Category Archives: Product

Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool

It took me about four years to decide it was time to create another product. This time, it wasn’t going to be about leadership or management, but about websites.

This is my first e-book, Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool, and it’s up there in the most prominent sales spot of this blog. The story behind this one starts in November 2006.

I’ve mentioned here and there that I am a member of an organization called the Professional Consultants Association of Central New York; I’m also on the board. What happened is that the Monday before our November meeting that year the president sent out a notice saying that our speaker had canceled at the last minute. He asked all the board members what we should do about the meeting on Friday. I don’t know what I was thinking about, but I volunteered to do a presentation on search engine optimization (SEO).

The funny thing is that I was already giving a presentation on Wednesday on hospital charge changes as it relates to coding that was going into effect on January 1st. So I already had one presentation that I’d been rehearsing for, and here I was volunteering for another one; I must’ve been out of my mind. Still, I was up for the challenge.

After the presentation I gave on that Wednesday, I came home and I sat at my desk trying to figure out exactly what I was going to talk about for my presentation on Friday. Late that evening, I came up with an idea that was going to put something together, and I went to bed around 4 AM, woke at 9 AM, and spent the next seven hours putting it together. I thought it was pretty good, and then did a little bit of rehearsing to get the time down, figuring that just because I was doing a last-minute presentation didn’t mean that I had the luxury of walking in and not being prepared. I do consider myself a professional after all.

The next morning I gave my presentation, and let’s just say that it went over very well. It was like I was bringing a whole new concept to these guys, and seeing as how at the time I was probably the youngest person in the room, I can understand that; isn’t that a shame? Anyway, afterwards I ended up having some of the members of the organization asking me if I would do some things with their websites. I thought that was pretty cool, and I realized there was another way I could generate some income. As you know I’m a big proponent of The Secret, where it says that you never know where an opportunity for success will come from, and I figured this might be one of those ways.

At that time I also decided it was time to create a new business website, so I came up with the name SEO Xcellence; actually, all those letters were initially linked together, but for some reason people couldn’t see the one word without seeing the word “sex”, even though I couldn’t see it. So it took me about a year but I finally made the change to what you see above (as of December 2014 the site has been shut down).

A year later I created this blog, and a few months in, with very little traffic and a whole lot of chutzpah, I decided to see if I could do a legitimate product launch. Truthfully, I had no real idea what I was doing, and the truth of the matter is that I didn’t have enough people following me on this blog or Twitter for that matter for it to have had a chance at success. Yet, I still gave it a shot.

I wrote the book, I sent it out to a few people I not only trusted, but figured might learn a couple of things about the topic. I got positive reviews from everyone, and luckily one guy really scrutinized it and saw some typos in it, and once I get those corrected I was ready to go. So I announced that the ebook was coming, and five days later I had the product launch.

In retrospect it was a moronic way for me to do it. You don’t do a product launch with only five days notice because there is no way you can build up enough enthusiasm in only five days. Also, you need followers, or at least some kind of big list of people you can send something out to, and I had neither. So on the day of the launch I sold two books, then didn’t sell another book for about a year and a half. Still, I have made some sales, and it’s a product that helps me advertise how I can help small to medium-size businesses with their websites and internet presence.

There’s the story of Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool. It will be interesting to see if the search engines think that the title indicates that this is a duplicate or triplicate post, since I’ve probably had at least two other posts with the same title on them; probably not. I made sure when I wrote this not to make it too complicated, so it’s not overly long. But it is about 56 pages worth of information, and if you’re new to the whole thing I think if you liked how I write explanations on this blog of things you will like that ebook.

And that’s that; one more product to go.
 

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Mitchell Manager Training Program

When I first went into business for myself, I only had plans on working in leadership and management consulting and training. I figured that I needed products, and you’ve seen some of the early products I created. I started thinking that I needed a product that could be seen as a legitimate training program.

The Mitchell Manager Training Program (you notice that everything has been named “Mitchell” in it; I’m terrible at titles) came from a mixture of some seminars I’d done on leadership as well as taking parts of my book in integrating it into a full training program. The idea was to give tips to folks who were going to be new managers or leaders of some type, but to make it simple so that they could actually learn some of the tips and apply them to the job they had to do later on.

One of the problems I’ve seen with some training manuals is that those things are really difficult to understand without someone helping them learn all the concepts. This training program, which comes in around 130 pages, has five different sections with a mini test at the end of each one. The fourth section of the training program is actually more on stress and budget management than it is actual managing, something I’ve never seen in any other training manual for managers.

With this particular product, there really wasn’t much of a story behind it except I knew it was something I had to create. Of course, one of the problems I had with it is that I couldn’t really find anyone to test it on. So what I did was have a few people read it and give it a shot and asked them their opinion of it. It got a pretty good rating from people, but it wasn’t the type of thing that I felt really could lend itself all that well to testimonials, so I let it go. I think I sold only two of these over the course of all the years I’ve been marketing it, but that’s okay.

And thus I’ve introduced the Mitchell Manager Training Program to you, and it being Thanksgiving day, it’s also the shortest of my little advertisements. Hope y’all have enjoyed your turkey for the day, at least those of you in the United States who had turkey today. 🙂

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Keys To Leadership

My Keys To Leadership CDs is something I’ve written about before on this blog, so you can check that post out if you’d like. Of course, the back story is so much more fun. But I told that story on the other post; what more is there?

