Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast
WSS #0150: How To Have Your Business And Enjoy It, Too: The One Year Podcast Anniversary Episode

Happy Anniversary!

To you, Fred. And to us on the one year mark since our first podcast episode aired. One year and 150 episodes later, we're both thrilled and exhausted.

A year ago we set out with this mission: to challenge the status quo of marketing and encourage you to think differently about what you see, hear and are told – seemingly ad nauseum – in blogs and podcasts and webinars everywhere.

And we think we've accomplished that mission.

Now as we look ahead to another year, we're shifting our mission ever so slightly toward business and entrepreneurship and challenging that status quo.

We want to talk more about how to start a business, sustain a business, manage a business, make money with a business – and yes, market a business – but with a focus on a holistic approach. And that means talking about all the things that go into running a healthy, successful business that you probably don't think about – like your passions, your health, your family and your life.

Business Is About Money

It sounds mercenary but the fact is that you need money. You have bills to pay. You probably want to do some fun things, whether it's putting puzzles together (we just finished our cupcake puzzle!) or traveling.

A lot of the "advice" you get is about tactics with no real end in mind. How many posts can you read about "list building"? Or any tactic? But there's no point to building a list if you don't know what to do with the people on it.

So we want to talk about the "what's next" of business and marketing so you can build, run and sustain a business that supports you, your family and your lifestyle.

And "money" isn't the goal. Money is the thing that can help you reach your goals – like spending quality time with your family and kids and not being chained to your desk.

Our "Unfair Advantage"

In entrepreneurial lingo, our unfair advantage is that we're in the interesting place of being 16 years into running a business but also at the very beginning of starting a new business – both at the same time.

So we have years of experience (and mistakes) behind us and we can speak from that. But we're also in a very real way starting over, and we want to share that journey with you as we grow and explore, make more mistakes and even more money!

How Do You Define Yourself?

There's a lot of lingo thrown around when it comes to talking about "business". There's the ever-present and overused "entrepreneur" that seems to mean "anyone with a computer and no job."

There are "freelancers", "business owners", "solopreneurs" and more.

What are you?

Don't answer so fast – this matters.

To a large extent, being successful is about mindset and if you don't take yourself seriously and don't speak about your business legitimately then nobody else will take you seriously, either.

Often the word freelancer is thrown around to mean "self employed". But it can also be associated with "job on the side."

If you walk into a prospecting meeting and introduce yourself as a freelancer, do you think that confers more or less legitimacy on you?

Think carefully about the vocabulary you use because how you define yourself is how others will define you.

Be serious about running your business.

What Is A Business?

If you're working day in, day out, chained to your desk, you're not really running a business. If the business would fall apart without you, you're not running a business. What you're doing is working a job – just one that you've given yourself.

If you want to run a business then you need systems and processes in place so that the business can keep running without you. It has to be profitable so you can pay yourself and your staff and have money left over to live your life. You have to be able to provide products and services that your audience needs without constantly chasing the next big thing.

We're not saying it's easy. But it can be done. And we'll be here along the way to talk about the ups and downs and to talk with guests about their ups and downs so you can learn and be inspired, too.

Ready?

We're looking forward to another 150 episodes… and another… and another… and then maybe a vacation…

And we're glad you'll be there for the journey. We're excited to talk about the good, the bad, the ugly and the ants.

We also look forward to continuing to hear your stories, your successes, your failures, frustrations, joys and challenges. Onward!

Your (Marketing?) Action Item

Now that we've shifted our focus a bit, we're not sure that we should be calling this a "marketing" action item, but we aren't quite ready to give it up as a show segment.

So your action item today is to decide what we should call it instead! Plunk your thoughts in the comments or hit us up online.

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WSS #0149: A Puzzling Tale Of Ants, Popcorn And Shareholder Agreements

A Puzzling Episode

Last week we talked about a puzzle that had taken over part of our office and it's still there! We're making progress, albeit slowly, but more importantly the puzzle seems to have become a point of interest for our clients and business partners who visit.

Just last week during a couple of meetings, we were interrupted in the middle of marketing-speak by a client exclaiming, "Hey, I found a piece!" So let this be a fun lesson for you: whether you work at home or in an office, it's not a bad idea to have something for your customers and visitors to play with. Try it!

SuperFred FTW!

