Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Learning What You Need to Succeed Part 1

Below are five things I have learned recently that I need for success. Your list may be a little different than mine, but what’s important is that you know what you need.

1. Believe in whatever you pursue
2. Obtain the right kind of support
3. Know your limits
4. Manage your time
5. Surround yourself with “experts”

Over the next week, I am going to explain each of these needs in reference to a project I just completed last month.

I took on the task of promoting a large-scale rummage/flea market event that was marketed to the Greater Milwaukee area as kind of a “kick-off” to the rummage sale season. Although I have worked in and around events, I have never done something quite like this before.

The concept is quite simple, but the details were many. Rent out a building/space, sub-rent 10’x10’ spaces to vendors, advertise, and charge a small fee for admission. Where’s the difficulty in that, right?

Well it turned out to be quite the emotional roller coaster as things began to unfold. You don’t really know if you have a show or not until you have enough vendors to fill the space. And it’s hard to get vendors for a first-time show because they don’t want to risk it being a flop. It is also difficult to know how much money to spend on advertising because you don’t know what your total revenue will be in the end.

After this constant balancing act, the final product turned out extremely well. We had over 3,000 customers, over 6,000 food donations, happy vendors, and I was even on the news on Saturday morning. In fact, I actually turned a profit! But what was more valuable than the money I made, were the lessons I had learned.

1. Believe in whatever you pursue.

Being a promoter for this type of event is a perfectly legitimate business. The popularity of these events is even growing with the economic times we are experiencing. But, I came to find that my heart just wasn’t in it and it didn’t feel true to who I am. I don’t know how else to explain it but by saying I was nowhere near waking up every morning (or any morning, for that matter) excited to work on this project. I realize there are days when this will be the case for any business. But if your business or job is depressing you, it’s time to get out – fast!

I already had vendors in place, investments in advertising, and a reputation to keep, so I knew I had to finish it out. And even though this event has a lot of potential for growth and profit, I’m deciding to call it quits. Many people think I’m crazy for doing so, but there are other worthwhile (and personally meaningful) projects ahead.

Do you believe in what you are pursuing and is it true to who you are?

Tomorrow: Obtain the right kind of support.


Real Card Studio said...

Great post. Sometimes I find it hard to separate what I "can do" from what I "should do". And it's nice to hear that how excited you are about something is a factor in that decision to keep moving in a particular direction.

(I also like that you refer to your wife in an earlier post as "The Fabulous One").

Matt said...

I was wondering how this opportuntiy landed in your lap. Did you conceive the idea, or was it provided for you? I think the difference in outcomes can come from where you started.

Regardless, I have experienced many times how knowing what you do not want to persue is more beneficial than what you think you might want to persue.

Timothy Gill said...

Hi Heather,

Thanks for your comment! Excitement for a project always has the potential for fading, but if you choose a path that is rewarding on multiple levels (passion, money, charity, etc.), it's sure to stick around a lot longer. Thanks for reading!

Timothy Gill said...

Hi Matt!

Great to hear from you! There was a similar event to this one many years ago that was a huge Milwaukee tradition. It went away with the times (enter eBay, Craigslist, etc.) and I thought with the current economic state we are in, people are looking for bargains again.

It was a hard decision to call it quits, but at least I can put it on the shelf knowing it was a success! Thanks for your comments!