The Million Dollar Tattoo

Learning how to turn ideas into action

Archive for July, 2010

Why People Expect You to Under-Deliver

The world is awash with bland content. The lines are jammed with mediocre this and so-so that. The air-waves are jammed with over-hyped, under-cooked brands promising the world for $9.95 a month. You know the score – if you want to stand out you have to be the ‘purple cow’ in the field – you have to differentiate yourself from the mess of homogenized same-old filling up the aisles.

The thing is – with this constant stream of explosive viral campaigns and social media guerrilla marketing, in the majority of cases we’re still getting products and services of mid-quality sameness and less-than-stellar effort. People are actually becoming used to being oversold on a banquet and then being fed with medium mcvalue meal services and products. It’s evolution at work- we are adapting to the status quo, for better or for worse, and as a result people actually expect you to under-deliver. Of course you won’t stand out, but all the same you’re not gonna piss anyone off too much, are you?The sad thing is that you’ll just be another mild, easily forgotten disappointment in a long line of new brands that promised customers the world and ended up dumping a rock on their front porch.
Under promise and over-deliver.
You might get the sales call even if you’re not wearing a polka-dot suit. Your customers have been knocked over the head so many times with grey-goop content that they’re no longer pissed off, they’re just blasé. By all means, stand out if you can, just don’t spend all of your time on the sizzle and not enough on the steak. When everyone in sales and marketing reads Godin and starts trying to be the funny coloured milk machine, pretty soon we’re gonna end up back in grey-goopsville.

Under promise and over-deliver.

Of course I’m not talking about doing a bad job of selling yourself. But when each new marketing campaign and promotional vehicle and salesperson is engaged in an arms-race of over-sell people are only going to be surprised if what they get is more than they expected.

Much more.


The Million Dollar Tattoo

I want to be wealthy. That’s not all I want, of course, and I don’t think it’s the most important thing in the world, but it’s one of my goals, nonetheless. It’s been a goal of mine since I can remember, and something that I’ve always strived for in one way or another – even if sometimes it seemed like more of a dream than anything else.

Why do I want to be wealthy? I have a whole bunch of reasons. To look after my family, current and future. To do the things that I imagine doing but can’t afford. To help people. Yes, really, to help people. To provide an example – to prove something. To go from housing commission to million dollar commissions. I want to rid myself of the problems associated with not having enough money: credit card debt, university fees, rent, food, transport, medical bills. Etc, ad infinitum. You know the score. All of that – gone for good.

So – I want to be wealthy. But: do I deserve to be wealthy? Am I doing the things that are required – am I sowing the seeds, taking the steps, making the changes? If you want to reach a goal – well, first you have to know where you’re going. Not just a guess, not just ‘around about’. No – you have got to know exactly where you want to go if you’re going to have any chance of getting there. So I set myself a goal. A measurable goal. 2 years. By the age of thirty. One million dollars. In the bank.

So: Now I know where I’m going.

But – wait a second: saying “I want to go to Texas” is not going to get you there any more than tapping your little heels 3 times is gonna take you home. You have to make a plan of action – a plan of movement. You have to figure out how you’re getting from point A to point B. Well? Well that’s just what I did. I got myself a piece of paper (sure – there’s nothing scarier than a blank sheet of paper. But, then again, there is nothing greater and more liberating than a blank sheet of paper, is there?), and on that piece of paper I wrote down my goal. And then I wrote down exactly how I planned on getting there.

How do I plan on getting there?

A lottery ticket?

A rich uncle?

A 9 -5?

No, no and no.

I plan to get there by setting up a business that will return a profit on my investment. A business that I will systemize until it will run without my having to be there. A business that will deliver value to the market, for which in return I will receive financial reward. That’s it. I’ve had already made one attempt at it that failed dismally, and now I’m on my second go round. And before I started either it seemed almost impossible. Yet, when it’s written down it doesn’t seem so hard now, does it…?

Is it a lot of work? Hell yes.

Is it easy? No. (Which, incidentally, is a great thing, because it means that only a few people will have the guts to stick it through and go for gold).

Is it possible? Absolutely yes. I truly believe that, wholeheartedly.

But what about the measurement? How will I know when I’ve reached my goal?

I’ll know in 2 ways:

1.) There will be a million dollars in my bank account, and I will be 30 years old. (Won’t that be swell…)

2.) It might sound odd, but once I reach that magic million dollars, I’m going to get a tattoo. Well, I’m actually going to get two tattoos. One on each shoulder. On one shoulder (my left), there will be a tattoo in collage style, swimming with symbols that represent the word IDEAS. On my right shoulder, in the same style, bursting with images – vibrating with colour – there will be a tattoo that symbolises the word ACTION.


Because I’ve learnt something (admittedly so little it’s scary…) in my few years on this Earth. Ideas are outrageously powerful entities – unseen forces that can start revolutions, end lives and create dreams. Yet, without action, these ideas will never break out into the real world where they can initiate real change. So, the secret of our success will not be a million dollar idea that suddenly pops into our heads one day. No. The secret of our success will be the million dollar effort that will turn that idea into action. And the million dollar tattoo, at least for me, will signify the effort that took the idea all the way through to the action.

So what? Well, so nothing. That’s my goal and that’s what I’m striving for. And this blog is here to remind myself everyday and, hopefully, will inspire you in some way to turn your ideas into action. And that’s it.

Until I get the million dollar tattoo…