058 - Personal Responsibility
Personal Responsibility means that you are responsible for everything you think, say, and do.
You are not responsible for things that happen to you that are caused by people or forces outside of yourself. But you are resposible for how you deal with those things.
Again, you are responsible for everything you think, say, and do.
- Thoughts engender feelings and actions - manage your thoughts wisely.
- Words have meanings - choose your words carefully.
- Actions create conditions and circumstances, for yourself and for others - think before you act.
Personal Responsibility means that you must carry the ball for yourself.
You must make your own decisions, and you must live with them.
No one should be thinking for you, and no one should be protecting you from the consequences of your own actions.
057 - Duplication Is Not Creation
Entrepreneurs create new things. That's what they do. They do not COPY existing things, or existing methods or processes. They are not interested in doing something in the same way it's always been done. They may make improvements to existing things, but that is creative and copying is not. Make sure your business is actually creating a new thing, or a new way of doing an existing thing, and not merely mimicking what someone else has already done.
It's a common trap to look at someone else who is "successful" and think, "Well, they're successful, so I'll do it the same way they're doing it and I'll be successful too." Don't fall into that trap. They're unique, and so are you. What worked for them will not necessarily work for you. Make sure what you're doing is unique and original.
056 - You Don't Need to Find Your Passion
You don't need to find your passion.
Too many people stop taking action because they're too caught up in finding their mission or meaning to gather any momentum.
Your ability to execute is the only thing you get rewarded for in business. Not your ideas, not being likable, not your passion or vision or mission or beliefs or dreams or attitudes or plans or intentions.
Execution--getting it done--is the thing that puts your product in front of your prospects so they can decide to buy it.
055 - First, you get an idea...
054 - When Preparation Meets Opportunity
053 - The Characteristics of Difference Thinkers
052 - The 8 Secrets of Great Communicators
051 - The 7 Differences Between Professionals and Amateurs
- Amateurs wait for clarity. Pros take action.
- Amateurs want to arrive. Pros want to get better.
- Amateurs practice as much as they have to. Pros never stop.
- Amateurs leap for their dreams. Pros build a bridge.
- Amateurs fear failure. Pros crave it.
- Amateurs build a skill. Pros build a portfolio.
- Amateurs want to be noticed. Pros want to be remembered.
050 - 10 Things Successful People Never Do Again
- Return to what hasn't worked.
- Do anything that requires them to be someone they're not.
- Try to change another person.
- Believe they can please everyone.
- Choose short-term comfort over long-term benefit.
- Trust someone or something that appears flawless.
- Take their eyes off the big picture.
- Neglect to do due diligence.
- Fail to ask why they are where they find themselves.
- Forget that their inner life determines their outer success.
049 - Done Is Better Than Perfect
Done Is Better Than Perfect
Most people - and maybe entrepreneurs especially - are too concerned with perfection. The quest for perfection stands in stark opposition to creativity. Perfection lacks spontaneity. It assumes - in fact, it craves - certainty. The pursuit of perfection can stop you from starting projects, and it very often stops you from finishing them when you decide they're not yet perfect.
Perfection is the search for the one "right" answer when there is none. Nothing is - or ever will be - perfect, especially in the arena of human endeavor. Your timing will never be right and you will always be wrong about something.
You'll always be uncertain.
There'll always be one more loose end to be tied up before you can ship it.
You'll always have the lurking fear that there's a major flaw somewhere in your project that you haven't noticed, and someone will find it and tell the whole world about it.
At some point you just need to call it done.
Because done is better than perfect.
048 - What They Want or What They Need?
047 - It Ain't Gonna Happen as Soon as You'd Like It To
046 - How Not to Crash and Burn Before You Even Get Off the Ground
045 - You Are the Ultimate Disruptive Technology
You Are the Ultimate Disruptive Technology
We have lots of disruptive technologies. Now what we need is more disruptive thinkers to figure out what to do with all the disruptive technologies. So my suggestion to you - if you're up for something as crazy radical as this - is to become a disruptive thinker. A creator. A freethinker. A contrarian. A renegade. A rebel. Someone who questions the status quo, challenges conventional wisdom, and thinks subversive thoughts. Someone who doesn't believe something just because a whole lot of other people believe it.
But, although being a disruptive thinker is necessary and wonderful, we need thinkers who are also willing to do. Can you do? Can you step out from the crowd? Can you become remarkable? Can you distinguish yourself from the masses who cannot or will not do the things we're talking about here? Can you take risks? Can you stop worrying about what other people will think of you? Can you create new things without asking anyone's permission? Can you become the dominant creative force in your own life? Can you make a mark on the world, a dent in the universe?
Can you become a force for good in the world? Will it be said of you after you're gone that you did something, however small it may have been, to assist in the flourishing of humanity? If you think you might be able to do some things like this, spend a little time and decide what that might look like. And then get started.
YOU are the ultimate disruptive technology.
044 - Marketing Models: Yelling vs Education
Marketing Models: Yelling vs Education
Yelling Model (aka the Treadmill model)
• You go to the prospects rather than having prospects come to you.
• You try to attract people by yelling at crowds (aka “advertising”)
• You try to tell people what to think and how to feel.
• You get some work, do that work, get some more work, do that work, and on and on… (the treadmill).
The Yelling Model:
- is easier.
