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031: Taylor Treese – MediaTrax.com

taylor-treese
Taylor is the Cofounder and CEO of Mediatrax.com
a one stop shop for wholesale online marketing
solutions.

They offer an end to end product suite consisting of:
• Pay-per-call platform with call tracking
• Search engine marketing management
• Business profile management and syndication
• Online reputation management
• Landing page content management systems (CMS)
• Website and domain hosting
• Website analytics and conversion tracking
• As well as customized engineering solutions
• They really do it all at mediatrax.com

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Have a listen to my chat with Taylor Treese.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!

Entrepreneur From the Start
So I grew up in the northeast, originally from Connecticut and I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. So I’ve always just been around that. Ever since I was a kid, my father has always owned his own business and naturally my mom did the exact same thing. They were both in and around the publishing sector and me being in my mid 40s, there was no digital back then so it was all really the print world that I was immersed in. But needless to say my father was an entrepreneur and they both had separate businesses that kind of played off one another. So I got to see that a lot growing up. Got to see risk taking, thinking outside of the box, all of the things really were just natural to me growing up.

Experiencing Conventional Education & Employment
Went off to college, my father thought it was important that after school I worked for a big corporation and kind of see what working at a big company was all about before joining the family business per se. And I did that for a number of years, worked for a number of groups, some of the bigger companies were like Ericsson, Telecom. And I was very much always in the tech or telecom space.

“It’s important, it’s important to know how both sides work. As you know, big companies just operate completely opposite from what an entrepreneur would do. So I think it really is important to see how both sides do what they do everyday.”

True Calling:
I got very itchy after being there for quite some time and that zone. Didn’t like the red tape, didn’t like the politics, it all kind of ultimately boiled back down to me starting something. And my father and I started MediaTrax together. He had a consulting practice at the time and I came up with the product idea and he helped me fund it. And before you know it, here we are basically ten years later just doing a ton of different things.

Building Media Trax:
Our first product was called “Tracking Product” and I had just come out of the telecom sector so being very familiar with all that technology and linking up with my dad’s consulting practice in the publishing sector. I took whatever funds I could gather and we built (the) competing technology. And we immediately just started approaching all the clients that my dad already knew and we understood the feature set that they wanted. So we were very nimble and we just built what they wanted immediately and just jumped into the market, undercut everybody else and that’s kind of what got us going. And we chose the name MediaTrax cause we were naturally tracking their media for them and helping improve value to their customers.

Ala’ Carte Services:
Yeah it’s very much that new world mentality that I think Google kind of helped spark. Whereby you can just dip your toe in the water and if the service works for you then great, pay it. And it’s performance based and you pay for what you use you know? There was a great book I read years ago called What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. And I swear you could pretty much apply most of those concepts to just about any business nowadays and help yourself be successful.

Networking – Mastermind – Philanthropy:
I belong to a group here in south Florida but it’s actually a global organization called:
EO or Entrepreneurs Organization: www.eonetwork.org
We have a south Florida chapter I think that’s about 250-300 entrepreneurs strong. And then the 300 or so of us are broken up into smaller groups called forums of about 7-8 guys. There are women involved as well they’re just kind of few and far between. But my forum will meet once a month and they almost act as kind of a board of directors for my company and I would likewise act as a board of directors for their company. And we just discuss general business you know the group that I’m in is quite diverse. There’s people in high-tech, there’s people in construction, there’s people in the law/legal industry. So it’s very diverse but it really helps to be able to talk to a fellow entrepreneur about things like meeting payroll or a legal issue you’re battling because a lot of my other just day-to-day friends just work for big companies and they have no concept of what some of those things are that I face.

Business Resources – Keeping Up-to-Date:
I do like to do is stay in very close contact with the VC community (Venture Capital).
And so I kind of like to just touch face with a bunch of different groups and see where their heads are. They tend to be pretty smart people, I don’t necessarily really like the way VC’s operate. We’re not VC backed, we do have funding but not from a traditional VC. But you know they can really tell the temperature of a sector. They have put together things that they like and dislike and I really enjoy understanding why they like something or they don’t like something. They also tend to be on the forefront of news. News travel fast, they tend to get it first. They know what deals are closing, what deals are going south. So that really helps to stay in close contact with them. Even if you aren’t getting money from them.

New Product:
We’re on the cusp of actually releasing a new product line that we refer to as DMM or the Digital Marketing Management system. And we’re just going into beta right now with Time Inc. on that system. So we’re really excited about it. It looks like it’s going to be tying us into other groups that we weren’t previously tied into like the real-time bidding organizations, the DSPs that exist. So we’re really looking forward to the launch of that. Should be next month. (Sept-2014)

On The BookShelf;
– Malcom Gladwell: ANYTHING he has written
– The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
– What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

Contact Taylor Treese – Media Trax:
Biz = MediaTrax.com
Twitter = @Media_Trax

Have a listen to my chat with Taylor Treese:

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Taylor Treese
MediaTrax.comTranscript

James: All right welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big-time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Taylor Treese. Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of MediaTrax.com. MediaTrax is a one-stop shop for wholesale online marketing solutions. They offer an end-to-end product suite consisting of and it’s way too many for me to name them all but they have pay-per-call, they have call tracking, search engine marketing and all that goes with that. Business profile management, syndication, online reputation management, landing pages, websites, hosting, analytics conversion, as well as customized engineering solutions that I hear they do a hell of a job with that.

Anyway you can find that all at MediaTrax.com and without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce Mr. Taylor Treese to the Big Value, Big Business podcast. Hello Taylor, how are you?

Taylor: Hello, hello! Thanks for having me.

James: Hey awesome, awesome. Good to finally connect and how are things—I believe you’re in sunny southern Florida?

Taylor: We are. It’s in the depths of our summer at the moment so I always call this our winter because it’s brutally hot outside and you don’t want to go outside at this time of year.

James: All right, so we’ll come it inside keep the air conditioner cranked. But we’re doing pretty well ourselves up here in the northeast. It’s kind of warm but I digress. Listen, thanks for coming on I’m really looking forward to having you share some of your knowledge and insights on how we can successfully leverage our online marketing tools which you have a full toolbox of. You know to successfully and economically bring our content and our messaging to the masses. So does that sound like a plan sir?

Taylor: Absolutely.

James: Cool, cool. So just to jump right in, can we get started like with Taylor’s backstory maybe—obviously you’re an entrepreneur and just kind of get to know a little bit about you and the journey that brought you here to where you are today.

Taylor: Sure, sure. So I grew up in the northeast, originally from Connecticut and I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family. So I’ve always just been around that. Ever since I was a kid, my father has always owned his own business and naturally my mom did the exact same thing. They were both in and around the publishing sector and me being in my mid 40s, there was no digital back then so it was all really the print world that I was immersed in. But needless to say my father was an entrepreneur and they both had separate businesses that kind of played off one another. So I got to see that a lot growing up. Got to see risk taking, thinking outside of the box, all of the things really were just natural to me growing up.

Went off to college, my father thought it was important that after school I worked for a big corporation and kind of see what working at a big company was all about before joining the family business per se. And I did that for a number of years, worked for a number of groups, some of the bigger companies were like Ericsson, Telecom. And I was very much always in the tech or telecom space.

I got very itchy after being there for quite some time and that zone. Didn’t like the red tape, didn’t like the politics, it all kind of ultimately boiled back down to me starting something. And my father and I started MediaTrax together. He had a consulting practice at the time and I came up with the product idea and he helped me fund it. And before you know it, here we are basically ten years later just doing a ton of different things. So that’s my story.

James: And you’re sticking to it?

Taylor: Absolutely.

James: All right sounds good. Yeah I had the pleasure to know your dad, Roger, as well. He’s a cool guy and that is so great. What a great up and coming, I mean you’re exposed to all those things. I love that you put the risk taking, working out of the box. It just like so sets the stage for everything that you do not get in a conventional education. So hat’s off man. And then you got the boot and said get out there and see what the other guys are doing and come back in a little while and then we’ll get this thing going you know what I mean? That’s awesome.

Taylor: It’s important, it’s important to know how both sides work. As you know, big companies just operate completely opposite from what an entrepreneur would do. So I think it really is important to see how both sides do what they do everyday.

James: Absolutely, I know that all too well myself. So yeah ten years, I was going to ask, so started with a seed project. Do you care to let us know what that was and how things kind of progressed? I mean I rattled off here probably just touched on, or scratched the surface of, your product suite. But where did it start and how did it get to where it is to this big—I love that end-to-end analogy, you can just soup to nuts—everything to do with online marketing. But you know where did it start and how did it quickly evolve into what it is now?

Taylor: Yeah so the name kind of speaks for itself, MediaTrax. Our first product was called “Tracking Product” and I had just come out of the telecom sector so being very familiar with all that technology and linking up with my dad’s consulting practice in the publishing sector. He began to describe to me one of his clients who’s a call tracking vendor. They were looking to tap my dad as a sales resource to enter the newspaper and yellow page sector. And I kind of got involved with them and starting lending my knowledge to the telecom sector to my dad. And the more I got to understanding what they were doing, it seemed like just very straight forward and easy to me to build the exact same solution.

And long story short the consulting retainer expired and that client went away and I took whatever funds I could gather and we built a competing technology. And we immediately just started approaching all the clients that my dad already knew and we understood the feature set that they wanted. So we were very nimble and we just built what they wanted immediately and just jumped into the market, undercut everybody else and that’s kind of what got us going. And we chose the name MediaTrax cause we were naturally tracking their media for them and helping improve value to their customers.

James: That’s awesome. Yeah you took a business model and totally reinvented, innovated it and I like that you listened to the people that you were doing business with and you evolved and created your business towards their goals and what they needed. So that’s perfect. That’s so important to know and to listen to your customers especially for the entrepreneur to be able to do outpace and innovate over and above the existing solutions. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

So tell us about a day in the life at MediaTrax. What do you guys do from day-to-day? Is it a whole bunch of different things? Is it mostly agency-centered? Do you deal with small mom and pop or is it mostly larger clients?

Taylor: We really run the gambit. It’s funny we probably, I’m just guessing, 20-40 small agencies. And I lose track of who’s kind of with us nowadays from that side of the fence because they tend to come and go based on what their needs are. And we’re very much an a la carte type shop. We don’t believe in holding your feet to the fire, making you sign some big, long, crazy contract. So we do have a lot of agencies that maybe only sell two, three thousands dollars a month in search or sometimes agencies that only want three call tracking lines. And so I never really know who’s on board and still using us from a day-to-day perspective unless I’m looking at the invoicing at the beginning of each month.

But then we—it’s kind of crazy but I think that model works really well. But then we have huge, huge customers. We have Time Inc. and Conde’ Nast Digital and groups like that with big brand name customers like Andersen Windows and various universities. So it really does span from the small mom and pop advertiser on up to a really huge corporation that’s doing display advertising.

James: Awesome, now the reason I ask is the majority of my listeners are small mom and pop business consultants, entrepreneurs but you never know they could be an agency executive out there that’s looking for a solution. And we hope to bring this podcast and your message and my message to everybody out there. But it’s good to know that you don’t discriminate and I really like that idea of—too many companies make it very difficult for you to disconnect from them. They get every hook imaginable and they just pile it on and pile it on to make it difficult for them to disconnect. But you offering an a la carte services makes it really easy. Give people what they want, what they need, as much of it and when it’s served its purpose then you part friends instead of being aggravated I guess.

Taylor: Yeah it’s very much that new world mentality that I think Google kind of helped spark. Whereby you can just dip your toe in the water and if the service works for you then great, pay it. And it’s performance based and you pay for what you use you know? There was a great book I read years ago called What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. And I swear you could pretty much apply most of those concepts to just about any business nowadays and help yourself be successful.

James: What Would Google Do? We’ll definitely put that in the show notes and you’ll find the show notes at BigValueBigBusiness.com/episode31. Talking about books, What Would Google Do?, what are some of your most favorite authors inspiring—you know what’s on the bed stand today even or what really struck you back as you were coming up?

Taylor: Yeah I love probably more broader in spectrum type books like anything that Malcolm Gladwell has written. I think I’ve read all of those. Just love his approach to business and the greater world around us as well.

I do a little bit of reading on the drier side, there’s an author by the name of Nassim Taleb. He wrote The Black Swan and it deals with the concepts of—there’s always going to be a black swan. In other words, most swans are white, that’s what you expect. Maybe the better analogy is Thanksgiving. The turkey always thinks he’s happy and he’s well-fed and his life is great but there’s one day out of the year where it’s not so great to be a turkey. And Nassim Taleb uses that analogy for investing. Most people try to bet on who they believe the winners are going to be and they put tons of money on who they think the winner is or will become. Whereas if you kind of flip that table around and maybe put tons and tons of smaller bets out there and know that something is going to happen. And he used to talk, in the book The Black Swan, he talks about September 11. Nobody ever saw that coming but that completely changed our lives and the financial markets. So it’s a really interesting read. It opens your mind up to some different concepts.

James: So diversifying, maybe contrary to all your eggs in one basket kind of thing in everything?

Taylor: Yeah.

James: That’s very cool. Very interesting, I love Malcolm Gladwell. He’s kind of an enigma from The Tipping Point on back to—yeah he’s got a really interesting worldview. Awesome, awesome. I want to just go back a little bit, we were talking about my audience and I kind of was a little up front with you the size of audience. So talking about search, and you’ve obviously seen it in your ten years plus probably before that, kind of evolve in search. And myself, I’m thinking everything’s content driven. I kind of push folks to get quality content out there to get customers, to educate. How do you see search marketing evolving now—less and less direct response and more content from your side. Are you seeing a decline or are you seeing—is direct response as strong as ever? Or you seeing more a content marketing branding, getting to know us, getting to know our product suite, do you see that kind of coming into? I’m interested to know your perspective because you do have a lot of clients at scale so you do have a pretty macro view.

Taylor: Yeah absolutely it’s been a real rollercoaster with search marketing. We were present in the early days before Google really had a handle on it and the yellow page sector was truly the king of direct response and the newspapers. And they really dropped the ball as digital emerged and obviously we saw Google take over and really win that whole sector. I think what we’ve seen happen lately is that obviously it’s not as inexpensive as it used to be. In the good old days, you could pay 20 cents a click and they were legitimate leads and people were happy to do that all day long and those were obviously the early adopters.

And now we’ve even seen crazy click prices upwards of $100 for something very niche, legal, or an expensive product. So I think Google is going to definitely go through a bit of an evolution and I think they know that. I think that’s why they’ve been looking to diversify. I think it’s obvious when they invest in groups like HubSpot which is pretty much all about content. So we’re trying to figure out how that evolves from here. We have not really seen a decline in search marketing but we have seen prices go up. And anytime you see prices go up, obviously that spells a difference in the market and it’s going to be more and more difficult I think for the smaller guys to really play in that space and get a ton of leads.

Do I think they’re going to go away? No. No time soon. That’s like saying the yellow pages will go away. Everyone predicted that they would be gone and they’re still here and they’re still making billions of dollars a year. So I think we’ve got a long, long, long time to go but we’re definitely approaching some kind of a maturity phase I think and I just don’t know where exactly we are.

James: Yeah so you speak about Google’s interest in HubSpot and we all know that HubSpot is all about in-bound content marketing. And I’ve got this thing in the back of my head cause you know I’m on the forefront of a very diverse portfolio of businesses so I see the variation in click prices and it’s out of sight right now compared to what it was. But what do you think about these Outbrain versus Taboola, the content marketing platforms? I see Google, cause they’re smart, I see them kind of getting from their display network and meeting somewhere in the middle between the Outbrain and the current display network. I just see a good quality content distribution network with pretty low cost of entry that the small business owner could—I don’t know maybe I should start it. I don’t know I just described a perfect world but I’d like to see the small business owner still be able to play you know what I mean?

Taylor: Yeah and I think that it’s something that they have to do now. Content marketing has just become so important mainly because the search engines’ algorithms rely on all that content that’s being driven, the backlinks that are being created. So that’s obviously the new frontier. The difficult part is that it’s really hard to measure, it’s really difficult for the channel to sell because it’s pretty much just hiring bodies and that doesn’t scale well and it’s not super profitable for the channel.

So we’re definitely in a really weird quandary right now because you’re seeing a lot of agencies begin to weigght what they’re doing for people into the social and content marketing realms. And a little bit less, they’re pulling back from the paid advertising aspect. But I think right now it’s crucial to have a good balance between all of those.

James: Yeah absolutely and you put it succinctly in a way that I couldn’t. Totally. But I do see you, we are on a cusp of a kind of an evolution. So great I appreciate your insight on that.

How about Taylor and what gets him going? I mean you’re obviously an entrepreneur, you’re well read. Do you have any business resources, mastermind groups, guys you hang out with? Do you have a particular mentor? Reason I ask, a lot of the entrepreneurs, most of the entrepreneurs I talk to, have a mentor or a peer group or a mastermind group or something that they check in with for accountability, moving forward. I don’t know that could even be your dad for all I know. But what do you have going on?

Taylor: Yeah I definitely have several things. I belong to a group here in south Florida but it’s actually a global organization called EO or entrepreneurs organization. We have a south Florida chapter I think that’s about 250-300 entrepreneurs strong. And then the 300 or so of us are broken up into smaller groups called forums of about 7-8 guys. There are women involved as well they’re just kind of few and far between. But my forum will meet once a month and they almost act as kind of a board of directors for my company and I would likewise act as a board of directors for their company. And we just discuss general business you know the group that I’m in is quite diverse. There’s people in high-tech, there’s people in construction, there’s people in the law/legal industry. So it’s very diverse but it really helps to be able to talk to a fellow entrepreneur about things like meeting payroll or a legal issue you’re battling because a lot of my other just day-to-day friends just work for big companies and they have no concept of what some of those things are that I face.

Yeah so that’s a business group that I belong to and I get a lot out of that and we’re also very philanthropic. We do a lot of things in and around the community. As far as you know a mentor, I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a mentor. But you know what I do like to do is stay in very close contact with the VC community. And so I kind of like to just touch base with a bunch of different groups and see where their heads are. They tend to be pretty smart people, I don’t necessarily really like the way VC’s operate. We’re not VC backed, we do have funding but not from a traditional VC. But you know they can really tell the temperature of a sector. They have put together things that they like and dislike and I really enjoy understanding why they like something or they don’t like something. They also tend to be on the forefront of news. News travel fast, they tend to get it first. They know what deals are closing, what deals are going south. So that really helps to stay in close contact with them. Even if you aren’t getting money from them.

James: Those two resources in themselves are invaluable. I have guys that want to join a mastermind group and they just don’t know where to start. And you know some have high barrier to entry and they don’t know where to go and this sounds perfect. If it’s a nationwide or global organization, your entrepreneurs organization, I totally would recommend folks to go out there and check that out. The other, the VC community, I just kept thinking you know how you check in with them and I was trying to put together a sailing analogy in my head because I know you love to sail. And it was like the VC guys always know which way the wind is blowing you know what I mean?

Taylor: Always, always.

James: Yeah, that’s cool, that’s cool. Hey man this had been great. So as we wind it on down tell me what MediaTrax has going on, what you got in the pipe, anything that we don’t have to sign a non-disclosure agreement for. And just let us know what’s happening and how we can find you. URL, Twitter, Facebook, what’s going on?

Taylor: Yeah sure MediaTrax has got a little bit of a bizarre spelling to it. It’s M-E-D-I-A-T-R-A-X.com. We thought it was kitschy and interesting and relatively easy to type. So it was a good domain that actually took me years to purchase. I think there was a teenager that owned it and he was under the impression that he was going to make millions off of it. But over the years he realized that wasn’t the case and we eventually bought it from him. You know we don’t do a lot, we really should do more. We don’t do a lot of outbound blogging or tweeting. We do have a blog, we do post some relevant content usually once a month and I think I’m going to try and beef that up for the remaining part of this year and next year. But that’s the easiest way to find us, our URL really spells out what we do.

Some of the things that I think we’re probably going to be leaning towards is much more overall management of digital marketing. There are just so many aspects to digital marketing and I think what we’re trying to do, it sort of feels like hurting cats, where we’ve got just so many of these little solutions that you were mentioning when this first kicked off you know between tracking calls, tracking what’s happening on a website, getting ads up on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, creating landing pages.

There are just so many aspects and so what we’re trying to do next is wrangle all of that together into one nice suite that you can enter, order, manage, report on, bill for. And so we’re on the cusp of actually releasing a new product line that we refer to as DMM or the Digital Marketing Management system. And we’re just going into beta right now with Time Inc. on that system. So we’re really excited about it. It looks like it’s going to be tying us into other groups that we weren’t previously tied into like the real-time bidding organizations, the DSPs that exist. So we’re really looking forward to the launch of that. Should be next month.

James: So DMM, Digital Marketing Management system, it’s in beta I guess with your customer Time?

Taylor: Yes.

James: So I’m thinking from a consultant standpoint, even entrepreneur, someone that’s digitally savvy. If they wanted to approach local businesses with this product and be able to manage all the needs of a local business, would that be applicable? Could that work for him?

Taylor: It would be applicable for the channel. So if there is a small agency per se that is just having a tough time managing all the aspects of digital marketing. Anything from creating a proposal for the customer estimating what the customer would get out of a search campaign and handling assets. You know a constant outreach to the customer, “Hey we need that logo or your display ad because we’re going to begin running a campaign for you,” the back and forth that’s involved in checking that that asset is the proper size or if it’s some kind of an action oriented display campaign where they’re using a SWF type file. There’s so much that goes into the back and forth of digital marketing. So it’s more about helping the channel reign in all those loose ends. And to stop them from using things like Outlook and Excel to manage the day-to-day process.

James: So accommodation CRM, maybe CRM digital marketing suite?

Taylor: Yes that’s a very good way of putting it. We’ve been writing up you know the literature to describe it and we’re pretty close to having a landing page up for it. And we ourselves are struggling how to describe it but it very much is like an ERP system for digital marketing.

James: Awesome, I like that and I look forward to hearing more about it. So after a month or two in the beta we should have something good to report and hopefully I can throw it on my blog.

Taylor: Great, we will keep you up to date.

James: I have enjoyed this very much. I thank you so much for your time, I’d love to have you back to catch up. And that’s it, we’re going to wrap it up and again I appreciate it. Taylor Treese from MediaTrax.com. We’ll talk to you soon?

Taylor: Thank you for having me, this was great.

James: Awesome, awesome. Thank you sir, take care now.

Taylor: All right, take care.

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030: Kris Reid – Killer Content is King – ArdorMediaFactory.com

Kris-Reid
Kris is the Founder of ArdorMediaFactory.com
The premier content marketing company based in Davao City, in the Philippines; They offer businesses world wide …exceptional content marketing and search engine optimization services.

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Have a listen to my chat with Kris Reid.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!

Background
Kris Reid:
I am originally a country boy from a little town just south of Brisbane Australia. For university I moved to the big smoke and studied Software Engineer which was really one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s given me so much freedom and enabled me to do some pretty cool stuff.

Like, pretty much as soon as I finished my studies, I packed my bags and headed to London. When I arrived as a rather junior developer, I may or not have embellished a little on my CV and ended up with some pretty awesome contacts for some rather large financial institutes like Visa Europe.
After a bunch of years though, I was pretty sick of working for the man. I quit my job and went backpacking around the globe.

As a Software Engineer, I really do love building software. So during my travels I started mucking about building an online multiplayer game. And, as the game neared completion, I realised that I am going to have to promote it if anyone is going to play it. So I started learning about SEO.
I worked out that SEO is a decent way to make a quid so I that’s what I focused on and I used it to finance my vangabonding for about two years.

I went right through Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, North America and the Caribbean. Life was pretty nice. I eventually needed to setup an office. Most of my online staff were from the Philippines so I figured that would be the best place to go and here I am.

Bumps in the Road
Probably my biggest challenge was scalability. Though my business had grown and I had a handful of staff, I was still the corner stone of the business. Every day I wore so many different hats. I did marketing, customer service, product development, software development, team management the works. One thing I learnt is that you have to let go. You have to trust other people for your business to really grow. I first got a manager to handle our writing team. Now she does all the hiring, assigns all the jobs coming in and I have next to nothing to with it at all. I then did the same with our Content Marketing team which lead to an even better result.

It freed up so much of my time. I don’t waste energy on day to day tasks that my managers are more than capable of handling and I can focus on the really critical things like Customer Satisfaction and Product Development.

AHA Moment

Around this time last year we had pretty explosive growth. I think in June we had 4 fulltime staff in the office and around 3 times that working online. By December we had outgrown our office, moved to a much bigger location, had more than 20 fulltime staff in the office and countless more working online.

It felt bloody fantastic! I felt secure that I had solidly established my business.
I had built a great team and together we can do some really cool stuff.

A Day in the Life
I still work too many hours. My Wife is a really great support. She’s used to me coming home well after 7 most nights and heading back to the office at 7 again. My first goal is to get a better family / life balance. When you first start your business you have to work harder than everyone else to get started. Then once you’re started you have to work smarter than everyone else to really grow. I feel that’s the stage I am at, and I am trying to learn, experiment and be brave to reach that next level. And hopefully that’ll be fewer hours in the office and more hours on the beach with my family.

Providing Big Value

Being in the business of, basically promoting other businesses, it makes it rather easy, well at least in concept. The key really is to help customers measure their return on investment. If they can see that they spend $1 with us and get $10 back, they’ll spend money all day long. But helping measure that ROI is something that we have to get better at.

One Big Take Away
Be personal. Until you are a global brand name, you can’t act like a global brand. There is an old saying that people buy from people they know and trust. So get your face out there and let as many people as possible get to know you, trust you and hopefully buy from you

Productivity – Accountability
Everyone in our company has tasks and is accountable for them. They get the credit and reward when it goes great and they have to clean it up if it becomes a mess. I find that if you trust people and give them responsibility and complete ownership of their tasks they will generally flourish.

