Categories
About Omar Entrepreneurship Marketing Uncategorized

Quit Like an Entrepreneur

You’ve dreamed of this moment. You’ve done the planning, you’ve run your own business on a part-time basis, and you’re convinced it has legs. The concept is proven, the numbers are there. You can go full time. You can go all in. You can make your living on your own, without the 9-to-5 job you’ve been relying on until now.

It’s time to quit.

Leaving your day job is no small thing. It’s one of the most important transitions of your entire life, right up there with puberty and giving up jean shorts. The exit has to be well thought-out and well executed. Your exit strategy has to take some of the pressure off, and set you up to succeed.

Crucially, your departure has to be communicated in a way that leaves bridges unburnt.

I know the feeling. I was a successful, comfortable department head and teacher at a university when I decided to break out into independent business. It was anything but easy to quit, but quitting with an intentional mindset made all the difference.

When you’re finally ready to pull the plug on your 9-to-5, make sure you do the following:

Plan

I didn’t quit my job until a year after I decided to.

That’s right, a full calendar year. Part of that was due to the special requirements of a teaching position, which require very advance notice of a resignation. But long before I was contractually required to announce my departure, I was making moves. I was plotting and planning, putting the pieces in place so that I could move seamlessly into my new life.

You really can’t plan your departure soon enough. The more planning you do, the better it will go — even if new factors arise that change some of the details or push the date back. Get every duck you can in a row, now. The fewer gaps you leave, the easier it will be.

Above all, get your revenue projections in order. You might not be able to predict exactly how much money will come in once you’re full-time, but you know how much is already coming in from the current part-time version of your business. Based on that, determine if your business can really replace your income. If it can’t, stay put.

Adjust Your Expenses

Way before you head for the exit, start living lean. Do whatever you have to do to get your personal expenses within the boundaries of your projected revenue.

Start by making a complete budget. Write down every single expense you have, down to the penny, on a spreadsheet. Then, start cutting. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, a penny ruthlessly sliced from your cable bill and sushi budget is a penny added to your overall profit.

Don’t be afraid to go big. Despite all the bootstrapping lectures from personal finance bloggers, giving up your morning coffee won’t be enough to balance your books. Move to a smaller home, or one in a less expensive area. Cut the major expenses, and let the size of your sacrifice reflect your commitment to your independence.

When I left my job, I made two huge cuts: I sold my car, and relocated to a city with solid public transportation. With no car payment or insurance to worry about, and a stripped-down lifestyle that included very little by way of new clothes and dinners out, I was well in the black every month.

Schedule

Preparing to be an entrepreneur means getting your time management game on point. The worst thing you can do is wake up on your first day post-conventional-job and not know what you’re supposed to do, or when. A consistent, planned schedule will keep you in a productive mindset when there’s no longer a clock to punch.

Take the time to sit down and work out what schedule will work best for you. Build your ideal schedule around the personal things that matter most, including time for working out, relaxing, socializing, and (don’t forget this one) sleeping enough. Now that you have the freedom to dictate your own schedule, do it with intent.

Not having a schedule — or not sticking to it — will eventually derail you. Do not let the freedom of entrepreneurship be your downfall. Decide when your working hours are, and during those hours, work without distraction of any kind.

Break the News

Let me be clear: there is no advantage to pissing off your employer on the way out. Your last act as a conventional employee should be to exit gracefully, and leave as a respected, valued person who’d be welcomed back in a heartbeat.

Obviously, that means taking some responsibility for easing your employer’s transition. Give as much advance notice as you can — nothing less than 2 or 3 months —- and offer to train your replacement.

Don’t sneak out the back door. Request a face-to-face meeting and break the news in person. It might be awkward. It might even be extremely unpleasant. But if you can’t navigate awkward, unpleasant interpersonal business matters, you’re not cut out for running your own company. Best to get your practice in now.

Explain that you want a challenge, that you have a passion to see how far you can go on your own. Express genuine gratitude for whatever you got from the job, even if it was just a means to keep a roof over your head. Be as impressive in your exit interview as you were in your hiring interview.

Be nice, even if your boss was a jerk and you can’t wait to get the hell out of there.

Most importantly, take the opportunity to get some feedback. Ask your employer what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Encourage them to be honest and open, and get a valuable picture of yourself from someone else’s perspective. Take that information seriously, and use it to make yourself a better entrepreneur.

As you come to the end of your time, don’t coast. Finish strong, and do the kind of great work that will make you missed. Leave knowing you did a great job right up to the last minute, and let that momentum carry over into your new work.

