Category Archives: Business

This is Not a Complete Update But It’s an Excited One

Lift off 222x300 This is Not a Complete Update But Its an Excited OnePopping in to mention my new brand launch. I’m super excited about this next evolution in my business career:

Scopcity: Content that Connects

What the heck does “Scopcity” mean? I know you’re asking that in your head because it’s what everyone asks when I tell them the name of the new brand.

Long ago, far far away (from about 500AD to 1066-ish, Anglo-Saxon Britain), before the advent of the printing press or the postal system, news was delivered by a class of citizens called Scops. Scops were singers and storytellers who moved from city to city, charming the citizens, cross-pollinating knowledge, and drinking a lot of ale. They were society’s connectors. In modern corporate terms, they were the purveyors of content.

Scopcity does that for marketing agencies. Minus the ale. Plus the charm, plenty of connection, and lots and lots of content. What we do is create high quality written content to support the marketing programs our clients design for their clients. Web copy, press releases, blogging, case studies, white papers, etc. Writing. Words. Stories.

It’s an exciting evolution for me because I get to take my strategic marketing expertise with me, and then really hone in on the part of the marketing I like best: Writing. And I get to work with some of the smartest folks I know: Marketing experts. Serving the kinds of companies I enjoy getting to know most: Private SMB (that’s not nearly as kinky as it sounds: It stands for small-medium-business. If you knew that already, you will never quite hear the letters “SMB” in the same way again. You’re welcome).

And icing on the cake: I get to cultivate some of the best writing talent in the business world, finding, training, and setting loose awesome creativity on the world. How cool is that?

Why I love Monday.

Monday 300x225 Why I love Monday.I love Monday. Strange, but true.

It wasn’t always this way. I remember a time when Friday would come around and I was all, “TGIF suckas!” And don’t get me wrong. I love weekends too–I love family time and letting work emails sit unanswered for a couple days and picking what to do and building things and lazing around with computer games.

But also I love the work week. I love working with my clients, telling their stories, building my training products, envisioning the future & direction of my company, taking chances, stretching myself, learning new things, focusing on my brand and reputation, solving problems, building systems…

I have learned more in a year as an entrepreneur than I did in four years of college (and I went to a great college!), and I am more who I want to be today than ever before… and expect to be more who I want to be tomorrow even than today.

Lots of folks would love to be where I am. So let’s talk about the top three reasons they’re not:

  1. Money.
  2. Money.
  3. Oh, and Money.

Money is tough. It’s scary. You put everything you have on the line at first. Some people figure out how to use other peoples’s money to do this, and that’s great for them. A few come into it with enough money to carry them for a while, but most of us start out using our own money, our own assets, our own credit lines. Even when business is good, cash flow can be tight because you have so many obligations. If you’re like me, you take care of your people and make sure they get paid first. Then you try to keep the lights on. Eating is your third priority.

I’ve talked to many a long-time successful business person and I’ve tried to figure out for years how they did this thing at first, this getting started. What I’ve figured out is that most of them (us), initially, just have to let go of the idea that financial security is the goal. I mean, YES, eventually. Eventually you hope to be making enough money that you don’t even have to worry about “security” any more.

But in the short term? Forget that 401k, the equity in your house, and college savings (except whatever has been given as gifts to your children–lock that away safely for them, because it’s not fair to use someone else’s money to fund your dream without their informed consent). Forget, for a while, knowing where next month’s mortgage check will come from or how you’ll buy groceries next week. Because, unless you’re already well-heeled, there is no starting a business without some really scary money stuff.

Sometimes you’ll want to quit because money is just that bad. Creditors will be calling and you won’t know what to say to them because you don’t have the cash to make the payment right now and you don’t know when you will, and probably it won’t be until after you get your son to the dentist for fillings and your dog to the vet for antibiotics and then tally up whether you still have enough for groceries that week. And you’ll be so fed up and tired and worn out and you’ll be ready to throw up your hands and say, “Uncle!”