Understanding is key. Everyone on the team needs to understand what the company is aiming for short term and big picture. How we manage this is through daily stand up meetings. Every morning at 9am the whole office stands up in a circle for a super quick meeting. Everyone says what they did yesterday, what went well and any problems they had. Then what they will be doing today. It generally takes less than 5 minutes and every person on the team knows what everyone else is doing


Resources and Motivation

We are based in Davao in the southern Philippines. It certainly does not have the ex-pat community of Manila but it also doesn’t have the traffic & pollution either. So I don’t have that many people locally to throw ideas around with, but I have some great friends on similar paths and we skype regularly.

I’m always reading and trying to learn new skills. I’ve been going through a few of Seth Godin’s books at the moment. I especially loved his book Poke The Box. It’s a short book that you can easily read in a day. And the main theme of the book is to keep on trying new thing and experimenting. And don’t let the fear of failure or rejection hold you back. I liked it so much I got a copy for all of my staff.

What’s Happening and Where

Our service revolves around off-site promotion through Content Marketing and it generally gets amazing results. But if the client’s website has terrible on-page SEO, it’s like we’re fighting with our hands tied. I’ve been in the web promotion game for quite some time now and it astounds me just how many sites are out there with terrible on-page SEO that generally has some pretty simple solutions that people with even very limited technical knowledge can fix themselves.

So I have written a step by step, easy to follow, do-it-yourself guide to on-page SEO called the Ultimate SEO Cheat Sheet. It’s a 100% free and will significantly boost your rankings. And you download it now, directly from our website at
ArdorMediaFactory.com

Contact Kris

Twitter = @ArdorFactory
Biz = ArdorMediaFactory.com

Have a listen to my chat with Kris Reid:

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

Kris Reid
ArdorMediaFactory.com
Transcript

James: All right welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business podcast, I am your host James Lynch. I am really, big, big, big-time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Kris Reid. Kris is the founder of the ArdorMediaFactory, that’s ArdorMediaFactory.com, the premier content marketing company based in Davao City, Philippines offering businesses worldwide exceptional content marketing and search engine optimization services. It is my pleasure to welcome Kris to the Big Value, Big Business podcast today. Hello Kris! How are you today sir?

Kris: I’m fantastic, James. Thank you very much for having me.

James: The pleasure is mine sir and I thank you. ArdorMediaFactory, that is your new baby eh?

Kris: It sure is, we’re just launching as we speak.

James: That’s awesome. And I did a little research on Ardor, I knew that the term sounded familiar but a short definition would be passion, fervor, zeal, intensity, verve, fire, emotion! Does that represent the ArdorMediaFactory?

Kris: That’s actually what we’re trying to portray. It’s the sort of content that we try and put forward for our customers.

James: I love it, I love it. Hey well again I want to thank you for coming out and we’re really looking forward to having you share with us just how we can best use content marketing to our advantage and to promote our businesses online and develop at the same time favorable search engine rankings in the process. Does that sound like a plan?

Kris: Yeah, sure. Fire away!

James: All right, so let’s start with a little history about you and your company and just maybe get to know you a little bit like where you came from, a little bit about the journey that brought you here to where you are today.

Kris: Yeah well starting back at the beginning, I’m a country boy from a little town just south of Brisbane in Australia. I studied software engineering in Australia and pretty much as soon as I finished my studies, I moved to London and I might have embellished on my CV a little bit as a junior software developer. But it worked out pretty well, I got some nice contracts working for some rather large financial institutions like Visa Europe and Euroclear.

Ended up staying there for a bunch of years until the financial crisis hit and I kind of quit—got pushed out of my job and went back to the other side of the world. But, I’m a software engineer at heart and I do love building software and during my travels, I started macking around building an online game. And as the game came close to complete, I realized that I better work out how to promote it and get people to come and play it. So I started reading and learning a lot about SEO and then I figured out that SEO’s a pretty decent way to make some money. So I ended up focused on that and I actually used it to finance my travels for the next couple years as I vagabonded around the world.

But I eventually needed to set up an office to keep up with building my company and I really had a lot of online staff in the Philippines. So I figured yeah that’s the best place to go and here I am now.

James: Cool, yeah I was going to ask you, I see you’ve been all over Europe and Russia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, you’ve even come visit us over here in North America. But, I wondered why you chose the Philippines. Did you have a staff there to begin with?

Kris: Yeah I mean I really had two main staff working for me for two or three years. And so I really trusted their opinion and both of them said Davao is the best place to go. I’d never been to the Philippines before. And I came straight here with a young family and I saw it’s a nice town, it’s quiet, it’s safe, it’s got beautiful beaches, it’s got no pollution, decent schools. Me and my wife loved it straight away so I set up shop and it was only after I’d already got a house here that I realized that they weren’t actually in Davao.

James: Who? Your staff?

Kris: My two online staff, they were my managers. They lived up north further but yeah now they work at my office.

James: That’s funny, “Don’t live here, live over there.” NO that’s cool, that’s a great story. Awesome. So listen so it’s been a twisty windy road for you and obviously you feel like you’ve landed with your new company. And so along the way—you’re getting off the ground now—but you know as an entrepreneur and just coming up, how about any of the biggest challenges or maybe one of the biggest challenges that you’ve had coming up that you’ve had to face and overcome?

Kris: I mean it certainly has not been an easy ride. It’s been a whole lot of work and ups and downs and you’ve think you’ve gone great and you know something else comes and clobbers you. So it’s hard to stay on top of everything. The one thing that I really have learnt is that you need to trust in your people. You know like you can’t do everything, you need to hire good staff, you need to train them, you need to invest in them and you need to give them ownership. So you know they need to control the projects they’re working on and be their own boss really. You can’t do every job in your company so you need to trust in your team.

James: Yeah that’s very well said. That’s true and I find some of the most successful entrepreneurs that I speak to, do know when to delegate. And there is a rule, when you want to move things forward I mean 80% of time has got to be creating and promoting your business where the other 20% is administration and the back end stuff that we can easily, if we organize, we can easily find and delegate and find the right people to do it, and to quote you, and to trust them to do it. That’s very, very important. Awesome, awesome. I love it.

Kris: I mean there’s a saying that I’ve heard to work on your business or to work in your business and you know it’s hard to know the balance.

James: No that’s cool. So you’ve had your struggles and you’ve kind of learned to trust your staff and to delegate when you’ve needed to so tell me when you kind of figured out you were on the right path with Ardor and just moving forward. And what was your a-ha moment say, “Yeah I’m doing this thing and things are moving in the right direction.”

Kris: Well it’s kind of funny cause about this time last year, about June, things were kind of getting pretty rocky and I was feeling pretty unsure about how things were. And then we just have explosive growth. Like in June, I think we had four staff in the office and around three times that working online. But by December, we’d outgrown that office, moved to bigger location, had more than 20 staff in the office and I can’t even tell you how many online cause I have managers that deal with that. It was a really great end to last year and yeah it’s felt fantastic.

James: So you’re able to sit back and say, “Yup, I’m going in the right direction and things are finally on track.”

Kris: Yeah well you can really feel secure that it’s not going anywhere. I’ve got a young family that I have to provide for and people count on me. It’s nice to know that you can pay them at the end of the month.

James: That’s cool, cool. Yeah, so tell me about a day in the life at the ArdorMediaFactory. What do you guys do like putting it all together from acquiring a customer to nurturing them through their needs and designing their content, flow, and how it ties into the SEO. Just run us through a day in life.

Kris: Well I mean it can be very different depending on the customer you get. We had a brand new customer join today and he was a referral from another customer. I gave him a call, he’s a tradesman in Sydney, Australia and he already knew quite a lot about SEO and backlinks. He’d already worked with some other companies and he wasn’t happy with the results. So I signed him up, he knew how to do everything himself. He knew what keywords he wanted to target so in the system it went and you know job done.

Other people, they don’t know where their website ranks, they don’t know what their customers are really searching for to get them. I mean I don’t know really why they have a website to start with. But every business solves a problem so we try and work out what the problem is they’re searching for and how we can put their website in front of their customers. And so they’re the customers we have to nurture a lot more and I mean it’s part of the job, I quite like the customer direction.

James: Yeah so it goes from one end to the other. You have someone, like the first, that would know where he’s going, knows the keywords he wants to go for, and has a straight line to where his business goals are. And then you have the others where you have to kind of nurture and consult and kind of point them in the right direction. So that’s cool.

Kris: Yeah certainly you know cause it’s their business. Sometimes they’ll even ask me which keyword’s better and at the end of the day, I don’t know I don’t sell their product. You might have one keyword that has a thousand people searching it but you might have one keyword that has 10 people but they’re the people that will buy your product. Each business is different you know and so you really need to know your customers and what they’re searching for to find your best products and your best sellers.

James: Absolutely and let’s just take that concept for a minute and just expand that a little bit caused I’d like to ask with the entrepreneurs and especially the professionals like you—like you’re in the content marketing world. So a lot of my listeners they’re consultants, they’re small business owners, kind of help us out to maybe step back, take a look at our business and see how we can better serve our content needs and our search engine optimization. If you were to tell our listeners like one tip or trick or best practice, what would that be?

Kris: Well one thing that I recommend is that people add to their website constantly. I mean you don’t have to be doing it daily but at least once a month. Make a little blog post about what your company’s been up to. If you’ve got any new products or services, write something interesting about your theme. Keep it fresh, keep your website dynamic you know? Not every business—okay if you’re a concrete cleaner you might not be that interesting, people don’t want to follow you on Facebook. But you can still update—what’s the latest jobs you’ve been working on? Show more examples of you know here’s the last job we did and here’s a testimonial by that customer. Build your website and build your brand and let people know you.

James: Yeah and how does that benefit us as far as I mean goes Google see, or the search engines in general, do they see that dynamic content creation? Do they see that as positive and favor you in the rankings?

Kris: Yeah they certainly see the websites that are dynamic that are added to—well they get looked at more often. Google has a spider that scurries around the Internet and reads every page. It goes to websites that update themselves more often. If it goes to your website and you haven’t changed since the last time it was here, it won’t come back for a lot longer because it thinks that nothing’s going to change again. So yeah it does help your rankings in the search engine but adding content is also good for your customers too. Like you know if there’s a reason for me to come back to your website and I can see something new, I can learn something about you. And essentially it builds out your website and makes it bigger. I mean if you’re a new company you’re only going to have a few pages of a little bit of content. But if you just add one page every month you know what’s the latest job you’ve been working on. Eventually you’ll have a big website with heaps of content and people can really know about your business.

James: Yeah it’s kind of like building your platform out and growing and giving them eventually something to look at and spend time on.

Kris: For sure.

James: Yeah cool, cool. So let’s talk about Kris Reid for a minute. You mentioned you have a small family. I’d like to get into the heads of a lot of the entrepreneurs I speak to and kind of find out what makes them tick and how they came upon realizing they had the entrepreneurial spirit and what drives you, what keeps you going, any productivity or any kind of hacks that you have that keep you moving in the right direction. So what drives you as a businessman, Kris?

Kris: Oh that’s a tough question, essentially I want to provide the best life I can for my family but that’s not really it. I’m a software engineer, I love building software and a big part of what we do is software. We have software managing all of our content and with building more and more to try and measure our results. You know I like the ownership of having my own business, having a freedom to do what I want to do. Like I got a small software team now, we’ll have meetings of just ideas and whatnot and you know I get to pick which direction the company goes cause it’s my company and that’s a great feeling. You know they’re smart guys so I like to take into consideration what they have to say but I like to sort of do what I want to do. It’s fun and I work a bunch of hours a week you know, sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night because I’d rather be jumping up and working. I work too much on the weekends, I really need to spend time with my family.

James: Yeah, that’s a good and a bad problem. It keeps us moving as entrepreneurs and keeps us growing our business but if your wife’s anything like mine she’s probably wondering why I’m up at five in the morning right now instead of in bed. But she doesn’t understand that I’m talking to somebody 12 hours away in a different time zone! Yeah we do jump out of bed especially when we have that big idea so yeah that’s awesome. That’s awesome. It’s good to hear that you’re growing not only a content marketing team but you’re also have a good little software team growing there which is kind of where you got your start. So you’re staying with your roots and expanding on that.

Kris: Yeah for sure and you know that’s what I’m good at. All of the marketing and promotional stuff like I’m learning that and it’s fun too but I’m a software engineer and I creep back into my little dark cave every now and then and really that’s what I enjoy doing the most.

James: Yeah totally understood, totally understood. So listen so tell us what you have going on with the company. This is basically where I would ask you to promote your business, what you do, what you can do for our folks, where they can find you be it your website and the social media platforms, the easiest way to get in touch with you. What do you got going on?

Kris: Yeah well at the moment, as you mentioned before, we’re launching [15:13] and one of the cornerstones we’ve put out there is a free [15:18] SEO called the ultimate SEO cheat sheet. We deal with so many different websites and sometimes it astounds me just how terrible their on-page SEO is. It’s generally really simple things that people don’t even have that much technological knowledge can fix themselves. So we’ve got a complete, free, ultimate SEO cheat sheet available at our website which is ArdorMediaFactory.com. Just go to the website, you’ll see at the top just click on the button and download it now.

James: Cool, cool. Yeah I see that, I’m heading over there myself because I need a little bit of SEO love on Big ValueBig Business.com. Awesome, awesome. So any other parting shots you have for us? I’d like to just kind of get maybe any inspirations you have or what’s on the bookshelf or do you belong to any mastermind groups? Where do you get your online marketing info, your motivation business, and motivation know-how?

Kris: Unfortunately, being in Davao it’s pretty isolated. There’s not too many expats down here so I don’t really get too many masterminds or anything like that. But I certainly read a lot. You know I’m reading Seth Godin at the moment, he’s a fabulous man, giant brain. I’ve really loved his last book, Poke the Box, it’s essentially about trying new things, poking the box, seeing what’s going to happen. Don’t be afraid of failure or rejection you know it’s poking that box and seeing what it’s going to do that teaches you. So even if it doesn’t get you a great result, just don’t stop. And one thing he recommends in the book is you should pass it around so I ended up buying a couple of copies for every one of my staff. I really highly recommend reading it.

James: Yeah I love Seth Godin, I actually subscribe to his blog. He’s one of the guys that’s in my inbox every morning right about 6:30 in the morning. Yeah he’s totally awesome.

Kris: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Giant brain.

James: Yeah, all right good stuff. Well listen I appreciate you coming on today. I know it’s evening over there, it’s early morning here but we managed to get this thing together. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you and one more time give us that website URL and maybe Twitter or Facebook handle that we can find you.

Kris: It’s Ardor—A-R-D-O-R—ArdorMediaFactory.com and the same for our Facebook.

James: Awesome, awesome. Well listen Kris you have yourself a great rest of the day and I look forward to talking to you maybe checking in and seeing how the business is going in short time. So you take care and we’ll talk to you again?

Kris: Thanks very much James, talk to you soon.

James: You’re welcome sir. Bye-bye now.

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029: Alex Smale – Emotion Over Promotion – TribeMix.com

Alex Smale
Alex is a social media and technology consultant, specializing in strategy, development and content marketing.

He is the managing director at TribeMix.com: a creative social media and content marketing agency; developing and delivering cutting edge marketing strategies for a wide range of clients across multiple sectors.

At the time of this podcast Alex was #19 in the
Top 500 Social Media Agencies in the UK today.

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Have a listen to my chat with Alex Smale.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!

Riches to Rags
Well there’s definitely been some bumps and bruises. My life has been very diverse and sometimes quite strange. And when we very young, my family was quite wealthy and my dad ran a big car company in London that used to repair the cars of the rich and the famous. But then unfortunately he went bankrupt, the business was closed down and we went from being quite well off to actually being homeless living in a squat in Plymouth and in Devon.

We went very much from riches to rags. But you know we built ourselves back up and yeah so eventually my first career was in computer game development.

I was a 3-D artist developing computer games for Playstations and Sega Saturns and Xboxes and things like that. And I did that for about 10 years working with Sega, Sony, Codemasters, BMG, a variety of companies all around the UK and also spent a little while living in France working for a French company over there. Yeah so that was really where my career started in technology. I learned a lot about marketing and PR in that time as well.

Bumps and Bruises
But with all good things, you eventually become in need of looking to do something different, something new. So I always wanted to be a pub manager so I moved back to the UK to run a big pub, which is definitely a bit career change—very different. And definitely a lot of bumps and bruises then I can tell you.

But then I spent about five years doing that before eventually starting my own photography business. I’ve been a photographer for a long time as a hobby and I decided that that was the right time for me to actually begin a company doing it. And that was when

Early Adopter of Social Media
I began my journey with social media marketing. So that was back in 2007 and without any real marketing budget, social media straight away provided a great opportunity for me to market my company. I already had content as a photographer so as an image-based platform, Facebook was a great way to start.

I’ve been doing social media marketing ever since then. And during that time I’ve worked quite a lot in the leisure industry working at zoos and attractions, which has been a really kind of fun journey. Had some great fun with lots of different places and you know doing some cool things with animals and things.

Taking the Chair
I was chairman of the marketing committee for Biaza, which is the national zoo organization and which was quite a prestigious role. I was very flattered to be able to be chosen for that.

TribeMix.com is Born
I’ve just started my own agency, TribeMix, I kind of got to the point where a lot of people were asking me with help for their social media and I realized that now might be the right time to go it alone and start my own agency

With TribeMix we’ve not been going long and our first clients are in the leisure industry. We’re doing some really exciting stuff with them. It’s an industry I know very well having worked in the zoo industry for a long time. So it’s great for us because we immediately understand their business and we immediately understand their customers as well.

I know for a fact that it’s really good fun and that’s kind of a guiding line for TribeMix, and this comes from my girlfriend, Jo, you know she’s very strict with me. If it’s not a client we’re going to enjoy working with and have fun and it’s going to make our lives fun then I’m just not allowed to work with them.

It’s got to be interesting and we’ve got to have the right fit. And that makes the whole process that much better because when you’re really enthusiastic about a brand, that really shines through and companies really appreciate that and you know it makes for a great working relationship.

Emotion Rather Than Promotion
The emotion not promotion thing comes because I absolutely hate adverts and advertising and I just think it’s the scourge of society. I think it’s so meaningless. I know why it’s there, I know that company’s need to get themselves out there and they have to kind of put themselves in front of people’s eyes. But I think it’s just such a bad way of doing that.

I think there’s a much better way by actually being valuable and interesting to your customers and them coming to you. I mean this is a classic thought, the in-bound marketing thing, but done to almost like the next level. Almost to a point forgetting about your own brand and just entertaining and offering value to people and then people will really come and bond with your company.

Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is very kind of early in its development even though it’s been around for many years. I remember first learning about it on a science TV show here in the UK called Tomorrow’s World back in the 80s. And it’s just really not going anywhere—I think it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up and now it really is starting to catch up.

There’s kind of three I guess main areas of augmented reality. You’ve got marker-based and GPS-based and within the marker based you’ve got 2-D and 3-D augmented realities.

GPS-based stuff there’s been an app around called “About Me” for quite a few years now where you basically look around your phone and you can see restaurants nearby and that kind of stuff like basically GPS map data. And then you’ve got marker-based augmented reality where you have a fixed image in space, which might be a magazine cover or could be a sign post or anything like that, and then you can scan that marker with an app like “Augment” for example or “Blippar” and that image then becomes the reference point in 3-D space.

If you go onto my blog on AlexSmale.com, there’s a blog post about the dinosaur trail that we did at Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK. And all the instructions there—you can download the “Augment” app and there’s a couple of markers you can scan. The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton’s quite a good example and that will just give you a flavor for what it’s about. Those models aren’t animated but you can animate them as well. And once you’ve got the “Augment” app there’s a load of library models on there that you can try, which are really good so yeah give it a go.

Starting the Day Learning
I think getting up early in the morning is a great way to start the day. I start the day by learning and like everyone else, it takes a little while for my brain to start going so I quite often start the day with learning. So I quite often spent the first hour of the day reading.

There’s so much to learn in this industry, it’s in its infancy so I’m always mindful that my knowledge is miniscule compared to what it could be so yeah learning is a big part of that for me. And yeah I think it’s about having a strong belief that you’re going to make a big difference to the clients you work with.

The thing that really motivates me and keeps me going everyday is hearing back from my clients—just even the little things, the little tips that I’ve given them that’s made such a huge difference to their leads and how much reach they’ve got with their posts and what differences made to their business and how they can’t wait to do more and more of it.

Networking & Learning

Well there’s so many. I think now rather than any one blog or one person, these days we’ve things like Google+ communities, Twitter lists, and you know groups. And there’s just so many different areas around now where you can tailor the kind of content you get rather than coming from particular sources.

On the Bookshelf:

Groundswell, Expanded and Revised Edition:
Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Becoming THE Expert:
Enhancing Your Business Reputation through Thought Leadership Marketing
by John W. Hayes

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff:

Simple Ways To Keep The Little Things From Taking Over Your Life
by Richard Carlson

Utility
by Jay Baer

Epic Content Marketing
by Joe Pulizzi

Contact Alex

Twitter = @Alex_Smale
Biz = TribeMix.com
Personal = AlexSmale.com

Have a listen to my chat with Alex Smale.

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

Alex Smale
Tribemix.com

Transcript

James: All right welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business podcast. I am your host James Lynch. I am really big, big, big, big-time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Alex Smale. Alex comes to us from TribeMix.com, he’s a social media and technology consultant. He specializes in strategy development and content marketing. He is also the managing director over at TribeMix.com, which is a creative social media and content marketing agency developing and delivering strategies for a wide range of clients across multiple sectors. It’s my pleasure to welcome Alex to the Big Value, Big Business podcast today.
Hello Alex over in Great Britain, how are you today sir?

Alex: Hello James! I’m good thank you, thank you very much for having me on.

James: Awesome, awesome pleasure is all mine sir. You know I want to thank you for coming on and I’m really looking forward to having you share some of your in-depth knowledge and expertise in the area of quality communication in social media and content marketing. Does that sound like a plan?

Alex: That sounds like a great plan as long as you enjoy what I say and I hopefully the listeners will get something out of it.

James: I certainly hope so and know they will. Hey listen I think congratulations are in order, I was browsing about the Twitter-sphere and I see you have entered into position number 19 of the top 500 social media agencies in the UK. Congratulations.

Alex: Thanks very much. Yeah it’s really great to see that ascent that high in the chart. It’s certainly very competitive so out of 500 to be #19 on our entry to the chart is really encouraging so yeah thank you.

James: That’s awesome, that’s awesome again congrats it’s good to see. Yeah so listen I’d like to start out with most of my guests—just start out with a little bit of history. Where you came from you know, what kind of led you to where you are today to starting your agency and maybe any little bumps and bruises and challenges that you had along the way. So tell us what brought you to this point in time, Alex.

Alex: Well there’s definitely been some bumps and bruises. My life has been very diverse and sometimes quite strange. And when we very young, my family was quite wealthy and my dad ran a big car company in London that used to repair the cars of the rich and the famous. But then unfortunately he went bankrupt, the business was closed down and we went from being quite well off to actually being homeless living in a squat in Plymouth and in Devon. So yeah we went very much from riches to rags. But you know we built ourselves back up and yeah so eventually my first career was in computer game development. So I was a 3-D artist developing computer games for Playstations and Sega Saturns and Xboxes and things like that. And I did that for about 10 years working with Sega, Sony, Codemasters, BMG, a variety of companies all around the UK and also spent a little while living in France working for a French company over there. Yeah so that was really where my career started in technology. I learned a lot about marketing and PR in that time as well.

But with all good things, you eventually become in need of looking to do something different, something new. So I always wanted to be a pub manager so I moved back to the UK to run a big pub, which is definitely a bit career change—very different. And definitely a lot of bumps and bruises then I can tell you. But then yeah I spent about five years doing that before eventually starting my own photography business. I’ve been a photographer for a long time as a hobby and I decided that that was the right time for me to actually begin a company doing it. And that was when I began my journey with social media marketing. So that was back in 2007 and without any real marketing budget, social media straight away provided a great opportunity for me to market my company. I already had content as a photographer so as an image-based platform, Facebook was a great way to start.

So yeah I’ve been doing social media marketing ever since then. And during that time I’ve worked quite a lot in the leisure industry working at zoos and attractions, which has been a really kind of fun journey. Had some great fun with lots of different places and you know doing some cool things with animals and things. And also yeah I was the chairman of the marketing committee for Biaza, which is the national zoo organization and which was quite a prestigious role. I was very flattered to be able to be chosen for that. And yeah and now I’ve just started my own agency, TribeMix, I kind of got to the point where a lot of people were asking me with help for their social media and I realized that now might be the right time to go it alone and start my own agency. So yeah it’s going great so far. So that’s a bit of background, hope that was interesting.

James: Absolutely and quite colorful and your resume kind of looks a little bit like mine in the pub industry and there and around. And also this is—I don’t know if it’s funny but it’s kind of a coincidence—quite a few people that I’ve talked to, business owners, entrepreneurs, social media folk, they have had their start or still are involved in photography. It seems to be a natural segue once you start promoting yourself in the photography world—and you were doing it in 2007—the things you learn and folks automatically seem to gravitate towards you to have you help them with their efforts. That’s pretty cool.

Alex: Yeah photography’s been by far the most useful tool throughout my working life. It has so many useful applications everywhere and anywhere especially obviously with social media. It means that as an agency being able to go and create photographic content for a company without having to bring in external resources and rely on other people to kind of understand what we’re trying to achieve. Yeah and it’s you know, creative so I think having creative people in this industry is obviously going to come from sources such as photography or artists or writers and things like that. So yeah that works. I can see why that would be the case.