Last week we put out a call to you, our readers and listeners, to ping a couple of folks on Twitter who we'd like to have on the show. As of this recording, Sarah Rodriguez and ComicBookGirl19 have both responded to the call of The Army Of Fred and we're currently discussing having them on our podcast.

That leaves us with one holdout: Melissa Hunter. So if you have a moment, let her know we're still waiting to hear from her!

The Ants Go Marching

Before we get into our topic for the day, I wanted to share something that happened to me over the weekend. It's safe for work but maybe not if you're eating lunch.

Friday night we sat down to watch a movie and Carol Lynn had bought me a bag of my favorite kettle popcorn. I ate half the bag then left it next to the couch, figuring we'd be back to watch a movie the next night and it would be waiting for me.

The next day Carol Lynn cleaned up a bit and sealed the bag with a clip and put it back onto the kitchen counter. That night we did indeed watch another movie and I was excited to remember that I had half a bag of popcorn so I grabbed the bag and a bowl, dimmed the lights and the movie started as I crunched and ate, crunched and ate.

At some point I felt like I had a bit of popcorn stuck between my teeth but I couldn't seem to get it out with my tongue because it kept moving around… that's when I noticed that my hand was covered in ants. And the popcorn in the bowl was covered in ants. And the bag was full of ants.

So let's just say I spent the better part of that evening spitting and brushing my teeth and freaking out. We're not sure what to make of this as a lesson, except maybe, "Don’t leave popcorn by the couch" or "Don't eat in the dark."

What I can say is that this shall never be spoken of again.

And Now, The Shareholder Agreement

Yes, we have an actual topic today and it revolves around the very, very beginning of the entrepreneurial journey, namely what happens before, leading up to and during the process of putting together a shareholder agreement (also known as an Operating Agreement.)

This is the agreement that will lay out all the logistics of how your business will be run, how the money works, what the roles and responsibilities are and essentially all the "what happens ifs…"

It All Started With An Idea

Since we're content creators, and we create quite a lot of it, we need to have a really good process that keeps us on track and working efficiently. To help us do our jobs, we built some homegrown tools that made it easier to manage some of the repetitive parts of the process.

But then we realized, hey, if these tools are helping us, wouldn't they also be able to help other people?

And thus our idea was born: let's package and sell the tools we've built so they can help other people with their content creation and promotion process.

You will have your own idea, but if you want to make it a successful idea, it helps to formalize your plans, which is exactly what we did with our shareholder agreement.

Putting The Team Together

In our case, we decided that between Carol Lynn and I we could get some kind of product out into the world – but it wouldn't be nearly as good or as successful as it could be if we found the right people to work on it with us.

So we chose to add a creative director, a director of marketing and sales and a CFO. And we chose to include them as shareholders so that everyone would be incentivized to make a lot of money and cash in.

Now, we could have hired them – but given that we just started the company and we're making zero dollars, and neither of us has a million dollars hanging out in a bank account to pay salaries in the meantime, we opted to go with a partnership.

That made it even more important to have a governing document so that everyone knows what to expect and nobody ends up irritated or confused or angry somewhere down the line when what they thought was happening turned out to be something entirely different.

The point is that "a good idea" is not enough. If you want to bring your idea to life, you need to be sure you have the right team in place and the right agreement to make everyone happy.

Can You Do It On Your Own?

If you can, great! Go ahead and knock it out of the park.

But most people with a good idea need at least some support to make that idea happen. That's where your team comes in – and more importantly, that's where equity comes in.

When we first started, our initial thought was…. Our idea, our money. And we gave a little bit of that to the other people on our team. But the other people on our team had a different perspective. They figured they'd all be contributing to the success of the product just as we would, and wondered why they were only getting a tiny piece of the pie.

And they were right. They each brought a specialized skill that we couldn't do without. So we split everything up evenly and that means everyone has a stake in seeing the business grow.

If you're thinking of partnering up with someone, think long term and think value. Do you value your team? Then you need to show it. The last thing you want is to take the lion's share of profits and disappear on a nice long vacation to the tropics while your team members slave away for a couple bucks, growing more and more resentful and maybe eventually ditching you.

Think Ahead

Our goal in having this conversation is not to make this sound complicated or hard. Our goal is to show you just how not complicated it is. If you've got the right team and an attorney to advise you, this is all a matter of some boilerplate legalese plus a bit of personalized advice depending on what you want and need.

