Posted by: Ingrid Vanderveldt | March 20, 2009

The Humbling Facts vs. Fiction/BEFORE & AFTER: Things I Continue to Learn in Business


At studio in Dallas on March 11, 2009

AFTER SHOT: At studio in Dallas on March 11, 2009

Hi all:

I just got off a really valuable and humbling call with an old friend/ colleague of mine from Austin Texas, Eugene Sepulveda (  Its not often that someone will take the time to go out of there way (unsolicited) to offer guidance and feedback.  Thank you Eugene….

One of the things that we talked about is the fact that there is a lot of hype around what I get to do.  I think anytime you are in the media- there is a risk of that happening.  The funny thing is that its a two edged sword-…the hype/ PR/ all of that can be great in terms of getting a message out.  The flip side however is becoming known for the hype as opposed to the real work at hand.  When the media showcases the things I get to do or say- its easy to think that everything is rosy…and there is no question that I get to experience a lot of neat opportunities that on the outside (that I am very grateful for)- makes everything look good- both literally and figurately.  Case in point- the photoshoot to the right by Zach Lewis who thank god for his amazing Airbrush work I look like i have no wrinkles :)…)  he is an excellent photographer, but I can assure you his handiwork is what makes his photos what they are.  

BELOW is what I REALLY look like.  NO makeup.  No hair.  No bling.  My disclaimer (and I can have one since its I opened my komono on the real deal) this was taken after being bitten by the world’s largest mosquito in Miami.  Just out of bed, walked into the backyard on a day where I was supposed to be filming and BAM!  I was mosquito  lunch (or breakfast anyways).  I have to admit- I hope the mosquito died from over-stuffing itself (you would be too!- come on!- admit it!)…it was a bit hectic to make things “camera ready” as we like to say 🙂

here is what I REALLY look like after being bitten by the world's largest mosquito in Miami. No makeup.  No hair.  No bling.  Doesn't everyone want to hire Zach now?! :)

BEFORE SHOT: No makeup. No hair. No bling. Doesn't everyone want to hire Zach now?! 🙂





ANYWAYS…back to business- the point of all this is that there is difference between reality and hype- and I certainly get to experience that first hand.

While I have had some great business experiences, I have also been beaten up and bruised pretty bad.  I have lost money,  couldn’t deliver on sales numbers I thought I would easily hit and in turn- that makes for some pretty good learning experiences from burning bridges and damaging relationships.  That’s pretty humbling.  

For example: a few years back, I found myself living on my friends couches (thank you Alexis, Kyle and Lyn) when I had to rent out my house to get mortgage money which I then turned around an instead used to make payroll for employees which ultimately landed me on the streets (or on couches anyways).  Yeah- thats pretty humbling….i lost a house AND a business all at the same time.  Kind of hard to feel like a bad ass when you are homeless and broke.

Its from these experiences though that continues to teach me that the integrity of yourself and the people you surround yourself with that will get you through it.  I have also learned that some of the most successful people we tend to admire in business are ones who have experienced some level of what we might call “significant failure” and its in the recovery, learning and sharing from these that we continue to grow.

 Like most people I think, I want to know I have made a difference in the lives of other people.  My goal (like many others) is to become known for great work that I do.

I now know that there is a reason I have been blessed both with extraordinary opportunity and also massive failures.  It has caused me to go deeper to find out “how people do it”.  How do others who have done well, overcome obstacles, created wealth and abundance for themselves and others- how have they done it?  To collect these stories, learn from them and certainly share them with all of you.  I have also learned a LOT about what works and what doesn’t work in business (and will always be learning from that).  Its these experiences that have enabled me to be able to provide entrepreneurs with “The Entrepreneurial Blueprint” to take an idea, at any stage of development- and turn it into a cash flowing business.  I think a lot of that comes from simply focusing on the basics, keeping the integrity in tact (of the people/ idea and relationships that make a business go) and just doing well in how your idea and/or business serves others (and provides value).  So here are a few tips I have learned from my many screw ups:

*  When you are homeless without a job because your idea just hit the dirt- ASK for help.  You certainly are not the first and won’t be the last.  Just consider that phase part of “earning your stripes” mode 🙂  (i should get a tattoo for every stripe I earn.  My body would be covered by now- for reals- and then I wouldn’t have room for all the new ones I would be adding through the rest of my life)

*  When you think you are the only one in the world who just screwed up and had a business failure- READ A BOOK from someone you admire.  There is a 99.9% chance they screwed up too and made it back.  Stay focused on what you learned, and why you are doing what you do.  its your passion and persistence that will ultimately pay off.  I have a lot of books I refer to and some of my favorite are biographies on Ted Turner, Mark Kay Ash and of course Howard Shultz. 

*  If someone offers to give you advice- LISTEN.  You will probably learn something incredibly valuable.

*  When your gut tells you something is right or wrong- It probably is.

*  Doing something for the money is a necessity and a JOB.  Doing something with purpose, passion and drive is a calling and your LIFE.

*  Know your priorities and keep them in check.  I can’t tell you how miserable I felt some of the time when I was making more money then I could even try to spend.  I can also tell you how some of my best experiences/ memories came when I was completely broke.

*  When you are feeling pretty awful… this is going to sound really simple and maybe even a bit silly- but drink lots of water, exercise, and when you go out- make yourself look HOT!  That saying of “pretend until you make it” is SO TRUE.  When you feel good, you act well and success breeds success…so make it happen!  This is one of the easiest ways you can kick start getting back on top of things- plus you will feel great about yourself.

*  Know that when you have been called to do something great- there are going to be people who love you and those who don’t.  be humble, keep your integrity in check, KNOW that there are going to be things in your life that work and sometimes things that “fail” BUT KNOW THIS…..EVERY SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR I HAVE EVER SPENT TIME WITH OR INTERVIEWED FOR MY SHOWS HAS EXPERIENCED SOME FORM OF EXTREME FAILURE/  DEVISTATION IN THIER LIVES and they count on friends, family, spirituality, reading, focus but also ‘humbled listening’ to come back.  It is this point alone that when people used to tell me back in the go-go tech days that you weren’t a bonafide success unless you have had at least ONE massive failure (bankruptcy, foreclosure, business closure etc.etc)- NOW?…it all makes perfect sense.

So stay focused, listen to what is going on around you/ what you can learn from and continue to do great things :)…you have been CALLED.  I will continue to share my own journal, adventures and stories of others with you and together- we will do great things 🙂

Have an awesome day!


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