James: Yeah it’s just ironic. I talked to Oli Gardner, he’s from Unbounce.com, and he photographs large wildlife and just a couple other people, Own Your Hill, Bethany Gillberg—actually a young lady from South Africa too, Mimika Cooney. All photographers! You’re in good company my friend.

Alex: Yeah I’ll have to get their contacts and stuff.

James: Yeah sure absolutely! Absolutely.

Alex: Reach out to them.

James: Yeah, yeah. So tell me about your present day—your agency—really the first thing that spoke to me when I first ran into you was your message with emotion rather than promotion. And I love that it speaks right to the Big Value, Big Business concept. You know what I’m trying to bring out there is quality in our communication in the marketplace. So tell me about maybe a daily in the life of your agency with clients and how you show them how to communicate to humans rather than just pushing the message out there.

Alex: Sure, I mean the emotion not promotion thing comes because I absolutely hate adverts and advertising and I just think it’s the scourge of society. I think it’s so meaningless. I know why it’s there, I know that company’s need to get themselves out there and they have to kind of put themselves in front of people’s eyes. But I think it’s just such a bad way of doing that. I think there’s a much better way by actually being valuable and interesting to your customers and them coming to you. I mean this is a classic thought, the in-bound marketing thing, but done to almost like the next level. Almost to a point forgetting about your own brand and just entertaining and offering value to people and then people will really come and bond with your company.

There’s been some great examples of it recently. GoPro for example, they don’t really market per se they just put out great content and interesting content that their own people have created. And look at them, their IPO went really well and a week later they were up 60%. This stuff really does work because we’re so bombarded with content these days. Advertising is just another almost bad form of content when there’s much more interesting and entertaining content out there. That’s the sort of stuff we can engage with. So yeah I think as long as companies are kind of putting their customers first and giving them value then I think will succeed far beyond those companies that are still just advertising to their client base.

So yeah with TribeMix we’ve not been going long and our first clients are in the leisure industry. We’re doing some really exciting stuff with them. It’s an industry I know very well having worked in the zoo industry for a long time. So it’s great for us because we immediately understand their business and we immediately understand their customers as well. So I know for a fact that it’s really good fun and that’s kind of a guiding line for TribeMix, and this comes from my girlfriend, Jo, you know she’s very strict with me. If it’s not a client we’re going to enjoy working with and have fun and it’s going to make our lives fun then I’m just not allowed to work with them. It’s got to be interesting and we’ve got to have the right fit. And that makes the whole process that much better because when you’re really enthusiastic about a brand, that really shines through and companies really appreciate that and you know it makes for a great working relationship.

So yeah at the moment we’ve been pretty busy straight away. I haven’t even had a chance to fully finish our own website or anything like that cause we’ve been straight into helping clients which is great. And yeah it’s just been an interesting journey and people are coming to us from all different sectors and asking us to help them with their social media and their content marketing and also augmented reality which is probably the most exciting part of all I think.

James: Tell us a little bit about the offline kind of augmented reality and how you can wrap that up into—I saw some of these adverts for the images of dinosaurs and how you kind of use augmented reality to make some very interesting images and just tell us a little bit more about that and how it applies. You know where you learned about it and how you use it and the future of using that in advertising and marketing.

Alex: So augmented reality is very kind of early in its development even though it’s been around for many years. I remember first learning about it on a science TV show here in the UK called Tomorrow’s World back in the 80s. And it’s just really not going anywhere—I think it’s just been waiting for the technology to catch up and now it really is starting to catch up. Everyone’s got a powerful enough device in their hands and the next generation of those wearable devices—well not Google Glass Mach I but potentially Google Glass Mach II and beyond will mean that augmented reality will go into an explosion in everyone’s lives. And all of a sudden it’ll be everywhere but at the moment it’s not really anywhere. So yeah it’s an exciting time and it fits perfectly with what we do because of our—you know my personal heritage with computer game development, 3-D graphics, and those kinds of things. And so it’s one of those areas where because of that I’ve always had my eye on waiting for the time when that kind of industry was starting to mature. And we’re quite early in it still but really in the next two or three years it’s going to be a big part of everyone’s lives.

So we’re starting early with that and we’re starting to put augmented reality into leisure attractions as part of the visual experience. Which is proving successful, people are finding it interesting and you know having a lot of fun with it. And we’re constantly looking at new ways of developing that. I can’t quite tell you what areas and what things we’re doing with it at the moment because our clients are quite keen to keep it a secret because it’ll ruin the surprise which is tricky but—

James: Okay.. for our listeners, just explain—say I have a lot of entrepreneurs, more consultant creators, advertisers, small business folk, how would they use augmented reality to maybe enhance their advertisement? Like what platform are they using? Would it be a social media platform? Is it strictly applicable to images? How do you think that would tie in without violating any non-disclosure agreement you have? How could that apply—how could we apply to modern day marketing?

Alex: Oh no this area’s fine I mean the technologies and how it works and those kinds of things I can talk about quite a bit. So there’s kind of three I guess main areas of augmented reality. You’ve got marker-based and GPS-based and within the marker based you’ve got 2-D and 3-D augmented realities.

So GPS-based stuff there’s been an app around called “About Me” for quite a few years now where you basically look around your phone and you can see restaurants nearby and that kind of stuff like basically GPS map data. And then you’ve got marker-based augmented reality where you have a fixed image in space, which might be a magazine cover or could be a sign post or anything like that, and then you can scan that marker with an app like “Augment” for example or “Blippar” and that image then becomes the reference point in 3-D space.

So it would be the app knows the angle of that image and therefore as you move around the image, it can calculate the different angle and so it’ll give the illusion that an image is actually there fixed in space that isn’t actually there. And then you’re just limited by your imagination so you can either have 2-D videos or images that float in 3-D space. We’re seeing a lot of that in supermarkets and things like that where people can hold up a DVD case and watch a trailer of a movie, that kind of stuff. Or with the 3-D content, you can animate it, you can make it fun, scary, interactive to a point at least. You can stand next to it, have your photo taken with it, share it onto social media channels. It’s really just limited by your imagination beyond there but it’s really exciting and you can basically overlay a layer of entertainment in a space with limited space and very small budget instead of having to build something big in the real world.

James: Neat, neat. So if we were to—do you have a specific place we could go to get a start (to learn about) what is augmented reality, would that bring us to where we need to be?

Alex: Sure I mean if you go onto my blog on AlexSmale.com, there’s a blog post about the dinosaur trail that we did at Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK. And all the instructions there—you can download the “Augment” app and there’s a couple of markers you can scan. The Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton’s quite a good example and that will just give you a flavor for what it’s about. Those models aren’t animated but you can animate them as well. And once you’ve got the “Augment” app there’s a load of library models on there that you can try, which are really good so yeah give it a go.

James: Yeah and I’ll put this information in the show notes after we wrap it, it’ll show up with the podcast and that will be at BigValueBigBusiness.com/episode29. For anyone that’s listening and wants to check that out, it’s really cool. We could do a whole episode. We could talk an hour or so on augmented reality, that’s awesome. But I wanted to go back to something you said and I love that and tell your girlfriend she’s right on. I’m a big proponent of you’ve got to like who you’re working with man. You know there’s something to be said, if you can get to a point where you can pick your clients and you like each other and it’s so much easier to work with and I also see—you become for the leisure industry and for the zoology industry, you become almost an evangelist for their brand, for their websites, for their properties. You know and a brand ambassador—you’re still an agency or you’re still a consultant for them but you become a part of their family and I think that’s so intricate. And that kind of ties to the emotion versus promotion because you have emotions vested in your presentation of the product.

Alex: Absolutely and especially in the leisure industry. They’re very passionate people in zoos—I mean these industries especially the zoo industry, it’s not an area to get rich at all. These guys are doing it purely for the love of doing it. And if you’re not in tune with that passion then you’re never going to resonate with that audience so yeah. It’s absolutely imperative for me that I enjoy everyday that we work you know? Life is too short not to I think.

James: That’s awesome and kudos to you for carving that niche out for yourself and doing what you love and being passionate about it. That’s awesome. So on that note of a personal note—not to get too personal—but I’d like to delve into folks like yourself, it takes a lot of be an entrepreneur and agency owner to start up. It takes a lot of discipline, a lot of internal knowledge and you really have to have your stuff together. Tell me about maybe any particular mindset, rituals, productivity, accountability, sounds like your girlfriend is a partner in the agency so there could be accountability there where you guys kind of play off each other. But as far as growing the business and keeping it moving forward, accountability, productivity, how do you keep all that together?

Alex: Well I think getting up early in the morning is a great way to start the day. I start the day by learning and like everyone else, it takes a little while for my brain to start going so I quite often start the day with learning. So I quite often spent the first hour of the day reading. There’s so much to learn in this industry, it’s in its infancy so I’m always mindful that my knowledge is miniscule compared to what it could be so yeah learning is a big part of that for me. And yeah I think it’s about having a strong belief that you’re going to make a big difference to the clients you work with. The thing that really motivates me and keeps me going everyday is hearing back from my clients—just even the little things, the little tips that I’ve given them that’s made such a huge difference to their leads and how much reach they’ve got with their posts and what differences made to their business and how they can’t wait to do more and more of it.

Sometimes it’s more fun rather than providing the whole service for a client but actually just perhaps having a one-day session with them and just going through some things they can try themselves and watching them go through a similar journey to me. They’re learning and developing themselves and going on to do it on their own. I think that’s really exciting. So yeah that’s the real kind of motivation for me.

James: Feeding off the positive feedback you get from showing folks how to get results.

Alex: Absolutely yeah.

James: Love that, love that. That’s fantastic. Yeah I totally agree. How about a business resource—a lot of folks I speak to tend to gravitate towards a mentor or two or belong to a mastermind. You sound like you kind of do your own research in the morning. I mean experts are expert students because we’re always learning. But do you have a mastermind or any particular blog that you look at regularly that you kind of rely on to keep you up to date to keep you on your toes?

Alex: Well there’s so many. I think now rather than any one blog or one person, these days we’ve things like Google+ communities, Twitter lists, and you know groups. And there’s just so many different areas around now where you can tailor the kind of content you get rather than coming from particular sources. You know that’s kind of where I feed off and I just have quite a few of those and that actually forms a big part of my day is actually going through a lot of that stuff, curating the best stuff, putting that back out for my own following thereby creating a funnel of my own for people to come and check out the really good content. And also books as well, there’s some fantastic books, which really still go to much greater depth than any articles or videos or anything like that. So particular ones for me, Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, Utility by Jay Baer, Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi.

James: I love Joe! I’ve had Joe, he’s one of my first guests he’s a great guy.

Alex: Yeah I saw that on your website. So it’s real honor to kind of share the stage with Joe there.

James: Yeah he’s a great guy. Godfather of content marketing. Yeah I have all of those books my friend! That’s awesome. Tell me more, tell me more.

Alex: Okay so there’s another really good one, which is written by a guy called John Hayes, written here in the UK, Becoming THE Expert. And this book I actually buy for quite a few people, I just bought it for my dad this week. And it’s basically all about getting people to start blogging, why they should and just about becoming a thought leader in your field and how important that is to do. So yeah Becoming THE Expert by John Hayes, that’s an excellent one. And another one, this is my favorite book of all time and it’s not a particularly social media book or anything like that at all. But again a book—I must have bought this book 40 times for various people I’ve met—and it’s called, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. And it’s just one of those books that everyone should read because it totally keeps your life in perspective and stops you literally worrying about the small stuff. And it’s definitely helped me to enjoy my life and become much more relaxed about everything I do and yeah I think I’ve become more successful because of it.

James: Awesome. Great books, all classics. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff I put that—that’s right up there with the Chicken Soup’s and the Seven Habits and Think and Grow Rich that’s definitely one. ?? another I always great minds ?? That’s awesome, awesome, awesome.

So listen as we wrap, just let us know what you have going on, where we can find you, if you have any particular promotions. This is a time for you to tell our listeners what projects you’re working and where we can find you.

Alex: Well we’re working on a range of projects from various clients with their social media, augmented reality, and content marketing. Largely in the leisure industry and also in industries that would really surprise you and you’ll hear about those as they come to fruition. Please forgive my secrecy it’s important to me that we protect our client’s integrity. But yeah so follow us and follow me, Alex_Smale, on Twitter or @TribeMix as well. And check out our website at TribeMix.com and yeah join our tribe. Just be a part of what we do.

James: Appreciate for being so generous with your time and we’ll catch up with you again very soon. Looking forward to some of these really hush, hush projects you’ve piqued our interest so we’re going to have to circle back with you and find out what you’ve got going on.

Alex: Yeah of course, I’d love to.

James: All right Alex, thank you so much and you take care okay?

Alex: No thanks very much James. I really appreciate you having us on, thank you.

James: Thank you, take care. Bye-bye.

Alex: Take care.

James: Bye.

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028: Kent Julian – Show Up and Shine – LiveItForward.com

Kent-Julian
Kent is a family man, an author, an entrepreneur and the Founder and President of…LiveItForward.com
A personal and professional development company devoted to equipping people to show up and shine in their life and in their career.

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Have a listen to my chat with Kent Julian.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
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Podcast Highlights:

High Energy
That is one of the fringe benefits of working with students for as long as I have.
I do a lot with adults as well but I just can’t let go of that student-market especially for the high-level, high-achieving students and they really do keep you young. In fact, not only the students but some of the other people in that industry, some of the other speakers, most of them are easily 10, 15 years younger than me. And so you got to stay up with them, so I work hard.

Humble Beginnings
I started out as a Youth pastor. I was at a very, very small church, very humble beginnings. If you just look at it as far as a career, I was pretty successful and real quickly went from a small church to one of the largest churches in the US at the time. And then by the time I was in my very early 30’s, I was in the National Youth Director of a couple of thousand churches. So great, just a great experience, loved it. But the longer I was in it, the more I was realizing while it was a great opportunity to serve and I did well at it. I really didn’t fit it super well especially kind of the corporate structure of being involved in church, and then once I got to a larger setting, the national setting, the corporate structure for that.

Building/Moving/Living It Forward

So I took a number of years just to try to figure some things out while I was working. I finally decided I wanted to start my own business, had no idea what I was doing, ended up getting a lot of coaching, going to a lot of conferences. And long story short, nine years ago, I launched Live It Forward totally as a bootstrapping company, bootstrapped it for three years while I had a fulltime job, was able and it started primarily as a career coaching company, was able to grow it to the point where I could quit my fulltime job and then over the last six years, I have been doing that. And now, it has evolved into where I speak a lot in a particular market, a student market that works with students that are pursuing something. They’re really trying to figure out what they want to do in their lives. So that fit very well with the career aspect. And then on top of that, I started adding things… conferences and shaping the coaching I did for people who specifically want to earn money as speakers and writers. So I’ve been doing that and the brand just continues to grow but it’s been a great journey, have learned an absolute ton, love getting up every day and I love what I do.

The Long Runway
And when I’m working with speakers or writers and we’re trying to help them launch, I really tried to help them understand how important it is to have a long runway and that’s what bootstrapping allows you to do it. It allows you to have a long runway because most people drop out before they have enough speed to really take off. And they think, oh, I’m going to be able to do this in 6 months or 12 months. And occasionally, you can do that. But I have rarely ever met an entrepreneur who bootstrapped, who was able to get their business off the ground, really less than 18 or 24 months. And I’m often held up as an example of, hey, this is the guy who did a good job at it, and it took me three years. So no matter how you do it, you have to have a runway. You have to have enough time to launch this thing. And if you give up on it too soon, you’re not going to be able to take off.

Finding The Right System

I think the biggest thing that I do and even the way that we host when we put on a conference, the way we host conference and then the way we do all of our coaching and mastermind is teach the systems that work. Systems and step by step by step by step by step, so that really, I always tell people when we’re going to the coaching, if they have found people that can teach them the system that they did and teach it to them in detail, if you work a good system that good system will end up working for you. So to me, that’s the difference. I’ve worked with a lot of people. Some of them, they’re just never willing to work the systems.

Some of them are, I would call them conference junkies. They’re just going and getting their next fix at a conference but some of them, a good percentage of them had really come in to learn the system that exactly what I do, have worked it on their industry, and they’re the ones that end up getting booked. And if you look at it, same kind schedule, it’s usually 18 months to 3-year journey that they have in front of them.

Inspiration
And so what I mean by that is there are certain things that have just been high priority. I read Seven Habits very early on, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Besides the Bible, the most powerful book in my life and really as a young 20-year-old, really went about to trying to live that kind of life. And so now, in my late 40’s, you look at that. That’s been 25 years that I’ve really been trying to live those principles. So I spent every morning, I do a thing that I call, leading my life from quiet where again, I like variety. So I do a lot of different things, No two mornings are alike but I block out about an hour to where I’m just starting my day from quiet and trying to lead my life from that.

At The Core
I exercise very regularly in doing things that I enjoy on exercise.
I have amazing relationship with my wife, absolutely amazing. We work at that very hard.
My faith in Christ is… that’s who I’m living my life for and so I’m trying to honor him on all that I do and trying to follow him.

Influence
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”, Jim Rohn
And then I’m a big believer on Jim Rohn called, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ So I spend a lot of time with my wife. I spend time with people like Dan Miller.

There’s another principle that I’d say, I paid a play or in other words, when I know people are paying to be in part of mastermind groups that I lead, that as far as speaking. But for instance right now, I’m in a 3-year mastermind program where it’s a very significant investment to be a part of it. But it gets me around other high achievers and people are trying to maximize their impact in their income at the same time. And so those are the type of people I’m trying to spend time with.
And so I try to take on that attitude of every year, I want to pay for something whether it’s for coaching, for conferences, for mastermind groups, I want to pay something to play with bigger fish.

On The Book Shelf
The Bible
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
Zero to OneMillion – Ryan Allis

What’s Happening with Kent
LiveitForward.com
Coming Soon: Live it Forward podcast, How to Show Up and Shine Everyday in Every Way.
Speak it Forward Boot Camp – Visit LiveitForward.com for direct links

Contact Kent
Twitter: @kentjulian
Instagram: kent_julian.

Have a listen to my chat with Kent Julian.

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Kent Julian
LiveItForward.com

Transcript

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. His name is Mr. Kent Julian. Kent comes to us from liveitforward.com. Kent is a family man, an author, an entrepreneur and the founder and president of liveitforward.com LLC. It’s a personal and professional development company devoted to equipping people to show up and shine in their life and in their career. I like Kent’s tagline. He says “There are two basic choices in life check out and whine or show up and shine. I love it. It is my pleasure to welcome Kent to the Big Value Big Business podcast. Hello, Kent! How are you?

Kent: Man, it is great to be here. I love your energy, buddy.

James: Thank you very much, thank you. I sense you a pretty high energy yourself, you would have to be to keep up with your schedule, you’re travelling speaking around the globe and based in with the Youth that you work with. I imagined, you got to stay in shape to keep up with the youngins.

Kent: Yeah, it’s great. That is one of the fringe benefits of working with students for as long as I have.
I do a lot with adults as well but I just can’t let go of that student-market especially for the high-level, high-achieving students and they really do keep you young. In fact, not only the students but some of the other people in that industry, some of the other speakers, most of them are easily 10, 15 years younger than me. And so you got to stay up with them, so I work hard.

James: Good for you. That’s awesome. Yeah, I know the feeling. I want to hang out with my kids but they don’t want any part of me so I digress, not totally true. But yeah, hey, I want to thank you again. I know you’re a busy we can make the move to the work in the life that we truly love. I think that may sound familiar. And does that sound like a plan, sir?

Kent: It sounds great. We love to talk about that, one of my favorite subjects.

James: Awesome, awesome. I’m going through some transitions, myself. A lot of my folks that are listening are authors, speakers, consultants, small business folk and we want to get back to doing the things we love and to get paid for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. If we could start, maybe get a little history from you sir. Find out where you came up from and a little bit about the journey that’s brought you here to where you are today.

Kent: Well, I’ll give you the clip note version. And then, you can ask any questions you want.

James: Sure, sounds good.

Kent: I started out as a Youth pastor. I was at a very, very small church, very humble beginnings. If you just look at it as far as a career, I was pretty successful and real quickly went from a small church to one of the largest churches in the US at the time. And then by the time I was in my very early 30’s, I was in the National Youth Director of a couple of thousand churches. So great, just a great experience, loved it. But the longer I was in it, the more I was realizing while it was a great opportunity to serve and I did well at it. I really didn’t fit it super well especially kind of the corporate structure of being involved in church, and then once I got to a larger setting, the national setting, the corporate structure for that.

So I took a number of years just to try to figure some things out while I was working. I finally decided I wanted to start my own business, had no idea what I was doing, ended up getting a lot of coaching, going to a lot of conferences. And long story short, nine years ago, I launched Live It Forward totally as a bootstrapping company, bootstrapped it for three years while I had a fulltime job, was able and it started primarily as a career coaching company, was able to grow it to the point where I could quit my fulltime job and then over the last six years, I have been doing that. And now, it has evolved into where I speak a lot in a particular market, a student market that works with students that or pursuing something.

They were all pursuing professional. They’re really trying to figure out what they want to do in their lives. So that fit very well with the career aspect. And then on top of that, I started adding things… conferences and shaping the coaching I did for people who specifically want to earn money as speakers and writers. So I’ve been doing that and the brand just continues to grow but it’s been a great journey, have learned an absolute ton, love getting up every day and I love what I do.

James: That’s fantastic. So yeah, just to fill in. It seems like you started… first of all, just to go all the way back to corporate structure/within the youth pastor, one wouldn’t equate that much corporate structure with that type of position. But I guess I have the wrong perception.

Kent: Yeah. It’s really interesting in that when you think about how a lot of nonprofits and so I’m going to put a church in a nonprofit. When you start, if you’re in a smaller setting, it’s a little bit more entrepreneurial and Youth minister, the great thing about being a Youth pastor is that’s one aspect of the church that’s very open to kind of free agent entrepreneurial type of concept. They really want you to get out there. So that’s great. But when you’re in a church, you’re dealing with boards. You’re dealing with, the second church I worked at, the staff was always probably 50 on staff. There are, I think, 20+ pastors. And you’re dealing with boards, and then once you get into a national level, and you are working with 2000 churches, there are all kinds of different committees and boards.

And it’s just very structured, corporate might not be the right word, but just very, very structured. And to get anything done, you have to jump through multiple loops to accomplish anything. And the more that I had to do that, it’s not that it’s bad. The more that I had to do that though, the more I realized, boy, this is not the way that I’m wired.

James: Yeah, and I want to agree because, just in the business I’m in, agency work, but being a hands on kind of guy and successful in what I did and then becoming management and in getting in, trenched in that, it’s different. You’re doing more managing, people in process or in your case maybe, was navigating the processes rather than doing boots on the ground kind of thing. It takes a way from your true calling, do you agree?

Kent: Yeah, and here’s what is really interesting. I did super well because I had so many good people around me. And what really woke me up that said, I need to get out of this and go do something else was when I made a transition to a team. And it was still a good team but instead of being a team of leaders, it was more of a team of people I had to manage. And that’s where I real… I had a career crisis when I hit that. And I didn’t even realize it. I was pretty young so I didn’t realized it was almost by luck that I had hired so well at one place and the key hires, all of them, I hired highly capable leaders who could pick up the ball and run with it. And then I moved into another situation, and the other situation I had to walk into a staff that was already there, and the staff that were there, very good people but definitely more people that had to be managed.

And I realized real quickly. Man, I do not like managing people. I don’t mind running with leaders. In fact, that’s what you do as an entrepreneurial. If you’re going to connect with other people and you’re networking and you set up affiliate business opportunities with other people. You’re working with other high potential leaders that are going a hundred miles per hour along with you. And so that’s one of the reasons I moved in to entrepreneurship because I felt like I was going to be around people that are wired like me. And I definitely don’t have the management wiring at me.

James: Agreed, agreed. I can totally relate to that. So back in 2005’ish, that we decided to build on in bootstrap, Live it Forward. So you were some three years in the making before you were able to fly fulltime with that. Is that correct?

Kent: Yeah. So it was and it was a real interesting journey. I share this in other places but…

James: Sure, please do.

Kent: The first year of my total revenue bootstrapping, and this is working probably, well not probably it was minimum of 15 hours a week, sometimes as many as 20 hours a week bootstrapping. My total revenue first year, not income, not money in my pocket, revenue was 4 grand. My second year, it was 24 grand but what’s really interesting is the first six months was only 6 grand. So if you look at the first 18 months I worked, the total amount of revenue I produced was $10,000. But the next six months was $18,000. So I doubled my income in a third of a time, and then the next year was $68,000. And that’s what I really had enough momentum going on and I knew what I was doing to launch.

And when I’m working with speakers or writers and we’re trying to help them launch, I really tried to help them understand how important it is to have a long runway and that’s what bootstrapping allows you to do it. It allows you to have a long runway because most people drop out before they have enough speed to really take off. And they think, oh, I’m going to be able to do this in 6 months or 12 months. And occasionally, you can do that. But I have rarely ever met an entrepreneur who bootstrapped, who was able to get their business off the ground, really less than 18 or 24 months. And I’m often held up as an example of, hey, this is the guy who did a good job at it, and it took me three years.

