I wrote this blog while thinking of my sister Kate who starts college at High Point University this month. Kate, it took me 4 years of college and a couple extra adult years to figure some of this stuff out. If you can grasp the importance of these concepts while entering college you will be in better shape than I ever was lol. Love ya!
Okay today’s blog is a little more on the light-hearted side but I still believe this is important for anyone who is graduating college, starting a new career, or currently feeling stuck in their own position in life. I’ve been out of college for 3 years now. I’ve had 3 jobs at 3 different companies. And my longest-lasting experience comes in the form of my current position as the founder and CEO of Wave Media. It’s an unusual position to be in at age 25 but one that I’m sure many of you can relate to.
My rules for life are simple. I’m a man of faith, a man of integrity, and I like to have a good time. I value the enjoyment of work over the satisfaction of getting paid. I would rather build something that will sustain my friends, my family and I long-term than build something to get rich quick and jump to the next position. If you can relate to me and some of these principles then you will find value in this blog post. If you can not, that’s okay! There is no right or wrong way to go about building your life in business. This is just what works for me.
Thing 1 - Make a Schedule and Stick To It
Up until you graduate college most of your life is planned out for you. Things like: when to eat breakfast, go to class, get to practice, finish homework on time, study for tests etc. There isn’t a class for this and nobody directly teaches it to you in high school or college, but you have been learning quietly over time the importance of keeping a schedule. When your knowledge really gets put to the test is when you enter college and you have to pick your classes and create your schedule for the semester. But, there are still some parameters and boundaries that you have to play with-in in order to get the schedule you want.
When you leave college it’s a whole new ball game, especially if you’re working for yourself. Many of you are self starters or aspiring entrepreneurs. A lot of you chose to follow this lifestyle because of the freedom it affords you to make your own schedule. But I am here to tell you that freedom isn’t as wide open as you might think. You will have clients to meet with, employees or other companies to coordinate with, and deadlines to meet. Suddenly you have lots of things that fill your calendar and without some organization or planning it can get overwhelming. And this time around you don’t have any advisors or professors or coaches to help dictate what blocks of time you should preserve.
Some tips that helped me:
Sit down every Sunday night (BEFORE MONDAY STARTS) and plan out your week ahead
Don’t just reserve times for meetings and engagements. Block off time in your calendar for you. Set times that you want to work on certain projects or tasks and stick to these times.
Stick to your schedule. It’s important to have some type of routine. This allows your mind to compartmentalize things easier and opens it up for more creativity when you need it. Sometimes you can get carried away and spend hours on a project when your schedule can’t really afford that. Trust that your past self knew what he/she was thinking when they set those times.
Thing 2 - Try Everything
I get blasted some times for dipping my hands into too many projects or ideas at once rather than just sticking to one project and seeing it all the way through to completion. But for me, the best way to find out if you like something or not is to just try it. I personally had never written a blog post, recorded my voice into a microphone, or shot or edited any video prior to starting Wave Media. I also have tried numerous things that I ended up not enjoying, such as: working construction, running socials for a blockchain start-up, and writing blogs/articles for other company’s websites.
Since I’m a man of faith I often relate my thoughts on this topic back to a bible passage, Mathew 25: 14-30 (here is the link if you want to read it for context). The master gives his servants “talents” and when the master returns he finds that 2 of the servants were able to double their “talents” while one decided to bury his in the ground for safe keeping. Obviously the master was impressed and pleased with the two who had doubled their share and he was disappointed by the one who chose to safely hide his share. Everyday I think, “when I die and I have the opportunity to meet my creator, am I going to find out that I was given the gift set to be the world’s next best drummer… if I had only picked up a pair of drumsticks and gave it a try?”
It’s not physically possible to try every skill on the face of this earth until we find the one that we were made for. But the more things you try, the more you learn about yourself and that can lead you down the road of finding and enjoying your purpose in life.
Thing 3 - Find Projects That You Care About
When we first started Wave Media our first 3 clients were my dad’s company, Ken’s parent’s company, and a start-up school that my dad was on the board of. Ironic because I started my own business as a way to express my own independence and forge my own path. But, if I could go back I wouldn’t change anything about how we started. You see, we provided really quality work at a very discounted rate to people that we loved and wanted to help. To this day we are so invested in the growth of these companies, not because our bank account hinges on their success, but because we really care about the people that our work is affecting.
It’s hard to get yourself motivated in general each day. It’s even harder to motivate yourself to work for a company that you don’t know that much about and frankly you don’t care about. I love working with small and local businesses that are connected to our community and people we know. The deeper you can understand why an individual is in business and what their business is striving to achieve the more motivated you become to help them achieve their goals. To me, that’s what our business as marketers and creatives is all about. Finding shit that you care enough about to make sure you are always motivated to bring your highest quality of effort to the table.
These are my 3 things. This isn’t everything I learned and it’s not a road map to starting a business online (maybe I’ll write a blog about this later though). This is just some intangible advice that I think is important to know as anyone begins their next chapter in life. Whatever that chapter may be.
- Peace ✌️