“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few… The real secret of the arts is to always be a beginner.”
-Shunryu Suzuki

Two fish are swimming along at the bottom of the ocean. They’re following their little trail through the coral, minding their own business, when a little clownfish swims up heading the other direction.

“Morning, boys. How’s the water?”

They both just give him a weird look as he continues on his way.

A couple of minutes later, the one fish looks at the other and says, “What that heck… is water?”

*Adapted from David Foster Wallace’s original story.

Strange Times

We are living in strange times. The past 10 weeks or so, we’ve had to adapt and change in ways we never imagined.

  • Some of us got busier.
  • Some of us had to work in new ways.
  • Some of us had to close down and pray for a day we could reopen.

But, it didn’t take long for this new environment we live in to take hold. To become our “new normal.”

And we could pat ourselves on the back and say, “look at us. Isn’t it awesome the way we adapted?”

But, have we really?

Are we adapting or just reacting to what we’ve been forced to do?

You see, it’s really easy to go through life solely focused on your day-to-day tasks. I’ve got this mountain of paperwork, or these homes to show, or these policies to write.

It’s kinda like that old commercial. Every minute of every day… It’s time to make the donuts.

And we get so wrapped up in what we have to do every day that, even when there’s a paradigm-shifting change to our environment, we miss it. Because it’s still time to make the donuts.

You can identify this trap by one common phrase. It’s something we’ve all said countless times as a pad answer to the “how you doing” question.

“I’m busy.”

For the past 3 months, I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been before. But, I’ve been so wrapped up in just trying to get all the tasks done, just trying to make the business go, that I stopped doing the things to make it grow.

Some of you are thinking, “Holy cow! That’s me! I’ve been trapped in this fishbowl swimming in the same dang circle for the past 10 weeks!”

And you may or may not be falling behind. But, you sure as heck aren’t getting ahead.

Doing it Different

And then one day, some clown comes along with a different idea.

You’re not in a fishbowl! You’re in an ocean with endless possibilities. There is more to life than that little trail we’ve been following.

We don’t have to swim in the same way we always have. We can go up, down, around in circles, and even jump up above the surface on occasion.

We’ve seen this played out time and time again. Innovative entrepreneurs who were able to see the ocean of possibilities around them.

  • The gym owner who started doing online fitness classes
  • The restaurants who offer online ordering and curbside pickup
  • The realtors who do virtual showings

Instead of just trying to survive the quarantine, these businesses actually started to thrive. All because they opened their eyes to the new possibilities around them.

A New Approach

4 years ago, Escape Plan Marketing was started to help small and mid-sized businesses embrace new possibilities. Well, actually, that’s what we’ve evolved into.

You see, we looked at the landscape around us and realized that any fool with a computer, time, and $25 a month could build a website. You can go to Wix.com and build your own website right now.

And, if you don’t want to do it yourself, there are literally hundreds of people within Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties that will be happy to charge you varying amounts of money to do it for you.

We realized 2 things about this approach:

  1. There’s a ton of competition in this space, and
  2. It doesn’t work.

In fact, if you come to us today and ask us to build you a website and move on, we’ll send you to someone else. Because that will not help your business grow.

The only time this approach has any value is if someone is looking specifically for your business. But, I’ve got news for you.

No one gives a damn about your business!

Oh, we pretend to. How many times have you been at a networking event and heard, “Oh, that’s really interesting. Do you have a card?”

99% of the time, that’s code for “Get lost. I’m looking for someone else I can sell something to.”

Most people who need your services aren’t looking for your business. They might need what you do, they don’t care that it’s you who does it.

So, if we build you a website and move on, a year from now you’re going to be ticked off, frustrated, and looking for someone else to build you a new fishbowl.

Embracing the Ocean

At Escape Plan, we don’t build fishbowls. We build ecosystems that attract new life to your business.

For one monthly fee, we do whatever it takes to grow your business. That can include websites, social media, videos, blog posts, email campaigns, brochures, whatever you need! We start by clearly establishing your business goals, then create content and measure results every single month.

It’s a different approach and some people don’t like it. Some people are happy swimming in their little fishbowl whether they want to admit it or not.

But, the ones who embrace new opportunities love it.

They’ve seen tremendous success because they chose to listen to this clown with an absurd new idea.


Write down 3 things you can do differently to grow your business today.

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Let’s grab coffee soon,

Drew Horine
Drew Horine, Founder & Chief Creative

Stuck in the Fishbowl?

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