Entrepreneurship Is Not for Wimps

JEFF STECK MANAGEMENTIt has been a year since my last post. A lot has happened this past year that made blogging seem unimportant. Ironically, blogging would have kept everything in perspective.  In the last year Jeff Steck Management has gone from a small home-based business with a couple clients to a boutique agency with a large portfolio of clients representing many different industries.  I’ve learned two major things.  The first is that being poor sucks.  The second thing I learned is that being an entrepreneur is not for wimps.

The majority of my clients are entrepreneurs.  I have heard most of them scream, cry, break down, and apologize for the screaming, crying, and breaking down.  I’ve done the same, but typically in the privacy of my shower.  There are certain life experiences that only entrepreneurs experience.  There are about 11 inevitables, but today I am writing about “self-doubt.”

As an entrepreneur you will doubt yourself hundreds, if not thousands of times before you achieve success.  You will convince yourself that you do not know what you’re doing and you will grow increasingly concerned that your clients will discover this fact.  This can become overwhelming at times and you will entertain the notion of giving up.

If you don’t know what you’re doing then you shouldn’t keep doing it, right?  Wrong.  The fact is you do know what you’re doing, but as your business grows you hit business acumen plateaus.  You shouldn’t expect yourself to know everything all at once.  There’s a reason experience grosses more money.  When you hit these plateaus, and you will, you need to educate yourself and push your comfort boundaries so that you grow.  Conquering your fear will be what allows you to invite success into your life and grow rich.

The key here is perseverance.  Make sure you have done your research, have a quality product or service, and a good marketing and sales plan.  Most will give up when it gets tough.  Don’t be most.


Introducing Intuitive Psychic Rebecca Fisk

Rebecca’s new book, The List is a clear, concise guide to help you get out of your own way so you can manifest the life of your dreams. Simple exercises help you focus on the goals you want to achieve, then provide steps so you can reach them.

“Rebecca is an amazing psychic. She’s very accurate, but Rebecca is different from other psychics because she gives you the tools you need so you know what to do with the information she provides to you in the reading.” – H.

“The List is a compilation of the tools Rebecca gives to clients to help them clear energy that’s keeping them stuck. If you want to improve your life, this is the book for you.” – R.

Jess Black Reveals All in Leather Bound in Black or Red

Due to the web activity we knew we needed to update everyone on the status of this art collection.  First, a little background on the motivation – January 6, 2012.

We knew exploring the Jehovah’s Witness religion would not make everyone happy.  The conflict between art and religion is not a particularly new battle.  The conflict between a forthcoming art collection that explores or perhaps exposes what it’s like being a Jehovah’s Witness is definitely unique. What we didn’t realize was how provocative this collection would become.  Jess Black’s artistic exploration into his Jehovah’s Witness upbringing is not going unnoticed.

It all started with one painting.  A very personal painting that was part of another unrelated collection that debuted in June 2011 at David W. Streets Art Gallery in Beverly Hills.  This painting became important.  Because of it’s diminutive size it was originally hung in the back of the gallery.  Black politely asked that it be placed on a more prominent wall.  This painting, titled Lip Service (right), is a reflection of the artist’s childhood and the launching pad for Black’s new collection.

Lip Service is filled with religious references related to Black’s experiences.  On the woman’s shoulder is a man in a tie referencing field service.  His head is replaced with a television representing a tool that spews scripted, programmed information.  Across the television screen is the word ‘Propaganda.’  The woman’s lips read ‘Sin’ and words like ‘Fornication,’ ‘Temptation,’ and ‘Why?’ are scattered throughout the painting.  A bare breast is shown not for sake of nudity, but as an act of freedom.  Black explains, “She’s showing her breast because she wants to and that is all the permission she needs.”

The idea for this collection came some time ago.  The decision to move forward with a fully realized show was finalized in August 2011.  The title of the show would be called, Leather Bound in Black or Red as this was the question asked whenever one received a new bible in church. The initial press releases created all kinds of reaction from all over the world.  The website, www.jessblackart.com, experienced a 1,028% increase in unique hits from countries all across the globe.  We began noticing multiple hits in cities where JW Headquarters exist.  Again, the purpose of the collection is not to create conflict for practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses, but rather to share the view of Jess Black’s personal JW experience.

