Friday, December 19, 2014

My Last Feast For Thought

Feast For Thought: My Semester Closing Thoughts

Just like any meal there are so many "bits" I could write about from this semester. I could feast on the turkey meat of our $100 challenge raise my turkey leg in victory having surpassed the $100 by a lot. I could look over at Aunt Bertha's yams (that no one likes) and reflect on just how negatively something as simple as not posting by Tuesday would affect my overall grade. Yikes. Or I could look at the food that was prepared and left for the dogs because I couldn't figure out how to submit it (My $100 Pitch video). Regardless, of the negatives and positives from this semester I am leaving full and ready to sleep. I am done. I am tired. I am happy with the beauty of the overall meal. If I focus on aspects of the semester individually it frustrates me but collectively I am happy having successfully passed the course and being that much closer to being done with getting my secular "feather."


So you are thinking about being an Entrepreneur eh? Well, great. Me too. I am not some wise man on the mountain so proceed with caution. I speak of my own feeling being out of this long dark tunnel of this semester. Now I want to speak to you Mr. or Mrs. Entrepreneur. What should you learn? Learn that you need to jump in and start. Learn that there are some resources out there that are awesome. I particularly enjoyed Brother Morris' Large Venture creation course and learning about the Business Model Canvas. I loved in this course learning from Harvard's Acton Heroes and watching the "AHA" moment for so many people when they wanted to point out money isn't everything and that they wanted to leave a legacy. I would say that school is very important and a rite of passage you must go through but fully expect to learn a lot from life. Learn from everything. Don't assume you will learn everything from college or anyone else. You must learn. You must learn from everyone and everything. Learn from failure and learn from success. Better yourself Daily.

In conclusion remember the wise words of President Monson "Green things grow and ripe things rot. You should remain green all your days."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." -Helen Keller

There are so many thoughts floating around my head from this week. I have "concluded" my $100 challenge (although I still have a lot more orders to fill before Christmas). I feel as though I did very well with the $100 challenge considering a couple slow weeks and a slow beginning. I feel this showed me a glimpse of both how hard a lack of sales can be but also how hard success can be as well. At this point my profit after all my expenses is: $413.25

Additionally, I additional $30 or so coming in before Christmas.

I chose the above quote because I really have been thinking a lot about the semester seeing that it is coming to a close. After my computer broke I have had  struggle in many of my classes and am not getting the grades I as hoping for this semester. I have struggled with depression on and off my whole life and I have been trying to make the best of the grades I am getting in this class and others. I suppose the reason I liked this quote because I was considering the inspirational thought I got from our Acton Hero assignment this week when Tom Nall spoke of optimism and spoke about a phrase he likes to quote to employees and people stating that he wanted to be like the individual who jumped from the Empire State Building and 3/4 of the way down he said to himself " So far so Good."

In conclusion, I feel like it is important to remember that even in the darkest of moments we can chose to focus on the light that is surely somewhere nearby or we can simply become lost in the shade. I think this is applicable in both life and business. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Thoughts this Week

As I listened to Eric Slaubaugh and how he was speaking about business being essentially hard at times I was able to relate with what I am going through at this time in my own life. My wife's mother was in an accident when she was 14 on Christmas Eve and ended up passing away on New Year's Eve.

I felt like this is relative because as he spoke of the hardships of business I was thinking of what my wife and I had just done. My wife struggles with this Holiday season. Instead of doing what we have tried to do every year which hasn't helped her be happy. Maybe I am being to artistic in my comparison but I think in Metaphors. As I assist in the process of healing for my wife I can see how this applies to business as well. We have had a Christmas tree every year we are married but this year we went out and cut one down and started a new happy tradition.

In business we need to be able to iterate and find news ways to do the same things at times (even and especially when it gets hard).

I really enjoyed Eric's thoughts on valuing and trying to get as many mentors as possible. I feel like I have been looking for good solid mentors all my life. I am not about to compare mentors to Father Christmas (Although he would be a great mentor for bringing the spirit of Christmas). I have enjoyed the feedback I have received from individuals on my $100 challenge.