James: I loved that because again, I spoke to who my audience is. It’s so applicable, myself with this podcast, six months and bootstrapping like crazy. Yes, so what is the, might be just a little off but what would you say the opposite would be investors of people investing in a project rather than the bootstrapping because I see our bootstrapping going hand in hand with kind of finding what your doing or refining your process, your products, your services, how you’re going to serve your audience and defining that audience. So I’m trying to picture in my head if these several questions I just threw out there. But the opposite of bootstrapping was obviously you had a solid project with a business plan and you present and you get veture capital and that gets invested. And you could get going with revenue maybe sometime before you’re in the block. But the bootstrapping, I guess what am I asking is fair to say, you, while you’re traveling down that runway, you’re honing your offering so to speak?

Kent: Absolutely. I did not know what I was doing. I knew, I compare it to a, you’re on a… you’re following a treasure map. So unlike following a map, quest map, you have your X marks the spot and you kind of know what’s there. You know it’s valuable. You know what kind of money you want to make. You know what activities you want to be doing to make that money. You know probably the theme that you want your business to revolve around but that’s it. So bootstrapping a lot of it, especially at first during the journey is figuring out what the heck am I doing. And additionally, this is something that’s really interesting.

I used to do a lot more just pure career coaching when I first started. And I actually had, when I was working with someone who wanted to start their own business, I was able to talk about this runway with them because I bootstrapped with, I just had no money. So I had to bootstrap with my time and effort. I had a buddy who started his business that had saved up enough money that he could quit his job and he had about two years of living expenses put away so he could quit his job. But what’s funny is that, so he… I was doing a part time, he was bootstrapping fulltime, and while his money, the amount of revenue he produced, his was, his first year is about 25, the second year, I think was about 75 and his third year was a 150. If you look at those percentages, they’re the exact percentages in growth as mine was, just bigger.

I then, had to add one more thing. There’s a great book. I’m looking on my bookshelf right now. It’s called ‘From Zero to One million.’ And it’s about the guy who started eye contact which is very similar to Mail Chimp – Constant Contact. And he did the investment route to where he was able to start with enough money, enough investors. He had a staff of six and he, it’s a… what makes the book so great is that he really shares a lot of the details including the finances. And again, his numbers are much bigger. We’re talking the first year is like $900,000 the next year. But if you look at the percentages, it’s the exact same kind of growth that just, instead of one person part time or one person full time, now, he was starting with five or six people full time but the exact same percentages.

So no matter how you do it, you have to have a runway. You have to have enough time to launch this thing. And if you give up on it too soon, you’re not going to be able to take off.

James: All right. So that brings perfect segue into… you coach a lot of the folks. How do you… I’m saying as a statement. You do coach a lot of folks and a lot of folks, the best intentions, the best circumstances, the hardest work ethic. But how do you help them stay in the game?

Kent: That’s a great question. I do coach a lot of folks. Primarily now, people who are looking to add speaking and writing either doing that kind of fulltime or doing that as a major revenue stream. And I would say two things. One is I tried to provide a lot of inspiration not inspiration as RA RA!, all right. But…

James: You give real life examples. I can tell.

Kent: Exactly. But then on top of that, I think the biggest thing that I do and even the way that we host when we put on a conference, the way we host conference and then the way we do all of our coaching and mastermind is teach the systems that work. So in other words, it’s not just, I love two types of conferences. One type is when I go and it’s just about coming up with ideas and trying to figure out, oh, I could do this. I could do this. I could do that. But once I know what I want to do, then – this is how I am, I pay money to teach me, here’s the system that I’ve used to, if I find a speaker that I want to follow I want to find out what that person has done, how have they marketed their services, how did they figure out who were they’re going to go after and speak.

James: Yes, it is strategies.

Kent: It’s not just strategies, even systems.

James: Systems, yeah, yeah, correct. I’m sorry.(crosstalk)

Kent: Systems and step by step by step by step by step, so that really, I always tell people when we’re going to the coaching, if they have found people that can teach them the system that they did and teach it to them in detail, if you work a good system that good system will end up working for you. So to me, that’s the difference. I’ve worked with a lot of people. Some of them, they’re just never willing to work the systems. Some of them are, I would call them conference junkies. They’re just going and getting their next fix at a conference but some of them, a good percentage of them had really come in to learn the system that exactly what I do, have worked it on their industry, and they’re the ones that end up getting booked. And if you look at it, same kind schedule, it’s usually 18 months to 3-year journey that they have in front of them.

James: Interesting. Well, that’s a yeah. Tell me about a day in the life, present day. Now, you’re speaking around or you holding conferences? Do you one-on-one? Do people come to see you? Just kind of get a glimpse at what your business is like?

Kent: An easy answer to that is yes, of all that you just said. I actually love variety, love it, love it, love it. But I like variety within my sweet spots, the things that I really like to do. And the other thing is, I know a lot of contemporaries of mine who are speakers especially those who started out in the speaking business. I was fortunate to start out as a Youth pastor that had a lot of speaking with it. But I had a full time job and kind of learn that, because I started with my business in my later 30’s versus somebody who came out and was an entrepreneur and especially a speaker and started speaking in their 20’s. Some of my contemporaries, 70% of their revenue will come from key-note presentations and then 20% from back of the room sales, and then maybe 10% from other things. But what that means is in order to make a great living as a speaker, they’re doing 60, 70 engagements a year

I shoot for about 40 engagements a year. And so when you look if… the best way to look at just what, The Day in the Life, that’s not really a good way to look at it. It’s more of a Month in the Life of Kent..

James: Taking the average.

Kent: Yeah, I would say and then just look at the revenue, I would say that 40% of my revenue took 40 to 45% of my revenue comes from speaking in back of the room sales. 20% of my revenue comes from live event things that I do in my hometown that I’m totally in control of 20 to 25% and then another 25 to 30% or so comes from coaching in mastermind programs that I put on. And so those are the primary ways. And then I have other things. I do some affiliate things. And I have every once a while, take one-on-one clients. So I have other ways to make money but that’s the vast majority of it. So I speak a lot.
I do some live events. I do coaching and mastermind. And then to market my services, I do a lot of writing, blogging. I’m about ready to start my podcast myself. So those are some things that I do that I just… I absolutely love that you’re constantly doing that help your market and just serve people. I’m a big believer that the best way to market is to actually serve and give. And if you do that, you’re able to really market your services well.

James: Absolutely. The rest takes care of itself. Absolutely, I love that. A couple things popped out of me. You’re a really big percentages of allocation and it’s great because you get the high level view and when that starts to get skewed, you know. And like you said, your reference is your sweet spots and that is… I’m looking on your KentJulian.com, and how you invest your time. It’s broken down by percentages.

Kent: Absolutely.

James: I love that.

Kent: Well, what’s really cool is I don’t have to hit the road, I can actually take a month or two off from speaking when I want to do that. There’s a lot of variety in two days are the like when I’m tired of, hey, I haven’t been out on the road. I’ve been kind of hold off in my office for the last 3 weeks. I usually got two or three gigs coming up. Excuse me, I don’t like to call them gigs. Engagements coming up…

James: I get it.

Kent: And so it just brings a lot of variety, all of those things. It’s a different fleshing out of… it’s all on the topics that I’m passionate about. But it’s using different gifts and fleshing out. So when you’re keynoting on stage, it does very different than when you’re writing a blog and that’s very different than when you’re doing coaching in mastermind. And I love all of those activities. But they’re all around the topics and themes that I absolutely love.

James: Yeah, that’s great. And interesting how you made the comparison between some of your contemporaries in yourself where they’re out 70% of the time out beating the bushes, and I keep thinking about Michael Hyatt. And he used to be of that ilk when he was 70-80% out on the road. And he’s turned that around considerably using online systems and digital delivery. And I think that is becoming more and more, more prevalent Would you agree?

Kent: Yeah, I would. I would say the difference between a Michael Hyatt and there’s a couple of other people who have made that transition is I absolutely love keynoting. So I have… a good buddy of mine is Dan Miller…

James: Oh, I love Dan Miller. He’s great.

Kent: Yeah, he is a great buddy of mine and we actu1ally do some work together and some business together. But he would almost be like, yeah, you don’t want to do that at all. I don’t know why anybody would want to go out and keynote. And I’m — that’s my absolute favorite thing to do is to keynote the audiences that I get to keynote in front of. Right now, my primary audience are again, high-achieving, really focused high school students that are focused on going somewhere. And most of my… a small audience for me is around 500. Typically, I’m working… I’m in front of 1500 to 4000, 5000 students. Oh, it’s just a rush.

James: Being like a rock star! You’re like a rock star. I love it.

Kent: And they’re just so motivated. And I mean, I come back just energized from those kind of things. So doing 35 to 40 of those engagements a year, I absolutely love that. But if it was 60 or 70, now, you’re talking about being on the road 125, 150 nights a year, you’re away from your family that much. So unlike Michael where I think he’s okay with maybe doing 6 to 10 a year. (He has really cut back)Yeah, he really has. And I really, really enjoy that part of my business and can never see me not doing 35, 40 engagements a year.

James: Well, see the whole theme of this, the whole analogy is if you set it up right, if you have somebody like Kent Julian that’s helping you put your act together, you can speak 10%, 20%, 50% of your time on the road. However you set it up.

Kent: That’s it. That’s the key. That’s figuring out the life you want and then try to figure out how to make work fit into that life.

James: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. Personal note, you sound, dude, you have it totally together. I’ve seen some of your videos, energy plus some… passionate. Where do you go to the well, Kent? Where do you go for your inspiration, be it mentors, your faith, your family? What comprises this enthusiasm that you have?

Kent: The easy answer to that is, yes as well. That’s all those things.

James: I usually ask, who is your favorite author? Do you work with a mastermind? But you’ve taken another level, and I did a little research on you and I know that you’ll draw all your juice from all of those sources plus… I imagine.

Kent: Yeah, I would say there’s a number of things and which really interesting, my wife and I were talking about this just yesterday. I’ve listened to some podcasts, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts. I ‘ve listened some podcasts about living balance and things like that, and it always amazes me that sometimes some of the people who are sharing those podcasts are so out of balance and I don’t know if they’re doing it as a way to try to get in balance. But I would say that in some ways, I’m out of balance but on purpose. And so what I mean by that is there are certain things that have just been high priority. I read Seven Habits very early on, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Besides the Bible, the most powerful book in my life and really as a young 20-year-old, really went about to trying to live that kind of life. And so now, in my late 40’s, you look at that. That’s been 25 years that I’ve really been trying to live those principles. So I spent every morning, I do a thing that I call, leading my life from quiet where again, I like variety. So I do a lot of different things, No two mornings are alike but I black out about an hour to where I’m just starting my day from quiet and trying to lead my life from that.

I exercise very regularly in doing things that I enjoy on exercise. I have amazing relationship with my wife, absolutely amazing. We work at that very hard. We, my faith in Christ is… that’s who I’m living my life for and so I’m trying to honor him on all that I do and trying to follow him. And then I’m a big believer on Jim Rohn called, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ So I spent a lot of time with my wife. I spent time with people like Dan Miller. I, there’s another principle that I’d say, I paid a place or in other words, when I know people are paying to be in part of mastermind groups that I lead, that as far as speaking. But for instance right now, I’m in a 3-year mastermind program where it’s a very significant investment to be a part of it. But it gets me around other high achievers and people are trying to maximize their impact in their income at the same time. And so those are the type of people I’m trying to spend time with.

James: Absolutely, the Jim Rohn experiment. Not even experiment, the Jim Rohn lifestyle. But tell me about that pay to play. Could you expand upon that a little bit, just positioning yourself to be within these groups then whatever the cost is?

Kent: Yeah, that’s basically it. What always cracks me up is people are looking for the cheap way to get into stuff. So hey, can I sell books in the back of your room so I can come to your…

James: Shortcuts.

Kent: Yeah, and here I was, a Youth pastor, the first… just in case that you don’t know what a Youth pastor is, I know you do James. But just in case your audience doesn’t know, it’s not a highly paid position. So I’m a Youth pastor. I’m actually the National Youth director at time, and I… the first speaking conference that I went to learn, I didn’t need to learn how to speak. I needed to learn how in the world you do a business based on speaking. So this is not eight years ago, I guess. I’m dropping 3 grand to go to it. But I had done my research and said, I know this person knows what they’re talking about and so I’ve always had this idea that that they are worth it. I’m going to pay to play. And so I tried to take on that attitude of every year, I want to pay something whether it’s for coaching, for conferences, for mastermind groups, I want to pay something to play with bigger fish.

And I don’t know if you ever feel this way, but whenever I feel like I’m becoming… I understand that when I’m doing coaching in mastermind for speakers that I’m suppose to be the smartest guy in the room with that. So I understand that. But whenever I look at all of the rooms that I’m in and I go, holy, cow! I’m becoming the smartest guy in the room in all these rooms, I feel really like, I’m in trouble. So paid play helps you put yourself in a position to where you, you are not the smartest person in the room. And you put yourself around other really smart people that are going to push you and make you achieve.

James: That’s so, invaluable to be able to recognize and see and realize, yeah, I’m kind of maxing out this so I got to raise the bar a little bit and keeps stretching.

Kent: Yes, absolutely.

James: I love that. So tell us, as just we wind down. I usually do 30, 40 minutes and I value your time. I just want to kind of wrap with what you have going on present day with… what do you have available for my folks and feel free to tell us about mastermind groups programs you have, some information where we can go and download it. And let’s hear a little bit about what you have going on, Kent.

Kent: Well, LiveitForward.com is the place to really find out kind of everything about what I’m doing, and we’re in the midst of pretty major website overhaul. So, that will maybe even by the time this comes out. But probably, by the fall, that is going to look very different. From there, we’ll be starting podcast, Live it Forward podcast, How to show up and shine everyday in every way. So we’re going to do that. And then I would say that the… if there’s people out there that are really interested in being a speaker or especially adding revenue to either your business or just even your life, in something you want to do on the side. We do a Speak it Forward boot camp. And if you got liveitforward.com, we always link to the Speak it Forward site when it’s time to start promoting that.

But that’s going to be November 6 to 8 of 2014. That’s the next one coming up so it gives people plenty of time. That is a boot camp. That is not just random ideas. It is really how do you maximize your impact and income as a speaker. And we teach systems of how do you figure out what you want to speak about, how do you put that together, how do you set up your platform for that. And then how do you market it. And it is really step by step by step, and the thing that I love about it, that I get compliments because there’s a lot of those conferences out there. And I think there are probably most of them, I haven’t been to all of them, but I’ve been to a lot myself. And most of them are good. The one thing I would say that makes ours really unique is we talk about, not just talk about, but show you how to go from an unknown to a 6-figure speaker within two to five years.

And that’s exactly in the market that I’m in, and it’s called the Career and Technology Student Organization. I was a nobody and had never presented, they have never heard about me. I didn’t have a presence. I didn’t have a website. And within three years, I was booking 35-40 engagements a year in that market.

James: Wow. So is this obviously, a live event and it’s in there in Georgia?

Kent: It is. It’s a live event in North Georgia, the North, it’s actually the North Atlanta area. We usually have anywhere from 35 to 60 people so it’s kind of intimate that way but it’s a really strong event.
II absolutely love doing it. Besides keynoting, that’s my favorite thing to do.

James: I love it and you love it. Okay, so we’ve got Live it Forward. And you will be linking off to speakitforward.com for the boot camp shortly. Speak it Forward, we can go there now, correct?

Kent: Yeah. Right now, it’s just a blog that we try to encourage people through occasionally by sharing some different things. But speaking is one of those things you can get a lot of really quick fixes and until you really learn how do you do the business out of this, it’s really hard to launch. So we share a lot of information there but we also realize in order to… if you really want to do this, you got to get serious and figure out some way to get trained in the business of being a speaker.

James: Sure, sure. No, I totally agree. All right and where we can find you hanging out? I see you on Google+ a lot. Do you do Twitter or Facebook?

Kent: Yeah, Twitter, big time. Twitter and yeah, Facebook too. A little bit more personal there but I connect with anybody. But I would say, the two places I enjoy the most are Twitter and Instagram. And it’s @kentjulian on Twitter and then instagram, some other guy got Kent Julian before me. So I’m kent_julian.

James: Oh, well. Darn it!

Kent: I know, I know, man. I’ve always got Kent Julian before anybody else but this time, I wasn’t quick enough.

James: That’s okay. That’s okay. Well, listen sir. I appreciate everything. I wish we could just talk all day. I’m going to check you out. I want to maybe get into one of your groups or see some, see what I can see for my self-improvement, self-enrichment there. Inspiring, great upcoming story, I thank you so much for your time. I look forward to talk to you again, I hope.

Kent: Yeah, man. Let’s stay connected. This is great. I really enjoyed my time with you, James.

James: Awesome, awesome, and I do too, sir. And I thank you very much. We’ll talk soon.

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027: Lynn Serafinn – How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell

Lynn-Serafinn
Lynn comes to us from
The7GracesofMarketing.com
Lynn is a certified, award winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Have a listen to my chat with Lynn-Serafinn.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!
Podcast Highlights:

About Lynn Serafinn:
Originally I’m from New York, I spent the first 40 something years in my life in the States and then moved to England in 1999.

From the music industry originally; I was a professional musician for many years, everything from classical to electronic dance and I ran my own studio and a small record label for a long time.

I have an MA in Adult Education and Distance Learning.

Left corporate in 2007s & started as life coach and did coaching for while but then what I was doing also is coming back to one of my first love which was writing.

I published a book (2008) that did very well. Because that book did well and I was self published, that’s when peoples started of asking me about marketing. Now it occurred to me at that point that I had been marketing myself for most of life.

Now suddenly immersed in these whole new world, called Web 2.0, and dealing with blogging and social media which wasn’t there when I had gone into, with the day job, none of the stuff was there. I suddenly, I’ve realized that was developing my own style of marketing.

Sign of the Times
There was a lot of really schmoozy formula in marketers out online then and they still are but they we’re really, really and full force around toward the end of the, what we call in Britain, the naughty sooner that the 2007, 2008 and 2009.

They were very aggressive, very manipulative, a lot of what I call is scarcity marketing, a lot of persuasive marketing, a lot of invasive marketing and it’s still there today. I had a different style and it seems to work and but I didn’t sit down to analyze what it was.

May be on to Something
As people started coming to me and they said, hey, you’re doing really well with your book. Can you help me to do this with mine, can you help me launch my book, can you help me build platform, all of these kinds of things. It made me sit down and have to analyze, what was it that I was doing that worked, what was it that I was doing that was different…

That’s really were The 7 Graces of Marketing came in because I started to realize that they was a heck of lot of stuff about marketing that I could not stand. And furthermore, I kept hearing most of my clients coming to me saying I can’t stand marketing. I think it’s evil, I think it’s the devil, you know, that kind of, I mean not really not their words but basically they hated it. They thought it was manipulative, they thought they’d be dis-ingenuous if they engaged in it and as result they didn’t do it and or if they tried it, they did it in a inauthentic way that did not feel good to them.

Exploring the History of Marketing
But marketing actually, as I started to explore it, I realized that it was really founded upon a conscious system of psychological manipulation. Now a lot of people would say, well yeah, I know… duh, but when I really examined it historically back from around the earlier century and its beginnings we’d say, Edward Bernays who was considered the father of modern marketing.

When we get into mass production…and suddenly what happened was, you had a world where we were capable of producing things faster than we could use them.
That was the critical turning point in history …it’s not just that we were capable of now producing things faster than we could use them, we were also capable of producing things faster than we could dispose off them.

And how the early marketers used psychological manipulation to convince people that they needed more things than they actually needed at the rate, more rapid consumption rate than they actually needed is really what manipulative and destructive marketing is all about.

New Marketing
I believe marketing is very important and I re-frame the concept of marketing in the book,
The 7 Grace of Marketing in this way. I say that marketing is simply the communication that we, marketing is the act of communicating that we have something of value to share.

There are three different paradigms in the book. One is these seven key relationships which we have to be mindful of whenever we’re dealing the different layers of marketing or business or indeed anything, anything in life but especially in business. One is what I called the seven deadly sins of marketing which are things to be mindful of so that you just become self-aware, am I doing this, am I using this as manipulative tools? And then the seven ways which is basically just a paradigm of guide posts.

This is a social awareness book. And so, The 7 Graces, the preferred model, I’ll just list the seven of them, they are connection, inspiration, invitation, directness, transparency, abundance and collaboration.

In The 7 Graces to do ethical marketing, you first and foremost have to look at where am I feeling connected? Where am I not feeling connected?

Most Recent Book:
Tweep-e-licious = 158 Twitter tips and strategies for writers, social entrepreneurs and change makers who want to market their business as like leaders and handbook for you.
Tweep-e-licious is a practical guide as such it took me whereas seven graces took me two years to research and write, this book took me about seven weeks. People can find that either from my website, there’s a link, there’s actually free Twitter class that they can taste and see what kind of ideas I have about it. And then if they want the book, they can get the book.

New Book Due Out This Fall
I’m writing a blogging book called The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging.
It’s about sharing really every strategy that I use with my clients. I give as much technical information as I can, you know, plug-ins and this and that. However, I have to offer a caveat no sooner than I offer technical things which is for people seem to want, all the technology changes.

Creating a Valuable Business
If you want to create a viable business, through blogging and social media… You have to constantly ask, what does my reader, what does my visitor, what does my potential client want right now? What is it that they’re looking right now? So you’re always having to put yourself in their shoes and see through their eyes and really understanding it and get your ego out of the way, either and, either your vanity or your hesitance to step up, get both of those extremes out of the way and simply serves the customer.

Gut Check
If marketing a certain way feels really horrible then it’s not right for you and it’s probably not right for anybody. But I do think it is a matter of relearning, reframing what marketing is.
When I’d say to people it’s the act of communicating that you have something of value to share, they just go, wow. And it just gives them so much space to then reinvent it the way that makes it work for them and to their clients because if we are interested in sharing value, as you know your company has the name, has that word in it.

If we are interested in sharing value, then it’s really your chance to sit down and think well what is it that I have that’s valuable and really diving into all of the wonderful assets that you have. I think people grossly undervalue a lot of their personal assets and the experience.
Come back to yourself. Do a really good internal investigation of yourself. Read what is and isn’t working and don’t give up on marketing because you need it, you need it to make your business work.

If you use marketing that feels yuck to you, it will feel yuck to your audience and down the line even if the other one — one more thing, aggressive marketing might make quick sales but it doesn’t win the long term race of this.

Brand Building
If you want to grow a really strong brand online, it’s like planting seeds in your back garden. If you water them every single day and say grow, grow, grow, they’re not going to grow any faster than they’re going to grow. You just have to, you know, if you put them on a hot house and give all kinds of artificial fertilizers, they’ll grow really fast and they’ll have really tough skins and they won’t taste very good. You know what I mean? You have to let a business grow organically. And it doesn’t mean you have to be lazy about it.
It’s is about cultivating and nurturing it. And allowing people to really understand what your brand is, what it stands for and who you are as a human being?

Contact Lynn

Websites
The7GracesofMarketing.com
SpiritAuthors.com

Twitter
@LynnSerafinn
@7GracesMarketng
@SpiritAuthors

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/LynnSerafinn
http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden

Have a listen to my chat with Lynn Serafinn.

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BigValueBigBusiness.com

Lynn Serafinn
The7GracesofMarketing.com

Transcript

James Lynch: All right, Welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host James Lynch. Today I am really, really big time super excited about my very special guest, her name is Lynn Serafinn. Lynn it comes to us from of The7GracesOfMarketing.com that is with the number seven. Lynn it is certified award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number best seller The Seven Graces Marketing, How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. It is pleasure to welcome Lynn to the Big Value Big Business podcast. Lynn, hello and how are you today?

Lynn Serafinn: I’m doing well. I am calling you today from Britain. If you’re going to hear a very kind of mid Atlantic accent because I’m originally from the States but I’ve lived in Britain until last 15 years. So that’s just to explain next to people half of the time. I always have to get that that out of the way because half of the time people say, where is she from? So I just wanted to say that first.

James Lynch: Great Britain and it’s the afternoon here. We’re just closing out the morning here in the East Coast but it’s the afternoon there where you are.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, it’s afternoon here.

James Lynch: So, yeah. Well listen, I’m glad you decided to come on and thank you very much. And, you know, I’m really excited to learn more about how we can help heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell as your tagline says and, you know, your movement to create both an ethical and the community focused business kind of like Big Value Big Business, coming just leading with value and doing the right thing. So, shall we march on, does that sound like a plan?

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, I’ll follow your lead James. Be the leader —

James Lynch: All right.

Lynn Serafinn: And I follow where will you take me.

James Lynch: I like it, it sounds good. Well, I usually start with a little history. We just want to go find out a little bit about Lynn Serafinn and a little bit about where you came from. And, you know, just how you came to be where you are today?

Lynn Serafinn: Well, originally I’m from New York, so and I —

James Lynch: Cool.

Lynn Serafinn: I spent the first 40 something years in my life in the States and then moved to England in 1999. And I came from the music industry originally. I was a professional musician for many years, everything from classical to electronic trance and I ran my own studio and a small record label for a long time.

And then decided I wanted a day job for a little while, of course it didn’t last because when you’re used to being kind of a free spirit it doesn’t last forever. So, I went into teaching because I did like teaching and I had a teaching background. So I went back into it and when I moved to Britain taught within the college system here. And I was teaching music tech and training teachers in using technology for educational purposes. I have an MA in Adult Education and Distance Learning. So, that gave me kind of technological edge. It’s quite specific. So I was developing online courses but it’s also sharing teachers how to utilize technology to, not just training but to give more ways for students to learn and to learned at a distance or to learn at home or to increase their learning or to help students that might have special needs and things like that. So I very, very interested in education or I was interested in communication, I was interested in technology and media and all those kinds of things.

