Being The Underdog Is More Fun

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The March Madness Tournament is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. Not because basketball is really my favorite, but because of all the sporting events in the world, it’s the one event where anything is possible. Upsets. Seeing lower seeds beat the odds and moving on is incredible to watch. Smaller schools not given much of a chance that fight and claw their way to victory over seemingly impossible odds. You just can’t beat it.

I am a hugely competitive person. Not in an unhealthy way by any means, but certainly more so than normal. In all my stops along my career, I’ve never really thought about the underdog analogy too much in business. But in my latest role at SportsArt, it’s come front and center, and I’m loving it very much so far. It can be easier and safer to go with the bigger companies when it comes to your career. Why not? Usually more pay, more benefits, but most importantly, the security that comes with being at the top. However for the first time in my career, I decided to buck that trend, and go with the underdog. And after a few months, it’s been a hell of a lot more fun.

Let me provide some backstory to my point of why that is. SportsArt is a fitness equipment manufacturer with it’s US headquartered in Woodinville, WA and main headquarters based in Taiwan.

SportsArt

Our little neck of the woods – SportsArt

While they’ve been around for 30+ years, their US operations has had it’s ups and downs and currently in the midst of a reawakening after some restructuring and more importantly the hiring of a well known and respected industry veteran, Scott Sechrest. In the past 18 months things have really started to heat up.

In the industry, Precor is a much more well known name and rightfully so. The rise and success of the elliptical machine is their doing and took them from obscurity into a household name. They are one of the big dogs and ironically, are also based out of Woodinville, WA. I drive by their massive building everyday to our much smaller facility right down the street.

The Evil Empire - Precor

The Evil Empire – Precor

A few months ago, both companies were looking for marketing help and I stumbled across both job descriptions. The Precor job listing was your typical business speak laden description. It felt like you’d be walking right into an existing machine of monotony and I shuddered at the thought. The SportsArt listing actually read like a real person wrote it and it wasn’t just regurgitated from a previous listing. So for the first time in my career, I focused my efforts on the smaller company. At the time I didn’t think as much about it as I do now, but I really wanted to build something, not maintain it. And I felt SportsArt was a place that could happen. A few months later and I can definitely say the right choice was made.

We’ve got a ton of work to do, but being in an environment where we’re allowed to take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, etc. is an incredible environment to work in. For years I’ve worked at companies with too many layers of management, too many levels of process, that got in their own way of making progress and innovating. I love the challenge of chasing the big dogs, and I know that as we grow and I get to be a part of that, the incredible feeling of accomplishment and achievement will be unmatched.

And let’s be honest…chasing is more fun then being chased don’t you think?

Living Life Against The Grain

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I’m not sure if the term really applies to this blog post, but I’m going to go with it anyway. One of the things I’ve really strived for later in life is figuring out ways to better use my time. Time is really our biggest luxury. Money’s great and all, but time is what it’s all about. Time with people you love, time to do the things you enjoy, just having extra time in general.

One of the biggest satisfactions I have right now is when I drive to work. For the first 18 years or so of my professional life, I easily averaged at least a 45-60 minute commute to and from work. That’s roughly 2 hours a day just traveling to my job. I’ve been fortunate enough to find an opportunity where my commute is now 20 minutes each way because I’m going in the opposite direction of traffic. I peer over to the other side of the freeway and see a parking lot and I absolutely revel in happiness that I am not stuck in that anymore. I literally have an extra day of the week to work with. I took less money for sure, but the added time is worth it.

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8 Life Lessons I Learned After 40

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For the first few years of my blog I wrote exclusively about digital marketing, social media and technology. As I got older, and my career shifted into more of a managerial/operational mode, I didn’t feel as motivated to write about those things anymore and started to want to write more about whatever inspired me. It was the only way I could find the motivation to continue writing. As I close in on the first year of my 40s, I’ve thought a lot about what I’ve learned in my life. For whatever reason, when you turn 40, you all of sudden become “wise” and “introspective”. Perhaps it’s the growing feeling of mortality, but regardless, I wanted to write a blog post about the things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older. I asked myself, what top things do I wish I could somehow have taught my younger self. And these 8 nuggets are the result of that. Enjoy and use at your own risk.

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5 Incredible Small Business Marketing Resources You Haven’t Heard Of

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Throughout my professional career, I’ve always had a love for small business. Whether it was creating them myself, or helping others, small business is the backbone of our economy, and I always love finding tools and resources that can help small businesses navigate their marketing needs. It can be incredibly tough to find the time and budget to effectively market your small business, so anytime I find something I think can help, I feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops!  Below are 5 of my favorite tools these days, many of which I use on a daily basis.

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7 Things You’re Doing In Your Relationship You Don’t Realize Are Destroying It

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Relationships are not easy. More of them fail than succeed. We’ve all had our fair share of failed relationships, and I certainly fall into that category as well. Most people don’t figure it out until later in life. The irony is that it actually takes a few failed ones to eventually figure out how to make it work. Because the fact is, it takes work to maintain a long lasting relationship. You can’t just mail it in. You need to show up. Every day. Some are easier than others. I wanted to write a blog post about what I’ve learned about relationships, and quite honestly, that could fill a book. But I wanted to really narrow it down to handful of things I felt were non-negotiables. I asked myself, what things have I done in the past that killed my previous relationships? What did I need to look for and make sure I do regularly to make it work long term? While everyone’s list may be different, I believe that if you aren’t doing these 7 things, you’re destined to a failed relationship.

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