Entrepreneur Garden 42: The End is Near.


“I don’t want it baby, if it’s that easy.”
I Get Around – 2Pac

Welp. It’s that time of year again.

People are packing up Christmas trees, recycling old wrapping paper and looking forward to the coming year. For some, it’s the time of year that is a relief, a fresh start. For others, it’s a stressful time for making plans/resolutions that will be over drafted from memory banks before Valentine’s Day. There will be corny catch phrases created to serve as motivation for where they want to go, you know, something like: “Chasing my dream in 2014” or something like that. But what a lot of people will forget to do is reflect.

Sometimes, we get so involved in planning the future that we forget to review the previous plans. At some point, those plans were ALSO awesome, remember? “2012 was hell, but I’m gonna gleam in 2013”? What happened to THOSE plans? This year, before you start making all of your plans for the future, I want to encourage you to take a few moments to look at your failures of the past twelve months. Those are the things that you can build on in the coming year – if for no other reason, for the sake of redemption.  

It’s not easy to focus on all of the things that we’ve done wrong, but who said that it was going to be easy? And if it was easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Here’s to all of the mistakes that we’ve made this year (as entrepreneurs and in our day to day lives), and a toast to transforming those flaws into successes.


-Joseph ALLEN Woods

Want to know more about ME? Visit www.BrandingGladiator.com
Have any questions on how to build your brand? Feel free to email me: Holla@justcallmeALLEN.com

Find me on twitter and instagram: @justcallmeALLEN

Whewwww.. LAWD. #this. #entrepreneurship #entrepreneur

Whewwww.. LAWD. #this. #entrepreneurship #entrepreneur


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Top 10 Reasons YOU should be at the NOW Business Bootcamp:
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4. You’ve seen the list of business rock stars who will be speaking and you want to get the secrets of their success.
3. You’re tired of selling dresses that smell like antifreeze out of the trunk of your car.
2. If you’re selected at PitchFeast, you could walk away with several hundred dollars to grow your business.
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Welcome to another Moving Movie Monday, where the good people at EntrepreneurGarden.com strive to remove the mundane from Mondays with a poppin short film (no popcorn). You see what we did right there? The movie of the week won’t always be “business” related, but you will always be able to relate them to your business.. I promise.

NOW, LET’S GET MOVING. For this week’s Moving Movie Monday, we present: GAME CHANGERS [part one] featuring: Lupe Fiasco, Janelle Monae, B.O.B. and Estelle..

I discovered this video back when I was performing A LOT, and it just changed the entire way I viewed my artistry and my BRAND.


Ladies and gentlemen:
We’re always on a quest to grow, so with the introduction of 2013, EntrepreneurGarden.com presents: Moving Movie Mondays: designed to get you movers - well, uhhm.. MOVING. Every Monday, stop in to see a new short film designed to take the mundane out of Mondays. They won’t always be “business” related, but you will always be able to relate them to your business. TRUST ME. 

For the first Moving Movie Monday, we present: “INFLUENCERS”. 

INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.

The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.

Written and Directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today’s pop culture.

"Influencers" belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience.



Entrepreneur Garden 38: Traveling Mercies.


Exodus 23:20 “Behold, I am going to send an Angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

I can’t believe that it’s already been a year. 

It seems like only yesterday my wife got the call that she had been hired as the new traffic reporter for the local news station in Cincinnati. I remember it vividly. I remember the feeling of relief. I remember just being thankful. I remember the praise that went up. I remember wondering how in the world this was going to happen. Prior to getting that call, I will be honest, we were struggling financially. My wife had left a highly stressful work environment and decided that it was time to pursue her destiny. Which was great until it hit us that we were going to have to make it on one income until someone finally realized that she belonged on their station (and that call didn’t come for several months). As an entrepreneur, I have to admit that faith has pulled me through a lot of these types of scenarios. I was completely clueless how my business (which had just lost my highest paying client) was going to keep the lights on, food in the fridge, car notes paid and tuition payments up to date.I had stashed a few thousand dollars, but it was dwindling quickly. This job offer came right on time. But the road didn’t come easy.

