Is this a rant or a pep talk? I don’t know – maybe a little of both. Been reading for the Pagebreak Podcast, been talking with people who are doing some awesome things that are making them very happy and also been talking with people who aren’t doing much and can’t figure out why they aren’t happy. It’s all got my brain lighting up… So how can you change the world and get rich doing NOTHING?!?!!???
It was not that long ago when the adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know ” really held a lot of weight. The gatekeepers of industries held futures in their hands and success in some areas was widely dependent on getting that “big break” or “being discovered.” Once you got that then you would “make it.”
At this time, right now… all of these concepts seem so dated to me, yet so many still hold them as truths and use them as essentially as an excuse for why they can’t do what they really want to do, why they have no power and why they are unhappy with life.
Is it just that it will take a longer time for these old ideas to die out or are people clinging to them because doing so means they can ignore the new reality?
We live in an age where the internet has afforded anyone with a connection a voice. If you have something remarkable to share with the world and you can (are willing to) dedicate your time and energy into sharing this remarkable thing with as many people as you can by cultivating a community, you have power. No one gave people like Perez Hilton or Gary Vaynerchuk a “big break,” and these guys are no where near superstars – but they’re something even better. They are putting out into the world something authentic to themselves, they are doing what they want to do in life and they have created it on their own by working hard, being real and genuinely caring about what they do.
If you are reading this and thinking “They got lucky, not everyone can do that,” well — you’re right and wrong. No, not everyone can create their own celebrity gossip empire, Perez did. If you can do it better than him, do it! If you can’t — I bet there is something that is unique to you, that YOU can do better than anyone else, do that.
So you can listen and decide to use all these amazing opportunities available to you to your advantage, or you can continue waiting for someone to give you that “big break.” It’s your choice.
Just realize that if you choose the later and you are never happy and you never have power and you never effect any meaningful change in the world around you — you have no excuses and no one to blame but yourself.
(Hey, that’s me!)
So the wait is finally over, Niki and I have been scheming about this for a long time now and then over the last couple weeks pulled it all off…
PageBreak is a design, business and marketing-themed book club and podcast, started by Liz Andrade and Niki Brown. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of designers, developers, freelancer (like ourselves) and to discuss and enjoy books about the stuff we love to do!
We’re starting out with the plan to pick a new book and record a show at the end of each month, so if you have a suggestion we’d love to hear them! You can subscribe to the show via iTunes or stream the show at pagebreakpodcast.com (we’re working on a site with commenting and all that jazz, so stay tuned…)
Book #1? Rework by 37Signals Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Make it through the show (or download it and skip to the end) to find out what we’ll be reading for September, maybe you’d like to read along? If you’ve read Rework and you want to discuss it with me and Niki or other listeners of the show – head over to the GoodReads PageBreak group!
Today my client and friend Laura Marchbanks invited me to attend Visitors Day with the Networking group she is a part of (The Northstar chapter of BNI.) It was by far the best experience I have had at a networking event! I met some very friendly people, had a few laughs and ended up running out of business cards! I have not made any decisions about weather this group is something I want to make an ongoing commitment to — but it was a great way to spend this Tuesday afternoon and it got me inspired for some new blog material! So here we go…
If you are looking to get more involved in face-to-face business networking, you first will need to decide what type of group will best suit your needs, your brand and your business. There is no real right or wrong on this, it just has to do with what you are looking to put in and what you will be expecting to get out, so here is the basics on the 3 different types of face-to-face business networking groups that you might find out there.
Social groups are pretty standard fare, and probably what most of us have had experience with when it comes to business networking. These are usually non-structured gatherings set in a social setting like a bar or party. The social business group is all about “mingling” or “schmoozing”, you “work the room” and meet various others that may or may not turn into business leads. These can be fun or painfully awkward depending on your personality type. I tend to not enjoy these that much since most of my experiences at these include people who aren’t having very genuine exchanges, they feel cheesy a lot of the time… but perhaps I just haven’t been to a good one yet.
Examples of Business Networking Social Groups and/or where to find out about them (some of these are local to the Pacific Northwest of Seattle, but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about): Your local Chamber of Commerce, Girl Power Hour, Biznik…
The main focus of this type of a referral group is to generate leads for your fellow members. These are often set up as non-compete groups – meaning every niche is only covered by one person in each group. (one tax attorney, one massage therapist, etc — you get the picture!) They are also very structured because they’re all about business! These types of groups can be good for those of you who enjoy structure, their clear cut agenda makes the socializing come easier – you know everyone there is there because they want to learn about you and your business and they want to talk about theirs. Plus the structured atmosphere gives you a sense of urgency about networking — if you know you have 20 minutes to meet the newcomers, you make it a point to talk to them, but when you have 2 hours to “work the room” you may end up migrating to a circle you already feel comfortable with.
Examples of Business Networking Referral Groups and/or where to find out about them (some of these are local to the Pacific Northwest of Seattle, but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about): BNI, I Take the Lead, Local Business Network, LeTip…
These groups are targeted to your industry. You see these a lot on sites like Meetup.com and they can be more social but tend to be more of a business support group of sorts. You meet for breakfast with 8 other local Freelance WordPress Developers and you can advise each other on client matters, marketing strategies, new technologies and all sorts of things you may not hear from other business owners who are not in your particular industry.
