I Used Social Media and Blogging to Become Famous for Nothing

24 Jan

In 2006, I set out to brand myself. I had an idea that I shared with the owner of the small company at which I was employed. I called it “Publish or Perish,” and despite the lack of originality, the idea was simple, but purposeful: We needed to elevate the name recognition of our company — quickly.

The company had made a fortune working with a niche client, but unwisely, it chose to fly under the competition’s radar. In other words, it did the opposite of marketing for fear that if competitors knew how much money it was making from this niche client, it would face stiffer competition. So naturally, after years of this “guerilla obfuscation,” the niche client business dried up and now left the little-firm-that-couldn’t struggling to sell its wares to prospects who knew nothing of our work, history and values, or even if we could deliver on our promises. Rapid marketing needed to be done.

Publish, perish and politics.

With publish or perish, I argued, our team of very talented organizational designers, trainers and safety professionals would publish articles and thus get our name out there to get it associated with expertise in our industry. Well, my idea fell flat. A mousey woman with no actual marketing experience, education or aptitude had the top dog’s ear and whispered sweet gibberish into it. Print publication was dead, she said, so were trade shows. The answer was social media. We needed a Facebook page, but most importantly we needed to blog.

I resisted, of course. I had no interest in blogging, which I still hold is, in the majority of cases, self-important dreck and a platform for those whose writing just isn’t good enough for publication. (I feel even less beneficent toward self-published books; if it isn’t eligible for academic and literary citation, I don’t see any value to it, but hey that’s just me.) At this point I might throw out a conciliatory “there are some top-shelf blogs out there…blah blah blah,” but that’s not my style. Good bloggers know when their work is good and don’t need my validation. As for the rest of you, well if you read my statement about most blogs being dreck and thought I was talking about you, I probably was. Deal with it.

Despite my protestations I was ordered to blog. I fought and threw a tantrum to no avail, so I finally acquiesced, on one condition: I would write what I wanted without anyone else having a say-so. I also managed to convince my leaders to allow me to submit abstracts and begin a public speaking campaign. I soon learned how to become famous for nothing by using social media, key words, the Google Search algorithm and press releases. Quickly I became the Brook Shields of Safety — she’s always been famous and has big bushy eyebrows, and no one can account for either — I was famous for no apparent reason.

Press and public speaking.

I quickly learned that the true power of public speaking is the press before the event, promotion during the event and press after the event. At the time most of the major print magazines were scrambling for online content and had robots or interns using key word searches to get it. The Google algorithm leaned heavily on how many links a given post had (reasoning that the wider the distribution the more reliable and important the content).

By using a free press release site and a handful of key words carefully and artfully woven in — words like “aerospace” “automotive industry” and…well, false modesty prevents me from giving away all my secrets. Anyway, this site would blast my press release to publications looking for those key words and soon my press releases were on scores of pages, unread and unvetted. I was able to get my press releases, which had usually been run as articles, into minor and major business publications which I won’t name because they are competitors of Entrepreneur (which by the way, never fell for this Machiavellian scheme of mine).

Even today there are news outlets that aren’t as judicious as they had ought to be. Fox News routinely posted my Entrepreneur articles, assuming that I was a conservative business writer, until someone eventually got around to actually reading my work, and it was unceremoniously removed from the site.

The PR service allowed me to Tweet the press release, share it on Facebook and post it to LinkedIn. I used to post the links separately to LinkedIn because that way I could post it as a discussion topic in all 50 groups to which I belonged. For some reason, I keep getting thrown out of the groups on LinkedIn because many are run by the adult equivalent of the uptight high school girl who reached the pinnacle of her life and career by being voted third-runner-up for homecoming queen and alternate on student council. Such people ain’t buying what I’m selling.

It wasn’t long before I was an annual speaker at the National Safety Council, until I pointed out that in my obnoxious estimation several of their perennial speakers were nothing but snake oil salesmen, an embarrassment to the profession. I don’t burn my bridges, I dynamite them and pelt the repair crew with hot stones as they try to rebuild.

Posting and Peru.