Weekly Follow Up

$100 Report

Although, I have not made as much money as I figured I could I have learned a lot from this assignment already. This week I had no orders so my total earned money remains the same as last week but I have gained a lot more orders for later in the month. I have a guaranteed $50+.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Commit to the Trick"

       Commit to the Trick
After having learned from and a bit more about Nicole Donnelly it really stood out to me about how she spoke about commitment. I think every time I have failed at something it was because I had not really committed to whatever it was. Instead of focusing on all the failures of when I didn't commit I want to express this point with a recent victory I had. My wife and I spent more money then we ever do on two tickets to an intense obstacle course race down in Utah called the Spartan. When we had signed uup the race was said to be anywhere from 8 to 10 miles through the mountains with mud and other obstacles. We were excited. We wanted to get in better shape and do something hard/fun as a couple. We started to train. One day while training we decided to go roller blading... My wife had an accident. She would be fine all but a large scar tht she has across her leg. This was only weeks before our event. It was a deep enough nd painful enough that she would not be able to compete. Additionally, the race had flexed the race we were participating in to the next level of difficulty turning a 8 Mile race into a 15 mile race. Being frank we hadn't trained enough for an 8 and now we were expected to double our distance. My training got worse and ultimately it ceased. The day of the race game. Everyone we were going to do the race with wondered if I would do it because frankly I was not in shape. I said I was. The day came and after 7+ hours I finished the race. For all intents and purposes I was out of shape and had to walk most of it. However, I was committed and I finished a race I shouldn't have been able to.

For me this is very applicable because in business people sometimes jump in with expectations just like I did for the Spartan beast. I assumed I would be fit and ready for the challenge. I wasn't. Did that mean I failed? No. Could I have been better prepared? Surely. In business it is no different we can prepare as much as we want but the real thing will always be different when the pains begin and the challenges occur. I have experienced this already a bit with selling cream puffs. It has been interesting to see how situations can indicate our commitment level. I had been excited and ready for this assignment all semester and now that I am doing it is stressful and a pain. I am taking 15 credits in school and working a job. This has caused running this business to be even more difficult.I have found this to be a very good experience and I am learning bout a lot of assumptions that I made tht were not good and what I need to address better in the future for better success.

Revenue: $190

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Put the "Grave" into Gravy

"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail." ~A Christmas Carol

The Grave in Gravy

I was truly inspired this week by the two Acton Hero videos I was able to watch. The lives of Catherine Rohr and Corey Bell will lit me up. Bell's words about death and the graveyard being the richest place in the world really hit me. With the holidays fast approaching  I have been thinking a lot about the book The Christmas Carol. I always make a goal to read it before Christmas because I find it to be so inspiring. I can't help but think of this "rich graveyard" filled with the spirits trapped by their own agency wishing forever the two simple words "What If?"

I find myself becoming extremely emotionally pondering this topic of these individuals like Marley crying in their hearts “I wear the chain I forged in life....I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

What if? What if?... WHAT IF?

Simply put I want to live a certain life and up to this point I have only had excuses as to why I cannot be that man. To quote Dickens again “No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused.” 

I can't help but feel this argument going on within the silent chambers of my heart as if Scrooge and Marley were there present arguing:

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” 

I have been studying and learning for a lot of my life to be "a good man of business." What is my business truly? Mankind. That is what will make me happy. That is my goal. That is my "What If" scenario. 'To live a life like no one else so I can give like no one else' to borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey.

I feel a spark that is turning into a flame within my soul... this deep and hopeful question reversed on the doom and dread that it could in one later day bring me by stopping to consider this life now..... "What if?"

$100 Challenge Update

Sales: 81
NOI: 61

I have orders that are rapidly growing this week as well for the holidays that will dramatically bring in more revenue.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cream Puffs On the Bus.... But Why?

Cream Puff Business ($100 Challenge)

Follow up: I have passed out flyers and started to receive orders. I was able to e-mail my flyer to all Bonneville Sheriffs Department (AKA all County Employees). I was able to advertise on local Facebook. From these efforts this week I have already received orders for $222 worth of products. Due to the nature of my business model I have not received any actual money yet. The cool part is that I can make this all under $20 dollars and still not be short products or over on allowed money.

