No gotchas

There are so many surprises on the journey of entrepreneurship. One of them is with all the fees you can end up paying!

I knew I wanted to be able to take credit cards for my FundraisingCoach.com work. But when I signed up for a merchant account, no one warned me about the “gotchas”! Between the bank, the merchant account, Authorize.net, and the credit card companies, there were lots of opportunities for fees. I wonder if all the layers re to make these fees seem less significant. And these fees were removed automatically from my bank account. I know it’s the cost of doing business but I didn’t like the roller coaster ride. I’d see sales happen so I’d think I’d made a certain amount of money. But there was less in my account than I expected due to them taking fees out multiple times a month.

A few months ago, I started with Infusionsoft Payments. One thing I love about Infusionsoft Payments is how straightforward it is. What is sent to my account is mine to keep. No games, no gotchas.

And no gotchas lets me focus on what I love doing: helping my clients and creating new content!

Jim Collins on thriving in 2009

I finally read the Jim Collins interview from Inc. magazine called “How to Thrive in 2009.

I’m a fan of his books Built to Last and Good to Great so the fact that I loved this article is no big surprise.

Here are some tidbits:

How do you define entrepreneurship?

I take a broad view of it. The traditional definition — founding an entity designed to make money — is too narrow for me. I see entrepreneurship as more of a life concept. We all make choices about how we live our lives. You can take a paint-by-numbers approach, or you can start with a blank canvas. When you paint by numbers, the end result is guaranteed. You know what it’s going to be, and it might be good, but it will never be a masterpiece. Starting with a blank canvas is the only way to get a masterpiece, but you could also blow up. So, are you going to pick the paint-by-numbers kit or the blank canvas? That’s a life question, not a business question.

I like paint-by-numbers. It’s a great feeling as a first born to “get it right.” But, personally, I’d really prefer to create a masterpiece.

Here’s another one:

It has to do with your ability to handle risk, no?

Not risk. Ambiguity. People confuse the two. My students used to come to me at Stanford and say, “I’d really like to do something on my own, but I’m just not ready to take that much risk. So I took the job with IBM.” And I would say, “You’re not ready for risk? What’s the first thing you learn about investing? Never put all your eggs in one basket. You’ve just put all your eggs in one basket that is held by somebody else.” As an entrepreneur, you know what the risks are. You see them. You understand them. You manage them. If you join someone else’s company, you may not know those risks, and not because they don’t exist. You just can’t see them, and so you can’t manage them. That’s a much more exposed position than the entrepreneur faces. But there’s lower ambiguity on the paint-by-numbers path: very clear but more risky. The entrepreneurial path: very ambiguous but less risk. Of course, the truth is that it’s all ambiguous, anyway. If you think you can predict the future, you’re crazy.

Isn’t the difference between ambiguity and risk a helpful distinction?! Those of us who’ve grown up seeing companies layoff employees know that cradle-to-grave security left the social contract decades ago. Having all your eggs in the “job” basket is indeed risky.

Check out the rest of the interview on Inc’s site. Hopefully it’ll spur your thinking as it has mine!