Small Beginnings

July 25, 2017
Jean-Luc Laube
Stories
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Small beginnings are the best stories.

I really believe that if you want to be a great _______ you should act like one.

Insert the word leader, designer, entrepreneur, business, nonprofit, charity, co-working space and yes even bank.

No leader really enjoys the small beginnings.  You know?  They’re tough.  Cheap meals. Garage Office. Ramen instead of Caviar. For some small beginnings are much smaller than others.  

Donald Trump’s small beginning was a million dollar loan from his father.   Andy Kristian Agaba’s small beginning was in the  African bush in Uganda without running water or electricity in his house.  Andy’s father was killed when he was young. At such a young age he  was forced to become the “man” of the house

He studied and worked harder than the hardest worker.  He had the best test scores in his village.  This enabled him to go to a University.  Then he went to the University in Uganda and had the best scores there. This enabled him to go to America.  Then he had the best scores at Lancaster Bible University.  At this time Andy’s pockets were empty but his eyes full of vigor.  He rode his donated motorcycle out in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.  One day being broke down because he ran out of gas. God used this day.  Frustrated, Andy waited along the road.  Within the hour, a man came by to pick him up.  

Andy told this man his vision, his dreams, his hope.  

“I am starting a Micro-financing nonprofit.” 

He must havestated in his thick Ugandan accent.

But what Andy didn’t know was that in a matter of a few days this man was going to give Andy seed funding of $30-45k to start his nonprofit.

Once I found out the details of  Trump’s “Small Loan” I lost full interest in his early beginnings story.  Now again, this could just be me… And I understand that some of his startups went bankrupt and that’s interesting.  

But for me, Trump’s small beginnings were HUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGEEEEE beginnings.  This is  partly why I really do not care what he has to say regarding business startups.  I’m not saying he doesn’t know what a Lean Startup is… but does he actually?

Do you think that Donald Trump ever:

Only ate Ramen Noodles.

Was so broke he didn’t eat.

Ran out of gasoline because he was so broke.

It’s not that I don’t respect the man. My point is that small beginnings are the best stories.  They’re stories you look back upon fondly.  They’re humbling.

I have been fortunate to have many different types of “Small beginnings” stories in my life.

But let me tell you about Clickable Click.

I got the name “Clickable” from listening to the back of pen “Click”. I was on the phone with GoDaddy (this is not a push endorsement) and purchased the domain right there.  ClickableClick.com was mine.  That night I designed the logo, and that weekend I made the Facebook page and website.

The following Wednesday I recruited a girl to join my team full time.  Now of course our business didn’t immediately boom the way I hoped and thought it would.  We were so hungry for work and building our portfolio that we even did things for free.

“Look, your marketing is awful. Let us show you how good we are.”

“For how much?”

“XXX a month”

“I’m sorry we can’t afford it.”

“Fine, then we’ll do it for free. For a month.  If you like it you can pay us.”

I would say.

I remember for one specific client I drove 3 hours to the capital city of our state, we interviewed subjects, got B-Roll shots.  We edited, shot a full marketing campaign for their social media page.

Our total reach was impressive. We created the most likely post.  Many people engaged and shared our content. Our campaign had the highest ROI on investment they’ve ever had.  

Because if it’s creative the engagement will follow directly after.

After rendering and looking back at our impressive analytics we pitched to the CEO only to get a closed door.  However it wasn’t the closed door that I focused on… because as I turned around the world was in front of me, Open… full of opportunities.

Adoption is special. But there’s something amazing about the vulnerability of an infant even after it leaves its mother’s safe haven and enters into the new world.

We all want to make it big, win the lottery or become a millionaire overnight, however these beginnings are nothing short of shallow, scandalous, and boring.

Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.