All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Making Money Is Not Evil

Back in November I tackled the subject of making money in a post titled Are Your Views On Money Holding You Back. I pretty much made it clear that I tend to believe most people hold themselves back because they see rich people, or at least people they view as doing very well, as untrustworthy, and even though they want money themselves they don’t want to be seen in the same light by others.

by 401K via Flickr

Lately there’s been a lot of bashing against people who write these “make money” blogs. Yes, a lot of it is warranted, but not because they’re writing about making money.

The bashing comes because most of the people writing about it aren’t making any money at all. Some of those people might be making some money, but they’re not making a sustainable living wage. If you’re making $20 a month by blogging, you’re certainly not an authority on it. If you’re even making $1,000 a month, that’s actually pretty good but it doesn’t make you an authority on it.

Some years back, one of the topics I used to write about all the time were the affiliate marketing programs I was testing; I tested a lot. With each program I tested, I wrote about it, what I saw, and if I’d made any money off it and how much. Late last summer I started a series on all the programs I’ve tried and talked about the kind of money, or lack thereof, that I made. You can see an example of my talking about these affiliate programs here. In my mind it was the most honest way to talk about these things. I mentioned Commission Junction in that post, saying I love how many things they have and how it offers lots of options for advertising, yet also admitting that I’ve not made a lot of money in, what is now, 4 years.

Making money is NOT evil; how you make it might be. Those that pursue income by lying or being sneaky are evil. Well, that might be a bit strong but go with me here. When I was first learning about selling items online I purchased a book from a site called Rich Jerk. The book was actually pretty good, and its follow up, which was a series of extra chapters, weren’t bad at all either. They have an interesting schtick that I didn’t mind of being rude to customers; I thought it was pretty funny.

Then one day they sent a special link to show us how we could make some easy money online. It took us to a video where this guy showed us a way to make money using Craigslist. What he did was find an image of a cute dog on Google, and used it in an ad on a squeeze page. Then he posted something on Craigslist about the need to give his dog away to someone because he was moving and couldn’t take his dog with him. Within hours he’d had around 25 people send him email asking about the dog. What he did was reply to every person, telling them he’d found someone for his dog, and then talked about the training he did on his dog and sent them a link to his sales site. And he actually ended up making 7 sales from it, since his squeeze page was for a dog training manual.

Some call that effective marketing; I call it smarmy. It’s that kind of thing that keeps the hairs on the back of my neck raised high, wondering if certain things are scams or not. And that’s a horrible way to go around the internet thinking, but it’s also the safest way.

Please, go out and make money. I want everyone to live the life they want to live, which I hope is a happy life. Just do it honestly; trust me, if you don’t, you will eventually get called out on it, and then where will you be?

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Creating A Facebook Cover Photo, Mitchell Style

I have to face this fact; I’m not the most creative guy in the world. I know what I like, but I’m bad at figuring out how to create images and the like. Heck, it took me more than 2 years to figure out a title for my first book. I can write almost anything at almost any time, but I do have my limitations.

Thus, I came into this thing about Facebook, timelines and cover photos with a lot of trepidation. Lucky for me, my personal page hasn’t gone the timeline route yet, but my business page had. And when one came to it and looked at it, there was this major gap in the upper middle that just looked horrible.

I knew I had to take care of that at some point so last night I decided it was time to try to do something. I had saved a great number of pages that all said they were going to teach me how to create a cover photo, which you’ve probably seen on a lot of pages already, but every page was lacking. Most didn’t have anything at all for me. A couple mentioned to use Photoshop or Adobe something, which I can’t remember since I don’t have those programs. And one other site said I could download a template to help me, but only if I subscribed to a newsletter; that wasn’t happening.

So I used Microsoft Publisher to help me out with it, and I’m going to tell you what I did. First, let me show you the image I created:

It might look a little strange, but the explanation is coming.

I opened up my Publisher program, and instead of going through all the gesticulations of trying to remember how to landscape the thing I just made it bigger on my screen. I initially set it to a 150% view, which helped me to start putting things together.

I started with a text box and elongated it into a triangular shape. You’re trying to get to an image size of around 851 x 315, which is odd, but that’s Facebook for you. Then I went to the picture box and selected my business logo to start with because I thought that would work well. The problem is that in reality it’s only 639 pixels wide, and if I was looking at a 100% normal view it would look great. However, at 150% it was smeared and looked lousy, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use it.

