5 Unexpected Benefits to Blogging

Unexpected blogging
Unexpected blogging

Time for a cuppa: Photo by: DerrickT

So you’ve figured out what WordPress is, wasted days of your life figuring out how to change the blue wiggly line on your header into a green wiggly line, and you’ve re-written your ‘About’ page 17 times so you don’t sound like a complete twat (although you probably still do).

Your blog is finally launched – break out the bubbles, it’s party time!

Since finally starting this blog earlier this year – there have been many interesting occurrences. Some of them as predictable as a bowl of cornflakes, yet some of them as strange and unexpected as a Pop-Tart smeared in peanut butter.

In this post I’ll share some of these unexpected benefits to blogging. They happened to me – and they’ll probably happen to you. Although if you’re reading this they shouldn’t be as unexpected anymore – so sorry for spoiling the surprise:

1. You get to feed you’re A.D.D.

If you read my blog, chances are you’re an entrepreneur or one in the making. Truth is, we all suffer from a bit of entrepreneurial A.D.D. (remember that time you’re having a conversation with an old friend about how you should meet for coffee more often – next thing you’re mind is a million miles away………

‘What if there was an app that knew what friends you hadn’t seen in a while and suggested you bake them brownies etc etc – you know what I’m talking about…..’

Well for business this kind of thinking can be distracting as you can never follow all these ideas = lack of focus.

But with blogging you actually welcome these ideas, as they’re fuel for your next blog post – just keep your trusty Moleskine handy and next time you see someone fall over in the street – instead of helping them up, you’ll be furiously scribbling your blog post idea about how falling on your face is a lot like business etc etc

Once you begin blogging, almost everything in life becomes fuel for a blog post – it’s quite cool.

2. You’ll get business offers

Yep – quite unexpectedly, now that you’re blogging, you’ll get tons of offers to go into business with people. These aren’t the type that goes:

Dear Respected One, I am Wumi Abdul; the only Daughter of late Mr and Mrs George Abdul. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan…

Nope – These are real people wanting to start cool businesses who will want you to be involved (note: I do accept I may get more than other blog types as I write about entrepreneurship – this may be different if your blog is about stamp collecting or teapots)

Some of these business offers include:

The good: Cool new travel site, a few different web startups, information products
The bad: Network marketers
And the little bit crazy: A new type of new internet site where people earn money from visiting (hmmm – what’s that my mother said about if something’s too good to be true?) and even completely new form of city infrastructure transport.

(Note: haven’t been able to accept any of these offers to date due to too many other commitments but perhaps someday)

3. No one cares (well, not right away)

Slightly paradoxically to many of my other points– when you launch your blog you expect thousands of readers straight off the bat…..

But no one comes, and your Google analytics graph looks more like a hockey pitch than a hockey stick!

But if you stick at it they do come. When you spend more time writing and producing great content, and less time worrying about how many people are reading it – that’s when you’ll find people turning up.

I recently read Launch, a great book about building a brand through social media and educational content and Michael Stelzner gives a great analogy called ‘The Elevation Principle’ that explains it best. He says:

Your blog is like a spaceship, and content (blog posts, videos etc) is the fuel – the more you put, the higher your rocket ship can fly.

So if you’ve recently started a blog – just keep at it. It might take a few weeks/months but when people start turning up and digging your stuff it’ll be worth it.

4. You Enjoy Writing

A few months ago the thought of writing regularly made me break out with cold sweats – but now, even though the proof-reading police would still have me arrested if they ever caught me, I feel myself looking forward to writing.

More importantly: I actually really enjoy it.

I remember reading a post by Corbett Barr when I was just starting out, where he said he used to fear writing but now, as a full time blogger, he enjoys it and is a seriously good writer.

Don’t fear writing – just stick with it – A surprise awaits.

5. You meet cool people

I think it was Darren Rowse from Copyblogger that said when someone asked him ‘Why you blog’,  he responded:

The reason I blog is to meet interesting people

I’d totally agree with this.

