In this book summary of Unlabel by Marc Ecko, you’ll find my notes, valuable lessons, and important action steps.
“If you can’t express your idea convincingly in black and white and slap it together on a Xerox machine—I mean low-budget—then your idea is not believable. Worse still, it means you yourself don’t really believe.”
You’re going to be most successful when you focus on your strength and outsource the rest. If you’re trying to do everything, quality and productivity is going to suffer some place or another.
An authentic personal brand has an incredible amount of action behind it, otherwise you’d never hear of the person.
Since there’s only so many seconds in a day, every action you choose to take means there’s another action you’re not doing in that moment. Choose wisely if you want to feel good about yourself and reach your goals.
To hide from the fact he didn’t know business acumen about the fashion company he wanted to start, Marc hid behind the art like most creatives do to cover up their insecurity. It’s always helpful to have some business savvy.
Being an entrepreneur means you’ll always be facing rejections and pitching yourself no matter how far you’ve made it. Auditioning yourself never ends and it’s not a bad thing, just how it is.
You don’t want to be 40 and have regrets that you could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve done things different when you were younger. Go for it today!
Be self-referential about your brand, not selfish. This means creatively looping back to your brand’s perspective on an issue and being persistent in this effort. Brands who magically pull this off include rappers, Andy Warhol, Will Ferrell, Star Wars, and the USA.
Apple is more creatively selfish than Microsoft and that’s why they won in the long run.
Executing, what you do, is always more powerful than talking, what you say. You need to deliver on your brand’s promise or it will dissolve.
What you do know not is more important than what you do know.
When trying to create a positive emotional impact on others, you can’t forget to recognize how you personally feel. It’s easy to lose yourself if you don’t keep a tab on yourself.
Loyalty to nostalgia can crumble your businesses future. Ecko and his team invested in a Times Square building that cost them a heavy lease bill every month and they never even opened the store. They also bought huge office buildings that were over the top. And then he had to sell his company. Blame nostalgia.
A successful entrepreneur will have a vision of the future and pursue that authentically. That’s success!
Take action to build a personal brand, business, and a life that you’re proud of when you reflect on it. The only thing stopping you from reaching your goals is not taking enough action for a long enough time. The opportunity is there, if you work day and night for it!
Live authentically by being a creator, selling without selling out, create wealth that matters by knowing you who are and how you contribute to society, refuse to be labeled by others, and focus on authentic pursuit, not the destination.
No gatekeepers are stopping you from achieving your dreams. The world says gatekeepers are goalkeepers, but you can score big without the help of gatekeepers. So don’t look for approval from others and don’t let people who don’t know you label you. Boldly be yourself, label yourself, live by your standards, and play by your own rules to win.
Three Favorite Quotes
“Reduce risk, lower your required capital, and focus on what you’re really good at—and hire others for what you are not. This is something you should think about in any business: don’t try to do everything. You aren’t the best at everything. Find out where you have an advantage and stick to that.”
“My ‘vision’ didn’t start with billions, my vision started with a can of spray paint and what I could do with it in the next thirty minutes. Entrepreneurs lose sight of that. When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built their first motherboard, they didn’t envision the iPhone. Visions can start small. Visions should start small.”
“It’s critical that you dig deep down, from the inside out, and look outward and upward for your vision of the future. Not a vision of their future. Not a vision of the gatekeepers’ futute. And not a vision of the future that’s so far away that it’s only achieved once cars are flying through space. But a future that’s awethentic.”
Action Steps For You
My challenge for you is to build an authentic brand that not only serves your business but serves your personal self and sense of worth for the rest of your life.
The way you do this is by experimenting and constantly reflecting to build your self awareness. Knowing who you are and who you want to become will give you a brand to walk into and pursue.
Then the last thing is to do everything in your power to execute with tireless hard work so the rest of the world hears about and buys your brand—without you selling out.
That’s just a few steps, though if you can pull this off you’re going to dominate in your industry and build a business you couldn’t even dream up.
That’s what Marc Ecko did to build his personal brand. That’s what I’m going to do. That’s what you can start doing.
Plus, you can lose or sell your company and then what? You’ll never lose your personal brand as long as you keep it authentic and don’t let them label you what you’re not.
Order Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out
Or check out other book recommendations to become more successful.