I read one of those cheesy Instagram quote cards last week and it struck a cord with me.
"What you give to the world influences what you will receive in return. So much of our happiness depends on how we choose to look at the world."
It meant something to me.
I was going to name this article ‘How I made The Strategy Masterclass’ and then thought I’d also talk about ‘How I made Photify’ one of my other initiatives and side hustles.
But I thought that might be a little too ingratiating or self-congratulatory.
So I opted for another title and began the article with a few links to prove up front, that I don’t like to simply talk about ideas, but I like to execute them as well.
I’m asked the question all the time - why, and how, did I build The Strategy Masterclass online course? Why would I want to give away the methods I’ve used over my career?
I’ve been asked if I was worried that competitors would buy the course and use my methods for their own. Was I concerned about the increase in competition? I’ve been asked if I’m concerned if employees or colleagues would buy my strategy course and leave to start their own businesses.
All viable and probable options.
All realistic and valid scenarios.
I’ll answer these questions shortly but first let’s reflect on the number of people who have an idea that they keep telling you about and do little or nothing with. Or better still, don’t tell you what the idea is, but keep telling you that they simply have one.
Let’s reflect on the number of people who love a meeting; especially a brainstorm where they can talk about, and come up with ideas, and then walk away from them.
You may have noticed a theme evolving over the last month and that is of development. Of execution. Of a narrative that includes building products, sharing ideas and putting them out into the world.
This is the narrative of the Creative Leader.
I’m eternally fascinated with people who can develop ideas in quantity and evolve a few towards execution - and sometimes towards success. Some mistakenly assume that these idea-hungry, product people are hungry for success and ultimately money. But in truth the adventure is the adventure. The adventure of discovery is nourishing because it continually teaches you and with this, we grow.
This is why I launched The Strategy Masterclass.
I am nourished by looking for problems to solve and overlap them with a simple solution I can provide.
"A business is simply an idea that makes people’s lives better."
- Richard Branson
Too many people talk about their ideas and never make them. Too many others harbour their ideas and will ‘one day’ tell you; never moving close to execution. Not realising that this is when they will truly feel nourished. When they see their idea in the hands of people.
I’d much rather be told of an idea after an initial prototype is made — not when it is simply in its embryonic stage. But rather, when they’ve had a moment to breath and see the world for the first time — even if the idea itself is struggling to find its feet, wobbling to stand up.
A couple of years ago I came to a simple realisation that pushed me to write weekly, offer as much value as I could possibly cram into a single email, share and teach everything I know.
I realised that after 27 years in this industry I may have something to offer someone who has had 27 minutes of experience. The other extreme. I also came to the realisation that my purpose in business was to do something I call ‘meaningful work’.
For me, meaningful work means good work for good people. Work that moves us all forward and at times contributes positively to the world we live in. And unlike those who would sit back and admire those words and do nothing about them. I sat down and did the work that was meaningful to me and me alone.
I listened to the questions readers of this weekly journal were asking me. Questions from all manner of people with all manner of disciplines. And the overlap between their struggles and what I could provide was The Strategy Masterclass and this weekly journal.
I started writing what would eventually turn out to be an 80,000-word manuscript which turned into the course guide for the audio and video-based course for Creative Leaders.
But Why? The questions continued.
Most of our industry is filled with people who toil in a month to month battle to pay bills and do good work. It is a vast landscape of players who struggle to differentiate and establish a completive advantage.
They're not fancy. They're not global.
They're normal people, running normal businesses like you and I. They're young people who don't know what to do next and they're older people who are searching for what to do next themselves.
This interests me because here, I can move the needle from zero to one — more so than anywhere else.
We spend so much time in our careers focussing on the glamorous and the famous. The people whose names we all know, the creative agencies that win awards and the brands we strive to work for, and I believed that more of a focus — a concerted effort — needed to be put towards the people in our industry who will be tomorrow's Creative Leaders. The leaders who are winning small victories every single day and not being recognised. The Freelancers and Solopreneurs who have the potential to be great. This is where I believed I could have impact. So I made something and put it out into the world knowing full well that what I put into the world, will greatly influence what I receive in return.
This is positive impact — and I receive validation of this impact every single day from people whom I've been able to help in some small way.
This to me is meaningful work.
"It’s easy to find reasons not to do something."
- Richard Branson