Archives For Business

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2014 is the year everyone must quit their job. Or, at least, that’s what James Altucher thinks.

He wrote an article recently and referenced the shrinking middle class, job dissatisfaction rates, and the new globally-connected workforce as reasons why you need to seriously think about 86′ing your 9-to-5.

Everything that’s outsource-able is getting outsourced. Robots are crowding humans out of the job market. The only thing most of us have to bring to the table anymore is…ourselves.

He made the compelling point that choosing yourself was the only job option for the future (and current) economy. In short, building a personal brand is a MUST.

On the other side of the coin, how many days have you thought to yourself:

  1. I literally do not care about my job. I wish someone would fire me…
  2. If I have to file ONE more TPS report…
  3. I was made to contribute something more to the world than this…

There never used to be a way out, sans taking on an ENORMOUS amount of personal and financial risk.

Now? Thankfully, now there is. The answer lies in you. Not in a weird, new age-y sense, but in your personal brand.

As I think through what the next step for people who graduate Think Digital Academy, we’ve settled on the Think Digital Masters Class.

What is it? It’s a four-month coaching program focused on building one of your most valuable assets: your personal brand.

Think of it as the conclusion of Think Digital Academy. It’s the next step to building your online audience and learning how to influence them to take action.

You may be wondering, “How is this any different than Think Digital Academy?”

Great question. If the Academy is basic training, the Masters Class is becoming a Navy SEAL. It’s a specialized course for go-getters who want to go to the next level.

We’ll be focusing on the four personal branding building blocks:

1. CRAFT Your Mindset. The biggest roadblock you face in building a personal brand isn’t resources, time, or talent. It’s your mindset. Before you do anything else, you need to get your mind right. It’s the most important asset you own!

2. CRAFT Your Focus. Many of us feel like we don’t know where to start. But you’d be shocked at how simple it is to get your audience-building engine up-and-running. You’ll get the battle-tested insight of what tools you need and how to stretch them to the limits.

3. CRAFT Your Traffic. Learn the advanced strategies you’re overlooking to build your online traffic—email, social, and blog. It’s the lifeline to your audience. Keep it locked and loaded, primed and pumped!

4. CRAFT Your Future. Ever wonder how much to charge for a speaking or consulting gig? What about setting up an LLC vs. a sole proprietorship? And bookkeeping—you’ve thought about that, right? When you start earning income, you’re going to need a system to keep you from getting bogged down in details.

If you’re interested, go ahead and sign-up here. We’ll send you an application and follow-up if we’re able to extend an invite. We’re keeping this first round super small, and we already have 53 applicants as of this post. So hurry up and get your name added to the list if you want in.

We’ll start reviewing applications at the end of the month. You have until Thursday, April 30, to apply. I’m not sure when we’ll offer the course again, so please plan accordingly!

Start Building Your Personal Brand

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I was talking with a client recently who said something that felt like a cold glass of water on a hot Iowa summer day.

We were looking at a social media report from another agency and he said:

All these likes, retweets, reach metrics, whatever—they don’t mean anything. At the end of the day, it looks great, but how did it help us accomplish our goal?

He’s right.

Likes, hashtag reach, and even comments do a poor job at reflecting the true value of social. They make the content creator(s) feel good, but it’s a small step in the overall social media metric journey.

Truthfully, the metrics of social media deal with intangibles: Trust, Authority, Affinity, and Loyalty. These are squishy relational terms that defy categorization. But to get down to the real-deal-value of social, you need to be able to put numbers to online relationships.

We do this already, though. It’s not a new way of thinking. Think about it: when you go to a conference or a networking event, what’s the “metric” we use to evaluate if it was worth our time?

How many new relationships we formed. That’s what. How do we “measure” that? With business cards. That’s how.

Social media is no different. For instance, one of the ways we measure Trust with our clients is by looking at how many times their content gets shared on Facebook. More than likes or comments, a share signifies a different level of relationship a fan has with your business.

A share is a proactive recommendation of an organization’s content. The sharer says to his or her community, “I agree with what they are saying. I place my seal of approval with this content piece and, thereby, the issuer of the content.”

