I am sure most of you are familiar with the song, “Nobody’s Perfect” by Miley Cyrus. If you are not, it goes something like this:
Nobody’s perfect, I gotta work it, again and again, ’til I get it right. Nobody’s perfect, you live and you learn it, and if I mess it up sometimes, nobody’s perfect.
This song comes to mind when I think about Peter Shankman, who is a great example of what it is like to be imperfect and successful. You see, Shankman has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which means that his brain works incredibly faster than most peoples.
While most people with ADHD experience difficulty in day-to-day activities, Shankman has made it work to his advantage. This widely known author, entrepreneur, angel investor, and corporate keynote speaker has taken his ideas to an entirely new level. As it says on his website, Shankman “is recognized worldwide for radically new ways of thinking about customer service, social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and ADHD.”
Last week, my class and I had the amazing opportunity to Skype with Peter Shankman and discuss his entrepreneurial journey and startup.
Shankman is best known for founding Help a Reporter Out (HARO), an online service for journalists to gather feedback from the public. In less than a year, the company became the go-to place for thousands of journalists in search of sources. How he came up with the idea is the same way most startups begin. Shankman saw a demand for a product and it grew from there. The company was so successful that Shankman sold it to focus on other projects. According to his website, HARO is currently the largest free source database in the world.
But like anyone else Shankman encountered many problems when he first started out. One thing he said in particular that really stood out to me was:
“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”
Which he did over and over again until he got it right. Peter Shankman is a big believer in failure. In life, not everything is going to work out the way we want it to, and that is okay, we just have to focus on what we want and take different avenues to get us there. Sometime’s you might even look crazy trying to gain success, but if it works, it works! On that point, Investor’s Business Daily actually labeled Peter as “crazy, but effective” according to his website.
Another thing Shankman mentioned to our class is how important your personal brand is. When you own a company you represent your brand. It does not matter if you are working, sleeping or out with friends, you represent your company even when you do not realize it.
Why is this important?
Because people do dumb things. It is just like in college when your advisors tell you to not post inappropriate pictures on social media because employers can see it. Yet so many people post obnoxious content. Do not be that person. It is not worth losing a job or especially your own company.