All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

They Like Me, They… What?

Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that one of the few games I play online is this game and page called Empire Avenue. It’s kind of a social media stock market game where you trade on each other rather than specific companies or products.

A little overtanned?
radioher via Compfight

One of its features is that you can leave what’s called “shout outs” to people to either thank them for buying your shares or respond to those who write you. As my stock price has gone up I’ve been getting a lot of responses, and I’ve been responding to a lot of people who have purchased my shares. I’m not as good at thanking people who buy my shares unfortunately, and I thought that maybe I needed to work on that.

I “thought” about it, that is. I was dismayed about a month ago when I learned that almost all of the messages I get are automated. I didn’t even know one could do that but it seems that I’m not really as popular or as well liked as I’d thought after all.

I probably should have noticed it earlier because it was the same response every single time, and I knew that, based on doing it once, the page will reject a message that it considers a duplicate if you’re writing it. So, it seems automation can get people around that.

It also explains why no one ever responded when I sent them a message back. I mean, if everything’s automated, why would they even have to consider responding back to anyone right?

About a month ago I talked about over automation and gave reasons why I don’t and won’t do it. On my Twitter profile I have a message that says if you add me and I follow you and then you auto-DM me I’ll unfollow you immediately, and I stick with that. These days almost everyone new I connect with on Twitter has connected with me first, and I’ve learned that many people are connecting with me via automation, looking for keywords in messages I post and therefore bypassing my profile entirely. It also probably explains why so many that connect with me disconnect with me, usually within a week. Hey, that’s their prerogative.

Here’s my point. Social media is called that because it’s supposed to be social. Over-automation basically makes social impersonal. Sure, there are lots of folks saying that we love getting greetings or thank you messages because they make us feel special. Think about it; how special do you feel when you get an automated email thanking you for leaving a comment on a blog without a response back to your comment with it? As a matter of fact, outside of getting confirmation that you either signed up for or left something, how often do you enjoy getting something automated anywhere?

Does someone actually like you if it’s not them telling you so? Do you care?
 

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100 Things About Me

I can’t say I thought of this on my own. I came across a blog post that Holly Jahangiri, who I interviewed at the link on her name, wrote back in 2008 titled 100 Good Things About Me. On that post she said she felt it would be easy to write 100 things about herself but wanted to see if she could go the “good” route. She’s actually added to it and thus is now at 102 things.


I don’t think it’s all that easy. Well, let me rephrase that to say I don’t think it’s all that easy for most people to do. One of the hardest things for people to do is introspection, which is the process of looking into one’s self to see what you’re made of. In my case, I decided I wanted to chronicle 100 things that, when I was done, would give a picture as to how I became the person I am today.

Frankly it’s a scary process in a way because it takes going back to that thing about vulnerability that I mentioned and had the video to in my dreams post. There’s the phrase out there that says “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you came from.”

Well, that’s not totally true because there are some people who work hard to forget their past that make it. Most successful people will tell you that there was something in their past that drove them to be better, to become successful and rich and all that other stuff. Almost on one said “my past didn’t influence me at all; I just happened to become rich by happenstance.” Some people have become successful by luck, by being in the right place at the right time, but it’s rare.

I’ve never been afraid to examine who I am or my background. I have some regrets in my life but very few. I like to think that when all is said and done I’ve always tried to do my best, to treat people right, to tell them up front what I was thinking and doing, and never intentionally set out to hurt anyone’s feelings unless they deserved it. Perfection; it ain’t me.

So I sat down and came up with 100 things about myself, and much of it is in chronological order. I was truthful with myself because, well, why lie to myself right? And I decided to share it with you.

But not quite in this post. See, when I was done with it, the sucker came in at almost 5,000 words; ouch! Now, if you’re someone who cares to read it, then you can read the list here, which is on a hidden page that I’m sharing with you. Most of my friends don’t know this stuff; well, not a significant portion of it anyway. At some point I’ll pop the link onto Facebook for my friends and give them the chance to learn more about me, but my belief is that they won’t care, and that most of you won’t care.

That’s not the overall point. The point is twofold. One, do you have the guts to look at your life and chronicle what’s made you what you are today, and will you like it? Two, are you willing to be vulnerable yourself and think about sharing it in some fashion? I doubt it; I double dog dare you! 🙂

I know Marcus Sheridan says we shouldn’t write about ourselves all that much because no one really cares about us as individuals. Well, who says he’s always right? 🙂 Someone go tell him I said this; he’ll get a kick out of it.

And onward we go.
 

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Do You Hate Your Own Blog Posts Or The People Who Comment?

I’ve noticed an interesting trend with many blogs that have some popularity. It’s actually not something new, but it’s the first time I’ve had it bother me in some fashion.