When I quit my job, it was not an easy conversation to have. It was hard to put a positive spin on what is, professionally speaking, a non-mutual breakup. That’s why I did the only thing any of us can do when we’re announcing a major change: I reached for honesty. I simply told the truth as someone who was undeniably called to something new, and couldn’t possibly be fulfilled if I stayed in one place, unable to grow or change.

Each of us has the right to make the most of ourselves, even by taking a huge risk. Any decent employer can respect that, and won’t hold it against you. If your employer can’t see it that way…you know where the door is.

Categories
About Omar Uncategorized

The Time To Change Your Business

Change is good. Change is necessary. In business as in nature, that which can’t evolve gets left behind. That’s why growing and nurturing your own businesses isn’t about hitting on a “final” formula or “perfect” product. It’s about staying flexible, staying in motion, and adapting your growing abilities to the ever-changing needs of the market. If you’re not changing, you’re stagnating.

Here at The $100 MBA, we’ve decided to make a change. We’ve been airing daily podcasts since 2014, 855 of them in all. That podcast in its original format was an important part of our journey, and (we hope) a valuable tool for our listeners. Now, we think both ourselves and our audience are ready for something new. We think this is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate exactly how growth and change go hand in hand. We think it will serve as a valuable example to our audience.

As Marshall Goldsmith said, “What got you here won’t get you there.” We’re ready to go deeper with our content model. We’re shifting from a bite-sized daily 10-minute podcast to a longer, more in-depth weekly podcast. This fairly drastic change is emblematic of a greater lesson in entrepreneurship: that doing the same thing the same way can only get you so far.

How We Chose Change

Our business journey has been a testament to the power of flexibility and change. My business (and life) partner Nicole and I were both successful educators at the University level. Our situation was fairly secure. But for both of us, the idea of staying on the same track indefinitely lost its appeal. I was building small businesses on the side, waiting for the right time to strike out on my own. Nicole was seeking opportunities to be creative and contribute original work to the market, eventually enrolling in film school. We both had good careers. We both knew we’d rather work on our own terms.

That was the first time we chose change. Independently, we decided to leave our careers behind. Together, we decided to move to New York and start a marketing company, doing web design and video production. The work was tough. Building a client base was tough. It was all hard work, but we were making it, more or less. That’s when the idea behind The $100 MBA first struck us. We decided to use the skills we’d developed to create an online alternative to traditional, hyper-expensive business school.

That was the second time we chose change. Then, we got down to work. Growth was almost painfully slow. We had to produce tons of content, filming and editing video after video and designing every aspect of our unique courses. No one said democratizing business education would be easy. But while the going was slow, it was going. Our message was being heard. Users were trickling in. Word was spreading. As The $100 MBA developed, our third great opportunity for change was just around the bend— though we didn’t realize it at the time.

Our Breakthrough

To market our approach to small business and educate our audience, we used webinars. We always saw webinars as the best tool for building credibility and demonstrating our value directly. The problem was that webinar software sucked. With every webinar we produced, we became more disappointed with the tools available to us. And we became more convinced that, as in so many other aspects of life, we’d be better off taking our own path.

So we developed our own webinar software, simply for ourselves to use. While we didn’t originally intend the software as a product, soon enough our own audience was hitting us with the question: “What platform are you using?” We’d explain that we developed our own platform, simply because nothing else out there met our needs. Then, something funny happened.

People wanted to buy it.

That was the third time we chose change. Having basically thrown our webinar software together with a single outside developer, we decided to make it market-ready. We created a beta version of our “WebinarNinja” platform, inviting a limited number of users to try it. It sold out in two days. We took feedback, tweaked and improved the platform, and ran a second beta phase. It sold out in a single day. We knew we were on to something. We had created value, tapping into something the market wanted for exactly the same reasons we wanted it. How could we let that value go to waste?

We took the plunge, investing time and money into our discovery. It was risky; we were still busy with the growing success of The $100 MBA, and we only had so much time and money to invest. But entrepreneurial success is about identifying and providing value. The message from our customers was loud and clear. Was it what we predicted we’d be doing when we left our jobs in education? Heck no. But we were open to change, and the market rewarded us.

Making The Choice

When we realized the potential value of WebinarNinja, it wasn’t easy to simply pour ourselves into it. We had (and have) other things going. We were still recording daily podcasts, and eventually The $100 MBA Show was honored with a Best of iTunes award and things really took off. At the same time, we were scrambling to find people with the talent and skills to make WebinarNinja everything we thought it should be.