I climbed the educational corporate ladder and then burnt out which in 2007, I just said I can’t deal with it anymore. And left and then went back into having my own business. And so at that time, I started as life coach because I had a qualification and that I was actually finishing a qualification in that as well. And however it took a kind of curved ball. I did coaching for while but then what I was doing also is coming back to one of my first love which was writing.

So I started publishing and I published a book that did very well. Because that book did well and I was self published, that’s when peoples started of asking me about marketing. Now it occurred to me at that point that I had been marketing myself for most of life. I mean I was a freelance musician. All you do is, you know, flaunt your stuff and try to get people, to try to get people to hire for a gig, try to sell your record not just in the public but to distributors. You know, I always having to prepare promotional kits and liaise with magazines and record labels and distribute it on shops. So I was always engaged in marketing and I was also, I always attend a lot of event to organizing for guest speakers because I was very interested in philosophy. So I brought in a lot of speakers from India and I did a lot of that as well.

So I have a lot of experience kind of marketing things that I was doing but what I haven’t done to that point was sit down and strategically analyze what it was that I was doing so that I can help other people. But when I launched a book that I wrote back in 2008 and it did very well on Amazon because I was now suddenly immersed in these whole new world, called Web 2.0, you know, and dealing with all of a sudden blogging and social media which wasn’t there when I had left, when I had gone into, with the day job, none of the stuff was there. I suddenly, I’ve realized that was developing my own style of marketing. There was a lot of and probably some of your listeners if they’ve been in business for a while, they probably realize there were a lot of really schmoozy formula in marketers out online than they still are but we’re really, really and full force around toward the end of the, what we call in Britain, the naughty sooner that the 2007, 2008 and 2009. They were really a full force and they were very aggressive, very manipulative, a lot of what I call is scarcity marketing, a lot of persuasive marketing, a lot of invasive marketing and it’s still there today. But I didn’t like that and so I developed, I had a different style and it seems to work and but I didn’t sit down to analyze what it was. As people started coming to me and they said, hey, you’re doing really well with your book. Can you help me to do this with mine, can you help me launch my book, can you help me build platform, all of these kinds of things. It made me sit down and have to analyze, what was it that I was doing that worked, what was it that I was doing that was different because that’s why they said they were coming to me, it’s because I was not the same as what they saw. And it was interesting, it was an interesting period of time around 2009, ‘10 in there because I had to sit down and actually be very reflective on what I liked to that marketing as an activity and what I really hated about marketing, as you know, in terms of on a wider social scale.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And that’s really were The 7 Graces of Marketing came in because I started to realize that they was a heck of lot of stuff about marketing that I could not stand. And furthermore, I kept hearing most of my clients coming to me saying I can’t stand marketing. I think it’s evil, I think it’s the devil, you know, that kind of, I mean not really not their words but basically they hated it. They thought it was manipulative, they thought they’d be dis-ingenuous if they engaged in it and as result they didn’t do it and or if they tried it, they did it in a inauthentic way that did not feel good to them.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And because of that there was a mismatch between who they were and how they were speaking to the public and the results they were getting. And after a while if they didn’t do it all, they’ve got a business. And if they do it dis-ingenuously, they either felt it, you know, they didn’t like it themselves or people didn’t trust them or something didn’t quite work. So obviously there was problem in here. And I started looking into what were the mechanisms that what actually not working? And that was, that led me to really, James, two years of research to discover a lot about the history of marketing that I never knew because I didn’t, I had my degrees in social sciences, I have a, you know, I did entered the music college in social anthropology and then education. I had no degree in marketing. I didn’t know anything about the history of it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And in fact the students today, I’ve found out since doing a lot of talks at campuses and all, a lot of them don’t know the history of it either.

James Lynch: Right.

Lynn Serafinn: But marketing actually, as I started to explore it, I realized that it was really founded upon a conscious system of psychological manipulation. Now a lot of people would say, well yeah, I know… duh, but I’m like when I really examined it historically back from around the earlier century and its beginnings we’d say, Edward Bernays who was considered the father of modern marketing. When I’ve really started exploring that in early marketing campaigns with the companies who where into mass production, you know, all the whole, that whole period of time with the big golden age of capitalism, you know, when the Ford and the American Tobacco Company, all of these things. When they were starting —

James Lynch: Oh, Industrial Revolution.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, it’s going to post Industrial Revolution but it’s when capitalism combined with it and really shot it forward.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: When we get into mass production.

James Lynch: You Madison Avenue was born.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly, well, Madison Avenue came because it’s, once mass production came in suddenly what happened was, you had a world where we were capable of producing things faster than we could use them.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: And that was the critical turning point in history because and here is the thing too, it’s not just that we were capable of now producing things faster than we could use them, we were also capable of producing things faster than we could dispose off them.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And that’s the thing that we are very experiencing today. This is, we are actually now as a planet, as the society suffering the results of or experiencing the results of that hundred years of kind of really linear, sell it, used it and throw it out. And this is where, you know, recycling has come in, we have to recycle goods in this but I don’t think people actually really see that, yeah sure we can recycle all the plastics and everything we want or metals or whatever.

The actual issue starts with consumerism and so the real is you has to do with the fact that we are producing more than we can use. And how the early marketers used psychological manipulation to convince people that they needed more things than they actually needed at the rate, more rapid consumption rate than they actually needed is really what manipulative and destructive marketing is all about. I believe marketing is very important and I reframe the concept of marketing in the book, The 7 Grace of Marketing in this way. I say that marketing is simply the communication that we, marketing is the act of communication that we have something of value to share.

James Lynch: Touche’ – I love it.

Lynn Serafinn: And if you look at it this way you say, okay, there’s nothing to do with selling, it must be of value and that it’s simply an act of communication. It has nothing to do with making sales, it has nothing to do with convincing people and it has to have value. If your manipulating, lying, deceiving, using tricks to make people fearful and you are trying to get them to get something that they don’t actually need or too many of something that, you know, more than they actually need.

James Lynch: Sure, sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Then that’s what I — that’s unethical marketing as far as I’m concern. And so that’s really the premise of the book is what are the things that people did that have put us into not just environmental distress but also economic distress, James, people, James, because obviously if you have a whole society that’s been convinced to consume more than they need, what do you end up with? You end up with the society that’s depended upon credit? And then therefore in debt and so not just in individuals end up in this unworkable economic situation. You end up with governments in this unworkable situation and then eventually businesses as well which is why we’ve seen so many businesses go out of business in the last decade. So, the system, capitalism with great idea before mass production and modern marketing, it was a great idea. It worked because we were consuming at a rate that the planet could absorb and that the economy could accommodate. But once you get into mass production, mass transit, you know their travel or whatever and in credit then capitalism collapses. And this is what we’ve been experiencing but if you weave the thread back to the beginning, it has to do with the psychological manipulation of unethical marketing that has programmed us to think that we need to consume at that level. So that’s the premises of it. I know it’s a big mouthful and it may seem very scary or deep or depressing but that’s the premise of the work that I do. That’s my observation and my belief and why I do opposite and help people on see the bad stuff so we can turn it around and to the good stuff, so to speak and try to heal that situation.

James Lynch: Yeah. So, define marketing for me in your own terms as an exchange. Do you have a definition that you often referred to?

Lynn Serafinn: Oh, look what I just said.

James Lynch: Well, how you percieve it now? I’m sorry, the preferred healing type of marketing really exchange.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, the way at least in the book, the way I defined it, there are three different paradigms in the book. One is these seven key relationships which we have to be mindful of whenever we’re dealing the different layers of marketing or business or indeed anything, anything in life but especially in business. One is what I called the seven deadly sins of marketing which are things to be mindful of so that you just become self-aware, am I doing this, am I using this as manipulative tools? And then the seven ways which is basically just a paradigm of guide posts. The book I have to say, somebody said to me the other day, it was the first time that I have read it but the book has been out for three years, more than three years now, they say, you know, you should put all these practical stuffs. I said no, I’ve actually written books since then with the practical stuff. That book is not a practical guide. It’s simply a social awareness book. It is not a — this is how you’re going to make money on Facebook kind of book. It’s not that kind of book. This is a social awareness book. And so, The 7 Graces, the preferred model, I’ll just list the seven of them, they are connection, inspiration, invitation, directness, transparency, abundance and collaboration. Now, connection is the foundation of all of the others. Connection means that you feel not just connect, you feel connected to your business. You feel connected to yourself, you feel connected to the cause for what you do best, this deserving, you feel connected to your audience, to your clients, to your customers, you also feel connected to the flow of money within your business. And all of these things work together to make a cohesive vision upon which everything else sits. Now, if you have it all in planet, source if one of the seven key relationships as well. So, if you feel connected to source, you’re going to operate your business very differently from somebody who sees sources, i.e. planet resources, earth, water metals, who knows what, money, people. If you feel disconnected from those things, you’re going to see the most separate from you. If you see the most separate from you, then you will exploit them. That’s a point. I mean that’s not a point but an effect. If you — you cannot exploit something you feel connected to. If you feel really, really unconditionally connected and you identify and empathize with someone else or something else, you’re not going to exploit it or him or her. You just won’t do it. If you disconnected, you always will. And that’s a fundamental principle of I think almost any philosophy on the planet. And it’s on unpins everything in The 7 Graces. So, to do ethical marketing, you first and foremost have to look at where am I feeling connected? Where am I not feeling connected? And then from that, the other graces can spring. So, the second one is inspiration and inspiration, the literal meaning of the word is to breathe life into. So marketing should, ethical marketing or any marketing should breathe life into the public. Meaning, not — it shouldn’t give them a candy or a sugar rush of, you know, sugar coated, this makes you feel good kind of thing. I feel warm and fussy.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: That is not inspiration. Inspiration means actually feeding the public with something that breathes life into them that could be good information, it could be any number of things. For me, I deal mainly with people who offer services. They’re rather non-fiction authors, the people who do service industry. So, my way of training them to be inspiring is to let’s look at the information you have that can help people and let’s work out, blogging strategies for instance where you are giving that information to the public in digestible doses so they can actually do something with it. And that’s inspiration; inspiration doesn’t mean writing lots of pretty words and coating Maya Anjalou I should do bluster. But that is not inspiring. It maybe a one shot but like I say, it’s like a sugar rush. Real inspiration means that you are consciously feeding the public something useful and you have, you know what it is that breathes life into your audience so you have to be very aware of what it is that you have to give and you do have to breathe that into your audience so that’s why that’s the second grace. The opposite of inspiration is persuasion. Now persuasion sucks the life out of people. How often do you get somebody in a shopping mall for instance or in a cold call who will, if you say no thank you, they try to use every trick in the book to get you to change your mind. It’s disempowering, it’s disrespectful, it’s not feeding the world, it is not breathing life into, it is sucking, it’s just vampirism. And so, you know, persuasion, that’s why that’s the second of the deadly sins. So I can stop now and take a breather but that’s how they go, they go like, that it’s really just, it’s that simple. How you do it is something that I work with people either it’s consultant or we have training courses and I’m also writing books about the how to like I wrote Twitter book that shows the how to, writing a blog and book that it’s coming out later this year, all of those things. Just loads of ways to apply The 7 Graces. I didn’t want to tell people how to do it in the original book. It was more about, let’s think about this, this is to see how can we use this paradigm to indent ways to change, to turn marketing around.

James Lynch: Yeah. So it’s your philosophy on and a better way to do it, obviously The 7 Graces and I love that now you’re bringing it in to more of a strategic how to improve —

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, very much so.

James Lynch: Awesome! And what do you have so far? You say you have Twitter, you’re working on a blogging?

Lynn Serafinn: Well, I have a Twitter book out, it came out actually a year and a half ago already.

James Lynch: Okay.

Lynn Serafinn: So it’s called Tweep-e-licious. And it’s — subtitle is 158 Twitter tips and strategies for writers, social entrepreneurs and change makers who want to market their business as like leaders and handbook for you.

James Lynch: Sweet!

Lynn Serafinn: It’s actually, I made the title that because it’s actually 140 characters long. Just little —

James Lynch: Nice, very clever.

Lynn Serafinn: Geek humor, little geek humor. But is a handbook. Tweep-e-licious is a practical guide as such it took me whereas seven graces took me two years to research and write, this book took me about seven weeks.

James Lynch: Nice.

Lynn Serafinn: I was like, because I knew it inside out I have the —

James Lynch: Well, you have the foundation already. You know, you just —

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: How do you apply it to the platform?

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly. And that book is done very well and so you know, people can find that either from my website, there’s a link, there’s actually free Twitter class that they can taste and see what kind of ideas I have about it. And then if they want the book, they can get the book.

James Lynch: Right.

Lynn Serafinn: But, so they can do that if they want the 90-minutes class on my site. So there is that and then yes I’m writing a blogging book called The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging. And that, if I ever get a breathing, anything breathing space this summer, I intend to finish it this summer and have it out some time in maybe October of 2014. And that book is again, it’s sharing really every strategy that I use with my clients. I give as much technical information as I can, you know, plug-ins and this and that. However, I have to offer a caveat no sooner than I offer technical things which is for people seem to want. all the technology changes.

James Lynch: Absolutely, absolutely.

Lynn Serafinn: So I want to make sure that it has strategic import that doesn’t go out of date, that doesn’t become obsolete. And because really blogging to me, I see blogging as probably the proto and podcasting of, like what you’re doing, which is just an audio blogging, it’s the same thing, just audio.

James Lynch: Absolutely. Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: I see it as the prototypal new paradigm form of marketing because what you do through blogging or vlogging or audio or podcasting, is you’re offering value to the public. You’re breathing life into the public with good information, good content. You’re supporting the public and in the mean time they are learning about you, they are developing a relationship with you, they are trusting you, they see that you’re not going to disappear, they can get to know who you are, what you’re about and that’s the best way to market. I mean, if you think of in the old days when, I mean, think back 150 years or something, before all of this happen and you’d think of somebody living in a village and if you wanted to go get a hat or something, you know, or get a tailor or a blacksmith or what. Who would you go to? You would go to the person that everybody knew, you would go to the person who was the most reliable, the most experienced, the nicest and the one that everybody said, that they have used because they think their work is really, really good. You wouldn’t necessary go the cheapest person but you definitely go to the one that is all of those things.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: Now, how do you that in a virtual environment? In really weird new paradigm marketing is simply going back to the best of who were —

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: — in the past —

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And bringing it into a technological setting.

James Lynch: The tribes.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s all it is. The tribes.

James Lynch: The tribes, Seth Godin said it best, I mean we are going back to the communities of village mindset where —

Lynn Serafinn: Absolutely.

James Lynch: It’s word of mouth.

Lynn Serafinn: Absolutely, and in the book, in Social Entrepreneurs Guide to Successful Blogging, the book that’s coming later this year.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: I really talk about getting into that. It’s not just about — I think one of the biggest challenges, my clients — because I work as a consultant. I help people build their platforms as well. So I don’t just write, you know, I work one to one and I also teach courses in this in groups. So one of the biggest challenges are students or my clients, our clients have is really, really understanding who their audience actually is and how to speak to them in a way that is giving them something. And learning how to market without actually selling is — there’s a lot of them learning, there’s a lot of them learning to do.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And what’s interesting also is that a lot of people do the opposite. They don’t bother to think what does there audience actually looking for and what can I give them? And where do I take them from there? Because let’s say, okay, let’s say I’m researching something. Let’s say like for instance of, you know, weight loss people really big into weight loss da-di-duh. So let’s say somebody is researching something about, I have a client right now who does — well, I won’t say weight loss, this is health. I have a client who does all gluten-free stuff, whatever.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Okay, so let’s say somebody goes to her site and they found her somehow I just tweet or Google about gluten-free. And so that’s great. So they go and they find this wonderful and but then they’re going to, okay now what do I do? They’re going to ask themselves, if they’re really serious, if they were just looking up something and they wanted to find out a fact then they’d probably, that’s it. But if they’re very serious a lifestyle change and if the article inspired them about a lifestyle change, they are going to say what do I do next? Now, what a lot of people miss in their blogging is the, what do I do next? They have to, if you do not tell your audience, give your audience and not tell but if you do that give your audience some choices like, if you’re looking for a product, here is a link and go find one or if you want to get in touch with me, somebody drop me a line on my contact page.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: I mean it’s something as simple as that, something as simple as that. If you can’t help them take the next step, then you’re not helping them progress. Now not everybody is going click those links but some of them are.

Lynn Serafinn: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And if you want to create a viable business, a viable business through blogging and social media, those are the kind of things you have to think of. You have to constantly ask, what does my reader, what does my visitor, what does my potential client want right now? What is it that they’re looking right now? So you’re always having to put yourself in their shoes and see through their eyes and really understanding it and get your ego out of the way, either and, either your vanity or your hesitance to step up, get both of those extremes out of the way and simply serves the custumer.

James Lynch: I love it. I love it. And I was going to, that’s funny. I did go to your site and I did go the press portion. And you have several topics that you speak to about marketing and about the 7 Deadly Sins, 7 Graces. And I was keying in on the relationship with our audience and that was and you naturally segued and flowed right in to that because that is so important.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s huge?

James Lynch: Is knowing and understanding and taking them by the hand, should they choose to be led?

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah and give them the choice.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, they don’t want to be led in that way. They want to be shown the choices. I mean I believe in respecting our audience and say, okay well here are the options that I have or you can look here, you know.

James Lynch: Well, that’s what I mean by leading. I don’t mean persuading or I don’t mean directing, I don’t mean to herding them, I mean if they’re looking for information, give that to them, take them down the path where they can find. If they’re looking for products —

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: — take them down, avail, avail all the choices to them and that comes with, again totally understanding the audience.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: Yeah, perfect. I really look forward to this book coming out. Now I can find some —

Lynn Serafinn: I can’t wait to try to finish them now.

James Lynch: I really do.

Lynn Serafinn: I’m just, I’ve been working so much with clients this past couple of months that I haven’t had the chance to — .I have all the whole content is done. It’s just to bring it all together. So July and August, they’re going to be with exception of a holiday period I’m taking. Those are going to be some months that I’m finishing it, I’m sure I’m going to sell. Wish me luck.

James Lynch: I do wish you luck and I’d like to have you back on too, so we can talk about and I’d like to help you distribute it and get it out there and because it sounds like, this is the way it’s going. The whole — your whole process and your whole thought process to this and you come from a very, very educated, very, you’re constantly learning and you’ve really thought long and hard about the basis of this. And I’m inspired and I’m excited and I’d like to ask you before we wrap, I don’t want to take up too much more of your time but if I, again my audience is more or less similar to yours. I have consultants, small business owners, Big Value Big Business, although now I wanted to kind of change it, the name to Big Value Good Business but I’ll stick with Big Business for now. But it’s still the Big Value, it’s leading with value and you speak so eloquently to that but I want ask you for a takeaway for my guys, for folks that are listening. Where do we start, how do we — without from the baby out with the bath water, there are so much spammy-scammy stuffs still out there, so where do we start to unlearn and baby steps get back to a tribal more ethical way of marketing?

Lynn Serafinn: I think one of the first things we have to do is come back to our own intuition and instincts. Basically if it feels yuck it probably is.

James Lynch: Is that a technical term?

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: I love it.

Lynn Serafinn: Because people say like I can’t stand doing that, it feels yuck.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And I said, well then don’t do it.

James Lynch: Then don’t do it.

Lynn Serafinn: You know.

James Lynch: There’s probably something wrong with it.

Lynn Serafinn: If marketing a certain way feels really horrible then it’s not right for you and it’s probably not right for anybody. But I do think it is a matter of relearning, reframing what marketing is. As I said, when I’d say to people it’s the act of communicating that you have something of value to share, they just go, wow. And it just gives them so much space to then reinvent it the way that makes it work for them and to their clients because if we are interested in sharing value, as you know your company has the name, has that word in it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: If we are interested in sharing value, then it’s really your chance to sit down and think well what is it that I have that’s valuable and really diving into all of the wonderful assets that you have. I think people in my experience and I’m sure in yours as well James, I think people grossly undervalue a lot of their personal assets and the experience. I think, I don’t want to name names but to there’s a woman that I know who’s an actress, recently well known television actress, one of her greatest assets is just her. It’s not her fame, it’s not her beauty either though she’s really, really beautiful, it’s that she’s just so real. And that’s tremendous asset and to — it may sound contradictory to say well then utilize that in your marketing. And so well, then she’s not real anymore. No it is. It’s about, because if marketing is simply the act of communicating that you have something a value to share, it means that you have to be mindful of staying in that real refreshing natural person in all of your marketing. And that’s really important. Now one of my biggest assets, it’s the fact that I’m eccentric. And so I utilize that. And another asset of mine is I am technical. People want my technical and strategic, so my technical and strategic expertise and my slight eccentricity all sort of things are some of my assets. So I have to learn how to utilize them to serve people. So if we want to look at, you know, the baby step, start first with yourself. Come back to yourself. Do a really good internal investigation of yourself. Read what is and isn’t working and don’t give up on marketing because you need it, you need it to make your business work.

James Lynch: Yeah marketing isn’t wrong, it’s not a sin but the way you do it can make or break to that.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: Absolutely

Lynn Serafinn: And if you use marketing that feels yuck to you, it will feel yuck to your audience and down the line even if the other one — one more thing, aggressive marketing might make quick sales but it doesn’t win the long term race of this.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: It is not sustainable. Not sustainable. Not sustainable. And you won’t like yourself and your customers won’t like you. So don’t succumb to the temptation of quick fix of aggressive sales no matter what anybody says, don’t do it. I hate it. The other day I actually wrote somebody a letter because he had identified — he had done a joint venture with somebody who I thought was just a, I use this word a lot of smooch. And I couldn’t stand it and I said to the person, I said, do you know I would not even have attended such, such webinar if you hadn’t been on it because I can’t stand the way this other person was talking down to me and patronizing the clients. And I said, I thought you would want to know, now I have to be so really, I felt nervous writing this letter to this person but I thought I needed to say something. I needed to say, I value what you do. I respect what you do. Don’t let someone else make you look sleazy. Don’t let another marketer turn you into something sleazy, just, please don’t do that.

James Lynch: Well, there be other people associated with that other marketer’s list that will gravitate towards your friend that will obviously have something of more value for it.

Lynn Serafinn: Yes.

James Lynch: And so, so it was almost necessary for him to be there, it’s his duty to be there to rescue them from the throws — what do you call him the smoozzzzzz?

Lynn Serafinn: Schmooz.

James Lynch: The smooch. Scammy, scammy -spammy. Well I know that.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, yeah.

James Lynch: I started this endeavor in that world and you’ll notice I’m six-seven months into this and I don’t monetize anything, I’m just getting people like you out there that are getting it done, real people and bringing in them out to the masses and just letting people decide for themselves with direction they want to come to. But I just want to bring content.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, James, to about a month ago I had the pleasure of hosting a telesummit because it’s one of things I do when I launch author, I work with a lot of authors. And I launched Melanie Dodaro’s book on LinkedIn. And I got to interview Michael Steltzner from Social Media Examiner. Now, he — their site is tremendous. I can’t believe it, it’s something like, you know, the 96th most popular site in the world on Alexa or something like that. Maybe it’s not the 96th but it is like so high, yeah but it’s ridiculous, I felt, wow. But he didn’t monetize for like a year either. His sole goal was to produce content and grow the audience and he did not ask for a penny from his audience until he gets something like 100,000 subscribers or 10,000s, I can’t remember what the number was but he was only interested in growing the audience, sending out the message, giving the content, developing with content, no sales, no monetization. Now of course you have to have a way to make living while you’re doing that.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But the point is, if you want to grow a really strong brand online, it’s like planting seeds in your back garden. If you water them every single day and say grow, grow, grow, they’re not going to grow any faster than they’re going to grow. You just have to, you know, if you put them on a hot house and give all kinds of artificial fertilizers, they’ll grow really fast and they’ll have really tough skins and they won’t taste very good. You know what I mean?

James Lynch: Right, right.

Lynn Serafinn: So, you have to let a business grow organically. And it doesn’t mean you have to be lazy about it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: You should be the vigilant about it.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But it is about cultivating and nurturing it. And allowing people to really understand what your brand is, what it stands for and who you are as a human being?

James Lynch: Sure and it also allows the brand builder to get direction and that’s what they did everyday.

Lynn Serafinn: Absolutely.

James Lynch: I learn something else and I’m not awash in the sea of confusion. It’s just, to him is only the point of the type of marketing that I want to do. And I have something to I’m going to stop monetizing. It’s a way from this. It’s to do with paid advertising that I’ve done for years. I’m just that crazy about doing it in an agency atmosphere where it’s that kind of scammy — not scammy but, how do you say it? Well I forget.

Lynn Serafinn: Smoozzz

James Lynch: Smooch, it’s smooch.

Lynn Serafinn: Smooching.

James Lynch: Yeah, to buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff and in case you didn’t hear it, buy my stuff. So yeah and I don’t know, I totally get it and I so appreciate the approach.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah and to what people are starting to say is, why?

James Lynch: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: You know, that’s more and more and more and it’s like, actually, I know you’re on to wrap this up.

James Lynch: No.

Lynn Serafinn: But just to say, In 7 Graces of Marketing, I’m trying to remember what chapter it is. I think it’s in the chapter on the deadly sin of deception. Because a lot of our media advertising like television, radio and or a print, a print adverts even, because they go by like the wind, especially TV and radio adverts. In fact I used to have to teach media students how to make 29-second radio adverts back when I was teaching. I had to teach them how to do that. You know, how do you tell a story and sell the product in 29 seconds, that’s a challenge.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But because they fly by the wind, there is a lot of cliché manipulative language that goes into media marketing that we are not even aware of and it speaks to us on a almost a preverbal level. And that’s what I talk about in that chapter on the Sin of Deception because there are things like say for instance, one of the things I cite in the book and this is something I noticed for years and I said, I’m dying to just point this out to people, it’s so bloody obvious. And it’s the whole thing reflect let’s say toothpaste or whatever, you know, nothing is more effective than Crest or whatever it is.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Or Colgate, you know. What’s that mean? It means nothing. It doesn’t mean it’s the most effective and it doesn’t even mean that any toothpaste is effective.

