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Struggling as an entrepreneur? Welcome.

If you're a struggling entrepreneur, this is the place for you. We're all trying to make our dent in the universe on a daily basis. Here I share my thoughts on business, freelancing, marketing and a few various other things. Hope you'll stick around and subscribe if you like.
Changes

Changes

Change is only constant we know today.

Change phones.

Change plans.

Change ideas or marketing or clothes or friends.

It isn’t bad. But it’s hard.

The one thing I’m learning from all the changes I’m experiencing right now is that I only have to please one. The one that made me. That provides for me. That shelters and heals me and forces me to grow.

Regardless of what changes are occurring, our focus should always be on Him.

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March 31, 20142 commentsRead More
My @OliveGarden mishap and how I love them more for it.

My @OliveGarden mishap and how I love them more for it.

We go to Olive Garden several times a month. Usually it’s the one in south Fort Worth near our house but often when we’re traveling too because we know it’s a good meal that even our son enjoys. This 4 yr old doesn’t want fast food, he prefers OG if you ask him.

So the other day we placed an order that I picked up for take out. It was a pretty straightforward order from their build a pasta 3 course meal thing they have going on right now. My wife looked on the website, found a vegetable pasta (the pictured showed it with zucchini and bell peppers), a sauce and dessert.

After I got home, we realized the pasta and sauce was not at all what we thought it was. It was the new tri-color vegetable penne pasta with tomato pomodoro sauce. But what we had was NOTHING like the picture on the site. So I called to tell them it wasn’t right…but in fact, it was. They explained to me what each of the sauces were and that the vegetable pasta didn’t actually have vegetables (like the picture showed), that was a different sauce we didn’t purchase. The girl on the phone was very nice about it and immediately asked if I’d like to talk to the manager about it. I said that would be great.

Once Jake, the manager, got on the phone, he apologized for the confusion and offered to redo the order for me next time I came in or that night. I elected for that night and went to pick it up.

Here’s the part where all customer service oriented businesses need to listen up. The problem was addressed before I really even had to explain and a solution was offered before I asked. And then they went above and beyond.

When I arrived, the people doing togo orders knew I had the messed up order. The girl started going through the bag and realized there was more than just the pasta in there. Just as she did, Jake came out from the back and happily walked me through what was in the bag which was the new pasta, a salad, breadsticks and a piece of cake that wasn’t even for sale yet.

He thanked me for letting them know of the problem and told me how he hoped they corrected it and offered some extra incentives to make up for the inconvenience. Best part, he was real about it. This was no script.

Needless to say, I was pretty shocked. I was a little shocked that they would redo even though it was technically our fault for ordering the wrong thing. And then to go above and beyond and replace my entire order with an added bonus…that was the icing on the cake for me (no pun intended).

So thank you Olive Garden, Jake in particular, for recognizing customer service and treating someone the right way when it would have been much easier to ignore the problem. You had no idea I visited several times a month and even less idea I would write up a blog post about it. You did the right thing because you wanted to and that’s a big deal in my book.

By the way, the new Chai Triple Berry Cake thing they have…delicious. :D

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March 27, 20140 commentsRead More
For email marketing, open rate is all that matters.

For email marketing, open rate is all that matters.

And you have clearly spoken to me that I’ve been posting way too much. I’m sorry about that and sorry it took me so long to recognize it.

It stops here.

I will be testing as I have in the past and hopefully you’ll stick around for the content to come. It will be the same type of content, but it will be less frequent. We’re going to shoot for 2-3 posts per week and see how everyone likes that. If you have any suggestions, feel free to offer them up.

So here’s your take away that you’ll need for your own business.

But you won’t know what your audience wants until you test it. Sometimes, you’ll fail the test (like I did here). Sometimes you’ll win. But just know that the audience that has given you permission to talk to them has done so with stipulations. It’s not a free for all permission where you get to do whatever you want. So play carefully with one of the most valuable things in our world today…attention.

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March 24, 20142 commentsRead More
Patagonia ad review for Seth’s modern marketing class

Patagonia ad review for Seth’s modern marketing class

For class, I was told to post my thoughts on this ad in public. I can’t think of a better place to post it than here on the blog. It may not interest some of you, but I think many will be able to see what we’re doing here. If you’ve got a background in marketing or if you get what I’m saying in this post, please comment. I’d love to see what feedback you have or what you think about it.

By the way, if you’re interested in the class, here’s how to get it for $6.15. :D

Here it goes.

patagonia-ad

The lesson is to list out the “P’s” of marketing that are associated with this ad. Let’s see if I can get all 14 they use. Here’s what I think and why.

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March 20, 20149 commentsRead More
Trial and Error

Trial and Error

In the past I’ve been scared of making mistakes that would cost me business (or various other things). I’m still concerned about it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m more willing to put myself out there and take a stab.