The reaction is what Black anticipated.  He explains, “So much about being a Jehovah’s Witness is about conforming.  Jehovah’s Witnesses have no problem judging others, though they claim not to judge at all.   They disguise the judgment by saying ‘Bad associations spoil useful habits,’ which essentially means to them that anyone who is not a Jehovah’s Witness will be a bad influence.  Therefore, few are permitted to associate with people outside of the religion.  For years this even meant that you could not attend college because the non-secular education was considered a bad influence.  I’m not completely ungrateful of the religion as I feel my moral core was established there.  Nevertheless, at age 17 I rejected this religion because I didn’t believe in it.  It felt like a cult.  No, it was a cult.  It is a cult.  But a cult in the traditional sense. I felt guilty and scared to leave because I knew I would be shunned.  I knew I was abandoning my life as I knew it.  I would have to leave all of my friends, my parents, everything that I knew because it was all that I knew.  Leaving the JW faith is not like walking away from any other religion.  The church teaches you to shun anyone who leaves regardless of your relationship with him or her.  Within months I felt I had no choice but to leave home.  So at 17-years old I moved to New York with only $400 in my pocket. Looking back I can’t believe I had the courage to do that.  Of course there was a mourning period of what I lost.  In time, however, my life became so much better when I no longer had to edit who I was and what I believed.”

The new collection promises to be exciting.  Jess stated that leaving the religion was a very difficult time in his life.  He explains, “I needed to be prepared to handle the sea of emotions that will wash over me about that period in my life.  I don’t want to cause problems and I do not want to offend people I care about who are still part of that religion.  Though many of them have “unfriended” me on Facebook after the announcement of this collection.  It is time that I purge all of this once and for all.”

Where to exhibit this collection also became a difficult decision.  Several gallery offers were eventually kindly turned down when it was determined that the environment did not fit the mood of the collection.  Even an old church was being considered, which would have definitely matched the provocative nature of the art, but ultimately it felt too disrespectful to religion as a whole.  We realized that an art collection exploring this topic has never been done before so we needed to exhibit it in a way that has never been done before.  Considering what might be the future of the art world, we have elected to do a two-week online exhibition where we control, to the best of our ability, all aspects of the show.  A dedicated website, www.boundinblack.com, has been established and will replicate the look of an art gallery and showcase all of Black’s new works.  It will go live at 5:00pm (pst) on Monday, February 20, 2012.  During the first night Jess Black will be online enabling live chat until 8:00pm.  All artwork purchased through the virtual exhibition will have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will be accompanied with a person note from the artist and a declaration of value.  We believe this is the future for exhibiting art and we are happy and perhaps even a littler nervous to be ahead of the curve.  The exhibition will be removed on March 5, 2012.  For more information please visit the Jess Black Fine Art Facebook Page and click on EVENTS.

New and any unsold works will then go on display at Cohen & Crockett’s “The Getting Unstuck’ Foundation in West Hollywood on March 23, 2012.  More details will be released about this event as they become available, but it is charity driven and raises awareness about AIDS/HIV.  We hope you join us on February 20, 2012, and take part in what we believe to be among the first virtual artist receptions.

So You’re a Disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witness. Now What?

Promotion for the "Leather Bound in Black or Red" CollectionSince August of 2011, I, Jeff Steck, have been planning an art exhibition with an artist who is a former Jehovah’s Witness.  Artist Jess Black, who abandoned the JW religion when he was 17, wanted to do a collection based on what he believes are manipulations, oppression, and inconsistencies within the JW religion.  After careful consideration Jess decided to call the collection, Leather Bound in Black or Red.  He explained, “Every time we were issued new bibles we were asked if we wanted them leather bound in black or red.”

Personally, I thought this would be an interesting direction for his career.  I had no idea this collection would receive international attention and produce fear in those who are both practicing and those who have left the Jehovah’s Witness religion.  This is not like rebeling against Catholicism.  You abandon the Jehovah’s Witnesses and they will ruin you.