Total Earned Money: $0
Total Orders: $222
Total Cost: $20
Net Operating Income: $202

On The BUS

I was considering the different readings from this week and I enjoyed thinking about "Good to Great" that we read and thinking about 'who the right people' would be to be on this bus. I know my mother would be a great resource so that I can ensure quality control (she would be a great adviser) not necessarily an employee. Eventually, if this business was to take off I would need a baker and a Sales associate (if I was going to sell them from my own location). If I was going to produce these and try to sell them out to other businesses I would need drivers, bakers, warehouse employees, and a manager. In either scenario I would need an accountant to keep the books.

I had to think a lot about what would have to happen before I was willing OR HAD to hire other people to enter into my business. The move from infancy to adolescence (E-Myth Reference) can be hard to know when to pull the trigger and go for it. I have run through many questions such as "Is this only getting this kind of responses because I know these people? Or, Is it because the profits are going to a non-profit? Or, is simply because the holidays are coming?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Disciple Leadership in the Similitude of Him

This week the studying we did on disciple leadership and especially on Jesus Christ: The Perfect Leader has really stood out to me.

I have been thinking a lot about my role in this world and my future vocation. I had a very spiritual experience while studying about disciple leadership and have been inspired to do something a little different with my $100 challenge AND this Holiday Season.

As a young man my mother used to read picture books to us while we laid in bed before sleeping. Each holiday season the books changed into whatever holiday was coming up next. One of my favorites was the book: Silver Packages.

I started thinking about my Christmas experiences since being married. I have always loved the Christmas season but ever since getting married it has been a hard time of year. My sweet wife lost her mother to an accident days after Christmas. As I was reading the power point from this week one of the first slides said in essence: 'Challenged the the reader to think of what we can do to take a stand, get involved, and make a difference...' I thought about that book from my childhood and my current situation and thought to myself that my wife and I should be like the man on the train from this book. In the book there was a man who would come and give out "silver packages" each Christmas to those who were in need from the back of a train. We had been planning on going back east and I thought to myself "How much better could this trip be if it was filled with the spirit of Christmas doing service all the way to and from New York and back?" I have begun to compile a list of service activities and am going to organize my efforts to do fundraisers and collect products such as blankets and clothing and hygiene kits for various non-profit sites along the road. We are going to serve throughout all of this Christmas season. I directly believe this inspiration for this idea came from this week's homework.

As for my $100 challenge I have begun to advertise and have had some orders that have been put in for when I make the first batch of Cream Puffs.

Money Earned: $0

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Market WHAT?

In light of the readings from this week I wanted to do some costumer development before I went forward with selling. I needed to know just how much someone would be willing to spend and who my customer segment was. I conducted some data collection and asked around at work and other various locations concerning price points and interest levels. I cannot say that I feel confident at this point of my selected choice of business but I feel like it is a good start.

After all the readings this week I felt like my decision to move forward with customer validation was the right one. I want to make sure I can sell every single cream puff when I actually spend the dead president and move forward with this endeavor. I was able to not only get pictures of my product this week but also some left-over clam shells that I will be able to use to sell individual cream-puffs.

Total Money Raised: $0

Plan of Action: I have made a flyer in Microsoft Word. I have planned out some different locations and individuals who will take these flyers and I expect to start gaining orders this coming week.

I have been trying to decide how I can better my "costumer relationships" for a start-up venture and the only thing I feel like I can do right now is make sure the quality of the product is good and that my customers are taken care of.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Marketing: Where is that Purple Cow without the Hay?

Marketing: Where is that Purple Cow without the Hay?

I have been thinking a lot this week about my cream puff business. I need to get orders but to get orders I need flyers and/or pictures of my product to market. If I market this way that means I will spend $20. I found it fitting that this week I read about Marketing. I am trying to think of some disruptive means to market my product for the $100 challenge. I have contacted my mother for pictures (if she has any) seeing that the cream puff recipe I am using is hers. Up to this point I have not got anything or heard anything back from her. I started thinking about the Seth Godin article about the purple cow. I thought specifically about how there are not very many 'Purple Cows.' I thought to myself "If there are not very many purple cows because people are AFRAID then what am I afraid of with this start-up that is preventing my $20 Start-Up from being a successful purple cow?"