Ultimately, WebinarNinja surpassed The $100 MBA in terms of both traffic and revenue. While it started as a simple in-house tool, we decided to go all out. We decided that WebinarNinja would be the webinar software on the market, the go-to for independent marketers and educators nationwide. But once again, realizing the potential we saw would require investment, risk, and change.

To that point, we had been piecing the platform together on the fly. It was a side hustle that took on a life of its own, but if we were really going to go for it, we’d have to refocus. We had to reset our entire list of priorities, and move WebinarNinja to the top. For that reason, we knew we had to cut down on the podcasting. It was an extremely difficult choice— to date we have over 50,000 daily listeners— but business requires difficult choices. Fortunately, we knew we could fulfill the needs of both our webinar users and our podcast listeners, with a little creative thinking.

Choosing Our Audience

You can be sure it’s time for a change when you can’t grow any further. With WebinarNinja, we knew that unless we made it a priority, we couldn’t take it to the next level. We needed to give it more of our time, and we needed to recruit stronger talent. While the original designers and developers of WebinarNinja had gotten us to where we were, they couldn’t take us any closer to our ultimate goals. We had gotten all we could out of the original paradigm. What had gotten us “here” couldn’t take us “there.”

We assembled a new, pricier and better-equipped team. We re-engineered everything from the ground up. We built something new, grounded in the original promise that WebinarNinja represented but adapted to today’s needs and guided by our customers’ feedback. We shot for a game-changer, and were willing to invest whatever was needed to make WebinarNinja 5.0 happen.

Great for us, right? But what does that mean for our $100 MBA Show listeners? It means that while we take on a new approach, so can our audience. We’re going to share this adventure with our listeners and readers, giving them an in-depth, raw, open look at what happens when we try to move our business up in the world. This will have value for anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations. Our audience will watch and listen as we face challenges, score victories, screw up, learn, and press onward. You’ll see from the inside how building a business works. You’ll see, in real time, the consequences of our choice to change.

While the format is different, the goal of the podcast is the same: to help our listeners learn how to run an independent business. The episodes will be fewer, but longer and more specific. They’ll be deeper dives into the nuts and bolts of business-building from a specific standpoint. They’ll be more substantive and less generalized. As the stakes grow, so will the value of sharing our experience.

We hope that sharing our exploits this way will be as valuable to our $100 MBA audience as WebinarNinja will be to its users. We’re excited to use this opportunity to demonstrate what The $100 MBA has always been about: honesty, practicality, and business knowledge being made available to everyone.

Categories
About Omar Entrepreneurship Leadership Uncategorized

Don’t Hustle Too Hard!

Business takes hard work. But can you work too hard? I believe you can. Crazy as it might sound, hustle has a point of diminishing returns. Many think that effort is something you should apply as much as possible, pushing the limits in order to reach peak productivity. The more hustle, the better.

I happen to disagree.

Experience shows that overwork backfires. Productive hustle is different. The best kind of hard work comes from a healthy, well-rested place. An excess of effort doesn’t just hurt your personal life and well-being, it hurts your business. A healthy mind makes the best decisions, and an overworked entrepreneur is bound to be a less successful one.

Willing To Work

Independent business demands sacrifice. You do have to work harder than many. You do have to take time away from social life, leisure, and media. This is because you’re doing something that most people don’t do. You’re doing something unique and improbable and liberating, and it comes with a cost. If you’re not willing to give up some of the creature comforts of the standard work/life dynamic, it’s best to stay out of entrepreneurship.

That said, hard work and the sacrifice of time comes down to a simple cost/benefit analysis. Hustle is the price of converting dreams and talk to reality. It’s what you pay for the freedom to beat your own path, and the opportunity to be in command of your own success. Because of this, there’s a strong temptation to work too hard. When all the skin in the game is yours, it’s hard not to overdo it.

Here’s what’s important to remember: working too hard won’t give you a leg up. Running yourself ragged won’t help your bottom line. Depriving yourself of the rest and relaxation that every human mind and body needs is depriving your business of your best effort. A candle that burns at both ends goes out quickly.

What You Owe

As entrepreneurs, we all believe in hard work. But what’s often missing is a belief in a healthy lifestyle. A loss of health (physical or emotional) is too high a price to pay for any business. I learned this the hard way. During crucial periods for some of my businesses, I wasn’t willing to give myself the space and time I needed to stay healthy.

