Want to Build Your Business – Get Involved

I believe in giving back to my local community. I'm on the board of Junior Achievement, I co-founded the Save Our Parade committee and saved the Billings St Patrick's Day Parade five years ago, I helped with our Billings Swords For Kids run at the  Pepsi Refresh grant #17 out of over 300, I help with the Yellowstone Highland Games and I give free presentations on online marketing and social media for a variety of organizations.

How do I give back?

I prefer to give back using my skills: public relations, marketing strategy and social media /online marketing and tend to do that for the different groups I get involved with. Most of the time that's simply because i have the most experience other times it's because I request to fill that roll.

I believe that anytime you can fill a roll that fits your work skills it's best. It's not that I'm allergic to setting up tents or manning a ticket booth, but I know that my skills are best suited lining up and doing TV and radio interviews. So try to fill in where your skills are best suited. If you're a carpenter, build things, if you're a graphic designer design things, if you are extremely organized, manage the projects there is no end to the number of roles that are available to you.

How do I benefit?

There are a lot of great benefits from giving back. I truly enjoy teaching kids in the Junior Achievement program. It's so much fun seeing the look in a kids eyes when a concept hits home. I also get a chance to hang out with some amazing people that I may not have met without getting involved.

My business has benefited because I've been able to get to know a number of the local reporters and have been interviewed on camera as the local social media and online marketing expert and provided commentary on Facebook changes and Cyber Monday. This has helped me get speaking opportunities and new clients without doing anything but giving free information.

So get out and get involved in your local community, you'll feel great, you'll meet some great people and you can build your business. Now I need to run the St Patrick's Parade lineup starts in 1/2 an hour.










Great Viral Marketing Strategy

I almost called this article how I found out I was a mongoose, but it doesn't Serengeti Bookmake sense until you go take the quiz. My friend Jonathan Rivera, you can find him at Real-TechGuy.com did a video and post about Surviving Your Serengeti. <– affiliate link.

The book sounds interesting and he gave it a great review I don't know much about the book beyond his review.  But their marketing has been amazing.

One of the things they are doing is a quiz that helps you determine what animal you are, that's how I found out I was a weasel. It's a simple quiz and we're all curious to find out if the quiz is "right." But on the quiz page they have three different ways you could virally share. #1 like the page on Facebook, #2 like the book on Amazon and #3 like ActiveRain on Facebook.

Once you've gone through the quiz they show you what animal you are and give you multiple ways to share your type. I'll detail three of them here:

#1 They ask you to share your results with your friends. This generates the wall post below 

#2 The ask you to share the Quiz which generates a wall post.

#3 They have Facebook and Twitter Share Buttons

That's not counting the links on the two sides of the and they have a Facebook Profile badge generator that I didn't get a screenshot of, but here's Jonathan's. He's a mongoose too. My guess is that most of my online entrepreneur friends will be mongooses because we're resourceful.

They hit it from all of the normal book launch channels as well, but how they used social media to virally promote was extremely well done. And it looks like it worked:

I'm buying my copy based on Jonathan's review, but their marketing was top-notch. You can learn a lot from this campaign.
One of the core take-away's is to not be afraid to use multiple method because you never know when someone with a large audience will share your page and drive a significant share of traffic.

Never Lose sight of your dreams

dreams become goalsThis is a little different from what I normally write and is much more about me and mindset then strictly about business. We’ll be back to our irregularly scheduled business and online marketing posts soon, but for today join me as I explore my goals from 20 years ago and how they relate to where I am today.

I have a game or ritual I’ve done for years. I walk up to one of my book shelves and I take down whichever book catches my eye first. I open it up to a page and sit down and start reading. Then most importantly I try to apply what I’m reading to a situation that I’m currently going through.

This morning I grabbed Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. I opened it up and the first sentence I noticed was one that I wrote in the book in 1991, when I was 23 years old. It said “Never lose sight of your dreams.”  I asked myself had I lost sight of my dreams? The short answer is “maybe” the longer answer is much more complicated and I like to say my goals have evolved.

Ask yourself that question today and take the time to answer it honestly. Most of us have lost sight of our dreams or at the very least they’ve been subjugated or set aside.

After thinking about that and journaling for a while I decided to track down my goals list from 1991 and I found it. I am blessed that I have journaled in my life. I wish I had done it more regularly throughout my life, but I’ve had several periods over the last 20 years that I’ve spent time journaling and am am able to go back and read about myself from those periods.


Goal watch 300My goals / dreams in 1991 were the following:

  1. Build a multi-million dollar business and become a millionaire in my thirties.
  2. Get paid to speak in front of 3,000 people
  3. Compete in a national martial arts tournament – I didn’t really care if I won, but I wanted to be a legitimate threat to anyone I fought.
  4. Build muscle to reach 175 pounds
  5. I wanted to help others achieve their dreams


Let’s see how I did since then:

Goal # 1 Build a multi-million dollar business and be a millionaire in my 30s.

I did that with RMTG, Inc. We had 30 employees and did just short of $5 million a year for 5 years. Then I “retired” selling my shares back to the company with a 10 year, six figure a year payment package in 2005. RMTG ultimately went out of business and my payments stopped at 10 months instead of 10 years. This on top of a number of other things caused me to ultimately lose everything which could be another series of blog posts.

I joke that I should have been more specific with my goal because I was a millionaire in my 30s and lost everything before my 40s. I’m back on track to building a multi-million dollar business again and will easily do six figures in 2011.

