Lately I have been thinking a lot about business and how we function as business people. Every entrepreneur out there in 2015 knows that the economy and workplace have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. The digital economy, email, the workplace and the business of social media have all changed the nature of work. The fact that I have a social media consulting business, as owner of Thrifty Mom Media, and a blog here in this space, is proof of how the market has changed. The culture of technology has given me a space to build and operate a successful business.
This spring I attended the Art of Marketing conference. The closing speaker Gene Simmons, of KISS, a marketing and branding force of nature, is one speaker who stuck with me and still has me thinking, re-evaluating, every single day how I work. Simmons is a Rock Star icon who crafted a lasting brand from dressing up in high heels and boasting magnificent hair and makeup while entertaining audiences with music. Quirky and funny and larger than life – many are familiar with that Gene Simmons, but how about marketing and branding tour de force Simmons? I hadn’t really reflected on that until the day I listened to him work the audience at The Art of Marketing.
He offered a new way of framing business in 2015 for me as an entrepreneur. I thought you might also appreciate Six Business Lessons From Gene Simmons.
Six Business Lessons From Gene Simmons:
Tough Talk from Gene Simmons:
1. THE CULTURE OF TECHNOLOGY IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. GET OVER IT. The culture of technology enables you. It doesn’t disable you. Email is here to stay so stop thinking about it as an extra or drudgery or more work or a business disability. IT’s life. It’s a fact of business in 2015. When Simmons was working the crowd he pulled a female marketing manager up – asked her the income she made and how much spare time she had. She noted she worked maybe 45-50 hours a week, made about $100 K a year and then said – “But let’s be honest I am always on and available by email.” Up until this point I occasionally also felt chained to email. But it’s what Simmons said that made me realize that’s a ridiculous way to feel anymore. He said quite simply – yes so am I. So is everyone in the room. We are all on. We all check our email often. That’s life. Get over it. It’s not an add on, a crutch, or an excuse. If you want to be successful at what you do in 2015 email is part of your life.
2. YOU HAVE MORE FREE TIME THAN YOU THINK – You have all the time in the world to create something meaningful to you. Are you doing what you love? Is there room in your life for a passion project, or another passion project? Simmons asked someone how much they work a week. The top end answer was 40 to 50 hours a week. Then he asked how much holiday time they get a year. 2-3 weeks average was the answer. Nights are not spent at the office, he gleaned from asking the audience member and also weekends are not spent at the office. So, are you stuck in a job that pays the bills, or even just thinking you don’t have time to do that extra passion project? Try again. Do the math. Add 2-3 weeks vacation a year, night time and weekends. If you really want to, if you are motivated, you have all the time in the world to create something meaningful to you.
3. EXPLODING BRICKS AND MORTAR: Bricks and Mortar might be weighing you down. I understand this from a business perspective as a person who runs her business inside a home office. I also understand this when I take a look at the retail landscape this past year and even when I contemplate lessons from Target Canada. Almost everything is done on line. It can also often be done on line easier and faster and less expensive than it can be from a massive expensive office space. I already knew that, but it is important for many. In 2014 I was asked if I wanted to partner with a company here that had an office available for me to rent. The cost of the office space was outrageous and an unjustifiable expense for me. I run a social media consulting business. I can tweet and email you anywhere. I can build a campaign and write content better from the deck of my home, with less cost to me, than would be incurred renting a building. I also hire many virtual contractors. There’s no way it makes sense to rent an office space if my virtual employees are in Alberta and The US.
4. IF YOU AREN’T MAKING MONEY, IT’S COSTING YOU MONEY: If you are not making money it costs you money. SO true. I have begun thinking this way a lot more in the last 2 years as my business grows. SO, if for instance, I want to take a family vacation and it is important that I disconnect a bit…I have to factor that in to the cost of the vacation. Or I have to build the people into my business who can carry it beautifully and competently while I am away. If I want to take a media FAM trip for four days and I am unable to sit and create content and build partnerships then I need to evaluate whether I can afford that time. I believe Gene Simmons when he says he never takes a vacation. He’s always on. If you love what you do, he summed up, then why would you ever need or want a vacation?
5. LANGUAGE SKILLS MUST BE IMPECCABLE: Your language skills must be exceptional if you want to succeed. Gene Simmons was born in Israel and his mother was Hungarian. He described his English language skills as a young boy immigrating to America. He realized quickly, he said, that poor language skills meant people treated him as if he was less intelligent. THIS IS an important lesson. I am an English Grad. I have no other language barrier or obstacle and I know I am privileged by virtue of being born in Canada. BUT, I see this every day in business. If you grammar sucks, I swear to you that I cannot hire you to create content for a client. I cannot hire you to represent a brand. If your spelling is poor and your oral language skills are poor, you have a hurdle to overcome. Fix it.
6. SPREAD THE RISK: This is buying a car with five tires (one spare). This is investing a week of your salary every month. This is diversifying. So, invest. And also look at potential revenue streams that are passive at the same time as you are building active revenue streams. For myself, sponsored content cannot be everything. Consulting cannot be everything. Investments cannot be everything and ads cannot be the only thing on my web site either. Add it all together and then continue to look for more smart revenue streams and investments. For instance smart guy that Gene Simmons. He has Kiss merchandise and events and has such things now, as Kiss coffins. He also smartly has trademarked some smart things. He trademarked the word motion, he told the group. So, that means any time someone wants to use the phrase “Motion pictures” he gets paid. What?? That’s super savvy.
There are many more business lessons to be learned from Gene Simmons. In fact, I am, after writing this, now motivated to purchase his book Me Inc.
I took away a lot more from Gene Simmons closing speech and workshop at The Art of Marketing this year, but these are my Six Business Lessons From Gene Simmons I wanted to share with you.
This is the link for Canadians – >
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