James Lynch: It’s a validating phrase with no underlying —

Lynn Serafinn: It’s a deceptively validating.

James Lynch: It’s a, yes, yes.

Lynn Serafinn: But it has no, I mean, when you say nothing works faster or nothing is more effective, you know, nothing works faster or nothing is more effective, it doesn’t mean it’s the best, it doesn’t mean the most effective and it doesn’t even mean that any of them are effective.

James Lynch: I’ll give you another one. Prices is low as a $1.99 as low as but you may have one lead are the $1.99, the rest are —

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, yes and that’s — but at least there are some element for sure.

James Lynch: There is, yeah, yeah, yeah. That should make it.

Lynn Serafinn: That’s got 2%, should the other ones got no proof. Not, not and so that’s the deceptive language that flies by us really fast and, you know, I’ve read another one the other day that I wish I could remember it. It’s something like clinical something, you know, says that, you know, 79% of those who have a preference would possibly recommend this if they were asked. And there were so many hypothetical things and in your brain gets rid of all of the hypothetical stuff.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And says, oh gosh, you know, 79% say that they would choose it and that’s not what they were saying.

James Lynch: Yeah, yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s absolutely wrong and it gives a totally false impression. So but, we are trained to accept statistics as real.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And also when they go by very quickly, the brain actually doesn’t perceive negative statements. It translates them into positive statements. That’s a psychological — I mean, neurological fact.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: That if we say nothing works faster, our brain translates this as this is the fastest. And so, if you took this people to court, they would say but I didn’t say anything that was fault, it wasn’t a lie. And it’s true. It’s not a lie however, it is because of the way the brain works. And those are the kinds of really simple, simple things that if we start to become aware of them. Another one is the sin of distraction and distraction has to do with how the advertising industry now depends upon entertainment value over and above telling us anything worthwhile or useful or informative about the product that they’re asking us to buy.

James Lynch: Sure, sure.

Lynn Serafinn: And that’s really, that’s probably the biggest most pervasive deadly sin in advertising and marketing today and it’s the least recognized. Why, because people are entertained. You know, they’re entertained by the dancing pony. I don’t know if you had it over here. It was the three mobile network and they have this viral video of a dancing pony, a shetland pony dancing, doing like the moonwalk on a cliff. This video went viral everywhere. What the blank-kiddy-blank does that have to do with mobile phones? Absolutely nothing.

James Lynch: It’s all about the attention and it’s like the Super Bowl.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s all to have the attention.

James Lynch: The Super Bowl commercials.

Lynn Serafinn: Exactly.

James Lynch: They’re all about and, you know, let’s tune in to see what the most craziest, outrageous commercials are this year.

Lynn Serafinn: Well, speaking of that, Budweiser who was — you know, I don’t know if they — I’m not in the States and I don’t watch football but I know they used to be the Super Bowl advertisers.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: It is the classic, I think now it’s Ford and Chrysler and things like the Chrysler and things like that.

James Lynch: I can’t, I don’t even bother.

Lynn Serafinn: But the Budweiser, they’re not as the king of beers, they’re the king of distraction.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Because like the whole, like you are as old as I am, you will remember the old Budweiser adverts with the frogs going “Bud-wei-ser”, you know, like that, you know.

James Lynch: Absolutely, absolutely.

Lynn Serafinn: What does it have to do with beer? What does it have to do with beer? It’s entertainment and it’s strictly planting it in your head.

James Lynch: Right.

Lynn Serafinn: And because people think it’s funny and it does back at the imagination, well, who is that they are trying to appeal to that might think that’s funny? But the fact is it’s distraction.

James Lynch: Yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s distraction. It’s not telling me why to buy this beer and they said, well, nobody will watch the adverts if I just talk about that. Well, again, duh? You know, maybe, that’s the problem with that kind of advertising.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: Maybe the whole concept of media advertising is distructive, all of it. And so the people say, well, then how do we pay for television programs? Well, honey, that’s why we’re talking about creating a new paradigm right now.

James Lynch: That’s right.

Lynn Serafinn: I don’t know the answer. I don’t know the answer. All I know is it is causing a problem and just because we don’t have an alternative yet doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be talking about changing it.

James Lynch: No and you are on the forefront talking about changing ads.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: I love, I love this.

Lynn Serafinn: I mean, I remember seeing a fella, do you know who Jeremy Paxton is? He is just a top gear here in Britain.

James Lynch: Do not, nope.

Lynn Serafinn: Okay, okay. He, I saw him on an episode actually of Who Do You Think You Are. I don’t have a TV but I’d watch shows on video and stuff.

James Lynch: Sure.

Lynn Serafinn: But he was on Who Do You Think You Are which is a genological show.

James Lynch: Oh yeah, yeah.

Lynn Serafinn: And he was — he made a really weird comment and I thought it’s so — it kind of comes back to what we’re talking about here. He was talking about some of his ancestors who had a factory and how it gone gotten shut down because of environmental issue. And he — so this is why I’m anti environmentalist, they are people who, you know, that they say because it’s ruining the water and this and this and this. 3000 people go and lose their jobs. And he went on and on and on about how he is an anti environmentalist and I thought that was kind of radical statement. But this is the same kind of concept. If we say, well we can’t change, we can’t get rid of the media marketing because it’s the thing that pays the program so people like to watch. That’s kind of the same thing as Jeremy Paxton saying, we cannot close the factories because 3000 people lose their jobs even if we’re polluting waters and the air and the land. Now, obviously, to say there are only two options here is not the right answer. It’s not about closing factories and people losing jobs and a choice between that and polluting the air, if you’re making it a choice between these two extremes, then we will never change. And marketing is the same thing. If we say that we need to television advertising and radio advertising to perpetuate the system that we created, and that there is no other alternative, then we will never change. And so that’s what I’m challenging. I’m saying, okay, in the next generation, I challenge the system to change. I really do. I don’t know what it should look like. I don’t know how you’re going to pay for the TV programs in this and this, but something has to change. It does have to change otherwise out economy is going to continue to falter, our environment will continue to falter and people will continue to be manipulated into consuming things that they need and doing to debt. So, something has to change. That’s it.

James Lynch: Amen!

Lynn Serafinn: Sorry I’m honest and so —

James Lynch: No, it’s great. And you know, you brought it full circle because it’s that the debt and the overconsumption and that’s perfect and I’d like to wrap it right there because that is absolutely perfect.

Lynn Serafinn: It’s the big picture.

James Lynch: It really is. It really is and I thank you so much. You’re so inspiring. I know my folks are going to love listening to every inch of this. And so tell me, we talked about the book coming out, where can we find you, what’s your Twitter handle, is everything The 7 Graces with the number seven, The 7 Graces of Marketing?

Lynn Serafinn: Well, the website is The7GracesofMarketing.com.

James Lynch: Yes.

Lynn Serafinn: And yes that’s with the number seven and they can find me on Twitter either @LynnSerafinn with two Ns in both names, no other double letters. So L-Y-N-N S-E-R-A-F-I-N-N or either, I have 7 graces, one was 7gracesmarketng, there is no I in it because I’ve ran out of letters. So it’s 7gracesmarketng.

James Lynch: Marketng.

Lynn Serafinn: And I have another one that’s a spirit authors, it’s specifically advised for people who write, and that’s on Twitter and also the SpiritAuthors.com. We do — we offer, offering building packages, you know, we work with people to develop ethical marketing packages, we are going to be launching our 7 Graces Course in the autumn. We ran two pilot runs of these foundations of ethical marketing and also applications of ethical marketing which is a certification program. And we did like I said two pilot groups and now we’re in the process of revising and bumping it up and getting of cleaning it up and streamlining it and making all the templates nice and clean.

James Lynch: Great.

Lynn Serafinn: And formalizing the assessment program, I mean these are proper courses and by the end of the applications course, people leave with a very cohesive marketing, business and marketing plan for ethical marketing and they get certification. And we’ve been actually approached by some universities to get it a credit to just well. So I’m hoping time that will happen.

James Lynch: Wow.

Lynn Serafinn: And also the students, so that the students can learn some of the stuff.

James Lynch: Then you’ll see the next generation of that one there after.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: Then you’ll see them taking charge. That’s great!

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah.

James Lynch: I’m so happy.

Lynn Serafinn: Yeah, I hope so.

James Lynch: Okay, that’s awesome! Listen, I thank you so much for your time Lynn. We’ll look forward to the book coming out.

Lynn Serafinn: Me too.

James Lynch: Our folks will be able to see everything we talked about transcript to all the links at BigValueBigBusiness.com/episode27 and hey we’ll talk to you hopefully in October.

Lynn Serafinn: I will be here, just give me a shout.

James Lynch: Sounds good, thank you so much.

Lynn Serafinn: Thank you.

James Lynch: Take care. Bye-bye.

Lynn Serafinn: You too, bye.

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026: Alexandra Skey – InBound Marketing Automation

Alexandra Skey
Alexandra is the Co-Founder & CMO of
GetSpokal.com
An awesome inbound marketing automation platform designed to help small businesses to:
– Create and distribute their content
– Attract and nurture inbound prospects.
You’ll find all of this happening at: GetSpokal.com

DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

Have a listen to my chat with Alexandra Skey.

See highlights and links from of our chat below…
ENJOY!
Podcast Highlights:

Alexandra Skey:
Canadian,born and raised
North American entrepreneur. and a marketer.
Spokal is my fourth venture.
Personal life: I love riding horses
I love kiteboarding. And as a little aside, we actually took Spokal remote.
We took our whole (Spokal) team remote and moved to Caribbean for four months last summer. And worked on a company down there, I learned to kitesurf, and through inbound marketing, we were able to grow our business significantly while having a good time under that Caribbean sun.

Upcoming Book – Fall 2014:
Called Zero Friction
I’m working on a book all about e-retail. And so that’s why I decided to call myself an e-retail author.

It’s not specifically e-commerce. It really talks a lot about what happens when the barriers to buying and selling and creating online are gone for everyone and what does that look like as we move towards this concept of a zero friction worlds. And ultimately, I think it leads to amazing customer experiences. And so this book was originally written to be e-retail book and in order to stay relevant and writing an e-retail book, it’s quite challenging.

So we took a bit of a social, cultural, economical, kind of global approach to the book and really looked at what’s the concept of e-retail. And it’s really about breaking down those barriers, and that’s a very similar concept to what marketing automation does for small business, how do you breakdown these barriers and scale up so that you can have a small business marketing from the Caribbean or you can have someone halfway around the world selling something they made and it’s actually economically viable. And so that’s really sort of, I guess, kind of deep down as part of my passion and that’s what I decided yeah, I guess that’s what an e-retail author is.

About Spokal:
We came together full time in Spokal, April 2012. So that’s me and my cofounder, Chris.
Chris actually started tinkering with the idea about November 2007, sort of part time, trying to see does this concept makes sense, is it resonating, can we actually do it technically. Spokal is quite technically robust just because we actually integrate with a ton of different providers. So he really wanted to see could we even do it as possible. And then we actually met at a co-working space out of Vancouver. And I really liked the idea and he was thinking, okay, well, let’s rev this up. So then we both went on it fulltime in April 2012.

Challenges Growing Spokal:
We talked about it being really fun, and it’s great and working in Caribbean. I mean, the honest answer, it was a lot of really, really hard work. And there are definitely some dark days. And I think that we, two kind of deep challenges:

1. The first was convincing anyone who was in a small business that Spokal was a good idea. So when we first started out, we were thinking that we would go your typical start up roots. So we create a little bit of a product, build some demand and fund raise. And every investor we talked to thought we were crazy because the small business market is notoriously difficult to reach, and notoriously expensive to do it. And we were trying to explain through the concept of inbound.

We’re not actually going out and campaigning. People are googling, how do I grow my business online, and they’ll find Spokal. And they’ll go through our inbound funnel, and they’ll convert. And we were explaining this, and we had very few people that were kind of willing to jump on board with us. And so sort of by default, we realized, okay, we’ll need to bootstrap this to show we can actually do what we say we can do. That was really, it was really interesting lesson early on because it actually forced us to really turn Spokal into a business right away and get a product out there and see what customers thought. And our first version of Spokal, I think the churn rate was about 80% to 90

2. I think the biggest challenge honestly was just really having faith in what we were doing to overcome these obstacles. People wanted to, for example, there is a lot of people in our community that liked us, and said, well, if you’re doing another project, we’ll support you, both with knowledge and financial resources.

And so you sort of have to say, well, are we doing this just for a project or do we really believe in the power of small businesses and helping them succeed? And so it was really sort of a test of what do we want to do as entrepreneurs, what we want to spend our time on and what do we have to do to keep food on the table. And so this is actually really interesting. And so the whole time I was working on Spokal, well, not the whole time, but I was actually working on this book, and so that was a really interesting arrangement. So I was moonlighting on the book to help pay our bills so that in the early days, all of the money from customers we’re getting from Spokal, and our investment was going into the technical development because that was Spokal’s wheel-house. And so it’s been a really interesting journey. I mean we’re barely at the start line now. And we’ve definitely seen a transformation in the last, I’d say since about the fall 2013, starting to move faster in the right direction, and that’s been really exciting.

What is Marketing Automation Software?
At its heart marketing automation is anything in that you do for marketing that you automate. And I know that sounds quite obvious but the reason I share that is often times, small business owners are doing marketing automation or are incorporating parts of it without realizing it. So for example, if you’re writing a blog, and you use a plug in to automatically publish your social feeds, that is marketing automation, right? And the platform, a marketing automation platform, as long it really says okay, instead of you doing all of those different things in different places, we’re going to put into one place. So now, we’re going to make it easier. We’re going to automate your keyword research process. We’re going to automate your writing process. We’re going to cut down two minutes here and five minutes here of everything you do to create and share your content so that over the span of time, using a marketing automation platform, not only are you saving time but more importantly, you’re getting reach and effectiveness that you just would find impossible to do if you didn’t use a marketing automation platform.

Staying Productive:
I never check my email in the morning and I read a book where an article said that concept. And I loved it. And so now, I do for the first hour, so if I know I have meetings or something coming up and I know I need to check my email at a certain time, I’ll make sure that I get an hour’s worth of work done so I feel productive and proactive before I start my day. And that’s the number one thing that I think, I really like that.

I always log out of it so that it’s more a conscious thing. I would love Google to design something where you can compose your email without landing in to you inbox interface. That would save us all a lot of time.

In the last eight months, I actually started meditation. And so I do 10 minutes a day, and what it actually helps you do is kind of be mindful. I think that’s the whole concept.
When you’re working way and you’re typing and you think, oh, it’s not happening on Facebook or that’s a cool blog. I’m going to go there. It just, helps you to be aware of, oh, interesting. That’s what I’m not doing right now. So I just have a little notepad. I scribble, check Facebook or whatever. And then by the time I’ve done my task, I look at that notepad and think, that’s not worth 10 minutes but I absolutely would’ve spend 10 minutes on it if I wasn’t mindful.

So I mean, I know what works for one person doesn’t work for the next which is why it’s always interesting to hear productivity conversations. But for me, it’s just that, it’s being mindful when I’m about to get to a spin, an internet spin where you read every blog online and you come out of the internet an hour later, feeling so loaded with information and not necessarily loaded with actionable advise or something that’s going to help you today.

Mastermind Groups & Mentors:
I haven’t found a mastermind groups to be useful personally. I know a lot of people get value out of them. So I just, I haven’t found that for me. I do have some really good mentors. And I mean they have evolved over the years depending on where I am and I guess where am I in my life and who’s around me to kind of help me. And yeah, I mean in valuable, it doesn’t even begin to cut it.

And I think when we talk about what is a mentor, for me, it’s someone that I can call in 2 in the morning or 3 in the morning when everything is gone, hell-in-a-handbasket, and who’s going to give you, sit there with you and go through that process. I mean I think, the concept that I see a little bit more which scares me is that, oh this is my mentor. I meet them once a month for lunch. I think that’s great. But you don’t need help once a month. You need four hours now, and then you don’t need anything for three months.

On the Book Shelf:
Abundance:
The Future Is Better Than You Think
by Steven Kotler & Peter H. Diamandis

Things a Little Bird Told Me:
Confessions of the Creative Mind
by Biz Stone

Contact Alexadra:
Twitter @AlexandraSkey
www.getspokal.com

Have a listen to my chat with Alexandra Skey.

Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

BigValueBigBusiness.com
Alexandra Skey
GetSpokal.com

Transcript

James: All right, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value Big Business podcast. I am your host, James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my very special guest today. Her name is Alexandra Skey. Alexandra is the cofounder of Spokal. That’s S-P-O-K-A-L. Spokal is an inbound marketing automation platform designed to help small businesses to create and distribute their content to attract and nurture inbound prospects as well. You’ll find all of this happening at www.getspokal.com. It is my pleasure to welcome Alexandra to the Big Value Big Business podcast today. Hello, Alexandra! How are you doing today?

Alexandra: I’m fabulous, James. How are you doing?

James: I’m great. This chat was a long time in the making. We’re both pretty busy and we’ve been missing each other. I’m glad you are able to come on and we can shoot the breeze so to speak.

Alexandra: I’m super excited to be here, James. We’re sort of joking that we’re becoming really good pen pals in the digital age. So it’s nice to be able to connect.

James: We were. We definitely were. And I should be so lucky to have as elegant and eloquent a pen pal as you. So I appreciate it, and here we are. So listen, I want to thank you for taking the time. And I’m really excited for you to share with our listeners everything you can in the time allowed, about how we can grow our business using inbound marketing to attract, convert and keep both new subscribers and customers for life. Does that sound like a plan?

Alexandra: That sounds like a fabulous plan.

James: Awesome, awesome. So I like to start in the beginning, just to get a little background about you. So can we maybe get a little history, get to know Alexandra Skey and a little bit about where she came from, and about the journey that has brought you here to where you are today.

Alexandra: Absolutely. So I’m Canadian and I was born and raised here. And I’m really an entrepreneur and a marketer. So Spokal is my fourth venture. And Spokal really hits or sorry, Spokal is start up ad I’m cofounding right now. And Spokal really hits home for me. It combines a lot of what I love to do which is, and what I’ve done in the past, which is small business in marketing but it does it on a scale that can actually really empower business around the world, to use some of these tools that I’ve been able to use in my past roles but dialed down from much more companies. So that’s what gets Spokal is. I guess a little bit more about myself, yeah, North American entrepreneur. And in my personal life, I love riding horses and recently, I love kiteboarding. And as a little aside, we actually took Spokal remote. We took our whole team remote and moved to Caribbean for four months last summer. And worked on a company down there, I learned to kitesurf, and through inbound marketing, we were able to grow our business significantly while having a good time under that Caribbean sun. So it is a really cool thing when you finally dial up your inbound channels, what you’re able to do with them.

James: That, in working from the Caribbean for four months?

Alexandra: Yeah.

James: There’s nothing better than that. I can imagine your winters are pretty harsh up there so there must’ve been quite a change.

Alexandra: Well, exactly. I mean, us, Canadians get a little chilly so it’s nice when we can finally see the sun from more than one day in a row.

James: Nice. That’s nice and that is something to aspire to and maybe we’ll get a little more into how you guys were able to scale everything up and get everything running on, I don’t know, to say on autopilot but just as smoothly that you can make that transition and learn how to kiteboard at the same time. That’s awesome.

Alexandra: Definitely. Yeah.

James: Awesome. So yeah, that’s great. I saw, you are in love with horses. And what’s an e-retail offer? Tell me about that.

Alexandra: Yeah. So I’m really excited right now. I’m working on a book all about e-retail. And so that’s why I decided to call myself an e-retail author.

James: I like it.

Alexandra: It’s not specifically e-commerce. It really talks a lot about what happens when the barriers to buying and selling and creating online are gone for everyone and what does that look like as we move towards this concept of a zero friction worlds. And ultimately, I think it leads to amazing customer experiences. And so this book was originally written to be e-retail book and in order to stay relevant and writing an e-retail book, it’s quite challenging. So we took a bit of a social, cultural, economical, kind of global approach to the book and really looked at what’s the concept of e-retail. And it’s really about breaking down those barriers, and that’s a very similar concept to what marketing automation does for small business, how do you breakdown these barriers and scale up so that you can have a small business marketing from the Caribbean or you can have someone halfway around the world selling something they made and it’s actually economically viable. And so that’s really sort of, I guess, kind of deep down as part of my passion and that’s what I decided yeah, I guess that’s what an e-retail author is.

James: Cool. When is that book due to come out?

Alexandra: It’s coming out in the fall. I think it’ll be on the shelves October 1st. And it’s called Zero Friction. So…

James: I like that. I heard you mention that. I actually wrote that down, creating a zero friction world. So out in October, great, I’ll make sure to put that in the show notes because we’re going to look for that. That’s pretty interesting.

Alexandra: I’ll send you a signed copy.

James: I love that. I would love that. I would even give you handy dandy review too.

Alexandra: That’d be fabulous. I’m super keen I’ll send you an early then.

James: Nice, nice. All right, so yeah. From Canada, working from around the world, around the globe, tell me how long is Spokal been around? You mentioned this was one of your fourth endeavors, entrepreneurial pursuits. How long have Spokal been in existence?

Alexandra: It’s over two years now. I mean we came together full time in Spokal, April 2012. So that’s me and my cofounder, Chris. And Chris actually started tinkering with the idea about November 2007, sort of part time, trying to see does this concept makes sense, is it resonating, can we actually do it technically. Spokal is quite technically robust just because we actually integrate with a ton of different providers. So he really wanted to see could we even do it as possible. And then we actually met at a co-working space out of Vancouver. And I really liked the idea and he was thinking, okay, well, let’s rev this up. So then we both went on it fulltime in April 2012.

James: Well, congratulations and you had a two-year anniversary not too long ago. That’s awesome.

Alexandra: Yeah, yeah. We had our first one, as I’ve said, we’re the first one down South and so this one is actually in a sort of sunny West coast of Canada.

James: Cool, cool. So obviously, it hasn’t been without a lot of hard work. So tell me just maybe one of your biggest challenges you had over the last two years or even something maybe that you can refer, now, it’s Chris Mack, that’s the CEO, the cofounder?

Alexandra: Yeah. He’s our CEO cofounder.

James: Cool, cool, maybe something that was like really in the way that you guys you were able to overcome, just kind of like a lesson learned so we can maybe get perspective of, it’s not just breezing in and cruising for two years, there’s got to be some bumps in the road. So tell me how you met them and overcame them.

Alexandra: I mean, I think I’m really glad you brought that up. We talked about it being really fun, and it’s great and working in Caribbean. I mean, the honest answer, it was a lot of really, really hard work. And there are definitely some dark days. And I think that we, two kind of keep challenges. The first was convincing anyone who was in a small business that Spokal was a good idea. So when we first started out, we were thinking that we would go your typical start up roots. So we create a little bit of a product, build some demand and fund raise. And every investor we talked to thought we were crazy because the small business market is notoriously difficult to reach, and notoriously expensive to do it. And we were trying to explain through the concept of inbound.

We’re not actually going out and campaigning. People are googling, how do I grow my business online, and they’ll find Spokal. And they’ll go through our inbound funnel, and they’ll convert. And we were explaining this, and we had very few people that were kind of willing to jump on board with us. And so sort of by default, we realized, okay, we’ll need to bootstrap this to show we can actually do what we say we can do. That was really, it was really interesting lesson early on because it actually forced us to really turn Spokal into a business right away and get a product out there and see what customers thought. And our first version of Spokal, I think the churn rate was about 80% to 90%. And so…

James: That’s cool. It got to start somewhere.

Alexandra: Well, it was pretty horrendous. I mean it was just awful. We really had, we designed the solution completely backwards. And so we spent the next six months designing something that kind of worked. And it took about a year after that actually to really built something and put it in the market that people found value with it. That actually significantly helped their businesses to the point now where we’ve created agency plans that agencies can use Spokal with their small businesses. So that’s kind of cool. But I think the biggest challenge honestly was just really having faith in what we were doing to overcome these obstacles. People wanted to, for example, there is a lot of people in our community that liked us, and said, well, if you’re doing another project, we’ll support you, both with knowledge and financial resources.

And so you sort of have to say, well, are we doing this just for a project or do we really believe in the power of small businesses and helping them succeed? And so it was really sort of a test of what do we want to do as entrepreneurs, what we want to spend our time on and what do we have to do to keep food on the table. And so this is actually really interesting. And so the whole time I was working on Spokal, well, not the whole time, but I was actually working on this book, and so that was a really interesting arrangement. So I was moonlighting on the book to help pay our bills so that in the early days, all of the money from customers we’re getting from Spokal, and our investment was going into the technical development because that was Spokal’s wheel-house. And so it’s been a really interesting journey. I mean we’re barely at the start line now. And we’ve definitely seen a transformation in the last, I’d say since about the fall 2013, starting to move faster in the right direction, and that’s been really exciting.

James: Critical mass, critical mass aiming, that’s cool. Yeah, so and I knew, we always wanted to talk about and remember the good stuff. But it’s also good to remember like where we came from and some of the hard stuff, a way makes us appreciate and my listeners definitely appreciate because they’re all hard working consultant authors, creators, small business owners and yeah, it’s work. And it sounds like you’re on the right track. I love the bootstrapping and just like doing whatever you need to do to move forward. That’s awesome, awesome. Can you, MA Software, Marketing Automation Software, for our listeners, can you basically tell us the nuts and bolts in a 35,000 feet view of what that means to maybe the small business? What is marketing automation software?

