Time and Timing

All things now.

As a culture, this is our new motto. We want everything to be instantaneous. From our coffee* and breakfast to our business plan and website, things must come easily and swiftly. But at a certain point this can be detrimental. If we only focus on speed and ease our coffee gets worse, our breakfasts less nutritious, and our products don’t work.

Don’t get me wrong, timeliness is extremely important in our fast pace world and it’s crucial to reach your market at the right time. But it’s even more crucial to reach them in the right way.


A good idea done well tomorrow is far more valuable than great idea done poorly today. 


Remember to always take the time to engineer your product, work out the kinks in your billing process, or make sure the website works before you put yourself out there. Whatever you do, make, or sell, I guarantee that a great first impression will get you further than an early release date.

*Speaking of coffee, if you’re in the KC, MO area go to Oddly Correct on Main Street. Their pour-over may take longer than that cup of Keurig you’re drinking, but the flavor is worth every minute of the wait.

Ready, Set… Commit!

I am the king of unfinished business. Those that know me well can probably recall dozens (or more) projects I have started and not followed through on. I have worked on tons of different business plans, design projects, blogs, etc… but have always struggled with committing to those ideas. It’s not the hard work that kills me; I have spent days upon days on these individual ideas and LOVE the #hustle that goes into new projects but, after a while, I run into the same old problem… commitment. Why is that?!

Looking back, I can hear some of my excuses for why I quit (not enough money, not enough time, not enough connections, etc…). The truth is, however, that I just didn’t care enough.

While it’s true that some ideas stalled because of a lack of either time, money, or connections, I guarantee that if one of those projects was my true passion, if I really, really wanted it, I could have made it work. I could have pushed a little harder, worked a little longer, or picked up the phone and made the cold calls. If one of those projects was what I truly needed or wanted to do, I could have made it happen.

But I didn’t care enough. It wasn’t my passion.

Whew. What a relief! I am so glad that I didn’t force one of those ideas to be “The One”. That’s way too much pressure for a mediocre idea. And, more importantly, I’m not stuck doing something I don’t love!

It’s important to remember that everyone has ideas. For anything that you want to do, there is probably someone, or thousands of someones, out there doing it right now. And they may even be better than you (they probably are right now). But, in the end, it’s those who care more, are willing to work, and are fueled by passion that succeed. If your success is only measured in the dollar amount, then I don’t think it matters what you do. But for those that want to see their ideas and dreams become reality, keep working, keep writing, keep creating. One day you’ll wake up and realize that you’re doing what you love.

Eye Contact

Capturing and Holding the Attention of Your Audience

 

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin talks about the value of subscribers and states that 1 subscriber = 1,000 surfers.

In the traditional sense, a subscriber is someone who pays to see your content, someone who is committed to interacting with you. In today’s world, with limitless information available at any given moment (and for free), that definition has grown to include anyone that commits any amount of time to your content. We live in a world of surfers, making the value of that committed viewer nearly priceless.

How this changes what we do

For anyone that publishes content, you understand that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been the go-to strategy for attracting new viewers and customers online. This approach is geared towards the reaching the masses. It’s an attempt to snag surfers anytime they’re looking for anything even remotely relevant to you. This is not a bad thing. But it’s not the best thing either.

The times are a changin’ and it is now imperative that we spend more of our time and energy investing in our “subscribers” than trying to preach to each and every surfer that comes our way. Making the effort to engage with and build relationships with those that already like what you do, publish, or sell will yield more fruit than just holding a sign by the side of the road. By the way, this whole relationship and interaction thing is made simple, efficient, and rewarding through social media. [Check out one of my posts on social media here]

These ideas are not just for those that have things to sell. I am talking about creating valuable content, building relationships, and telling stories which apply to everyone, whether you are a housewife, blogger, business owner, or college student.

Duck Hunting

When I was in college, I helped run a leadership development program on my campus. We brought in guest speakers, held conferences, and hosted retreats that taught leadership principles to students. One of those speakers, Dr. Tim Elmore, has written some great material on leadership and communication. One of his fundamental points was the idea of Duck Hunting.

In duck hunting you wait for a flock to approach, fire, and gather up the birds that fall. It’s impossible to gather up the ones that don’t fall; yet, every day we try to do this with the content that we publish and products that we sell. We become fixated on telling as many people as possible about everything we do. Instead, we should focus on those that respond, build relationships with them, and allow them to share our story with others. Because, when you think about it, who do we generally trust more, our friends or an advertisement? Unless you have terrible friends, I think we are all on the same page.

Am I suggesting we abandon all traditional advertisement and marketing strategies? By no means. What I am suggesting is that we put more effort into our subscribers than we do the surfers. If we commit to those that respond, we will see them sharing our story, products, and services with others. At that point, it becomes more about a story than a business. And, in case you can’t see it, that is a very good thing!

Whether you are an online retailer, a blogger, or a stay at home dad, think about who you are talking to, what you want to say to them, and spend time interacting with them. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always quick. But it’s always rewarding.

 

For more amazing info on communication, marketing, and leadership, check out the guys I referenced in this article.

Seth Godin

Dr. Tim Elmore

How to Defuse a Bomb

I received an email from a coworker one time that thoroughly pissed me off. In reality, it has probably happened numerous times. But, for the sake of time, we will cite this one example as it seems to be a common issue.

He sent one sentence (sometimes the worst kind of email to get) and immediately it got to me.

He hit just the right nerve.

As I read the email several times, I could not get over his, admittedly implied, tone. How could this guy be so ignorant to think I wouldn’t get pissed reading this?!

So, as I am prone to do, I reacted. I sent him a sharp, single-sentence reply, reminding him that the decision to be made (a simple budgetary matter) was under my authority, that he was not a part of it, and should stay the hell away. My response, I thought, was brief and distant enough to be mistaken for haste not hate. I was wrong.

The poor guy, who was sitting only 15ft away throughout this entire exchange, immediately responded with an apology and explained that my interpretation of his message was far from the intent. He was merely reaffirming my ability and authority to make the decision.

It was too late. I had screwed up.

I had jumped to a conclusion and reacted before giving ample thought to the situation or inquiring with him personally regarding the correspondence.

However, in an act far beyond my typical maturity, I apologized. I sent a two paragraph message complete with an apology, an affirmation, and an encouragement.

Bomb defused.

Do you always need to send a long winded apology with encouragement? No.

But it’s important to always think before you act. Take time to fully process and understand something (an email, rude comment, or even a dirty glance) before reacting. Many times, as in my case, it’s a simple misunderstanding, a miscommunication of some kind. If it does indeed turn out to be a more dramatic situation, and you have not responded in anger or frustration, you already have the moral high ground. You did not react.

Remember this the next time someone sends a short, rude message your way or seemingly ignores your suggestions during a meeting. Take time to make sure you understand the situation and respond accordingly. Quick tempers have never made an office situation better