I Built In SIlence For 30 Years

attention marketing Feb 07, 2024

I built companies quietly for 30 years.

I was always “silently disruptive”.

I flew under the radar with opportunities that were available.

Here’s a story: 

I remember the call like it was yesterday from my business partner. 

“Bro - Can we move 50,000 TV’s?”

Me: WTF are you talking about? I mean sure, why not? šŸ˜‚

Some background…

My buddy and I took on a consulting job for an independent company. These guys had taken a lot of money from investors but we’re losing money every year with some patented products. It was honestly a sh*t show.

But we liked challenges…So we went and started consulting and we ended up putting them in the electronics business.

Literally overnight.

We needed to start over to fix the issues.

My partner had ties to retail and I had a lot of contacts in Asia for manufacturing. So in about 18 months we went from zero to almost 20,000,000 in revenue.

  • All electronics.
  • All sourced from Asia.
  • All branded and packaged up for big box retailers.

 We were in China twice a month every month for about 2 years.

The buyers loved us. We were innovative, fast, reliable and aggressive in pricing. We helped solve a lot of issues they had with holes inside their product categories.

  • It was fun. 
  • It was exciting. 
  • It was profitable. 

Now back to TVs…

We were the first to deliver a 32 inch flatscreen LCD TV for $499 on Walmart’s E-commerce site on Black Friday.

Can you even believe a 32” cost that much ever? šŸ˜‚

We moved 50,000 TVs that Black Friday.

As a matter of fact, it turns out there was an overrun, and we moved another 20,000 more units through them.

The TVs… a friend introduced us to a gentleman who did repair and repackaging on all sorts of TVs for all of the big box retailers. He had a 100,000 square-foot building that was just filled wall-to-wall with TVs.

Well, a manufacturer in Taiwan thought that they could just get into the TV business and walk into big box retailers and they would just turn on sales. Boy, were they wrong…

These TVs were no name brand , limited features, and just sitting in this warehouse with no sales channel insight to get rid of this inventory.

So, we had an opportunity.

We took the opportunity and leveraged it.

We became a Walmart vendor, filled lots of niche’s and grew that relationship over years.

All in silence. 

Some thoughts on all this… 

I know this is just one example, but I have hundreds of these examples.

Reflecting on my 30+ years spent silently building companies, I realize the untapped potential of personal branding. As a director in the background, crafting 450 products across 12 vertical markets, I navigated the challenges without being in the forefront.

In hindsight, I would have embraced visibility earlier, sharing the journey's highs and lows. Imagine the impact of leveraging time to not only create but also build an authentic personal brand. Networking, proactive communication, and inspiring others in the entrepreneurial space – lessons learned from my silent journey. It's time to step into the spotlight sooner and leave a lasting imprint on the entrepreneurial landscape.

In the realm of entrepreneurship, the approach to building a company can vary dramatically – from the quiet corridors of silent creation to the vibrant stage of public visibility. Having spent over 30 years crafting companies in the hushed background, I've witnessed firsthand the profound differences between these two approaches.

The Silent Symphony

Silent builders often find solace in the art of creation, working tirelessly behind the scenes. There's a certain allure to this approach – the ability to shape products, strategies, and markets away from the public eye. The focus is on the work itself, detached from the external expectations and opinions.

However, this path comes with its own set of challenges. The lack of visibility may lead to missed opportunities for collaboration, networking, and feedback. The silent symphony, while rich in creation, echoes in isolation. Building in silence demands meticulous navigation through challenges without the external support that public engagement can bring.

The Public Prelude

Contrastingly, the public builder steps onto the stage, presenting their journey for all to witness. This approach allows for immediate feedback, collaboration, and the opportunity to build a personal brand. Visibility becomes a powerful asset, opening doors to partnerships, mentorships, and a supportive community.

Yet, the public prelude isn't without its cacophony. Scrutiny and expectations from the public eye can be both motivating and challenging. Building in the spotlight requires a unique set of skills, balancing the demands of entrepreneurship with the external pressures that come with visibility. 

Navigating the Divergence

Reflecting on my own journey, the choice between silence and publicity is nuanced. Each path offers distinct advantages and challenges. Building in silence provides the freedom to create without external interference, fostering a deep connection with the work itself. However, it necessitates a deliberate effort to connect with the external world when the time is right.

On the other hand, building publicly amplifies the impact of one's work, fostering a sense of community and shared growth. Yet, it demands resilience in the face of scrutiny and a commitment to authenticity amid the spotlight.

