On a recent trip to Nashville, I told Dan Miller a story about my son playing violin on the street corner in the small town where we live. Dan enjoyed the story so much he did a short interview with me on his podcast about my son swinging the bow on the street corner. I realized if Dan found the story interesting you probably would as well. You can hear Dan Miller's interview with me here.
On a visit to downtown Port Townsend my, son saw someone playing music on the street corner.
What caught his attention was not the music, it was the guitar case. It was open in front of the musician and had several bills and many coins in it.
What my son saw was money Money. Someone was Playing music on the street and in return people were giving him money.
It was a new concept to his eight-year-old mind. I was quickly bombed with several questions.
"Why is he playing guitar on the sidewalk"?
"Why are people giving him money"?
And then he asked the big one.
"Can I play my violin on the sidewalk"?
He had quickly connected the dots. He realized playing his violin on the street corner could get him money, which could be used to buy Legos.
My kid wants to be a busker.
My first reaction was "no". I was not going to let my son play violin on the street corner in a busy tourist town. I may think he is the best eight-year-old violin player in our house, but is it a good idea to let him play in a place where people expect to hear experienced and quality musicians?
After considering it for a day, I decided it would be a good idea for him to be a busker. Here are the six lessons he can learn from being a kid busker;
Have the courage to do something that can be criticized. He is not as good as other musicians playing on the street. People may laugh. People may say he is not very good. People may ignore him. But consider the lesson he will learn by standing tall and playing his violin anyway.
Realize not everyone is your audience. The one or two people or even the ten people you connect with are your audience. Mike Loomis believes you can be successful by reaching three people, and you can accomplish lots of great stuff with a twelve person tribe. Do not worry about the masses. Connect with your audience, even if it is only three people.
The thought of doing something is often harder than the actual doing of that thing. Doing one intimidating act, like busking on the street corner, can build enough confidence to take on another, bigger, and scarier project.
The only way you will ever know is to take the risk. At the age of eight, my son can take a step to eliminate a regret, so many of us have. He may play violin on the street corner and not do well, but he will know. How many of us adults wrestle with the regret of not knowing how something would have worked out if we had only been brave enough to try.
The value of making a ruckus. Rather than waiting for someone to tell my son how an eight-year-old should act, he could be on the street corner making a ruckus. Making a ruckus, rather than doing what others expect you to do, is how you get things done. Listen to this episode of Starve The Doubts podcast with Jared Easley to hear Seth Godin talk about making a ruckus.
The difference between contributing and spectating. Theodore Roosevelt said "there is no effort without error and shortcoming. (A Contributor) at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and at worst, if he fails, at least, fails while daring greatly". Colonel Roosevelt even called spectators "cold and timid souls."
I realized, If my son wants to dare greatly and play his violin on the street corner, it would be wrong not to let him.
And he did play on the street corner. He picked the busiest corner available and set up shop. He dressed nice and even slicked his hair back to look the part. He understood, even at eight years old that he was putting on a show.
At the time he only knew how to play a few songs, so he played them over and over. I usually stood against a nearby wall to not only watch him play but to watch the interaction between him and the people who passed by. Many people dropped money in his violin case. And many people slowed down or stopped to hear him play. In a busy tourist town where buskers are common on every corner, it is one thing to drop some money; it is another thing altogether when someone stops to watch and listen.
In the end, August played for 62 minutes and made $47. Consider what that means to an 8-year-old. Rather than get an allowance, my kids earn commissions. He would have to take the trash out to the corner 47 times to earn $47 dollars. He would have to shred 23 stacks of paper to earn $47. He has a good week when he earn $10 in commissions. And now, in 62 minutes he earned $47 from something he created, not from what someone told him to do.
To me, the $47 is not really the big deal. What excites me the most is the possibility. How important is it for my 8-year-old son to learn the possibility of doing things differently. If you learn as an 8-year-old that you can earn money playing on the street corner, does a job in a cubicle even look appealing once you are an adult?
This is where the most important lesson comes in, the lesson I want to stick with my son, and the lesson I want you to hear.
If you create value, people will put money in your violin case.
It is that simple. That is the secret to business. Create value and people will give you money. Creating value is part of mastering your message. You need to understand what you do and how it will create value for other people. In the case of my son on the street corner, the music was the message. It created value for people because they enjoyed hearing it. Buskers create the unique atmosphere in downtown Port Townsend that people like so much. Without buskers, downtown Port Townsend would feel, and sound, different. An 8 year old boy playing violin on the corner creates value because of the music and because people like having buskers on the corner.
Bob Burg once said people will not buy from you because you need to buy groceries. People will buy from you because you create value for them.
Even if you are not an entrepreneur, the secret to success is the same. Forget about sticking to your job description. Create so much value in your position that your organization will not want to be without you.
To give you a little update on my son, after the first time playing violin on the street he did not return. I know it would be a better story to tell you he went back to the street corner and earned 40 or 50 dollars every week and bought a car before he was 10 years old. It did not happen though. At the time, he saw it as an opportunity to earn enough money to buy the lego set he wanted. After he had the legos in hand he did not return. But after hearing this story again on Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work you love podcast he declared he would be a busker again this summer.
