Since the holiday break commenced, I've been keeping myself extra busy with
a couple of books and educational videos online. You see, I've always been a self-help junkie and so as a Christmas present for myself, I bought the book "The Code of the Extraordinary Mind" by Vishen Lakhiani, finished reading it in one day (yup, I read pretty fast!), then proceeded to the supplementary video lessons over at Mindvalley.
It's been a pretty jam-packed Christmas break for me, trying to cover all these learning materials during this very short holiday leisure time. Not complaining at all; honestly, binge-watching Mindvalley videos has been one of the best and most transformative decisions I've made this year.
Up next on my reading list is "The Science of Growth" by Sean Ammirati, but before that, let me do a deep dive into the material of one of Mindvalley's pool of mentors, Kamal Ravikant. Kamal is the author of "Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It", one of Mindvalley's recommended books for love relationships. Mindvalley has this semi-annual event called "A-Fest" (Awesome Fest) where Kamal did a talk on "Love and Entrepreneurship". You can find the whole video below.
Let me share with you a couple of insights that I got from listening to his A-Fest talk. Kamal broke down his talk into four (4) main points, mainly driving at how to start (and launch) any meaningful venture.
1. Make sure that the thing you're starting is an expression of yourself.
With work occupying a great percentage of our waking hours, it would be meaningless to start working on something that does not personally speak to you in a profound way, even more having to endure doing it most of the time. This could be any sort of thing: a blog, a small business, a startup, a passion project -- anything. Starting a venture entails sacrifice and compromise, which would totally need for the entire thing to deeply make sense to you.
It's an open fact that I am not the founder of Blogapalooza. I did not start Blogapalooza, nor was I involved in any of its initial undertakings when the founders started it in 2011. Blogapalooza's founders offered to transfer all rights to me only in 2015. That was the time when I just finished my MBA and was doing consultancy work for some companies on a freelance basis. When the Blogapalooza offer was laid down for me, initially I thought to myself, "Well, this is something that kind of speaks to me, something that I would highly likely enjoy, something that is so me."
At that time, I did not know exactly how to do things; the only thing I was certain of was that the opportunity was so fit for what I thought could make me be more of myself when I'm doing it. And so even though I knew back then that I wasn't totally prepared for the long haul, I said yes.
Today, Blogapalooza has become not only an expression of myself, but also an extension of myself. Not bad at all. :)
2. Give it your all and commit to pushing through whatever it takes.
It's not a smooth ride all the time; it's not going to be. Starting something means having to go through plenty of challenges, self-doubt, laziness, crests and troughs, moments of despair, lawsuits, you name it. Starting (or even plainly saying yes to) something requires all-out commitment and resilience, not to mention strength of character.
When I took over Blogapalooza in 2015, I knew nothing about how the company (well, it used to be just an annual event) was run before and other issues and arrangements between the founders and external parties. I didn't know about people they disliked, communities they didn't feel supporting, internal matters they agreed upon, issues of other people with them, etc. I didn't even have the network that they had. Taking over Blogapalooza was starting on a clean slate. We formally incorporated it, did some initial documentations, and operated as I deemed fit. I totally took over the driver seat, taking the entire pack wherever it felt right.
I didn't know how things would unfold. We didn't have a 5-year plan or a grand vision even. I just knew then that there was a big problem that needed solving and an opportunity for me to play a part in solving it. I just knew then that I had to put my heart in every single thing that I did. I just gave it my all.
To this day, every single day is a pour-your-heart-and-soul-into-it day. I wasn't Blogapalooza's founder, but I already sort of took over that role. I am not the mother, but I stepped in to become a stepmother and sort of assumed all things that a mother's (or a parent's) role should be, except for the fact that I did not bring it out to the world.
And speaking of that...
3. Put it out to the world.
You might know me to be ruthless in putting things out to the world. I tell people about my plans, I keep our community updated about developments and potential projects -- even if things are not perfect yet and even if I know a couple of agreements are not yet set in stone.
Admittedly, it's been (still is) a lot of trial and error. In 2015 when I was just integrating myself into what's already been built in Blogapalooza, I just did what was done before: an annual event.
In 2016 when I learned a bit more about the current industry and the company's position in it, we experimented with having two (2) events for the year, as well as a soft launch of Blogapalooza's (and the country's) first influencer marketing platform (then called B2i, for Business-to-Influencer). We had problems with our former CTO and so the system didn't really take off, leaving us with virtually nothing (he took even our domain and all digital assets for then-B2i). We had to start 2017 from scratch. I had to recalibrate the strategy and I had to be extra careful of who to put on board in the team. I didn't want to take a lot of risks with regard to people. I decided I had to have control over everything at this point for us to run faster and in a more orderly fashion.
2017 was still a year of trial and error, trying to perfect the influencer marketing platform (now called Buzzin) and find a team to do and work on it with. Still is not perfect, still a lot of improvements (and debugging!) that have to be made, but we're putting it out to the world because I want our community of businesses and content creators to know that Blogapalooza is consistently finding ways to make things better, easier, and more fair for them and the entire industry. I want them to know that even if we're not perfect (yet, haha), we care the most. We really do. :)
4. Let go of the outcome.
The "outcome" that Kamal Ravikant was talking about here is the Universe (or God, or whatever Supreme Being you believe in) playing its part in the picture. Kamal said that you've got to play your part and the Universe will fulfill its role in giving you what you need when you need it. You just have to follow steps 1 to 3, iterating, striving to make things better every time.
Kamal said that the real prize is who we become in the process. And that, you only become by doing. Remember, we are individuals so powerful, that we ought to think that life does not happen TO us; life happens FROM us. Think of the Universe as the "CEO", always awaiting "employees" ready to do its creative work.
Here's to 2018: a year of creating, becoming, and being extraordinary. :)