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Archive for March 2010

Cutting Ties w/ Bad Apples…

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It happens without fail.

You’ve got a great business idea. You have a business plan (or at least one in your head). You actually found funding! You begin to assemble a team of trusted individuals and brilliant business minds to launch this idea into the stratosphere.


You begin to hear rumblings around the office. The tight circle of trusted minds and joyful outlook have turned to anger, resentment, and jealousy. The future suddenly isn’t sunny and the gray clouds have gathered above your heads.

You have a bad apple (or two) within your walls. What’s worse, it’s now affecting your mood and your productivity.
Angry Scream!

How do you cut ties with the bad apples in your group? It may be easier said than done, especially if the person in question is a business partner or friend.

Best Case Scenario: You pull the person(s) aside, tell them how their gossip and back-biting is affecting the workplace and the productivity; they quickly see the err of their ways, apologize, and the world is right again.

Worst Case Scenario: It gets worse. Now, they’ve put YOU directly in their cross hairs for even calling them out (in a professional way).

How are you suppose to handle this situation?

When it comes to business, it’s best to handle each and every decision in terms of what is truly best for your business. If you hire an outside marketing team, and sales fall flat, you cut that team and hire a new one. If the PR team isn’t generating headlines and buzz for your product, you cut ties, and go a different direction. It’s the same situation.

It’s not personal. It’s business.

You need problem solvers, not problem creators. You need sales to go up, not gossipy in-fighting that’s tearing the team down.

It may be a tough to deal with when contracts and feelings are involved. But, in the end, you know what needs to be done.

You’ve made it this far. Don’t let the bad apples ruin the rest of your harvest! Stay strong!
bad apple


The Greater Ambition, Pt. 2…

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I didn’t plan on adding a sequel to my rant from yesterday, but I had the opportunity to talk with a few people yesterday whose opinions and reflections I both trust and respect.

These three gentlemen helped guide me through the murky waters I was facing. Like any entrepreneur, I face epic highs and incredible lows. The last few weeks have been an incredible low. This valley has reminded me that I have amazing friends and mentors. If nothing else I’ve surrounded myself with folks who calm me down and help clarify my situations with wisdom.

I was gently reminded why I began to work for myself in the first place and what I started out with. I began with nothing. No one is going to hand me anything at any level of the game. Business is now and forever will be a “what have you done for me lately” industry.

I was reminded again that I am only 5 years in to a lifelong pursuit. I am still a baby in this game. I’m still laying the foundation for future success and endeavors.

It’s still frustrating. And it always will be. What I haven’t read in all of these books is how it’s “so easy now” no matter what level you’re at.

I am, like many of you, impatient when it comes to success. Our definition of success may differ, but we want it NOW. We want to be doctors… we want to scale Everest… we want these admirable things without putting in all of the work. I guess it gets even more frustrating when you can see the finish (start?) line and you feel you’re getting bogged down with frivolous time-wasters.

I didn’t go to sleep happy last night, but with these and other words of wisdom floating through my sub-conscious as I slumbered, I woke up re-freshed and re-newed.

I was starting to put my dreams in the palms of other peoples hands, whether real or imagined. Our fight-or-flight reflex is like a scale and from time to time it was lean overwhelmingly in favor of one direction. My scales were tipped for flight. I’ve noticed with every step forward, I seemingly had one foot out of the door, always ready to run if the situation didn’t work out in my favor.

This severely dampened my ability to perform my duties, my work, at a high level.

My mentors reminded me that my dreams and hopes are not foolish pursuits. They make me happy. They are significant. But I must be willing to give 100% of myself for them to succeed on a larger scale.

The Greater Ambition…

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I know 2 things about who I am:

1.) I am not special or exceptionally talented in any way.
2.) I absolutely hate a mundane existence.

For the past 3 years or so, I have been swept up in a burning desire to see my life count for something more than a 9-to-5 desk job at XYZ Corporation. I’m not alone in my feelings nor am I a trailblazer in this particular manner of thinking.