What is more complicated, is ignoring this step up front and finding yourself mired in red tape or worse, being sued somewhere down the line because nothing was clear up front.

Play a little bit of the Devil's Advocate. Ask why, ask what, ask what if. Think of the worst case and best case scenarios and think about what might happen in each. That's what your lawyer is for – to advise you and guide you.

And that's also why you can't hop onto the Internet, grab a strictly boilerplate document and go. It may be cheaper and it may be tempting but you'll miss out on the personalized advice that comes with having a real attorney to advise you.

In our case, we were planning to write language into the agreement that forbade us from selling the business or taking investment money for five years. But our attorney advised us not to bar it but rather to require a unanimous vote of the shareholders before we could do it. Without his advice, we might seriously have limited our options without knowing any better.

A Little Cash Up Front Can Save You A Lot Later

True, attorneys aren't free, but they're worth the short term investment for long term peace of mind. Besides, if you've got partners then each of you will contribute to the cost so no one person has to shoulder the burden alone - that's the point of a partnership. If you're thinking of starting one, ask questions early and ask them a lot. Put the right team in place and then get the legal advice to help you make it official. You will save yourself a lot of stress later!

 

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Direct download: 0149-a-puzzling-tale-of-ants-popcorn-and-shareholder-agreements.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 4:41pm EDT

WSS #0148: A Healthy Discussion About What Ryan Hanley And Carol Lynn's Boobs Have In Common

Today We Talk About Boobs

It's true. But it's also family friendly! Our topic today is about health and how that affects your productivity, creativity and of course your business.

But first…

A Job For SuperFreds Everywhere

There are three people we'd LOVE to have on our podcast so we're bestowing a mission upon you, The Army Of Fred.

The first person is Sarah Rodriguez whose novel "Avarice Touched" is currently available for preorder and is dubbed "a fantasy novel about the corruption of power, the madness of the Gods."

Sounds a little Neil Gaiman to us and we're geeky like that so we want to talk to her!

Hit her up at @sarahtherebel on Twitter and tell her we request her presence.

The second person is Melissa Hunter who had a funny and clever YouTube series called "Adult Wednesday Addams" that we quite enjoyed until it was pulled for copyright infringement. We're a little ticked about that, especially considering that the Wednesday Addams porn movies are alive and well.

Hit her up at @melissaftw on Twitter and tell her we want to chat.

Finally, we want to talk to ComicBookGirl19 (who has no other known name). She does great content about geeky stuff like books and movies and has a Game of Thrones wrapup that we wait for maybe even more than we wait for the next episode of actual Game of Thrones.

Hit her up at @cbgirl19 on Twitter and tell her we want to yell at her for not doing a weekly wrapup this season… I mean, tell her we want to talk about her awesome content!

And Now, Boobs

But really, health.

Today we talk about why it's important to take care of you – mind and body – before you can take care of your business. The conversation starts with a mammogram, which I finally had after years of ignoring my doctor's advice to get one. I mean, who wants a mammogram? Who wants to get half naked with a stranger and have your boobs squeezed and pulled like taffy? Definitely not me.

And yet, wisdom prevailed and I decided to suck it up and go. This summer was my second. And what I discovered is that it was not nearly as bad as I'd made it out to be in my head. It didn't hurt. It was barely uncomfortable. The air conditioning was up a little high so it was colder than I like it to be but otherwise it was two minutes, in, out, done.

All that ado built up in my head for nothing. The good news is that I have a clean bill of health.

But there's a lot more to health than a test once a year.

When You're Busy, What's The First Thing To Go?

Ralph and I took a few weeks off from podcasting because we were SO busy and we had to make some practical adjustments to our schedules.

But the podcast wasn't the first thing to go.

As is usually the case, the first thing we stopped doing was taking care of ourselves.

We stopped exercising. We stopped eating well in favor of eating fast. Over time, we got fatter and out-of-shaper and tireder and unhealthier.

I know we're not alone. We've spoken to plenty of business owners and entrepreneurs who kick health to the curb when time gets tight. We talked to Ryan Hanley on a recent episode about how when he was writing his book, he stopped exercising, didn't eat well and felt horrible.

And so did we. So we decided to do something about it and started getting on the treadmill again, eating better and even taking care of our mental health with time off.