There were a lot of obstacles that almost prevented us from moving forward. First off, our savings was disappearing and now we had to figure out how we were going to come up with the money required to move to an entirely new city. Our apartment complex in Indianapolis wouldn’t allow us to get out of the last 6 months of our lease, and we couldn’t find anyone to take it over either. At that same time, we needed to find a new place in Cincinnati and come up with first and last month’s rent. But even those things weren’t the immediate concerns. My wife was about to begin the commute of her life: two hours there, two hours back, EVERY day. Did I mention that she was working on the morning show? This means that she was rolling out of bed at around 1:30am to get ready and get on the road. There is something to be said about the kind of determination required to drive 200 miles a day in pursuit of your dreams. (There is also a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle as when you drive 1000 miles a week - so of course when we needed money the most is when the transmission started acting up.) There were a few times when she had to stay in Cincinnati overnight instead of traveling in fresh snowstorms, which required an extra amount of patience and responsibility from me on the homefront taking care of our girls. The road was difficult, but God granted us traveling mercies.

Joshua 1:9b “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I’ve worn a medallion around my neck for about the last eight years with this verse on it, as a reminder that no matter where my talents take me, God is already there. Let’s be honest, it’s scary to follow your dreams. Whether that means working for someone else in your dream job, or creating your dream as an entrepreneur. There were days when my wife wondered if she should even take the job in Cincinnati - it seemed like the entire deck was stacked against us… but GOD said to go. He opened the door and it was up to us to walk through it. He has continued to provide us with traveling mercies over the course of the last year, not just on the roads, but on our journey through this life, and for that we’re grateful.

In the last year, my company TheAIDG has grown tremendously - that road trip has been one full of twists and turns and pot holes and construction and roadblocks and detours and well… rewards. Running that company for the last 9 1/2 years has given me the knowledge required to write this blog and EntrepreneurGarden has definitely picked up traction (thank you for riding with me in the passenger seat)! My speaking career is looking up, and God is continuing to send Angels ahead of me to prepare a place.

I just wanted to take time out to encourage you to keep your life in DRIVE. Even when it seems like all roads are blocked, pursue your purpose and trust God to keep the roads clear. I thank Him for the provisions. I thank Him for the safe roads. I thank Him for the traveling mercies.

[NEW COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’d love to hear your thoughts!]



Entrepreneur Garden 36: Boomerang.


Okay, Okay.. not THAT Boomerang. lol..

After being an entrepreneur for more than half of my life, I have learned quite a few valuable lessons. I’ve learned that no one cares about your business as much as you care about your business. I’ve learned that you can’t put a price on integrity - but it can lead to more money. And, I’ve learned that you get what you give. This isn’t just in business, but in life. Constantly give negative energy, then you will constantly get negativity. Give inspiration, get inspired and so on. Whether you call it God, call it the Universe, call it Karma - you get what you give... It’s the boomerang effect. It’s a principle that a lot of people understand and act on in every facet of their lives, until it comes down to investing.

I’m not talking about the cleverly written commercials with cute diapered babies passionately giving advice on which company to use when purchasing stocks, I’m talking about an investment in YOU. Your business. Your dreams. Your future. Gone are the days of dependency on others to take care of you. It’s time to put on your big boy pants and do whatever you can to succeed, NOW. But the real question is: are you willing to do what you have to do in order to be able to do what you want to do? Will you sacrifice sleep in order to invest time into tweaking your business practices? Will you sacrifice going out with your friends to invest energy in finding more business leads? Will you sacrifice one expensive meal or several trips to the fast food joint to invest money into growing your business? If not, you aren’t ready. (And that’s okay.)

Sometimes, I find it difficult to understand how “business” people can never find the time or money to invest in the survival of their own businesses. [Insert blunt reality here —-} The reason you can’t keep money in your pockets is because there isn’t enough room - your pockets are already full of excuses. {—-Now back to our regular programming.] 

Boomerangs react to the manner and force that you give them. What you give is what you get. The business world is no different. You want to meet new people, you go out to meet new people. You want to learn about how to better run your business, you get up and go do that. Reading blogs like this and watching youtube videos are great starting points - but they’re just that, a start. You can learn how to garden sitting at home, but until you get in the garden, you’re not planting, you’re not investing, you’re spectating. The time is NOW. Get out of that chair, and get in the garden.

If you’re ready to make an investment in your business, meet me HERE:


P.S.: This is the 100th post on EntrepreneurGarden.com! Thank you for the support :)

[NEW COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’d love to hear your thoughts!]



Entrepreneur Garden 35: Think Small.


