Each year when the summer comes, I like to put away my designer’s tools and escape the big city life for a few hours on weekends and go fishing. It never got me as a kid, because I just had too much energy and not enough patience for throwing a fishing pole into the water and wait to catch something. It seems that as time flew by, and I got older, fishing became one of my favourite leisure activities.
Last week I went on a fishing trip with my dad and a friend. Woke up at 3 a.m, gathered our gear, hopped in the car, and after a 40-minute drive we were there. To me, drinking my coffee as I watch the sun rise above the lake at 4:30 am and feeling the morning chill is pretty close to my envisioning of a perfect moment. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.
The right bait
We started fishing at 5 a.m. I had a few rings on my pole’s bell, but no catch. After half an hour, our friend Livio hooked a big one. “Hand me the landing net!”, he yelled as he was struggling to pull it to shore. My father quickly jumped in to help him, but just as they were about to grab it in the net, the big fish got away, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more sour expression on a man face than Livio’s facial expression at that moment. At least we all got a good look at it. It was a carp about 2 ft long and weighed about 7 pounds.
Another hour had passed, and I still had nothing. Then it occurred to me: what if I was using the wrong bait? So, I changed it. Five minutes later, bingo! I was proudly holding the first catch of the day in my hand. And it kept on going for another four hours.
At some point as I watched over my fishing pole, I started to reflect at the day’s experiences up to that moment, and it occurred to me that fishing, as a concept, is a lot like entrepreneurship, and marketing. Let me explain why.
1. Plan your trip
First of all, just like in an entrepreneurship journey, you need to be prepared. You start planning for the fishing trip half way through the week deciding the location and studying it, to learn the spots and figure out where to set up your camp and what kind of fish you can catch there. Then, eventually you start asking around about other people’s experiences at that location. Kinda feels like a market research, doesn’t it?
2. Prepare your tools
Once you decided where you wanted to go, it’s time to prepare your tools. You know the kind of rods and fishing poles to take with you, what’s the recommended bait, what kind of hooks you’ll be needing, etc.
3. Take the ride
The moment has arrived! It’s 3 am; you wake up, get dressed, get your tools in the car, and set out to conquer the lake.
4. Set up your camp
Once you got there, you set up your camp. The lake is your market; the fish is your target audience, and your camp and the tools you brought with you represent your business. And of course, you’re the CEO.
5. Throw the bait
You put the bait on a fishing pole and throw it. Sometimes you throw one pole, other times you throw multiple poles, depending on your experience as a fisherman, the weather, etc. You put the fishing bell on and wait for a sign.
6. Adjusting is key
Depending on various factors, at times you might need to change, or adjust the bait, depending on the type of fish you want to catch. Or maybe the fish you hooked is too big, and it got away.
My dad had four poles in initially, but no ring on the bell for quite a while, when he decided to try a smaller fishing rod, and try fishing near the shore instead of further into the middle of the lake, and he started catching. After that, he decided to try out a new type of bait he never tried before on one of the poles instead of the old one against Livio’s advice and bingo! He started catching one fish at an average of five minutes.
7.Don’t give up. Learn from the experience
If you don’t catch anything, there’s no need to be upset. It’s the thrill of the ride that matters, and the things you’ve learned from this experience will make your next fishing trip more successful.
By the end of the day, we had quite a bit of fish. It was a cool fishing experience, which I can’t wait to repeat. Livio caught a fairly big one after all, and he keeps on telling everyone about it.