Starting My Company: Fear-Setting & Asymmetrical Risk

Fear-Setting & Asymmetrical Risk
(Reading Time: 3 minutes)

My positioning & strategy consultancy, Three Deuce Branding, turns 23 today.

I started it from the second bedroom of my Cincinnati condo in 1997. I run it from the second bedroom of our Chicago condo today. Progress!

Back then, going solo was less common than it is today. “I can’t believe you’re doing this” was a typical response – not always in a flattering way.

Some people even said I should try it part-time first, as if that were an option. (“I can help solve your strategic challenges, but only after 6pm.”)

I was all-in from the get-go. Today, I’m sharing some background on how I chose self-employment over a steady paycheck, since this is a question I get often. Fun fact: I made this decision in about 24 hours.

Continue reading “Starting My Company: Fear-Setting & Asymmetrical Risk”

How to Work From Home: Tips I’ve Learned Over 20 Years

(Reading Time: 7 minutes)

I first started working from home in 1997.  I definitely didn’t pioneer the concept, but I was perhaps an early adopter.  And I’ve had plenty of time to get things right and wrong.

In the name of showing up for others during this tricky time, the following are seven tips I recommend to someone who’s new to working from home.

Continue reading “How to Work From Home: Tips I’ve Learned Over 20 Years”

12 Important Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years as a Soloist

(Reading Time: 6 minutes)On June 16, 1997, I declared myself “open for business” as a soloist and a brand strategy consultant.  I did this from the desk in my spare bedroom.  I don’t recall thinking, “I’ll be doing some version of this 20 years from now,” but here we are.

I’m very happy with how things have turned out, and I’m proud to have reached this milestone.  Below are 12 things I’ve learned along the way.  I hope they may be of benefit to those of you who are considering working for yourself, or are new to the game. Continue reading “12 Important Things I’ve Learned in 20 Years as a Soloist”

Thank You for 19 Years

(Reading Time: 2 minutes)On June 16, 1997, I established the company that now bears the name Three Deuce Branding.  That was exactly 19 years ago.

I celebrated the way I celebrate most days, by starting the day with 90 minutes of hot yoga. Tonight, the wife and I enjoyed some fish tacos and grilled prawns at GT Fish & Oyster. It’s the little things.

19th BirthdayIt was a pretty normal day in most other respects, though Continue reading “Thank You for 19 Years”

10 Things I’ve Learned From 18 Years as a Solopreneur

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)On June 16, 1997, I hung out my shingle as a consultant and solopreneur. I was 27, and had just resigned a group brand manager position at a Fortune 200 company after 10 weeks of employment.

Clearly, that wasn’t the place for me.

Eighteen years later, I’m happy, business is good, and the best is yet to come.

What follows are some lessons I’ve learned, whether you’re a solopreneur, a consultant or merely curious. Continue reading “10 Things I’ve Learned From 18 Years as a Solopreneur”

Selling the C-Suite: The “Four Knows”

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)In a prior post, Why You Can’t Sell to the C-Suite, I shared my experience of being a sales target during my recent tenure as a CMO.

The quick summary: I received over twenty-five unsolicited contacts per week – over one thousand in a year. Of these, about 98% didn’t work. Today, I want to discuss the approaches that did work.

Selling the C Suite Winning LosingI need to first make clear, in boldface: I am not a sales expert. My intent here is to offer some perspective from “the other side of the desk,” based on my own experience and that of other executives with whom I’ve discussed this topic. I expect that readers will have additional insights to share, and I invite you to do so in a comment below.

Let’s start by reviewing, as we apparently must, the table-stakes: Continue reading “Selling the C-Suite: The “Four Knows””

The Power of NO

Power of No Brand Strategy

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)There’s been a lot written about the “Power of YES” – the belief that life is best experienced through an attitude of affirmation.  And I agree with that, in most instances.  But I’m an equally firm believer in the Power of NO.

Stephen Covey

The Power of NO is really a matter of focus.  Stephen Covey crystallized the concept for me when I first read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People nearly 20 years ago.  Mr. Covey wrote: Continue reading “The Power of NO”