In an effort to encourage support of local entrepreneurs and economies, American Express presents its annual Small Business Saturday on November 24th. Here’s the deal, small businesses who sign up to be a part of Small Business Saturday will be emailed FREE promotional materials from American Express. They can then take these files to any FedEx Office location to have the posters printed for FREE. American Express card holders who register their cards for the Small Business Saturday promotion will receive a $25 credit card statement just for shopping small on this day.

The Small Business Saturday website also makes it really easy to find and support businesses through providing a geotagged map with each participating business (it  also has promotional tools for businesses and supportive individuals can use to share the word about Small Business Saturday). Even if you don’t have an American Express, or choose not to do the program officially, I really want you to support local businesses on this day. If they don’t know about Small Business Saturday, mention it to them, and encourage them to press forward (entrepreneurs always need that type of encouragement). 

I personally applaud American Express for their efforts to stimulate sales in small businesses this holiday season, but I wanted to know what other entrepreneurs think about this program - so, every day from now through Small Business Saturday, I will be highlighting some of my favorite entrepreneurs and their insights on this promotion and on our role as consumers to support small businesses in general. [Stay tuned HERE daily for the new Think Small series.]

Want more information?

[NEW COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’d love to hear your thoughts!]



Entrepreneur Garden 34: Resilience.

"Every detail matters, and only the best is good enough."

This week, instead of hitting you with an EntrepreneurGarden post in its traditional written format, I decided to share something with you that could possibly change your life (or at least be a catalyst to growth of your enterprise). The LEGO brand is recognized worldwide now, but the back story of its many failures along the way is perhaps more inspiring than the brand’s ultimate success.

There were a lot of points in their story when many of us would have stopped - lack of sales, financial losses, death, disasters… This an amazing story of resilience, 80 years in the making. How far are YOU willing to go for success? Allow the messages here to seep into the DNA of your organization and adopt the strength, determination and drive represented here to grow your success.

[NEW COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’d love to hear your thoughts!]



Entrepreneur Garden 33: It ain’t OVER.

"What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better." - Wendell Phillips


I’m not a big baseball fan. At all.

But since moving to Cincinnati almost a year ago, I have to admit that it is very easy to get pulled into the hoopla that is going on around you - especially when the city has a team experiencing one of its best seasons in recent years. So, maybe I decided that since I had no true allegiance to any MLB teams, I might just join in the Reds hysteria… and it was nice.

Reds games soon became a great outing for family, friends, hanging out with co-workers - next thing we knew, the Reds were in the playoffs! First round opponents: San Francisco Giants. Were we worried? Hecky naw. (See how it became “we”?) Game one final score: Reds 5, Giants 2. Game two final score: Reds 9, Giants 0. Did I mention that those games were both in San Francisco? Now it was time to head home. Cincinnati fans were in rare form - people were being friendly and using manners (I think I met several neighbors that week), it was a good old wholesome episode of Cheers - and everyone knew my name. The entire city was in a festive mood because the Reds were coming home and ready to sweep the Giants.

On your journey of entrepreneurship, there will be a lot of days when, like Cincinnati, you feel like you are destined for victory. You will be so close that you can literally feel the success to your core - SERIOUSLY. Days when you know that you just rocked a client meeting, and you’ve already started counting the money. Days when you know that you made the right decisions to follow your dreams. Days when you remember people suggesting that you get a “real job” - and you just want to call them up and remind them of what they said… But then you realize that there is still one more game left to win before you can begin the parade… so you settle down.

Something must have happened on that flight back to Cincinnati from the left coast. Apparently, the Reds left all of their amazing baseball skills in San Francisco - because not only did they not sweep the team once they arrived on their home field, but the Giants came back to win the next three games… Crushing the Queen City and moving forward on their quest to become world champions [insert collective tear]. The Giants really earned my respect during the last three games of that playoff series. They had an inspiring resilience and strength that I don’t remember ever seeing in any sports team before. Somehow, they found a way to fight back with their backs against the wall, and on enemy turf. Next they’d face the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. After four games, the Giants again found themselves facing elimination - but again came back to win the last three games earning them a trip to the World Series.

