[quote style=”boxed”]If you seek the counsel of many, patterns emerge too great to ignore.[/quote]
Joe Woodruff is an inspirational speaker, author, coach and pastor. Founder of joewoodruff.net, he speaks to the three driving needs of every person: the need for faith, love and influence. Utilizing word and media, Joe challenges commonly held perceptions and calls people to personalize and realize what matters most. As an entrepreneur, he uses his business website to market his books, videos, and coaching services.
Joe Woodruff has led several churches ranging in size from 400 to 4000, and has coached leaders in non-profit and profit ventures. He is the author of several books including I’m On Your Side…Scoot Over, a book for every marriage, and My Too Blue Shoes a children’s book on living by conviction.
Throughout his career, Joe has been recognized for his communication gifts. He has spoken at conferences and retreats, in schools and prisons, nationally and internationally, to organizations and government entities.
In addition to public speaking, Joe is a personal and organizational coach. His expertise is in identifying core priorities and change levers at both individual and corporate levels. Joe has also been a trainer and coach to coaches, developing and tailoring coaching curriculum for an organization’s needs.
Joe’s love for the creative was born in his own avid passion for books and movies. Once out of the house, he spends hours in the gym and local coffee shops. He can often be found tooling away on one of his many websites, such as Joe Woodruff Media, a site he’s using to catalog all of his digital content including his images, podcasts, videos, and e-books.
Married since 1982, Joe and his wife, Natalie, enjoy three children and a growing number of grandkids and grand-dogs.
Where did the idea for joewoodruff.net come from?
The idea for joewoodruff.net was seeded in Las Vegas. I was watching a band, talking to a woman at the bar. She made the off-hand remark that her website made her several hundred dollars that day while she was in Vegas tanning by the pool. I began to explore online income opportunities, and came across Michael Hyatt and his book Platform. Michael and others talked about the need to do what you are passionate about and to bring solutions to people. I will often spend twenty hours a week preparing one presentation: I wanted my efforts to help more than just those immediately in front of me. So “Thank you lady from Texas who markets everything Justin Bieber to tween girls.”
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 4:00am and spend the first hour or more reading, journaling and praying. I head to the gym and workout for an hour or two depending on the day. I do my best creative work in the morning, so most days I reserve that time for study and writing. I spend the afternoons on the more task oriented nature of my work. I’ve learned my rhythms:
• Creative blocks of time are better than spread out allotments of time.
• People days are better than appointments in the midst of creative days.
• When being creative, ignore everything and block interruptions without apology.
• While handling tasks, answer as many emails, texts and calls as soon as possible. It’s a frantic, check-it-off, feel good period of time.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through both focused thinking and free thinking. I create an environment where I am alone with my thoughts (it can be the middle of a coffee shop, but I’m oblivious to everyone around me – except cute babies like the one across from me now). Every idea begins with a lot of research about the subject. Focused thought is learning time. Once I feel I’ve expanded my understanding, I move into free think mode: whiteboard, different colored pens, multiple ideas, arrows, circles. I make a mess. Then I bring it to order and ask how people will best receive and understand what I have to share. I don’t know what category I fit: I consider myself a left-brain creative. Or, for Big Bang Theory fans, if Sheldon and Penny were to have a son….
What’s one trend that really excites you?
It sounds weird coming from a Pastor, but I love that people are leaving the Church in droves. It’s forcing leaders of faith to evaluate everything, and I believe what will emerge is a greater following of Jesus than ever before. The Church as Jesus intends it has a great end to its story; but every book of victory has chapters of failure. Recent years have provided the text for those chapters. I just want to help write the coming chapters where people experience like never before Jesus’ love for them in relationship with others while making a difference with their gifts to the world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Others have called me an entrepreneur; I like to think of myself as someone who challenges what is in order to create a better what will be. To do that, I have learned to take care of myself. I naturally work hard and I naturally crash easily; but in between I need to cultivate my body and spirit. The habit is a package: exercise, eat well and learn. Along with this, though, is I have kept relationship with my wife my highest pleasure. We reserve a lot of time together. And if sex counts as a habit…
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Chimney sweep! I am a clean freak with a fear of falling. I learned a positive and a negative. Negatively, I learned that just because I am willing and desperate (unemployed with young children), I can’t turn what I’m not into what I need to be to get a job done well. Positively, I learned humility. I was always good at what I did because I wouldn’t do what I wasn’t good at: turns out it was a pretty good philosophy. Stick to your strengths.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I have always sought counsel, but I haven’t sought the counsel of many. If you seek the counsel of one or two, you can still hear what you want to hear and justify your own intentions. If you seek the counsel of many (especially those with different views and skills), patterns emerge too great to ignore.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Make friends everywhere! When I meet someone, I see two things: I see the person, and I want to focus on them and their need. I also see a network; they know people.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
I’m not afraid to ask for what I need. Most people are aware of how life works: we need favors, introductions, deals. Since I willingly give to people, I’m comfortable willingly asking of people. But I’m upfront about it. No one likes to be sold; but people marvel at the audacious.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There’s a reason I need to give two examples here: The first church I ever started failed completely: closed it down in just months. When I went to start another one, I was seeking funding from a man who thought I wasn’t qualified to pull it off. Based on my past, he was right. I just knew he was wrong. I blamed everybody but me for the first failure, pressed into my dream and saw it come true. The next church was an amazing experience. On the other hand, I was leading a very large church and we produced a major concert event. We lost thousands of dollars. Though I didn’t have anything to do with the management of the event, I should have monitored it more closely and called it off in time. I owned up to it and took full responsibility. So the point is: don’t always take the blame. But take the blame. Own rightly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have a granddaughter in Italy. She is learning both English and Italian. I don’t see her often, so I treasure Skype. Sometimes she says something in Italian. If I could, I would develop an online translator with Skype application. The translation could be in audio or print: like close caption with translation.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I won a high school election as an underdog based on my nomination speech alone. I received a standing ovation from mid-teens.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I utilize WordPress on the Blue Host platform. I’m on a steep learning curve with technology, and even I can do what I need or figure it out without too much help.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Platform by Michael Hyatt. He very practically helps anyone find their voice; I meet people who think they have nothing to offer when we live in a day where their value is a click away from discovery.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Jesus: come on, he led the greatest revolution history as ever seen. Tony Campolo: speak up and live it out. Chip and Dan Heath: their business books are immensely rich in cross-applications. Michaelhyatt.com – a practical practitioner.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.