Alright, many of you will believe that last sentence is an exaggeration.  Let’s explore.  If you decide to abandon or reject the JW faith (usually something that develops over years) you will experience the common practice of shunning.  Big deal you think, so people in the church will not talk to me, who cares?  What needs to be understood is that for a follower’s entire life he has only associated with people within the church.  A Jehovah’s Witness is not permitted to have casual association within anyone outside the religion and this includes family.  So, if you want to leave you must be prepared to lose everybody.  You will lose your entire support system.  Parents, siblings, and best friends will all shun you.  Many find a parent abandoning her child unlikely, but they do because their fear is stronger than their family bonds.  The belief is that by shunning the deserter he or she will eventually return.  We have received countless emails from people who have told us that their mothers and siblings will no longer speak with them and that they do not have a home.  At the age of 30 it is as if they have just been born.  They are lonely and scared.

Jess Black is releasing an entire collection of art on January 18, 2012, that explores his relationship with the Jehovah’s Witness religion.  While some of his experiences were positive, overall he believes the religion is cultish and uses fear and manipulation to keep its followers.  He is releasing this collection without fear.  It is not only cathartic for him, but he also wants to demonstrate to others how life can become wonderful once you leave the dogma behind.  This collection will debut at 5:00pm pst on January 18, 2012 and remain live through January 31, 2012, at http://www.boundinblack.com.

He encourage emails from those of you who need support.  We have found quite a few websites and Facebook pages dedicated to helping disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Simply by doing a web search “Jess+Black+Jehovah’s+Witness” you will find all types of information about Black’s forthcoming collection.

For more information on Jess Black please visit his website at www.jessblackart.com

Jess Black and Jean-Michel Basquiat Comparisons Subside

Several years ago when Jess Black began to realize that art could be his career and his profile began to grow, inevitable comparisons to Basquiat started occurring.  Jess, who was at the time not familiar with Basquiat, quietly thanked people for what he assumed to be a compliment and then moved on.  Early on Jess made it a point not to become familiar with the works of those before him out of concern that his own work would become influenced.  He wanted his work to find its own path and to mature in its own way.

As Black’s career began to soar the comparisons grew with more frequency.  Eventually Jess watched a documentary on Basquiat.  Black understood some of the comparisons, but felt that his work was nothing like Basquiat’s.   Many have acknowledged the unique approach between the artists but have also stated that there is a similar “flavor” with Black and Basquiat.  They tell a similar story but their individual life experiences result in a unique telling of that story.  Here we let the readers decide if the piece by Basquiat (right) has any similarities in style to an early piece by Black (below).  If there are similarities, they do not end here.  Perhaps the most common comparison is something that Black feels is very personal to him and something from which he will not shy away.

Many have written to Black asking why he paints a crown next to his signature on his paintings.  The story is that Black was raised for most of his childhood as one of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”  Abandoning the religion at age 17, he moved to New York City.  One of his first friends and roommate at the time was Nakia Syvonne Secrest.  She had given him a gift. Black states, “I think it was my 18th or 19th Birthday.  Our group of friends were all young, poor models, actors, musicians and artists.  Her gift to me was an old copy of Le Petit Prince and she wrote a personal note inside the cover.  Nakia said he reminded her of me.  It was my first Birthday present that I could remember and I appreciated it so much that I had the crown tattooed on my arm the next year. So there you go, that is where the crown on my arm and in the signature of my paintings comes from.   To this day it is one of the more special gifts I have received.”  The crown to the right is hand painted by Black and is the logo for his company, Jess Black Fine Art, with business partner Jeff Steck.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, 20 years earlier, also used a crown next to or above his signature in nearly all of his paintings.  Basquiat’s crown was a tribute to himself and to all of the characters and influences in his paintings.  But with similar styles and nearly identical marks, how could anyone not make the comparison to Black’s work.

As Black’s career progresses the comparisons are becoming fewer and further between. The forthcoming launch of the new art collection, Leather Bound in Black or Red, is a personal journey about Black’s religious upbringing.  With most of the collection now completed, Jess is realizing that these paintings transcend his personal experience.  While each piece is specific to Black’s life, the collection is resonating with others who have also felt trapped pretending to be someone they are not.  These paintings will explore societal limitations but celebrate liberation.  This collection is for all people who have endured an unauthentic life out of fear of rejection.

