How to make your dream business real.

Every business starts off as an idea, dream, or vision. You probably have a great business idea lounging in your brain right now. Or maybe you have a conglomerate-worth of business ideas up in your noggin. What entrepreneurs know that others don’t is that businesses are just ideas that someone decided to make real by simply living into their dream.

My Dream

In the summer of 2015 my cousin Brooks Albrecht and I started talking about opening our own advertising agency. And the first step was really fun. Because all we had to do was dre-E-E-E-eam, dream, dream, dream. There are absolutely no constraints, no budget limitations, and no reality check at all in this phase. Just ideas and fantasies.

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The E-Myth

Brooks and I bought and devoured copies of The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. (It was delicious). Then we followed the book’s advice. We wrote down all the details we dreamed up about the business, its processes, procedures and culture. We thought about all the crazy things our business would have. Like Thinking Showers and Thinking Beds, because those are where people come up with many of their best ideas. And I wanted my imaginary HR director to have something real to worry about. #AmIRight

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Read this book.

Impractical Jokers

The whole thing was just a dream. And totally impractical. I lived in Atlanta and Brooks lived in Seattle. Yet we kept calling each other late at night to talk more about our fake little advertising agency. We were playing business, like kids play house. Which is to say we were grown(ish) men, imagining and pretending. But through all that pretending we seemed to have envisioned and imagined everything. And this ad agency we were pretending we owned seemed totally real to us. Like realer than Real Deal Holyfield.

What If…

We could have stopped right there. We could have told our friends, family and professional network that we had thought of a great agency idea. Like so many of my coworkers had done. And we would have wondered for the rest of our lives what would have happened to that idea had we brought it to life, like Pinocchio, Frankenstein, or that hot chick from Weird Science.

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Don’t Stop, Get it, Get it.

But we didn’t stop at the dream, the vision, or even the janky police sketches we made of the business. We took the next step. And we told people what we were trying to do. And we talked to potential clients as if the business really existed. Because in our heads it totally did.

Then, one day, we decided to go online and register The Weaponry LLC as a legal business entity for $120. And the business got realer.

Then we sent for a federal tax ID number. And it got realer.

Then we opened a bank account and transferred $16,000 into it. And it got realer.

Then I took the day off of work, and flew to Boston to spend the day working with our first customer, Global Rescue. And shit got really real. Because Dan Richards, Global Rescue’s CEO and one of my best friends in the world, told me he needed what The Weaponry offered.

It’s Getting Realer!

Throughout the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016 my favorite line to Brooks was, ‘It’s getting realer!’ Because that is exactly what was happening. The business I dreamed up was becoming realer every day. Because Brooks and I believed it into being. And this little figment of my imagination literally became a business because we pretended it was a business. And like visionaries and people suffering from serious mental illness, we could no longer separate reality from fantasy.

Soon, perfectly sane humans started referring to The Weaponry as if it was a real thing. Or even better than the real thing. #U2  In meetings people introduced me as ‘Adam Albrecht, from The Weaponry.’ And suddenly real business were working with The Weaponry. And it just got realer and realer and realer.

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I’m just living the dream.

Today

It has been 4 years since Brooks and I started dreaming about our advertising agency. And things keep getting realer. We have offices in Milwaukee and Columbus. We have 17 clients from coast-to-coast. Yesterday I saw advertisements The Weaponry created on TV, on billboards, on my mobile device, and on my computer. I saw packaging we created at the grocery store last night. I saw a trade show booth we designed. And I saw logos we designed for our clients on Facebook and Instagram. And the dream felt realer than ever.

Key Takeaway

Don’t just dream your dreams. Make them real. Envision your vision. Then live into it. Don’t quit your job. Just take one step forward. Taking that first step makes it realer. Then take another step. And another. And another.

Before you know it other people will call your made up idea by name. Fiction will become reality. Because a business is just a made up idea that someone began treating as if it was real. That’s all it takes. If you have a dream to create a business, organization, event, product or service, all you need to do is live into it. And it will get realer than you ever imagined it could.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them.

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What kind of motivation fuels you best?

Do you ever think about your motivational fuel source? It’s valuable to understand what encourages, inspires and pushes you. Because once you know what fuels your personal fire, you can stockpile kegs of it. Then ignite it whenever you need another boost.

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Stockpile your motivational fuel like Wildfire. #GameOfThrones

Background

I have been a heavy consumer of motivation fuel my entire life. When I was young I guzzled it to help me perform my best in school and athletics. After college I started using motivational fuel to enhance my career, personal fitness and financial success.

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I’ve transitioned my competitive drive from athletics to my career.

My Current Focus

In 2016 I made  a strategic decision to push both my career and financial success to the next level. As a result I launched my own advertising and idea agency called The Weaponry.  When I was in the planning stages of my entrepreneurial adventure I started this blog to document what I learned along the way. One of my key learnings is that you need to keep a steady stream of motivational fuel flowing into your system at all times.

