10,000-Hours & Success

10,000-Hours & Success

Some time ago I, like much of the business world, read the well-known book, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. All of Gladwell’s works have something that sticks with me for a very long time- regarding Outliners, that is the second chapter: The 10,000-Hour Rule.
When this first came out, this concept of 10,000 hours to achieve success floated through the entrepreneur and business community slowly, but meaningfully. We all read it, we all acknowledged it as a reasonable theory- but what’s more- we started to examine ourselves to see if we actually have what it takes to succeed, and we started to question if our talent and opportunity was enough or if we needed something more.
The 10,000-hour rule, put simply is that to be successful there is a direct correlation to how hard you work to how successful you will be. The book uses several real life, documented examples of how people spent at least 10,000 hours practicing their craft to end up at the top of their field, while those who fall short of 10,000 hours never catch up.
We all already know this, hard work = success. The hard part to accept is that now there is an actual hour count to apply to it. If I spend 10,000 hours writing business plans, I will be an expert. If I spend 10,000 hours playing my violin I will be I brilliant musician. If I spend 10,000 hours writing this blog will I be any closer to success? Is that all it takes? Does that mean I can be successful from watching 10,000 hours of Netflix?
No. Watching Netflix isn’t a career choice, nor a plan to success. It does take more than that. (Unfortunately)
Talent, opportunity and hard work are the three legs of the stool. You need all three. Sometimes we encounter entrepreneurs who forget hard work is the number one thing they should be focused on. They get caught up in the fact that they have some talent in a particular area, and that they have been given an opportunity to make a successful business out of it- but they don’t want to do the work.
The reality is, you can’t rely on your employees, influencer connections, or even your marketing team to make it happen. You have to get down and dirty and do the work, put the hours in to make your dream a success. You need to start with a solid business plan, and a good understanding of what your role is in your business. No one is an island and can do everything all the time, so you must figure out where your strengths lie and delegate to others in the areas you don’t excel. Even so, no one should ever work harder on your business than you.
I’m still working on my 10,000 hours- how about you?

Books We're Reading

Books We're Reading

Get to know BRMG's team a little better by exploring our minds. Here is a list of books we are currently reading, have read, or simply just love!

Dane's Bookshelf 


The Hard Things About Hard Things: Building a business when there are no easy answers

By: Ben Horowitz

“Building a business is hard. All the success stories make it seem simple, this book tells you the stuff that ain’t pretty”





Lead and Disrupt: How to solve the innovator’s dilemma

By: Charles A. O’Reilly and Michael L. Tushman

“The tough thing about innovation is how to take it form an idea and actually put some legs on it and put it to action. This book talks about how to do that.”





The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness

By: Michelle Alexander





Andrea's Library 


Mad Love

By: Andre Breton

“My first venture at discovering more about surrealist literature. I’ve always been inspired by surrealist artists – their representation of the world is both fascinating and beautiful.”





McSweeney’s Issue 51: A collection of short stories from contemporary authors

“I love all things from McSweeney’s Publishing. I regularly read the new stuff they publish online as well. Witty and fun.”  






The Beginners Guide to Insight Meditation

By: Arinna Weisman and Jean Smith

“Great way to reacquaint myself with the basics of meditation and mindfulness.”






The Woman in the Window

By: AJ Finn

“It’s a great short read id you liked The Girl on the Train and enjoy references to Alfred Hitchcock both overtly and as subtext”




Soulmaz's Bookshelf


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

By: Sheryl Sandberg

“When my father passed away in Summer of 2016, I couldn’t even got to Iran for his funeral. My friend gave me a book titled Option B. I still feel blue most of the time but this book helped me stand on my feet and pursue my dreams and enjoy my life even is I felt blue.”



Liz's Bookshelf


Sin Miedo: Lecciones de rebeldes (Take a stand: Lessons from rebels)

By: Jorge Ramos

“Growing up, Jorge Ramos was a name very well known in my community. In this book, he gives insight and writes about his past interviews with “rebels” in our current era. These stories and first-hand interviews are fascinating to say the least.”




Milk and Honey

By: Rupi Kaur

“I just started getting into poetry and this book was the perfect introduction. If you want something short & sweet, but with a lot of powerful emotion behind it, this one is for you.”




Laurie's Library




The Pillars of the Earth

By: Ken Follett

“This is a fascinating, robust work of historical fiction that provides an intricate case of life in the 12th century, along with the role of the church, the craftsmanship and advancements in cathedral styles and architecture, and the building of one in particular.”




