Start Your Own Blog Today

There are plenty of reasons seasoned professionals should write their own blog. I’ve been blogging since 2009 when I founded Jobs Ministry Southwest. Back then, it was a great way to share information with the people using our career transition services.

That modest effort got me excited about the power of blogging. From its humble start, my blog has grown into the site you see now with over 110,000 followers and growing.

Blog Writing

Now, as my coaching and consulting businesses have grown, I use the blog to share articles on key topics for managers and business leaders, sharing thoughts about leadership and entrepreneurship (my two favorite topics). Blogging helps cast a wider net, spreading your message across the globe.

I am going to share some of the quick and easy steps I use to build the blog.

  1. Domain names – Get yourself a custom domain name. Most registrations may cost you $12 a year (or close to that). Reasonably cheap for the significance of pointing to a brand name you build.
  2. SiteGround Hosting services – Unless you have a brother-in-law with insane computer networking skills, subscribe to a hosting service. I’ve tried several, but have landed on SiteGround. I love their responsiveness (the site loads quickly despite a lot of overhead/functionality going on). I’ve also found their support to be world class good. To check them out click this link.
    Web Hosting
  3. WordPress – I’ve become a huge fan of the WordPress framework. The themes and templates give you so many options. Some custom themes you buy, but many are free. The free ones can give you a great looking site to get you started. WordPress was created for blogging and has grown into a whole discipline of its own.
  4. Plugins – These are add-on tools you can add to your WordPress suite of code. With plugins, you can add awesome features like social media sharing, guest list management, shopping carts, etc. There are three critical plugins I have chosen to use.
    • Jetpack – a collection of tools that maximize the operation of WordPress, keep statistics, and hacker protection
    • Yoast SEO – helps optimize the valuable search engine optimization aspects of your site and all its content
    • Vaultpress – file backup; you never want to lose your blog
  5. RSS Feeds – Build an RSS feed to allow your content to get distributed to other social media channels automatically as each post gets released. I use Google’s Feedburner.com tools for this task. Opening an account is free. You can customize the tool to grab your posts and push them to channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram all automatically and spontaneously with each post.
  6. LeadPages.net – I use LeadPages to help me promote and manage product offerings, events, seminars, webinars, and my other client attraction efforts. Build your own landing pages with LeadPages. As an example, my promo for Big 5 Performance Management is done with LeadPages.
  7. MailChimp – Email management tools. Using an effective email management service is vital. I’ve tried several and have landed on MailChimp. I like the ease of use and the straightforward tools they offer. I know there are other services that are equally effective, but after several disappointments (and higher costs) I landed with MailChimp.
  8. Fiverr – Occasionally you need some freelance skill sets to augment what you are doing. Fiverr.com is tremendous for this. Fiverr is a collection of freelancers from all around the world. They call their projects “gigs”. As the name might imply, you can get help for as little as $5 per “gig”. I’ve used Fiverr resources for things like graphic design (videos, book covers, and logos) or getting a press release written. I’ve also used them for social media promotions to reach a broader audience for book releases or other promotions I am doing. Yes, occasionally I get a less than acceptable outcome, but I only invested a few dollars versus hundreds through other sources or contractors. It’s a winner for simple outsourcing.

About Content

There are numerous opinions about content creation; write it yourself, borrow others, merely re-post, etc. I’ve taken the basic approach that is at the core of blogging, “my message, my voice”. Yes, I study many different sources and try to compile credible resources to cobble my articles together. Anything I use gets proper attribution for its source.

The content I write is intended solely for your use. If I can’t help you, a busy professional, do more right where you are, then I’ve missed the mark. If you decide to start a blog, you need to decide what your purpose and message will be about.

There are also great debates about when to publish and how often. The golden rule I learned early on is simply “be consistent”.

To that end, I choose to write at least 2x per week. By using the great scheduling features of WordPress I can accumulate a volume of articles and stage them for automatic release on whatever schedule I choose. By using this queueing method, I never have to worry about publication deadlines and getting writer’s block over the deadline pressure. Typically, I have content scheduled at least three weeks ahead, sometimes more.

I’ve juggled the release days of the week, experimenting with response rates and open rates. There are other blog writers I know who limit publication to once a week. If it works, great! Just be consistent. Allow your following to become reliant on your consistency.

Disclosure: By clicking some of the links above, I may receive a small affiliate commission from the service provider. Rest assured I would not promote anything I don’t use myself. But even if I didn’t get any commissions, I really like these tools, and I think you will too.

If you want to let me help you with organizing your online presence, send an email to my assistant Karla 

Finding the Edge – Episode #1

Can changing your mindset really improve your business bottom line?

