Jul 25, 2016

Kickstart Monday: How to Save Your Sanity with One Simple Word

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The Power of No

A couple weeks ago my mother-in-law's looked at me and said "Pat, you've got to learn to say no once in a while."

Being a reasonably polite person I smiled and said "I do. In fact, I say no to people all the time."

I may be in the office six days a week and my calendar may look overwhelming to my mother-in-law, but I'm well aware how many hours there are in the day and I carefully plan how many of those hours can be spent on any given project.

I make sure that I include time for working out, reading and down time every day and I even schedule mental health days where I can either do nothing or go crazy and just do whatever I want. I also never eat lunch in front of my computer.

None of that was true when I worked in a cubicle. And it probably wouldn't happen now if I hadn't learned the power of NO.

No is a powerful word. It's a statement of autonomy that lets people know that you are in control of your own choices. And It doesn't have to be harsh or rude, it just has to be firm.

No doesn't require excuses.

You may feel like you have to give a reason, but if you're doing it right, no stands on its own without justification.

You may think that it's being kind or tempering the blow, but adding a reason weakens your position and gives false hope.

Think about it.

What happens when a parent says no to a child? If it's a resolute no the child will (eventually) back off, but as soon as mom or dad adds a reason that child sees it as a hurdle to overcome.

It's no different for adults.

What do you hear when you ask someone to do something and they say "No, I don't have the money right now?"

If you're most people, you interpret that as "I'd like too, but the price is wrong" and you go out and find a way to make it cheaper.

That's fine if the person really does have a problem with the cost, but you and I both know that chances are good that as soon as you come back with a solution to the cost problem the person will come up with some other excuse that skirts around the fact that they just don't want to do it. So why not skip all the hassle and just say no right from the start?

It's all about awareness & self-control

It's easy to say no when it's something we don't want to do, but it takes a lot of control and awareness to say it when it's something that appeals to us.

And this is where it's easy to get into trouble.

We're all working for the day when opportunity comes to us instead of us having to find it, which makes it hard to say "no" when someone shows up with an interesting project or offer.

It's easy to jump right in and say "Yes, yes, yes," but you have to remember the big picture.

  • If the project doesn't support your stated goals, then say no
  • If taking on the new project means changing timelines to the point where they are meaningless, then say no
  • If taking on the new project means giving up important projects that do further your stated goals, then say no

This is how you take control of your life.

Being able to say no, even when something sounds good is the number one key to avoiding overwhelm and saving your sanity.

Give it a try.

Most people understand and respect your decision. The ones who don't are probably people you don't want to work with anyway.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

Granite State Fitness Networking Event Wednesday, July 27th from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM at Granite State Fitness 880 Page Street, Manchester. The cost is $5 in advance and $10 at the door and food and beverages will be provided. For more information you can click the link or call Chris at 603-361-0892.

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Jul 15, 2016

Episode 12: How to Boost Your SEM with Daryl Eames

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Fix-It-and-Forget-It is Not a Marketing Strategy

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. Fix-it-and-forget-it is not a marketing strategy.

Forget about all those stories you've heard about people who put up a website or got a business page on Facebook and became an overnight success. They're urban legends.

It defies logic that with over a billion websites and almost 1.6 billion Facebook users that any one person is going to get noticed in all that noise without at least a little bit of effort.

That effort is what we call marketing and in this month's episode of Live from the Hive I am talking to local inbound marketing strategist Daryl Eames from the Paid Search Society about the ins and outs of maximizing your budget and getting your website in front of the people who want your products and services.

We're talking about the difference between SEO and SEM.

SEO = organic ranking, optimizing site with content and key words that will improve your page pank over time when someone does a key word search

SEM = search result pages when someone actively searches for a key word and display ads on websites

Eames is also sharing insider tips about current trends and digital marketing strategies for how to get the best bang for your buck in Google ad campaigns.

Top Tip: Google doesn't let you allocate specific dollar amounts to a particular ad group within a campaign, so if you have ten ad groups in the campaign you have no control over which ad groups gets the money. This is important because you may find that one ad group does a lot better then the other nine when it comes to actual sales or lead generation. The work around on this is to have one ad group per campaign.

Learn why the search engine results you get from SEM are a better choice than waiting for organic SEO results. (Hint: It has a lot to do with the ability to infer intent and qualify prospects based on what words people are using to search.)

And finally get a sneak peek at the Paid Search Society the incredible new online marketing resource right here in New Hampshire.

Eames is billing the Paid Search Society as a "collaborative environment where people can come together to share and learn and get better at their craft" and has built a platform that offers information, coaching and consulting services for every budget.

At the free level there are "tips, tricks and strategies" as well as articles, white papers and ebooks to help you build and improve your marketing strategy. The paid level offers in depth guides and strategies to take your marketing efforts to the next level as well as a mastermind group that includes peer-to-peer support, webinars and training, Q&A with noted local experts and a wide range of tools and marketing services.

Join me for this month's podcast as Eames tells us about designing campaigns, choosing ad words and setting price points. He also sheds some light on the truth about budgets (you don't need to spend a lot to get results!), and using Google and social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to get leads and drive traffic.

And don't forget, visit the Paid Search Society. Take their survey, sign up for the newsletter and stay on top the rapidly changing rules and trends of internet marketing.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

To contact Daryl Eames you can find him on the web or give him a call (603) 669-1512

Paid Search Society

Google Ad Words

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Jul 11, 2016

Kickstart Monday: How to Discover Your Strength by Paying it Forward

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Knowledge is Power

Have you ever heard someone say that knowledge is power? Did you know some of that knowledge comes from things we've learned in books, but an equal part comes from experience and learning from our own mistakes?