Bright Eyes
Jose Roberto V Moraes via Compfight

I’ve noticed that there are many bloggers who will respond to some blog comments… at least initially. If you catch them really early they might be good at responding. They may even respond to some comments for a couple of days. Yet at a certain point they’ll stop responding to comments, no matter how many time and no matter who it is that’s commenting.

I’m not going to call anyone specific out, but I’m betting you’ve seen the same thing happening. You get to a blog, see there are some comments on a particular post, sometimes a lot of comments on it, and you see that the blog owner responded to some of them. So you leave your comment, think it’s pretty good, then wait to see if you get a response.

Nope, nada, nothing. Now, it’s not all that often that I’ll go back to see if someone responded to my comment, but here and there I’ll do it. However, if I get to a post and see there’s a lot of comments, I look to see if the author has responded to them, and how many of them. And if I see they haven’t responded to anyone after the first few comments, I’m not wasting my time.

So what is it that makes these folks decide to ignore your comments? Are they bored with their own posts? Have they decided you’re not worth their time? Are they just too busy once their post has gone life to worry about it anymore? In essence, have they moved onto the next post, the next challenge, with no regard to their past?

How do you, the writer, justify this kind of treatment to your visitors? For that matter, how do you, the visitor, feel knowing that your great comment is going to be ignored because you weren’t fast enough to be one of the first to cross the finish line?

This particular blog keeps posts open for 2 years. Any comment I get during that two year period that I approve, I comment on. How many of these other bloggers are writing more than me? Some write as much, but are they more special than I am and verifying that by not replying to your comments? Are they busier than I am and thus can’t reply to your comments? Do you feel like they’re just mailing it in?

Am I being melodramatic? What’s your overall belief on this one? Go ahead, share your thoughts, or write an article about it on your blog because you know it’s true. Let’s hear it. 🙂
 

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The Importance Of Health In Going For Your Dreams

Two weeks ago I put out my post on the dream I’m going to complete by next September 1st. I wrote out 10 things to consider while going for one’s dream, but I want to concentrate on this one for the moment:


don’t eat this

4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.

I put this one in because there are a lot of motivational business books on the market that say if you want to be successful in business you have to be willing to put in more hours than anyone else. Some books actually advocate working 16-hour days even on weekends. Foolishness!

Sure, you have to work hard, and you have to be willing to commit to putting in more time if your goals are really that important. But if you work yourself sick then you’ll have to shut down, and at that point there’s nothing you can do to move forward.

There has to be points where you rest your mind and take care of your body. It’s also especially important to know yourself and be honest with yourself about your patterns.

Here’s my tale.

Many of you know that I’m diabetic. This means that when I’m not in good control of my glucose, I can have bad days and sometimes I can go into a depression if it stays high for a long period of time.

What this means is that I need to try to make sure I eat when I should, watch what I eat, and watch what I eat at certain times. This one is strange to some people so let me explain.

I’m not a morning person. This means that I don’t do my best work most mornings. I’m also not one of those people who can eat when I first wake up; often I’ll wait 4 or 5 hours before eating my first meal of the day, or anything for that matter. That includes even drinking anything; not good.

I also can’t eat certain foods early in the day, and that includes either breakfast time or lunch time. And I can’t overeat either, which is a misnomer because I don’t always eat until I’m full. If I do any of these things, I tire quickly and need a nap, otherwise my head is fuzzy. And sometimes, if I eat the wrong stuff without thinking about it, I’ll nap for hours and wake up feeling horrible, if I can move at all; that’s not good either.

But I can eat anything after 5PM or so, including late into the night, and it doesn’t make me tired at all, unless I stuff myself. Also, my best time of working if I need to produce things is between 9PM and 11PM: go figure.

Add to that this leg problem I have, called sciatica, which is supposedly related to my back. This means I have to do at least stretching exercises to help my leg feel a little better, and when it gets cooler again I’ll go to the gym & do strengthening exercises as well.

I gave you all of that to show that you have to know yourself well so you can plan your time to fit everything in, including the time to take care of yourself. On September 4th I started scheduling my work days, which includes evening hours. I start my mornings with the back exercises because I know that if I don’t do it then I probably won’t do it later.

I give myself the first 45 minutes in the day to get that done, get online to check email & social media, and then it’s time to get into the work day, no matter what I’ve planned. Then I break at noon to see what’s going on in the news and, once again, to tell myself to eat. I do this because I know I probably haven’t eaten earlier, but now it’s around 2 or 3 hours, depending on when I’ve told myself to get up, and at least I’ll be feeling the stirrings of hunger. The thing is I can’t take any medication until I eat, so that’s important.


this is much healthier

I plan breaks during the day. I diversify the projects I work on during the day. If I finish something and have time left over before the alarm goes off, it’s fun time!