Goal #2 Get paid to speak in front of a group of 3,000 people

When I was 23 I was speaking quite a bit, mostly presenting the Shaklee opportunity, but also talking about NLP and mindset. My regular speaking was MC’ing a monthly Phoenix- wide Shaklee seminar that had 100-150 people and the largest group I presented to a group of just shy of 300 where I was able to share the stage with Robert Cialidini, the author of Influence, one of the seminal works for people interested in persuasion. I ended up moving back to Billings from Phoenix in 2002 and pretty much set speaking aside until a couple of years ago.

In the last three years I’ve presented both paid and for free to groups across the US from as small as 10 people to almost 200. This year my goal is to get paid to speak at least once a month. I have three, possibly four speaking gigs lined up for March and am starting to plan April and May. The 3,000 is a very specific number and will take a while, but I will hit it. If you know a group that might be a fit feel free to contact me.

Goal #3 Compete in a National Martial arts tournament.

I was doing Kenpo karate point sparing tournaments back then and that’s really what I meant. I didn’t check a leg shot properly and tore my MCL and quit competing. Since then I’ve done Olympic fencing and fought in local club tournaments reaching the semi-finals a couple of times with foil. But my best chance at this is SCA heavy fighting. I’ve won 2 of the last 4 tournaments that I’ve been in and feel that even at the ripe old age of 43 I have a chance at increasing my skills enough to be a legitimate competitor in any tournament that I enter. Not quite there, but certainly on the path.

Goal #4 Build muscle and reach 175 pounds

I was pretty skinny back then and was working out an hour or two every day while trying to improve my fighting skills. I was about 165 pounds and one of the issues I had was not enough muscle and/or power. Because of that my goal was to build more muscle. Part of my reasoning was vain as well. What 23 year old doesn’t want to have big shoulders and bulging biceps.

Today, I chuckle at this one. Let’s just say I will never be “only” 175 pounds again unless I lose a limb. I soared past that in my early thirties. My goal today is to get back down to 205.

Goal #5 Help others achieve their dreams

What I meant when I wrote that was help people grow their Shaklee businesses. I quit doing Shaklee and personally feel that the old school MLM model is broken. I still use the products because I do believe in them. Which could just be a case of “drinking the Koolaid” but I find my body likes their protein better than any of the others I’ve tried over the years.

What it could mean today. I love working with business owners helping them grow their businesses. Almost everything I do is focused on helping people make more money. Local businesses don’t understand online marketing and most of the people who are trying to sell them services are simply fleecing them or have no clue what they are doing.

I also dabble in information marketing and have built and sold several courses and coached other online business owners over the years. The courses range from my work with Social Traffic and my product Local Social Profits. Both of which were focused on showing people how to be a local social media consultant helping businesses leverage the power of social media marketing for their businesses. I’m toying with re-launching that again, but their are so many of the “get rich quick” types peddling “get rich” selling offline consulting that it has poisoned the well a bit for me personally. I’ve been doing online marketing consulting for almost 5 years now and get a little disgusted with what I see being sold.

The exercise:

  1. Track down an old goals list. This is best if the list is at least a decade old.
  2. Review your goals.
  3. Write down what you meant on each goal that you set.
  4. Write down how you’ve done on that goal
  5. Write down where you are today.
  6. Once you’ve done that ask yourself, “Am I following my dreams?”
  7. Journal your answers
  8. Come back here and share what you learned

I hope this post was as interesting for you as it was for me. I rarely share about myself and posted on Facebook that this post was coming yesterday because if I hadn’t I probably never would have hit publish.

Racing to the bottom is not a marketing strategy

It happened again this morning. I received an email from someone I consider to be a smart marketer and who has a depth of knowledge that I respect. She was offering new pricing for her services that are a deep discount on her past prices. Why is this pertinent to the post title? It's because I've seen her drop her prices several times in the last year and it appears that she has made a rookie marketing strategy mistake of discounting her services.

Why isn't discounting a good strategy?

discounting is not a marketing strategy

History is littered with corpses of once great companies that tried to race to the lowest price.  When is the last time you shopped at a Kmart? Do you even remember Woolworth's or Kreskes. Walmart, as big as it is is even beginning to show some kinks in it's armor.

It also sounds like shes desperate. Do you want to do business with someone who's desperate? I know I don't for a number of reasons. First how did they become desperate? Do they suck? If you're going to offer a discount you need to tell me why you're desperate for the cash. Second desperate people tend to get themselves in over their heads and end up never delivering. I've seen it many times.

You don't want discount customers

The other problem with discounting is the type of customers it attracts. Spend an hour on a Saturday at WalMart, is that who you want as your customer? Discount customers are discount customers because they can't afford better or they don't value you and your services enough to pay what they are worth. Not only will you be stuck with these customers, but you will find that they tend to be the most difficult and demanding customers as well. 

What about the customers that paid full price?

Have you ever bought something and then saw it in another store for less or an ad where it was discounted? How did you feel? Do you want your customers feeling like that? Dropping your prices can cause a negative backlash from your current customers.

But sales are good aren't they?

Occasional sales are great, but they need to have a reason and a limit on them. If she had said I just had a big project reschedule and I have time to take on 5 more clients this week at a discounted rate. That would have been fine, it still maintains her value, gives a good reason why and gets her the cash infusion she needs.

The key in any business, but even more so as a consultant is that we need to value our time first before we can expect anyone else to value it. I'll do a follow up post explaining some of the things that I have done to maintain my value.