For me, the greatest thing about blogging is that people with the same interests as you will start to draw towards you and will contact you – ok some of them will turn out to be a bit crazy but you’ll meet some very cool people as you do it.

And you won’t just meet them online – I’ve met dozens of people in real life that, once they come check out this blog, they get I’m serious about wanting to do great stuff.

I’m convinced I wouldn’t be working on such awesome startup projects as I am now if it wasn’t for this blog. I wasn’t before I started it!

Do you blog? Any unexpected things happen to you? Share them in the comments below

A Day in the Life of a Serial Entrepreneur: Mark Bowness

serial entrepreneur

What is it like to have a huge idea and turn it into a start-up?

I finally got to meet with Mark Bowness, serial entrepreneur and founder of tribewanted.com which became a global phenomenon and a BBC2 series. Mark is one hell of an inspirational guy who has a knack of coming up with big ideas and motivating people to believe in them. Mark shares the trials and tribulations of building a start-up, and tells us more about his great business soon to launch, bigamericangiveaway.com

I this video you will learn:

  1. How one man can launch a business in three countries
  2. How to formulate and validate a great idea
  3. The fundamental components involved in creating a kick-ass start-up
  4. The associated costs of creating a start-up
  5. How to market your idea to a captive audience
  6. How to maintain a work-life balance when it all gets a bit chaotic
  7. The biggest lessons Mark has learnt from building businesses

Check it out:

Marks links:

markbowness.com
Mark’s interview on Mixergy (highly recommended)
bigamericangiveaway.com
bigbritishgiveaway.com
bigaussiegiveaway.com

Transcription:
TRANSCRIPT IS CURRENTLY BEING PREPARED

Never Trust a HIPPO!

Hippo business
Hippo business

Hangin' with Hippos: Dangerous. Photo by: wwarby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever been in a meeting when the most senior person in the room made a ‘gut’ decision – that you felt was plain wrong?

You might or might not have been brave enough to question this decision but too often your questioning wasn’t listened to. After the meeting the business goes on and you see the mistake you anticipated happening.

Why did this happen? Because the decision was made by The Highest Paid Person’s Opinion  (Or HIPPO), usually the HIPPO calls the shots, even if they’re making the wrong decision.

In this post you’ll learn why HIPPO’s are always a dangerous animal, why you should never trust them (even if they’re a friendly HIPPO) and what weapons you should bring with you at all times to defeat one!

We’ll also have a look at what to do if the HIPPO turns out to be you!

Spotting a HIPPO is important as, although perhaps experienced, many HIPPO’s make decision based on gut and experience. While this can be important and many people have built successful businesses this way – it brings with it a margin for error. What if that person’s gut is wrong?

In the past I’ve worked with businesses that were run by HIPPO’s (most are). I remember in particular one startup I worked with where, if HIPPO’s had relied less on their ‘gut’ – the outcome for a project would have been very different:

Real conversation with past HIPPO:

Me:  We should spend the rest of this week validating this core assumption that people want this product – we haven’t seen anything to prove this yet.

Hippo: That’s not what we want you to do – when you’re experienced in business like us you know when to trust your gut – trust me on this.

We argued (yes it was heated) but I conceded. I accepted that the HIPPO had more experience than me (also the fact is that the HIPPO might be paying your wage/your client/your investor makes it a tough one). Wrong move!

So we ploughed on without validation. It turned out that 1 week spent validating the idea could have saved us 3 months working on a product our target market didn’t want (for more on idea validation read this or this)

So – how DO you defeat a HIPPO?

One word: Facts

How do you get facts? A number of ways – but the most powerful is data collected directly from customer feedback. I’m not a classic numbers guy, but nothing disarms a HIPPO better than STATS - they are cold and unquestionable – words on the other hand can be subjective. Best ways to get these stats? A/B tests and analytical funnels and, to a lesser degree, questionnaires and speaking to customers.