- gets faster results.
- is less stable.
- is short-term.
- takes less time but more dollars.
- has no residual results - when you stop yelling, the business stops coming in.
Education Model (aka the Platform model)
• Attracts people to your platform by providing education on what they care about.
• You don’t try to convince people that your platform is appropriate for them; you allow them to decide for themselves.
The Education Model:
- has delayed results.
- is harder.
- is slower.
- is more stable.
- is long-term.
- takes more time but fewer dollars.
- reduces the amount of ongoing marketing and selling so you can spend more time on delivering your product or service (or perhaps designing and developing new products and services).
- creates residual results - once your platform is working for you, it continues to work for you.
043 - The Death of the Marketing Department
The Death of the Marketing Department
The old business model had marketing confined to its own “department”, and nobody else in a company needed to worry about it. The new model has everyone in a company involved in marketing -- sales, HR, customer service, finance, and the executive level. The “public face” of a business will include all employees, not just the few who work in the “marketing department”. Customers will come to expect that no matter who they interact with, that employee will be very clear about the company’s mission and its philosophy of treating customers. In other words, customers will expect a consistent response to a question or problem from any person or department in the company.
But never mind big companies; what about the little business, including the solopreneur? They simply need to adopt the idea that marketing is not an isolated activity, but is part of everything they do.
Here’s a simple definition of marketing: “Marketing is a continuum which begins at the point where your future customer has never heard of you, nor you of them, and extends to that specific interaction where they sign the order or click the Buy Now button. Marketing includes everything that happens between those two points.”
042 - Guerrilla Networking
- Guerrilla networking does NOT mean meeting people. It means becoming the type of person other people want to meet.
- Guerrilla networking does NOT mean schmoozing. It means becoming the type of person other people want to schmooze with.
- Guerrilla networking does NOT mean a huge rolodex. It means becoming the type of person other people add to their rolodex.
- Guerrilla networking does NOT mean “getting out there”. It means becoming the type of person other people invite out.
- Guerrilla networking does NOT mean becoming involved in others’ projects. It means starting projects that everyone else wants to be involved in.
- Guerrilla networking does NOT mean handing out business cards. It means being so famous that you don’t need business cards.
From the book Guerrilla Networking by Jay Conrad Levinson and Monroe Mann
041 - Monologues or Dialogues?
Monologues or Dialogues?
The "old" marketing was about monologues - businesses talking to you or, worse yet, at you.
The "new" marketing is about dialogues - you and businesses talking with each other, and customers and clients of those businesses talking with each other.
It's called relationships.
If you can understand and internalize the idea that business is now based on relationships, and not on convincing, persuading and manipulating, you’ll be on the right track.
040 - Gobbledygook
Ever see a business term that you’ve seen so many times that you’ll probably throw up if you see it one more time? These are sometimes called “gobbledygook” words. They are hype, jargon and bu**s**t. They’ve been used and overused and abused so much that they’ve become meaningless, and even annoying. Here are some examples:
state of the art
easy to use
Gobbledygook also describes a form of writing where the meaning is obscured as much as possible:
"All transactions effected pursuant to this instrument shall be effected for the account and risk and in the name of the undersigned; and the undersigned hereby agrees to indemnify and hold you harmless from, and to pay you promptly on demand, any and all losses arising there from or any debit balance due thereon."
"You’ll be responsible for anything you owe on your account."
Simple Rule: Keep it simple so that regular people can understand it.
039 - Money, Meaning and Freedom
Money, Meaning and Freedom
I read a really good book recently called "The End of Jobs" by Taylor Pearson. I really recommend it, and I intend to do an in-depth review of it soon, but in the meantime I'll just say that it's about the growth of entrepreneurship in the world, and how many, many people are going to be without jobs as we have known them, and will have to become entrepreneurs.
The most memorable thing I got from the book was this: that there are three things that people who do become entrepreneurs are seeking. And they are:
• Money (the most obvious of the three things)
• Meaning (the higher importance of your work; your contribution to the world)
• Freedom (your ability to do what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want)
My thought about this is that the most important thing that you, the entrepreneur, have to do is to decide the relative importance of each of these three things to you. How important is money compared to meaning and freedom? How important is meaning compared to money and freedom? How important is freedom compared to money and meaning? Is money 50% and meaning and freedom each 25%? Is money 80% and the others 10% each? Or is freedom and meaning what you want most? What are those ratios? These are not really business decisions, strictly speaking; they are personal decisions based on your values. But, I will argue that you cannot really come up with a solid, rational plan for your business until you make these decisions.
So think about these three things: Money, Meaning, and Freedom. How important is each of these to you? Write down those three words right now and ponder that.
038 - The Death of the Marketing Campaign
The Death of Marketing Campaigns
We're seeing a continued de-emphasis on advertising and marketing “campaigns”. A campaign is generally defined as a collection of specific advertising, marketing, or sales tactics executed for the purpose of creating a specific result (a certain amount of new business) within a specified time period. This is accompanied by a concerted effort to calculate the ROI of that campaign (for the purpose of designing more effective future campaigns). In the “new marketing” world, marketing is not done in “segments” or “blocks”, but is continuous. Obviously, this makes it more difficult to calculate ROI.