Essentially, when someone shares your content, they are saying they Trust you to speak for them. Wow. What an amazing privilege!

A ginormous (technical term) relational dynamic (TRUST) wrapped up in that one little share on Facebook. Huge.

Oftentimes, determining the value of your social media content takes stepping back from the big picture (results) and asking, “when someone shares/likes/RTs/views our content, what does that mean from a relationship perspective?”

When you know the answer to those questions, well, that’s when things start to get fun.

Interested in Social Media Consulting? Click Here »

Do you know what this is? It’s the dashboard on my Infusionsoft account, taken the day I completed a huge goal.

100 member

It tells me three numbers:

  1. How many people are in Think Digital Academy trial memberships
  2. How many people are in Think Digital Academy paid memberships
  3. How many people are in both (and yes, there is a reason why it doesn’t add up properly. The reasons are boring and dull and won’t interest you.)

What I want you to look at is TDA Paid. See the number? It’s 101. 101 paid members as of 12/31/13.

Why is this number important? Back in July, I sat down with business coach and friend Casey Graham and we hashed out a plan. A plan that included launching a coaching program and signing up 100 people by the end of the year.

In September, the course launched and I set out to add enough value to the world that 100 people would jump on board with the Academy.

101 members later, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what it takes to succeed in building a business. That’s what I’d like to share with you today:

5. It’s not nearly as glamorous as I thought it would be.

You get ideas in your head about building a business and it being an easy road to success, fame, stardom, et. al.

It’s not. At least, not for me.

I’ve never worked this hard in my life. I’ve spent more money in the last 6 months than the last 6 years combined. I worry about things likes taxes, overhead expenses, and, as a former people-pleaser, whether or not the amazing team I get to work with hates me or not.

It literally took up until the very last day of 2013 to reach my goal. I stayed up way too late, let too many opportunities fall through the cracks, and ate too much junk food. As I type this, there’s a melted crayon on my desk (my kids are my co-workers), my inbox is overflowing, and I forgot to eat breakfast.

There’s unlimited potential to building a business, but there’s also stark realities I wouldn’t have understood had I not started.

4. Meeting goals are great, but they’re only mile-markers.

Once we hit 100, I was kind of like, “Oh, wow. Um… What’s next?” Bills still had to get paid, clients needed to be called back, and I still had to mow my lawn.

Hitting 100 was a mile-marker on the road to what every entrepreneur dreams of—freedom. It signals that you’re moving in the right direction, but you haven’t arrived yet. Not by a long shot.

When you hit goals, you can look back and say, “we succeeded, but why did we succeed?” Conversely, if you fail, you can review and ask the same questions.

3. You need more people to succeed than you realize.

I know I would not even be close to my goal if it weren’t for:

  • My wife
  • My kids
  • My sister
  • My parents
  • Casey Graham
  • Emily House
  • Ashleigh Pinkerton
  • Josh Burns
  • Michael Hyatt
  • Jeff Goins
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Amanda Barbara
  • All of YOU

This list could literally be pages long, but the point is: no man (or woman) is an island. When you set out to build something worthwhile, make sure you’re surrounded by people who know and love you and want you to succeed.

2. Constraints are the key to meeting goals.

Going from idea to conception to goal completion (essentially $8,000 in monthly recurring revenue) in less than five months sounds unrealistic. At least, it did for me. But knowing what my target was, and knowing how long I had to complete it, eliminated distractions.

If something didn’t work (and there were plenty of things that did not work), we didn’t have time to pout and dwell and get down. We had to move on, and this was a good thing. It was amazing what I became personally capable of when I knew the end of the rope was approaching fast.

1. Success breeds success.

When the tide turns and you start winning more than losing, you start to get a knack for what works. Why? It’s like the Thomas Edison quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” There’s no magic formula, just a sense of what will work and what won’t. The more you practice, the more you become familiar with what success looks like—big and small.


Question: What’s ONE goal you’ve accomplished recently? What did it feel like when you checked it off the list? Give us a feeling or picture of what it looked like!