Something We Should Do More Of

“Without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with a minister and congregation. Or with the guy at the corner grocery store, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, co-workers. Good people, who are always ‘there’, who can be relied upon in small, important ways. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. I don’t know why, but we don’t.

And of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend on us, watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know. Don’t sell yourself short. You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think.”

-Robert Fulghum, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (great non-business book, by the way)

A few days ago I received an email from Adnan, who runs the very popular young entrepreneur blog Blogtrepreneur. The message included the following (reproduced with his permission of course):

This is going to sound random, but I really wanted to shoot you an email just basically saying that your blog has been my favourite read over the past year. Out of the 30-40 blogs in my feedreader, and the many, many blogs I frequent over the course of the day, yours is the one I most look forward to reading.

I wrote back and expressed my gratitude for taking the time to write such an email. Emails like that are why I blog. Hell, getting emails like that are what I live for. There are few things that make someone happier and more satisfied than to hear that they are appreciated.

The world truly would be a better place if we all took more time to share our appreciation with others. For some reason it’s a really hard thing to do (for most people anyway), but that doesn’t mean we can’t work on it. It’s not an easy thing to do whether the person is really close like a family member, or someone you routinely encounter like that person you chat with a few days a week at the gym.

Today I challenge you to tell someone important in your life how much they mean to you. I’m going to start by following Adnan’s lead – emailing my favorite blogger – and then try to carry the momentum over to the rest of my life.

13 comments on Something We Should Do More Of

  1. OKe says:

    Great post Adam. I also look forward to reading your blog and I thank you for writing.

    It was about 4 months ago I received 2 emails from people who really admired my writing. I was touched for days and still am and that has gotten me to write more. As you can see my blog has changed from being only about entrepreneurship to about my life in general. Just the little things really get help us to stay motivated. I will take your challenge of also telling people that I appreciate them.

  2. Nethy says:

    I’ll through my hat in too.

    I’ve been following for a few months and I also enjoy reading your blog. I appreciate your openness. Hopefully you are doing a bit towards a greater level of transparency in business.

    Thanks Adam

  3. Adnan says:

    Hey Adam – Wow. I suddenly realised exactly what makes you a fantastic blogger – and it’s the awesome way in which you deliver your posts, it really resonates inside me – and I’m grateful for not only that, but the powerful business lessons I’ve learnt from you over the course of you launching your businesses.

    I’m going to be posting about this too, and hopefully we can start some sort of chain going on, not for the publicity, but to help some people experience that same feeling that both you and I have felt (I got a similar email recently).

    Keep on winning,
    Adnan

  4. Nev says:

    I do admit yours is pretty much the only blog I read regularly. A few others (which can be counted on one hand) I check weekly.

    -Nev

  5. Jay says:

    Hey Adam,

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now. I have to admit also that you’re on a very limited list of blogs I read regularly. You’ve inspired and motivated me to start my own blog. Take a look if you have time:

    Jay’s Blog

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Adam McFarland says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    @Oke – I have noticed your changes. I love how candid you’re being. Getting an email or comment from someone who takes something away from your writing is just about the best feeling in the world

    @Nethy – transparency in business (and in life in general) is something I really hope more people embrace more. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, but if you’re open and honest about it I think your customers will have a greater understanding of the situation and not see your company as just another company trying to screw them over.

    @Adnan – thank you 100x over for that email and for inspiring this post. Hopefully we can get a chain-thing going with this :).

    @Nev – wow, thanks. Your blog is also in that elite group of blogs that I really look forward to reading. I probably have 4-5 favorites out of the 100 in my Google Reader and yours is one of them. To Nethy’s pt about transparency, that’s what makes your blog great…you freaking used to show your financials! Can’t get must more transparent than that!

    @Jay – glad to see you started blogging. Thank you for the recognition in your first post! I think you’ll find it a very rewarding experience.

  7. Nev says:

    Adam,

    Thanks for the compliments!

    As I started getting older and the numbers started getting higher I kind of had to take down the financials.

    I still transparently write about House Of Rave, but rarely disclose proper figures on the blog anymore.

    Too many imitation sites have sprung up since I wrote a series on how to start a drop-shipping business and a complete guide to how House Of Rave works. Relatively low barrier to entry.

    By the way…have you had that problem with DI yet? I know you write pretty openly about the success you guys are having with DI and even release approximate figure from time to time, and I’m sure that might attract some copy-cats (not that you gotta worry since your business will blow theirs away).

    -Nev

  8. Adam McFarland says:

    Nev,

    I completely agree with your decisions to remove the financials – I would’ve done the same. That guide to starting a dropshipping business that you wrote was fantastic. It’s gratifying to see people using that information I’m sure…but also disheartening as hell to see them use it to take you on.