Alexandra: Absolutely, James. At its heart marketing automation is anything in that you do for marketing that you automate. And I know that sounds quite obvious but the reason I share that is often times, small business owners are doing marketing automation or are incorporating parts of it without realizing it. So for example, if you’re writing a blog, and you use a plug in to automatically publish your social feeds, that’s marketing automation, right? And the platform, a marketing automation platform, as long it really says okay, instead of you doing all of those different things in different places, we’re going to put into one place. So now, we’re going to make it easier. We’re going to automate your keyword research process. We’re going to automate your writing process. We’re going to cut down two minutes here and five minutes here of everything you do to create and share your content so that over the span of time, using a marketing automation platform, not only are you saving time but more importantly, you’re getting reach and effectiveness that you just would find impossible to do if you didn’t use a marketing automation platform.

James: So tell me how that relates to say someone in my audience, a day of life would be say a consultant or a creator, somebody that’s going out there, trying to get their message out there. So they’re creating content, useful content. They’re giving it out. Well, they’re pushing it out via maybe a Hootsuite or a Buffer or something like that, and hopefully, driving folks into their inbound funnel, some kind of an opt-in page or some kind of bringing them in back to their site and then working through nurturing them and hopefully getting them to one, opt-in and two, eventually getting them to do business with them. So how does that, how would they plug in to your system?

Alexandra: Spokal, specifically?

James: Yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: Totally, so Spokal works actually right from the very beginning of the content creation process. So you do Spokal to do all your keyword research and Spokal does everything from letting you know what you should write about now to what you should write about three months based on their traffic in your reach. And then you blog right in Spokal and we built a really nice drag & drop editor so it’s a super easy interface to use. And we have a ton of stuff in there that just makes the process faster. So for example, on the side, instead of describing what you need to do to optimize your post, we just tell you what to do. So it’s the difference. Instead saying, oh, I need to have a heading in my title, we’ll say, hey, you need to add, hot chocolate into your title, because you told us that’s your keyword and that’s what that needs to be. So it takes the guessing work right out.

Another thing we find is sourcing images can take time. So we integrate with Flickr: Creative Commons, and so you can drag & drop up to 30 million images and they’re properly attributed which is a big deal for again, businesses that don’t have a lot of time or money to spend looking for photos. We actually built that after I made a very big mistake and used a photo that I weakly thought we could use, and we couldn’t. And so we got, that was a really good learning experience for us. And we said, well, we can’t be the only ones here so let’s build that in and save time, and make sure that’s there. And anyway, so you create the content. You share it right from Spokal. We automatically publish to your Twitter, your Facebook wherever you want, and then what we’ve actually built in is a social sharing calendar so that every time you publish a blog post, you can say, share my post on Twitter four times, and then share it once again on Twitter in the next week and a couple times then next month.

And the reason we built that is we often find people don’t promote their content enough. And that’s one of the biggest reason they don’t extend their reach. And again, instead of taking 10 minutes to manually sharing, you’re manually scheduling your tweets. It’s already done in Spokal. And so then it’s super easy to share content as well because we link with Feedly. So you can basically curate and create your entire content strategy in Spokal. And of course, we also integrate with email marketing automation platforms and lead nurturing. So once you’ve published your content and shared it and you’re growing your reach, you can pull your leads back to Spokal and track them, and see how they’re doing. See which ones are the most likely to convert. Spokal will tell you when they’ve reached a certain score and then you can go after them. So it really tries to simplify that entire process.

James: Wow, what a great explanation. Thank you so much. I love that, all the pieces, the creative common images, the nurturing leads scoring and then the yeah, very, very intuitive. That’s awesome, awesome, awesome program. Cool. Let’s see, we talked a little bit earlier about being in and out at email. I’m just going to switch gears a little bit on productivity and accountability and, you got it together because you don’t spend your day in email like I do. And that’s, allows you to get a lot done. You’re not constantly checking in or running back to it and then feel compelled to answer which takes you away from and distracts you from the task at hand or doing business. So tell me about that and tell me about any other little personal tricks or tidbits that you do to keep you disciplined, face to the right direction.

Alexandra: Yeah. That’s a good point and so the first two for email, I never check my email in the morning and I read a book where an article said that concept. And I loved it. And so now, I do for the first hour, so if I know I have meetings or something coming up and I know I need to check my email at a certain time, I’ll make sure that I get an hour’s worth of work done so I feel productive and proactive before I start my day. And that’s the number one thing that I think, I really like that.

Number two is this as well, I tried to check in my inbox couple times a day, and I always log out of it so that it’s more a conscious thing. I would love Google to design something where you can compose your email without landing in to you inbox interface. That would save us all a lot of time. And anyways, another couple of tips, this is a bit, well, it might be a bit of help for your listeners. I’m not sure but, in the last eight months, I actually started meditation. And so I do 10 minutes a day, and what it actually helps you do is kind of be mindful. I think that’s the whole concept.

And anyways, so when you’re working way and you’re typing and you think, oh, it’s not happening on Facebook or that’s a cool blog. I’m going to go there. It just, you helps to be aware of, oh, interesting. That’s what I’m not doing right now. So I just have a little notepad. I scribble, check Facebook or whatever. And then by the time I’ve done my task, I look at that notepad and think, that’s not worth 10 minutes but I absolutely would’ve spend 10 minutes on it if I wasn’t mindful. So I mean, I know what works for one person doesn’t work for the next which is why it’s always interesting to hear productivity conversations. But for me, it’s just that, it’s being mindful when I’m about to get to a spin, an internet spin where you read every blog online and you come out of the internet an hour later, feeling so loaded with information and not necessarily loaded with actionable advise or something that’s going to help you today.

James: Totally, your meditation is becoming by and large, the very popular one even some of the big, big, gurus out there that these guys… I won’t name names but just some… I talked with a guy, particularly, he’s a monster. He’s got, he curses, he swears, he’s spiritual but he’s all over the place. But he meditates 20, 30 minutes a day. He gets so much done. And it is, it brings you, it keeps you centered. It keeps you, what’s the term you use, on task or just mindful. In the moment where you’re not compelled to, what’s going over there or oh, what’s going on over there? So yeah, awesome, awesome. It’s not too hokey at all. That’s a spot on and I’m hearing it more and more. It’s awesome, awesome. Yeah, so how about authors, I kind of like what to see what folks like you out there are reading both for inspiration and to keep up with trends and industry knowledge. What’s on your bookshelf right now on the top?

Alexandra: What’s on the top? Well, I just finished, Let Me Go, what is it called? It’s from Biz Stone, it it’s called What a Little Birdie Told Me. And so he was one of the four founders of Twitter. And it’s his recollection of what happened during that time. And it’s really a little bit of history about himself. And it’s written in a really fun like tone. And so I liked it because it was really easy to read, and it’s very insightful to learn how other entrepreneurs build these crazy companies. And the one that I’m reading right now is actually, Abundance by Peter Diamandis and I can’t remember the other author, so sorry…

James: No, it’s cool. I’ll look it up and I’ll have it in the show notes.

Alexandra: Perfect. But it’s a really cool concept of basically, instead of thinking about our world and our mind as being finite, it’s infinite. And what does that look like? And how do you create a world of abundance? And Biz Stone actually did a very similar concept in terms of creativity, it’s abundant if you use it today, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use this tomorrow. And so it’s neat when you read different, I mean Abundance is a much more scientific to read but it’s really neat when you read and you start to see parallels among some concepts. So I love to have a good book on my shelf. And I actually really like to have a hard paperback. So those are real books. They’re not ebooks, and I find when I’m in front of the screen all day, it’s actually really nice to turn it off and to fold, turn paper over paper. And it’s a really nice experience.

James: Agree, I totally agree with you especially outside. I just unplug, if you would.

Alexandra: Yeah, exactly.

James: Yeah, cool. Another trend that I see and actually my last two podcast ago, I kind of did like just tallied up who I interviewed the last 25 and, and these are trends, books and resources, meditation, also a lot of folks say they probably never would’ve made it if they didn’t have a mastermind or they didn’t network with some folks. So where are you with that? Do you have a mentor or do you have a mastermind group or somebody you check in with regularly?

Alexandra: I haven’t found a mastermind groups to be useful personally. I know a lot of people get value out of them. So I just, I haven’t found that for me. I do have some really good mentors. And I mean they have evolved over the years depending on where I am and I guess where am I in my life and who’s around me to kind of help me. And yeah, I mean in valuable, it doesn’t even begin to cut it. And I think when we talk about what is a mentor, for me, it’s someone that I can call in 2 in the morning or 3 in the morning when everything is gone, hell-in-a-handbasket, and who’s going to give you, sit there with you and go through that process. I mean I think, the concept that I see a little bit more which scares me is that, oh this is my mentor. I meet them once a month for lunch. I think that’s great. But you don’t need help once a month. You need four hours now, and then you don’t need anything for three months.

James L: In the trenches with you, when you need them?

Alexandra: Exactly. And I think when you’re looking at least the relationships that I’ve built as for my advisers, it’s you really need to look to someone that you can really build a real relationship with, and full disclosure, full trust, and it takes time to find that person. And it’s also okay to outgrow them or to have a different adviser or mentor different phase in your business career. And I think that’s also okay as well.

James: And there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s like I think a mentor can replace easily a mastermind group and vice versa. But a mastermind typically meets once a week, once a month, and yeah, you have those folks in there like, they’re at network. But if you have a real tight mastermind group, each one of those people are a mentor in and of themselves and you should be able to reach out to them at any point in time between meetings and pick up the phone at the 2 in the morning, saying, I’m in the weeds, help me out. And I think that’s the true mentor-mentee relationship.

Alexandra: Yup.

James: Cool, cool, cool. So tell us what you have going on as we wind it down. We got the book coming out in October. What’s coming down the pipe?

Alexandra: Well, there’s a few exciting things in the pipeline, can’t share a lot more than that right now, unfortunately. I hate when people do that. But I mean, Zero Friction is coming out as we talked about. Spokal is moving along pretty nicely. And it’s still very young in the 2014 year.

James: Cool. And well, tell us where we can check in with you periodically to see what’s happening.

Alexandra: Totally. So my Twitter is probably the best way to do that. And I’m sure we can put that in the notes. But it’s my name, @AlexandraSkey, and that’s the best way to reach out and to chat and to share and connect.

James: All right, and we will keep up with you. And the website is www.getspokal.com?

Alexandra: You got it, James.

James: Awesome. Hey, listen. I appreciate you coming out today. I’m glad we could finally get together and been a wealth of knowledge, very inspiring. Anyone out there looking to get into marketing automation, sounds like the premiere platform to be on. So we’ll check in again. I love to have you back on when the book comes out, maybe we can beat the bushes and I hope you get it out there.

Alexandra: That sounds like a fabulous idea.

James: Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much for your time today, Alexandra.

Alexandra: Thank you, James.

James: Okay, you take care.

Alexandra: You too.

James: Bye.

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025: Milestone Episode – Looking Back on the Last 6 Months

bigvaluebigbusiness.com
The Big Value Big Business – Podcast

Who have I interviewed, what have I learned…?

When I started podcast in Dec of last year I was so excited and full of hope, ambition and wonder about how this thing was going to shake out.

Podcast Highlights:

I am here now 6 months in… 24 episodes, this making 25 and I could not be happier with the results.

Let me take a second and give a shout out to my guests:

  • 024: Mimika Cooney – CaptureSchool.com
    • 002: James Schramko – SuperFastBusinesss.com
    • So… Just how well is the Podcast doing…Let’s See:

      Am I rolling in endorsements and sponsors? Nope not a one
      Do I have this huge email list of listeners? Nope it’s actually a pretty modest list of some of the most fantastic people I could ever have the pleasure to serve.
      Am I monetizing anything? Nope not a thing – not a dime.

      You know if you are anywhere in or around the internet marketing space, you’ll notice the huge push for podcasts. There is hardly a successful or even an up and coming blogger, online marketer, author or consultant out there that does not have some kind of podcast, google plus hangout, TV show on YouTube…whatever I am talking lots of folks out there are using audio and video to help them get their message to even more people

      Speaking strictly of the guys I know this huge influx of podcast i think has been inspired I part by the success and influence of:

      BVBB 016: John Lee Dumas – entrepreneuronfire.com
      BVBB 010: Pat Flynn – smartpassiveincome.com

      Just these 2 guys alone combined have downloads close to tens of millions.
      They have listeners in practically every corner of the world and daily they provide their listeners with valuable information, motivation and inspiration..

      These 2 gents; Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas were in a big way responsible for inspiring me to start the Big Value Business Podcast.

      I am a faithful listener of both of these guys and I have really tried to bring big value to my prospective audience just like they have…and of course get paid in the process.

      I know a lot of folks started a podcast as a result of listening to and being inspired by guys like this. Heck who wouldn’t want to make over 100 grand a month like John Lee Dumas?

      Unfortunately not everybody can be so lucky to hit it big time like these guys…
      Hey guys like John and Pat have paid plenty of dues and have worked incredibly hard for the blessings they now enjoy and they continue to work hard each and every day serving their respective tribes
      While a few folks have been able to crack the code, grab a decent size following and make a really good living with their podcast… alas most folks working a podcast like me have not.

      That doesn’t mean we have failed. It just means we have to work a little harder and go at it a little bit longer.

      I knew I wasn’t going to set the world on fire in the first 6 months. Probably not even a spark in the first year. And frankly that was not my intention. I wanted to get to know the folks that I have had the pleasure and good fortune to interview. I wanted to learn about them, what they do, how they became successful and how they continue to thrive by….wait for it …wait for it…
      How they continue to be successful by providing big value!

      I also wanted to provide my listeners some big value as well by asking the right questions and hopefully getting some answers that would inspire my friends to take their businesses and their lives to the next level.

      These last 6 months have been a huge learning experience for me. I am so grateful to everyone that has given me their time so generously.

      And while I am speaking of gratitude I really and truly want to thank all of you…my listeners. My audience — my friends…thank you for letting me come in to your life..heck into your ears for a short time as you listened. I really do feel that it is truly an honor to have you take time out of your busy life to listen to something I produce – and I can’t put it any other way so I say thank you

      So exactly what have I learned over these past 6 months from chatting with some of the best and brightest marketing minds on the planet…?

      I could easily fill 2 hours or more in podcast time if I went over everything I learned….
      But I will call out a few things here that are top of mind that I think I should share with you:

      One thing that I can honestly say is that for the brief time I had the pleasure to be with any of these folks – I would not hesitate to enter into a project or joint venture with any of them.
      They are all fine, fair and absolutely hardworking individuals.

      So Lesson 1
      First thing that comes to mind is kindness and generosity.
      Everyone I have had the pleasure to speak with was so kind and giving of themselves and their time and expertise. I don’t compensate anyone for their time so what they give of themselves is purely complementary. And a lot of my guests are extremely busy people running million dollar plus companies..

      Lesson-1: Always be giving back no matter how busy or successful you have become.

      Secondly, is focus. Each and every person I have spoken with has the ability to be extremely focused. The winners I speak to have this ability to laser focus on their mission, their product, their market and their audience. You can just tell when you hear them speak they know what they are going to say because they have a clear and unwavering focus in what their about.

      Lesson-2: Focus… focus on what’s important to your mission and your audience. Avoid multitasking and set goals for yourself daily that contribute to your big picture goals

      Third, everyone I speak to is constantly learning. They attend events, seminars, and talks and they read voraciously and constantly.
      Their learning consists of but not limited to strategies for business, self improvement, psychology and life enrichment of their lives and the lives of those around them. These reading lists are huge and diverse. I will share these of the titles on the show notes page:
      Bigvaluebigbusiness.com/episode25

      So…Lesson – 3  Read, Learn, Grow… invest in yourself heavily. Get out and keep up with what’s happening in the world both online and offline. Go to events, network, learn and read…constantly feed your brain

      Fourth – This next one kind of goes along with number 3… get out and network… no successful business person that I have spoken to or moreover anyone i have ever read about has ever had any success in a vacuum. Everyone I chat with has had at least one mentor, or one mastermind or meeting group that they confide in on a regular basis. Even the most successful folks I know of have someone or some group that they rely on for inspiration and support… and to that end they also contribute their knowledge to the same folks that they are learning from as well

      Lesson – 4…have a mentor, a mastermind, and or some kind of support group where you can give and receive the gifts that are so important to success in business and in life.

      Fifth – All the knowledge in the world is useless without action…
      All of my guests are action takers. They have become successful not by sitting on the sidelines but getting in the game… All in the game.
      We have this tendency to gather as much information as we can whenever we can. No matter if we need the information or not, we squirrel it away for later cuz “ you never know when I will need that short-cut or that strategy or that hack.

      Lesson -5 Learn it – then – implement it — period. If you’re not going to use it now, leave it, you probably don’t need it and it’s just a distraction. Don’t download that ebook or checklist of tip and tricks and hack only to have it take up space on your hard-drive. Get what you need when you need it and act on it now!

      So this is at a very high level the some of the lessons I have learned from the fantastic group of folks that have graced the first 25 episodes of the Big Value Big business Podcast.

      I can honestly say that all of these lessons have made the path clearer for success. I am still growing but i feel i am heading in the right direction.

      Be sure to tune is next week for big value big business as usual.

      As with each and every episode I hope to bring some big value into your day – you take care – and I’ll be talking to you again – real soon.

      How do you want to Subscribe?

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    024: Mimika Cooney – CaptureSchool.com

    mimika-cooney
    Mimika Mimika Cooney is the creator and host of
    “Mimika TV“, a published author, speaker and small business marketing expert.

    Mimika’s new passion and focus is teaching
    solopreneurs, creatives and photographers the
    fundamentals of business and marketing through her online membership site at www.CaptureSchool.com

    Have a listen to my chat with Mimika.

    See highlights and links from of our chat below…
    Check out the transcript or download it to read later: ENJOY!

    DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT

    Podcast Highlights:

    Mission to Help Creatives Focus and Grow Their Business
    So really the whole niche is, the one man person or one woman show, even a small business who doesn’t have a lot of resources but needs to know the shortcuts… I’ve always had a passion for teaching and helping others grow. So, for me, I always thought there was something bigger I was made to do with what I’ve done in my life.

    I’m really excited in order to help other entrepreneurs and creative’s because I’m sure you can tell a lot of us creative’s suffer from a bit of ADD. We can’t focus very well on longer tasks and sometimes I find there’s a lot of things out there that make it hard to, implement into business especially when it comes from a creative side because you want to make it easy to implement, easy to learn.

    Why the Name: Capture School,
    It’s about, capturing people’s imaginations, capturing people’s dreams, helping them really take ownership of what it is that they want to achieve in their businesses.

    I can’t travel a lot. So for me, I kind of felt that it would make more sense to put everything that I know into an online format because a lot of my students that learn from me are also moms and work part time and try to run a household. Travelling is an issue as well as time. So for me I’m always about how can I make things, work smarter and get more done in less time. And the whole structure of the whole school is going to be online learning. So it will be video and audio downloads as well as worksheets.

    So it’s a system I put together that I’ve developed that I feel, certain So it’s like an online forum for busy entrepreneurs… so it’s kind of like combining, online learning with the coaching model as well.

    We’re All in the People Business
    It’s people who click links, not computers. So even if we’re talking about PPC or whether you’re B2B, or B2C, whatever type of business you’re in — At the end of the day, we have to appeal to people and people are emotionally driven and then that’s what I’m finding the more I read and the more I study is that it’s still very — even in a very sort of logical business, people are still driven by the emotions.
    So it’s like how do you touch on that? How do you get people to listen and it’s all about standing out in a really busy saturated economy. So you have to work much harder to break through the noise…

    Marketing Today is Like Dating
    So I like to take you through almost like a dating process. First, we’ve got to get a little flirting, get them to like what they see and then you start to do the wooing and then you start the conversation and then you start to ask them on a date and then eventually you can ask them to marry you and then they’ll give you the keys to the house. But, it’s all part of the process of getting them to know like and trust you…

    Short Reading List

    Start with Why:
    How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
    by Simon Sinek

    The War of Art:
    Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
    by Steven Pressfield

    Fascinate:
    Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation
    by Sally Hogshead

    Make Your Idea Matter: Stand out with a better story
    by Bernadette Jiwa

    Drunk Tank Pink:
    And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave

    Lean In:
    Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
    by Sheryl Sandberg

    Business Brilliant:
    Surprising Lessons from the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons
    by Lewis Schiff

    Contagious: Why Things Catch On Hardcover
    by Jonah Berger

    The System for Efficiency
    If it doesn’t fit into the three my little acronym where I called the sad to glad approach – I don’t do it.

    SAD to GLAD

    S. Systematize
    I have systems for everything that’s repeatable, automate things that I would do more than once like for instance autoresponders via email

    A. Automate
    As I mentioned is that the email responders are sending out things, birthday cards,

    D. Delegate
    And, it’s something that I feel that I don’t need to do if it’s not making me money or bringing me closer to finding new business it’s not something I can afford to do myself.
    It’s something that I feel that I don’t need to do if it’s not making me money or bringing me closer to finding new business it’s not something I can afford to do myself. You would think, oh I can’t afford to pay someone to do this. When you break it down and you work on how much you worth and what your value is in terms of clients, you can’t afford not to delegate. Your time is money. So things like cleaning my house is not a good use of my time.

    Being Too Attached to YOUR Work
    In the words of Seth Godin – “We Need to Ship” – Get our product out there: “90% is better than 100% of nothing right.”

    Just getting it out there, putting it out there and this is another thing from creative’s, we don’t like the criticism because our art is almost like — it’s part of us and it almost feels like a personal attack when someone doesn’t like something.

    And I think that’s the differences I found with creative’s and sort of more business minded people is they can separate the two, the business from the personal
    It’s something that you are creating out of your own heart. It’s something your mind’s eye that you have developed from nothing that it is your baby and no one wants to be told their babies ugly, right?

    Contact Mimika:
    www.MimikaCooney.com
    www.CaptureSchool.com
    Twitter @mimikacooney

    Her Books
    Boutique Baby Photography:
    The Digital Photographer’s Guide to Success in Maternity and Baby Portraiture

    Photographing Newborns:
    For Boutique Photographers

    Download the Transcript - Enter Your Email

    BigValueBigBusiness.com
    Mimika Cooney
    MimikaCooney.com

    TranscriptJames: Alright, welcome back my friends to yet another edition of the Big Value, Big Business Podcast. I am your host James Lynch. I am really big, big, big time super excited about my especial guest today, her name is Mimika Cooney. Mimika is a South African-born international award-winning photographer. She is the creator and host of Mamika TV. She’s a published author, speaker and a small business marketing expert. Mimika enjoys sharing her business marketing and photography knowledge both online and at workshops to other professional photographers and small business owners.
    Mimika’s new passion and focus is teaching solopreneurs, creative’s and photographers the fundamentals of business in marketing through her online membership site that can be found at CaptureSchool.com. It is a pleasure to welcome Mimika to the Big Value, Big business Podcast today. Mimika, how are you today?

    Mimika: Hi James! Thanks for having me on. I’m super exited!

    James: I know, and I am excited to have you. How is everything going?

    Mimika: We are good, as I said when we were chatting earlier, I got all dressed up looking all pretty for you but of course this is for the radio so you can just imagine I have my pretty lipstick on.

    James: We’ll do, and that’s a visual for all of our listeners. That’s cool, very, very, pretty lady, awesome. Hey, and I want to thank you for coming on the show today, I’m really excited for you to share with our listeners that everything that you can in the time allowed about how we can like discover are true brand and how we can develop and implement a magnetic marketing strategy that will help boost our sales and take our businesses to new heights. Does that sound like a plan?

    Mimika: It does now, definitely, that’s definitely hits right on the money with what we like to aim for, right?

    James: Cool, absolutely. So, if we could maybe just get a little history, I know you — we all hear the accent and I did mention you come from South Africa. So, tell us about, Mimika, where she came from, a little bit about, where, your journey and what brought you here to where you are today?

    Mimika: Sure, well as you mentioned I am South African-born, I was born and raised in Johannesburg. And I met and married my childhood sweetheart and together we, actually started delving into the internet marketing industry when it first hit South Africa in ’95 and I remember designing websites in front page that would look good on Netscape. So that is like, that ages me right there. But, the fun thing is, both my husband and I, we’re just fascinated with this whole internet and how, online marketing and, how you actually reach businesses.
    So, both him and I worked together for about six, seven years developing our online business and we did everything from web design, we did a lot of PR, dealt with client’s even cold-call setting. And, then from there we did that business and my husband we had the opportunity to move to England. So when we had one and a half kids, I was pregnant at the time, we moved to England, and my mom and my sister lived there. So I have a Greek dad, English mom, born in South Africa, we are complete fruit salads.

    James: Cool.

    Mimika: So, yeah. So we set up shop again in England and got into, I mean, I’m doing business there and then that’s why I fell in love with photography as a hobby and then eventually wanted to make it my career. So, I’ve always sort of had been delving in internet marketing and I’ve always loved marketing , telling stories, finding out what fascinates people, what makes people take, how do you reach people? And of course with photography, it became a visual medium and I’ve been a professional photographer going on 11 years now.
    And now at this moment I am living in Charlotte, North Carolina in the US. So, we’ve kind of gone like a good round trip to cover the continents in the last sort of 15 years and here we are today.

    James: Awesome, awesome and your still raising a family, your family is still growing?

    Mimika: Yes, I have a 15, a 13 and a three-year-old. So, I keep myself busy.

