The Young Entrepreneur Council, Proud Media Partner of CEO GOLF:
Mark Budgell Co-Founded Sparkcell Digital, a firm specializing in social media, digital and content marketing.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
I have a thing for everyday heroes. I worked with a guy who had neck tattoos and wore combat boots, and he was almost always the smartest person in the room. Attending meetings with him was fantastic. He shattered preconceptions. His brilliance made him great, and his nonconformity made him heroic.
What’s the single best piece of business advice (unorthodox tips welcome!) that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Wear expressive socks. You can’t always wear your emotions on your sleeve, but you can wear whatever socks you please, and no one ever complains. So when times are tough, put on your professional face, but wear socks that make you feel optimistic, strong, or smart. I’m partial to my Yoda socks, but I just came across a pair of Bernie Sanders socks that I’m dying to buy.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Job alerts. They’re more than a distraction, they’re a sign that you’re hedging your bets. And if you’re hedging your bets, you probably don’t have faith in yourself. I canceled all my job alerts three years ago, and things have been great ever since.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Anything that requires deep thought, which often means writing. Incidentally, I’m writing responses to this questionnaire in the late afternoon. I probably should have made this a morning project.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Always prepare for rainy days. When you’re done doing that, prepare for a natural disaster.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Stand up and do ten jumping jacks. When you’re done, leave your office. Set up a real, in-person meeting with a client or prospective client. You’ll learn so much more from them than you ever will on a telephone call or through email.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
When the company I co-founded becomes something that can exist without me. That’s why we pay so much attention to recruiting great talent and cultivating our team members. On that day, our company description will read something like this: “Sparkcell Digital. We can’t remember who founded us, but we do the best work there is.”