“Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it.”
― George Bernard Shaw
There are so many opportunities out there for those who are willing to go after it.
Yet, too many of us wait for the opportunities for a number of reasons: we don’t have the right connections, or enough money, or enough time. The perceived lack of resources prevents us from taking action and creating opportunities for us and our businesses.
It would be a more valid argument decades ago, before the internet, the democratization of our industries, and the rise of the solo creators. But now? Show me your lack of resources, and I’ll show you someone on the other side of the world doing more with less and stop that argument dead in its tracks.
We’ve got to make another mindset shift here. From “lack of resources” thinking: “I can’t because...” to a resourceful mindset - what can I do with what I have?
Paul Millerd is a friend and fellow author. We both wrote and self-published our last books around the same time - we even shared recommendations on editors as we entered that stage of the writing and publishing process.
After Paul published his book, The Pathless Path: Imagining a New Story for Work and Life, he was presented with publishing offers. But by the time they came around, he didn’t need them at all. Not only were the offers too low to be enticing, Paul had successfully sold over 20,000 copies on his own, leveraging what he had: an audience and a network who loved his book and shared it with others.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, I was furloughed from the TV show I was working on as a Senior Producer. I had four months of uncertainty in front of me - at least - and didn’t just want to sit around and wait for the government to take care of me. So, I looked at what was possible with my skillset, the state of the world at the beginning of the pandemic, and forged a path.
I started producing my own online courses and created a site to sell them on. When they didn’t sell (my audience didn’t see me as a teacher/educator/coach, nor did they have any extra money), I got resourceful and found someone with a bigger, more engaged network. I produced a course with a creative partner, and we sold it to her audience to the tune of $10,000 in the first week alone.
That business turned into a six-figure success story and I’ve recently spun it off from Craftsman Creative to position it for a sale in a year or so.
In order to make this mindset shift, you’ve got to first recognize when your limiting beliefs show up. “I can’t because...” is a good indicator that you’re thinking in a limited way. You’re focusing on why it isn’t possible, rather than how to make it a reality.
Take a potential partnership. A limiting mindset would make you think about how small your audience is, how little you’re bringing to the table, and how you don’t have the right connections.
Authors often struggle with this limiting belief, and they wait for a publisher or agent to “pick” them, which never happens because they don’t come across as a hungry, active writer.
A resourceful mindset would think who already has an abundance of what I need?. Credit to my friend Daniel Priestley for that very concise way of putting it!
Someone out there has the audience you want. The leads you need for your business exist in their audience, and they could very easily recommend your business or services. Someone out there has an abundance of money - they just sold a business, came into some money, or are actively looking for good deals to invest in. While it might take some time, you could forge a relationship with them and when the time is right, pitch them on your business or project.
Anyone can make friends, grow their network, come up with investable projects and businesses, and create opportunities for partnerships. But you have to have a different, empowering mindset to open up those possibilities.
Whenever you find yourself focusing on limitations, shift your focus to abundance, resourcefulness, and a different approach to get the outcome you’re after. Make it a game. Create a “limiting belief” swear jar and call your team out on it when they say things that stem from a limiting mindset. Create a practice of writing down ten possible approaches to an outcome every day.
Doing this helps you shift your mindset away from limitations and towards being more resourceful. It’s part of your job as the leader of your business to take responsibility over your mindset and get resourceful. You can 2-10x your opportunities by consciously shifting this mindset. What might be possible for you and your business if you had that much more partnerships, opportunities, connections, investment, and projects coming to you rather than having to seek them out?
Start by identifying at least three limiting beliefs. Again, these often take the form of “I can’t because...”
Think of an outcome you care about - a new project, raising money, creating more profitability, partnering with another business. What resources do you lack? Write them all down.
Now, let’s attack all of those. Next to each limitation, think of at least one - ideally three or more - ways that you could get resourceful and take action.
Outcome: Start and monetize a podcast
Limitations: No audience, brand new show, no network, no downloads, not enticing to sponsors, will take forever to monetize.
Get Resourceful: I could partner with another podcast host who has an existing audience. I could create a new show but on their existing feed so we start with thousands of listeners instead of zero. They already have sponsors they’ve worked with, as well as a team who can go out and sell sponsors. We could use a limited inventory model instead of the typical CPM model, and charge a premium that way.
This is a real-life example. I created the 10k Creator with my friend Joe Pulizzi, and personally made $12,150 from the first 10-episode season. Not too shabby for someone who’s never had more than 150 downloads on my own podcast episodes. That first season has been listened to over 30,000 times.
Outcome: Get paid to write a book
Limitations: I don’t have an agent or publisher, I don’t have a big enough audience to get an agent or publisher, my subject is too niche, I’ll never sell enough to earn out my advance, the advance would be too small anyway.
Get Resourceful: I could get a sponsor for the book, use the existing network I have to find a company that would benefit from supporting the book and get exposure from it alongside me and my business. I could put together a compelling pitch, list out a dozen potential companies, and go to them over the next month until I get a “yes!”
Another personal example that came together for the book you’re reading right now. I approached Lulu knowing that they needed a spokesperson for this audience of business owner authors, people who were using books as business cards on steroids, who needed to self publish in order to have the email addresses of the people who purchase their books, but still want the benefit of getting paid to write the book.
I sat down with Matt, the Senior VP of Marketing at a recent event and pitched him on the idea of sponsoring this book as it was being written and published in public. They said yes, and a few short weeks later they committed $12,000 and services like editing, design, and promotion. I’m literally being “paid” to write this book, just in an atypical way.
Now it’s your turn. List out your limitations, then immediately combat them with resourcefulness. Think of ways you can get that outcome that doesn’t require permission from gate keepers, or resources you don’t have. Take responsibility of creating the opportunities you want in your business, rather than waiting for them.
Sponsored By Lulu.com
The team at Lulu has been an incredible partner since I released my last book, Craftsman Creative - How Five-Figure Creators Can Build Six-Figure Businesses.
We've partnered on this next book, Blockbuster, to share the ins and outs, the behind the scenes of writing and publishing a book in public.
To learn more about how Lulu can help you get your book out into the world, visit lulu.com by clicking the button below: