[4 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

Adopting a marketing system that works 

By Louise Lee

Entrepreneurship journey is likened to the wilderness experience of the Children of Israel. The principles gleaned from their experience might be ancient, but when we begin to apply them in the 21st century start-up, they can become powerful tools that keep your business thriving and growing.

I have covered so far two aspects of “the wilderness” implication and application like the Manna supply and the never-worn-out clothes. In this article, I am going to expound on the third principle “the never-worn-out shoes” principle, that is to identify a sustaining marketing system or one business model that works for your start-up.

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First, let’s look back again at where these principles originate and have a little overview of the background of the “wilderness experience”.

“Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”  Deuteronomy 29:5, The Holy Bible (NIV)

Back to the Bible time where the Children of Israel just left Egypt. They have stepped out from a system of which they made a living. Sad to say it was a slavery system, where they laboured hard as a slave serving the Egyptians. They had been in this system for the past four hundred over years before they stepped into the wilderness. They might have left the system behind them but its influence was still in them.

Old system versus new system

Since I am using the wilderness as an analogy to a business start-up, then the Egyptian system is the 9-5 work life that you left behind. What the system did was to condition you to believe that working a full-time job is the only way to gain wealth.

This mindset will constantly pull you back when you are starting out on your own without consciously building a new system. With this pull, you need to establish a pushing system to get you going in the right direction.

This new system ought to be a new belief system and in the business sense, it is the marketing system or a business model that is different from the 9-5 model (one that causes you to sell your labour and time in exchange with a pay cheque of a fixed amount).

A new system was introduced to the Children of Israel shortly after they stepped into the wilderness. The new system is a God-appointed system stipulated in the Ten Commandments, the Sacrificial System, Priestly system, Festivals, Year of Jubilee, etc. These are permanent system for them to follow as a nation, yet there are also some temporary systems that only applied in the wilderness like Manna; the never-worn out clothes, and the never-worn out shoes, pillars of fire and pillars of cloud.

Temporary systems are for training purpose so that the old system (from Egypt) can be eradicated from your mind.

Application of the principles of never-worn-out shoes

After you have defined your personal branding, you need to get going.

Ultimately, a business is set up for making money and to be more exact making profit. You will need a system that helps you to bring in businesses that makes profit consistently without fail.

In short, an effective marketing system is all you need. Take another look at it is the business model that works to bring in profit.

Marketing in the 21st Century

What is marketing? Every business needs marketing. It is so especially in today’s world. You can’t keep quiet about your business and expect people to buy your products or engage your service. What is the marketing system that works? You probably have learned the five Ps of marketing (price, product, promotion, place, people), these are the backbones of running a business. Today, when applying marketing to your business, there is a need to upgrade and modernise its concept.

The concept of business has evolved into different models. The internet has transformed the way we do business today; this provides the 21st century entrepreneurs a wider platform, a greater potential as well as challenges. And today, marketing methods have evolved into a plethora of approaches.

I have done a little research on marketing methods, the varieties available are mindboggling. You might have heard of the following as you go about trying to figure out how to promote your business: e-mail marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, multi-level marketing, referral marketing, network marketing, TV marketing, niche marketing, affiliate marketing. content marketing, contextual marketing, user experience marketing, animated marking, video marketing, podcast marketing, FB marketing, etc.

Besides, there are many who claimed to have devised some new business models that help others to make money without prior experience, or marketing knowledge, you just need to be coachable and follow the system that works for that person (the coach).

The promise is that the method is duplicable and that will allow you to make as much money just like them. To understand more, you can just start subscribing to one of these free email or newsletter, you will then receive many of these modern gurus telling you how their system works for you.

Pick yours and get going

Now what? What are you supposed to do? Which one to adopt? There is no harm to try out some of these and especially those who offer 30-day money-back guarantee. Some even offer a 3-months guarantee and up to one-year money back guarantee.

Clickfunnels offers a 14-day trial, which by far serves a wide range of business needs for local businesses, financial planners, MLM marketers, affiliate marketer, retailers (online and physical stores), etc. there is no harm checking it out!

If you are adventurous enough or you have time and money to devise your own marketing methods by combining various approaches, you should go ahead with them. There are many success stories to learn from, why reinventing the wheel?

