Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blogging Ideas for Non-Writers or Non-Experts

Most people think that you have to be a writer to have a blog.  (I’m teaching a class that will address some of this; so I figured I’d write something about it…and maybe organize some of my thoughts around it.)

See Event Link: Blogging Like It’s Easy

The other misconception is that you have to be an expert to write a good blog.

Of course, each of these things helps, but neither is necessary to publish a blog that people want to see or read.

Key Question: So what if I don’t know how to write or know what to write?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Usually motivate or lead others but sometimes feel empty?

One of my most awesome friends is really motivating.  He’s always chock full of ideas and delivers them with incredible, charismatic energy.

Often, in the middle of giving me or someone else advice, he asks rhetorically, “Who motivates the motivator?”

“Who motivates the motivator?”

It’s a really good question, because no matter how much energy you might have, you only have a limited supply of it.  It’s awesome to help people.  Frankly, it’s one of my favorite things to do, but most people cannot (completely) return the favor.  They need your help, and even if they would like to help; often they don’t have the capacity to help.  Plus, many people are outright selfish and only want your time when you’re helping them.
Teaching and leading are often among the greatest things we can ever do for someone else…and ourselves.

The problem is, sometimes, as people who usually lead, we might need that leadership, too!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

4 Ways Branding MAKES You Money

Here are a few ideas that will help put money in your pocket.

Many people go into business, because they want to work for themselves.  They want the flexibility in their schedule, the type of work they take, and even for whom they that work.

Most employees do not get all of this.  So it makes sense.  However, I notice where a many people starting up businesses overlook things.

One of them is branding.

KEY POINT: In most cases, branding…done correctly…will make you money!

A branding expert might be able to provide more insight, but here are some things that occur to me:

1. Creates another Opportunity to be Found/Known
2. Generates Structure for Higher Prices
3. Boosts Your Commodity Business
4. Provides a Viable Business Exit Plan

Now, I’m not trying to pass that “branding” for one day is really going to bring about these things.

These things apply ONLY when you brand yourself (and your company) correctly.  Branding strongly enough to accomplish these things likely requires a branding expert.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.  They’re really important to understand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

14 Things I’m Checking When I Meet You at a Business or Networking Event

Have you ever gone to a business get-together or a networking event and felt like it was sort of useless?

I know that I have, and I’ve heard many people complain that they are a waste of time.

Many people go to networking events without having a solid game plan. If they do, they are thinking sales only, which usually is not realistic. Obviously, I don’t know what you would like to get from them, but here is a list of things I’m checking when I meet you at a networking event (or any other business type of environment).

1. Are you a potential business partner?

Sometimes, I have specific businesses in mind. Other times, I trust that I’ll get better ideas later.

I’m always looking for people who are talented, intelligent, hard working, have good integrity, are eager to learn, etc. I do my best to see whether you will fit into anything I’m doing today, but mostly I’m paying attention to see whether I see potential in us working together.

I do not always guess correctly when I first meet someone, and I’m not sure whether I have anything specific in mind. However, I’m always checking to see whether you’re an obvious match with something I’m doing today, would like to do tomorrow, or have something I’d like to join.

2. Are you someone who can work for me?

I don’t always have jobs available, but I always have needs. Maybe I can hire you today, later, or I can trade services with you.

I’m curious to see what your skill sets are, and I want to know what type of worker you’d be. Most of all, I’m curious about what type of attitude you have with your work and the people attached to it.

3. Are you someone I can charge money to help and provide good value?

Personally, I have a rule, and that’s to do my best to provide value for people. In marketing, there is not really any way to guarantee success, but if the odds point toward failure, I’m not usually interested in taking the business.

I don’t want your money that badly, but if I sense I can help you, I’ll probably try to push you.

4. Can I work with you to gain experience I want or need?

Are you working closely with something I’d like to learn better? Do you seem to have a need that would allow me to get some experience I want (or need) by helping you with your issue surrounding it?

If so, I’ll make a proposal on the spot.

5. Are you someone who I’d like as part of an informal brainstorming team?

I enjoy learning things, and I realize that many people know things that I do not.

If you’re a thinker with a good attitude and want to grow yourself (and others, too?), then I’d like to keep connected with you…even if we don’t get a chance to really talk for a while. I understand your value, and I won’t want to let it slip away…if I can help it.

6. Can I refer you to anyone I know?

I like to help people, and I take pride in my ability to match together people very well. I don’t always hit a home run with this, but I enjoy helping people, and this is a great way to help out 2 people at the same time!

7. Are you likely to boost my energy or drain it?

This probably does not require a lot of explanation.

8. Are you someone I can help?

I might be able to help you in some way. If I have the skill set, the resources, and the time to be able to help, I’m probably trying to see whether you’re interested in my help. Most likely, I’ll offer within the initial conversation or within a follow-up email.

9. Do you represent a potential speaking opportunity for me?

Overall, I enjoy speaking, but I know that, even if I do not want to speak, it’s a skill that is worth keeping sharp. Plus, it’s a great way to network and position yourself as an expert.

