The High Road or the Low Road?

It could be that I’m a little old fashioned, perhaps even a little naive.

A trip I took to Perth a number of years ago, I was the guest of a man who looked like the epitome of success. Big house, flashy cars, a number of businesses.

Vividly I recall coming home to my wife and being astonished at how much margin there must be in the home appliances he sold. They really must be moving some volume.

It was drugs.

That was the vast quantity of merchandise he was moving. He was a well educated, well spoken, family man. Drawn in by the attractive lure of an easy buck. Now he’s in jail.

It’s all around us.

You’ve only got to look at the volume of MLM schemes with the lure of residual income easy money that attracts people to have their “own business”.

When I was young and silly, I would tell people to chase their dream, start their business, do their thing. Now all I can hear are the words of my father, a large source of my inspiration who worked for himself his whole life.

“Get a government job.”

Wise, wise words.

Didn’t work though… three out of three sons ended up self-employed.

On reflection, it was just that he didn’t want to see us suffer the way that he did. The long nights at the desk, the time away from family, the never-ending stress. Keep your expenses down Scott, he would say to me.

Smart man.

As a young buck, I charged in and never stopped. However, the years working for a number of people prior to starting my own company, (that I would rather forget) taught me a number of brutal lessons. They are the source of my kindness, empathy, and compassion in our business. Even more important is a conversation I had with a new team member where I told them our expected path about taking the high road in her decision making at our agency.

The point here is that it’s bloody hard. It’s bloody hard to do the right thing all the time. It’s bloody hard to not take the easy road. It’s bloody hard to put in the work. It’s easy to let a few things slide. That’s where you need to remember one key rule.

Always take the high road. Especially when no-one is watching.

This has burnt me plenty of times in the past. It won’t always work. Sometimes it will fail spectacularly. But it’s always the right choice.

Scott Nelson
About the author: 

Scott Nelson is the Managing Director of TPR Media, a marketing agency based in Brisbane, Australia.  Scott’s twenty-year career has taken him from local to international brand management across many industries, diverse as automotive and performing arts. Prior to founding TPR Media, he was a lead marketing strategist for a number of international brands.  A passionate marketer, Scott looks to share the very real and often brutal world of self-employment in creative industries, pulling back the curtain behind the often flashy facade.  Follow Scott on LinkedIn.