While I thought I was making greater sacrifices in order to get greater returns, I was really only setting myself up for setbacks. Excessive hours, stress, and refusing to devote time to my mind and body’s needs could only have one result: fatigue and illness. That fatigue and illness held me back as a business person. All my hustle didn’t mean more productivity; it meant less.

The same goes true for social life. Sacrificing too much as regards friends and family may lead to some gains, but is it worth it? What’s the point of success if you have to be isolated to achieve it? With whom can you enjoy the fruits of all your hard work if you have to push everyone away to earn it? Again, it comes down to a cost/benefit analysis.

All of us owe certain debts. We owe to our bodies, to our overall selves, to our friends and to our families. These things deserve our time and attention. They deserve our effort as surely as our businesses do. The time we give to our health, and the people who support us, isn’t time we’ve stolen away from our work. It’s time that our bodies and minds deserve. It’s effort our friends and family are due.

Keeping The Balance

To keep yourself— and your business— in good shape, take the time and make the effort. Schedule regular breaks daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Maintain a steady pace, not a self-destructive one. Keep the pressure at the right level by taking your downtime as seriously as you take your work. You’re not doing this to give yourself a break. You’re doing it for the sake of your business and everyone that depends on it.

If you’re a habitual over-worker (like myself), the first step is to admit it. In my case, I know that I tend towards a counterproductive level of hustle. Because I’m aware of it, I can take proactive steps. For now, I make sure that no matter what’s going on with The $100 MBA (or our software company WebinarNinja), I never let a week go by without taking off a day and a half. My goal is to make that a full two-day weekend, as soon as it’s feasible. I take that goal as seriously as any other goal I have for the business.

To be at your best, plan your down time. It may be necessary to literally schedule time to not work, and to do so in a way that keeps you regularly refreshed. Once you see down time as another responsibility, as a component of your overall ambitions, you’ll get over any apprehensions about slowing down. You’ll see your down time as another task to accomplish, no less important than anything else on your calendar.

As for the time you do devote to work, make it count. Schedule your time so that you’re working consistently, not sprinting until you burn yourself out. Reality will catch up to you no matter how enthused you feel at the beginning of an overwork/crash cycle. There’s always more work you can do. Since you can’t do it all, trying to won’t get you any closer to your ultimate goals.

When creating your to-do lists for any time period, make them priority-based. Keep the most urgent things at the top so that when time runs out, you’ll rest easy knowing that what’s pushed off can wait. Keep track of your progress, and notice how consistent effort— not excessive effort— really does get the job done. Take comfort in that. As your health and attitude improve, so will the numbers.

Categories
About Omar Entrepreneurship

Are We Going to Launch On Time? You Tell Me.

 

I actually considered not writing a post this week. Then I came to my senses and realized I haven’t missed a production deadline in…forever. And I hate regrets. So I’m buckling down and writing this now.

What’s going on that had me considering not writing a post? This is a crazy week for Nicole and I. ”We’re busy” doesn’t do it justice. And on top of it all we have a crazy deadline to meet. A deadline we need to meet at all costs. We worked way too hard and long to fumble this one on the 1 yard line.

On Tuesday, February 17th, Nicole and I are launching 2 major projects we’ve been working on- The new Webinar Ninja podcast and opening up pre-sales for the Webinar Ninja platform. The only thing is that we have a list of things to get done before the launch. Here they are there in no particular order:

  • Edit Episodes 1 and 2 of the Webinar Ninja podcast
  • Submit podcast to iTunes
  • Set up Powepress for the Webinar Ninja podcast
  • Finalize the new Webinar Ninja website
  • Set up payment processor
  • Set up referral program
  • Set up Webinar Ninja email autoresponder series
  • Create social media snippets for the launch
  • Script sales video
  • Story board sales video
  • Source custom music for sales video
  • Produce and edit sales video
  • Perform a test sale

PLUS:

  • We produce our daily podcast, The $100 MBA Show
  • Respond to our community’s questions
  • I have a couple of interviews on other podcasts
  • I have to finish writing this post and write another for next week
  • I have to prepare and rehearse an hour podcasting workshop I will be giving at Heroic Public Speaking on February 20th. I’m committed to nailing this performance.