    Honestly, we have not had that problem yet with DI, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Our strategy isn’t that hard to copy. You could drop ship a lot of the products we have and compete directly relatively quickly. Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of advantages against anyone just breaking in, but there isn’t much we can do to stop them.

    Like you though, if I saw some serious threats as copy-cats, I’d be pissed and adjust my blogging strategies a bit. I try to hold back just enough right now that you’d have to be pretty smart to copy. For example, I might disclose HOW a feature works but I’ll almost never release the source code for other people to download. I figure any intelligent programmer could look at the site and figure out how on their own, but I might be asking for extra competition if I flat out released the source code for anyone to use easily.

    This is a really, really interesting topic. There have been a few times where I’ve read horror stories from other bloggers and *almost* pulled the plug on this blog for that reason. Ultimately the good outweighs the bad in my opinion, but transparency does have some risk.

    If you want to talk more about this any time in more detail give me a call or drop me an email.

    Would be a good topic for us to both blog about as well 🙂

    Adam

  9. Nethy says:

    Adam/Nev

    That is disclosure. It’s not free. But its not worthless either.
    while not a perfect mirror opposite, BS is a pretty close. Sometimes you can getaway with “i can’t/won’t say.” Financials are normatively accepted as one of these cases. “What is next year’s biggest threat to your business?” can’t so easily be dealt with.

    Businesses very often substitute BS for transparency. It becomes a habit and it is expected from businesses. Especially from CEOs and PR people. That doesn’t seem to be at all problematic on the surface because we equate PR & CEOs with BS. But these are the ones in charge of providing information. Its common sense that if you want non BS you have to go to those not in charge of providing information.

    Anyway, the interesting question is why or why not. One point is fear of competition. Justified in some cases, but not all. Probably exaggerated a lot.
    On the other hand, if you had nothing to say, noone would listen to you. Noone would read your blog(s). Blog readers have an low tolerance for BS, so you can’t fill the gap that way.

    More vaguely, but probably more significantly, transparency has an effect on how you do things. On all sorts of levels. I recently started using a new product/service (a web platform/CMS). They handle most support/customer service/questions & complaints about the system via forums, rather then emails or a ticketing system. I believe it makes them do a better job. Its much easier to give a crap answer to a question when its closed. But when its in the open its a different issue altogether. You also can’t keep from fixing issues that come up all the time. That ultimately makes you better at what you do.

    *Anyway, I think financials are usually going to be a smaller danger. They don’t necessarily disclose tactics or strategy.

  10. Adam McFarland says:

    Wow Nethy, great reply. You have some really unique insight in all of your comments lately…do you have a site/blog? If not, you should start one 🙂

  11. Nev says:

    Adam,

    Yes DI could be copied, but I doubt anyone could even TOUCH your established position.

    My former supplier pretty much let anyone with an email address signup for his drop ship program without any discretion or telling me about blatant copy-cats.

    With my detailed instructions on how House Of Rave works freely posted, I’ve been copied many times, but none of the copy sites have worked.

    MY THEORY ON WHY THEY FAIL:

    1.) They have no vision or creativity in the first place. If they did, they’d learn from my articles and find their OWN thing to do.

    2.) Looking to make quick buck without the work. People think that “Oh, I’ll copy his site and sit back while it makes half of what he does.” Uhhh, yea, it’s never that easy.

    3.) Wrong timing. If you make your own version of eBay today, will it work? Probably not. I catered to an audience back then which wasn’t being catered to. A new site posted today will have a very long uphill battle.

    4.) Simply copying. Name any recognizable or successful brand. I’d say 99% of the time they got to where they are because they were UNIQUE. If someone’s marketing plan is “Let’s just copy what this person did on their blog” you’re pretty much setup for failure, and that ties in with reason #1.

    Why do I keep posting then some may ask? Because it helps more people than it hurts. I have minor inconveniences presented to me by copy cats, but they generally fail.

    However, I still get emails from people telling me about their successful online ventures based off my articles. That’s a pretty good feeling (Adam, you can attest) and it actually adds some value to society.

    Plus posting about it in a public place helps ME keep track of what I’m doing. It’s cool to look back a few years on your blog and see what you were doing.

    -Nev

  12. Adam McFarland says:

    Nev,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with why being transparent is still worth it and probably always will be:

    1) The emails/comments from satisfied readers

    2) You’re adding value to society by sharing your unique knowledge (the internet is built on that)

    3) There are a lot of personal advantages in sharing. As you said, having a record that you can look back on years later to see how you’ve grown and evolved is pretty cool. I also find it very therapeutic to write. A good number of my posts come when I’m very upset/frustrated/extremely happy and writing helps me let the emotions out in a healthy way and return to “normal”.

  13. […] reminds me of my Something We Should Do More Of post from over the summer.  There are actually three young entrepreneur bloggers that I really […]

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