But the real difference is that new marketing models are not based on simple cause-and-effect (if we do this, we expect or hope that will be the result). Rather, they’re based on relationships, which are tricky to create and difficult to measure. In fact, I believe the term “ROI” may well be replaced by the term “ROR” (Return On Relationships), and this will not make bean-counters happy.
Gary Vaynerchuk famously commented on the difficulty of calculating ROI for social media by asking, “What’s the ROI of your mother?”
You can’t measure it, but you surely know there is one.
037 - Telling It Like It Is
Telling It Like It Is
We all seem to think it’s a good idea to “tell it like it is”, whatever “it” may be. After all, that would constitute “telling the truth”, and that’s a good thing, right?
But consider this: “Telling it like it is” results in the continuation of “what is”. We create our personal experiences by “telling our stories”, and if we want our experiences to be different and better, then we need to tell different and better stories. Maybe we need to stop “telling it like it is”and start “telling like we want it to be”.
The following is from The Teachings of Abraham as spoken by Esther Hicks:
"Tell it like it is if you like it like it is. But if you don’t like it like it is, then don’t tell it like it is — tell it like you want it to be. If you tell it like you want it to be, long enough, you will begin to feel it like you want it to be, and when you feel it like you want it to be, it will be like you want it to be."
036 - Stress Busters
Simple ways to reduce stress:
- Make time for fun
- Tell jokes
- Spend some time outside
- Exercise (just a little will help a lot)
- Write your worries on a piece of paper, then burn the paper
- Count your blessings
035 - Feeling Good Anyway
Feeling Good Anyway
When you get what you want, will you feel better? Of course you will. But wait… what if feeling a certain way can help you get what you want? Or, what if feeling a certain way is necessary in order to get what you want? What if feeling must always precede getting?
These days there are multitudes of teachers telling us that we “create our own realities with our thoughts”. I’m going to take issue with that. I believe that thoughts don’t directly cause anything. I believe that we can sit around all day long thinking about something, and have absolutely nothing happen as a result of those thoughts.
But what causes certain feelings to come into being? What if feelings are caused by thoughts? If you stop to think about it, you’ll quickly realize that each and every thought we think has an associated feeling attached to it (including this thought that I just expressed to you). So maybe the sequence of cause-and-effect goes like this:
Thoughts > Feelings > Actions > Results
Again, we can think about something all day long and nothing will happen. We can think about something and not decide to take any action based on our thoughts about it. It’s not until we have a certain feeling about something that we decide to take action. And it’s not until we take action that some kind of result manifests in the form of some change in our situation or circumstances.
But, many people argue, I can’t feel good about something until it has become my reality, until it has manifested, until I can hold it in my hand or park it in my driveway.
What if we just decided to feel good anyway, no matter our circumstances, and see what happens?
What do you think?
034 - Effective Communication
Effective Communication = cramming a maximum amount of information, insight and meaning into a minimum amount of space and time.
• keep it short
• keep it simple
• keep it concise
• don’t use unnecessary words
• make every word count
033 - Are You Your Business?
Are You Your Business?
At the very least, your business is a reflection, a manifestation, of what and who you are. Your business is an extension of you, and a representation of your values and beliefs. Your business will never express values and beliefs that are different from your own, nor would you ever want it to.
So you must make sure that your business never, in the interest of profit, violates or misrepresents your values, beliefs and principles.
032 - 14 Things To Do This Year
14 Things To Do This Year
1 - Use a 3-level goal setting approach:
- What is the minimum result that I could be happy with?
- What kind of result would make me really happy?
- What kind of result would generate fireworks?
2 - Measure success against yourself; your own past performance, not against others' performance.
3 - Test and measure your marketing activities. What's working? What's not working?
4 - Give as much as you can, right now, in all areas of your life.
5 - Publish lots of content, wherever you can find a place to publish it. Be heard above the noise.
6 - Do lots of networking. Lots of it.
7 - Remember how awesome you are.
8 - Be insanely brave. Only good can come from it.
9 - Spend more time with friends and family.
10 - Make a NOT TO DO list of the things you'd like to STOP doing.
11 - De-clutter your life, your living space, your mind.
12 - Know your desired outcome.
13 - Surround yourself with positive people.
14 - Take consistent, focused action.
031 - We're All Traders (How to Create a MAEV)
We're All Traders (How to Create a MAEV)
Let’s abandon the concept of “buyers” and “sellers” – we’re all traders. Someone is trading something (an amount of money) for something you have that they want (your product or service). And you’re trading what you have (your product or service) for their money. A so-called “sales transaction” does not involve different roles for each party. They both have the same role and the same desire – to create a MAEV (Mutually Acceptable Exchange of Value) agreement. So you can just abandon the concept of a “sales transaction” completely and replace it with the MAEV concept.
A MAEV agreement (Mutually Acceptable Exchange of Value) happens when two parties agree to an exchange of something for something else based the belief of both parties that the exchange is roughly equal and therefore acceptable. It’s a win/win thing – they get what they want and you get what you want. But when one party believes that the proposed agreement favors the other party and is therefore not equal, or that the thing they want is not worth the value of the thing they’re considering trading, no agreement can exist. All of this is self-evident, but the point I’m making is that a “sales transaction” is always a mutual agreement and that the parties are not different, but the same.