Yes, I do have evening hours as well. But I work for myself, so since I’m home, that’s fine. The past 2 weeks have been amazing for me because of the scheduling. I know some people say they can’t work that way, but for me it’s perfect.

And because I feel better, my mind works better and helps me stay on the path towards my dream. Of course, my little vision board doesn’t hurt either, and maybe one day I’ll show you that.

Make your health as much of a priority as you make everything else. You don’t have to overdo it; just be cognizant of it and don’t hurt yourself. Be honest with yourself; you deserve it.
 

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5 Problems With Guest Posting/Writing Requests

Yeah, I’m revisiting this topic again. I’m doing it because I know that there’s a lot of us that accept guest posts somewhere (I don’t for this blog but do for my finance blog) that try to be accommodating to those who ask us if we’ll accept it. I know that it not only helps them but helps us because we don’t have to write everything for those particular blogs. In my case, those guest posts are helping me to earn money from that blog, so I’m not overly mad at the process.

Go ahead; make my day
Nora Arias Loftis via Compfight

But some of the writers themselves are getting on my nerves. I also have to add those people who ask me to write a post for them and include their links in the article now, which is something I do for a fee (you’d be surprised how many people are willing to pay me to to that… sort of). I will be including that in my little list of gripes that I’ve already titled above, and thus I’m not going to repeat it again… oh, who am I kidding, of course I’m going to repeat it again. Here’s 5 problems I’ve had with guest posting and writing requests.

1. I have this in my guest posting policy on my finance blog:

I do accept guest posts geared towards financial issues on this blog, and by having a guest posting policy, it means in your query you don’t have to ask me about it, you don’t have to have all that extraneous stuff about how it will help this blog work better or have better SEO; please, I get that and your letter looks canned, which it obviously is since most of the requests that come aren’t from writers but from people marketing for someone else. If you’re supposed to be some kind of writer then write something original; give it a shot, it won’t hurt.

You’d think people would get that message, but no. At least 70% of the requests I get are those canned letters; sigh…

2. I have this in my guest posting policy:

When you write me, give me an idea of what you’d like to write about so we can start from that point. I have to review the site being linked back to and then determine if it’s a site that should be paying for advertising or one that I allow a free link back to. If you’re actually reading this then please send the link to the site you want your article going to; I’m always having to tell people that I need to see their link first and that’s wasting a lot of my time.

Nope, people who aren’t reading the first part aren’t doing this either. This includes those people that I know have read the policy, and I’ve got it highlighted just like you see above. Now, how do I know the difference between people who are actually reading the policy?

3. I know because of this:

To request a guest posting opportunity, or to ask questions about advertising or anything else on Top Finance Blog, write to Mitch. If my name isn’t in the email, I’m not reading it and you won’t hear from me (unless you’re willing to pay for it); I don’t have the time.

This is true; 90% of the requests I get are to sir/madam, webmaster (really?) or just “Hi” or something like it and nothing else. And I don’t respond to any of them; I delete them immediately.

4. When I have to send people my advertising policy, they don’t get it.

I’m not going to post that here because either people ask me for it up front or I look at their site & determine it needs to be paid for and then they ask me about it. At that point I sent them a standard email with the policy already typed up. The policy specifically says two things. One, no blatant advertising for their company unless they want to pay me twice the rate it costs for me to write a post. Two, if I write a post, I’ll use your keywords unless their blatant advertising, in which case the twice as much as writing a regular post thing kicks in.

Someone asks me to write a post for them at the individual post rate. I do it, add their links, set it up to go live, and expect them to pay me when it goes live. No one sees the post before it goes live; sorry, but I was burned once and that’s never happening again. Anyway, they finally see the post, then they write me and ask if I’ll include the company name in the post. I refer them back to the policy and say that if I do that they have to pay double. Then they get upset; well, a couple of them do. And then they don’t pay and I dismiss them forever.

You’re probably asking why I don’t charge them something up front so I don’t get burned. I don’t do that because I write articles for the blog as well, and in a way they get credit for giving me a topic to write about, so I’ll take it, but I don’t like not getting paid my fee for writing it. Why? Because it’s in the policy!

5. People who don’t come back to address comments.

I wrote about this one on another post on guest posting. I’m not the only one that’s written on this subject, although right now I can’t remember where I read someone else talking about it. No matter; if you write a guest post you have to be willing to address comments or questions because the owner of the blog just might not be qualified to respond to everything. And even if that person is, you’re losing the chance to establish yourself in the eyes of others by doing a posting hit and run, so to speak.

Those are my main 5 issues at this moment. If I write this same post 2 weeks from now I might have different gripes, but you won’t see that one coming from me. All I’m looking for is a little bit of courtesy, a bit of professionalism. By the way, I also share this little funny video in my guest posting policy; for those of you who get requests, I’m betting you can identify with this:


 

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