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your shot of strategy

Game Plan: How Training for Marathons Improved the Way I Build Effective Marketing Strategy

New Video! Please share with those you know who have a great idea but need a swift kick in the strategy.

>Click here to jump to GAME PLAN booking

I’m training for my ninth marathon. How did I successfully run 26.2 miles eight separate times – and still love it enough to do it again?

I started by working with an experienced running expert to identify my personal goals and build a customized plan of action for exactly what I need to do every day in order to cross that finish line.

And it works every time.

Inevitably there are things you want done by the end of this year – numbers to hit, audience to reach, clients to land, products to launch, press coverage to book.

With so many opportunities for your business growth plus countless deadlines looming, it’s overwhelming to tell which priorities will get results and benefit your bottom line.

If you want clarity on how to finish 2013 stronger than ever, you need a GAME PLAN.

I want to tell you exactly what to do to hit your goals and set you up for unprecedented 2014 success.

And I’ve expanded the Game Plan to include a follow-up session to make sure you’re staying on track – now, in addition to your written plan, you get a one-on-one strategy session 30 days later so we can crush obstacles and take advantage of new opportunities. It’s all about creating and keeping momentum.

September is the last time you’ll be able to get a full Game Plan at the discounted solopreneur rate.

So, click here to get details and book your Game Plan instantly (just pick any appointment before September 30 to get the Q3 rate).

Let’s get it started – and I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.

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How to Find the Time to Build Your Business

Time management: the entrepreneur’s greatest challenge.

Last week I talked about the “busy trap” and how to get over it. Here’s a simple formula to find focused time to work on your business, whether big picture stuff for your existing pursuit or laying the groundwork to jump off and start your own thing.

First, schedule 3 hours in your calendar each week at the same time and pledge to hold it as sacred as you would if you had an appointment with a valued mentor, consultant, or contact. Use this time to determine what needs to be done, develop your strategy, and schedule any meetings you need to have in the upcoming week.

Then create a task list of things you can do in those slivers of time that are normally unproductive: during your commute, after lunch, while watching late-night TV. Turn those random 15-minute blocks into opportunities to get the busy work done.

If you have a hard time sticking to it, bring in an accountability partner, coach, or consultant to keep you honest. Isn’t your productivity worth it?

*This month I’ll be launching a FREE e-workbook for focusing your career strategy, including time management. Be sure you’re on my list to get access.

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The Mayoress Endorsements: NYC Primary 2013

Here’s who I’m voting for tomorrow and here’s why tomorrow matters so much. Strongly prefer another candidate? Feel free to persuade me otherwise – you’ve got 24 hours.

NYC Mayor: Bill de Blasio
I like his experience and strong stance on education and stop&frisk. Re Quinn, her role in overthrowing term limits is a dealbreaker. Also, I don’t believe in voting for the woman just to see a woman in office, copy/paste re LGBTQ. Pick the candidate that’s going to make the best New York for everyone – and de Blasio clearly has a dedication to equality.

NYC Comptroller: Scott Stringer
I met him once and he was super nice and down to earth – no puffing up his current Borough Prez status. Spitzer can get the job done but I have a hard time electing people who think they’re above the rules, and his personal scandal showed a lack of personal integrity.

*Edited – I ended up voting for Squadron in light of various endorsements, primarily the Freelancers’ Union.
NYC Public Advocate: Letitia James

I liked her work in Brooklyn and think we need someone repping the outer boroughs in this role. I like Reshma’s marketing but she seems too corporate to be the voice of the underdog.

Manhattan Borough President: Jessica Lappin
Volunteered on her 2005 city council campaign and she was awesome when I ran into her on the street last month. Solid woman, political experience but new enough to bring a fresh take. Looking forward to great things from her.

*It’s not clear if my block has been re-districted, so here are my picks for both potential districts

City Council – District 3: Corey Johnson
Had an excellent talk with his aide who pointed out his political effectiveness via the Community Board. I’d be happy with Yetta though, she seems great.

City Council – District 1: Margaret Chin
The incumbent with endorsements from people/orgs I trust.

NYC Mayoress 2029: Ciara Pressler
Obviously.

Vote on Tuesday, September 10 – it matters.

Click here to find your district/candidates!

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The Future of Marketing: Why Automation Won’t Displace Expert Marketers

The New York Times posted an interesting article called “Who Will Prosper in the New World?” musing on which roles will survive the inevitable automation of many jobs humans still do.

My favorite, of course, is:

PEOPLE WITH A MARKETING TOUCH There will be a lot more wealth in this brave new world, but it won’t be very evenly distributed because a lot of human labor won’t seem like a special or scarce resource. Capturing the attention of customers with just the right human touch will command an increasing premium. Don’t forget that Mark Zuckerberg was a psychology major in addition to being a tech genius. Sheer technical skill can be done by the machines, but integrating the tech side with an attention-grabbing innovation is a lot harder.

Just in the span of my career, technology has displaced departments like direct mail marketing and tools like fax machines and Rolodex. But, as I was explaining to a fashion entrepreneur today, Google’s keyword tool (and even the operators on the Adwords help line) can’t yet predict the nuances of how your precise target customer searches for what you’re selling.