Most of us know we don’t know it all. Perhaps you know enough to realize how much you don’t know. If only you could get a leg up. If only you could get an advantage or a little head start, we could do so much better. If only we had a mentor, right? You have thought that before, I am sure. If you had a mentor to show you how to do this or that. If only you had a mentor to help you avoid mistake, or point you towards this shorter path through the woods.
A mentor can be a big factor in shaping and evolving your message and be a jumpstart when it comes to marketing, mobilizing, and mastering. Holy Crow, that was a lot of Ms.
From my experience, there are five types of mentors.
Classic mentor. A Classic mentor is likely what you think of when you think of a mentor. A classic mentor is a single person who invested in you and your development. When I first became a Park Ranger, I was lucky enough to have a classic mentor. Jack Hartt, the Park Manager, took an interest in me and devoted time and attention to my development. He would spend lunch breaks with me. Jack would answer my questions almost any time. He exposed me to situations that were above my pay grade and helped me think a level or two above where my current job was. We would even play quick rounds of trivial pursuit in the office. I am pretty sure I won every time.
Academic mentor. An academic mentor is someone who mentors you through the content they produce. Books are an obvious way to connect with the academic mentor. For only $20 you can spend hours with a mentor and get some of their best advice. Don't discount this idea. Pick a book and take the words with the same weight you would with a classic mentor. If you take a book with the idea of consuming the words, not for entertainment but to learn and grow and change, it can have the same impact as spending the same amount of time with the classic mentor.
The best part of an academic mentor is there is one out there for any topic you want to learn about. Do you want to build a strong foundation of personal accountability? Spend time with John Miller and the book QBQ. Do you want to get better customer service? Spend time with Lee Cockrell and the book The Customer Rules. Want to help lead your team through changes spend time with John Kotter in the book Leading Change. Those are three examples of academic mentors through books to consider. I have spent time with Seth Godin, Jack Welch, and so many more mentors through books.
Books are not the only way to connect with an academic mentor. Content comes in many forms. A podcast can connect you with a mentor. Let’s use the Brand You Podcast by Mike Kim as an example. Each week, Mike Kim gives you a valuable, personal lesson on marketing or branding that will enable you to take action. Or, Mike Kim will have a guest on his show. This gives you an opportunity to sit in on a conversation with someone like Ray Edwards or Pat Flynn who is going to deliver their own valuable lesson. It is like you are right there at the table with them. Whatever topic Mike covers that week, you can spend that week working on it. A podcast can be just as good as a weekly session with a classic mentor, although not as personal. Just like with books, there is nearly a podcast about any topic you want to learn about. One of my other podcasts is called The Park Leaders Show. If there is a show out there for park rangers, there is also going to be a show about whatever industry you are in or the topic you are interested in learning more about.
Situational mentor. A situational mentor is someone who mentors you for a certain situation. If you need to improve a skill, perhaps you can find a situational mentor to help you only with that skill. If you are having a tough time with an employee, you can find someone else who has been through a similar situation. If you are hiring an employee for the first time or going for a promotion yourself, you can find a situational mentor to help you out. I think you get where I'm going with this. You can find a situational mentor to help you out in that situation. It could be a short time mentorship lasting only for this one situation. You do not even have to use the word mentor, just ask for help. The word I like to use this counsel. I don't ask for advice. I don't expect someone to tell me what to do. I want counsel as I work to the situation.
Shadow mentor. A shadow mentor is simply someone you observe. For example, you want your supervisor or someone else in a leadership role with a deliberate eye towards how they handle situations and how they deal with people. The key here is you have to be deliberate in watching and analyzing what they do and how they do it. You can take a step further than just watching; you can ask to be involved in situations and learn in their shadow. You can ask your supervisor to let you attend a meeting with her. You can ask to help with staff scheduling for the month or something else you are interested in. Find a way to get yourself in her shadow so you can learn.
If you are self-employed like I am, fear not. You are not out of luck. You may not have a supervisor or a leader in the organization to shadow, but you can reach out to anyone. Find a local businessman and ask if you can just shadow them for a day. Find someone you respect in the online world and ask if you can help them at an event or training just to shadow and learn from them. Let them know you want or expect nothing in return, you just want to shadow them.
Anti-mentor. Having an anti-mentor may sound strange and like something you want to stay away from. But if you find yourself working for a bad boss you can grumble about it and have a lousy time, or you can use a bad boss is a mentor and anti-mentor. Let a bad boss mentor you on what not to do. Trust me when I tell you to use an anti-mentor like a shadow mentor and don't tell them you're using them as a bad example. If you tell a bad boss you are using him as an anti-mentor it will make your life a bit uncomfortable. Watch them and be deliberate about understanding what they're doing that you would not want to do. Some things I learned from an anti-mentor include the importance of doing the work. Let your team see you working with them. I learned the value of inclusion. If a team member does not feel like they are part of what is going on things will begin to crumble. I have learned about customer service, time management, people management and so much more from one bad boss. Some of these lessons are just as valuable as what I could've learned from a classic mentor. In fact, the lessons stick more because I understand how it made me feel.
