Selling Feelings

At a grocery store the other week I got in line with my cart of food, which included organic bananas. When the cashier grabbed the bananas, he said, “you know that it’s dumb to pay extra for organic bananas that are genetically identical to regular bananas, right?”

I had no clue how to respond.

You know those “I should have said…” moments, when you think of the perfect response after the fact? It was one of those situations.

If I could rewind time I would have reminded him we don’t purchase things because of what people label them with, not directly anyway. We pay for products and services to feel a particular way.

Organic bananas and regular bananas may have the same genetic compound and benefit my body in the same way scientifically, but they make me feel completely different.

I feel cleaner eating organic bananas, and thus happier, more content with my choice. I feel like my body benefits more with organic bananas: I have more energy, a fuller stomach, better poops. And perhaps it’s just my mind, but I think organic bananas taste better too.

When we challenge, doubt, and write off everything, when we settle for the generic and the banal, we also sacrifice the benefits that come with ignorance, that come with placebos, that come with just feeling good!

I’ve been known to say, “It feels good, to feel good.”

I won’t let a know-it-all cashier stop me from that. Organic Bananas, always.


Stay Positive & He’s Bananas

Unlocking Potential #13: Q&A With Ryan Paugh

Ryan Paugh

When researching for a story centered on entrepreneurs under 30, a friend connected me with Ryan Paugh. At the time, Ryan was at Brazen Careerist writing, speaking and preaching about career-management. He was big into entrepreneurship… still is.

Like all the others on the unlocking potential series, Ryan is a linchpin. He is the source, the center of many entrepreneurial circles, providing resources and connecting people just as my friend connected me with him.

Without further ado… welcome, Ryan.

Q: You’re known for building epic communities. What does an epic community look like to you?

Ryan: An epic community is one that can help you unlock any door in your industry or trade. For communities like YEC and FounderSociety, we aspire to help our members gain access to everything they need to grow successful businesses.

Q: How did you get to where you’re at now? What’s your story?

Ryan: This is very geeky, but blogging changed my life. After I graduated college I started a blog with one of my best friends about Gen Y entering the workforce. Through the blog came my first business, Brazen Careerist, which was a free community for Gen Y professionals seeking career happiness.

Q: What’s the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur?

Ryan: The best part about being an entrepreneur is having control over your own destiny. The worst part about being an entrepreneur is the toll it takes on your personal life and the lack of stability.

Q: What gets you filled up with passion and ready to take on the world, to go the distance, to be in it for the long haul?

Ryan: My family. Now that I’m a father especially, I find that I’m more motivated to be successful than I have ever been. I want my family to live the best life possible. I want them to see me as their hero.

Q: What do you see people regularly failing to do while starting a business? What would you suggest they do differently?

Ryan: Spending too much time on one idea is a common startup killer. Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that they didn’t get it right on the first try. They had to iterate on their existing idea to make it work.

Q: What are four hacks you can share? They can be about life, relationships, getting a job, starting a business, whatever you would like.

Hack #1. Invest in a virtual assistant and outsource work that takes away from building your business. Challenge yourself to delegate at least one new thing per week to your assistant.

Hack #2. Perfect is stupid. Come up with an idea for a business. Build the minimum viable product (MVP) as quickly as you can and get it to market. Iterate based on feedback from your early customers to get better.

Hack #3. Become an early riser or a night owl and you will get more accomplished than 99 percent of the population.

Hack #4. Take care of yourself. You physical and mental health are strongly linked to your success.

Q: Here’s an open-ended question for you: What are your thoughts on waiting?

Ryan: Don’t.

Q: What about failure?

Ryan: Embrace it.

Q: Would you tell us about a truly challenging time and how you got through it (or didn’t!)?

Ryan: Without going into too much detail, I had a health scare a couple months ago that left me feeling mentally paralyzed. It took weeks for me to feel better and get back to my business. The reason I was able to take the time off that I needed to recover was my amazing team. At some point in the future, you’re going to need to take some time off too and it will go a lot smoother if your company can operate with you missing. Being a great leader means learning how to delegate to your team and trust that they can get the job done. You should spend time early on in your career getting comfortable with this. You’ll thank yourself later.

Q: What are three lessons people should know about building a community?

  • Community businesses are are some of the most difficult businesses to run. I love what I do, but it’s not an easy road to riches. There are plenty of other avenues you could take to get rich quick
  • Great customer service can keep a paying customer loyal even when the product still needs work.
  • People will pay a premium for a concierge-level community experience.

Q: What makes an idea or a business or a person remarkable?

Ryan: Vulnerability. I’m drawn to people, ideas, and businesses that are not afraid to be what they are even if that might lead to them being criticized.

Q: Any last advice you want to give someone in marketing or someone who is thinking of starting a business?

Ryan: Share your ideas with as many people as possible.

Q: Lastly, where can people find you and the remarkable work you do? (Shamelessly self-promote here.)

Ryan: The communities I’m currently building are YEC and FounderSociety. We also run a great startup advice website for early-stage entrepreneurs. Follow me on Twitter. I try to blog semi frequently at


Stay Positive & Go Share Your Ideas, Be A Hero, Start Something

You’re Surrounded

You’re Surrounded

Surround Yourself With People Who Care

There are people all around you. To your left. To your right. You’re surrounded.