I deleted the picture box and decided to just type in my business name in my business title font, which is Imprint MT Shadow. I added my favorite color, then increased the size. I centered the image as well because I needed to make sure that once I copied and pasted the image into my photo program that I wasn’t going to have to worry about those editing lines that always exist in Publisher.

Once I did that I did a screen print and copied it into Microsoft Photo Editor, the program I like to use for pictures. I cropped around it so I only had my business name showing, then I saved the image. I did that because I figured the first thing to do was see if I could get close to the width required by Facebook. It was way too large, and I had two choices; reduce the size of the font or reduce the size of my view, since I was doing print screen images.

I decided to reduce the size of my view, and I dropped it to 125%. When I tested it again, the images was around 830; I figured that was pretty close as a starting point.

Next, it was time to add images. I knew I was going to frame the bottom with two professional images I have of myself, but wasn’t sure what I’d put in the middle. I tested the two images first though, putting each one on the outside, and then did a series of tests trying to get close to the 315 width. I had to alter the size of the images about 5 times, but I got it to 302 and figured that was close enough for the moment.

Now, which other two images? As you can see, in the end I decided on one with my dad and one which was an actual image that I “cartooned up” to create something different that I liked from years ago. I saved and tested everything, then decided to increase my view size from 125% to 126%, a very minor increase but it brought my image to 852 x 314; almost perfect! Just to let you know in case you don’t already know this, when you save the image you can look at it in Explorer, hover your mouse over it, and it’ll tell you the dimensions. That works for all images on your computer, just so you know.

Now it was time to upload my image to my Facebook business page, which I did, but it didn’t work out. Why not? Here’s the original image:

The problem is that Facebook business pages have this logo box that pops up to the left side. If you don’t have an image in there the box remains with a big question mark, so you have to put an image there. With that box, it completely covered the bottom half of my image; that wouldn’t do. So I had to come back to the drawing board and resize an image, and I decided I didn’t want to shrink my professional image, done by my friend Kelvin by the way, so I reversed the order of the first two images and shortened the cartoon version instead. Here’s what it looks like on the page now:

There you have it. Now, you can obviously go your own route in the type of image you wish to use, but I found for this task that Publisher worked well for me, and doing screen prints also works well for me. Of course, if you have those other fancier programs you can go a much different route. It’s even possible that if you don’t have those programs OR Publisher that you could do the same thing with Word. The problem with Word is that it doesn’t have the image or text boxes to help you out.

There you have it; a true tutorial, even if you can’t use it. Good luck!

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5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

On Saturday I decided that I deserved a break and went to the casino about 40 minutes from my house. My intention wasn’t only to play, though; I had decided I was going to enter the tournament.

For those folks who have never played a poker tournament but know the general rules of poker, let’s say that it’s an exhilarating experience. From the time you start until the time you’re finished you’re always on your guard. I want to say more but I think it’ll mess up what I’m going to write here, as I’m going to expound on a previous post that I wrote about a year ago titled 5 Keys To Winning Poker Tournaments And Blogging, which expounded on my post titled 5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Poker.
Continue reading 5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

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Black Web Friday – 4/13/12

Now isn’t this interesting. We head into the 13th episode of Black Web Friday on Friday the 13th, and I’m out of town. As this posts, I’m sitting in what’s probably a really boring meeting in Washington D.C., hoping there’s at least something I’ll eat because, since I’ve driven down here, I will have my own drinks at the ready this year in case they mess that up. I might have to bring some of my own food as well; oh, the curse of being a picky eater!

Black Web Friday

Anyway, it should be a fun listing of folks today, but before I go any further let me just say that I hope some of you are sharing these lists in other places. Remember, I started this series because I got tired of people telling me, and others, that they had no idea there were any black bloggers around, or that they didn’t know any. I’ve highlighted at least 40 so far, with more to come; let’s spread the word.

T S Hombe writes a blog called Selling With Spirit, and the blog, and the website it’s connected to, talks about sales, period. Based on my series on real marketing it fits in with some of what I’m talking about and trying to learn at the same time. His blog is quite minimalistic and clean, with a traditional blog commenting system.