030 - Your Primary Business Resources AreYour primary business resources are:
- Knowledge (technical knowledge in your field)
- Expertise (how to apply your technical knowledge to solve problems and make improvements)
- Creativity (figuring out how to do things differently)
- Economic capital (money)
- Social capital (the size/nature of your social circles)
- Connections (how many people do you know, and how well do you know them?)
- Reputation (is it good, is it solid?)
- Business knowledge (do you really understand how a business works?)
- Business skills (including marketing)
- Communication skills (if you can’t communicate effectively, you’re lost)
- Time (how much of it are you willing and able to commit?)
You must have enough of each of these to make your business work. Start analyzing each of these and ask yourself if you have enough of each.
029 - Event Marketing - Why Didn't Anybody Show Up?
Event Marketing - Why Didn’t Anybody Show Up?
Planning a seminar, workshop, or other business education event, and wondering how you will get people to show up? Or maybe you’ve already had an event, and wondered why more people didn’t show up. After all, it was a really good event, with really worthwhile information that would have been very helpful to all those people who didn’t show up.
Here are some reasons why people don’t attend educational events:
• They don’t want to change.
• They don’t see the value.
• They don’t have the money.
• There is a time conflict.
• They procrastinate and miss the event.
• The event content doesn’t apply to them (their problems are different).
• They don’t want to share, or “open up”, in a public forum.
• They don’t believe that new information could possibly help them.
• They fear learning something new because that might cause them to succeed.
You should attempt to address these factors when putting together the marketing program for your event. Some of these factors, such as time conflicts, you can’t do anything about. But you can consider the rest of them, and ask yourself if any of them might apply to your target audience.
028 - Contact Databases Are Not Optional
Contact Databases Are Not Optional
In Item 4 of my book Business Appetizers, I referenced the list of contacts that every business owner must have. Notice I didn’t say should have, I said MUST have. Unless you’re into the old advertising model of just blasting your message out to the world and hoping somebody responds positively, you need to keep track of:
- What your target market is (the profile of your ideal client).
- Who you know (or know of) that fits that profile.
- Where they’re located (geography, organizational affiliations, social hangouts, etc).
- How best to communicate with them (email, social media, telephone, direct mail, webinars, teleseminars, published works, personal meetings, etc).
- Interactions you’ve had with your contacts – phone calls, emails, meetings, notes, etc.
- Relationship Status – how deep and strong is your personal and business relationship with each person on your list.
- Rating – you must have a system for rating (ranking) your contacts according to how well they fit the profile of someone who will either (a) buy something from you, or (b) refer someone to you.
This list is variously called an email list, a contact list, or a contact database. I don’t like to call it an email list because it’s much more than that, and not every name on your contact list is going to be on your email list.
What you need is CRM software, and there are lots of different products available for fit different tastes and needs. I recommend considering Insightly.com.
027 - Don't Do It Alone
Don’t Do It Alone
The following was written by Mitch Ditkoff, author of “Awake at the Wheel“:
“Yes, indeed, I know you’re creative. I know you like to push the envelope, try new things, tinker, invent, and innovate. You are on fire with possibilities, and that’s totally cool.
But I also know it’s difficult doing all of this by yourself. The days of the lone wolf genius are over, folks. Community, cooperation, and collaboration are where it’s at — and are often the difference between HAVING a great idea and actually MANIFESTING it. But innovators often feel constrained by “others”. It cramps their style and makes them cranky.
Get over it, folks. You absolutely need collaborators, partners, allies, teammates, and co-conspirators. And you need to find better ways of ensuring that these relationships are healthy and high-performing.”
026 - Maintaining Balance
It's talked about all the time. Balance. Gotta have balance. Can't let things get out of balance. Not too much of this or too little of that.
Work time vs fun time.
Working ON your business. Working IN your business.
This kind of marketing. That kind of marketing.
Attention to details. Attention to the Big Picture.
Production. Accounting. Systems. Sales. Employees. Customer Service. Technology.
Thinking about your goals. Thinking about the things you have to DO to reach your goals.
If we don't pay attention, things will get out of balance. While we're watching this, something is going on elsewhere that we can't watch because we're busy watching this.
Crazy yet? Probably. We all are. There's too much to watch. Too much to think about. Too much to do.
Solution? Break it all down into little pieces, prioritize the pieces, and assign them to time slots. Items that are below a selected point on the priority list must be delegated to someone else. If there's no one available to delegate to, then find someone, and if you can't do that then those things simply don't get done.
We can't do everything. Repeat, we can't do everything.
We must do the important things. Figure out what's MOST important to do this month, week, day, hour, minute.
Select three things. Do those three things.
Your business can't survive if you get too crazy.
YOU can't survive if you get too crazy.
025 - What Is a Brand?
What Is a Brand?
It's hard to convince your market that you're a professional if you don't seem professional and look professional.
You need to create the right images that send the right messages that create the right perceptions. Those perceptions constitute your brand.
A logo is not a brand (a logo is a "memory trigger" to remind you of a brand).
A company name is not a brand.
A product or service name is not a brand.
So, what IS a brand?
A brand is a set of expectations about a possible future experience with a product, service, company or person.
A brand is also a set of memories about past experiences with a product, service, company, or person.
A brand is how the marketplace feels about a product, service, company or person.
All branding work has the end goal of creating a conscious, positive feeling in the minds of prospects and clients.
