Thursday, September 27, 2012

Twitter is your local pub

Or your local coffee shop, favourite breakfast place, golf or country club.

Just think of that place you go regularly that you feel comfortable in. You know all the staff, they have your drink ready for you before you even take your seat. You know the other regulars, there's the guy who comes to watch football games because his wife and three daughters don't like it, and the local artist who painted the amazing mural on the wall over there, the younger guy you didn't think you'd have anything in common with until the day you chatted over morning coffee about the ways the government is ruining the country.

You come to your local, your place, on a regular day at a regular time for different reasons. Sometimes it's to catch up with the other people, sometimes it's to just people watch while you work on a project, sometimes it's to watch the football game too.

Imagine one day you are sitting in your local with the server, and one or two of your people and a clean cut guy wearing a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase walks in. He sticks out immediately since he's over dressed for the atmosphere, but hey, maybe he's early for a meeting, or he's had a tough day and wants a quick break. So once he's ordered his coffee and asks if he can join you at your table, you and your friends give him the benefit of the doubt. There was a day not too long ago you walked in here for the first time.

Except, he's taken advantage of your friendly welcome, sat down and immediately opened his briefcase full of trinkets and baubles. Believe it or not he starts telling you guys about how great his baubles are and how you can save money or lose weight by using his trinkets. And when you quietly ignore him and turn your back, without asking him to leave the table, then he starts tapping on your shoulder, "Don't you want to buy my baubles?"

You just want to enjoy the company of some pals, relax and do business tomorrow. And this guy keeps trying to get you to buy from him right now. Some of his baubles might even be interesting to you... maybe tomorrow you will stop by the bauble store and buy a few, but not right now.

Nobody wants to be sold to when they are looking for friends, laughs, information or entertainment. There is a time and a place for that.

Don't be the bauble salesman. Don't post consistent advertising messages. Don't DM your followers with an offer to discount your services. Talk about the weather, the football game, the news. And when your new friend comes into your bauble store tomorrow, he's gonna be surprised and happy to see that his new friend, the guy he trusts, is the one selling them.

It's gonna be the easiest sale of your life.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On being busy and Lunch Up Guelph

September is such a hectic month for everyone, and I'm included.Personally for me, it's like waking up from a hibernation. Summer is a difficult, energy draining time for me. Come September I feel an rush of excitement come over me and I plow into tasks that have been on the back burner for months.

So far this time around I've started courses on deeper use of Google Analytics, I've attended at least half a dozen webinars on a variety of topics such as building better metrics retention systems, becoming more efficient in posting to online networks, creating content. I even attended my first virtual conference, which was intriguing, though I didn't take advantage of networking with any of the other attendees. Maybe the next time I jump into one.

For my own business I've had great meetings and headway on my website (which is something I've been neglecting for ages), I've started a Facebook page, and started setting more targets to measure what I'm doing.

New clients have been contacting me regularly this month. I suspect they are all in the same headspace as I am... new year, gotta get moving on these goals. And people I've been working with over the summer are now ready to move forward with projects we've been talking about for months.

All this to say, September is a busy month for me. And it always has been. Looking back to last year I was so busy in September that I hadn't gotten a chance to relax with any of my Twitter friends all month. Such a change from the slower days of summer when everyone seems able to grab a quick coffee anytime during the day, or take a long lunch and chat for hours.

On this day last year, I reached a wall where I realized I was going like crazy and wanted, needed, to spend some time with friends that had nothing to do with business and was purely social. So I tweeted out an invitation to get together for lunch, thus starting Lunch Up Guelph unexpectedly.

This month would be the anniversary of Lunch Up. That is if I had planned anything. Which I haven't.

It takes me roughly 6 - 10 hours of planning, organizing, and spreading the word each month to host Lunch Up. The most difficult part of planning is dealing with the restaurants, deciding which one, getting in touch with the owners, convincing them to host our event, organizing the menu etc. And the reality is that's just not a 2 person job. Involving more people would actually make it take longer. I know because I've tried 3 - 4 times to conscript help with the planning.

In short, I don't have 6 - 10 free hours in September. If I did, Lunch Up would probably never have started to begin with!

So, based on the first year of having Lunch Up monthly, I realize that instead of trying to plan and host events for July and August, which had very small attendance, that time might better be used planning September and October's lunches and then having a great handle on the entire years worth of lunching with friends!

Always learning, that's me!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bits of Wisdom From Books - Return on Influence

Gini Dietrich on using video and being personal in her marketing
The thing I like about this kind of content is that you either love me or hate me. And if you hate me, you save both you and me a lot of hassle because you already know you don't want to work with us. It's a fantastic qualifier for new clients.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Warning - A Personal Post

So, there's a thing called Baby Fever which supposedly happens to women about my age, particularly when all the other women around her start having babies, which my friends are.
I do not have Baby Fever. I have always loved kids, certainly want to raise children, but have wanted to adopt them since about the age of 10 or so. Recently I've watched close friends and family members go through pregnancies and birth... still do not want.

I do however have House Fever

Unlike getting married or having kids, having my own home has been something I've dreamt about for as long as I can remember. Growing up I used to read all those House and Home style magazines. We had lots of home builder catalogues at our place as well so I would pour through them choosing the best log cabins to live in and the best suburban 3 bedroom bungalows.

It has reached a fevered pitch however. I find myself doing double takes at every For Sale sign I see on lawns in the city and then when I get home checking out the listing online. 

Almost 10 years ago, I made a decision to own my own retail store and started working towards that goal. I knew it was essentially a choice not to own a home, but it was the decision I made at that time. And I don't regret it. When I did get my store opened officially in 2005 I defined success for me and my business when I could afford to own a home. Unfortunately that time never came and I chose to close the business in 2009.

Well now, 3 years later I'm making a choice to buy a home, soon. The financial mess a failed business makes is a unique challenge I will overcome to get to the place I want to be.

While I have enjoyed, and sometimes loved all of the places I have lived in and rented over the last 15 years, none of them have completely satisfied me, none have felt truly mine. And I'm at a point where I'm realizing how much of an emptiness that has left me with.

So, time to sort out my financial affairs and get me my house. Like maybe this cute little bungalow on a huge lot! Or this place right on the river, which has been a dream of mine since I moved to Guelph.