Angela Burgin Logan writes the blog Live and Learn, and it’s geared towards women’s health issues and other issues and events that women might like to talk about. It’s a very uniquely styled blog I must say, and I think it deserves a lot more love than Alexa seems to tell us it’s getting. I’ll admit that I wouldn’t get much out of an article on breast feeding, but some of you other ladies might. lol She’s also got a story to tell that some of you might find interesting and touching as well. It has a traditional blog commenting system also.

Carolyn Edgar’s eponymously named blog (I hope after 13 weeks the word “eponymous” is now in your vocabulary lol) says you’re reading the “notes of a lawyer, writer and single mom”. What I see it as it a blog giving the opinions of a black woman on black issues, women’s issues, entertainment, fashion,… pretty much like any other personal blog but longer posts and with a definitely educated feel. I loved her recent post titled Interview With The Vapid about online trolls; just great stuff. And it’s another traditional blog commenting platform; I’m loving this!

Sometimes you just need to read something that finds a way of making you feel good. Sibyl Chavis does that with her blog Possibility of Today, which is a motivational blog with lots of beautifully written posts that make you think and make you feel good. She’s another smart writer; Harvard Law School, just like President Obama! lol She’s got a lot to offer on her blog and her either site, and if you’re looking for a boost, it’s a great place to go.

There you go, another fun week over and out. I hope you’re not too superstitious on this day; I’m not, as it’s one of the few things I’m not scared of. Hey, Wilt Chamberlain wore #13, and look how well he did. Take care, and enjoy your weekend. I also hope your taxes are done. 😉

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5 Things I Do Well Online

I was over at Peggy Baron’s blog called Adventures In Internet Marketing where she wrote this interesting little post titled 5 Things I Do Well With Internet Marketing. I thought it was an interesting idea to pursue, only I’m not going totally on the internet marketing piece.

I figure that I’ve got a long online history and there’s some things I’ve gotten right in spite of lots of failure. Yeah, I know, I’m the guy who wrote a post saying that it’s never really failure, so I’ll modify it and say there’s a lot I haven’t done right for one reason or another. But I have had some successes and there are some things I do well, and thus I’m going to share these 5 things with you.

1. I have my business website listed on more than 10,000 sites and directories for the term “diversity”. Even though that term scares a lot of people in this country (it does!), it’s important enough for me to be listed all over the world for it because one never knows. The thing is, I can’t tell you how I did it, but if it got picked up it’s all good right?

2. I have a lot of articles on the internet. With my own 5 blogs, lots of other blogs I write for, some guest posting, interviews, and articles in many places, I’ve made sure to get my name out there. It’s still hard to overcome Jimi Hendrix drummer and this reporter for the Ft. Worth newspaper in some respects but it all builds up not only a following but a profile. And it gives me a lot of material to turn into something else, as I’m working on the editing of my next book, which is a compilation of some of my early newsletters and blog posts off my business blog.

3. I’ve got commenting on lots of blogs down to a science without realizing it. I have a large group of blogs that I visit regularly and yet just last night I commented on 4 or 5 new blogs I’d never seen before. I’m not sure I’d ever commented on Peggy’s blog before last night. I think it’s important because it means that every time I do that I have the possibility of reaching a new audience in some way.

4. I talk to a lot of people on Twitter, including some famous people. In my post yesterday about Twitter I mentioned a couple of ladies I think are spectacular from my past that I’m connected with. I’ve talked to other famous or well known people over the years as well, including having the opportunity to help Guy Kawasaki edit his book once. I’ve also helped other people edit their books and read some books that were sent to me to do reviews on here and there. I think that’s pretty neat; it shows that I’ve earned at least enough respect where people trust my opinion and, oddly enough, my perceived “clout”.

5. I respond to people who are “real”. I think that’s important, and it’s also an important distinction. Back in February I talked about bad blog comments being like spam and how if I didn’t think the comments were good comments but weren’t bad enough to send to spam that I wasn’t going to respond to them. In essence that means I respond to a lot of people, and they seem to appreciate it. I’ll often follow those people back based on what CommentLuv says they’ve written about and if I leave a comment, I’m sure they appreciate that as well. And I do that for all 5 of my blogs; that’s a lot of writing and following.

There you go; now, what can you say are your top 5 ‘whatever’ as it applies to being online?

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