Bad health doesn't happen at once. It sneaks up on you until suddenly you can't quite walk up that flight of stairs as easily as you used to. Or you start to work more and more and get less and less done. Or you crash in the middle of the day and can't get anything done.

Why Are You Working?

I don't know anyone who works for the sake of work. Most of us want the financial freedom to do the things we love, to spend time with the people we love and to enjoy our lives.

But how well can you enjoy your life if you don't have the energy to do it? Or if you're too sick, tired or miserable to do it?

Either now or in the future, you won't have the energy to enjoy the fruits of your labors unless you take care of yourself in the process.

If you don't invest time in your own body, if you don't take time off to recharge your mind you're actually doing yourself harm.

Want To Run A Better Business? Eat Your Veggies.

One of the things we're used to doing is grabbing something sugary and full of carbs for any and every meal.

Bagels, pancakes, muffins, cereal… all that breakfast stuff is common and can be pretty darn tasty but none of it is exactly high in nutritional value and none of it is going to give you sustained energy, mostly because it's a lot of glorified sugar.

Now trust me on this, I'm not anti-carbs. I love a great loaf of bread and a big plate of chocolate chip pancakes. But those things don't give me the energy I need to get through a few hours, let alone a day, let alone a day of work!

On days after I eat pancakes for breakfast I need a nap two hours later. On days when I eat bacon and eggs (sounds fattening, I know, but think of all the protein and nutrients…) I feel great for a long time.

You've heard of "the sugar crash". And it's true. If that's all you're constantly putting in your body, you can expect to function below your ability.

Want to be more productive, feel better, improve your creativity and mood and run a better business? Eat food. Real food. Fruit. Vegetables. Beans. Meat if that works for you. Stuff your mom probably told you to eat.

Your Mental Health Is Just As Important

Take it from us, work work work is not only not fun but it's also not very productive. The more we work, the less we get accomplished. And believe me, I know that when you're busy and you need to get stuff done you want to keep going for just another hour…

And just another one, it's almost done…

And before you know it, 18 hours have gone by, maybe you've skipped lunch, you've surely skipped exercise and your brain is wiped out.

You can't function with a broken brain any better than you can function with a broken body. In fact, studies have proven over and over that the more you work, the less productive you are.

The point is that in spite of how much you think you still need to get done, in spite of the looming deadline, in spite of all the things on your desk screaming for your attention and making you feel guilty for doing anything else, you have to turn it off.

Take time away from work – and in our case, and probably yours – that means stepping away from technology. It doesn't mean turning off your computer and going straight to your iPad. It means disconnecting and doing something that relaxes you and lets your brain unwind.

For us that's reading – real books, the paper kind, the ones that don't ding and beep and send us alerts or tweets or emails.

I also like doing puzzles. And coloring. I like cooking, too, so just imagine the vegetables I can chop while I'm relaxing!

It's Hard

This is not our first rodeo, so to speak. We're currently on a journey back to health after a too-long spell of being rather unhealthy.

And every time we forget to take care of ourselves, it seems to take longer to remember. And it takes longer to get into a groove and make exercise a routine. It's harder to say no to pizza and choose to chop vegetables instead.

Feeling energized and healthier doesn't happen overnight. If you're just starting out and taking better care of yourself, it can take a little time before you wake up feeling better. Getting out of shape doesn't happen overnight – neither does getting back in.

And I can't tell you how to do it, either. What works for me may not work for you. I'm an "all or nothing" kind of person. I need to eat 100% healthy or eat 100% crap. Nobody's advice to "make one small change" has ever helped me.

So you have to find what works for you. Don't try to do something you know you won't. You'll only end up frustrated. Whatever you do, do something.

Your Marketing Action Item

We think we need to rename the marketing action item since it's not entirely about marketing, so if you have any ideas, let us know!

From Carol Lynn: If you want to take better care of your body, start by taking better care of your mind. When you're able to focus clearly, relax and get out of the whirlwind of stress, you will be able to make better decisions about your health and stick to them. Figure out what that relaxing thing is for you, the thing that gets you away from work and doing something you enjoy. Your health – and business – depends on it.

From Ralph: Check out the Pomodoro Technique. It's a method where you work for a designated length of time, like 20 minutes, then get up and do something else non-work related. It's about decompressing all day long. There are a bunch of variations on the technique, so figure out what works for you and then take time out during the day to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge. You'll end up doing more work in less time.

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