How do you feel about it?

It pays to really think about the answer because you’ve decided who you’re surrounded by. It’s your decision to work with people with low standards. You’ve decided the friends you will hangout with are the ones who don’t inspire you to work creatively.

We’ll never stop being surrounded by people. Whether we succeed in our endeavors or screw up, there will be people all around us, prodding, interacting, asking questions.

We owe it to ourselves to surround ourselves with people who will challenge us to go to the next level, to think differently, to answer the tough questions.

You’re surrounded. Is it a good feeling?


Stay Positive & If Not, Change The People

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Down In The Dip

Down In The Dip

It’s quiet where you’re at. No one is patting you on your back. You’ve been at it long enough now that you believe you should be getting the attention you deserve (and I’m sure you really do deserve it!), but for some reason it’s just quiet.

That’s the dip. That’s when you need to reapply the mindset you had when you first started. Certainly you didn’t expect to be seen by thousands right away, you didn’t expect to get constant DMs and calls for interaction, right?

The dip is entered through a door of discouragement. The dip is the real challenge, the real point in time to show just how badly you want success. The dip is like waiting in line to go on a rollercoaster, but they shut it down because of some rain. How long are you willing to wait out the storm?

Only those who bear the storm, the dip, get to ride.


Stay Positive & Be Discouraged, But Don’t Give In

Changing The Way You Succeed

Changing The Way You Succeed

Work Hard Work Harder

Three out of five times I chat with my mom, she reminds me, “we all have the same 24 hours.”

Think about the vast difference in difference you make compared to anyone else, using the same 24 hours. How little you accomplish compared to some, but how much you accomplish compared to others. Alas. All still with only 24 hours.

A friend of mine asked me to partake in a 21-day challenge of waking up at 4:30 a.m. each weekday. My main issue with it is the hour and a half I would gain isn’t very scalable. (Currently I wake up at 6:00 a.m. each day.)

I say it’s not scalable because most of us can do what we currently do in 10 hours, in eight. And for those who put in 15 hours of work, will more meaningful work get done if you clock in two hours earlier or stay two hours later?

What would you think of a 21-day challenge of cutting the work day two hours shorter, or three, or five? How would you do things differently? Give this a try before you go extending your workday. Even if you jump back to your regular schedule or try the 21-day challenge of waking up at 4:30 a.m., you’ll have changed the way you succeed.


Stay Positive & Reimagine The Work Week, Now, Not Just The Days

Garth E. Beyer

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Where You Start: Up For The Challenge


In a previous story, I noted that where you start really matters.

I used marketing to five year-olds for McDonald’s as an example of a poor place to start if you are actually passionate about the elderly being active.

I missed the opportunity to mention that poor places to start are often excellent places to excel, so long as you are adamant enough to withstand resistance and up to challenge of creating cultural change. For example, there is a push for McDonald’s to become a more healthy option – and to advertise as such.

I’ve mentioned a million times before that there is always room for improvement. You can decrease inequality, you can lower the number of obese people in the country, you can create cultural change from the bottom up.

It starts with saying no.

No to advertising unhealthy McDonald’s products to five year-olds.

It grows by saying “here’s a better idea.”

And having a plan to turn the idea into reality.


Stay Positive & Let Your Passion Fuel You, Not Your Food

Garth E. Beyer

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Refusing Challenges (Accepting The Routine Fix)

A lot of businesses have a routine fix method and not much else.

I recently purchased a Kawasaki ninja 250r. It’s cardinal red and when the sunlight bounces off the chrome, it will definitely catch your eye. Appealing from afar, yes, but the motorcycle wouldn’t go faster than 60 mph. This meant I couldn’t take it on the expressway to visit my family.

The dealership I bought it from said it wouldn’t be good to ride it on the expressway. Everything I read online said otherwise. After viewing four different forums, the consensus was that it should go 80-95 mph. I’m wise not to believe everything on the internet, so I brought it into another dealership which had a service department.

I spoke to six different employees there. Each one of them said that the bike should be able to do 80 without a problem; that “it might even do 100.” The head of the service department said he had no clue. I asked if he could have someone ride it and tell me if they felt anything was wrong with it. An employee did and told me that’s as fast as it would go.

I still had doubts. I brought it to one more shop.

“Wow, that’s as fast as it goes?! Let’s run some tests and see what we can find out.” Worth mentioning after the quote is that this shop owner had no clue how fast the bike was supposed to go to begin with. Guess what he did?

He looked at all the same forums I went on and realized there had to be a problem. He was ready to find out what that problem was.

It’s disappointing when I go to businesses that are there to fix things but don’t. They have a specific number of routine fixes that they make. If I tell them about a problem and it doesn’t connect with any problem they have dealt with already, they think “that’s just the way it is” instead of looking into it.

Turned out a box of fuses fell into one of the carburetors. The shop owner gave them to me with a look of complete satisfaction and accomplishment on his face. I keep them as a reminder to challenge myself and if someone comes to me with a problem, I either figure it out or show them (not tell them) that that is just how it is.


Stay Positive & What Happened To Customer Satisfaction?

Garth E. Beyer