I’ve recently decided to make some shifts in my business. It’s certainly not easy, but I know it will be worth it for me and my clients. I’ve done my research on this and I’ve put in the effort to understand the implications both positive and negative. And I feel as if I’m finally working towards a much bigger goal than I have in the past. It feels really good to be in that place right now.

As you journey through your life as an entrepreneur, I encourage you to not be afraid of failing. Sure, take precaution and calculated risks, but don’t be afraid to try something strange. It when we play on the edges of our comfort zones that we have the opportunity to grow the most.

For the record, the best compliment I received today was from a potential client. He noted that my approach was very different. I like that for many reasons but mainly because my goal is to be set apart, to not blend in, to not follow all the rules. This simple statement was validation for me that where I’m headed is right for me and my future clients.

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March 18, 20140 commentsRead More
This is broken…

This is broken…

Things in our lives are broken all around us. They are a certain way because they’ve always been that way. But they don’t have to be. Here’s a sign that is broken not because it’s cracked…but because it’s useless in it’s current state.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 11.17.29 PM

 

It’s located in the family restroom above the changing table. Brilliant.

A few simple things could have been done to make this functional (and useful).

  • Someone could have not taken direction from a person or plan that clearly made a mistake.
  • Someone else could have quality checked it.
  • One of the many employees that cleans the bathroom could have changed it.
  • The store manager probably has power to move it.
  • It could have been put almost anywhere else in the store and been more useful than here.

Give things some thought. Maybe they don’t have to be broken. What can you unbreak in your life?

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The way things have always been (and a little about trends)

The way things have always been (and a little about trends)

Many things in life are a certain way because they have “always been that way.” I find myself questioning many of them though because, well, no they weren’t.

Homes were not always built the way they are now.

Food was not always ripened in factories with gas.

Brands didn’t always pay inordinate amounts of money to get in front of you.

We didn’t always have phones.

From my point of view of being a marketer, the business world has taken a huge hit in terms of change. And it’s sad to see that so many businesses that are running and/or starting up don’t see it.

You can’t start a business the way you used to. Agencies don’t work like they used to. Sales don’t work like they used to. Mediocre products with a catchy slogan are dead in the water. More and more I am finding that it’s rare to see anyone taking a new path and creating a trend rather than following one.

The really interesting thing is that everyone knows trends only last so long, so why would you want to build your career around one?

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March 16, 20140 commentsRead More
Join me for an online Seth Godin modern marketing class

Join me for an online Seth Godin modern marketing class

I just signed up for a class called “The Modern Marketing Workshop” with Seth Godin. It’s offered through Skillshare.com, which is new to me but so totally incredible. If you’re at all interested in marketing, you should jump on board. Signup here (and see below for discount details)

Here’s an excerpt from what the class is about from Seth.

An Online Skillshare Class by Seth Godin

If you can’t see the video, click here.

If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, I’m not sure what is. And I’ve also got some discounts for you if you’d like. The class is only $19 anyways, but I got mine down to $6.15. Here’s how.

- Use this link to get $10 off (and it will give me $10 as well).

- Then use this promo code provided by Seth via his blog. seth2014

That should get you down to a grand total of $6.15. Not that this won’t be worth thousands, but I’ll take a deal if I can get it. Hope to see you there. Be sure to follow me if you join and we’ll talk in class.

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March 13, 20143 commentsRead More
I’m fairly certain it wasn’t all a waste.

I’m fairly certain it wasn’t all a waste.

Last year I spent an inordinate amount of time creating stuff. Content, podcasts, ebooks, guest posts, etc. It was awesome and a great experience.

But the problem was that I forgot that I needed to make money. Which, as you can imagine, posed a little bit of a problem.

Towards the end of 2013, I got a handle on things and have since been doing a little better with my priorities. But I have been thinking a lot about all those resources I created and what I could do with them. I’ve been thinking how I could leverage them with my web design clients and if it was a waste in the sense of not being my target audience, or if they could help provide more value to the services I offer as a designer.

My conclusion is that I can use them to help my brand as a web designer. It wasn’t a waste, though I definitely should have handled it all differently. The podcast I created was about branding. The ebooks were branding and small business tips. And the guest posts were about everything from branding to fear to blogging and marketing. All that very appropriately fits into my brand as I have it today.

So I would encourage you to look back at what you’ve done. Don’t think that your time was a complete waste even if you royally screwed up. It’s likely that you added a lot of value to your brand without even knowing it. And also likely that you accomplished more than you realize.

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March 12, 20140 commentsRead More
Your expertise.

Your expertise.

You are an expert at something.

My advice to you (and myself) is to stick with what you know and are really good at. Don’t get caught on the edge of it or it will cost you dearly.

The interesting part of that is that sometimes you have to play on the edge to figure out if ¬†you need to make a switch or if where you’re at is that sweet spot.

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March 10, 20140 commentsRead More