Two months ago, the person who popularized the comic book format and created my favorite superhero of all time (Spider-Man!), Stan Lee, passed away at the youthful age of 95. (If you’re curious about his life and accomplishments in creating Marvel Comics, click here.) The point of this post is not to praise his life and how his line of comics was better than DC Comics and the Hall of Justice, but rather to look at the entrepreneurial spirit he exhibited in creating a whole line of characters that millions of kids in the 70s and 80s grew up with, and are now sharing the experience by bringing their children to see their favorite superheroes on the big screen.
When Lee first started out in the comic book industry after a stint in the military, it was hardly the multimedia cash cow that it is today. He followed his heart, and not his wallet, when he was deciding what he wanted from his professional life. He helped create a publishing genre that, at the time, was not very popular aside from “geeks” and science fiction fans. He was focused on what he wanted to write — and not on what was considered marketable. This was not an easy thing to do, and is tantamount to when business owners decide to start their own business and pursue their own dreams instead of working for someone else.
I believe that all of the entrepreneurs and small business owners of the world have to possess superpowers in order to achieve their business goals and objectives. You have to be able to anticipate your customers’ needs before they realize that they have a need to fill. You must predict when your specific line of product is about to take off, and have ample inventory available for your new customers. You have to be able to devote 18 to 20 hours of your life to your business as you care for the children who missed you all day — and make time for the friends and family that complain that you are not around as much since you started your business. You have to be able to fly across the country in a moment’s notice to assure your prospect that you will be available to advise on key decisions that need to be made, in addition to completing projects on time and under budget. And you need to do all this while keeping a positive attitude and motivating the employees who work for you!
Stan Lee will always be remembered for penning Spider-Man, Thor, and numerous other characters that will live in print and film for many years to come. He should also be remembered for the innovative business and creative genius he was in elevating the comic book to a different level of art form. Rest in Peace Mr. Lee.
Key Takeaway: You only have one life to live and in order to live it to the fullest you need to follow where your passions take you and believe that you will have more fortune than you can dream of. In the words of Jimmy Stewart, “It’s A Wonderful Life!”
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