Starting Something That Matters…

This is essentially my “Part 2” of the review for Blake Mycoskie‘s Start Something That Matters book I just finished reading. The first review was my thoughts on the book itself (which I loved, and seriously I recommend you get it and read it!) , this is going to focus more on the impact the book has had on me, and the way in which I plan on working towards starting my own something that matters.

But first, a little background…

I have been in my career field for around 7-8 years now, I have known that I want to be doing exactly what I have been doing since I was 15 and my uncle painted a gloriously magnificent picture in my mind of what Communications/PR/Advertising (and business) looks like… exciting, energetic, fast paced, hard, challenging.. and mostly just different and adventurous all the time. So, almost 13 years ago I settled on this as my path. All throughout college I knew what I wanted to do, I got a degree and worked in my field throughout college, graduated and jumped right into my field and have been in this field of study ever since… A little over a year ago I felt like I was supposed to go back to school (*tears*), so I have been pursuing a double masters in Business Administration and MS in Leadership.

I have worked in jobs that I loved, hated, was apathetic about, or incredibly passionate about. However, I have always loved helping those who have small businesses or new businesses understand things about communications, marketing, PR, advertising etc.. It has always struck me as sad and frustrating because they typically do the best they can, but there is no way new and small businesses can afford graphic designers, communications people, web designers, etc.. So, I love helping them where I can with whatever I can or at the very least directing them to the friends I have in the particular area they need help in. Essentially I have been doing some form of consulting for five or so years now.

So, while reading Start Something That Matters, I began thinking, why am I not actually pursuing consulting?.. I love it. I love everything about consulting… It is different every day, I get to help people with my skills, I get to network, I get to learn, I get to give business to my friends who are in various different fields.. but mostly, I love the fact that I get to help new or small businesses succeed, which makes a huge difference in the lives of the employees and their families.. The trickle down effect is astronomical!

One of the things that struck me the most about Blake and his approach to business and the philosophy’s behind TOMS is how much he truly mixed profit and social responsibility. However, the social responsibility is really what sets the business side apart and makes it successful. The loyalty that is built when a business makes social responsibility one of the main goals is amazing to read in his book, and confirmed for me that everyone wants both of those things, to do something that has a greater purpose and provides/pays the bills. So, due to this, and the fact that I 100% agree with this in my own life and my own desires, the first 10% of income will go to organizations of the “clients” choosing (even before bills are paid).

So, my new business will look something like this… You are a new/small business, you are struggling, need help with a website, advertising, etc.. but you’re working on an extremely tight budget. You would hire me to create a package that works for your needs.. after we have spent a decent amount of time building our relationship, my understanding of the needs and goals, I would coordinate with the various professionals (who all have businesses of their own) to help with the specifics needs of your package (web design, graphic design, photographer, videographer etc..) and you would then pick the ones with the styles that match your own tastes… We would work out the payment plan/options, and you would pick which charity you want your 10% going to (everyone has favorites)… but I would of course have a list of my favorites to choose from just in case (because I know so many people who work for amazing charity’s as well). Then, I would commence to working to help your business succeed.

My something that matters is helping new and small businesses succeed whether by consulting for them or with them, while also supporting charities that make a difference.

This is a slow process to get this started and going, but I am pumped… Especially since I can start and grow this slowly while I am still working full time and getting my double masters (oye vey.. clearly I don’t have enough to do). But, I now have a purpose behind the double masters and the things I am learning working for a national organization, all of these skills will be vitally important later.

Currently I am working on finding a name that captures my idea (feel free to send me any ideas you have), then getting the business squared away both legally, identity wise, and the look and feel of what I am doing (I cannot start a business claiming to help others without first following my own advice and getting websites and things)… Then (and until then) I will also be working on building my network of experts and professionals to partner with me (let me know if you’re interested in partnering with me and joining my network). And of course, lots of prayer will be taking place in the next while for this whole thing.

Should be exciting!

The Review Part 1…

Several week ago, I saw on Twitter that Blake Mycoskie was doing a book give away, I popped over to the Start Something That Matters site and entered to win Blake Mycoskie’s new book. I wrote a couple short paragraphs about why my blog or twitter would be a great platform for me to receive two copies of Blake’s books, read one, review it, then give away the second with a contest of my own creation. I found out a couple weeks later that I was one of several people picked! (which is awesome, cause I am fairly certain my sister is actually the lucky one in my family) Once I received the books, I began reading every night before bed, which is typically my nightly pattern with whatever book (or books) that happen to be on my nightstand.

Last night I finished the book, and while I am giving a bit away by not holding you in suspense, I absolutely loved it… Now on to the review; I have been thinking for the last week or so as I neared the end of the book about how I wanted to review it… I came up with all sorts of extravagant ideas, lame ideas, and probably really boring ideas, but I finally settled on breaking the review into two parts. The first part will actually be my review and thoughts of the book, the second part will be the way the book has inspired me to start my own something that matters.

