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Selling and cold calls

Call 1: The worst.
Call 5: Still pretty bad.
Call 10: You care less if someone says no.
Call 12: Someone might be interested.
Call 15: You make a sale.
Call 16: You make another sale.
Call 17: You feel pretty great until someone else says no.
Call 18: You feel bad but make another call anyway.
Call 22: The person asks you to call back next week.
Call 24: Sale.
Call 25: You begin to realize the yes/no/maybe answers have nothing to do with you.
Call 30: Your pitch is better. You can clearly talk about the benefits your product/service provides.
Call 35: If someone says no, it doesn’t ruin your day.
Call 37: Sale.
Call 40: When someone says no, you refine your pitch.
Call 48: Sale.
Call 50: When someone says no, you recognize that person wasn’t the right fit for your product/service.
Call 52: Sale.
Call 53: Sale.
Call 54: The no response is no longer a Big Deal, and you keep going.
Call 55: Sale.
Call 56: Maybe. Appointment set.
Call 57: Sale.
Call 58: Sale.

The first calls are always the hardest. Keep going.

Top 10 blog posts

Before I list the Top 10 most popular posts I’ve written, I want to acknowledge something big: Project Exponential is coming up on FOUR YEARS of existence, and I can hardly believe it.

I remember that first dinner as if it happened last month. I had to talk myself into calling friends and a few famous people I didn’t know all that well and ask them to join me for something new, an experiment of sorts. I was a nervous wreck in the days leading up to that initial event, second-guessing my planned ice-breakers and seating arrangement. At the end of the night I was so worked up, I couldn’t let myself admit a grand success had just taken place.

Countless dinners later, I continue to receive emails thanking me for thoughtfully creating these kinds of dinners: invaluable introductions; new friends, new ideas; old friends, old ideas; surprising conversations; delight. It’s all come together beautifully, and I couldn’t be more grateful to those who have participated and referred clients seeking meaningful connection.

Top 10 posts:
10. I stopped trying.
9. Figure out what you want to learn and go do it.
8. Stop trying to find your purpose
7. 7 sins of crowdfunding
6. The people in your life will make or break you.
5. 10 questions to ask at a dinner party (instead of “What do you do?”)
4. What brings people together?
3. A coffee riddle
2. 5 rules of hustling
1. 12 questions to turn small talk into real talk 

Thank you for your support, your daring, your ambition, and thanks for coming along this journey with me. Becoming an entrepreneur is not easy, and there are no roadmaps for the many winding, twisting roads you find yourself on. If you have a budding entrepreneur in your life, send them a note to keep going (or share one of these blog posts); if you’re thinking about getting started yourself, GO.

Those who can and those who cannot

There is no way to tell who will win.

A participant list doesn’t mean everyone will start the race. Some will wake up feeling under the weather and decide to stay in bed. A few joggers may step up to the line the “day-of,” making the decision to run that morning or even that hour.

Bang, the race is off: A few runners bolt out of the starting gate and lose steam before they are at the halfway mark. Others spent months practicing and pace themselves to conserve energy; they blaze the full course. A cramp or a sprained muscle may cause an athlete or two to drop unexpectedly. A surprising body clocks in, coming in fifteenth in her age category.

We can’t possibly know who is going to cross the finish line. The only certainty is who begins.

Place a sure bet on yourself by taking necessary steps to start.

Ignore them

There’s always a comment. No matter how great your effort is, how flawless your work, someone can do it better.
They’re whispering, “Your competitor is further along. Another company has edged you out this quarter. Her work is getting more publicity, more recognition.”
You’re spending time reading comments. “His project is scoring more funding. They’re getting all the sales.”
It doesn’t matter.
Keep on and stay the course. (It’s your course and your course alone. Not theirs.)
Do your best work, no matter what they say.


fail try fail try try try SUCCESS fail fail fail try almost try try try made it try fail try SUCCESS try fail try SUCCESS try fail fail try almost made it try fail try SUCCESS try try try try SUCCESS fail SUCCESS fail try SUCCESS fail fail fail try try fail try fail try fail SUCCESS try try almost try SUCCESS made it fail fail fail try try fail almost try try fail try fail SUCCESS SUCCESS SUCCESS fail try try try try try try SUCCESS try fail try fail try made it try fail fail try try SUCCESS try almost try try try fail try SUCCESS

(Try often, fail often, and your odds of winning increase. You never know when you’re going to hit.)



Ten times better

A “little better” doesn’t cut it. You have to be much better. Much, much better. Ten times better.
This is how you separate yourself from the competition.
This is how you improve.
This is how you win.
Everything is crowded. The marketplace, the speaker lineup, the dating scene, the applicant pool.
In an age where your value corresponds to your ability to separate yourself from the rest, your focus must narrow on becoming your best version.
A notch doesn’t tip the scale. Throw your weight around and put full effort into your vision.
Your best self and your most original idea depend on it.
(H/T David S. Kidder. I presented Startup Playbook to college students in Nepal last week, and they loved it.)