    James: God bless you, that awesome. So, you’ve done internet marketing and then you branched off into photography. It looks like you kind of made your living in the photography world there for a while, always keeping your hand in the internet marketing space and kind of just using that to drive your business. So, you’ve got a new project and we’re really anxious to hear about, Earn More By Working Smarter, your school for creative’s, the Capture School. Could you tell us what’s going on with that?

    Mimika: Yes. Well, I’ve always loved learning. I have like a ton of books. I have six of them on my bedside table I’m reading at different times and for me I always love to look at other industries, in order help what I am doing. So for instance, when I was in internet marketing and I wanted to become a professional photographer, I took all those skills in order to promote myself and to, get brand awareness in the new areas we were moving into. And so over the years I’ve sort of honed my skills of course having my husband who is an internet marketer, I always get some advice for free, just need to bat my eyelids and he helps.
    So that’s always been fun but I’ve always had a passion for teaching and helping others grow. So, for me, I always thought like there was something bigger I was made to do with what I’ve done in my life. And I’m really excited in order to help other entrepreneurs and creative’s because I’m sure you can tell a lot of us creative’s suffer from a bit of ADD. We can’t focus very well on longer tasks and sometimes I find there’s a lot of things out there that make it hard to, implement into business especially when it comes from a creative side because you want to make it easy to implement, easy to learn.
    So I’ve taken all my years of experience in photography, in visual marketing, online marketing and I’ve now created the school particular for creatives. So really the whole niche is, the one man person or one woman show who even a small business who doesn’t have a lot of resources but needs to know the shortcuts because believe me, I’ve made so many mistakes that cost me, thousands and thousands of dollars. And I paid for like close to $30,000 worth of coaching and training over the years that I feel, if I could help someone else leapfrog my mistakes, all the better getting someone ahead in their business.

    James: Absolutely. So that’s what the Capture School. So explain to me just what that means Capture School, how did you come with that name?

    Mimika: Well, that is a funny question because I actually started, I always wanted to do something online and I felt, I do a lot of workshops in person but being a mom with three kids and my younger sister in preschool, I can’t travel a lot. So for me, I kind of felt that it would make more sense to put everything that I know into an online format because a lot of my students that learn from me are also moms and work part time and try to run a household. Travelling is an issue as well as time. So for me I’m always about how can I make things, work smarter and get more done in less time.
    And the whole structure of the whole school is going to be online learning. So it will be video and audio downloads as well as worksheets. So it’s a system I put together that I’ve developed that I feel, certain points that need to be met in order to create almost like your own business model because you mentioned, creative business pen and most creative’s get hives, it’s like, oh gosh, don’t make to think like that. So it’s a really — it’s an intuitive process and of course it’s very community driven. I love to have other people’s inputs and there’s a private Facebook group as well where — and creating that sense of community and accountability. So it’s like an online forum for busy entrepreneurs.

    James: Yeah, to exchange and help each other out and you are there as well, coaching along the way, correct?

    Mimika: Yes.

    James: Yeah.

    Mimika: Yes, so it’s kind of like combining, online learning with the coaching model as well as — I mean, you also mentioned earlier, every week, I put out a web show and I called Mimika TV. And how that developed is, I’ve always been interested in how other people have made their success because it takes years to become an overnight success, right?

    James: Absolutely.
    Mimika: So for me, I just wanted to know, I am really, being South African, I’m straight down the line. I don’t sugar-coat anything. I get straight to, cut to the chase. So with my interviews, I love to interview other creative’s who have either been in a while who have created something of value and who’ve, developed something that can help other people. And what I’ve discovered along the way is this whole thread of people really need to get the business down. And you can be a great photographer, you can be a great craftsman unless you know the elements and the fundamentals of business, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you would struggle because classic example is starving artist syndrome.

    James: Sure.
    Mimika: And, part of my mission is to eradicate that and to help the artists really lift their game in terms of the business side.

    James: I love that, I love that. And speaking of artist and creative, you’ve written a book and you have a second one in the queue?
    Mimika: Yes. So what I’ve done, my first book was called Boutique Baby Photography and really what I did is I took the whole structure of how I’ve run my business over the last sort of six, seven years. And in photography, I’ve run the gamete, I’ve done weddings and families and babies and children. And I find I really love, the creativity that was involved with doing newborns and babies. So, and the system that I developed in running my studio, I put into this book. And coming up this fall is the second edition which is more specific just to newborn photographers and that takes them right through, the branding business, pricing, lighting, it’s really like would be like my business system in a box.

    James: That’s fantastic.

    Mimika: Yeah, thank you.

    James: Awesome, awesome. Well, I wish you the best of luck and you’ll have to let us know when that title Newborn Photography comes out so we can help you push that too.

    Mimika: Yes. That will be September 4th, it’s actually available on Amazon right now for preorders. But yeah, our official publish date is September 4th, so that will be fun.

    James: Awesome and I’ll make sure to include that in the show notes as well people —

    Mimika: Perfect!

    James: — can click through and so is there preorder?

    Mimika: Yes, you can actually place the preorder. So yeah, if you are interested, you can have a look and you can also just search for the other book. And it’s a lot of information. And even though it’s about photographers, sometimes I think a lot of it can be taken from a business perspective that even people who aren’t photographers, who find the business side that I talk about very useful which is why I’ve branched out into making this new, the Capture School and, going back to what you asked me earlier was, why the word capture.
    And for me it was all about, it’s not just about the photography but it’s about, capturing people’s imaginations, capturing people’s dreams, helping them really take ownership of what it is that they want to achieve in their businesses. So yeah, that’s pretty much where that came from.

    James: Awesome. Yeah and you touched on and actually we talked before we actually get on the podcast about, there is — you could pick up something from especially when you’re giving, you’re doing interviews with different types of businesses and business models and it’s interesting how they market and a lot of it is the same there are some components that are different or just haven’t been discovered by the mainstream marketing world. I learned so much talking to people like you. The photographers, the creative’s, I mean, so much talking to musicians, just how to think out of the box and come at your marketing from a different perspective.
    So there is a lot to be said about branching out and studying and listening to and looking into other forms of business and how they do market online.

    Mimika: Definitely. I mean and that’s what I get so passionate about is, I love reading books and studying other industries in order to bring those parts that we feel like, that I feel is missing from my industry and bringing it because I’d really do think that it is, as you said there’s a lot of common denominators when it comes to marketing but at the end of the day, I mean, we now all live in the connection economies. People don’t click.

    James: Yeah.

    Mimika: It’s people who click links, not computers. So even if we’re talking about PPC or whether you’re B to B, or B to C, whatever type of business you’re in —

    James: Yeah.

    Mimika: At the end of the day, we have to appeal to people and people are emotionally driven and then that’s what I’m finding the more I read and the more I study is that it’s still very — even in a very sort of logical business, people are still driven by the emotions. So it’s like how do you touch on that? How do you get people to listen and it’s all about standing out in a really busy saturated economy.

    James: Yeah and I’m laughing because my last guest, that just came out last Wednesday, Bryan Kramer who wrote H 2 H or Human to Human, there is no more B2C, there is no more B2B. And he says this saying, it’s a phrase that he uses is, delightfully disruptive and that’s what we have to learn to be because there are people behind those clicks and those impressions and all of those ads and it is, we are dealing with another human being when we boil it right down.

    Mimika: Definitely. So it’s about how you appeal and also I’m sure you’d find that people now, we’re so bombarded by things out there that you’re not going to just believe the first thing you hear, hook line and sinker, you’re going to — people tend to be more skeptical. So you have to work much harder to break through the noise and it’s almost like, remember a couple of years ago, we sort of just see product placements in TV shows, sitcoms and things like you see the Apple computer pop-up and you see the Coca-Cola or the American Idol, the cups.
    And it’s kind of like subtle marketing and I think it’s almost like, and when I teach my students, I call it the wooing. You got to think of marketing like you’re dating. You wouldn’t just go up to some girl in the bar and go, hey honey, you want to get married? No, weirdo, get away from me, that’s freaky. And that’s how a lot of us approach our marketing with our businesses. Here I am, here is my business card, here is price sheet, book me and it’s like first of all I don’t know you, you’re standing way too close, can you give me some space please. Let me figure out who you are first and then when I’m ready, I’ll approach you.
    So I like to take you through almost like a dating process. First, we’ve got to get a little flirting, get them to like what they see and then you start to do the wooing and then you start the conversation and then you start to ask them on a date and then eventually you can ask them to marry you and then they’ll give you the keys to the house. But, it’s all part of the process of getting them to know like and trust you, so yeah.

    James: Yeah, you took the word know like and trust, I knew you were alluding to that and that is so true more so even today. There is so much noise and, yeah, we just have to take out time. And that’s kind of what prompted me. I worked in agencies most of my internet marketing career to pay the bills and it’s push, push, push, push marketing even though it is kind of direct response because I do use Adwords and people are looking for you but it’s how you position yourself as to what is going to ingratiate you to the searcher or to your perspective client. Absolutely, love it.

    Mimika: Definitely.

    James: So tell me about just a little bit about present day, maybe a day in the life, is the new website, is the Capture School ready to go or you’re still putting the finishing touches on that and where are you putting most of your time today?

    Mimika: Yeah. Well, basically, this week my three-year-old is now no longer in preschool. So I have to kind of like — I said, I do 40 hours of work in 20 hours. I work at a lightning pace. I went out, it’s like ready-set-go. If I can grab bits of time, trying to be a mommy in between and getting ready for the podcast this morning, my son forgot his lunch. I had to dash to the school and come back and get, you know. So for me, it’s kind of a little crazy, always trying to do things in little bit pieces. And, but I find you know, I’ve been able to give myself the life balance that I want by learning to say no.
    And it was really hard in the beginning because before I had my third child, I had obviously the big gap between first, second and then third one. And at that stage, my business was really going well. I had people employed that were working in my studio. And eventually found that, as things grew and my life situation changed. I had to adjust the way that I do things. And I just found that as business owners as well, we evolve with time and we can’t feel like, okay, one thing work now and doesn’t work anymore that it’s a failure.
    And this is something I find a lot but especially with creative’s as we kind of take it personally like if our, like we almost, like we don’t know what success looks like because we look at someone else’s business and we think, well, look at that person, they’ve got like six employees and they’ve got like, 2000, turnover a year but that’s great for them if it works for them.

    James: Sure.

    Mimika: And that’s what I found as well when I’m passionate about helping people work through that, it’s finding what’s best for them in that situation and that time. And yeah, so I’m all about efficiency and if it doesn’t fit into the three my little acronym where I called the sad to glad approach which is systemized, automate and delegate, if it doesn’t fit in any of those, I don’t do it.

    James: I love that and I was going to say my next question was your mindset and this is a personal note on rituals for productivity. So would you repeat that acronym again? It’s sad and it’s systemized, automate and or delegate?

    Mimika: Yes. So you want to go from a sad to a glad approach, you have to systemize, automate and delegate. So the only way that I could keep myself sane and on target is to make sure that I have systems for everything that’s repeatable, automate things that I would do more than once like for instance autoresponders via email and delegate like if I can’t do things myself and can’t fit it in the time that I have available, I will delegate. So it’s like an example would be systemizing the way when I interview guest like I have my online system that sends automatic email at certain times, helps them prepare.
    So I don’t have to be rushing around, trying to find information about guests before an interview or before a client comes to see me for a photo session. Automating, yeah as I mentioned is that the email responders are sending out things, birthday cards, and then delegating like years ago, about four years ago, I gave up my photo retouching to a girl who I still work with today. And, it’s something that I feel that I don’t need to do if it’s not making me money or bringing me closer to finding new business it’s not something I can afford to do myself.

    James: I love that.

    Mimika: So, yeah.

    James: I love that quote.

    Mimika: Yes, I mean that’s the thing that it’s like for instance like, especially us working moms, we have this constant working mother guilt. Now, it’s like when you’re working, you feel guilty you’re not with your kids and then when you think that you feel guilty about the work and the never ending to-do list that never ends and especially with clients or businesses that are service based or time for trade which are like photographers, consultants, maybe you’re selling your time for money, your time is money. So things like cleaning my house is not a good use of my time.
    I’d rather pay someone 20 bucks an hour to clean my house while I can make potentially 200 bucks an hour in revenue than me spending my hourly rate doing that. And that like retouching was another thing, or just simple things that you would think, oh I can’t afford to pay someone to do this. When you break it down and you work on how much you worth and what your value is in terms of clients, you can’t afford not to delegate.

    James: Touche, Touche.

    Mimika: So yeah, that’s kind of my approach, get rid of it, either say no or clean out and just streamline. And so, you can have your sanity back because, I’m sure you can agree when times get busy and you feel like you’re just overwhelmed, you can’t be creative and you can’t be effective.

    James: Absolutely, absolutely, I totally agree. Fantastic. So mindset, let’s talk about the bed stand and the six books. Who you’re reading right now or who do you like to read. Do you have any favorite author or?

    Mimika: Well, I could tell you I have a few. Of course I finished reading Simon Sinek’s Start With Why which is great. I love the War of Art. I have studied Hogs Heads, fascinate book that I’m actually listening on audio. What was the other one, I had a lot of them. It’s funny as I’ll buy them on audio and if I like them I’ll go and buy the hard copy then I’ll go through it again and then make highlighted notes. So, yeah, and some things I’ll find good, some things I’ll find, you know, I’ll get lots of tips from them and I’ll go back do them again like two other books I recently read, Make Your Idea Matter by Bernadette Jiwa.
    And what was the other one? Drunk Tank Pink was also quite interesting I think it’s Adam Alter. I have a whole like slew of books I am always reading it on in bits and pieces and of course things, even things like Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In was pretty interesting to me too. So yeah, if I go on vacation, I cannot read a novel. I have to read a business book. I feel like it’s a waste of my time, unless I’m learning something.

    James: I feel the same way and every person I bring on the podcast is the same. Every successful entrepreneur, creative, they, yeah, and a lot of the same authors come up especially Simon Sinek and Steven Pressfield who is —

    Mimika: Yes, and I always feel like it’s like a cliché now when you speak to people but it’s so relevant. And of course like Seth Godin of course is a good one and even like one, one you might like as well is Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff, that was a really cool one and Contagious by Jonah Berger, that was a really nice way of thinking of why people react the way they do, how to make ideas stick, things like that.

    James: Cool, I am writing this stuff down. Thank you very much.

    Mimika: No problem, I’ll send you a link to my list.

    James: Yes, yes, yeah, I would love to have it. Alright, so cool, tell us now, let’s just jump back into the nuts and bolts, I guess our listeners are creative’s, they are consultants, they are small business owners, what would be — I find sometimes when a lot of our folks are having trouble, getting traffic, finding traffic, finding the right audience. What is the best advice if you could succinctly tell us, defining our best targeted audience and how to approach them?

    Mimika: Yeah, I mean definitely. This is something I’ve learned in the businesses that I have ran that’s evolved over time. I mean, of course a few years ago was all about keyword research. I’ve got to have the right keywords, got to have the right meta tags and then it was all about links. How can you get people to link to you and then of course every time Google does update like the Panda update, everyone has a freakout because it’s like, oh, got go change everything. At the end of the day, what I find is that if you try to be all things to all people, you’ll drive yourself batty.
    And something that I like to and it’s something I’ve learned by my own mistakes, in my business, just because I could, it doesn’t mean I should. And I have learned that’s part of the whole saying no is also really honing down your niche market. And getting really specific about your client avatar, I think a lot of think, oh, you know, I want to be an online marketer. So I’m just going to go blast everything wherever I can get my name out there. And sometimes it’s less effective that way. So what I feel, you have to be very specific about your client avatar because if you are very broad ranged, you’ll appeal to no one.
    So really being specific about even whether it’s a male or female and age group, it’s almost like the old demographics but you got think even further than that like if you put yourself in the shoes of someone looking at your website or your business, it’s all got to be about user interaction, how does this make it easier for the user. I always take the example if I’m going to shop at the mall and I’m looking for a pair of black Pumps for instance, black high heel shoes. I’m not even going to go into the store that’s like for Nike tennis shoes or the baby store that sells children’s clothing.
    If I am looking for black Pumps, I’m going to block out any other store that doesn’t service my needs and I’m going to start to drill down exactly the type of style, whether it’s Nordstrom or a Target or whatever kind of brand or price range I’m looking at. And I think if we think of it like our audience or our potential clients are walking down the hallway of a store, how would we appeal to them? And of course it’s okay not to be everybody’s cup of tea. It’s fine to say okay, maybe I’m not a good fit for you and maybe you’re I better service somewhere else.
    I mean, even in my husband’s online business, he has learned that certain clientele that don’t have a certain budget to work with don’t enable him to do a really good job. So it’s a matter of coming to piece about the fact that you can appeal to everybody but looking at it from like a Red Velvet robe, who you’re going to let in to your business? Who are, do you know that as clients can you thrill and really make happy because who really wants to have a bad experience with the client who goes away unhappy, right? It’s not good for business.

    James: No, it’s not good for your reputation either or future business.

    Mimika: Exactly. So that’s what I find, yeah and a lot of people are, why are we spending so much time trying to figure out our target market. I kind of know, let’s say for photographers, I know I want to be wedding photographer like why do we have to be so specific? Well, there are certain styles of wedding photography. You can have more a photo journalistic approach or you can have more of a traditional approach. Do you use a lot of external flashes, do you like more natural light, even down to the type of lenses they use gives the work a different feel.
    And everybody has a different story they want to tell. And it’s a matter of the thing, that specific in order to find. So even from an online perspective, I mean and I’ve done this myself, I’ve wasted so much money on click ads, trying to spend money on trying to find drive traffic to a website but unless I know what those target market is and what this keyword search terms are, I’m kind of like wasting my money or like Facebook ads is another one. I’ve also wasted so much money on that trying to just get anybody within the radius of say 100 miles to try to click on an ad for photography, special, I just don’t think that’s effective anymore. It’s almost like it’s got to be you talking straight to them.

    James: Yes.

    Mimika: Like, so like the dog whistle so when they hear it immediately pokes up the ears and I know, okay, this is for me. This is who I need to speak to.

    James: Yeah, yeah and I think you need to and once you start with small wins, then you need to reverse engineer that and see what those people find out what those people are all about.

    Mimika: Exactly yeah. And it’s really getting deep into the mindset like I even notice like I’m trying to be more aware to like I react to things online like, even if you’re going down the Instagram feed, I mean you know how quickly you can scroll down even Facebook on your mobile phone.

    James: Sure, where do you stop?

    Mimika: I mean, yeah, I’m just like, just go, and unless something really stands out. You’re not even going to give it a — not even a quarter second consideration. So it’s almost like you’ve got to make sure that everything from your brand, your brand colors, the way you speak, the way your website is laid out, and so really, the message comes across and it resonates with the right people.

    James: Yeah. And you know what, just listening to this, I’m just going to flip this on its head for a minute because what we just said, it just requires an enormous amount of time and research and attention to detail but you have to start somewhere. So without painting too broad strokes, where do we start even with someone that doesn’t even have an audience, do you research the competition, do you send out surveys, like how do you start to start to build this dossier of –?

    Mimika: That’s the thing is, the sad truth is, we have to work 10 times harder than we used to before. We really do, before we take maybe four, five times to people, for people to hear your message for them to react; now they say it’s 10 or 12 times. I mean for me in developing the content for my Capture School and of course me being a perfectionist, I did a soft launch and I’m still tweaking it because I really feel like I really want this to work for people. And I did everything from, did a test launch, I did a surveys, I called people and asked them what their struggles where. Everything from doing my Mimika TV interviews, trying to hear what people are saying and what their reaction is, everything from the comments or like post something on Facebook and try get reactions from that and see what people would say. Gone, forms of groups and hear what the conversation is doing, reading books, it does take a lot of work and I might say if I look back, probably it’s close to two years since I’ve been trying to hone in my right market of who I’m going to deliver this content to. And it took me twice as long as I thought it would. And the frustrating thing is, it’s still not 100% there but what I have realized is it’s always evolving; it’s always work in progress because you have to keep your ear to the ground. We can’t afford to do the old school of put a shingle out on the front of the business and hope everyone driving by is going to like, love to come in and see you.

    James: Absolutely. If you look at my — if you listen to my introductory podcast, the episode one I did, we can no longer hang a shingle out there. If you build it, they will come. I see.

    Mimika: Exactly, that doesn’t work anymore.

    James: Not anymore.

    Mimika: That’s all British coming out.

    James: Yeah.

    Mimika: And it just, I mean even from when I started in photography, I went back to night school and we lived in the City of York which is a really old Roman town which has history dating back to like 600 BC. And what I find is that even though it was a smaller town, and when I first started to get into photography, there are maybe six or 10 of us wedding photographers. About the time I left, when we moved from York to America, there would probably like at least 25 wedding photographers there. But then when I moved from the UK to the USA, it was like 2000 people within the state and I was like, oh my gosh, this is like competition on steroids.
    And I realized I had to up my game that, the industry is different, the pace is different but no matter what country you’re in or what culture you’re in, at the end of the day we still have to appeal to what people want and need in life. So, for a bride getting married, she’s going to have a certain style. I mean, you just need to watch some of these reality shows, it’s what — the bridezillas, and even the dress, “say yes to the dress” kind of things. They are very specific about what they like. And I know that what kind of client fits especially if you are consultant of client. You need to know what their pain points are and again that’s another part that I always press on and teaching people as understanding what really pains your clients. So whether you are a service or a product, watch the likes of Shark tank. Why develop these products, do you think. Surely someone has thought of this before, but they have thought of another pain point that this product perhaps, you alleviates. So its’ the same thing.

    James: And different applications and differing application and different application.?

    Mimika: Yes, exactly.

    James: Yeah, yeah.

    Mimika: So, you know, that kind of idea.

    James: I love it. So tell me, all of this that you’ve just discussed with us, finding your target market, fine tuning of the long tail keyword phrase type of capturing, niching down. Do you teach all of this within the Capture School?

    Mimika: Yes, we do. I mean, as an example like say for instance if someone wants to find out what their target market is especially someone who are starting a business. It’s it really hard to know straight off at the bat and here is what I’m going to do.

    James: Yes.

    Mimika: And it takes a lot of trial and error and that’s why I sometimes think, are you going to embrace failure? That doesn’t matter if you make a mistake like before Capture School, I had it branded under a different name like it was Called Photography Profit Zoom and just to me just didn’t feel right the whole brand awareness and the structure of it was more like a six-week- boot camp style but for what I feel and what I want to help people with is I want to be more involved in helping them really dig a bit deeper. So and that’s why I’ve taken what I did the first time and for me it didn’t feel very successful but there people who learned from that.
    And I have developed such along the way. So it’s being a whole journey of adding things, tweaking things, trying things and you won’t really know until you take that first step and believe me, the first time, I mean, even when I launched my first Mimika TV, I look back and I got, oh my gosh, that was so ugly. The lighting was bad, the connection was bad and it was like, way too long, people must been yawning about halfway through. So and even then it’s like, sometimes you just got to put it out there and don’t wait for perfection. 90% is better than 100% of nothing right. So, yeah.

    James: That’s, in a words of Seth Gordon, “You have to ship”.

    Mimika: Exactly, you got to ship and sometimes you think, oh maybe, let me just quickly weakly tweak this. It’s like the blog post, I don’t know how many blog posts I have like written in draft mode that I’ve actually never published and to me I look back at those, oh there would be really good but now it’s kind of late it’s sort of like yesterday’s news that sometimes I feel, just getting it out there, putting it out there and this is another thing from creative’s, we don’t like the criticism because our art is almost like — it’s part of us and it almost feels like a personal attack when someone doesn’t like something.

    James: Sure.

    Mimika: And I think that’s the differences I found with creative’s and sort of more business minded people is they can separate the two, the business from the personal. But it is, I could for a photographer and an artist. It’s something that you are creating out of your own heart. It’s something your mind’s eye that you have developed from nothing that it is your baby and no one wants to be told their babies ugly, right?

    James: Spot on. Absolutely and I love it. I love it, alright.

    Mimika: So exactly yeah. I’m awful of analogies but we keep talking it all day.

    James: We definitely could but I’m respectful of your time and I want to just wrap by asking you and we know you have going on, so tell us specifically what we should do to find you, how we can find you, and the best way to do so?

    Mimika: Sure yes. Well as I said, you can find me on my website which is MimikaCooney.com and Mimika is M-I-M-I-K-A and Cooney, I always say you remember like George Clooney without the L that the girls love it. And I have some great resources on there. I’m always adding new ones and updating them at the moment I have an eBook called Modern Marketing which helps you think outside of the box. Clicks and all the ideas that I have picked up from things I’ve learned and just to help people start to think a little differently. And definitely, every week on it, on my website, we go live, it’s a New Mimika TV interview which is usually a 30-minute interview with the creative minded successful business owner. And I’ve had everything from photographers to branding strategists, internet marketing specialists and a whole lot more coming up in the new season. And of course I’m everywhere on social media. Mimika Cooney fans is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, you could just search for my name, you definitely can find me there and I’d love to, you know, people can connect with me and say hi. I’d love to connect with them online.

    James: Alright then we will do so and I’m going to keep in touch with you because I want to get back with you when your new book comes out and —

    Mimika: Sure, thank you.

    James: Yeah, and you know we’ll remain friends now.

    Mimika: Of course yes, I have to send you my list of books, I’d be like, did you see this one, this one? Oh yes.

    James: I cannot wait, I cannot wait. Awesome, well Mimika, it’s been great talking to you today. Thank you so much for your time and we will look for you and we look forward to wish you best of luck with the Capture School, we’re looking forward to being there.

    Mimika: Great, thank you for listening.

    James: All right.

    Mimika: Thanks, take care.

    James: Take care, bye-bye.

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