Adam Shepard calls himself an author, speaker, and instigator.
Instigator? Hmmm… color me intrigued.
Small business owners, particularly entrepreneurs, tend to walk their own path. Our very natures demand we share insights and ideas that some consider odd or downright crazy.
An instigator should fit right in.
But a travel book? While I personally love traveling what the heck did this have to do with business? Or in my case small business finance?
And yes I was surprised by that. Let’s dig into…
Adam Shepard’s $19,420.68 Business Lesson
When Adam approached me about his book, One Year Lived, I was hesitant – was this just going to be a pampered, trust fund brat’s tale of travel? Would he throw the masses a bone with a few weeks of volunteer service, surrounded by self-indulgence and regurgitated business “insights”?
Although the book is about a year spent traveling the world, Adam is also quick to point out that it took him two years to save the money to take the trip. That took work, dedication and fiscal discipline.
As I hovered between “sure let me take a look” and “thanks, but no thanks” it was Adam’s genuine and enthusiastic approach that won me over. Adam was the one who contacted me. Adam made the effort to relate his book to my specific audience.
Plus (and this is a biggie), his interaction with me wasn’t in sales speak. Having since had the pleasure of interviewing him for Call a Biz Hero with Laura Petrolino, I can say it was written just the way he speaks. It was genuine.
One Year Lived Lesson #1: Make a Declaration
Lots of people say they’re going to travel the world. Start a new business. Launch a new idea. The list goes on.
Yet how many actually do it? What separates the dreamers from the doers?
Creating public accountability.
Adam shares how he told everyone about this plans, including specifics about timing. No one wants to look bad in front of others.
By sharing your goals with others, you gain their support and encouragement plus an incentive to make it happen.
One year Lived Lesson #2: Life is More
More what exactly?
Life is more than you. There’s a big wide world out there, and it’s easy to forget to take the focus off yourself.
On a personal level it’s easy to forget that there are others less fortunate than you. People who can’t even afford shoes. People who don’t have access to running water.
How can your business help make the world a better place?
I choose to support Kiva.org through my book sales and my consulting business. I’ve made a public declaration of this fact (see lesson #1), and researched the organization to ensure it was highly efficient in using its funds for the mission, not the executives.
Business life is more than you too.
Its so easy to focus on our own goals, needs and products. People should want to buy your products and services because they’re awesome. How could they NOT see that? Easy, they’re just as focused internally as you are.
Adam reminds us to stop and look around, often from an unexpected angle or perspective. Successful small business owners pay attention to the world around them, and the needs of the people in that world.
One Year Lived Lesson #3: Budgets Create Options
Yeah I said the B word – BUDGET.
Now $19,420.68 might sound like a lot of money, but keep in mind, Adam lived and traveled off that for a year. To put it in perspective, he had $53.20 a day for all his travel (including airfare), food, lodging and entertainment.
As Adam himself points out, he made this work by splitting time between lost cost places, like Honduras, and expensive locals such as New Zealand. If he was able to get by on $10 in Honduras, that meant he could spend $96.40 for a day in New Zealand (the average of these two days is $53.20).
It’s OK to splurge IF you cut back somewhere else in your budget.
Want to launch an amazing marketing campaign? Hire an outstanding coach? Purchase that rocking new laptop? If it fits in the budget, and you cut back elsewhere, then it IS ok.
One Year Lived Lesson #4: Comparisons Hurt
Now I’ve always considered myself an adventurous, well traveled person. Usually I’m the one telling the crazy tales about solo trips, volcano hikes, and odd food (termites… really?!).
Yet about a third of the way through the book I realized something was bothering me. I was jealous. Envious. Even a bit depressed.
Look at all Adam had accomplished. All he had seen. He was 10 years younger than me! And the kicker, he even entered the ring with a crazy bull and only a tablecloth as a weapon!
I snatched the scarlet tablecloth out of Jhonas’s hands and stalked out to the center of the [bull] ring. Take action or go take a nap.
Instead of enjoying Adam’s amazing adventure, sharing in his joys and sorrows, I was focusing on myself and my perceived inadequacies. Somehow I turned his success into my failures.
In business, and in life, this is an easy trap in which to fall. Comparing yourself to a colleague, a peer, or even a competitor and determining you don’t measure up. Stop it – stop the winner / loser comparisons right now.
While it does make sense to look at others to set your benchmarks, create goals, and understand your market, the only business you are in competition with is your own.
Let’s say you reach your goal of $1 million in revenue this year. Does Joe Schmo hitting $5 million somehow reduce your achievement? NO.
Celebrate you successes. Learn from your mistakes. Own them, as they are all you can really control.
Get the Book for FREE!
When I finished the book I felt as though I had taken the journey with Adam. Even more, I felt like I had made a new friend, one who wasn’t afraid to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about himself and the world around him.
Adam has offered an incredible deal to all of my readers. For the next seven days you can get his book, “One Year Lived” as an eBook absolutely free. Simply leave a non-spammy, relevant comment below, and I’ll email you the download details for the book. This offer ends on May 19th at midnight CST.
That’s it. Your name won’t go on a list (although you’re welcome to sign up for my newsletter!). I won’t try to sell you something. Adam won’t try to sell you something either.
So the question is… are you going to take action, or go take a nap?