In developing any marketing plan, the first thing is to define your message. The second thing is to develop your branding media, the things that carry your message to your intended market (your personal image, website, printed materials, social media presence, and every other form of media that your intended market sees, hears, or interacts with).
I should mention that everything and everyone already has a brand whether they know it or not, or like it or not.
The process of "branding" is to make that brand be positive and not negative.
Branding is not a simple process, but I can help you through it.
I can advise and assist in developing all your branding media, including:
- Yourself - How you look, how you dress, how you speak, how you interact with others.
- Your website - Your biggest, most visible, and (second) most important branding medium.
- Your print media - business cards, newsletters, etc.
- Your social media presence - You can't just do it; you have to do it right.
- Video and multimedia - Video is the most engaging branding medium.
- Writing - Thinking about writing a book and don't know where to start?
- Publishing - What if you did write a book? Would you know how to get it published?
- Speaking - This is sooooo important.
- Workshops, seminars and classes - How to create them, how to market them.
- Podcasting - It's easier than you think.
- Webinars - Very effective - learn how to create them.
- Teleseminars - Very effective - learn how to create them.
- Email marketing - It's all about your list.
- Direct mail - Effective if you know how to do it.
...and other things too numerous to mention here.
024 - Why do people buy?
Why do people buy?
Do very many people make buying decisions based only on price?
Nope. It’s the last on the list.
Top 5 Reasons People Buy:
43% buy because of confidence in the product or company
18% buy based on the quality of the product
14% buy because of the service they can get from the vendor
13% buy because they are offered a good selection
12% buy based on price
Now, total the first four numbers and you’ll see that 88% of people do NOT buy on price!
023 - Play-Doh?
Do we, or do we not, have the ability to mold, to shape, our circumstances and experiences into something other than what they are right now? Ask yourself questions like these.
Is my reality:
• hard or soft?
• rigid or pliable?
• marble or clay?
• steel-reinforced concrete or Play-Doh?
If you can believe that it might be Play-Doh, you’re on your way!
022 - Inaction
Most of our circumstances and experiences are a result of inaction, not action. Action can, and usually will, change things. Inaction - failure to act, failure to do anything - will allow external forces to shape and even create our circumstances and experiences.
Is that what you want? To have other forces, other people, shaping your life? If not, then you have to do something. You have to take action.
You're in charge, unless you decide to not be in charge.
021 - What Your Cards Say About You
What Your Cards Say About You
Of all the myriad marketing materials that we create to promote our businesses, one that certainly deserves more of our attention and thought is our business cards.
Business cards don’t just provide contact information – they leave emotional impressions (which are sometimes called "energy signatures"). Your card is YOU. And YOU will be kept or tossed in the wastebasket, depending on what your card looks like, feels like, and the impression that it makes on the person you hand it to. If you don’t want to get tossed in the wastebasket, here are a few things to do:
Photo: Have a professional headshot taken and put it on your business cards. No arguments, no excuses, just do it. It’s best to have it cover about a third to a half of one side of the card, not appear as a teensy image tucked away in one corner.
Use Color: If you dumped a collection of business cards on a table and spread them out, you’d see a lot of WHITE. With black ink. Not very interesting. Color is much more interesting. You do want to appear interesting, don’t you? Use some color.
Not a brochure: Your card needs to tell in simple terms what you do, but it’s not a brochure. Don’t include detailed descriptions of your services.
Don’t waste good real estate: There are two sides to a card; use both of them. Maybe contact info on one side, photo on the other. Lots of possibilities.
You are more important than your business: Especially if you are a one-person show, make your name much more prominent than your business name. No one cares about your business name, but you do want them to care about (and remember) you.
No Title: Don’t include official titles like President, VP of Marketing, CEO, Owner etc. But you should include a tagline that describes what you do, such as Life Coach, Business Consultant, Interior Designer, etc.
No odd shapes and sizes: There are business cards in many different shapes and sizes, but the standard is 3.5" x 2.0". Use ONLY that size, because people who save business cards keep them all together in stacks. If yours is an odd size (larger or smaller, but especially larger), it won't fit nicely in the stack, and quite likely will be thrown away because the recipient of it doesn't know where to put it. Smaller cards will more likely be lost. If you want to give somebody a paper medium that is a different shape or size (example, a bookmarker), make it in addition to your business card. I'm all about being unique and different, but having business cards in odd shapes and sizes is not a good way to do that.
Create an impression: Your card design needs to memorable, different, unique, yet simple and clean (you’ll probably have to hire a professional graphic designer to accomplish this).
Hire a professional graphic designer: Oh, yes, already mentioned that. No arguments, no excuses, just do it. Your business cards are NOT a good place for you to cheap out.
020 - Missing the Adventure
Missing the Adventure
To have your mind closed to new possibilities is to miss the adventure of life.
To avoid questioning things because it’s unpleasant, or might be a threat to your entrenched paradigms, is to miss the adventure of life.
To be a slave to a dogma is to miss the adventure of life.
If life is not about the discovery of new knowledge, the thinking of new thoughts, the expansion of awareness, and the creation of new concepts and things, then I don’t know what it’s about. If life is not about constant and persistent improvement - of self, of circumstances, of community, of nations, of the world, of the human species - then I don’t know what it’s about.