I tried to quit  a few months ago. I got scared and decided to get a job, a nice comfy job with health benefits and a 401k and a steady paycheck. And an employer paying part of my social security tax (did you know that the self-employed pay more taxes than employees?). I dressed up my resume, created a personal website, spiffed up my LinkedIn account, consulted with my leadership coach to create a great message & strategy for launching my job search. I was ready.

But then God butted in: “Seriously? WTH, chicka?” I mean, God sounded really annoyed. “Seriously, what are you doing? What what WHAT are you doing?”

Okay, reality check. I don’t think God personally meddles in our daily affairs as a general rule. Or, actually, ever. But I do believe God speaks to us if we listen.

Take it how you will, this is what happened: It was the day before I made a public announcement of my intent to seek a job. I walked downstairs to the office mailbox, expecting it to be empty, but it wasn’t. In the mailbox was an envelope. It was from a former client who was no longer engaged with my company. Inside the envelope, to my surprise and consternation: A sizable check.

I called them up, laughing, and said, “You guys must really love me–what do you want me to do with this check you’ve sent me out of the blue?” They laughed too and said, “It’s a deposit to start our program again in August.” I bit my lip. This was unexpected and… complicated. Would I be in business in August? Should I cash the check (I really, really needed the money)? Send it back? I said the only thing I could think of: “Well, thank you.” I decided to sit on it a few days.

The next day, someone called me up and asked for a quote on a project. Another, smaller, check arrived in the mail that day too. Two days later I had three major new contracts, one of them with a client likely to send me regular business. Even all together these projects & contracts were not enough to catch us up on everything we were behind on. But it was enough to bring me to my senses.

I cashed that darn check, set aside my resume, and stopped answering calls from creditors who never have productive things to say to me anyway. I realized that the worst possible thing that could happen on my current course is that we could end up going bust. Best possible thing? I could create a lifestyle and a career that I love. And become financially wealthy at the same time. Either way, I will learn and grow and sometimes fall down, and then get back up and go.

Had I decided to quit & get a job, I might always be safe, comfortable, taken care of (until the company has to cut jobs, that is). Perhaps that would be nice.

I also would always be spending my energy, my creativity, the best hours and days of my life…

My one wild and precious life…

Creating someone else’s dream.

What a trade-off.

Since then, my client base has sky-rocketed. I work with the best people and companies my market has to offer. I’m building processes & programs that will allow me to scale my business up and grow it in new and exciting ways. I chose this. I love it. I am still paying the price. Have we caught up financially? Ha! Check back in a few years. Is it terrifying? Every single day. Would I trade it for a job where TGIF is the best thing I have to say on a Friday afternoon?

Hell no.

Why? Because there’s not much I would trade for this one simple fact: I love Monday.

Me Being Awesome and Other Stuff

It’s really hard to get going again. You know the feeling? The longer you go without posting to your blog (writing in your journal, calling your mom, apologizing for a mistake), the harder it gets to pick it back up again. Yes, that. In this case, it’s mostly because there is so MUCH to report. Let me break it down.

On the Internets:

Me pretending I’m a Minoan snake goddess on the Curiosity Cat blog

I wrote about increasing lead capture for BellaTEX on my marketing blog

Uncle Pierce runs a brisk business in captured flies that later supports purchasing the meds he needs to treat his dysentery on POW Diaries

I wrote about trends in business education for GCB magazine (you’ll have to actually open the magazine view and flip through to find it, unfortunately.)

I also wrote a bunch of other stuff for clients. Some of it will show up in my marketing blog over time.

In Business:

I’m putting the finishing touches on a presentation I intend to deliver at rotary clubs and other civic organizations around town. It’s part of my personal marketing push, developing my network and so forth. I’m excited and nervous and also… beginning to wonder if it might be overkill. I’ve got so much already in my business pipeline that I may be near capacity two months from now. Not a bad problem to have.

Gunner:

Gunner Graduation 300x225 Me Being Awesome and Other Stuff
Gunner the Graduate

Gunner graduated from Beginner Obedience class at Petsmart. He did awesome. He knows “sit” “stay” “down” “off” “sit-and-say-please” “touch” (a basic recall command), and “Okay, I’m leaving now” (which he learned all by himself. This command apparently means “dance excitedly to the door, push your way out the door, run to the car, and attempt desperately to influence the course of events to end in “and Gunner’s coming with me.” Can I emphasize enough that he learned this ALL. BY. HIMSELF. I’m certain he’s a doggy genius.)