So, with no further adieu I made a list of my current fears that I need to over-come to win and be successful not only in this effort (and getting the extra credit) but also in building myself so that no matter what challenge I step into in the future I will be successful.

My Fears: Looking stupid, Not selling, Not getting extra credit, not being the best, not being able to follow the recipe, not being able to prove to my wife that I can run a business/ start-up, not being able to prove to myself that I can do any of this.

I made the fears section small because I do not want it to be the focus. As we learn in faith if we fear it will cripple us from acting and I have a habit of being afraid. It may or may not be a coincidence that I just got through watching "Rudy" while I was trying to develop this blog post. I thought to myself about how this young man had everything in the world to be "afraid" of and every reason to go sit down or never even start. I thought of how so many people in my own life tell me I look like the actor from this movie (I can't see it) but I started the process of likening this look-a-like to myself. How can I be more like Rudy? How could I in my life and my business life and future be like Rudy?

I thought back on my own life of playing football. I thought to myself of how good I used to be and my own story playing football. I was a young boy who started to like football simply because he was not liked and had no friends and it was the "cool" thing when I was in elementary school to be good at sports. My 6th grade year I joined a football team being a chubby nonathletic kid who knew nothing about football only to quit after the first practice because it was "Hard." I was not ready mentally, physically, and most of all emotionally. After the embarrassment and more importantly the despair of failing had passed somewhat I told myself that I was going to get into shape and play again. I had all winter to think about it. By spring I was roller blading every day and throwing a racquetball ball against our carport wall because I assumed if I could catch that I could catch a football or basketball. I grew up in a single parent home and I was the oldest boy so I was on my own. To spare the internet from my personal story I want to sum up what happened next. I convinced my financially struggling mother I wasn't going to waste her money again by quitting. I played this next season and was one of the fastest kids on the team. I hardly played at all (though the coaches wanted me to start) because I simply did not understand the game or the rules. Again, I could have quit but something had changed. Me. I had a desire. I had hope. I had a challenge like Rudy. By the next year I didn't come off the field and was the highest scoring defensive and offensive player in the league I led the league in every humanly possible statistic within my realm of influence. My the following year I was a freshmen in high school and dressing with the varsity. I quickly began to play with the varsity and became a 4-year lettering football player.

So who am I going to be the rest of my life? In business? In my marriage? With my talent? The young man who was ignorant and had every reason to quit and be scared and did? or the same kid who did something about it? Is that not what business and life is all about? Is my good or service the purple cow? Or am I? I need to feed the cow right? Why is it everyone always says in the self-help and personal motivation world that you should read or listen to positive materials daily? Because there is no Purple Cow there is no ME if I am to scared to do anything and I am busy convincing myself why I can or can't do something in the depths of fear hiding my LIGHT under the bushels of life. Be the purple Cow.

Total raised money: $0

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Power of Advice

"If you ask for money you will get advice but if you ask for advice you MIGHT get money."
                                                  -Peter Diamandis

While accomplishing the homework for this week I watched a clip from a speak given at Stanford where Peter Diamandis made the above statement. Seeing that I have been working out the back end details and making and then re-making my business plan raising funds and boot strapping my business has been on the front of my mind. So I had to experiences this week I feel like have been directly applicable to what we are learning and doing. The first started with questions inside of my head about my business. Questions like: "Should I bring in outside investors to loan me $20?" (for my $100 challenge business) or "Should I just finance this endeavor myself?"

Seeing that this was such a small sum of money I found myself thinking "Oh I will just give myself $20 bucks or more if needed...." Then I thought to myself "WAIT. What did I just say in my mind? I will give myself MORE if I need it? No. I will not. This is the $20 challenge. Not the $21.52 challenge or the $52 challenge it is the $20 challenge!" After I had this battle within the not-so-silent chambers of my heart I felt a iteration taking place within myself. I started looking for ways to not have to loan myself even $20. I starting "boot-straping" as Guy Kawasaki says. I found myself thinking about how I could use some of my own raw materials that would go into this and that to cut the cost of my business.