What goes through your mind when your back is against the wall? When everything around you is saying to just give up because you’re so close to losing; and winning is so far away… What do you say when you are facing others who have been victorious more often or more recent than you? How do you find the strength to fight back? As a business owner, if you’ve been at it for a while, you’ve undoubtedly experienced some level of disappointment, and that can be very discouraging… some days you may even feel like winning is unobtainable. It’s on these days that you must dig deeper. Remember all of the practices that you didn’t skip - those late nights working when your body wanted you to sleep; the times you skipped hanging out with your friends to instead build your business. When you feel like you’re about to lose is the perfect time to attack for the win. Winners don’t give up. Winners find a way to push themselves when the odds aren’t in their favor. Winners realize it ain’t over, then find a way to win.

The San Francisco Giants went on to win the 2012 World Series by sweeping the Detroit Tigers. No one would have predicted their inevitable rise at the beginning of the season, especially not in the manner in which they did it. No matter what it looked like to everyone else, they were convinced that it wasn’t over. As long as there were innings left on the board, they had a chance. It’s no different in your business OR your life. No matter what it looks like, it ain’t over. As long as you’re breathing, you have an opportunity to win. Breathe in. Breathe out. It ain’t OVER.

[NEW COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’d love to hear your thoughts!]





*Taps mic* 

ATTENTION: In the interest of giving back what God has given me, I have decided to waive all of my speaking fees* for the rest of 2012. Now is a perfect time to book me to come speak at your school, entrepreneur conference, or have me join a panel discussion about entrepreneurship and small business success. 

For more information, please contact me via email:

*Travel and accommodations will still need to be covered by your organization.


Entrepreneur Garden 32: See Through.


"Where there is no vision, the people perish." 
-Proverbs 29:18

Okay, it’s time for a bit of honesty. In the last nine years that my company, TheAIDG has been in existence, I have never even considered the possibility of writing a Business Plan – and I probably never will. Does this mean that I am anti-Business Plan for others? No, but for me and my company, we’re going to do it this way. I understand that there are many of you who have already taken out 7 months of your life to write and revise an extensive business plan that charts out every single move that your company will make from now until 2020, and that’s fine (for you). I think that entrepreneurship is like spirituality – it’s a personal relationship. And I am only preaching from my experiences, which takes nothing away from yours. For me, Business Plans are far too restricting and limit the flexibility required to make decisions on the fly that can’t be planned for. In those times, I would prefer the maneuverability that comes from trusting my gut in the moment, over attempting to stick to a 20 page business plan that I wrote nine years ago.

"He who fails to plan is planning to fail." 
-Winston Churchill (or Benjamin Franklin depending on who you ask.)

What I don’t want you to take away from this post is a feeling that my company has been free falling or walking around blindly for almost ten years - because that would be far from the truth. I could probably blame this all on my Piscean nature… the free spirited part of me that goes with the flow of the waters I’m swimming in (but isn’t afraid to swim against the currents if it’s in my best interest)  - and keeping my company afloat is definitely in my best interest.

Over the past decade, my company has made several pivots, adjustments, turns and quite a few dramatic changes. In 2003, TheAIDG started out as a photography company (with an entirely different name), then added print design in 2006, and expanded to web design in 2008 – I won’t tell you what’s next, but trust me, there is something else coming. Behind every strategic move, there has been a vision. Has every move been in the right direction? No. There have been things that I have done completely wrong – but more importantly, there have been things that I have done completely right, and it’s the balance of these experiences that gives me the perspectives that I share with you here. Through it all, there has been consistent perpetual movement; constant momentum – sometimes a sprint, sometimes a brisk walk, sometimes a stroll… but always movement. Standing water spoils.

"Write the vision, and make it plain." 
-Habakkuk 2:2

Though I have never had a Business Plan per se, I won’t lead you to believe that I don’t have a plan for my business. Though informal, I do tend to jot down ideas of where I want my business to go, and how I’d like to see it grow in the coming weeks, months and years. Sometimes we need to see the vision on paper to really see the vision. I see things way before they happen. I have a vision of what our next phase of business cards will look like in the coming months. I have a vision of how I want our website to look next year. I have a vision of what our offices will look like when I do my interview for the cover of FastCompany. I see it all.

Whether you decide to write down your Business Plan as a formal document, jot notes on napkins, or keep all of your ideas in your head - it won’t matter if you don’t take action to see these plans through. I am a visionary, and that has helped me get to where I am so far in business and in life. Even when the unseen obstacles cause me to make detours, my vision will get me to where I’m going. With my eyes wide open to take it all in… I will see it through.

[NEW COMMENTS SECTION BELOW! I’d love to hear your thoughts!]