Archive for month: December, 2009

The coming year and what I plan to do about it

31 Dec
December 31, 2009

The year is finally about to close. Not sure why I say “finally” as it seems to have passed by quicker than others……

It’s that time again for most of us to come up with their list of resolutions. I’ve never been one for resolutions, mostly because I have never been able to make them happen. I guess in essence they seem limiting to me, one goal without much of a plan to get there.

The other day I stumbled across a post on Chris Brogan’s Blog titled “Wiring Yourself for Success”. His post struck home with me regarding resolutions, instead of defining the end result you simply define words that represent the path to reach them.

After a few days of thinking about what I would like to accomplish in the coming year I have them down. Of course part of following through is writing them down, so here they are in perpetuity-

Close
As in keep your enemies close, not close the door… Family, friends, dreams, aspirations, values and more. All of these need to be kept close to me and my daily life. Staying close to the things that are important in life helps us stay grounded. Keeping a running list of dreams and aspirations close at hand will keep me on track and make anything attainable.

Take
Take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. Take nothing in life for granted. Take “things” from others with graciousness. Take the time to enjoy all that I have in life. Take time for myself to do the things that make me happy. And of course there is a lot of give in take….

Expand
Expand my interests deeper into the things that interest me. Let my thoughts expand to their full potential before acting on them limits the outcome. Expand my network of people that I get satisfaction out of knowing. Expand my knowledge in areas that will be useful to me in the future.

That’s it, these three words will be guiding me for 365 days. I am sure the list of examples in each word will get bigger and bigger as the days pass by. I guess that’s just taking advantage of the expansion of those things that I hold close to me.

So what are your thoughts for the new year? Did you make resolutions?

Can do vs. Want to do

23 Dec
December 23, 2009

If you’ve been reading my blog the last few weeks then you know that my career life has changed drastically.

Over the last month or so I have spent a lot of time delving deep into my personality, learning more and more about my values, desires, passions and goals as they relate to both my work and personal lives.

It is really very interesting to spend some time doing this. We all feel that we know ourselves well enough, but when you learn to consciously think about what makes you tick and relate that to your everyday interactions it opens up a whole new understanding of how you are perceived by others and why your life naturally follows a path without your active input.

The other interesting thought that relates to this self exploration is that if you spend your career doing something that you love it doesn’t seem much like work anymore. I spent years of my life working in the foodservice business, cutting meat, cooking, selling, managing, marketing and more. The whole time I felt as though I was doing what I loved, and at the time I did.

Over the years it seems as though my real passion for what I was doing came from a few different areas-

  • Helping people with buying meat, preparing dinner, planning parties
  • Developing and executing marketing plans to increase business or customer loyalty
  • Resolving issues with operations, employees, customers, etc.

The common thread that runs through all of these is problem solving. Turns out I’m fairly decent at it too…..

It wasn’t the act of cutting and wrapping the meat, or preparing a dish for a group of folks, as much as it was the act of creating a plan to solve whatever “problems” needed to be resolved. These problems ranged from a customers recipe that they didn’t quite understand to figuring out how to cook fried chicken on a beach in Tahoe (and keep it hot and crispy for hours).

In the search for a new career I have started writing down two lists, one of things that I CAN do and the other with those that I WANT to do. Hopefully I can find a great opportunity in making a living by doing something that I want, or love, to do.

Here is part of the list of “Can do’s”, I picked the ones that most people don’t know about me….

  • Woodworking
  • Carpentry
  • Residential electrical, plumbing, tile, landscaping
  • Auto repair, customization
  • Welding- structural and artistic with MIG and Gas
  • Custom car stereo design, build and installation
  • Custom build PCs and basic networking
  • Intermediate graphics design
  • Basic web design
  • Navigation by map and/or GPS
  • Digital music recording, editing and production
  • Digital video editing

The whole list is about 80 items long at this point, and growing. Now the interesting thing is that out of 80 things on the “Can do” list I have only a handful on the “Want to” list. Out of all the hobbies and interests that I have in life there is that one recurring theme that keeps me coming back to each one- the creative problem solving.

Right now I see my future career lies in something where I can bring others together to solve an issue at hand, most likely in a small business atmosphere. Whether it is in marketing, management, pricing , etc. the new career will involve working strategically with others.

So, what are we working on? What can I help you with?? Let’s create something great!