Dear Business Owner:

Most business owners start their business based on their passion for what it is they do. Unfortunately, it takes much more than passion to build a successful business. You must have a specific vision for what it is you want your business to accomplish and the direction you want to take to produce the results you expect your business to achieve.

Thought is the most powerful force in the universe. Our thoughts are the controlling factor in what we manifest and create in our lives. Use your thoughts to create a specific vision for your business and then apply the right strategies and tactics to grow and develop that business.

What you need to know…

Creating a millionaires mindset requires action on your part. You must create a mindset that’s focused on performing your highest impact and highest income-producing activities on a daily basis.

If you’re not happy with your business’s current results, then ask yourself a question and be brutally honest as you answer it. WHY are you getting such poor results? WHY are you failing to attract clients? WHY are you attracting the wrong clients? WHY are you failing to generate the revenue and profits you expect from your business?

One of the things that we have found over the years is that people who are broke, struggling or just getting by – don’t think the same way as people who are financially abundant. They don’t believe the same things as financially challenged people do, and therefore they don’t behave the same way. In short, they take different actions.

Why you need to know this…

Small business owners have been mentally conditioned to behave a certain way. They have specific beliefs… such as “in order to make more money, I have to work harder.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “No pain, no gain.” “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “If I don’t do it myself, it will never get done.”

These beliefs lead to specific actions such as working more hours and putting forth more effort in a vain attempt to increase revenue and profits. That leads to specific results such as feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and frustration… and a deep-seated belief that more and more effort is required, even though results seldom if ever appear.

Do you know what your current beliefs may be costing your business today? For example…

Do you succumb to mental barriers that may be sabotaging your success?

Are you laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities?

Are you hiring, assigning, delegating or bartering all of your non income-producing and less productive tasks?

Do you know the specific steps you can take to immediately create a “millionaires mindset?”

Would you like to know how you can learn to develop these critical skills?

Our E-Learning Marketing System™ does all of this… and much, much more. But don’t take our word for it. Let me show you right now how a business owner can change the way they think about their business… and do so in such a way that it creates a dramatic increase in effectiveness and revenue visit Finding the EdgeTM  for a Test Drive.

To your success,

Doug Thorpe

P.S. Please remember that at any time you feel ready and qualified to move forward and acquire the professional help that can enable you to build the business of your dreams, just click here and check out our E-Learning Marketing System™. It’s helping small business owners just like you get the answers and the help they need to build the business they have always wanted.

We created the E-Learning Marketing System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multi-million dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.

Entrepreneurial Leadership: Making the Team Tick

Building a strong team of leaders is vital for any entrepreneurial effort to get off the ground and rise to new heights. The founder/CEO cannot go it alone for very long. Yes, the early stage company can launch solely on the grit and determination of its founder. However, sustained growth requires the addition of a team.

The larger the team the greater is the demand for management and leadership talent to guide the efforts of the people on that team. Core responsibilities get separated into boxes on the org chart. The enterprise grows.

The founder can hire great people; individuals who may share his/her passion for the product or service that is being delivered. Yet there is an ironic paradox to success. The very fact that the company may be successful can begin to undermine its ability to survive. How is that so?

Here’s how

As a company grows, the span of control the founder can manage gets stretched. Sooner or later the founder/CEO must rely upon others to guide the rest of the team. Often family members are involved, taking on some of these duties.

In the wildly popular Entrepreneurial Operating System or EOS by Gino Wickman, the primary org chart is a simple one. Key duties include:

  • The Visionary (usually the founder),
  • The Implementer – what we are used to seeing as President or COO
  • Sales – getting business
  • Operations – delivering the good or service
  • Finance – managing the money

It looks like this:

The larger a company grows, the people sitting in these seats become greater influencers. If each manager cannot follow the vision and the values of the company with a high degree of consistency and continuity, the organization begins to crumble. The heads of the departments must work in harmony not discord.

As turf battles emerge, the greater good of the company falls victim to the whims of the people sitting in those seats. Therefore, the founder/leader must be sure he/she has a grip on the leadership. If anyone responsible for a big unit within the company wavers on their own ability to perform, then the unit suffers.

Building a Leadership Team

If a founder wants to see his/her entrepreneurial efforts grow, they must be willing to address leadership gaps in the people below them. A gap is not just an empty seat. Shortcomings in true leadership ability demonstrated by anyone on the executive team must be address swiftly and effectively.

Finding ways to identify leadership gaps may seem hard to do. You sense it, but may not be able to perfectly quantify it. General Douglas MacArthur summed it up this way:

From that teaching we get a good checklist from which we can evaluate our leadership teams.