Nicole and I consider consider ourselves to be a hardworking couple and we been through tight weeks like this one, so a part of me is not too worried. But another part of me feels like I might need to re-evaluate what I am really capable of. It reminds me of an old Jerry Seinfeld bit about the guy driving down the highway, going 60 MPH with a mattress on the roof with only his left arm holding it down; insisting “he’s got it.” But hey, maybe he does.

So with all that in mind. Do you think we will launch on time? Let me know in the comments bellow. I’ll be back on Monday, the day before launch day, to give you an update. By then, I should know where we stand.

Wish us luck. It’s going to be a fun week 🙂

To learn more about what all this launch hoopla is all about, visit webinarninja.co.

Categories
About Omar Entrepreneurship

I’m nervous, exhausted and excited. This is why.

 

I’m struggling with how to start this post. A little too honest? I’ll just jump right into it because I have no real intro to what I have to say.

I’m Nervous

Nicole and I have been working on the largest project we’ve taken on ever. We’ve been working on it the past 14 months. I’m nervous. More than I ever have been (I thought it was supposed to get easier!). The nervousness gets more intense as each day goes by because we’re launching soon. We’ve invested A LOT of time, money and energy and I’m finding myself asking some scary questions:

What if it’s all for nothing? What if it doesn’t go as planned?

What if it flops?

What if? What if? What if? Too many to count. I then calm myself down by telling myself that all entrepreneurs experience this and I’ll never know for sure what will happen until it happens, so stop worrying and get to work! So I get to work and it goes away. It’s actually a great way to keep you from ever taking a break.

I’m Exhausted

We are seriously due for a huge break. I mean a “do nothing but relax for a few weeks” kind of break. I say that, but I love my work. But that doesn’t mean my work doesn’t make me tired.

It’s more a mental fatigue than anything else. This project has really demanded a lot out of me, both creatively and analytically. In the process I’ve discovered what I thought I was working on was not really what I was working on. Confused? Let me explain.

When you create a product for your audience, you often think this is exactly what they need. And then in the development of that product; through the research, the conversations you have with potential customers and conversations you have with yourself, you realize you need to create something completely different. You realize you need to create something almost entirely new. This adds to the exhaustion.

But I keep on trucking because I believe in what we are working on. I’m like Rocky in round 15. I’ve made it this far and all I got to do is hang on and I’ll be screaming “Adrian” victoriously. I might be exhausted but I feel great.

I’m Excited

If this project goes well, it could really change the market we are in. Seriously. I can hardly wait to share it with everyone given the fact we have been working on this for over year. We have so many surprises planned for the launch I’m busting with excitement, a little like Kristen Wiig in this SNL skit.

It’s that exciting.

I got into this game- this game of business, entrepreneurship, self-employment, whatever you want to call it- to create. To create things that people love and find valuable. Whether it’s a new product, a podcast or this very blog post, I get my significance through what I can offer others. If my audience is delighted with what I have to offer them, then I’m a happy man. So you can imagine how excited I am to share my greatest attempt to delight.

If you want to learn more about what we have been working on and when it’s launching, check out webinarninja.co and webinarninja.co/podcast.

Categories
About Omar Entrepreneurship

5 Things I Learned From 5 People in 2014

If you know me well, a word you might use to describe me is…observant.

I’m always looking for meaning. I’m looking for details. I’m figuring out what can be learned in any given situation or conversation that can help me personally or professionally. If I see someone exceptional at something I don’t hesitate to ask him/her how they got so good at that. I fully engage in any given situation, conversation or process. I couldn’t multitask if my life depended on it. Interruptions or even any type of distraction (even a loss of eye contact) quietly frustrates me.

I guess I’m in love with learning. Learning from others gets me high. I’m not talking about any old learning. If someone makes me think about something completely differently, I respect them for life. If they make me smile in the process, I become their evangelist.

A big part of my love for learning comes from my love for teaching. I’ve been teaching all my adult life. Everything I do at The $100 MBA is essentially teaching. I teach on The $100 MBA Show podcast. I teach in The $100 MBA training & community. I teach right here on this blog. And one thing I learned in all my years of teaching is that the best teachers are always looking at what other great teachers are doing. In the same way great dancers would study Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown, Madonna or Michael Jackson.

In this past year, I studied five people. Yes studied. The way you study a historical figure. These five people are only discovering I was studying them right now, in this post. Five people that I learned five unique skills from. Here are my Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, James Brown, Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Noah Kagan

guy-who-missed-out-on-100-million-facebook-fortune-is-a-hustler--b18e174b69

Noah is not your average business person. Noah was employee 30 at Facebook and is credited with pioneering the status update. After Facebook, he moved on and became employee #4 at Mint software as the director of marketing. He then founded his first major company, KickFlip, a payment company for social games which served over 40 million users and had $18 million in revenue. In 2010 he started one of the most well known internet companies in the online business space, AppSumo.