It wasn’t long before my blog following grew: I’ve always said I’m a bit like watching an abandoned warehouse fire. You’re not glad that it’s burning, but it’s fun to watch the spectacle and nobody really gets hurt — or, if they do get hurt they should have known better than to have been inside it to begin with. I got a notice from www.wordpress.com that today is the seventh anniversary of my blog. It’s actually older than that, but I put it on ice for a while when the owner of my company finally got around to reading it and insisted that I get it approved before publishing. As is my wont, I recommended he engage in congress with himself and offered interesting and inventive suggestions of where he might consider sticking his approval. This did not look good on my review.

On WordPress, I have posted in the neighborhood of 364,000 words, plus I have spoken at over a 100 international and local venues, including an address to an International Safety Conference on Mining in the Andes, in Lima, Peru. This despite my only knowledge of mining safety at the time was to stay the hell out of one. I have 167 works in print, and I was named by the largest safety magazine to both its list of “The Most Influential People Working in Safety” and “The Young (or Relatively Young) Up and Comers in Safety.” This despite the fact I’m not young. (I am often mistaken for being younger than I actually am because of my full head of hair, youthful skin and gross immaturity.)

The point I am yet again meandering around is that people try desperately and pathetically to use just one social network to build their personal brands when the true secret is to use all social media outlets as tools to get their brand out there, by using them holistically. Oh, and it helps if you can write, if your message and style are distinctive, and if your brand is of interest. Remember, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him think.

Not Having a Phenomenal Entrepreneurial Journey? Here’s What’s Missing.

22 Jan

So you’ve left that job you hate, or you’ve come straight out of college and into the big bad world of entrepreneurship. Congratulations, I’ll send you a gold medal in the mail for your bravery. You’ve been on the journey a short time, and it’s not phenomenal. “That’s right, Mr. Tim, something is missing.” Well, Mr. Tim (that’s me) is no guru, but I reckon I can solve some of your issues. Not because I’m so smart but because I’ve racked up a few hours and suffered many heartaches that caused heart-attack-like health problems.

There’s no rah-rah, wham-bam, standing ovation, high-five-your-partner in this article. Moreover, the advice is also counter-intuitive in some ways. You want to be a better entrepreneur and most assume that means the advice will be 99 percent business related. It’s not.

Sorry to say but success is usually the other way round. I can give you the world’s best product with the world’s best sales team, and you will probably still fail. The cause will be a combination of greed, ego, mindset and a few other ingredients that you’ll probably never even realize are present. Why? This whole entrepreneur journey thing is about the world that happens in your flipping head not the one’s and zero’s that appear on your spreadsheet, nor the product you think people will care about with all its bells and whistles.

Let’s get into the advice. Here are the four things that are missing from your entrepreneurial journey:

1. Your personal life sucks.

You can start to build the world’s greatest company but let me tell you firsthand that if your personal life sucks, your business will too. You’ll take your frustrations from your personal life into the office with you and take them out on any human being that enters your field of vision. You’ll have no idea why you’re doing this or even that you are doing this. People will just assume you’re a jerk, which is, unfortunately, bad for business — really bad for business.

Face up to the fact that you may be fat, lonely and single. Do something about it with one of those dating sites if you need to. It’s not hard, and you can’t escape the necessity. Our poor little human brains are programmed to survive, love and reproduce. The moment you forget these three facts human existence is the moment your entrepreneurial journey starts to go on a downward spiral toward bankruptcy and failure.

I’ve lived this tip first hand, so I’m living proof. I thought I could just waltz around in my stupidly fast, luxury car and think that I was the god of entrepreneurship. When I realized I was wrong it was too late, the failure started, and I hit rock bottom. The great thing for everyone reading this is that I took all that negativity and failure and funneled it back into preaching to ya’ll about how to stop yourself from failing at your own entrepreneurial journey. On the other hand, I kind of feel like massive failure is a must, and it’s best to get it out of the way as early on as possible.

2. Focusing on revenue talk rather than momentum.

Working in the corporate world, I hear revenue talk multiple times a day. The thing about numbers is that they are boring and humans fundamentally don’t care or get drawn in by them. If you tell me your business grew 300 percent last month, you have my attention for a fraction of a second, then I don’t care. If you tell me you created a product that saved five people last month from dying of cancer, you have my attention and probably my wallet pretty quickly.