Be bold, be unafraid. Experiment. Push hard on the sides of your box. Succeed. Fail. Find out what you’re capable of, and what you’re not capable of.
Don’t find yourself at the end of it all looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking, “I wonder what would have happened if I had…”.
019 - The Biggest Mistakes with Websites and BlogsThe Biggest Mistakes with Websites and Blogs
The single biggest mistake people make with their blogs is that they start blogging and then stop blogging. If you're going to do it at all, then do it consistently. Otherwise, don't bother to do it at all.
018 - What Happens When Robots Steal All The Jobs?
What Happens When Robots Steal All The Jobs?
It's not science fiction. It's happening. It's been happening for a while now.
But it's accelerating at a crazy rate.
And too many people are too busy, too blind, too ignorant to see it.
You think your friendly neighborhood ATM machine (a robot) didn't steal some jobs?
You think that self-checkout lane in the grocery store (a robot) didn't steal some jobs?
You think all those robots that help build cars didn't steal some jobs?
You think the automated answering systems (robots) that companies use didn't steal some jobs?
You think your job, your profession, your business is safe from the robots? Think again.
Consider these thoughts:
- It has been commonly believed that robots are tools used by workers to increase their productivity. This has been true in the past, but what is happening now is the robots are becoming the workers.
- Labor "saving" technologies are becoming labor "eliminating" technologies.
- In the not very distant future, all routine, repetitive, and predictable tasks will be performed by robots.
There have been a number of important books written recently about automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics. They make the repeated point that even so-called white collar jobs and professions are subject to automation.
The robots can be friend or foe. Is your business ready for the robots?
By the way, I didn't write this post to freak you out; I wrote it to make you THINK. And I'll be writing much more on this subject later. This is an important issue, so don't sweep it under the rug.
In the meantime, I recommend that you read "Rise of the Robots" by Martin Ford, an in-depth analysis of the coming economic impact of robotics, AI and automation.
017 - Four Steps to a Better Website and Better Marketing
Four Steps to a Better Website and Better Marketing.
Awareness – you must be aware of the importance of your site to your business, of what constitutes an effective site, and be aware of current online marketing trends.
Commitment – you must commit to having a really good site, and to spending whatever amount of money you can to your online marketing efforts, and to making that money count.
Implementation – you must stop thinking and talking about it and actually do it.
Vigilance – you must not then do what most businesses have done in the past; build a website, then promptly forget all about it. You must have an active and ongoing marketing program, and monitor its effectiveness constantly.
016 - Three Components of Website Design
Three Components of Website Design
Radical Rules for Websites # 39
There are three components of website design:
• Aesthetics (the visuals — usually handled by artists)
• Content (the words — should be handled by professional copywriters, but seldom is)
• Function (how things work — usually handled by programmers)
It takes all three of these components, in appropriate measures, to create good communication.
015 - Evernote vs OneNote - No Contest
Evernote vs OneNote
I started using Evernote several years ago, and quickly started depending on it to keep track of all sorts of miscellaneous information that otherwise would probably have been stuck in nooks, crannies and crevices and forgotten about.
During those years, I was oblivious to any alternatives to Evernote. I gradually became vaguely aware of a Microsoft product called OneNote, but I didn't take the time to investigate it. Finally, my son started coaxing me to try it. And I did. And I'm transitioning all my miscellaneous information to OneNote, and after I'm done with the transition, I'm pretty sure I'll never look back.
OneNote is vastly superior to Evernote in many different ways. I'm not going into detail here. I'll just say, try it. You'll like it.
PS: If you have Microsoft Office, then you probably already have OneNote.
014 - Effective Communication in Websites
Effective Communication = cramming a maximum amount of information, insight and meaning into a minimum amount of space and time. This applies to both the written and spoken word. It means:
- keep it short
- keep it simple
- keep it concise
- don’t use unnecessary words
- make every word count
013 - Otherwise, You Don't Have a Business
Otherwise, You Don't Have a Business
Whatever your product or service, enough of the people who want it must have enough money to pay for it. In other words, the price of your product must be roughly equal to the amount of money the people who want your product have and are willing to spend. Otherwise, you don’t have a business. You can have the most wonderful product or service in the world, but if not enough people can afford it and are willing to pay for it, your business will be unsustainable.
And whatever your product or service, enough of the people who want it and can afford it must want it more than they want something else that costs the same amount of money. Otherwise, you don’t have a business.
012 - Marketing Is Finding
Marketing is Finding:
Don’t like selling? Not many people do.
Some people don’t like marketing either, because they think it’s really just another word for selling.
Marketing is not about selling. Marketing is about creating those conditions that make selling unnecessary. For professional services providers, marketing is about finding people that fit six criteria:
• They like you.
• They trust you.
• They want your service.
• They have enough money to pay for your service.
• They are willing spend that money on your service as opposed to spending it on someone else’s comparable service, or spending it on something completely different.
Do you believe that there are a lot of people out there somewhere who already want what you offer, and are willing and able to pay for it? If that were true, and they fit the criteria listed above, do you believe you would you have to convince or persuade them to buy your service?
Marketing is about finding those people, and creating relationships with them to bring them to the point of knowing, liking and trusting you.
Then life gets easier.
011 - Write to Your Dream Person(a)
Write to Your Dream Person(a)
What’s a persona?
