Speaker. Entrepreneur. Author.

Benefits and Demands

Added on by Sam Davidson.

This statement challenged me when I heard my friend and pastor Alan Sherouse share it:

We want the benefits community offers without the demands it makes. 

That coincides with something I heard my wife say a long time ago:

The price of intimacy is vulnerability. 

Nearly everything - every product, every service, every company - promises us ease today. The notion of making life easier is a valuable marketing opportunity, it seems. When was the last time someone tried to sell you something that was guaranteed to make your life harder?

But that's exactly what family does. And entrepreneurship. And work with meaning. And travel. And friendship. And legacy.

These things are difficult to maintain. But through their difficult maintenance we achieve the maximum benefit. There is no shortcut to lasting love, deep relationships, or meaningful community. The only way to earn all those have to offer is to slog through the mire when it comes up and trudge through the low points.

And if you're not willing to do that - to deal with the demands - then you'll never be worthy of all the promise it holds. 

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What Entrepreneurship is All About

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Last week, I was a guest speakers for the current session of CO.STARTERS, being hosted at The Skillery here in Nashville. I was asked to come share my story about starting and growing both Cool People Care and Batch

It was a great time to share with local, like-minded dreamers. Here's some of what I said:

  1. Entrepreneurship isn't about creating a job for yourself. It's about creating a life for yourself.
  2. That said, the point of entrepreneurship isn't to build a company, sell it for beaucoup bucks and then go sit on a beach. Trust me - there are easier ways to make it so you can go sit on a beach. In fact, the best entrepreneurs I know, especially those who have had successful exits, do anything but sit around at any point in time.
  3. If you're not willing to pack a box, sweep a floor, deal with an angry customer, stay up late, fix a toilet, or fold some shirts, you're probably not willing to do what entrepreneurship will require of you.
  4. Passion alone will not create a company. You need skill, too - a real talent and knack for making something.
  5. But even passion and skill together won't mean you have a business. For that, you'll also need customer validation. Will someone pay you for the thing at which you are skilled? 
  6. Your concept and your company will be very closely linked to who you are as a person. Dream and behave accordingly. 
  7. And lastly, are you really sure you want to do this?
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Acting Like a Neighbor

Added on by Sam Davidson.

This time of year, I have to water my plants each morning, at least if I don't want my hydrangeas to droop and sag by the time dinner rolls around. When I finish drenching those bad boys and topping off everything else in my backyard, I also give a drink to one of my neighbor's plants.

She, too, has a hydrangea in her back yard, right next to the fence where I turn on and off the water and roll the hose back up when I'm done. So before I finish and put everything away, I water her plant, too. 

"You should charge her for what you're doing," says the Capitalist.
"Your tax dollars should pay for a water relief program," says the Democrat.
"It's her job to water her own plant," says the Republican.
"The government will water everyone's plants in the same way," says the Communist.
"Everyone will be required to water everyone else's plants," says the Socialist.

Meanwhile, while everyone else was talking, the neighbor has watered the plant, put away his hose, and begun his day. 

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This is How We Do It

Added on by Sam Davidson.

The way you're doing things right now could be a lesson for someone else. Therefore, your processes and plans that are helping you win could be used to help others win, too (and maybe make you some money). 

Here's what I mean:
Over the last year (almost), we at Batch have shipped closed to 13,000 boxes. We're not the only people who do this, nor are we the absolute best in the world at it, but we're pretty good. We can pack things quickly and efficiently, and our overall volume gets us great rates on things like shipping fees, materials costs, and other things in the packing and logistics world.

And we want to keep getting better. But not just for our sake - for the sake of others, too.

This is why we now offer storage and packing services for local makers. Many of these people, whether they're pouring candles or mixing spices or stirring up delicious treats, love what they do. They love creating products. But they hate taking time to put things in a box and mail it. On top of that, because they're not shipping lots of things every month like us, what they pay to get something to a customer is expensive, possibly prohibiting a sale at worst and deeply cutting into profit margin at best.

So we stepped in. Now one thing that Batch does is use our packing expertise and discounts to ship things for our purveyors. Everyone wins because we leverage how we do something to a greater good (and commercial opportunity).

I bet you can do this, too, whether or not you're even officially in business in a particular area. You make the best beer can chicken. Who else wants to know? You've discovered how to better plan your day after years of wasting time. How can you share that? You're a great artist but you also know the ins and outs of taking an original creation and mass-producing prints to sell. When are you going to teach someone about that?

In many cases - like a teacher or coach - you can turn this knowledge into income, especially if people can see the passion and skill behind it. You don't have to, nor can every process or morsel of knowledge be monetized. But, if you don't at least consider what you know and who else may want to know it, you're leaving money on the table.

I bet you know something no one else does. Don't keep it that way. Let your excellence shine.

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Hang Around

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Many of my trips are quick hits. I'm in cities for less than 24 hours. Sometimes, I spend more time getting somewhere than staying somewhere. I'm in. I'm out. I'm on to what's next.

But sometimes, I get to hang around. Such was the case with a trip to the High Line this past Sunday while in New York. And it was the case after I spoke the next day. After I came off the stage, I hung around to chat with folks and catch the session after me.

The company's CTO was giving an overview of the tech world these days, complete with data and stats and figures (oh my!). It was fascinating, and while I don't directly speak or lead on such matters, it was the kind of talk that any leader or entrepreneur should hear so he or she is up on the latest as it may affect them or their businesses. 

But there's value in hanging around, I'm learning. Hanging around lets conversation happen. Hanging around gives you time to explore, try new things, test new ideas, and be observant. Hanging around - when your agenda gives way to humanity - is what creates relationships, memories, and breakthroughs. 

I'm learning to plan to hang around more (the irony, I know). To bake time into a schedule that lets the opportunities for wonder and discovery rise to their true potential. 

Going can be exciting. But there is amazing beauty and hope to be found in staying.

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