2×4: One series that examines two topics, creativity and productivity, by asking those who make things on the web the same four questions on both subjects.
One of the best parts about playing in the Social Media pool are the people you meet. Most often, you connect with someone online and at some point or another, you end up face to face. Meeting Marcus Sheridan was exactly the opposite. We met through Danny Brown and Gini Dietrich at Blog World. A few drinks later (or at least a few for me) we were fast friends and a few days later we had connected online and I had become a big fan of his rather excellent blog, The Sales Lion.
Marcus is a rare breed and one I can relate to (as well as one I aspire to). He’s a guy working in a struggling luxury market, selling actual goods to actual people who turned to the web to grow his business. Where most people working in traditional small businesses are striving and struggling to figure out how to leverage the web, Marcus put his head down and did it for his company River Pools and Spas. Better yet, he goes out of his way to help other business owners learn how to achieve that success for themselves. Besides being great at what he does and teaches, he also happens to be a great guy. He’s extremely generous with his time, cherishes every interaction and has a sense of character that is almost tangible.
Without further ado, here is a look at how The Sales Lion roars:
Have you always considered yourself a creative person?
I don’t know if I’ve always considered myself creative. I stink at drawing, painting, working with my hands, etc. For some reason, although I wanted to be good at those things, they just didn’t ever really get going with me. Later on in my teen years, though, I noticed I became a creative thinker in terms of how I approached ideas and concepts, especially in the business, communication, and interpersonal realm.
What mediums and inspirations do you gravitate toward to realize your creative goals?
I find creativity in actually going out and doing stuff. I’m not one to just sit around an analyze something. I launch an idea fast, and am not afraid to experience the pain and pleasure that come with such quick action. But when I’m actually in the grind, making things happen—that’s when creativity seems to work its magic.
If you had to point to one thing, what specific posts or creations are you most proud of and why?
Two posts come to mind:
Husband, Father, Blogger, Business Owner: I like this post because it’s quite personal, really touches on all aspects of my life, and is written in a journalistic/creative manner.
Eventually Mr Blogger, You Actually Have to Do Something: The more I write, and the older I get, the stronger my desire to simply ‘create’. And not only do I want to create, I want to help others create as well.
Any suggestions for those who feel they may not be creative enough to unlock their inner artist?
We’re all creative. That’s a fact. But I don’t think it does someone any good to analyze their supposed lack of creativity. Go out and do something. That’s how I feel about it. Action is the great inspirer, always has been and always will be.
Can you describe your current personal and professional responsibilities?
I own a large swimming pool company that builds in-ground pools throughout Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia along with my two business partners, who handle most of the day to day. Just this past year, they allowed me to break away to focus on my blog and coaching/speaking career. So now, I spend only about 5-10 hours a week with my pool company and about 40-50 hours a week working on my blog, The Sales Lion, and also traveling, speaking and coaching.
How do you go about balancing the personal, professional and digital?
That’s the great challenge we all face–balance. For me, it starts with my spiritual base. I attend church every Sunday with my wife and four kids. I also spend quality time with each of the children, and my wife, just about every day, assuming I’m not traveling. Every night, around 10pm, I get on the elliptical for exactly 1 hour. I might miss a workout once every three months or so. From 11-1am, I write. My mind words well after a workout.
What tools and techniques do you find yourself counting on to get through your workload?
I’m learning to say no often. I also don’t waste time. I don’t watch TV. I don’t lie around. I get about 5-6 hours of sleep most nights. My mind is kind of obsessed with creating at this point in my life, and so if I’m not spending quality time with family, I’m looking to do something that will help me reach my goals.
What is the best starting point for the unproductive amongst us, who are looking to get more organized?
Know your goals. Easily, that’s the biggest. For example, here are mine:
Have a strong relationship with God and self.
Have a strong relationship with my wife and children.
Teach the masses by giving great information, via writing or speech, and make a difference in the lives of others in the process.
These may sound cliche to some, but those are my ‘big’ goals, and I do my best not to let ‘stuff’ hinder these goals.