In marketing, it’s a description of the characteristics of a person who fits an idealized profile. It’s your ideal customer or client. It’s a description of the type of person you’d most like to be able to talk to, and to influence. In blogging, it’s the type of person you’d most like to have as a loyal reader of your blog.
Who is that person? Are they young, old, male, female? Do they have a certain income level? Certain interests? Certain hobbies? Do they work in a particular industry?
Going through the process of describing this “dream person” will enable you to write more effective blog posts. Identifying the persona of your ideal customer allows you to talk to that person. Doing that is much more effective than trying to talk to the world in general.
Describe your ideal customer (your dream person) as best you can. Then just write to that persona, and that persona only. Never mind everybody else; they’re not nearly as important. Write about the things that would interest that person(a), that would touch their emotions, that would be interesting and useful to them.
You may end up with several distinct personas that you want to write to; that’s OK. You might want to give them first names, and write to Bob on Mondays, and Fred on Tuesdays, and Susie on Wednesdays.
If you do this, you’ll find it much easier to come up with ideas for blog posts, and it will be much easier to craft an effective message.
010 - Should You Still Use Old Media?
Should you still use "old media"?
The Yellow Pages are on life support. Newspaper and magazine ad revenue is a fraction of what it used to be. Nobody opens and reads unsolicited direct mail anymore. Advertising itself is a dying art. All the various forms of "old media" are dead or dying, aren't they? Yes, they are.
It's pretty easy to get sucked into this line of thinking, that the web is all there is. Remember the old adage "use the right tool for the job"? That applies to marketing, and I think it means "use whatever tools get the job done".
There are few absolutes in business and marketing, so let us not get into the mindset that digital is EVERYTHING and non-digital is NOTHING. Direct mail still works, if it's used as a follow-up to some other form of initial contact. It should mostly be used to keep a prospect's attention, not as a way to get their attention. Radio and TV still work, though certainly not at well as they used to. Newspapers are rapidly diminishing in effectiveness, and will no doubt some day disappear as a physical medium. But that has not happened yet.
I'm just saying, don't completely disregard the so-called "old" media.
One specific area that seems to command everyone's attention these days is search marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). It's a very important subject, but remember this: not everyone who wants or needs your product or service is actively looking for it on Google. SEO is important, but let's not overstate its importance. You need to analyze who your market is, what they want and need, and whether they're actually aware of that want or need. If they're not, then they're certainly not searching for it on Google, and you may need to use other means to connect with them. There may be many people who don't even know that your product or service exists, but would want it if they did.
Summary: you need a thoughtful analysis of your market. No doubt you'll be best served by a combination of marketing tools, some "new" and some "old". Have you spent enough time lately thinking about this?
009 - How to Get Them to Listen
How to Get Them to Listen (GEIO)
All effective marketing pieces need to follow a common formula, whether the piece is an email, postcard, web page, coupon, radio or TV ad, brochure, flyer, verbal presentation or anything else that is used to promote your business and gain customers.
There are four functions to a marketing piece: Grab, Engage, Inform and Offer (GEIO)
These functions are performed by the four parts of a marketing piece: Headline, Subheadline, Body, and Call to Action.
• GRAB – this is what a Headline does, and you’ve got microseconds to accomplish this. Headlines are critical because if you don’t grab them, then the rest of your marketing piece might as well never have been created. And once you’ve grabbed someone’s attention, you’ve got a few more microseconds to get them to the next step, which is:
• ENGAGE – this is the function of the Subheadline, to move the prospect on a bit further, to pique their curiosity a bit more, and to tell them that you’re about to give them some valuable information that they’ll be vitally interested in.
• INFORM – this is the message itself, the Body of the marketing piece. It must be concise, interesting and contain useful information that will prepare the prospect for the:
• OFFER – this function is performed by the Call to Action, where you’re asking the prospect to actually DO something – download a free report, email you, call you, visit your website, make a purchase, etc. A marketing piece that is just informative and doesn’t ask for an action at the end is a wasted effort.
So here’s the formula again:
Grab = Headline
Engage = Subheadline
Inform = Body
Offer = Call to Action
It’s a simple formula, and you can easily apply it.
008 - Why Use Web Video?
Why use web video?
• Video is the most effective and fastest-growing marketing technique.
• Video is the most effective way to connect with website visitors.
• Video makes your site more personable and interesting.
• Video strengthens your brand.
• Video is easy to do.
• Video is affordable.
What is engagement? If you start reading a novel, and get ten pages into it and find you can’t put it down, you’re engaged. If you totally lose interest after ten pages, you’re not engaged.
If you go to a website and find it has the answers you’ve been looking for, presented in a clear, simple and interesting way, you’re engaged with that site. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, or you get confused, or the site is ugly or boring, you’re not engaged.
Being engaged means you’re likely to hang around a little longer; not being engaged means you’ll leave and never be back.
007 - Do You Really Need To Have a Company?
Do You Really Need to Have a Company?
Nearly every individual who starts a new business believes that they need to have a company, and a company name, and probably a company logo. Well, yes, you maybe should have a company for legal or tax reasons, but having a company for branding reasons is not necessary, and maybe not even a good idea.
