All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

All Social Media Business Isn’t The Same

There’s lots of different social media platforms available to us all. Some people believe that they have to sign up for everything, then wonder why they don’t have any time to do anything else. Some people sign up for everything then do none of it, wondering what should come first and getting caught up in “analysis paralysis”.

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Not all of the major social media platforms are for everyone when it comes to business. For that matter, one might get more enjoyment out of one and none out of others. This isn’t a definitive guide, but it’s an idea of what a person looking to maximize their business might think about doing.

Twitter is quick and fast. It’s a place where you can state something quickly in 140 characters, then move on if that’s all you want to do. The problem with Twitter is that there are millions of other people doing the same thing at the same time, so your message could get lost if it’s not targeted. Twitter is my favorite social media platform because I talk to people all around the world, but it’s not my best business platform.

LinkedIn is imperative for anyone looking to do business with, well, anyone. LinkedIn is imperative if you’re ever looking for work, or might ever look for work. LinkedIn is for business period, although in recent years they’ve added groups, which adds a new dynamic to the mix. LinkedIn gives you ways to highlight your business, and yourself, that you might not want to do on your own website. It also offers you the best opportunity to meet people, locally or otherwise, in their business form. I haven’t actively searched for anyone on LinkedIn for years but every day I have at least 2 requests to add me there; no idea why but maybe it’s because some folks see when my business blog posts go live, which shows up there.

Facebook as a business platform, if you’re not a big name, isn’t all that easy to do. I have a business page that has 345 people connected to it, but I can’t go out and recruit more people to the site. It gives one the opportunity to try to get a dialogue going, but truthfully the best reason to have a business presence there is to link back to your own site; it’s not much but with over a billion people connected to it, smart money says do it. Overall it’s more for personal connections, as all my family is there and many of my friends from years gone by.

Google Plus is Google’s attempt to get into the social media game, and the numbers are impressive if few other things about it are. Actually, the visuals are stunning, and there are some people who have great engagement there, but for many of us it’s just not the same thing. I have almost 5,000 people who have me in a circle there and I have a community there with about 100 people and almost no one talks to me; sigh…

YouTube has more than 500 million views a day; that’s pretty powerful stuff. But it’s also something that’s not for the faint of heart, and it takes the longest to create content if you want to get it right. But hit the right message at the right time and you could be a star. I’m nowhere close to a star but I keep trying, as I now have over 150 videos there; check it out! 😉

If you’re a brick and mortar business, you should be on Four Square. It gives you the opportunity to set up special deals for people who visit you and then tell others they’re at your shop. I know more than one local business that built their presence this way. It works best if you sell a product rather than offer services. I’m not on Four Square yet, but I’ve been thinking about signing up more and more. And being on Four Square gives you the ability to advertise on other platforms effectively.

I’ll stop here because everything else is either a copy of one of or a mashup of all the others. You as a business owner or individual get to decide which type of social media platform you think is for you, but the one statement I’d leave you with is that it’s imperative that you’re on something, because you can bet that at least one of your competitors is. And if you click on any of the links in this post, you’ll find me on all of them… don’t get scared. lol
 

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Why Do You Blog?

Why do you blog? You know, I’ve kind of broached this subject in the past but I came at it from different directions. First, in 2008 I asked the question Why Do You Write Your Blog, which was based on a couple of articles I’d read on the subject of using one’s blog to make money. The second, in 2010, was part of my Sunday Question blog series asking specifically Why Do You Blog, and in this case I was asking people what they were hoping to get out of their blogs, whether it was business or pleasure.

06-08-10 And With Heart Shaped Bruises And Late Night Kisses
Βethan via Compfight

Goodness, it’s been 4 years since I talked about this subject? Time to broach it again, but I’ll tell you why I’m doing it this time. If you’ve noticed, over the past couple of weeks I’ve put up some posts here that relate to business blogging. Although I talk about blogging often, specifically talking about blogging for business isn’t something I’ve spent lots of time on. Sure, I’ve talked on the subject of trying to make money blogging and why it’s more difficult than people think but that’s not quite the same topic.