Yes, you need to make revenue to keep the lights on, but what’s missing in your entrepreneurial journey is talk about momentum. You want to be talking about things that the people on your team (even if they are all freelancers) care about. Fundamentally, people have joined your vision to change the world in some unique way, and what you want to be doing is communicating momentum you are creating towards that goal. Assuming you are not smoking crack, the numbers and the momentum towards your goal should align perfectly. Stop talking revenue 100 percent of the time because it makes you sound like you’re a purposeless loser and you’re not, deep down.

3. Not enough action and too much strategy.

I’ve sat in my fair share of strategy meetings, and they bore me to tears. By the time you have finished paying the designer to attach the fancy graphics to your PowerPoint deck, the market has probably already shifted. There isn’t time in today’s fast-paced world to sit around dreaming about some blue horizon that your product might create. Instead of strategizing, what’s missing is you must talk to customers and attract these scarce human being to your business.

The success you have in doing this will determine whether your ideas are any good. Leave the long-tailed strategy side to the large corporates who will most likely not be around in the long-term or who will be forced to take a backseat in the form of wholesaling.

You’ve got to act quickly and with some urgency. Pretend the world is going to end in five years if that image helps get you off your butt and into action. Just do something today towards your business’s vision, for crying out loud!

4. Did someone say people?

The major thing you’re missing is people. If your entrepreneurial journey is not freaking fabulous, it’s because you’ve got the wrong people on your side. Whether it’s your advisors, freelancers, co-founders or employees, there is a chance that if you are not full of jubilation, then your team sucks. Unfortunately, you are to blame for this.

The good news is that you can quickly fix it. Don’t worry about the number of people you have and focus on bringing on winners. By winners, I mean the guys and girls who can take a fly kick to the head and still get back up again with a smile on their face. You are searching for positivity and determination.

You’re looking for the leaders that stand up and get others to take action. You want to ideally feel chills down your spine when you interview someone. How the people you bring on your team make you feel is just as important as to the value they can create. Take the prior job experience, plaques, number of degrees and salesman of the year awards with a grain of salt. Business is not that shallow, nor can it be faked.

How to Work When You Don’t Feel Like It

1 Jan

How to Work When You Don't Feel Like It

Everybody has days when they don’t feel like working but still there are tasks that need to be completed and bosses expect the same productivity every day from their employees. Also, being productive and accomplishing things is very fulfilling and nobody wants to waste their time for nothing. Therefore, when you feel like you don’t want to do anything, implement the below suggestions which will help you get back to your work.

  • Give yourself a reward before you begin: Motivation is very important when you start a new task. Therefore, increase your dopamine level by rewarding yourself with a nice dessert or your favorite coffee or with a short comedy video.
  • Organize your workspace: Make sure your workspace is organized before you begin on a new task. If not, clean out all the unnecessary papers and stationary. In this way, you don’t lose your focus when you start working on your task.
  • Listen to some music: Try to relax and refresh your mind to get ready. Listen to classical or jazz music to soothe your soul. Also, if you can, open the window and let the fresh air in. Fresh oxygen will help your brain work better.
  • Start small: Divide your main task into smaller tasks. This will help you manage your work better and as a result, you can measure your achievement as you easily complete your tasks one by one. Completing smaller tasks will also motivate you to start off others and so, finish the whole project.
  • Do it with friends: Increase your motivation by collaborating with other people. Remember those school days when you used to group study with your classmates. The same holds for work as well. If you have a teammate or a coworker who can help you by giving inputs or who can motivate you, then, work with this person.
  • Daydream your success: Shut your eyes for a few minutes and daydream about your future success. Studies have proved that this can actually increase your motivation. Thus, you can start off your work with more determination.
  • Just do it: As Nike says, just do it. Ignore everything else around you, just do the work! Don’t forget that beginning is half finishing so stop wasting your time and focus on the task. Get moving as soon as possible and you will realize that beginning is actually much easier than you think.