I first meet Noah over Skype. He asked me if I wanted to jump on some time after being introduced to each other by a mutual friend (more about him later). We video chatted for about an hour. I felt like I’d known him for years or we had gone to college together. We email each other back and forth regularly about what we’re working on at the moment. He always replies within hours and when I ask for help, he actually helps. Like ‘pick you up from the airport’ help.

Noah taught me a profound principle: The level of success you achieve in life is directly proportionate to how much you care. How much you really care. Noah actually wants to help others. It’s not a business strategy or a tactic to get more people to like him. He honestly wants to to see others win. He isn’t too proud or too ‘busy’ to help someone that asks for help. I’ve met people with a fraction of his success treat others like garbage the moment they have a Amazon ‘best seller.’ I guess we know why they’ve only had a fraction of his success.

Noah is confident and to the point but never arrogant. I learned from studying Noah that if I want to have real success with what I do, I need to fully commit to helping others. Stop looking for the immediate payoff and broaden my perspective. If you want to be a world changer, change the world one person at a time.

Look out for Noah’s Guest Lesson on The $100 MBA Show airing on January 12, 2015.

Michael Port

Michael_Port_Outside

Michael Port is the author of 5 industry leading books; Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid, Book Your Self Solid Illustrated, The Contrarian Effect and the New York Times Bestseller, The Think Big Manifesto. In a previous life, Michael was a professional actor appearing in The Pelican Brief, Third Watch, Law and Order and Sex and The City. He is a highly sought after public speaker, considered one of the best on stage performers (more than just a speaker) in the business.

Nicole and I met Michael for the first time at a 2-day immersion program he held in San Fransisco called Heroic Public Speaking. We became fast friends. We had dinner a couple times together and stay in touch via email regularly.

Michael is the best public speaking coach in the game. Period. No question about it. Game over. He knows how to turn you into the performer on stage you’ve been dying to become. He’s an incredible speaker that knows his craft very well but more importantly, knows how to teach his skills in a way that is both comprehensible and entertaining. When he’s teaching he’s having a blast.

Michael taught me to have fun. He taught me when you enjoy yourself while doing what you do; your audience, your readers, your customers, will feel it and will want a piece of what you got. Fun is contagious. Only psychopaths pass up on fun. Fun should be a priority. It was a priority when we were seven, somewhere along the way we forgot that. When you are having fun, the best ‘you’ comes out. So take a page out of Michael Port’s book and HAVE FUN!

Want to see what I mean? Check out Michael Port’s lesson on The $100 MBA Show.

John Corcoran

John C

John is the founder Smart Business Revolution and a practicing attorney. John Corcoran is the most well connected person I know. John actually introduced me to Noah Kagan and invited me to a dinner where I got to know Michael Port on a personal level. Almost on a weekly basis, I get an email from him introducing me to someone new.

John is an exceptional communicator. He actually started his career as a speech writer for the Whitehouse and has been credited for writing one of the most famous Presidential Thanksgiving speeches ever. I personally think he is such an impressive communicator because he is a great listener.

When enjoying a dinner together with friends once, I really paid attention to how well this guy listens. He actually pays attention and is interested in what everyone has to say. He never interrupts and isn’t just waiting for the other person to stop talking so he can sound smart.

John taught me what true confidence looks like. John doesn’t feel the need to impress someone when he meets them. Instead, he makes sure you feel appreciated. John isn’t protective of his high level network of people. He openly shares his contacts and isn’t worried by the idea you might become closer to his contact than he is. I never heard John speak poorly about anyone. Even people he would have the right to speak poorly about. This is because he doesn’t need to put others down to feel good about who he is.

Intrigued? Check out John Corcoran’s Guest Lesson on The $100 MBA Show.

Amy Hoy

Amy Hoy

Amy Hoy runs unicornfree.com and the 300 X 500 program with her business partner Alex Hillman. She’s all about helping bootstrapping creatives, designers, coders and creators of thing, well, create things.

Amy and I are not friends. I’ve never met Amy. We never exchanged words on email or a tweet. I would guess she doesn’t know who I am, and why would she? It’s a big world.