In this vein, it’s talking about having some kind of business and using blogging to either help promote the business in some fashion, show expertise or actually using the blog as the business, not specifically a make money blog but making connections so you can sell product or services.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I use my main business blog as a way to show my expertise on certain subjects and, hopefully, to get clients of some kind from it. I haven’t talked as much about this blog and how I work on using it for business but truthfully, one speaking engagement I got locally came mainly because of this blog. Nah, I didn’t get paid, and I didn’t even get a nibble for business, but it was still fun being seen in a professional light by some folks in my area, since more often than not I work out of town or my clients are out of town.

Over the next few months, I expect to have more articles on this blog about business blogging in the vein I was talking about above. However, I know that there are a lot of people who don’t see that type of thing as the reason for why they write their blogs. So, I’m throwing the question out there, asking what I asked in 2010 and seeing if some of the responses are different.

See, I think it’s an important question more for you than for me. The one thing I get asked over and over is how do I come up with so many ideas to write about, especially after I passed 1,500 posts back in March. One reason is because I have a passion for the topics I write about. The other reason is because I do market some of my writing services, I charge a pretty nice dollar, and I like to be able to show someone just how proficient I’ve been in my own space, and then possibly point them to other spaces. In the end, even though this is my “fun” blog, it’s also my portfolio of diverse topics; wouldn’t you agree?

This should be fun; let’s see what you have for me. 🙂
 

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5 Reasons Blogging Helps Your Website’s SEO

One of the biggest recommendations many SEO specialists offer to their clients is to add a blog to their website. That’s because it offers great SEO benefits if done right, as well as helps your potential customers see you as an expert in your field. You might not always have someone tell you the reasons why it works, so here are 5 reasons that blogging helps your website’s SEO.

1. Search engines like new content.

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Sean MacEntee via Compfight

Search engines send bots out through the internet looking to see if your website has made any changes in awhile. If there’s none for a long time, they stop sending the bots and your web presence declines. With some kind of consistent content, even if you only write once or twice a month, your website keeps some kind of relevance.

2. You get to reinforce your expertise in what you do.

No matter what your industry is or if you sell products, being able to write about either on a consistent basis helps the search engines definitely show everyone what you’re about. Sometimes all it takes is having more niched content than the next person to help you stand above the crowd.

3. You have multiple opportunities for internal linking.

Something you don’t hear a lot of SEO specialists talking about is linking to your own content, whether it’s other blog posts or pages on your website. One of the best optimized sites on the internet is the W3C Organization, which has almost no external links but internal links like you wouldn’t believe. Not only does it help your SEO but it encourages your visitors to check out other pages of your website.

4. It’s easier to gear your content towards multiple keyword phrases.

With just a website you can only cover so many keywords and keyword phrases unless you have hundreds of pages. By adding a blog you can write multiple posts with multiple keywords and phrases that helps you compete with all of your competitors.

5. If others like your content, they’ll share it.

They could share it on their own blogs or through social media, which not only drives more visitors to your site but ends up creating backlinks to your site without your having to do anything except have exceptional content on your blog. It’s always great with others promote you because they think you’re content is awesome.

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Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin?

A different start than normal on this blog. I’m going to begin by posting one of my recent videos where I highlighted my progress on my 2014 Goals. I’m doing this, even while knowing that most people who visit this post and possibly comment on it won’t watch any of it. Still, it highlights a lot of what’s going on with me now as it regards trying to reach some goals, knowing I’m not going to reach some goals, and in its own way addresses the topic:
 


http://youtu.be/tDhOvzLPmAI?list=UUYMVX_ehmfnV_BhvTOj-5_w

That’s just for starters. Lately I’ve decided to address some of my health issues by downloading the app Myfitnesspal and tracking what I’m eating (that link leads to another video, just so you know) in an attempt to lose some weight and also try to stay away from what was another health scare related to diabetes; sigh…

To say that I might be spreading myself thin with all that’s going on in my life is an understatement. To say that I can’t handle it all is another matter; I can and have been doing it. Just not in the manner that I was handling it before.