Returning to Earth 

By: Jim Harrison

“His voice is simultaneously simple yet complex, sparse yet rich, earthy yet spiritual.”






By: Jim Harrison

“Dalva is set in the country encompassing the touching corners of Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska, so given the fact that I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, it was jarringly exciting every time a place that I knew was mentioned. If you’ve not yet discovered Harrison and enjoy beautiful writing and storytelling, he’s a must-read. The follow-up to Dalva The Road Home is up next for me and I can’t wait.”




By: Amy Cuddy

"Invaluable insights, no matter your age, sex, profession (or not).  If you engage with people in any way, read this. Here’s how Amy Cuddy tries to simply encapsulate the concept of presence:

“Presence….is the state of being attuned to and able to comfortably express our true thoughts, feelings, values and potential. That’s it.  It is NOT a permanent, transcendent mode of being.  It comes and goes.  It is a moment-to-moment phenomenon."

It’s also about being attuned to other people. Sounds straightforward, yet it’s so difficult for most of us—because our busy, self-involved minds get in the way.  But the moments you can achieve it are life changing."


Rebecca's Bookshelf



The Woman Who Smashed Codes 

By: Jason Fagone

“Fascinating, true story about Elizebeth Friedman, who was a pioneer in code breaking. What began as a fascination with the early publications of William Shakespeare, led to her being hired by an eccentric, wealthy inventor who was convinced that secret messages were embedded by a ghost writer in all the writing attributed to Shakespeare. Really engaging story, well written, all around fascinating, interesting and entertaining.”



Mrs. Lincoln & Mrs. Keckly

By: Jennifer Fleischner

“I tend to gravitate toward historical biographies that explore little known stories or aspects of historical figures. This book certainly met that criteria. An in depth exploration of the decades long, very close friendship between Mary Lincoln, Southern belle, First Lady, wife of Abraham Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave who bought her own freedom and established herself as a respected dressmaker for Washington's elite. This book examines the ironic similarities and extremely divergent experiences of their youth, what drew them together, how each used and needed the other, and the intricacies of this unusual friendship against the backdrop of all the tensions leading up to and following the civil war.”



The Grape Cure

By: Johanna Brandt

“The premise? You can be cured or prevent virtually any illness, condition, even cancer, without conventional medical treatment. Just eat grapes. And not much else. One might think I found a first edition of this "rare" publication. You'd be wrong. This book enjoyed 22 editions between 1928–1959. Grapes. Who knew? (Mrs. Johanna Brandt apparently knew!)”




Tips to Create an Effective Facebook Ad

Tips to Create an Effective Facebook Ad

Now that the new year is upon us, new ad opportunities are among us as well. Lucky for you, Facebook is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to get the word out about your business or product. Whether you want exposure, want to sell a product/service or want to raise awareness, Facebook ads make the execution fast & easy.

Here are five tips that can help you create an effective ad on Facebook:

Curiosity Killed the Cat

Curiosity-based hooks are some of the most proven strategies for grabbing someone's attention and getting them to continue reading, watching or listening. Whether you decide to ask a thought-provoking question or make a shocking statement, always ensure that you are bringing out the curiosity in your audience!

The "Aha!" moment

Giving your audience an “Aha!” moment is both powerful in the sense that it makes people want to learn more about your business/product and makes your ad shareable which is key in Facebook’s current algorithm.

Think about what information you can reveal or what story you can tell that gives your audience a sudden realization. How can you make them aware of something they didn't know existed, didn't know was available or didn't know was possible? Although you won't be able to do this on all your ads, make sure you are doing whatever it takes, to deliver that "Aha!" moment.

Credibility Is Key

So you make this awesome ad, but why should people listen to you? What credibility do you have that make people want to pay attention to you, trust you or just flat out care? Now, you don’t want to come across as boastful, but you do want to make it known that you know what the heck you’re talking about.

Call to Action (CTA)

Although this one may seem obvious, a CTA is essential. What action do you want your audience to take next? How can you provoke them to click through? If you don't make it crystal clear what you want the reader or viewer to do, then they won't do it. Remember, people get distracted easily and are probably just skimming your ads so make that skimming worth it.

Awesome Graphics

Last, but certainly not least, graphics. An ad is only as good as its graphics so make sure your design is just as awesome as the message you are giving out. You’d be surprised as to how many businesses don’t give enough attention to their imagery. Sometimes free stock images aren’t enough (just sayin’).

Unfortunately, there are always regulations on social media platforms. So, before you even begin to create your ad, make sure you are aware of all of the rules and restrictions that Facebook has in place. Remember, just because you have a great idea for an ad, doesn’t mean that FB will agree with it so it’s always smart to double check for any restrictions.

