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Entrepreneurship Isn’t Rocket Science: An Invaluable Lesson from My 4-Year-Old Son

The Secret to Running a Successful Business is Actually Fairly Simple: Fix People's Problems


As a freelance copywriter and online entrepreneur, I follow a lot of well-known business people and digital marketing experts, in addition to hundreds of incredible writers.

When it comes to business and entrepreneurship, of course you know the Mark Cubans and Richard Bransons of the world. You may also know folks like affiliate and niche marketing guru Los Silva, analytics and content marketing go-to-guy Neil Patel, and lead generation and email marketing mastermind Ryan Deiss, the list goes on.

It’s impossible to follow them all closely, however, so I recently scaled back the number of experts I follow closely at a given time to just three. It’s not that I haven’t got lots to learn from other people—I certainly do—it’s just that I only have so many hours in a day, and I cannot implement everyone’s business and marketing advice all at once—in addition to my copywriting demands. After all, I’ve found most experts on writing and online marketing overlap one another, and they also recycle their best stuff, so it’s unlikely you will miss anything vitally important by narrowing your focus to just three. So I have picked my three favorites for where my businesses are right now—the three experts I think will have the biggest impact on my most immediate goals—and committed to only read and watch their stuff for the next six months. After six months, I will reassess my goals and decide which three gurus to follow next. In case you’re curious, here’s my current list:

… but I digress.

Back to my 4-year-old son’s big lesson …

While watching the latest episode of Silva’s Business & Bourbon video podcast—you should definitely check it out—I clicked through to learn more about Silva’s co-host on the podcast, Greg Rollett of Ambitious.com, where I came across his wonderful article titled, “Do This One Thing And You’ll Never Be Broke.”

Here’s how Rollett begins the article:

“Two words. Solve Problems. …

  •  Solve big problems and you’ll make big money.
  •  Solve little problems and you’ll make little money.
  •  Solve no problems and you’ll be broke.”

Now, of course, solving ordinary problems won’t yield extraordinary results. Rollett clarifies that the results yielded from your problem-solving are commensurate with the size of the problem. In other words, if you want to achieve big results, you have to solve big problems.

“If your goal is to make six figures at your job, or build a million dollar business,” Rollett says, “you need to start solving 6 figure or million dollar problems.”

That’s when it hit me: There’s a fourth business-coaching expert in my life with some extraordinary insight I should follow—my 4-year-old son. Why?

Well, first, because my 4-year-old son is brutally honest. Second, because he has an uncanny way of boiling things down to their simplest yet most essential tenets.

See if you agree …

The other day, Mommy got the idea to ask our son what he thinks we do for work.

“Mommy works in the kitchen,” he said excitedly. “And Daddy fixes things.”

In reality, Mommy is a director of content marketing at a rapidly growing healthcare IT company, but cooking and eating great food is her passion, so our son sees her in the kitchen more than anywhere else. And, because we asked him this question around dinner time, his answer reflected what Mommy had done for him lately.

Point is, my son sees Mommy solving his problems. When he is hungry, needs a hug, scraps his knee, whatever the problem du jour, she solves it. In kind, he pays her for her work with eternal love.

Meanwhile, “Daddy fixes things”—it may be both the biggest compliment and sharpest entrepreneurial insight I’ve ever received.

Of course, my son is thinking about his problems: from the toys he breaks that need fixing to the things that need to be built or assembled around the house like his outdoor playhouse, his Matchbox car super track, the list goes on, I assure you!  Point is, these are the fixes he sees and appreciates, because they solve the problems he cares about. And he pays me for my work with eternal love.

But what he doesn’t see—at least not yet—is that Mommy and Daddy also apply their problem-solving skills to their work outside of the home.

If a client needs a blog article on the finer points of big data’s influence on healthcare … if the company needs to make more connections with top-level influencers … if a new lead-generation initiative needs to be implemented to capture a new target audience … Mommy works with her team to get the necessary solutions in place.

If a landing page isn’t converting as well as it should … if something is broken in a conversion funnel … if a new client wants her website fully rewritten and redesigned, Daddy works with his team to get the necessary fixes in place.

So I’ll leave you with this bit of advice inspired by a 4-year-old, who apparently is jut as savvy as the top digital marketing experts …

If you want to make more money, sell more books, get more followers—whatever your goal du jour—find the key people in your market, identify their biggest problems, then figure out how to create or provide a unique solution to fix their problems. The bigger the problems, the more money people will pay you to fix them. The more people there are who share the same problem, the more people there are who make up your market. The more unique and powerful your “fix,” the greater share of your market you should capture.

Photo by loomingy1/Flickr

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Gary Grimes

Founder and President at Copywriter Brands, LLC
A former journalist who sold out for the less romantic but more sustainable world of online marketing, Gary created Copywriter Brands, including StuffWritersLike.com, to help writers connect with each other and the people who hire us—but also to reclaim his love for journalism and storytelling.
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May 4, 2016
  • grollett

    Thanks for checking out the Problem Solving post and getting a little inspiration from the post. I have a 1.5 year old and a 3-year old and I get business lessons from them daily. They are the most honest people in the world. Great post and great wisdom.

    • Gary W. Grimes

      Thank you for sharing, Greg. Love the podcast!

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