What he has not yet learned:

 

  • Cats are not toys
  • Neither are ducks
  • Or goats
  • Or small children
  • Or chickens
  • Or squirrels
  • Or Mommy’s favorite pair of heels that she wears to work almost every day and is heartbroken to have to throw away but can’t wear with one heel missing and the toe chewed out

What he has also not yet learned:

  • Running in the woods is really really fun but more fun if you don’t run off and get lost and make someone late for work and come home really really muddy so they never want to take you for off leash runs ever again
  • Other dogs are great playmates but it’s okay not to stop and say hi to every single one you pass in the road
  • Mandarin Chinese

In Other News:

We took up the “can you live on food stamps” challenge and won hands-down. We totally made up the challenge and still won. Actually, *I* made up the challenge and its rules and THEN won it. Sort of. I mean, I did win. But I didn’t *totally* make up the rules. I read about it somewhere, or maybe Carey did. The idea is, folks living on food stamps get the equivalent of $30 (a bit more) a week per person in the family, and the author of whatever it was I read (or Carey did) wondered whether that was a reasonable amount and asked the readers whether they thought they could live on that.

I said yes, and took it upon myself to prove it. It wasn’t that hard, really. I used to do it, years ago when we were poor. In fact, I fed three of us on $35 a week, ten years ago. That’s $35 total, not $35 each. Now, with five in our family, our allowance would be $150 on food stamps.

I’ve been feeding us on $100 a week for two weeks now. And by “I’ve been feeding” I mean I’ve been purchasing super cheap ingredients and Carey’s been cooking.

Okay, so we already had some stuff in our cupboards. And it isn’t exactly fancy fare we’ve had. It’s been chicken and dumplings (with homemade dumplings–flour is cheap), rice and beans, turkey hash, and hot dogs. I wouldn’t want to do it indefinitely. It’s not easy to bypass all the yummy stuff, and it’s hard to squelch that desire for more.

On the other hand, there is something delightful about getting to the cash register with your carefully selected items, and discovering that you have $5 left after paying. What will it be? A gallon of ice cream? A watermelon? A bag of peaches? A treat becomes a treat, a true treat. The actual enjoyment of that watermelon or peach… it’s higher when the fruit is purchased so dearly.

In Yet More News:

Our Internet is very, very spotty at home today and yesterday. Don’t worry, we’re holding up fine. We’ll be okay eventually. It’s just hard right now, you know? The worst of it is that I can’t play my favorite (guilty pleasure) online MPG because I keep getting bumped off the server. So sad. But I’ll survive.

Also, it’s amazing how productive I’ve been today and yesterday. I refuse to believe there is any correlation between the previous paragraph and this one.

Finally, don’t forget to subscribe. Very important. I don’t really know any good reason why you should subscribe but as a marketer I know it’s important to include a call to action so there you go.

(P.S. Above this line is an excellent example of a poorly executed call to action, demonstrating the classic mistake of failing to provide an incentive.)

Subscribe and I’ll mail you  a beautiful unicorn pony, a real one, with feathers.

(P.P.S. Above this line is an excellent example of setting unrealistic expectations, also known as outright lying, and I don’t recommend it.)

Subscribe because I’m funny.

(P.P.P.S. Almost but not quite.)

Subscribe and I’ll send you updates every time I post something fun here.

(P.P.P.P.S. Okay, but no sense of urgency.)

Subscribe tonight and I’ll send you a copy of my never-before-published short story called “Sleeping Panther.”

(P.P.P.P.P.S. And also updates every time I post a new goofy update like this one.)

And also I’ll do a happy dance.

Wait. Subscribe before tomorrow night and I’ll do a happy dance AND VIDEO RECORD IT.

(Notice I did not say whether I would post the video.)

If five people subscribe before tomorrow night I’ll video record it… and post the video here.

(There. That’s not bad. Bring it on.)