TheUnemploymentDojo's Blog

Building A Business In 2014( The 3 Pillars To Owning The Real “Real Estate”!)

Posted on: January 25, 2014

As conventional employment becomes a less desired model for earning a living, more and more people are looking for alternatives. For starters, time and freedom are the two assets that most people value and appreciate  and for some reason most jobs seem to rob them both. The time to do what you want and the freedom to do it! One way to earn them back is by creating a business. Unfortunately when i started, there were countless mistakes i made along the way! Heck i’ll be darned if there was anything i was doing right! In 2003, I had an idea! I found a t-shirt manufacturer in Pakistan and ordered 800 pieces with photos of hero’s that had inspired me!Created a website and was going to sell them at $20 a piece! That’s $16,000 for a deal that i had projected on a business plan to grow 10 times that in a year based on what successful companies were doing! How naive! The website was up, the t-shirts were on their way and i was going to make tons of money, right!WRONG!

Mistakes I made and the lessons i learned!

  1. First of i had never ordered samples from this manufacturer! The fabric was so bad, i had to pay a homeless guy to even consider wearing the t-shirt! (That’s how bad they were!) Goodwill rejected them and even tried to sell them as mopping fabric! After 3 years of emotional drain, I left them in a dumpster in Cary, North Carolina and never looked back! Lesson 1. Know who your supplier is! If the business model gravitates around that supplier know in the bare minimum who they are! Heck if your going to build a business, own your real estate or build it! Real estate or leverage is having the 3 pillars, the factory, the client acquisition process and the clients! If you don’t have at least the clients and the acquisition process, then you don’t have a business!
  2. Pillar Number 1. The factory comes after the customers! This should be the first lesson of business! The truth about customers! Chant this even in your sleep! Clients are not looking to make you rich, they don’t care about you starting your business and at every turn they are looking to run away from any offer you have UNLESS (and this is the only exception) it benefits them way more than it benefits you! This was the meanest ugliest calm your nerves down experience that humbled me more than sleeping on my friends couch in college with no where to go! Facebook, twitter, Youtube those are channels to acquire real estate pillar #1. Clients! The greatest challenge has been to answer these two questions! Do we start by selling what the market wants (“sell out”) or do we innovate and do what we want with respect to the market? (authentic to self!) The best answer i know how is to have the interest of the market first! That means do whatever it takes, to get the market and I don’t mean light a fire on a cold winter evening outside you’re prospects house awaiting them to come home from work to sell them a product! Use a bit of finesse! Think about all the things they worry about, going to work, dropping the kids at school, paying bills, cooking, loosing that 20 pounds they gained during the holidays, and still finding the time to chit chat with Aunty Jemima who wasn’t feeling to well three weeks ago! What can you do to make these activities less daunting! If you have to ask them, please do, they won’t hesitate to tell you and when they do, implement in to the product! Acquiring this real estate is using your skills (authentic to self!) to sell what the market wants. (“sell out”)
  3. The 2nd pillar of this Real Estate is the process! If the process of moving clients from where they are to where they want to be is complicated, then you don’t have a business because your loosing real estate #1. Can you imagine yourself building a house on Mount Rainier or Everest and the truck that is carrying the bricks has to go up the mountain with steepness of 60 to 80 degrees from the ground? Every time one truck of bricks attempts the climb the elevation causes all the bricks to come tumbling down! What if you could chart a pathway that is slightly steep but spiral that reduces steepness by going round the mountain to the top rather than up the mountain in one steep climb? That’s exactly what you do when your process is undefined. Chart out the process by answering these questions. How will the client move from A to B to C? What experience will clients attain while on the pathway? What is cost effective to you? How can you WOW your clients while they take the journey?
  4. The last pillar to real estate is the production! Mark you i said production. If someone else owns the production that means at a drop of a dime, they can steal your business from you! They can switch their algorithm and your customers go unfulfilled which in turn makes you go unfulfilled! If you don’t own the production, make plans to do so in the near future! Own the client acquisition process, own the client database and then finally own the product/service production process! I had outsourced the t-shirt production to someone else who didn’t care about my “potential imaginary” clients(the ones who were going to make me a fortune without them even knowing! Mistake #1) like i did! I hadn’t met them and i didn’t even have backup manufactures and the worst thing i did was pay them upfront! Never ever pay the whole amount upfront even if you have it 10 times over! Learned that lesson again during my wedding!(Another story!)
  5. Finally the idea here isn’t to sell the product only, that’s short term and very temporary, the long term strategy is to add so much value to client’s lives that they would give you money to make sure you don’t ever have to do anything else(career wise) but what it is our good at! If your clients want you that bad, then you have a true business!

It’s not easy and it’s very very doable!

Make 2014 the best year possible!

PS: If your comfortable with what you do for work, stay happy, don’t start a business! If you’re seeking a thrill and heartbreak and tears and joy, very polarized, conflicting extreme experiences and challenges, then a business may offer you that alternative with ease! All in all there is no guarantee that a business will make you anything and if I insinuate that in anyway with this article, please correct me! This disclaimer has not been bludgeoned out of me by the FTC. I am doing it just to inform you that before you make any kind of investment please seek sound advice! It will be in your best benefit!

PPS: I’m not selling anything! 


Lee Kariuki


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Lee Kariuki
1-888-MY-ETHER ext. 04466282

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