Today, I'm going to cover a few tips that are important to me because they were fuel for The Grind.
- The Grind is NOT for Everyone
- Stay Home If You Want to Avoid the Competition
- Choose the Uphill Battle
First, I want to pull back the curtain on why I chose this topic. To do that, we need to talk about 2020.
To put it bluntly, it was a bad year for business. Over 200,000 small businesses closed their doors in 2020. A quarter of all U.S. jobs were disrupted by the pandemic, and at least 20 million were lost entirely. Big and small businesses alike struggled to stay afloat.
So, what did that mean for our businesses? It meant we had to focus on opportunity. We needed funds for operations and to expand into four new markets while we were at it. You might think it was a bad time to be looking for capital, but even in a year like 2020, there's money out there. You just have to ask for it and be relentless in proving value.
Now, I know who I'm talking to here: Business owners. Entrepreneurs. Investors. I don't need to recap 2020 for you, because you were there, grinding through it.
You may have been one that lost out in 2020, and there may not have been a damn thing you could do about it. Now you're looking for your next shot, and confidence is key to finding that new opportunity. While last year was tough for traditional businesses, there is now new and increasing demand for goods and services in unheard of new ways. Which is great news for entrepreneurs!
Hitting upon hard times, doesn't make you a one-hit-wonder.
Why? Every time a business closes, it's an opportunity for an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs overcome the kind of doubt that keeps others on their asses. The Grind was born out of a time when it seemed like business was flipped on its head. If we kept our feet under us, how could we help others find their solid ground? Which brings me to my first takeaway:
No Time to Waste in Business
Some business owners don't take the time to deal with the details. Well, you know my stance on that. When the pandemic hit, we did what we always do. If you don't believe that it has "always" been our way, let me give you some examples from way before 2020.
This first example is from over 10 years ago. We were a smaller company, but we already had a name in the turnkey industry, and we often received requests from peer companies who wanted to partner or be mentored.
We agreed to a request from two partners from Georgia who wanted to duplicate our model. We spent a full workday introducing them to our mission, our team, and our successes. At the day's close, they thanked us for our time, but we could tell there was an issue. Simply put, they were not interested in working that hard. They left, and we never heard from them again. They wanted to skip the hard work and go straight to the success and profit. They clearly thought we had an easy button!
A similar inquiry came not long after from a reality TV team looking to pair up in a market. Now, I'm serious about my time, and I don't like wasting it. So, when they requested TWO DAYS of meetings with our team, I took them seriously.
One hour into that two-day meeting, I was DONE! These people had more jewels on their jeans than business credentials. There wasn't a notepad, pen, or laptop between them. The final straw came when they invited us downtown that evening for drinks, "to show us a good time." That's when I knew they weren't bringing anything but flash to the table.
You'd think I wouldn't have to say this in a letter to entrepreneurs BUT...If you're serious about growing your business, be professional. Spend less time bedazzling and more time preparing.
Later, we met with a small turnkey outfit owned by a husband and wife team.
From the start, we knew they meant business. They were ambitious, hard-working, and humble. They showed up early, prepared to meet with anyone they could talk to for insights. They were respectful and made the most of our time together. We ALL took a lot away from this meeting.
For everything we could impart to this couple about performance and growth, they had just as much to teach us about maintaining profitability and diversifying revenue. While neither company implemented everything we shared, we both benefited greatly.
As you can see, these were three very different experiences but are examples of how we treat every introduction as a lesson. Overall, be selective about who you choose to partner with as an entrepreneur.
Commit to The Grind
A few weeks ago, we sent our subscribers an email with an optional survey. One question: How are you liking The Grind? As you'll recall from a recent podcast, we do this regularly.
One response in particular stuck with me: "This may sound a little crazy, I don't love the name of the newsletter." Fair enough. We're not going to please everyone. But there's more:
"If you excel at something, it shouldn't be a grind. My son and I will tackle identical projects and he will come across multiple issues but will get it done. I will evaluate, plan, execute and accomplish the same result with much less effort and aggravation. He grinds through it, and I glide through it. Just my 2 cents, but will definitely continue reading no matter what you call it."
I love this response. It got me thinking about why we started The Grind in the first place.
Now, I've already told you I'm very careful with my words. When we decided to create a new platform for entrepreneurs, the name was pretty important. It took some time but eventually we landed on The Grind.
Not everyone liked it. But it captured everything I was trying to convey. Succeeding isn't inevitable, and it isn't easy. It takes commitment and serious elbow grease.
So, when a reader says that "if you excel at something it shouldn't be a grind," I stop and think it over. That's interesting but my take is: If I've got nothing to grind for, I've got nothing to do.
And at age 70, it's why I will never retire. I've already told my team they will have to wheel me out from behind my desk on my last day, and I'm not going without a fight.
I hope the person who left us that review doesn't regret his choice. When I say I appreciate feedback, I mean it. I just want to be clear about what The Grind means to me. And if our "grind" helps you "glide," or keeps you from being a "one-hit-wonder," I'll take it as a compliment.
Keep reading, keep reviewing, and keep committing to The Grind!
Until next time,
Chief Grind Officer
About Kent Clothier
Entrepreneur, Real Estate Investor, Husband, Dad, and Granddad. Through decades of personal experience, and a few other titles, Kent built a strong community around him at REI Nation. But it didn’t start there. It took 22 years of entrepreneurship – of losing money and making money, building small businesses and multimillion dollar companies alike – before he founded a family business-turned-empire. His sons Kent Jr, Chris, and Brett have worked alongside him, as well as leading successful ventures of their own. Real estate trends, managing towards efficiency, excellent customer service and leading the industry are what fuel him. Over the years, the skills he’s come to value are financial acumen, honesty, and forging new paths in business, investing, and winning.