So I’m trying to figure whether you can schedule me or connect me with someone who can schedule me to talk. Maybe I ask immediately. More likely, I’ll get to know you a little better and ask later, but I’m making a point to look immediately.

10. Are you a potential speaker for one of my groups? In general?

Maybe you know a lot about an interesting topic.

Perhaps, you’re just such a good speaker, I might look to find an excuse to schedule you…even if the topic does not match perfectly.

Good speakers are hard to find. When I find someone, I’m grateful of the opportunity, and I try not to blow it.

I also like finding people who speak on topics that lots of people want to learn, but I’m the wrong person to try teaching it to them.

I might even try to find another group where you might be able to speak.

11. Are you somebody who I know one of my other would treasure meeting?

I’m always looking for ways to help other people. Sometimes, I can provide the help. However, usually, I don’t know enough…and someone else is the right person. Even if you do not have anything to offer this other person immediately, I’m happy to connect you with someone who can help you.

12. Are you a potential center of influence?

Do a lot of people seem to care about what you think? Are you someone who seems to make a habit of referring or connecting people?

If so, you are an exception, and I want to get to know you for my own selfish reasons. I want to earn a chance for you to refer me to people who look to you for suggestions.

I also like finding people worth referring, and connectors are always worth referring.

13. Is there something about you that is different?

We meet so many people who seem to be the same and give the same bland answers. They are so hard to remember, because there is so little about them that is memorable.

I love meeting people who make it easy for me to remember them for the right reasons. Maybe the reason is obvious. Perhaps, it’s hidden.

In fact, I prefer finding “hidden gems,” because I don’t really want to fight the crowd for your attention. I want your undivided attention. More importantly, I want you to fully appreciate what I can do for you.

Mostly, I’ll just appreciate you…just for being different.

14. Are you all about yourself, or do you seem to care about others?

You can have all of the talent in the world, but if you’re not interested in me, I’m going to beware of you. I’ll still find reasons to appreciate you, but I’m going to notice you in a way you wish I didn’t.

You don't have to be unconditionally focused on others, but if you NEVER seem to take any interest...

I might be overlooking some things I check subconsciously, but my mind is usually racing at these events. Can you see why?

Do you have a similar checklist?

Like this post?  Other recent posts are

Monday, February 29, 2016

2 Times SEO is NOT a Smart Strategy!

SEO is great, but it’s not always the right thing for every business.

For the most part, SEO is great.  People use search engines (especially Google), and many of us would be insane, at this point, not to look for ways to have our company show at the top of search results.

Anything we do to “trick” Google (or Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to select our site over our competitors’ sites is called search engine optimization (more commonly known as SEO).  While there are plenty of ways to “game” the system, overall, it pushes most of us to do the best job we can describing what we do…so that Google knows when to match us with the right people seeking for the things we can do for them.

However, there are a couple of situations where SEO is not where I suggest you should be spending the majority (if any) of your marketing effort.

1. You're in an industry where nobody trusts you--the stranger.
2. You are more expensive than almost every one of your competitors.

Let's take a closer look at each...  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How Being Willing to be Rotten at Something Leads to Greatness

Are you any good at that?

Growing up, that's all we pretty much heard...or if we didn't hear it, that question was, without any doubt, implied.

None of us enjoy looking foolish, no matter how well-adjusted we are about "not caring what others think of us."  All of us wants to look good.

The problem is that, while not all of us start from the same spot, almost nobody starts from a point of unconditional greatness.  Even if we do, someone out there has worked hard enough to be better than us.

Essentially, if we want to grow, we need to be willing to start at some point lower than our final destination.  What this means is that we need to spend some time eating humble pie...being sub-par at something...maybe even being LOUSY at it...before we can become great at that same thing.

When you were first born, were you great at walking?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Discrimination: How to Make It Work for You

Discrimination doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

A while ago, I wrote about what My Socks Made Me Think about Discrimination.

In that post, I mention how I sort my socks.  I find the ones that are more different than any of the others.  In other words, I try to find the socks that are easier for me to notice.

Let’s pay attention to that last part of the sentence, “easier for me to notice.”

When you’re the different one

Over the years, I’ve made an observation from my own experiences.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Prediction: Minions Brand Will Spike…Then Spiral

I have a prediction.  In the short-term, the brand surrounding the Minions will spike, but in the long-term, it will drop…quickly and to great depths.  It will become a fad that will become laughable.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but it will be.  However, ultimately, this new Movie “Minions” will kill the brand.  That’s my prediction!

Trailer: New Movie: Minions (Prequel to Despicable Me)

As I write this today, the Minions have an AWESOME brand.

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock, you’ve heard of those adorable Minion creatures.  Heck, even if you DO live underneath a rock, you’ve probably heard of them…and most likely seen something with them in it.

Those adorable tiny yellow Minions were introduced to us via a couple of hit movies: “Despicable Me” and its sequel “Despicable Me 2.”

Those movies were great, and they’ve done a lot for the Minions brand.

Still, I predict that their brand will plummet, but it doesn’t have to be this way.