The key is to watch out for the one that get your business off the ground and running. By the way, teaching people how to do marketing has become a lucrative market and a new business model. The logic is once you are successful in what you are doing (like marketing your own business), you will gain many followers!

Sustainability is the key of “the never-worn-out shoes principles”. Once you have experiment enough, you are likely to develop one hybrid approach that works well for your start up.

Be innovative, be open-minded, and learn as much as you can, there should be at least one system that works, and remember not to go back to the old system (9 to 5 fixed pay exchange system), keep going on with your “never-worn-out shoes”. Bon voyage!

The next article I will be writing on “the pillar of clouds” principle.

Stay tuned!

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[2 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

The Manna Concept – Don’t Get More Than You Need

Into the Wilder{ness}with the children of Israel III

By Louise Lee

“The “Manna” concept in the start-up journey represents the small but just enough opportunities that get every entrepreneur going. The origin of these opportunities is divine, but you need to work hard to consolidate and make good use of them. The discipline of doing small things every day enriches your experience, sharpens your skills and boosts up your confidence” ~ Louise Lee, Ancient Principles of the 21st Century Entrepreneur

The environment for the new entrepreneur might be harsh, but there is a divine supply of opportunities (Manna) along the way; the start-up experience is likened to the wilderness experience of the children of Israel as recorded in the Holy Bible.

In this article, I will carry on with the manna concept and its application in the start-up journey. If you recall, there are “dos and don’ts” regarding the collection of “Manna”…

1. (Do collect everyday) The children of Israel had to collect them every day – early in the morning after the dew laid on the ground. Each one was to collect as per their needs.

2. (Do not collect more than you need) There was no use to collect more, the extra manna would breed worms and stink.

3. (Do collect more when there is a double portion supplied) The only day they would have double supply was on Saturday.

4. (Do not work when you need to rest) There was no manna to collect on Sundays.

I would like to focus on the don’ts in the manna concept in the following paragraphs.

Passion First

The first few years of your start-up are crucial as they determine how far and how long you will go in a certain direction. It is important to set it right from the start. It is also important to make corrections if it does not align with the main course, or what you set out to do.

Did you know that if you do not have a vision or a long-term plan, your needs will drive your business? You might be ended up like a hamster running on the wheel, or running the same rat race, the one that you hated most when you were an employee.

Do you have a plan? How long is your plan? One year, two year, or six months…? It is essential to have at least a five-year plan, and maintain a flexible one year plan and review it every six months. If you haven’t gotten any of these yet, please find time and set them in place before you go any further. You will not regret doing this because this will save you a lot time and effort, as it helps steer your business towards the right direction. Write your plans and your goals down and paste them somewhere you can see every day.

Frist, your plans should align with your passion, your vision, and they shall become your motivation when the going gets tough.
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“It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” -T. S. Eliot

I find this quote a powerful illustration to describe passion. If passion is light to the blind, you would need to have a passion in what you are doing in your business. Passion helps you prioritise your opportunities, make the right selections, and keep you on track with your goals.

Passion with vision is a powerful team to bring you success. Vision is about the future of your business; it is somewhat like a goal but it is visual. It is also the big picture that guides your goal setting. In this sense, your goals are the lamp posts that lead you along the way towards the big picture. Passion ignites with vision makes your business a powerful rocket. The profit you make from your business will surely be put into good use if you have a vision, or a cause or a solution you see to the problem you felt strongly about.

Does “a passionate entrepreneur of … ” describe you? If your answer to this question is yes, congratulation! You shall see your success. If you have no answer for this question yet, spend some time to find that out because it is the key to your success. Only then the rest of the effort will make sense, it is also the only way to get you out of the hamster wheel!

Ploughing of Ground

Whatever you do in the early stage of your business is an act of ploughing, the ground could be hard and it might be harder than you have imagined. Ploughing is different from planting seeds; the key distinction is that you do not expect a harvest when you plough the ground. Like it or not, you are only ploughing grounds in the first few years of your new business. That is also why your opportunities come in piece and pieces and they are small by nature. They are not significant in the sense of value but they are significant in the way that they can help to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

In fact, if we look closer at this ploughing stage, the ground is not anywhere outside, but inside your heart. Each opportunity shows up to confirm what you have in your heart, and only those stay on and became the seed for your planting later. So, when opportunities come, make it a time to differentiate your passion from your needs.