Harmony in Hybridity

Perhaps the sweetest symphony lies in the balance of both worlds – a hybrid approach that marries the depth of silent creation with the resonance of public engagement. This involves strategically choosing moments to step into the spotlight, share insights, and build a personal brand while cherishing the sanctuary of silent creation.

The journey of building companies in silence versus building them publicly is a choice laden with consequences and rewards. Whether one opts for the serene symphony of silence or the vibrant prelude of publicity, finding harmony in the balance between the two is key. It's a dance that transforms the entrepreneurial journey into a timeless composition, echoing the wisdom gained from both worlds.

All this being said, there is so much more to all of this.

Personal growth.

Who you will become.

The ability to be your future self.

Solo Crescendo in Silence

In the realm of personal growth, the silent path often becomes a solo crescendo. Working behind the scenes allows for deep introspection and self-discovery. The absence of external validation forces an entrepreneur to rely on internal metrics of success. This journey in silence can be a profound catalyst for developing resilience, self-reliance, and an unshakeable belief in one's abilities.

However, the solitude of silent growth can sometimes breed self-doubt. Without external benchmarks, it becomes challenging to gauge progress objectively. Confidence, while intrinsic, benefits from external affirmation, making it imperative for those building in silence to seek validation in the form of mentorship or peer collaboration.

Public Exposure and Personal Blooms

Contrarily, the public stage becomes a fertile ground for personal growth and confidence. The immediate feedback loop from the audience, be it in the form of support or constructive criticism, propels an entrepreneur to iterate and improve rapidly. The visibility nurtures a sense of accountability, pushing individuals to strive for excellence.

Yet, the public eye can be unforgiving. The constant scrutiny can become a double-edged sword, impacting confidence levels. The key lies in leveraging this exposure for growth rather than succumbing to the pressures.

Symbiosis of Confidence and Humility

The convergence of silent growth and public exposure creates a symbiotic relationship between confidence and humility. Silent builders, having weathered the storms alone, develop an internal locus of control. This deep-rooted confidence acts as a solid foundation when stepping into the public sphere.

Simultaneously, those accustomed to public engagement learn the invaluable lesson of humility. The acknowledgment that growth is an ongoing process, and success is not a static destination, keeps egos in check. This duality cultivates a well-rounded entrepreneur, confident in their abilities yet humble in the face of continuous learning.

Striking the Harmonious Balance

Navigating the interplay between silent growth and public exposure requires finesse. It involves understanding when to retreat into the sanctity of silence for introspection and when to step onto the public stage for collaboration and validation.

Building in silence and building publicly, when harmonized, foster a holistic personal growth journey. Confidence evolves from a sturdy internal core while staying receptive to external insights and experiences. This delicate balance transforms personal growth into a dynamic symphony, continually adapting to the ever-changing cadence of the entrepreneurial landscape.

Embracing the Dichotomy

In essence, the choice between building in silence or building publicly shapes not only the trajectory of a company but also the depth and breadth of personal growth. Embracing the dichotomy allows entrepreneurs to harness the strengths of both approaches, creating a nuanced narrative of resilience, confidence, and continuous evolution. Whether flourishing in the quiet corridors or basking in the public limelight, the journey becomes a testament to the multifaceted nature of personal and entrepreneurial growth.

Action Items:

Share Behind-the-Scenes Insights:

Start by regularly sharing glimpses into your daily entrepreneurial life. This could include snippets of your work environment, project sketches, or even challenges you're currently navigating. Utilize social media platforms or your existing newsletter to provide a transparent view of the creative process. Authenticity resonates with the audience, fostering a connection and humanizing the journey.

Engage in Conversations:

Actively participate in industry-related discussions, forums, or social media groups. Share your expertise, offer insights, and ask thought-provoking questions. Engaging in conversations not only positions you as a thought leader but also expands your network. Collaborate with peers, seek feedback on your ideas, and reciprocate by supporting others in their endeavors. Building in public thrives on community interaction.

Launch a Public Challenge or Project:

Initiate a public challenge or project that aligns with your expertise and interests. This could be a series of informative videos, a podcast discussing industry trends, or even a collaborative initiative with your audience. Encourage participation, feedback, and collaboration. Publicly documenting the progress of the challenge not only showcases your skills but also invites others to join in the journey, creating a sense of shared growth.

Remember, building in public is about creating a dialogue, sharing your expertise, and inviting others into your entrepreneurial world. These action items aim to kickstart your public journey and foster a vibrant community around your endeavors. A community that will support you, bring you resources and share in the wins to overcome the losses.

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