I do not want riches. Let me clarify: I want to live well, and have a high quality of life, but I’m not looking to buy a Rolls Royce or a Summer home in the Hamptons. I could care less about these things.

It means much more to me to be able to take my children to school in the morning and pick them up every afternoon. It means much more to me to not dread Mondays or hate the fact that my life is passing away with every tick of the clock.

This thought led me to desire change. Real change. A “You-wont-recognize-me-tomorrow” kind of change.

I picked up every book I could find on the subject. Really. I’ve read most of them. These books are filled with stories on how a middle-America housewife needed to supplement her family’s income because her husband’s hours got cut at work. So she started a blog about her ordeal and three best-selling books later she’s telling other middle-American housewives how they too can break free from the cycle and once again own their destinies.

I’ve also encountered books where the authors “know” how scary it is to walk away from high paying jobs to start that ice cream shop in the middle of the Bronx only to see it crash and burn horribly. Yet, through an off-chance meeting with a corporate CEO over chocolate pistachio dreamy double fudge ice cream, they now sit on a cushy corporate consulting job, working 4 hours a month, raking in a six-figure income.

It’s hard to convey in the harsh world of black, Times New Roman 12 point text on a webpage, but I’m really happy that people make it to these astounding heights. If you were to check my Google history, you’ll see link after link about “rags to riches” and “entrepreneurs who have made it” in the search bar.

The only problem I’ve encountered is the biggest problem I’ve encountered: how do I get this to work for me?

I’m not highly educated. I never attended Harvard, Yale, John Hopkins, MIT, Stanford, Brown, Colgate, William & Mary, Cambridge, Florida, Baylor, or the University of Texas. I attended Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. At least for a few years. And I didn’t make exceptional grades either. I left there for a career in broadcast media.

The career in media led me to be a part-time small business owner of a boutique (i.e. small) PR company.

I have never made six-figures for anything. I may owe six-figures in debt. I doubt it, but I may. Who knows.

I don’t have any high ranking contacts or connections that I know of. I once spoke on the phone with Sarah Jessica Parker… does that count? Probably not.

So the question remains: how do I make this work for me?

How do I get to a point that I don’t need a 9-to-5 to live well, pay my bills, and still see my family and friends and do what I want to do, whenever I want to do it?

The best thought I can come up with: I’m not sure. I guess I need a “foot in the door”, only I’m not sure what amazing skill I may possess that I could place in front of said door without it slamming shut in my face.

All of these things sound like excuses to the masses and in a lot of ways they are. I’m a realistic optimist. I believe these great things can happen, but how can I get to my nice office where I set my own rules and rates, when I don’t have a car because it was repossessed by the bank for missing payments.

How can I tuck my kids into beds that don’t exist because my house is no longer my house.

My mortgage company doesn’t care about my hopes and dreams.

So the real question isn’t “how does this work for me”, the real question is how do I turn these “hopes and dreams” into cold, hard cash?

Written by Jeremy Long

March 22, 2010 at 8:58 AM

The ZeroCut Initiative…

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Our venture isn’t an ultimatum to TV or the hierarchy of the pre-existing gatekeepers for keeping us out. If anything we’re exceedingly grateful for their help along the way. We absolutely, without a doubt, could not have had the success we have had individually without their consent and blessing on the projects we’ve birthed so far.

Coincidentally it is their inability to truly back-up what they say that has lead us to this process… this movement if you please… to take matters in our own hands.

The old ways are changing. We fully accept this change. We need this change.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only thing that matters at the end of the day (in business) is whether your accounts are in the black. I’m not anti-capitalism. I’m very, very pro-capitalism. But if your local motto is stressed on the fact that you want to truly have local programming on your airwaves, then why are you consistently shutting out local shows?

That’s OK. Each business (including local television) must do what it needs to do in order to survive.

Where TV leaves off, ZEROCUT CREATIVE, will pick up.

Spring time will never have been sweeter!