Practical Experience versus Book Learning.


I run a business incubator. It’s called Cleveland Flea. Most of you know this but you might not know why it’s such a successful place to start, grow and run a business.

It’s based on the idea of practical effort delivering you growth versus reading and studying alone delivering you growth.

It’s similar to the idea that going to a gym and lifting weights consistently (and increasing reps or weight or intensity) will eventually have a compound result of growth (muscle mass, dexterity, expertise about the movement or exercise, etc.). AND if you’re also at the same time reading a bunch about how to do it better then you’ll have both technical expertise and practical expertise.

If you think about it, a monthly market just offers a vendor a place to set monthly goals and get better (if that’s their focus).

I think practical experience (just jumping in) gets you farther faster, if that’s what you’re looking for. Many of my clients tell me they don’t feel prepared. They don’t feel ready. They need to read just one more book. Or clean their office office or organize their schedules first. Before they can launch. Before they can hire me. Before they can do the things they really want to do.

But often they never get there. Because starting always feels scary. You will more than likely always be unprepared. Because there’s a lot to be prepared for. And a lot you don’t know.

Examples of Practical Experience that will get you further:

  • Pushing publish on some form of writing every day, week or month. The practical side of it is staying on schedule, doing it when you say you will.

  • Getting up every morning at a certain time to read / write / workout / study etc. The magic is in the commitment to a schedule and the compound effort that will be evident after sticking to it for a good period of time.

  • Having (and sticking to) monthly meetups for your creative business, like coaching calls or roundtable discussions or even virtual meetups via crowdcast or zoom.

  • Taking part in monthly markets like Cleveland Flea, where you have access to a good amount of customers on a consistent basis.

The real reason to commit to something is so that you can allow the magic of compound interest and commitment give you the gift of Practical Experience– which feels a lot like magic.

All of a sudden you wake up and you’ve committed to 70 markets, in just 6 years, just like me. There is SO MUCH I have because of that commitment– confidence, expertise within my field, deep knowledge of my craft, major connection to my purpose. All the things you’re looking for NOW are won by committing in small moments, every single day.