We may not always have the information we need or want, and there may even be days where we feel like complete idiots, but the truth is no matter where we are on our own path, we all have knowledge, skills and experience that someone else needs.

Which brings me to this week's topic, how to discover your strength by paying it forward.

I went to the new Software Entrepreneur group's meetup last week.

It was an interesting experience and it kind of got me thinking about how a lot of people get stuck and dwell on the things they don't know how to do instead of focusing on the things they can do.

And it's something we all do. We undervalue the skills we have today and forget that chances are good someone else needs or wants the knowledge we take for granted.

A lot of people suffer from impostor syndrome. They compare themselves to people who have a lot more experience than and feel like a fraud because they're not at the same level yet.

It's very easy to lose track or undervalue the knowledge you do have when you're focusing on what you don't know.

In my case, I know a lot of software engineers. These are people who seem to effortlessly build incredible products. They can write code in multiple languages, understand advanced developer concepts and have experience in areas of development I've never even heard of. When I compare myself to them and dwell on the many things that I don't know how to do I am completely overlooking all of the things that I do have experience with and it drives people nuts.

Which brings us back to the idea of finding your own strengths by paying it forward.

Rediscover Your Value

When we reach back to lend a hand to someone climbing the ladder behind us it gives us the opportunity to see ourselves through someone else's eyes. Not only do we get a new perspective on the value of the knowledge and skills we take for granted, but it forces us to learn new lessons from our old experiences.

In the heat of the moment, when we overcome a challenge we tend to focus on the next hurdle rather than taking a minute to consider how we made it to this point. When we're in the zone our focus is on the horizon and how to deal with the next step. We don't ask why certain steps did or didn't work, and we certainly don't pause for an atta boy.

Taking the time to lend a hand forces us to step outside ourselves and consider how to apply our own experiences to different situations. It forces us to look for the commonalities and let go of the "that's the way we've always done it" mentality so we can effectively apply what we know to the other person's situation.

Sharing your skills by paying it forward also acts as a catalyst to find a new way to use your old skills.

For example,Cami Baker is known as a real estate expert. Not only does she have a stellar track record as an agent, but she has years of experience training other realtors how to reach the same level. Instead of building on that experience to focus solely on real estate she found a way to apply many of the skills that made her a successful agent to becoming an expert on networking. Now she has tv shows, books, speaking gigs as well as an entire line of workshops and products created to share that knowledge and they are all built from the same skill set. A skill set that many small business people have and take for granted. The ability to walk into a room and introduce yourself. The ability to listen to what people are saying and recognize what they really mean when they say it.

Helping someone else is a great way to shift your focus away from the status quo, to see how other people view the skills that you don't even realize you have and find strength in the knowledge that you do have what it takes to make a difference and succeed.

There is power in knowledge and that power becomes exponential when you share your knowledge to help someone else. Not only is there the karmic benefit from giving the assist, but there is the enlightenment that comes from seeing the value other people put on your skills.

When you pay it forward by sharing your skills it shifts your focus away from what you don't know or haven't done and helps you appreciate what you have already achieved. It's a win/win and it's something that each and every one of us can do.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

Software Entrepreneur

Cami Baker

Daryl Eames (Paid Search Society)

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Jul 4, 2016

Kickstart Monday: What’s Your Motivation, Why Are You an Entrepreneur?

 

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What's YOUR Why?

This week I am talking about motivation. Not the kind of motivation that propels you through the tedious tasks, but the motivation that explains why you chose to be an entrepreneur.

I found a quote from recording artist Kid Cudi that really resonated with me. He says "I just want to go on more adventures. Be around good energy. Connect with people. Learn new things. Grow."

He nailed it. I can't speak for everyone, but that one statement succinctly sums up what a lot of us want.

It's that elusive dream from when we were teenagers. We had no idea what it meant to be an adult, but when you're sixteen life is an adventure and anything is possible

And that is the goal, that is the dream and that is the reason so many of us become entrepreneurs, but is it why you want to be your own boss?  Is it why you gave up the certainty of a regular paycheck to do whatever it is you do?

And trust me on this, knowing why you want it is important. It might even be more important than knowing what you're going to do or how you're going to do it.

When I started my first business it was all about the money and I was miserable. Not at first, I was happy to be making money when I first started out. The rent got paid, we went on vacations and everything was great, but when it got to the point where I had to seriously consider moving out of my home office so I could hire people I looked around and realized that I didn't want to do it anymore.

Taking the business to the next level was going to require a greater commitment of time and energy and money wasn't enough of a motivator for me. So I quit and got a day job.

Starting and growing a business takes a lot of time and effort and it's impossible to sustain twelve hour days six or seven days a week if you lack motivation.

I couldn't do it with my first business because it was just a way to make money. I had basically traded a day job for what was essentially just another job. I liked the idea of having more control over how much money I made, but it wasn't enough.

I suspect some of you are looking for the control that can't be found in an office job. You may not always get a paycheck, but the one thing you can guarantee when you are your own boss is that your income will always be a direct result of your effort and you will never be outsourced.

For the majority of us, I think that Kid Cudi had it right. We just want to go on more adventures. We want to be around good energy, connect with people, learn new things and grow. Things that are hard to accomplish when you're stuck in a cubicle wondering if your job will be sent to India before the end of the year.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

Weekly Roundup: Manchester Meetings & Tech Events 7/4/16 - 7/8/16

Coffee Buzz Networking: 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM at Aroma Joe's Coffee 2. S. Beech Street, Manchester. This month's topic is "Your Quick & Dirty Guide to Finding Clients"

Alpha Loft Startup Meetup: 12:00 PM 1:00 PM Alpha Loft 844 Elm Street, Manchester.

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