We love our city. But it’s also a place that we wouldn’t describe as innovative or forward-thinking. Fight me on it, I’d really love that honestly.
The thing I LOVED about Cleveland before moving here 12 years ago (wow has it been that long?!) was it’s opportunity for growth. It’s city pride. It’s people.
But the truth with all good things is that too much of a good thing can also be a bad thing.
The abundance of opportunity meant that most people weren’t taking chances.
The city pride also pointed to an issue of self confidence.
The people are quite Midwestern nice, but having a majority of the same thoughts and opinions squashes out creativity and diversity and innovation and equality.
So, that’s where Cleveland Flea came in.
We seek to prove to you that there IS IN FACT a place for your ‘crazy’ idea. Need proof, just look at us!
We seek to support ‘crazy’ ideas because we want difference and diversity.
We think one person’s ‘crazy’ idea might just make the world a better place (or just at least our city a better place).
But in an environment of low-risk, low-confidence and low-creativity / difference, how are YOU supposed to have the energy required to bring any idea to execution? We all know the famous quote about genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration but I’m just going to come out and say this– you will not be able to put any perspiration into your project unless you are highly inspired, motivated and tenacious.
In other words you have to BELIEVE IT. While people are going to question and doubt you. Because, again, as much as I LOVE Cleveland, we’re a city of much of the same thoughts and attitudes and surroundings. So having new ideas here will shake people up a little and it’s natural in this environment.
FIRST TIP FOR MY ‘CRAZY’ CLEVELAND BIZ OWNERS– IF YOU’RE CALLED CRAZY, THAT’S A GOOD THING.
When someone says, ‘That sounds crazy,’ you KNOW you’re onto something! You’re onto innovation. Creation. Something NEW. Something that doesn’t have competition! Hooray!
SECOND TIP FOR MY ‘CRAZY’ CLEVELAND BIZ OWNERS– FIND OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE INNOVATORS AND RISK-TAKERS AND BE AROUND THEM.
Find other people who won’t think you’re crazy. You know, someone like US. We rarely tell people that their ideas won’t work. Only in really weird cases where their idea is NOT connected to their heart- like it’s a direct copy of someone else’s work or they don’t strive for uniqueness and only for conforming. Because truthfully, the ‘crazier’ the idea, the more likely it is to work (in a certain way). You still need to have business sense but typically the market rewards individuality in the long term. You get Brand Strength that way. And that’s super important.
THIRD TIP FOR MY ‘CRAZY’ CLEVELAND BIZ OWNERS– EVERYTHING WAS IMPOSSIBLE BEFORE IT WASN’T.
Just because something doesn’t exist yet doesn’t point to the fact that it won’t work. Look at Uber or Lyft. Look at AirBnb. What about us, even? The mere fact that something isn’t born yet doesn’t mean that it’s not meant to exist. You must ‘birth’ great ideas and businesses. There was a time before Cleveland Bagel existed. And Brewnuts. And Mason’s Creamery. And Emily Roggenburk. And us. There was a time before us, where the ideas were eating away at me until I finally acted.