Start Something That Matters is a very easy read, it has the feel of sitting down with a friend over a great cup of coffee and listening to him excitedly and passionately tell the story of how TOMS came to be where it is today. Blake talks about the lessons he learned along the way and the people who have inspired or helped him make TOMS what it is today. Blake does a fantastic job of walking you through his story with passion and ease, the chapters are concise and make sense, and the pictures of key moments or from his journal of a specific moment help make the story come alive even more. I really enjoyed the basic story of TOMS, which is both inspiring and exciting all on its own, but really the most helpful part of the book is reading about the lessons he learned along the way, whether through happenstance, intentional choices or because of mistakes. Blake also gives advice and resources that can help you start your own something that matters, and thankfully his advice is not another self-help to becoming a millionaire, but rather practical advice for a balanced and passionate life and career. The advice comes in all sorts of stories or bullet points, it speaks to the still in college person just as much as the retired and re-evaluating things person. I was amazed at how easily the points are transferable and meaningful for everyone regardless of their position where they work currently or their stage in life.

The advice Blake gives as he details his TOMS journey is not only entertaining to read because of his honesty and sense of humor, but it also strikes a chord because of the practicality and the fact that it appeals to your own desire to want to make a difference and be a part of something that matters. Throughout the book, I had this intense sense of appreciation for the perspective Blake has towards TOMS, business in general, and the way his goals for growing his business and what his goals are with TOMS (or how they have changed throughout the years).

Start Something That Matters does a fantastic job of giving timelines and information that allow you to connect with the story even more from your (my) own perspective… I was able to connect the book’s timeline with my own timeline and story, all of which made it feel as though I had an even deeper connection. I was able to pinpoint in his timeline when I was first introduced to TOMS, when I first saw the video from their first shoe-drop (and when I posted it to myspace, before Facebook allowed that kind of sharing). I really enjoyed reading the stories of other people that were shared in the book of how excited they were to be a part of TOMS in their own way, and how they too are making a difference, but even more than that, I liked hearing Blake’s perspective and reactions to the stories. They all reminded me of how even for myself, a large part of my connection to TOMS is that I love the story and feel connected too.

The book was the type of good, that I actually wrote in it, circled, underlined and dog-earred pages, and mulled over what I was reading the entire couple weeks it took me to read the book… Not only did I feel fully engaged in the book while I was reading it, but I have begun to think about people I want to buy copies for (because I want to keep my own, and I only have one to give away later).

Start Something That Matters sticks with the “One for One” model that was originated with the shoes, migrated to eye-ware, and continues with this book, for every book bought, a new book will be given to a child in need. I cannot even begin to explain how much I appreciate the consistency and continuity that Blake is exhibiting with all of his ventures.

In short, buy this book, read this book, absorb the message, and share it with others. You won’t be sorry.

Stay tuned, next is part two of my review, where I will talk about how this book has made a difference and inspired me to start something that matters…

And then, the give away of the second book!

Toodling Around…

Some of my favorite days are the ones that are full of random toodling around. I enjoy doing nothing planned or be-bopping around with friends, painting my nails, watching a couple movies.. Whatever. Days like that (or today) make the rush of life seem less pressing.

It doesn’t hurt that I also have a four day weekend.

I Am So Thankful…

Thought I would post a bit about the things I am thankful for since it’s Thanksgiving.

I am pretty sure I say this every year, and I plan on saying it every year until I am no more, I am so thankful for my family. My parents are amazing people, my brothers are the absolute best (sorry to everyone with brothers), my sister and sister in law are hands down two of the most amazing girls I know, my nephews and niece are hands down the cutest kids ever (again sorry to everyone who has kids in their life). I am so thankful for each one of them, for how close we are, and that we all serve our Savior passionately. I am thankful that I do not have to worry or stress about their salvation. What a blessing.

I am thankful for the lack of health issues I have had this year, especially since last year I struggled with a lot of back pain, this year it has been almost a non-issue. So grateful!

I am very thankful for my job, and the ability to pay bills, pay off debt, and help others.. As stressful and full of tension the last year has been at my job, I know that I am fortunate to not just have a job, but have a well paying one that allows me to take care of myself and others.

I am thankful for being in school again, as much as I am not a fan of school at all, and as much frustration as I have been through trying to understand accounting, finance, economics etc.. I am thankful for the opportunities that I am getting educated to take on later.

I am thankful for my friends, the ones I have had struggles with, the ones I have grown close to, and the ones I have grown apart from. I am so thankful for the things my friends have taught me, the ways they have helped me grow, and I am so thankful for all the ridiculousness they put up with to be my friend!

I am so thankful for the way God has provided in the lives of those around me.. For the faithfulness He has shown to my friends that got married, had babies, adopted, or found jobs. My God is amazing and through good times and bad He has proven Himself faithful time and time again.

I am so thankful for my church, for their humility, their passion, their love, and how passionately they seek after Christ.

I am thankful for the struggles I have been through in the last year.. that seems counter intuitive, and I certainly was not thankful for them as I was going through them, but I also knew at the time one day I would be thankful. I am so thankful that I am beginning to see the whys behind the struggles and all of the things it has begun to cultivate in me.

I. Am. So. Thankful.

Stripped Away…

It is interesting to me how slowly, methodically, and calculated the Lord pulls away things in your life that distract you from Him. Sometimes I think He does it fast, but more often than not I feel like God does it slowly with me. As though He pulls away the layers in such a fashion that not only do I not have a choice but to let go, but it causes me to turn to Him a little bit more each layer.

Sometimes I think God moves so slowly because I am just that stubborn… and other times I believe He moves that slowly because any faster and I would break.

It is a wonderful thing though to come out on the other side, healed, new, and closer to my savior than ever before.