The Value of Thinking Inside the Box

The Value of Thinking Inside the Box

We've all heard the phrase before: Think Outside the Box. It's very likely we've encouraged our team members and colleagues to do it, and have probably tried or desired to do so ourselves. After all, thinking outside the box means thinking creatively, innovatively. It means coming up with a new idea or concept that has never been done before. It means creating a product or solution that has never been developed before. And of course this new idea or concept, product or solution is going to completely disrupt whatever established conventions currently exist. Because that's what “Thinking Outside the Box” does, it's what it's designed to do.

But if you think about it, this quest to think “outside the box” actually spawns some pretty interesting questions and thoughts to consider. The first question would be, have those who want to think outside the box completely leveraged? And do they know everything that exists inside the box? Because in order for any outside-the-box idea or concept to be of value, it has to be useful, and in order for it to be useful, it has to go above and beyond what is already known, and that's all the stuff that's inside the box. I'll be the first to admit it: I often think about “thinking outside the box” myself. But, if each time, I were to ask myself if I've looked in all the corners and little crevices of the box, and have I thoroughly leveraged everything in there first? I would have to say no, not even close. And if there are several things inside the box that I haven't done, haven't tried and haven't fully deployed, maybe, just maybe, there might be a disruptive earth-shattering idea that can move my firm's business forward or open new markets that exists right under my nose.

Another interesting consideration are the unintended consequences that can potentially result when attempting to think outside the box. When a team is asked to think outside the box, the hope is for big ideas to be generated. But what can sometimes occur (and oftentimes does) is that misaligned ideas are generated instead. Now these can certainly be really good ideas and very creative ideas, it just that these can also be ideas that do not necessarily connect to or support the business' strategy, vision, or pathway forward. This occurs because the instructive to simply think “outside the box” is just way too vague. It's too ambiguous and doesn't provide enough structure. And when the team leader says to remember that there are no bad ideas and that nothing is off the table, although well-intended, it can unfortunately serve to further exacerbate the problem of unfocused, undisciplined ideation.

Believe me, I'm not all poo-pooing the idea of thinking outside the box, nor am I saying that it's best to only think inside the usual box that's connected to one's business. What I am saying however is, don't overlook or diminish the value of thinking inside that usual box as well though. And just as important, don't overlook or diminish the value of introducing a whole new box altogether and doing some thinking within that one when looking for a big idea.

Today's SUV market is a fine example of US automakers thinking inside the box. When SUVs first entered the market, minivans were dominate, pickup trucks were on a steep rise and station wagons were in decline. US automakers were looking for a way to keep car buyers for whom a station wagon wasn't viable, a minivan wasn't desirable, and a pickup truck wasn't practical, from leaving their brands for imports. While people liked the rugged-capability, styling and active-lifestyle that pickup trucks portrayed, they also wanted the utility of a minivan, and preferred the car-like comfort, ride and handling that station wagons provided. The question grappled with was: how to create a vehicle that had the styling and image attributes of a truck, the roominess of a minivan, and the car-like feel of a station wagon? US Automakers looked inside their box and looked to the attributes of the three vehicle categories that were in there and decided to simply merge them to create a whole new category – the SUV market. Had auto teams simply been asked to blankly develop a new vehicle category and simply been told to just think outside the box and that no idea was too crazy, who knows what we might be driving today.

Again, the thought here is not to that thinking outside the box is bad and should be avoided, it's that there is tremendous value in thinking inside the box as well.

At Black Rhino Marketing Group, we pride ourselves on thinking inside, outside, above, below, and around the box. And we also believe in getting rid of the box altogether and creating a brand new one whenever necessary.


The Power of Video

The Power of Video

Be honest, how many times do you click on that little arrow when you see a video on a website, Facebook, in an email or an online news article?

If you’re consistent with current trends, you’re doing it quite a bit (and likely more and more every year). And it really doesn’t matter whether you’re on your desktop, laptop or smart device. Indeed, the preponderance of evidence is pretty darn conclusive that if you’re not adding video content to your website or social media, you’re behind the times and missing out on the huge benefits of video content.

Take a look at some of the startling statistics:

But remember this critical caveat:

64% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a product or company that publishes a poor quality video. So make it a good video! That means: content that is relevant and interesting to your customer, executed in a level of quality to match your company’s brand image. Please do not do a video just to do a video! Get some professional guidance. And of course, we’d be happy to provide that professional guidance.