See, when I was home most of the time I spent a lot of time writing. Not just on my 5 blogs but on 4 other blogs as well. I also wrote a couple of newsletters, none for myself, was on 3 boards (still am) and in an officer position in all of them. And I was marketing, marketing, marketing… that’s what you do when you work for yourself. Throw in all the social media stuff… whew, I’m tired reading it.

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I’m not close to a super man; nowhere near it. I’m tired often, but I’ve got goals to go after, things to do, things I want, a lifestyle I want to live, and I’m closer to retirement age than a beginning; that’s a little scary I have to admit. Thus, I know I don’t have the time to just sit around doing nothing; I have to get things done, or at least work towards getting them done.

What I am though is a realist. Over the last year, as I’ve been traveling and consulting out of town, and not close to home, I’ve realized that I had to modify how I did what I did so I could keep up with almost everything I have going on.

I have had to let some things go, some things that just aren’t feasible for the moment, and slow down on some other things that I was pretty good at keeping up with. Kind of like this blog; instead of 3 or 4 posts a week I’m down to 1 or 2. Has it suffered some? Maybe, but we do what we do right?

Some of you know that I consult in two areas: health care finance and leadership.

One of the things I decided early on as a leader is that you take care of what’s most important first but always have the other stuff on a list that you look at here and there, and when you get an opportunity you try to address the issue. There’s always going to be a period where things aren’t as hectic, even in the most hectic jobs; trust me on this one.

In health care finance, there are two major concerns: bringing in as much money as possible fast and doing it in a compliant way so you don’t get hit with major fines later on.

As a consultant, this means going in and looking at the most obvious stuff first because most of the time that’s where the big issues are, and if I address those issues the money starts rolling in. As a director I found the money was in the training; if employees are top notch not only will the money come rolling it, but it’ll continue rolling in so you can go take care of something else.

Student Design Charrette 21
PLACE Built Environment
Centre
via Compfight

Back in May I wrote a post about using my Franklin Planner. That’s been a big help because it not only allows me to write down everything I want to do but I also write down little motivational messages here and there to keep me on the straight path.

Part of my planning has been to write down when I need to write something for a blog, which blog, and when I want to release it. That’s obviously a big deal for me, but my local blog, Syracuse Wiki, has had to suffer. That’s because I want it to only be about local stuff, but if I’m not home it’s hard to write about much of it. In the high world of “finance” that’s known as a tough business decision; can’t do it all, right?

Marketing has been shut down because there’s no real reason to do it. I’m an independent consultant; for the most part I can only work on one project at a time, although I can do some consulting via phone (and have). Luckily, those folks have been finding me; nothing wrong with that.

Something else I’ve had to learn, which wasn’t a part of anything I was doing before all that much… I’ve had to learn to take breaks, even have some nights where I don’t do anything close to work.

When I was working for 3 months in New York City some years ago it was much different because every night was a new adventure, but not every place is like that; certainly where I am now can’t compare. So, I rest more when I’m on the road, and I rest more when I’m at home because I don’t have much time to do anything, including the stuff I need to do at home. Without the Planner, I’d be in really deep.

Okay, that’s all been about me; kind of selfish but I felt I had to establish a bit of authority on the subject so I can get to the main thrust of this post which is giving 5 tips for you to figure out how to pull your center together when you start feeling like your life and time is being spread too thin, because sometimes when that happens you just want to up and quit; never quit!

Tips time; here we go.

And What shall I Write
Lew (tomswift) Holzman
via Compfight

1. Get a planner, journal, memo pad, etc, and write stuff down. What makes most people feel really stressed? Trying to keep everything in your head. There are two main problems with that: you forget stuff; you can’t prioritize things when they’re all in your head.

Writing things down is not only cathartic but you might find that there are many things on your list that you can eliminate, pass off on someone else, get done pretty quickly, or is a major project that you need to do in stages. Nothing else works if you don’t start with this.

Snow plow
Jeroen Kransen via Compfight

2. Find some support systems, even if they only take care of one or two things. For me, even though I could do them, I needed to have someone else do my accounting work and I needed someone to cut my grass and plow my driveway (I live in snow central; look it up lol).