The second experience was after I pitched two ideas and then asked for "advice" or feedback. I did not receive money directly but I saw an abundance of other forms of payments through intellectual suggestions and experiences on the back end of the technology aspect of my business idea from individuals with much more experience then me. Overall I felt like the above quote was very accurate not only for potential and future business but in our own lives.

Consider when we want God to remove something hard form our lives. We may pray that He remove this bitter cup from our current lives and sometimes He does more times then not this is not the right prayer. When we ask God for advice then He usually if not always "pays" us and helps us know hot to iterate and make it through the challenges of life.

I hope to find connections with entrepreneurs so that I can go to them and ask advice in times of need and want to utilize the interview assignment to make some of these connections. I have been brainstorming some individuals and thinking of how to approach them.

Follow up on my $100 Challenge

Here it is I am doing a Cream-Puff business. I have pitched some friends and starting looking into means to produce sign-up sheets and flyers (virtually and possibly by paper) to have people order this good. I have not spent a dime but I have recieved commitments to take flyers and word of mouth advertising to a few different businesses and my mother who was coming up from Utah this weekend is bringing some plastic containers (for free) that she doesn't want that I will be able to use for storing the final product.

After this challenge and if (and when) I recieve the extra credit for raising the most money I want to challenge myself in the future to the $100 challenge with a start-up amount of nothing. Gotta get these boots on and get it done! Yes, that is a big statement to assume I am going to be the highest grossing individual but things like that motivate me. I want to win and win big. I want to get an A in this class because I am passionate about this subject. Period. Bring it.


Saturday, October 11, 2014



This week I was able to read This Simple Little GEM Can Help Your Business Grow and Grow by Stephen W. Gibson. He pointed out his three main points he felt that were  applicable for business growth. I found myself agreeing with his points but I felt the argument was not full. The three different aspects of business he pointed out were: Gathering, Enhancing, and finally Marketing. So I wanted to see if this was true as I have been thinking about my $100 challenge. So I went to the Business Model Canvas and tried to evaluate if these "three gems" could really fulfill all the needs of this canvas.

The Categories of the Business Model Canvas and the applicability of the "three gems":

  1. Customer Segments- 
  2. Value Proposition-
  3. Sales Channels-
  4. Customer Relationships-
  5. Revenue Streams-
  6. Key Resources-
  7. Key Activities-
  8. Key Partners-
  9. Cost Structure-
Upon reviewing each of these categories I noticed that as a business owner and entrepreneur can "gather" data for each of these sections. Surely if you and I want to be successful in business we better go through a cycle of "enhancing" which may look something like this (See The Startup Owner's Manual By Steve Blank and Bob Dorf):
  1. Gather and Create Business Model Canvas and Generate Hypothesis
  2. Test Problems ("Gather" Data)
  3. Test Solution or Value Proposition ("Gather" Data) 
  4. Pivot or proceed ("enhance")
As for the final gem of "marketing". One of the biggest problems Sir Richard Bronson pointed out in Start Up Mistakes that stood out to me was this simple statement "A mistake often associated with the first step is signaled by an entrepreneur's inability to clearly and concisely convey his idea."

$100 Start-Up Challenge Up Date: $0 Raised
The hardest thing that I am coming into contact with is picking an idea that I actually want to pursue. I feel I can make any of these ideas work but which one do I actual want to spend my time working with? This week I hope to finalize this issue. I find myself thinking about each and every idea "To Be? or not to be? that is the question!" -Hamlet

Saturday, October 4, 2014

So Many Doors!

So Many Doors!