Information about Black’s newest collection will be released on Sunday, December 18, 2011.   For additional information on Jess Black please visit www.jessblackart.com

Malibu has a Gem with 98% Angel

The next time you visit Malibu there is a must-see store for anyone who loves children. 98% Angel is a children’s boutique that is perfectly situated in front of the playground at the Malibu Country Mart.  It has to be one of the most charming children’s boutiques in Los Angeles.

The store feels like a seaside cottage and is literally merchandised from floor to ceiling. There is plenty to see, but we suggest that you ask to see 98% Angel’s own line of clothing.  This line is priced anywhere from very affordable to some very high-end items affordable to just a few.  What we especially like is the quality and care that goes into every item of clothing.  In fact, every piece in the line is designed and manufactured in California.  Our favorite is an astrology line of t-shirts that are affordable for almost anyone and completely unique.  We can almost guarantee that other parents will ask you where you purchased the clothing.

While I would love to say that this store is a hidden gem, it isn’t as hidden as one thinks. Because of it’s Malibu location it is frequented by celebrities who want to ensure their children are dressed in Malibu’s finest.  Here we have Pamela Anderson, who we love, carrying a 98% Angel shopping bag.  We have to admit, there is something that makes us happy when we buy from this store versus a national chain.  Maybe it’s the non-mass produced clothing or the sense that we’re getting something special or perhaps it’s knowing that our money is going to a family-owned business.  It might simply be because we’re buying something special for someone we love more than words can accurately convey.  In any case, as long as it makes us happy we’re not too concerned with the reason why.  But we encourage you to let us know what your experience was. Have we mentioned that as we approach the holidays the store will begin serving its homemade ginger snap cookies?

I asked the owners of the store for what they believe they are most known.  I was told their hats and shoes.  I guess there is nothing like a well accessorized child.  But when I saw the shoes I got it.  There were sneakers, dress shoes, boots and so on.  Sadly none of these shoes come in a man’s size 12.  We know fashion icon Gwen Stefani has purchased shoes for her children at 98% Angel and we can tell from this photo that Katherine Heigl will be purchasing several pairs of shoes for her daughter.  But more importantly, people just like us can own the fashions offered at 98% Angel. Celebrities are fun and they help the paparazzi hidden outside in the courtyard make a living, but the store is about parents and their children.

The store offers clothing and gift ideas in all price ranges.  You are welcome to browse but definitely ask a sales associate about special items, you won’t be sorry.  98% Angel is open 7-days per week and is located in Malibu’s Country Mart at 3835 Cross Creek Road just off of Pacific Coast Highway.  You can also visit the store’s website at www.98Angel.com.





Are Psychics Real? Meet Rebecca

I am one of those people who wants to believe that some part of our brain has the capability of extending well beyond the typical.  The idea of seeing the future, reading thoughts, or moving something with only our minds is very appealing to me.  I tend to be skeptical, but I really want to believe.

At first I thought that maybe there is a hypothesis that psychic ability is in the part of the brain that most of us do not use.  Researching that possibility I discovered that the “We only use 10% of our brain” is a complete myth.  We use all of our brain, but few of us maximize our brain’s capabilities. For example, when someone loses one of his senses, his other senses tend to strengthen in an attempt to compensate.  We all have intuition, but as we mature we tend to ignore it and replace it with practical logic.  After a while our intuitive abilities weaken as we rely more heavily on practicality. What would happen if we ignored certain logic and began developing our intuition?  We’ve all had those moments when logic took over resulting in us making the wrong decision.  We think, “I had a suspicion but I ignored it. I should have gone with my hunch.”   What are these hunches and why do we ignore them?  Intuition is a sense, a largely ignored sense.  Maybe we should stop ignoring ourselves?

I’m writing this entry because a woman by the name of Rebecca, who describes herself as an intuitive psychic, asked for my help in promoting what she does.  She is not looking to become a celebrity and does not want a reality show, but she does want to share with people some of her views.  We discussed a few PR possibilities, but I first wanted to discover just how “legitimate” she was as a psychic.