United Breaks Guitars Viral Video

15 Dec
December 15, 2009

A few months back a relatively unknown musician and his band made internet history with their video United Breaks Guitars telling the story of their saga with United Airlines. There are plenty of links out there for the story but I wanted to give my point of view regarding how the current internet atmosphere can affect a business.

As many have said, we live in a world where we cannot hide. This includes businesses as well as individuals. Every move you make can be recorded for eternity on the web. This is supremely important when it comes to dealing with PR in your business. Using this video as an example, within weeks hundreds of thousands of people had seen the video. Since it went viral, there are links and discussions about it all over the web which will NEVER go away. Searches for “can I fly with my guitar” bring up this video in the top three spots!

What about the Sons of Maxwell (the band that recorded the video)? I am guessing they saw an incredible increase in traffic to their site, and in turn, some great sales followed. Not a bad way to get that guitar paid for, is it?

From a business standpoint, you will never be able to control what the public says about you. But you can react to it, and I think you should try to do it in the same form. For instance, the Domino’s Pizza debacle that happened earlier this year. The short story- some employees posted videos of themselves and others doing disgusting things with food on youtube. Once corporate got a hold of the videos, they posted their response. They did a great job in answering the issue, although I wish that Patrick Doyle would have used his own voice rather than obviously reading from cue cards…..

In a world where information moves so quickly you have to reach out to your customers immediately. This can go the other way as well. Customers are out there saying good things about companies all the time and it is good business to reach out to those folks as well.

It’s not that hard to set up some google alerts, twitter searches, etc. to help monitor what folks are saying about a brand or company. Then you simply react as you would in real life to the comments. Say thanks, offer them a free sample of your product, invite them to meet you in person, etc. This will soon be the expected way to do business from the customers standpoint so businesses need to get on the bandwagon early.

Go out there and find those folks today and start up a conversation, it will only lead to great things.

About time!!!!

15 Dec
December 15, 2009

We have all been there- go buy that cool new little gadget, can’t wait to open it. Then you get home and spend 30 minutes trying to get your new widget out of that little plastic package junk they packed it in. Grab the scissors, destroy the instructions, cut your finger- you know the drill. Then it doesn’t work the way you want it so you have to try and repack it into the tiny little compartment they stuffed it into, drive to the store and have the clerk tell you they can’t take it back cause the packaging is destroyed- AAARRRGGGHHHHH.

Well, used to be the case- thanks Amazon!!!!

No more clamshell crap!!!

Now we need more folk to jump on the bandwagon!!!

Time for a career change….

15 Dec
December 15, 2009

Up until 2 years ago I thought I had life fairly well figured out…..

Had a good career with the family business that had been going strong for many years, live in a modest house, had the money I needed to do what I wanted to do for the most part. Then the family business started getting a little rocky and the salary got cut back. No biggie, it will turn around. Well it didn’t.

Two rough years of balancing checking accounts every day, asking for more credit, putting out fires. Eventually it started getting to me to the point that I didn’t feel successful anymore. Every day at work was a dreaded one.

When we finally realized the business was going to close it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Funny how that worked….35 years of successful business going down the tubes and it’s a relief?

It gave me a chance to sit back and think about what I really wanted out of life. I started working with Andy Hill at Life Compass to really get down deep inside my personality and figure out what drives me. We haven’t found all of the answers yet but I can tell you that I feel super confident that nothing will hold me back now!!!

So here I am, no income, house payment is behind, sold off some toys (bye bye Firebird…..), yet I am happier than ever for the most part. I guess it all comes down to confidence in myself and knowing that the future will hold better things.

Now that you know where I’m at here are some of the projects I’m working on, in no particular order-

  1. Building my personal brand- a la Gary Vaynerchuk
  2. Finding new and interesting networking venues- both online and real life
  3. Developing my pet project at buylocalreno.com
  4. A few new website ideas- a wine and food tasting social site will be the first focus at babblewine.com and/or socialsavor.com
  5. Spending more time with my dog
  6. Working on a better relationship with family and friends
  7. Going to talk with Lotus Radio about helping them with some internet marketing
  8. Helping some business colleagues with social media marketing
  9. Working on a restaurant consulting idea
  10. Enjoying the hell out of the free time that I have to work on new projects!

Seems like a ton, but that is one of the very true things that I figured out about myself in working with Andy- I need change, lots of it, and frequently. So that’s where I’m at- what’s new with you? Anything fun and exciting that really gets you thinking lately? Please share your thoughts….

And if any of these projects sound interesting to you, let me know and we will find a way to work together to make it great.