If you’re a marketer, it’s important to communicate to your clients why your expertise is the difference between phoning in your marketing and customers phoning you. Templates, automation, and plug & play solutions are fantastic for saving time and money in some instances, but it takes a strategist to know when and how to use them effectively.

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Are You Really That Busy or Are You Mismanaging Your Time?

Busy is the most popular excuse for getting out of interactions, but it’s also one of the stupidest.

I’m loving this article from the Harvard Business Review, which calls out the humblebrag that is “I’m soooooo busy!”

Stop doing that. When an entrepreneur tells me s/he’s busy, what’s really going on is usually one of these four things:

  1. You’re saying you’re busy to sound important. That’s old-school bragging. New school is having a balanced and interesting life.
  2. You’re not managing your time well. Stop checking email every six seconds and get off of Facebook. Schedule less meetings. Force breaks so you have to get items done within a given time window.
  3. You’re not delegating well. Hire capable people and stop micromanaging. Make them responsible for succinct reporting and effective outcomes.
  4. You’re not outsourcing the stuff you shouldn’t be doing in-house. If it takes you a whole day to update Quickbooks, get a bookkeeper. If it takes you overnight to write a press release, call me. Understand which things are important for you to execute vs oversee.

 

It goes for our personal lives too. We make time for the things that are important to us. So have some integrity with your excuses and own up to whether you’re busy or just avoiding doing the right things with your valuable time and energy.

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How Do You Become a Marketing Expert?

Last week a digital marketing rising star asked me, “How did you become a marketing expert?”

This was one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked from a mentorship point of view, and if you’re looking to keep climbing up in your field, marketing or otherwise, something to consider. Here’s my answer.

1. Be hungry to learn. Business books are my beach novels. Game-changing entrepreneurs are my rock stars. Conferences are my concerts. I never think I know it all, and I know the world won’t stop changing so I can’t stop learning.  Sink or swim.

2. Ask good questions. When you meet someone with better or different experience, find out what they’ve learned that made a difference in their business or career.

3. Gel your thoughts. It’s like creating a great recipe from the best ingredients – periodically, you have to piece together everything you’ve learned, process it, and send it back out with your stamp on it. So write an article, do an interview, commit to a speaking engagement, or construct a workshop to distill your best stuff.

4. Real world over theory. Anyone can create some buzzy concept, but the only thing that matters in business is what works in the real world – what creates customers, drives revenue, reduces waste, lessens stress. Dissect trendy concepts by inquiring how they’ve posted a real return.

The trouble with the title of “expert” or “guru” is that you can’t really call yourself such, you have to wait for someone else to deem it so. So do your work and share what you know with those who need it and eventually someone will throw the word “expert” under your name, and you can sit back and smile… for a second, then get back out there and keep learning.

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Coming Soon: More Video

Got a burning marketing question? Business strategy? Career advice? Email me and I’ll record my answer for our entire community. Cheers!

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TED Talk of the Day: Scott Dinsmore on How To Find And Do Work You Love

Great insight from Scott on how to identify and cultivate your passion, and why that’s important. A lot of what I talk about in Act II of Exit Stage Right – identifying your strengths, ignoring “supposed to”, creating your own path.

Cheers to Yvette for sending this my way!

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Shout Out to the Holstee Manifesto

We’ve all seen it by now, even made it our screensaver or hung the print on our office walls. But I keep coming back to this one because it’s a centering dose of truth. Cheers to Holstee for creating, designing, and sharing it.

holsteemanifesto

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The Importance of Instinct

The more I learn and experience, the more I’m amazed at how my instincts are almost always spot-on.

Every time I have ignored my instinct on a business or career decision, I’ve found myself in a bad situation. Years ago, my instinct knew a client was shady although I wouldn’t have been able to explain it at the time. Sure enough, they vanished with five figures in outstanding invoices. Expensive lesson, but valuable: trust that gut.

On the other hand, when I’ve followed an instinct, even when it seemed off-pattern or irresponsible, it’s paid off in spades. The best example of this was my career transition – I quit my bartending job without another job lined up because I knew I wouldn’t truly dive into the process when seduced by the siren call of cashmoney and late nights. And when I did find my eventual job, even in the first interview my whole being lit up knowing it was a perfect fit.

The trick, of course, is cultivating your instincts, or what I call: turning down the volume on what everyone else is doing and turning up the volume on your own impulses, beliefs, desires. Instinct, of course, isn’t some woo-woo magic; it’s your experience melding together to an immediate impulse that conveniently lets you avoid consciously sifting through all the information every time you have to make a decision.

So the way to improve your instincts is to experience more. Pay attention. Follow that tiny twinge in your stomach and do what it tells you in small situations so that it will get stronger as the situations get bigger. Spend a Saturday morning wandering through the city with no plans, following whatever piques your curiosity, from food to places to people.

As your instincts improve, your decisions and even your identity will strengthen, developing your most authentic self – in business and in life.

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