Thursday, November 15, 2007

10 Remedies For "I'm Starting My Own Business And I'm Paralyzed With Fear!"

The past two weeks have been rough! I developed "Total Fear Paralysis At Going Out On My Own" and turned to the drugs I know will best numb the panic for me: McDonald's, television, and getting lost in the Wikipedia. Still, I kept thinking "Who am I kidding? My consulting will never get off the ground and fly!" That is, when I wasn't thinking about the bills coming in, especially the money I owe over the next year for my building's brick repointing project. Yikes!

Instead of moving on to stronger drugs (like jumping out my fourth-floor window), I scanned the Web for blog postings from people in the same dire straights. I tried to find personal stories, along with examples of errors I'm afraid of making and advice stronger than "Buck up, you'll be fine." And these are the people who spoke to me:

1. Sometimes it feels like...
Thanks to this post by Seth Godin, I know that even the most successful can hate their jobs. Although written as the dust settled from the Dot Com Bust, it's still applicable today.

2. Timing is never right
on Go Big Network reminds me that the planets align for very few people, and I'm really lucky since I don't have to worry about quitting my job (since I was partially laid off a few months ago!)

3. Reasons to Quit
from 43 Folders shows me I'm not the only person coming up with too many ideas that might not work, and alleviates my guilt in abandoning some to concentrate on others.

4. My Top 10 Worst Ideas to Make Money
at Shoemoney assures me it's ok to have those ideas, even if they're dumb - and it's better to learn from others before I spend tons of bucks.

5. Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?
at Life Learning Today gives me the pros and cons to going out on my own so I can build my confidence all over again.

6. 10 Stupid Mistakes Made by the Newly Self-Employed
tells me "Hey, if Steve Pavlina can make stupid mistakes, then my stupid mistakes can't be all that bad!"

7. Hate My Job stories
at Startup Nation give me the sense that I'm Not Alone.

8. Why is it so scary to go from corporate drone to entrepreneur?
at Escape from Cubicle Nation not only asks the same question I'm asking, it gives me some answers.

9. Entrepreneurship: What To Do When You’re Scared Sh*tless
on IttyBiz reveals there aren't just a few people out there like me, there's probably millions.

10. Stop Reading Lifehacks!
at Jack of All Blogs gets me off the computer and Taking Action.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Want To Pump You Up!
Getting Gold's to Stand By Their Brand

Gold's Gym emailed me their newsletter the other day. I think this was the first issue, because all I recall getting from them in the past are messages that their workoutwear and gym bags are 15% off. I was surprised. When I opened it, however, I was disappointed. The first article was about celebrity sightings at their gyms across the country. Bruce Springsteen seen hoisting in New Jersey. Lindsay Lohan seen treadmilling in Utah.

I know what they're trying to do here. I can hear someone saying in the head office: "Celebrity always sells. Let's go with celebrities in our gyms for the first item in the newsletter. That'll get us the eyeballs!"

How can Gold's improve their newsletter?

1. Go core.
Gold's, you're not a Hollywood nightclub, the E! channel or a red-carpet runway. You're a gym. People go to work out. Why else would they go? Certainly not to see stars. Just check out the noontime crowd at the facility I frequent, and tell me any of those guys (and girls) care about Al Pacino and Brad Pitt. If you want to feature celebrities, feature your staff and customers.

3. Go local.
You expect your managers and staff to deliver the monthly and quarterly figures to your bottom line - why not let them deliver the content to the customers? Give them more control over that. And if there's no one at a particular gym with the time or talent to create and maintain the newsletter, then contract with one of your customers to deliver the goods.

2. Get pumped.
Give us the best info you can find, and not the same old stretching, menus and bench-press diagrams that everyone else runs. I scrolled down the newsletter and found stuff I've seen everywhere else. Most gyms just pretend to be about fitness, when they're really selling 5 minute abs and thirty second step classes (all to a disco beat.) You've got a huge reputation, pun intended. Be bold. Be funny. Be obnoxious. Be friendly. Be the terminator. Just don't be Bally's.

And check out this post titled Microsoft repositions to kick ass, from Eric Karjaluoto at Ideas - "a blog that invites dialogue on issues relevant to communication designers and brand strategists." Sure, he's talking about a computer behemoth. But he's also talking about all large companies and organizations as he states "Focus on core competencies and articulate your offering plainly and honestly."

Besides, do you really want to brand yourself so close to Lindsay Lohan?