What are the most effective ways to defeat a HIPPO:

Hippo-Graph

100% = defeated HIPPO

Two recent examples of HIPPOS being slayed:

  1. In the course of optimising first week game play for iamplayr (first week of gameplay in a social game is vital to get right for overall user retention), it was proposed we’d remove a pop-up that congratulates you for making your debut. This made sense as making your debut is not as exciting as, say, scoring for first goal – we thought. Until we looked at our viral metrics and saw that this was the single most virally shared item in the whole game.

 Better keep that one then.

  1. For this blog – I had dropped (well to be honest I forgot) doing my million dollar update monthly post. I thought this would make no difference. Until I looked at video watch stats and saw that my month 1 Million Dollar Update report is my most watched video ever – beating every other video or interview I’ve done.

I’ll be doing more of them then.

Hope these two examples help explain what I mean. HIPPO’s are not stupid – they just can be plain wrong – anyone can be. It’s much better to act based on fact, than gut.

That’s why my new favourite line is: Let’s test that – anyone that refuses this request is a very dangerous HIPPO.

Moral of the story:

Watch out the next time the HIPPO in the room is making a decision based on their GUTespecially if that HIPPO is you!

Your turn: Ever experienced dealing with a HIPPO? Share your story in the comments below:

friendly HIPPO

 

 

Video Marketing, Views, Rankings and Results, with Dan Safkow

web video marketing

How can I use video as a powerful marketing tool for my business or blog?

I recently had the opportunity to chat with video marketing guru Dan Safkow, and he told me how to unleash video marketing awesomeness for our business or blogs (I learnt some cool stuff in the process)

In this video you will learn:

  1. How to maximise the power of google and youtube through FAQ’s
  2. How to strategically use keywords
  3. About the importance of back links
  4. Video analysis tools
  5. Incremental video publishing

Check it out:

Dans links:

www.videomarketingminute.com - where you can download his free report on 21 resources and 49 tips for better video marketing

Twitter: dansafkow

Transcription:
TRANSCRIPT IS CURRENTLY BEING PREPARED

Million Dollar Report 2, Startup Remarkable

million dollar report

Here’s where I report on how I’m progressing towards my goals of making $1 million in 999 days.

Each month I report on exactly how much I made, what things I’ve learned, what I’ve achieved, and of course, all the mistakes I’ve done (oh yes – I’m NEVER short on material for that section!). Expect my report the first week of each new month.

My goal is to be completely transparent to you – you’ll see what’s working for me, what’s not, and what my strategies are. That way when you decide to go it alone, whether it be for $1, $1 million, $1 billion, or just for fun – you won’t have to make all the mistakes I did. Hey, wouldn’t that make it so much easier?

Report 2 (sorry for the gap since last report – it’s been nuts recently)

  • Started working in a full-time job for the first time in 6 years! It’s with a amazing startup with massive aspirations (I talk about how I got to this point in this blog article) – learning loads with them right now.
  • I see working with a high growth startup as a core part of my million dollar journey – less for the money I’ll earn (although it will allow me to clear my debts built up form past 10 years and save enough to be able to sustain myself when I launch my own business in the near future) but more for
  1. What I will learn
  2. Being exposed to the mentality in a high growth, funded startup
  3. Being around great, talented people – and making lots of rockstar developer contacts (which I’ll need down the line)
  • Moved to centralLondon– being in the middle of things in such a great city is awesome!
  • Became single again for the first time in almost 3 years (feels a little weird TBH)
  • Met one of my entrepreneurial hero’s

The Stats

  1. Income in past month: £2.7K GBP (man it would be SO MUCH more if I didn’t have to pay taxes – grrrrr)
  2. Overall net worth: – £6K GBP (loans outstanding for student & business loans built up over past 6 years)

Main things I learnt

  • Being really driven and ambitious can mean you having to make difficult decisions – gotta trust your gut as to what the right thing is. It’s all you got
  • Depending of your background – I believe that working for a high growth Startup could be the single best thing to do – I’m learning TONS right now including:
    • How to optimise virality in a business/social game
    • Advanced Facebook display advertising strategies
    • Amplifying messages through channels with established large audiences (sports/music personalities)
  • Working full-time brings its challenges when also wanting to blog 5 times a week – struggled with it this month. Taught me a big lesson that I need to outsource/automate more – watch this space
  • Reaching out to people you admire is easier than you think - I’m going to do this more often and push myself to meet people I would normally not consider possible