  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • Covenant
  • Character

Let’s explore each one in more detail.

A leader must show confidence in your own decisions. The people around you will not believe you if you, yourself do not believe. Be bold and firm in your convictions. You can be certain without being dogmatic or rude.

Courage comes when everything around you is crumbling; having a strong sense of purpose and resolve to see things thru.

Compassion is needed when members of the team begin to fall behind or suffer from the heat of the battle. Having compassion can be a valuable leadership trait.

Covenant is the pledge to follow-through despite all other circumstances. A contract can be broken, but a covenant is steadfast. Someone willing to live a covenant relationship is a very strong leader.

It has been said that character is what you do when no one is looking. I like that a lot. It is really a solid summation of what it means to have character as a leader. Character earns trust from those around you. You cannot be trusted if your character proves to be flawed.

 

 

Do You Have a Side Hustle?

36168113_sA new term has been coined that describes a very common activity among professionals and workers in all walks of life. The term is “side hustle”.

The idea behind side hustle is to have a day job that pays the bills while you are working on your dream situation. The urban dictionary describes a side hustle as:

A side job that brings in cash; something other than your main job. Maybe playing weekend gigs or life coaching.

Amy Tobin has spent a lot of time considering the future of work in the US and have spent hundreds of hours doing qualitative research with Millennials. Consider this:

  • 27 percent of GenY is self employed, and a Pew Research study says that ‘many to most’ Millennials stated a desire to start their own business. 27 % of them are currently self employed.
  • GenX is also incredibly entrepreneurial, also out of necessity.

In some regard, side hustle is no different from finding a second job. Any source of income over and above your day job is a second job.

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However, people dedicated to running a true side hustle find far greater reward in the outcome of that effort. To have extra income, rather then merely succumbing to the pressures of having a second employer, side hustlers run their own shows. The hopes and dreams of what might become of the side hustle keeps you inspired and creates a new sense of freedom.

If you are still looking at the idea of starting a side hustle, I am going to do you a favor. I’ve compiled a list of common side hustle reference sites, all gathered right here for easy reference.

Hustle Success

Side Hustle Nation

YouInspireMe.co.uk

Entrepreneur.com 

GoGirl Finance

50+ Side Hustles 

The Top 68 Side Hustles: Add Some More Money to Your Life

There are so many more. Just Google the term ‘side hustle’. There are 3.4 MILLION references! You will have hours of research to keep you busy. Clearly this is a trending topic.

However…..

As with any entrepreneurial startup, there are a few key considerations to ponder to decide whether you have the stomach for such an endeavor.

1. Startups are hard. Anyone who has made an honest effort at delivering a credible product or service i.e. adding value to the world, will tell you it takes honest hard work. There is only one true way to get rich quick and that involves winning the lottery (I include inheritance as a lottery win with better odds).

2. Not everyone will be an entrepreneur. It takes a special sense of self worth to venture out and start something new. It is not for the faint of heart. The pessimists will be banking on you to fail. The introverts will not believe you can reach out to the world. Even a few well-meaning family or friends may shoot you down before you get started. This is why so many side hustles stay under wraps until momentum builds.

3. There are no overnight successes. Everyone I’ve ever met who is close to being considered an overnight success has actually worked years to make it happen. Usually the story involves numerous failed attempts to build the product or platform the right way, finding the “WOW” factor. Even Facebook started small and took a while to gain its first 1 million users.

4. It takes a special sense of work-life balance. Time management is a huge factor in side hustle. Maximizing the use of your hours before and after the day job can be tricky. It is especially hard if a spouse is not on-board with the business idea.

Ah, but for those brave souls who do venture out and endure, well, the reward is more than the cash you take home. The satisfaction and fulfillment for knowing you made it usually drives you to keep it going.

Side hustle may be the new term, but the spirit of entrepreneurship is as old as world commerce. Every great entrepreneur often started out with a side hustle. Most of the Shark Tank participants are side hustles. The list of businessmen who started in their garage (Hewlett Packard) or in their car (Ross Perot) is legend.

Want some help getting it going?

If you are just starting out to launch your first side hustle, let me share some advice. You can schedule a time with me or one of my business experts at HeadwayExec. I will schedule an introductory phone/Skype interview to hear your plans, answer questions and provide tips. You can get all this is a 45 minute session for $75.

Sign Up Here

Or just want to know more? Visit HERE.

PS – What I just offered you is not a side hustle. It’s my life’s work. I love helping new, first time business leaders and entrepreneurs. You are the future of your country. I’m here to help get you to the next level of success.

 

Question: Have you considered starting a side hustle? Do you already have one going? You can leave a comment by clicking here.