Those are the five types of mentors but don't overlook the value of friendships. If you are hanging out with the right people, you are going to be smarter and get more done. There you have it my friend, my take on mentors. The good, the bad, and where you can find each type. As I mentioned at the top of the show, by the end of the day you can have a mentor identified, maybe for all five types of mentors. And you have an opportunity to be working with a mentor by tomorrow. With the opportunity to work with an academic mentor, you can have one of your major problems solved by the end of the week.
Have you had a mentor who impacted your life, your business, or career? If you want to share the story, send an email and tell me about it. I am always curious to hear stories about how someone used the knowledge or experience of someone else to improve.
Have you ever thought you could get further along if someone would come along and notice you, partner with you, or promote you?
The truth is, the big guys and guys do not want to partner with you. Kary Oberbrunner will explain why. And he will tell you what you can do about it.
Kary is an author, podcaster, and coach who is willing to tell you the truth about what it really takes to connect with people. In 2015, Kary published an episode of his Igniting Souls podcast explaining why the big guys and big gals do not want to connect with you. Kary shares his secrets to connecting with high influencers. In that episode, Kary reached through the podcast and virtually slapped me in the face. In this conversation on The Jody Maberry Show, Kary will share the same bold information about partnering with "Big Fish".
Kary Oberbrunner will explain how you can connect with anyone.
In preparation for an upcoming trip to Nashville, I decided to order some new business cards. I know there are people who don’t order business cards. That is fine. I also know at least one person who will not accept business cards. That is fine too, even though it can be a little awkward. But I can think of one situation when I ran out of business cards and decided not to order new ones. Who needs them, I thought. Then I gave a presentation for a home builders association. After I was done, I had someone tell me they wanted to talk about doing some work for them. They asked for a business card so they could follow up. I did not have a card, and I never heard from them. A business card is a simple, cheap way not to let that happen again. Some people like business cards and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to contact me. If 99 of your cards are thrown away, but the 100th person follows up with you, isn’t it still worth it? I think so, and I wanted to get some cards made for my trip to Nashville.
I ordered the cards through Moo.com because I have always been impressed with the quality of their products. This time, I got bold and ordered square business cards. More likely to get throw away I thought, but also more likely to stand out. So I quickly designed the front of a new card in Canva, uploaded my logo for the back of the card and submitted my order.
The cards arrived a few days later, and I was excited to open them. As soon as I slide the square white card out of the box I realized I had made an error. The logo on the back of the card was not centered. There was no way I was going to give those cards out to people. I was lamenting my error to Scott Barlow when he suggested I contact Moo. He claimed they had an outrageous satisfaction policy. Not a chance, I thought. This was my error and Moo was not likely to help out.
I was curious enough to check the website. On the Moo website, I found what they call the Moo promise, which is;
We've never thought 'satisfaction guaranteed' was the most inspiring phrase. We'd like you to be satisfied of course, but we'd prefer it if you were absolutely thrilled beyond words with your order. We take great pride in our work, and we want you to feel the same about yours. So, even for the tiniest of typos, we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you get exactly what you want – or your money back!”
My call with Moo proves they back up their promise. They do make sure you get exactly what you want.
Here are the three things you can learn from the exceptional service Moo delivers on the phone;
If you would like to try Moo, you can get 10% off your first order by clicking here.
Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Lee joins the Jody Maberry Show to offer lessons from Disney you can apply to your business.
"It's not the magic that makes it work; it is the way we work that makes it magic."
In this episode, Lee explains what it looks like for small businesses and entrepreneurs to create magic. Creating magic is easier than you think it will be. Have a great website, answer your phone, return calls, look professional are just some of the simple things Lee offers as a way to create magic.
If you want to figure out how to create magic, get feedback from customers, colleagues and friends. Feedback will help you figure out what you do best and where you need to improve.
Lee also explains why a podcast is an important tool to mobilize your message. And if you want to master your message, Lee suggests you study and practice. First learn, then practice, and then teach to master your message.
When I was a park ranger, I had the opportunity to help a lady who was camping solo for the first time since her husband died. Her grand adventure took an unfortunate turn when she was not able to set the tent up by herself. In 20 minutes, I was able to set her tent up, and in the process, I learned some lessons on how you can be a park ranger to your customers.
Here are the points you need to remember from this story so you can be a park ranger to your customers.
If you can apply those five lessons into your business, you will be strutting around like a park ranger. And you will serve your customers better.
Do you ever wonder if there is a magic formula for marketing? Should you just copy what other people are doing? How do you stand out?
In this episodes, Mike Kim will explain how you can market yourself like no one else can. Mike Kim is a marketing consultant, communications strategist, and copywriter. After a couple of career pivots, Mike has set himself apart by leveraging his personal story to connect with other people.
During this interview, Mike Kim will give you the exact steps he uses with his clients to market yourself like no one else can. The key to marketing yourself is to uncover the elements of your story that make you unique.
If you want help setting yourself apart from the crowd, check out Mike's Brand You Blueprint. The Brand You Blueprint will give you a strategic overview on what it takes to a fun, fulfilling, and profitable personal brand business. You can get the Brand You Blueprint here.