That may not sound like much but for the first one, if you saw the amount of receipts I have to plow through and trying to manage who’s paying me and how, and separating expense payments from work payments, and then categorizing it all and having to then do all the taxes… ugh.

My lawn was taking me 3 hours to do pushing a mower, and when I got a riding mower, though it came down to about 45 minutes, because it turned out I was allergic to grass… well, if I showed you the picture of what I had to wear, in the hot sun… lol As for the snow, try living in a place where it literally snows every day in winter, and even though 6 to 8 inches is kind of a norm it all takes time to remove… so much easier to pay someone else for it.

This is how you need to think; it’s not about what you can do but what you don’t have to do so you can concentrate on the important stuff.

Golden Light at the Hour of Death
Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

3. Decide one main thing that you want to accomplish in your life and center everything around that one goal. Make it a BAHG, or “big audacious hairy goal”.

In some ways this might seem simplistic but look at it from my perspective. There’s lots of things I do and at times I might start feeling spread a bit thin. In those times I start thinking about the reason I’m trying to do them all, an ultimate goal where, if I ever achieved it, I could feel really free and relaxed.

Before I tell you the big one I’ll tell you some small ones. Initially I wanted enough money to buy a soda fountain machine. That morphed into an ice making machine. Those were kind of stupid as each only cost around $200 or so, thus I decided to shoot for an Aeron chair, which cost around $1,300.

That turned out not to be big enough so I decided on buying a car with cash. Not only did I do that but I bought 2, one for my wife and one for me. So I upped the amount and a few years ago thought about the goal of being able to design a different house and paying for it with cash.

All fine and dandy but I realized my goals were aligned in the wrong place. Those were all things I wanted, and I got some of them, but it was wrong. What I wanted for real was security, the ability to do anything I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and wherever I wanted to do it. My goal… $10 million in the bank.

Now there’s a real goal! Realistic? Well, some might say no, but there are a lot of people who started something in their mid 50’s and became millionaires so why not me? Here’s the side benefit, and it’s a lesson learned from Jack Canfield, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy. Decades ago his goal was to make $100,000 in one year selling his book. He made $92,000. Do you think he was disappointed? Nope, because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life, he was close to his goal, and look where we went from there.

So, have a BAHG; even if you don’t get there, you will progress, and you’ll know that all the stuff you’ve been doing, if you’ve been focused, is worth it.

~♥~ And my heart will go on and on ~♥~
¤ [B~B] Bourne Bedweey [B~B] ¤
{Away}
via Compfight

4. Don’t be afraid to let go of certain things, but make sure you look at it from all sides first before doing it. I’m going to let you in on a little secret (won’t be a secret after this). I’m thinking about shutting down one of my websites and blogs. In a way, this makes me feel like a quitter, but in another way I’m thinking it might help me focus a bit more while remaining true to my goal.

This isn’t a new thought, and part of my thinking was reignited this weekend when I was having a conversation with Lynn Terry of Clicknewz. I was telling her about all the blogs I was writing and she asked if there was one or two I could reduce or stop doing. Over the last few days I’ve thought about it some more and, well, it just might happen; I’m just not sure yet.

Still, if I decide to let it go then it’s gone. Last year I stopped writing one of my newsletters after 10 years and the year before I stopped writing a different newsletter after 9 years. There are some other things I’m thinking about removing myself from, not because I don’t like them but because I need more time to focus on my $10 million.

I know I’m not alone on this one. What things are you doing out of obligation that maybe you loved at one time but now it’s more of a chore to do? Is it taking you away from something you’d much rather do, something with a more positive endgame?

Be Awesome

5. Take care of yourself first. Remember earlier I was talking about motivational messages I keep writing in my Planner? This is one of the first, and every month I write it again before anything else. That I feel the need to remind myself of this over and over is proof that I’m not doing it right.

If you don’t take care of yourself first you can’t help anyone else for long. If you don’t plan for your future it’ll be upon you before you know it and you’ll be in dire straits. If you don’t take care of yourself there might not be a future; scary isn’t it?