We met in her Seal Beach office.  It’s a small room filled with candles and various symbols epidomizing eastern philosophy.  Actually, there were symbols of all philosophies now that I think about it.  The first impression you get from Rebecca is that she seems so normal. There are no gimmicks.  She greets you with a smile and you immediately feel disarmed. Suddenly a women who you have known for only moments feels like a close friend.

I brought along a friend to the appointment, someone about whom she knew nothing.  I asked her to do a brief reading on him.  She took a moment to clear her mind and then began speaking with confidence.  She was not asking him questions, she was making statements.  She described his personality perfectly. She stated that he absolutely knows who he is and that there is no emotional conflict. Part of me was trying to decide if his presence, how he walked into the room, and how he was dressed could have lead her to the conclusions she was making.  Maybe, but that would be a pretty gifted person.  Finally, at the end of the brief reading she just asked, “What’s the deal with the yacht and Greece?”  He turned his head toward me with his mouth dropped open.  This was his fantasy vacation.  There is no way she could have known this and the idea of it being a guess is too far fetched.  Had she said it to me it would have had no meaning, but to him it was significant.

Later we went to Bogart’s Coffee House in Seal Beach where Rebecca does public discussions for two hours about once a month.  She definitely has “regulars” who participate and enjoy a little free guidance.  Several others arrived because they had “heard of her” and others were there having no idea Rebecca would be speaking.  A woman, who was part of a couple who fit into the latter category, asked Rebecca about her mother.  She immediately commented that the mother’s mind wasn’t always there.  It was in and out, but that she wanted the daughter to know how grateful she was for being taken care of.  The woman confirmed this to be true and stated that her mother was constantly thanking her for her care.  She asked if her mother’s name was Mary….it was. She then asked about her husband’s mother.  Rebecca tried but said Mary was still present.  She asked her if in her day Mary was woman with a “sailor’s mouth”?  The woman said “no.”  Rebecca concentrated again and said “I am seeing a woman who plays cards, drinks alcohol, and is one of the boys and she says she’s Mary.”  Again, the woman said “no.”  Rebecca asked the husband if this could be his mother, he also said “no.”  Not letting up, Rebecca insisted this was pretty strong.  The man said, I had a cousin who was like that but she died years ago.  Rebecca asked what her name was.  He thought for a couple seconds and sure enough, it was Mary.  She had two Mary’s coming in at the same time for the same family.  This was a fun exchange, but confusing for a little bit.  Rebecca fervently trusted her intuition and it proved correct.

I spoke with another woman who has been following Rebecca for a couple years.  She explained that on her first meeting Rebecca told her she would be having children but there would be problems with getting pregnant.  She saw something as twisted.  But she said it would work out and she saw November as being significant.  At the time the woman told me that they were not even thinking of having children.  A year later they began trying to get pregnant, but it wasn’t happening.  During a doctor’s examination of her husband it was discovered that the epididymis (coiled tubes in the penis that lead to the testicles) was twisted.  A surgery corrected the problem and she is now pregnant.  She is due in, you guessed it, November.  For you doubters out there I am not sure we can get much more specific than this.

Something that Rebecca does that is unlike other psychics is that she gives steps one should take based on the readings.  She doesn’t just state something and leave you alone to deal with it.  She understands the steps that should be taken to help someone achieve their dreams or happiness.  In fact, she has written an eBook on this topic, which will be promoted very soon.

She has been developing her ability for well over 20 years but she is just now making herself known.  There is something special about her.  Something compelling that makes people want to return to her for years.  In fact, my friend on whom she gave the brief reading will be doing a 30-minute telephone reading very soon.  I will write on his new experience as well.

To learn more about Rebecca please visit her still developing website (my fault, not hers) at www.iamrebecca.com.  This is the best place to make an appointment with her.  I’ll keep reporting good and bad and more people speak with me about her and as testimonials become available.  Write to me via the website at www.jeffsteck.com if you want to share your experience with Rebecca.  In my opinion Rebecca is the real thing, whatever that means to you.