“A hard thing is done by figuring out how to start.” – Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz
Rand Fiskin pointed out rightly so that in life hard things are figured out by knowing where to start. I have always been a dreamer. I used to spend hours setting up my army men all over the kitchen table. I would have the whole story figured out. I would identify where the weak areas were in the game scenario and try to build up defenses on both sides. I would find scenarios I thought would be challenging to know what to do (hostages or a surprise attack) and I would try to work out in my mind what and how I would play. I literally would set things up all day long until it was perfect. Finally, you would think (as a child) I would desire to go through the scenario and "play" but I seldom would. After every scenario had been conceived and thought through there was no point for me to play it I had created a picture in my mind and I would not ever start.

There are a few principles I have come to think about within this idea. I thought of these principles as I went through a power point pdf about entrepreneurship. Within this slide there was a slide that had a lot of doors on it. Each door was labeled a different way to be an entrepreneur. Atop the page the sentence read "What door will you go through?" My answer: I - D-O-N-T - K-N-O-W.

Like that little boy I enjoy the scenarios and the challenge of thinking it up. I am what is stated in the e-myth as an Entrepreneur (Although I do have a little manager in me). I have little if any technician in me though not because I can't do it but because I would rather manage and plan things out or dream.

So the question remains what door will I choose? And yet.. I still have no solid answer. I think for the time being I will pick inside each and every door and see if there is one that feels right. I wish that I had some deep dark plan for the rest of my life but I like to dream and think of the many things I can do "when I grow up." One day I think it would be cool to backpack across the country the next I want to go to Stanford or Purdue to get my MBA and teach. I don't know what door I am going to choose so I think I will simply walk down the hall and hop out the window.

I suppose it is hard for me to want to go through any door because a door is something someone else has left to welcome and greet or leave other behind and say "goodnight." I do not want to walk into someone elses' door I want to walk outside into the wilderness and create my own world with my own door wherever that may be.

As for my $100 challenge I am still at $0 raised. I wish there was a remedy for many moods of an entrepreneur. Some days I think my ideas are genius and the next I don't think anything will work or I lack the motivation to put my ideas into motion. I blame it one laziness. Its not. I am scared to fail. I am also horrible at managing my time. Perhaps, I am OCD enough that I procrastinate most things in life not because I am lazy but because I want to properly student and do all that is required. Teachers have never allowed me time adequate for what I feel is my full potential so year after year I struggle intrinsically as I submit assignments or perform what will be considered adequate but never my best.

I always have lofty goals of being the best and doing better than anyone else. This same attitude haunts me for the $100 challenge. I do not know how to "figure" out how to start. 

I have learned a lot this weak and have been doing a lot of self reflection. Which door?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 100 Dollar Challenge!

$100 Challenge!

I am going to tell you about something very crazy it is called the $100 challenge! The premise of this challenge is to unleash the hidden Entrepreneur within. So what is this challenge? The challenge ("if you choose to accept it") is this:

The Challenge: The challenge is to raise $20 in funds to start  a business providing some sort of goods or services. With that initial $20 you must pay back those you borrowed it from (unless you were creative and figured out a way to raise it without going into debt) and then you must try to make at LEAST $100 from $20. All profits you make you then must donate to Kiva. Kiva is a non-profit that helps entrepreneurs all around the money in a pay-it-forward like experience where you lend money and they pay you back. Check it out through the hyperlink.

Step #1: Raise $20 to start this challenge.

Personal Progress:
 I have mulled over a few different options. I have thought of anything from using a brother-in-law as an investor (his offer was $20 with a 10% annual interest rate) to taking crushed soda cans to the metal yard for spare change. No matter what you choose this is a very important concept to mull over in your business plan because you want to make sure you start off right and can make as much profit as possible. You cannot just GIVE yourself $20. I think that I will try to collect Soda cans and/or raise money by pitching individuals on the challenge and asking for spare change. As much as I love my brother-in-law I am not about to go into debt. If you choose to join me in this challenge add a comment below on how YOU hope to raise your initial $20. Thanks!~ 

Dane's Raised Money: $0.00

If you would like to help me in this challenge let me know in the comments below.

I will be posting each and every step I take in this process. This is an assignment for one of my classes and whoever raised the most funds gets extra credit. I don't care about the extra credit but I do care about being the best entrepreneur. So I say "bring it!"

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