I love Amy’s writing. It’s the kind of writing that is so good, you have to share. Here is one of my favorite posts of hers. She’s real, raw and she forces you to ask yourself important questions. She’s not an overly self-conscious person so she doesn’t pull any punches. Her content is great but I mostly read her stuff because I love to study her writing.

Amy taught me if you want to resonate with your audience, I mean deeply connect with them, you have to let your guard down. You have to get real with who you are and not be ashamed of any part of it. You have to communicate with your audience like you would with your best friend, because in a many ways, they are. She taught me that writing is more powerful than I thought, a power that can’t be measured by Google Analytics. She inspired me to write the post 16 Things You Don’t Know About Me…But Should. Funny enough that post, a post that has nothing to do with business, is one of our most read pieces.

Amy, if you are reading this….thank you. Please let me know how I can help you in 2015.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan is an best selling author, speaker and the president of Human Business Works. He also serves on the board of advisors of HubSpot. He is one of the worlds most successful bloggers and online business figures. He’s kind of a big deal to us online business folks.

Chris and I are not close friends. We know each other but we’re not “besties” or anything. We met at Podcast Movement this past August. We had a few remarkable conversations. We didn’t talk about anything particularly exciting. He spent some time in The United Arab Emirates and so did I. We talked about the future of education, technology and how it’s affecting the global culture. What was most compelling about my time with Chris was the way he talked to me.

Chris was the Opening Keynote Speaker at Podcast Movement. His time and attention was constantly being demanded from attendees that weekend. It was like Justin Timberlake visiting a high school. I took note at how he handled it all. I’m pretty sure I won’t be in his same predicament any time soon but I was just fascinated by how well he handled it all.

Chris is very polite. His parents did an excellent job (my complements to them, Chris). He smiles. He asks you what you think about a topic. He excuses himself when he has to go and he thanks you for the conversation before he parts. He does this with everyone he speaks to.

Chris reminded me that being nice is not a weakness. I learned I don’t need to stop smiling or being a nice guy if I want make it to the big leagues. Chris doesn’t forget that those fans, those people that want his attention at a conference or event, are the people that helped him become successful in the first place. They read his blog posts, they listen to his podcast, they purchase his programs.

He pays his respects with his smiles and limited time. It’s heartfelt and genuine. It’s the real thing.

Chris, don’t be a stranger. I hope to speak to you again real soon.

Final Words

I’ve learned from many people in 2014. Too many to list here. But if we look at the things I learned from the people above, they’re not business skills per se. I learned about the content of good character. If the person behind the business is great, it’s hard for the business not to follow. This is the real lesson I learned from all of the esteemed people above. Be better. Just be better.

Categories
About Omar

16 Things You Don’t Know About Me…But Should

I need to clarify something right off the bat. Even though this looks like a post I wrote for you, I actually wrote it for me.

If you’ve been writing for any amount of time (even one day), you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s very hard to break out of your protective shell and write in your own voice. It takes years of practice and it still never really feels 100% authentic.

So this post is just me, ripping off the shell like I’m ripping off a Band-Aid, in one swift motion. I’m making it a priority today for me to be 100% authentic with you. So here goes.

In no particular order, here are some fun facts:

1. I’m 40, but feel like I should be 50. I’m not out of shape or anything; I just had a lot of experience in my life. I grew up fast and took on a lot very young. I started working at 11.

My dad got me a cash-paying job washing cars at the luxury car dealership where he worked. I learned how to drive at 13. Don’t worry; it was legal on private property. I drove some pretty sweet cars without fear of the law- just the fear of scratching them.

2. I’m Egyptian-American. I was born in Long Island, NY, and was raised there and in New Jersey.

I have visited Egypt 11 times. It’s not perfect, but it has its charms. Egyptians are known for their warmth and sense of humor. We are also everywhere. Egyptians where the first Arabs to migrate to America in the late 60’s.

Take a look at Egypt: there are a few more structures than just the pyramids. And roads, btw! My friends in 3rd grade insisted that Egypt has no roads or cars, just camels. So eat it, kids from 3rd grade!

wallpaper-of-skyline-cairo-egypt

3. I’ve been a Michael Jackson fan all my life. I grew up on his music, and I guess there are a lot of childhood memories attached to them. He didn’t have the best public image, but for some reason I never really paid attention to that. I just thought he was a creative genius, probably because he was. Here is me on my 4th birthday trying to get my groove on to Billie Jean.

4. I love to read…I read roughly 50 books a year. I read some books on my Kindle, some in hard or paperback format, some I listen to via Audible. Always non-fiction. There is so much content out there in the world today, but I still feel like a great book can’t be beat at times.