Examples of Business Networking Trade Associations and/or where to find out about them (some of these are local to the Pacific Northwest of Seattle, but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about) (for designer/developers/freelancers): AIGA, GAG, Mediabistro…
I work as a web designer in a mid-sized design firm in Chicago. I love my job, but also have heard a lot about the importance of growing a “personal brand” using social networking tools. I think I would one day like to start my own design business, but RIGHT NOW I am happy with the job I have. Isn’t it kind of a waste of time to start blogging, using twitter, youtube, etc. if I am not actually doing freelance work?
The idea of “personal brand” has to do with thinking of yourself as a unique part of your industry, and marketing your one-of-a-kind skills, style and personality as its own brand — and in my opinion, it is NEVER a waste of time to start growing one! Growing your personal brand through the use of social networking tools is something that can be beneficial in many ways, whether you are a freelancer or 9to5er, here are a few…
1. Just because you’re happy and secure at your 9to5 now does not mean you always will be. In the economy of today, layoffs have been widespread over many industries and if a sudden change in economic climate puts you out of a job, having well-laid foundation with your personal brand could give you a leg up in a competitive job market!
2. Future potential employers will look at your online profiles if you are applying for a staff position! This is the case for many industries nowadays, but especially in web design. Being a web designer, it is so important to be educated about emerging trends and technologies on the web and the only way to really understand these tools is to use them!
3. In addition to using social media tools to grow your personal brand, you will also be benefiting your current employer and current clients by educating yourself more about these tools!
4. If you hope to start a business in your future, make an investment in that future and start making your name known NOW. Building a foundation now will only help you when you do break out on your own. Buy your vanity domain name (yourname.com) and secure your name on as many of the social networks as you can.
5. Blogging and social networking will help you connect with other in your industry, which can come in helpful if you need to relocate to another city, outsource a project, ask questions about software or code, get a design critique or business advice, or just to nerd out about a new font you just bought! Your interactions with those in the design community will aid you in improving your skills at your 9 to 5 and you can make some awesome FRIENDS along the way!
These are just a few reasons why I see social networking as valuable to those in the design industry, maybe some of you disagree with me? Leave a comment and give me your thoughts on the matter!
Do you not have business cards yet? Are you running low and looking to get more printed? Maybe you want a card for a side project or to market your Twitter account? Whatever the reason, this is a great deal – so listen up!
The folks over at Overnight Prints have offered the readers of CMD+Shift Design blog a chance to win 500 free business cards. Free printing, free shipping!
Yesterday I wrote down everyones Twitter handle and did a drawing from a hat (old-school style!) Thank you to everyone who participated and those who shared the link on Twitter! Of course a BIG Thank you to OvernightPrints.com. (If you don’t want the suspense of the video, scroll down to see the winner.)
Congratulations to @aaroni268, hope you enjoy your cards — I will be contacting you shortly with more info!!!
This is sort of a follow-up to yesterdays video, so if you haven’t seen the video about Selling your Tweets, check it out.
The discussion going on yesterdays comments got me thinking about Evangelist Marketing and how Twitter is a great platform for evangelist marketing, I regularly am promoting services, products or sites that I love — that I find valuable to my life and that I truly believe are SO GREAT that everyone should know about them. Selling your tweets to advertisers is essentially the opposite of that!
I’d like to ask all of you, what are YOU an Evangelist for? What product website or service do you love that you feel so strongly about that you want to talk about it and share it with others? Maybe something people don’t know about, something new or something small that deserves to be shared with online design community?
Click here to tell me what you’re an Evangelist for — I’m gonna put together a blog post to share the stuff everyone sends in. This isn’t just about sending me a link, I want to hear YOUR story, why it’s important to YOU, why do you think it’s so important to share it with the community?
Also, what are your thoughts on Evangelist marketing vs traditional advertising practices, leave a comment!
I was just made aware of this Ad.ly – a new online service that puts your tweets up for sale to advertisers. I made a short (3minutes) video on this cause I want to hear your thoughts on this!
The design community on Twitter is so awesome and I wonder what selling our tweets might do to the interaction? What do YOU think?
PS: sorry for the dreadfully messy hair ;)
Made this short video about some poor packaging design on part of Michelob Beer.
+ I just want to say this isn’t hate for Michelob! I’ve enjoyed your beer in the past — this is just a design thing.
YES WE CAN. The slogan of “Yes We Can” that sums up Obama’s optomistic attitude in one tastey bite sized phrase, a feat that has any marketing guru drooling. He’s The Choice of a New Generation. He can Think Different. Only he’s not marketing sugar water or computers, but hope. Now that is something to be inspired by! Over the past week, his “Yes We Can” speech was adapted by Will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas, into a lyrical spoken word performance video, and has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube.
If you’re looking for a resource to sport your support for Obama in ’08, check out Zazzle Apperal, where you can find t-shirts of all colors, style and sizes.(Just like us.)