Finding Your Fuel

Take some time to analyze what motivation fuel sources power your inner drive. Then acquire as much of it as you can. I find that I am inspired by many things. Which means that I have a lot of options when it comes to motivation propellents.

My 15 Sources Of Motivation Fuel

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My vision is a strong motivator. There is a long road ahead and life is short. So I gotsta go!

1. My Vision.

This is a major source, if not my primary source of motivation. I have a clear vision of the fully-formed Me. Unfortunately, it’s a lot better than the current Me. But I am already better than I used to be. Closing the Me vs Ideal Me gap is an always available fuel source.

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My friend Dan Richards is a badass, and a constant source of motivation for me.

2. Impressive And Successful People. 

I love to see others have great success. When I see my friends crushing it, I want to crush it too. This is true in my career and in my personal life. I fancy myself successful, so I want to keep up with others I think are like me. It’s the most positive way to keep up with the Jones. Keep pace with their successes, not their expenditures.

Examples: My rockstar entrepreneur friends Dan Richards, Troy Allen, David Florsheim and Jeff Hilimire.

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I read this quote every day in my office.

3. Great Quotes  

I am highly susceptible to a great quote. If you have them send them my way. I love the way a great quote summarizes an important lesson or reminder in a simple way. Quotes are like my nitroglycerin.

Examples:

  • ‘You are either getting better or you are getting worse.’
  • ‘There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.’
  • ‘A man with miles on his car has money in the bank.’
  • ‘You can’t take a pair of pants off a bare butt.’
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When all else fails crank up some ACDC.

4. Music 

Great music can help me power through anything. I use it to start my day, to power a workout and to push me through a long day at work.

Examples: Anything by ACDC or My Spotify Motivation Mix

5. Books  

Reading supplies me with steady, slow-burning motivation. I like to read biographies about successful people. I read How-To and Self-Helpy type stuff all the time. Book fuel is really a cocktail of numbers 1, 2, 3, 10, and 12.

Examples: See images above.

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If Tony Robbins can’t inspire you, you may be dead.

6. Motivational Speakers 

If motivational speakers don’t fuel you up nothing will. Seek them out in person, or online. YouTube and Social Media platforms are thick with them.

Examples: Tony Robbins, Gary Vee, Zig Ziglar, my college coach Ed Nuttycombe’s spaghetti speech.

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If I don’t keep moving this will be me.

7. Poverty  

When I see others in poverty it propels me forward like the other side of a magnet.

Examples: Driving through a depressed part of town. India.

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One of my greatest fears.

8. Unhealthy People  

People who are obviously unhealthy are a constant reminder that I need to keep moving and eating right. I am thankful for them. And they are everywhere. Except the gym.

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These people fuel me like caffeine.

9. My family  

Taking care of my wife, daughter and 2 sons is a major motivating factor. They are a constant source of motivation. But so are my parents, my 3 sisters and their families.  Even broader, I am very proud to be a member of the Albrecht Family and The Sprau Family. (My Mom’s maiden name is Sprau. It’s fun to think of your Mom as a maiden.) I am always trying to be an asset to the family and enhance our brand reputation.

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The more you have, the more freedom you have.

10. Financial Freedom  

I am driven to acquire enough money to be able to choose how I spend my time. I want to be in control of my life. This is the way to maintain as much control as possible.

Examples: Hundred dollar bills. Fifty dollar bills. Twenty dollar bills

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I want more time to do my favorite things with my favorite people.

11. Time Freedom 

See number 10.

Examples:  Fishing, Camping, Mountain Biking, Boogie Boarding, Traveling, Hammocking

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I have quantifiable goals that keep me chipping away.

12. My Goals 

My goals provide constant motivation. They have big gaudy numbers on them. And they provide a constant measure of what I have left to accomplish in order to live up to my own standards. I really like raw, quantifiable number goals.

Examples of how I measure progress towards my goals: On my bathroom scale, In Quickbooks, Through my WordPress Blog Stats, the amount of weight I lift.

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I look for pride in every hire. Because it is the greatest intrinsic motivator.

13. Pride 

I think pride is the ultimate motivator. I look for it in employees. Because someone who values pride won’t let you down because they don’t want to let themselves down.

Examples:  People who work at The Weaponry.

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My University of Wisconsin track teammates.

14. Teammates 

I never want to let others down. When I competed in athletics I never wanted to let my teammates down. As a business owner I am motivated to take care of my team and their families.

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My competitors motivate me. Although usually I don’t want to punch then in the face.

15. Competitors 

I like to compete. So when I see others do well, I want to do well. Your competitors are one of the best motivators you have. Use them.

Key Takeaway

Life and work can be hard. Motivation isn’t automatic. You need to seek it out. Stockpile it. Refine it. And consume it when you need a boost. Like the variety of foods in a well balanced diet, it’s best to keep a wide variety of fuel sources handy so you can quickly tap into the kind of motivation you need at any given moment. By understanding your motivational fuel sources you can ensure you will always have an abundant supply. And if you have an endless supply of motivational fuel your possibilities are endless too.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share it with them.