5. I love the movie Inception, because I dream every night. It’s kind of strange for most people to hear that I dream every night, but technically we all do. I just wake up during REM sleep (the time we dream), so I remember that I dreamt every time I wake up.

6. My middle name is Shariff. Yes, my name is Omar Shariff. Like the actor. No, not the guy who plays the terrorist in all the actions movies these days. I’m talking about Dr. Zhivago and Laurence of Arabia. Yeah, baby!

OmarSharif

7. I can dance. And I’m pretty good. As you saw earlier in this post, I had an early start. It just comes naturally. I think I get it from my dad. He used to dance professionally on stage back in Egypt for a national folkloric performance group. Rock on, Dad!

8. I’m old school. I prefer to speak to people in person or call them on the phone instead of texting with them for 30 minutes. I believe in manners and old-fashioned values. I write emails with a salutation and a closing. Phones should be away at dinner. If you’re taking a picture, take 1 or 2 for the memories, not 200 to post on InstaFace. I believe in enjoying the moment. It’s all we have.

9. I’m fluent in Arabic. My parents made us speak only Arabic on weekends, or 25 cents would be deducted from our allowance for every time they caught us speaking English. They wanted us to grow up bilingual, and it worked.

The Arabic language is very poetic. Those harsh guttural sounds you hear, when some idiot comedian pretends to be speaking Arabic, is not Arabic. They are looking for a cheap laugh.

Scholars (and the Encyclopedia Britannica!) argue that Arabic is the most well-preserved language in history. I speak the Egyptian dialect of Arabic. It’s the most commonly used and understood because Egypt is the film and music capital of the Arab world. Want to make it big in Arabic movies or music? You better speak Egyptian Arabic!

10. I love old people. I think in today’s society, we over-glamorize youth and often disregard and disrespect the experience of our elders. Anyone that has 20 years on you has tons of stories you don’t want to ignore. If I’m at a party, I’m scanning for wrinkles and grey hair. That’s where the party’s at.

article_OldPeopleStoned 

11. I’m 6’5’’. If you never met me in person, you will be compelled to say “You’re so tall!” when you do. Everyone does. It gets old, but hey, I’m a tall guy. To save some time when we do meet: yes, I do play basketball, and yes I can dunk.

12. I lived in Dubai for 10 years. The money was good and I was figuring things out. It was very hot.

13. I have a few nicknames that only Nicole is allowed to call me. I know you are dying to hear them so here are a few: Baby Cakes, Bella Gioia (look it up), Omi, and “Darl” (short for “darling,” but pronounced like “doll” because she’s Australian.)

14. I think that the work Nicole and I are doing will resonate with the right people – our people – and is really going to be successful. I genuinely believe in what we do, and know that all great things take time to shine. We never want to take our readers, listeners, and community members for granted. We know without you, we don’t exist.

15. I love to travel. I truly believe that traveling is one of the best educations you can buy.

What I love most about travel is it forces you to change. It encourages you to question your own ideas and reality. If you want to make an impact on the world, you should make an effort to better understand it.

As Rick Steves says, “The best souvenir is a broader perspective!”

16. I love cats. Grew up with them all my life, but ironically don’t have one now. Responsibilities, man. Cats to me seem like they know something we don’t. They’ve got a grace and sophistication about them that intrigues me. Cats rule. Period.

Wow. I wish I could say that was easy, but it wasn’t. Maybe I’m just a private person, or I have insecurities or think I’ll be judged. Whatever it is, it was holding me back.

Recently, I told myself that I wanted to prioritize an authentic relationship with my audience. You are not just a figment of a person, or a name on an email list. You are a real human who took the time to learn from me and about me. I can’t ignore that.

Now that this post is pretty much done, and my Band-Aid is off, get ready for some posts I’ve been holding back for some time. There are a few things I’ve been seeing in the online business space that I strongly disagree with, and frankly don’t like. Yes, these posts will be controversial, but they will be honest. I am also committed to keeping them progressive and constructive. Stay tuned for those.

If you enjoyed this post or anything else we do, please let us know. If you hated it or can’t stand something we’re doing, we really want to know. Two minutes of your time with an email to contact@100mba.net would really help us make sure we are doing things right. And thanks, for everything.

Want to get out of the dark? Learn how to nail your business idea with our Free $100 MBA Video Course & Workbook: 

YES, PLEASE!