Plans for next month

  • Automate/outsource every aspect of this blog except the creation of content. This should free up my time so I can post more regularly (3 times a week minimum)
  • Begin pushing my main startup idea Internalized again now I’ve found my routine a bit better in my new job
    • Plan is to have validated many of my core assumptions for this idea by this time next month
  • Create a full timeplan for my million dollar challenge  – 870 days to go! – Will have this for you for next Monday
  • Join/create a high-quality Masterminds & one experienced mentor
  • Need to begin generating some income outside my day job (with it affecting my day job performance) will be back to you on this one
  • Create a great email series for this blog
  • Keep chipping away at my debt – my goal is to be completely NET positive by NYE

What I need help with

Looking to connect with experienced entrepreneurs to interview for this blog – if you have any suggestions please let me know

 

Million Dollar Report 2, Startup Remarkable

Howard: Hi everyone, Howard from startupremarkable.com here. And this is the second of my monthly updates on my million dollar challenge to get to a million dollars in 999 days. And in this video I’m going to tell you a little bit about what I have done over the past month, what I have learned, what I am going to do over the next month and how I feel I am doing so far.

So, the last month, actually, it has been two months since my last video. The last kind of two months is kind of crazy times for me because, yeah, I have got a lot of good things, positive things, I think everything that happened in the last two months has been really [really] positive but some big [big] changes. So, first one I broke up with my long-term girlfriend, moved in to, I think that was the right thing, I moved in to Central London. I was living here a bit outside over here in the UK. I was living a little bit outside. And also I began working in full-time job my first official fulltime job in six years and with a startup business.

And how does that fit into my million dollar challenge you might ask? Going out and working for somebody else. Well, for me, it was always been a part of the plan to work with a really high growth startup company. I feel I need to be in that environment to learn. Learn what it takes to grow a business really [really] fast. And also just being around that [kind of] type of talented people that have that sort of mindset of growing a really [really] big business. So, that’s what I’m doing for the moment. It is a social gaming company and, yeah, they are really [really] ambitious and growing really fast already. So, that’s really where I have been over the last month or so.

Things I have learned, yeah, I learned a couple of things. A big challenge adjusting to working full-time. So, I’ve learned that I have to work differently to be able to have spend time to update this blog and to work on my own business outside my full-time job which is ultimately where I see me making my million dollars and really growing. It has to come to that business I’ve been working on outside my full-time business. So, that’s a challenge because the full-time job I am in takes up a lot of the time. So, I haven’t really quite cracked that yet.

I am working hard on putting, trying to outsource as much as I can at the moment and I’ll keep you filled in on that but I’m not quite there yet. But the goal is everything on my blog, other than content creation; I’m going to outsource or automate so I’ll be everything afar from the actual writing of the blog post or shooting the videos. Everything else, somebody else, other people would do. And that’s the same for my business. I will out everything that I need to do to move along my business that I’m pursuing which I internalized, I have to completely be able to delegate that. So that’s all about putting certain procedures in place so people are able to do it without me being there. It’s a challenge but it is a fun one at the same time.

So, how do I think I’m doing? When I look at, when I’m writing down how much money I have made and the fact that I need to get to a million dollars I look and then go, “Hey, I have a hell of a long way to go still.” But, I am exactly where I wanted to be right now. Working, the job I got is absolute dream one, and what I’m gonna learn in that I’m gonna be really [really] well set up to run my thing afterwards.

Yeah, I’m really happy there’s a lot of kinda changes I have to do [you know] whether moving and also with my girlfriend, stuff like that. And, yeah, it’s kinda been really [really] big kinda one or two months for me and things are looking good.

So, I’ll see you back here in a month and I’ll tell you how I’m doing. Cheers!