Answer this question honestly: Is it your passion or your need(s) that drive you?
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Managing your needs

What do you need? Recognition, a sense of significance, respect, money, freedom, success, a sense of achievement are all legitimate needs, but if these are all that drive you on the path of entrepreneurship, you are only running on the treadmill. Likely, you are not going anywhere significant. You may have wondered why you live a life that is not much different from being an employee; or now it is worst because the stress level is much higher that you must constantly look for business opportunity, rather than waiting for the month end pay check.

How is the life of an entrepreneur different from that of an employee anyway? Why did you take a step out doing what you are doing right now?

Don’t be surprised that what set you out might not be what drives you now. So, constantly we need to have a conversation with ourselves. If you are honest enough, you will have some answers. Make sure your business is fuelled by your passion, and you are here for the long haul.

Do not take more than you need.

Now, let us get back to the “DON’T”s of entrepreneurship: Do not take more than you need. What is your business’ basic need? How much business or profit you need to survive? How much do you need to sustain your business? All these determine how much opportunities or jobs you should take on at the minimum.

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You need to be selective. Choose what brings you satisfaction and happiness. Once you get your hands in doing some of the new jobs (opportunities), you should know if that aligns with your passion or not. If it is not, do eliminate them in your future endeavours. Nevertheless, there is no hard and fast rules to tell what jobs guarantee satisfaction, but if you like, you might work on the guideline of three: Work on maximum three niches at one time and spend some time working through them, and to identify one that brings you the most satisfaction, then focus your energy to develop that niche. Be open and prepared to work hard, and prepare for changes. You might be one of be those talented individuals that could manage three niches and be successful in all of them, but it might be rare! So, stay focus on one or two but not more than three at one time.

Why should you be selective? Consider this: if you are not, you might end up getting too much to do that you are working around the clock and making very little profit or progress. Remove some of the unproductive jobs that bring in the least profits. Remember to keep your work-life balance as the entrepreneur’s journey is long, you need to reserve your energy. Remember to set your five-year plan, and set goals to achieve it. Any plan that is shorter than that will not be sufficient to steer your entrepreneurship journey right.

Do not work when you need to rest.

Six days you should work, and give yourself at least one day to rest in a week. It is kind of strange when we worked for people, we demanded from our ex-employer overtime pay, annual leave, sick leave, benefits, bonus, etc., but when we start on our own, we become very lenient on ourselves concerning worker’s benefits. Let’s face it, you are the only worker in your start up, do consider the benefits in a reasonable term. Then, when your company grows bigger, the principles you apply on yourself will expand to those who work for you in the future. Work within your means and that includes your time, and your mental and physical capacity, remind yourself that you are no transformer or superhero. So, don’t be too lenient in demanding yourself an employer, and don’t be too hash on yourself as a worker. Rest well and it will benefit you for the rest of the work week, work years and the rest of your entrepreneurship journey.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the ancient advice in handling our entrepreneurship journey is wise and helpful. They are gold and still applicable today in the 21st Century when knowledge is available from all directions that provide plethora of opportunities. The “DON’T”s guide our process of selection and decision making. Ultimately, no one can be a superhero because we all have limits. We are limited by our mental capacity, physical capacity, experience and resources, do work within these limitations and not to overstretch at the early stage of entrepreneurship. Of course, passion and vision is the team that will help you overcome your limitations and give you the breakthroughs your need, do recruit them early in your journey!

Coming up next is the personal branding principles – inspired from the never worn out clothes of the Children of Israel.

Partridge Publishing

[3 of 8] Ancient Principles for the 21st Century Entrepreneur

3 of 8

Building a Personal Brand that Lasts

Into the Wilder{ness}with the children of Israel IV

“… During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.” Deuteronomy 29:5, The Holy Bible

If the experience of being in the wilderness were like the entrepreneur start-up journey, what would the never worn-out clothes be?

