning point in my life.

Since then, with every business I’ve run, every project I’ve taken responsibility for and every client situation I’ve taken on, I’ve gone all out. And that includes my dedication to meticulous preparation and yes, “studying”.

Which brings me to the second Quantum Leap I hope all business owners choose to make.

(I identified the first Quantum Leap in last week’s post: To recognize that providing a superior product or service does not ensure the success of a business or the wealth of its owner, and to decide to become a consummate Marketer of your product or service.)

The second Quantum Leap for a business owner to go from an average income to financial freedom is this: If you’ve made that decision to become as proficient a Marketer as you can, then you need to decide to dedicate most of your time and energy to getting good at it. And that includes becoming an outstanding student of marketing.

Even if you spent your entire youth bucking the system and hating the very concept of studying, like me.

I now have a constant, bordering-on-the-obsessive thirst for small business marketing knowledge. I read books like John Spoelstra’s “Marketing Outrageously: How to Increase Your Income by Staggering Amounts!”, subscribe to publications like Dan Kennedy’s “No B.S. Marketing Letter”, and watch TV shows like ABC’s “Shark Tank”, Discovery’s “Pitchmen” and CNBC’s “Biography” – all about and for entrepreneurs who want to take their businesses to the next level. And I hang around other small business owners who “get it” every chance I get.

What about you?

What small business marketing books and publications do you read?

What television shows do you watch?

What small business marketing groups do you belong to, and what seminars to you attend?

Please let me know with a Comment below…

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