Key Point 19: You Have Great Ideas – I tell people all of the time, don’t tell me what you are thinking about doing. I’m the person who believes in you. I am not a dream killer. I am going to try my best to tell you how to do what it is you seek to do. I will even go out of my way to the detriment of my own projects to make sure you get your idea off the ground. Take for instance, a guy named Charles Lawson who lives in Memphis. In 2008 when I began to wind down my local and regional basketball website, Charles contacted me and asked if I could help him set up his website. I probably charged him 250 dollars to lay the site out. I then posted his updates and made changes to the site without asking for a dime. He was a good guy and he was sincere about what it was he was doing. Granted sometimes I may not have felt like doing the updates, but the goal was to make sure Charles had the best prep basketball website in the city. His website www.901prepscoop.com has become one of the most popular destinations for Memphis basketball in the city. He has been able to accomplish what I did with CCB in a short amount of time. His great idea didn’t immediately pay dividends because I didn’t start understanding monetizing until recently. However, when I began to understand monetizing I continued changing his website as I learned. All of the experiences that I had gone through were benefitting him. This meant that he gained the ability to use an advertising program at the same time that I did. More importantly Charles continued to develop great ideas. He now hosts his own sports talk radio program Courtside with Chuck and Jerry on KWAM 990. His crazy idea to run his own website has developed into a venture that could make him wealthy if he continues to dedicate himself to branding and growing his website and radio show. Chuck now operates his site on his own.
Is it crazy to think that you can run a basketball website and start a talk radio show? Not really. Is it crazy to think that you can launch a blog that reviews restaurants locally and earn money doing so? Not really. Is it crazy to think that you can take a video game and create stories to generate extra income? Nothing is ridiculous or crazy. The only bad idea is one that fails to be discussed and analyzed. I recently did a workshop at a local college. In this workshop I helped the professors set up a blog independent of the school that would allow them to create an environment to share ideas with their peers or any people who needed educational assistance. The idea is that they can begin taking on consultations as a professional organization of higher education educators. The knowledge that they have as doctors and professors makes them the perfect social network for homeschool programs, tutoring networks and testing coordinators. Now, the workshop was basically on blogging and integrating social media into their college courses, but if they really wanted to begin generating interest in the blog we created that day, they could. The name of the blog that we created was E.A.T. Educational Assistance Team. It seemed like a silly acronym and idea, but once everyone looked at the process of setting up the blog, they could understand how E.A.T. could actually help them eat.
Your great idea may seem small, but so was Facebook originally. I remember speaking with my best friend from high school everyday about what we would do when we grew up. I remember the cars we would tape to the wall, the pictures we would draw, the pictures of girls, everything associated with being rich. We had some of the craziest ideas and back then we believed in them. We really thought we could start these companies. Somewhere between the ages of 16 and 30, we stopped trying. Actually I don’t know when he stopped believing, but I remember being in the Navy and realizing that I could fix an airplane and work on the flight deck in the most dangerous environment in the world, but I didn’t have any aspirations.
When I was advancing towards the end of my enlistment, I had made E-4, and I was a very good aviation electrician, but the Navy was downsizing. I wasn’t going to be able to keep my job as an AE. I was going to have to be an AO, an Aviation Ordinanceman. While AO is an admirable job, a difficult job (An ordinanceman loads, tests and troubleshoots aircraft ammunition and missiles), I would be leaving a job that I felt required a lot more skill and was more prestigious. I didn’t have any dreams at all. At one point when I was in the military, I thought I wanted to be an officer, but I never went to school or applied for any programs. I simply had become one of the guys. When it was time for me to make a decision about reenlisting, I decided to not take the reenlistment bonus and a different job. Without preparation for leaving the Navy, I simply walked away on terminal leave and moved back and forth between LA and San Diego. During that time, I still had the ability to reenlist since I was not going to be officially out of the Navy until my terminal leave ended. I did what most people do. I began applying for jobs and I found one, a very good job for a 22 year old. I had a Mustang, a two bedroom apartment in San Diego and I lived about ten minutes from the beach. The problem was, I didn’t have any goals other than making money, so I was working a lot of hours, and enjoying my free time, but I wasn’t really happy. After working for six months, being sent to South Carolinato learn my job, I went to an open gym and was playing basketball. The head coach asked if I was interested in playing college basketball. I was 23 years old and because of a coach named Zach Jones, I had a chance to dream again. It didn’t matter that I was out of shape and I hadn’t played any real competitive basketball since my 10th grade year of high school, I just knew that this was a dream I always had. I left a job that paid extremely well and gave me serious job security in a city where people spend almost 80 percent of their income on housing and I was spending probably about 40 percent. I had tables that were made in the Philippines in my apartment, couches I had custom made in what I called an Arizona color scheme and I made my second room into a guest room for anybody who needed a place to stay or to seem like a gentleman to women who may not have wanted to share my room (wink, wink). I had what could be considered the perfect life and I quit to pursue a dream. From 1995 to 2004 I worked in the same school district doing the things I loved to do. I played college basketball, I coached high school basketball, I worked on computers and taught high school classes. I wrote books and attended graduate school to study creative writing. I hosted the best Open Mic Poetry Night in Southern Cali. I started a family.
Over the last six years, I have been looking for the same fulfillment I found when I started chasing my dreams. I moved from a tenure track position at a 4 year college, to a high school job in Tennessee, to a low performing high school in Mississippi all while starting my sports website and shoe company, but I still didn’t feel accomplished. I lost a ton of money and I made a lot of money, I still owe on school loans, but I am finally in a position to grow and earn on my own terms. I am taking a long and uncertain road as I did when I decided to leave the Navy, and just like when I made a decision to dream then, my life has changed.
I believe in dreams and great ideas. I realize that no one is going to help me if I don’t put forth an effort. I also realize that no one will help me if I put forth the effort. My ability to make my dreams reality are based solely on my desire and willingness to sacrifice and work. No one can tell me that they can’t do something because I won’t listen. People tell me their problems and I say, ‘those aren’t problems, those are just your reasons for failure’.
You have a great idea within you. No idea is a dumb idea. The only ideas that are bad are those that are not discussed and analyzed.