If you feel that you’re spreading yourself too thin think of this particular statement. Go through all the steps I mentioned because they’ll help give you some direction. If you have any conflicts whatsoever… take care of yourself first. We all know what to do; sometimes we’re conflicted. Don’t feel guilty; just do it and you’ll see that not only will you feel better, but things will start going your way.

Like that last picture says… Be Awesome! 😉
 

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Fighting Anger And Depression

Can I tell you a secret? It’s personal but I figure if you’re a regular reader you won’t mind it. There might even be something in this for you.

Halloween is Bloody Fun
Billy Wilson via Compfight

Quite often I’m holding in a lot of anger and a bit of depression. I don’t know that the first has always been with me but the second has.

What makes me angry? Goodness, what doesn’t make me angry. I get angry with a lot of things I read in the news. I get angry when I see a lot of the things I read on social media. I get angry when I have to hear things about politics or religion or racism or… name anything where people show hate towards someone else.

I get angry when I feel someone demeans what I do. I get angry when people speak to me in a manner I don’t like. I get angry when people don’t show courtesy to me or others when I’m in their presence. I get angry for many of the bad ways that people treat each other.

Because I fight all these things, as in work hard to keep them suppressed, I then get depressed. I get depressed because at a certain point I realize that there’s nothing I can do to stop any of it. There’s probably little I can do to change anyone’s behavior because, frankly, if people don’t already care about themselves then what the heck would I ever be able to say so someone to get them to change right?

Now that I’ve said that I want to say two other things.

One, luckily I don’t manifest my anger all that often in public. There are so many people I just want to smack or hurt in some fashion for their being jerks. But I don’t, which is smart for more than one reason. Instead, I get quiet, get introspective, and try to find something to move my mind to a calmer place, a happier place, a place where I can regain my perspective if needed. After all, no one wants to hang around a person who’s angry all the time, right?

Two… I know I’m not alone. As a matter of fact, I’d bet that most of you are angrier people than I am and probably get even more depressed than I get. But you probably have outlets for your anger, things you do that maybe you want to or need to apologize for later on, things that I don’t do.

See, I’ve never cursed, never had a drink, never taken any illegal drugs. I’ve never hit anyone first, never really beat anyone up, rarely have said hateful things to intentionally hurt a person’s feelings… wanted to, but didn’t.

I have been sarcastic though, and I’ve had a mean streak. For me, my mean streak is to make someone feel belittled without my having to have said anything.

One of the reasons I push myself is because I want to be better than any detractor who ever believed I was less than them, or couldn’t achieve something I said I wanted to do.

Yeah, I can be spiteful. I never forget, and I’ve never quite gotten that forgiveness thing down. Most of the time I let things go, or so I tell people, but I never forget; of all the gripes I’ve had about my short term memory as I get older, I want to smack myself because it would be nice to forget the slights, or perceived slights.

Why am I talking about all of this stuff?

grouch
greg westfall via Compfight

One, because it’s a bit cathartic, as today I end my self imposed week away from all social media. I needed time for myself, time to do things like editing my latest book some more, time to lay back and relax and watch a few movies.

Two, because of the words of Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix coming back to me when I felt like I was being split in two:

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

Of course that’s just a version of an old story where a man tells his grandson a story about two wolves going through the same battle, mentions that each person has this within himself, and answers the grandson’s question of which one will win by saying “The one you nourish.”

I know many of you go through these same things. Luckily, the overwhelming majority of you are probably like me in not hurting someone else physically, trying not to hurt someone unintentionally, holding those emotions in until you’re alone and then finding your own way of dealing with them. Hopefully, you recognize that you’re not evil and that you are a good person and can and will eventually overcome these feelings and distractions.

And if you need to step away for a while to do so then do it. If you have to write about it then do it. If you have to eat lots of cake and ice cream and cookies… well, do that also! 🙂

The real words to follow: “don’t let the haters get you down“, which appeared there first and then was plagiarized here, but looks better at the second link.

Man, I hate thieves… makes me so angry… 😉
 

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