If you are the only person in your business, why would you want to focus on a company name as a brand, rather than focusing on yourself? Here are a few shocking truisms to think about:
- It’s YOU that people do business with, not some fabricated legal entity.
- It’s YOU that people call, and talk to, and negotiate with, and buy from; not a company.
- People don’t care about your company, or your company name, or your company logo.
- No matter how much money you put into a logo design, no one will ever be impressed by it.
- Some people need to have a company for ego reasons (so they can be President or CEO or whatever). No one else cares that you’re a President or a CEO.
- In days gone by, if you didn’t have a company, you weren’t credible and wouldn’t be taken seriously. That’s no longer true, at least not for individuals.
- If you put the focus on your company, what you’re really doing is hiding behind that company, and that company name and that logo.
- You need to make YOU visible, not your company.
- It’s perfectly OK to NOT have a company name on your business cards.
- It’s perfectly OK to have a company, but never even mention its name until someone has to write you a check.
Are you branding something that shouldn’t be branded, and forgetting to brand the important thing (which is YOU)
006 - Be in Charge of Your Website and Domain Name
Be in Charge of Your Website and Domain Name!
Radical Rules for Websites # 167
Quite often, website developers will have control over a client’s domain name. They may have registered the domain themselves “as a service to the client”. In the worst case scenario, the developer registered it in their own name rather than the client’s name, and the developer therefore owns the domain name. More often, the developer will register it in the client’s name but never give the client access to the domain account.
What happens if your web developer gets hit by a truck?
Do you even know how to access your domain to move it if you needed to?
Do you know where your website is hosted? Do you have access to the hosting account? You should. You need to.
If you’re not in control of your site and domain name, then they’re under the control of someone else. Not a good thing.
Contact your web developer today and inform him/her that you want access to everything — after all, it’s your website, not theirs.
005 - 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do:
1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
2. They don’t give away their power.
3. They don’t shy away from change.
4. They don’t focus on things they can’t control.
6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks.
7. They don’t dwell on the past.
8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
9. They don’t resent other people’s success.
10. They don’t give up after the first failure.
11. They don’t fear alone time.
12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything.
13. They don’t expect immediate results.
~ Amy Morin, from her book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”
004 - Thinking About Time
Thinking about Time
"One-dimensional thinking: ‘Managing your time’ by doing things fast and efficiently in order to try to squeeze more into whatever time you have available.
This is like running.
Two-dimensional thinking: ‘Prioritizing your time’ by the Urgent and Important grid to borrow time from one area of your life to focus instead on another. It’s the skill of putting one thing in front of the others.
Three-dimensional thinking: ‘Multiplying your time’ by adding in the calculation of Significance. And to specifically give yourself the emotional permission to spend time on those things today that will create more time tomorrow.
This is like planting seeds.”
~ Rory Vaden from his book "Procrastinate on Purpose"
003 - Chief Listening Officer? Seriously?
Chief Listening Officer? Seriously?
I just heard on a news show that there is a new "dream job" available. It's called Chief Listening Officer. On chegg.com, there are 20 jobs and 32 internships available. Average salary nationally is in the $39,000 to $72,000 range. So if you're not convinced that social media is important, consider the simple fact that such a job now exists.
The following is from https://www.chegg.com/career-center/explore/chief-listening-officer:
"Just like in elementary school, Chief Listening Officers get rewarded for having excellent listening skills. However, you get praised (and paid) on your ability to listen to your company's clients and consumers.
This job is all about social networking, so like a Social Media Manager, you focus on blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and beyond. You keep track of all forms of social media to see what the buzz is about your company. You then pass on complaints, product ideas, or tips from customers to the various departments within your organization.
More than just a nosy neighbor curious about what's being said around you, you work to make an improvement in your company's client interaction. For example, if a customer posts a bad review on your Facebook wall you send their information to your Customer Service Director to see if they can improve the situation. Or, when a new marketing campaign rolls out to overwhelming positive Twitter reactions you give the marketing department a heads up so they can keep making the same type of ads.
Chief Listening Officer is a new role, but it's a growing one. As customers are able to air grievances or brag about excellent service within seconds of an interaction, it's becoming more and more important for companies to have someone constantly paying attention. With a ton of information coming at you daily, you'll need to be savvy and forward thinking to differentiate between what's actually helpful to your company and what's just noise."
002 - How To Be Successful
How To Be Successful
- Believe while others doubt.
- Plan while others play.
- Study while others sleep.
- Decide while others delay.
- Prepare while others daydream.
- Begin while others procrastinate.
- Work while others wish.
- Save while others waste.
- Listen while others talk.
- Smile while others frown.
- Commend while others criticize.
- Persist while others quit.
– adapted from the writings of William Arthur Ward
001 - Now Is The Only Time
Now Is The Only Time
There is no such thing as the future.
All we have is a now, followed by another now, followed by a long series of nows.
We do not suddenly accomplish something. Rather we have a series of accomplishment now moments.
We do not suddenly become healthy or unhealthy. Rather we have a series of healthy or unhealthy now moments.
When we have created and experienced a long-enough series of a particular type of now moments, it can result in resolutions being kept, goals being met, bad habits broken, good habits being formed.
Now is the only moment there is.
Now is where thoughts and feelings occur, where decisions are made, where actions are taken, where creativity exists, where everything happens.
There is no other time.
There is no other place to live.