To answer this question, we need to look at some characteristics of the never worn-out clothes especially its never-worn-out nature.
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First, clothes are for the external or for the outside world to see. As an entrepreneur, “clothes” could mean the image we put before others. In other words, it is the personal branding that we present before the world. Coca-Cola, Disney, MacDonald’s, Apple, Facebook just are some of the examples of popular brand names that are of this nature. Many started as personal brands and today these are the representation of great corporations and platform that nurture many other brands, yet retaining the iconic original personal brand with a niche.

What can we learn from here? Personal branding can be last if this is established and set right at the early stage. The entrepreneur’s start-up stage is crucial for the establishment of this personal branding. Whether you like it or not, a personal brand sticks with you for the longest time. So, let us examine further what a personal branding entails.

Debates have always been on ‘nature’ or ‘nurture’ and how these two influenced a person’s development and success rate; this debate has made these two processes rather incompatible to some extent. However, when we apply ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ in building personal branding, they need not be incompatible options. Rather, personal branding should be a combination of the two and it becomes a formula like this:

NATURE + NURTURE = PERSONAL BRANDING

‘Nature’ is what was given since birth or inherited from your parents. In business sense, it could also mean your business DNA that you inherited from your mentors or the influencers in your life. ‘Nature’ also includes your basic personality and natural inclination towards a field or an expertise in an industry. Without this inclination, you would not feel drawn to this field or industry. To some, it could mean a calling in life or the giftedness they recognized; it could mean also the life opportunities opened for them.

Next, ‘nurture’ is what you gathered and get yourself trained up in on top of what was given (nature). You may have a family of musicians, but if you do not cultivate your life musically, your family history does not form part of your personal brand. ‘Nurture’ includes your knowledge, credentials, working experience and connections, or things that you have been building for years.

Second, personal branding is not fashion. No fashion can last, trends come and go, fashion by nature is meant to last only for a short time. Some fashionable style might be able to make a comeback, but the fact is that no fashion styles are everlasting. So, when you are determining your own branding, be careful not to just do what is trendy; trendy stuffs last only for a moment, if you want a lasting success, a non-fashionable idea is better than a fashionable one. To discover the seed is important than the fruit, as the seed the where the continuing power being stored. For example, the success of one social media is not its brand name, but it is the user experience they offer. Without deciphering the seed (user experience) from its fruit (successful brand name), it is not going to be useful to land you into the success you desire.

Third, personal branding cannot be purchased. Building a personal brand is not an easy task, it takes observations and understanding for an extended period. If you are considering buying a brand name and make it your own, the chance of it having the same tenacity of the original brand is rare. This strategy seems to work only for beating competition, but it can never be your personal branding strategy.

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The originality of a brand is one that stems from something that money cannot buy. Money cannot buy passion, creativity, character, integrity, experience, credibility and resilience. A personal brand that are built upon these qualities are one that lasts. It takes a careful observation and adjustments to reach its full potential.

Last but not the least, be sure to build a personal brand that is expandable or that allows future expansion. By nature, anything personal or unique will also set its limitation. A niche is good for a start-up, but if it is narrow and rigid, then it is not expandable. For example, you are in a training business, you might have a niche on communication, your personal branding ought to be above the niche that you might expand to the field of social entrepreneurship later.

So, if you position your personal branding on your skill sets rather than special field, you are making your personal branding expandable. It is always good to ride on skills rather than filed or industry, because after sometime when you have exhausted the specific avenue, you can always expand your training business into the more profitable market without sweat.

Overall, it is a delicate balance between being a generalist or having a careful-thought-through personal brand. To work within a niche and yet not limited by it is a tricky business; however, it is possible if you pay attention during the start-up stage of your entrepreneurship journey, look out for those elements that are persistently staying strong and keeping you successful. Remember you are building a personal brand or brand that lasts and it is also the “never-worn-out clothes in the wilderness”.

After all the internal building of discipline of the small things (Manna), now it is time for the external – a personal brand that lasts. After discovering the personal brand, you ought to establish something that keep you constantly on the go and that is to wear your “never-worn-out shoes”.

In the next article, the hidden principles relating to the “never-worn-out shoes” will be explored, stay tuned!

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