The day I did the first seminar, which led to the first CD, I was at a crossroads in the early part of my career. I wasn’t a happy guy. I was doing some sporadic subcontracting work with this other company that was leaving me very frustrated. The money was good, but the working relationship was not.

I’m all about communications. When I was a director, I made sure to keep the lines of communications open with those who worked for and with me. If something needed explaining, I made sure to do it right, especially if I needed it done a specific way. The owner of the company I was doing the work for wasn’t quite that type. She expected people to just know how she wanted things. That might have been fine for the people who worked for her where she lived, which was in the Baltimore, MD area, but I didn’t see her on a daily basis. I knew my work, but not how she wanted it presented all the time. Sometimes I’d give it to her and it’d be what she wanted, while other times I’d present it to her and she’d say that’s not what she wanted, without an explanation.

Still, it was bringing in money that I needed. But I wasn’t happy, and I knew I was going to have to make a decision at some point. That’s another reason I had set the seminars up, and even though I’d definitely picked the wrong time to do them (you’ll have to go to that other link to learn why), I figured it might tell me something about myself no matter what happened.

I gave the presentation that Wednesday night and it felt really good. And the topics I discussed made me realize that it was time to end that association, to drop that client for my mental health. So when I came home I wrote her, since she never answered her phone, and said I was done. And you know what? She never responded, never acknowledged, never asked me why… as if I didn’t exist. She could have cared less; I meant nothing to her except a body that might have had a few skills, and based on how she was treating me, I’d started to question that as well.

For the next two months I was floundering; that loss of money was big, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. Then I got my mind in a better place, not only after revisiting my own words when I was creating the sound files, but that’s when I started getting into motivational things. Within two weeks of starting that process I had both a short term project then a very long term project, and I was on my way.

And that’s the rest of the story. Anyway, this is am immediate download product; you can buy either one or both presentations, and on the site there’s also a sample clip, for those of you who’ve never heard any of the interviews I’ve done, so you can hear my voice as well. Here’s the product link to Keys To Leadership, which is also there to the left underneath my book.

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Mitchell Employee Evaluation Module

The second product I ever created was supposed to be a way to help people in leadership positions not only evaluate their present employees, but determine criteria for interviewing and hiring new employees.

The Mitchell Employee Evaluation Module was that attempt. What prompted it was a conversation I was having with my friend Jeanette Sweet, a human resources expert and professional, on how employers often have no real clue in what they really need to consider when hiring new people. So many get hooked on degrees and stupid stuff like that, while many of us know people that have years of experience and are very good at something but never took the time to get a degree.

Even though I’d written the book, I felt I needed an actual product as well. So I sat down and wrote out an outline for the project. I knew it didn’t have to be large, and it’s not because no one would use it. Actually, the hardest part of it all wasn’t in the outline or the criteria, but in creating the worksheets so they’d be easy to use.

The basic idea is to whittle one’s way through some special headline criteria, 3 categories, then drill down a little bit into 46 specific things one might want to look for in a new employee, or evaluate a current employee on. With this criteria, managers figure out exactly what they want, and they’re good to go.

So, this is a specific product for only those who hire and fire, or need to evaluate people who work for them. I’ve sold some, but not all that many. It’s the most expensive product I have as well, even though it’s also the simplest to use. So, if you don’t check this one out, I fully understand. But if you need to do either of those things, the Mitchell Employee Evaluation Module is for you.

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Embrace The Lead

This is the first of products I’ve created that I’m going to talk about this week. In this case, I’ve written about it on this blog before. Advertising is going to be a little different from the norm. I’m going to give links to the main sales page, and if I’ve written about it here before I’m going to link to that as well. But in general I’m going to tell the story of what got me to create the product instead of doing the hard sell here. Anything to stand apart from the crowd.

The name of my first book is Embrace The Lead. That wasn’t the original name. The story of this book actually starts in 1998. The hospital I was working at had merged with another hospital, then become part of a larger hospital system. Then the powers that be decided to bring all management level people together for a big retreat. They gave us tools which were supposed to help all of us come together at one; didn’t work, and that was the first time I thought about putting together my own theories of management and leadership.

Then in 1999, a strange thing happened. My hospital decided to set up leadership classes, and hired a guy who I was less than impressed with. He took a major dislike to me on the very first day, and trust me, if you didn’t like me, you were going to have problems with everyone else at time. Over the course of 8 weeks we clashed because I thought his material was great, but his theories were stupid. That and he had this way of talking down to everyone.

The ninth week he actually threw me out of class. It was within 30 minutes, and I have no idea what I did, but he decided to “dismiss” me. The powers that be kept telling me not to take anything he’d been saying to me personally, but it’s kind of hard when he kept messing with me, and when he threw me out, it definitely was personal.

Then a funny thing happened. At the end of that particular class he decided to ask what they thought about how he handled throwing me out of class. They took that as permission to tell him what they thought, and for the first time in all those weeks people let him have it. I had been the only one not putting up with things, but finally they let loose. They told him how bad he’d been treating me, how bad he was, and many other things. I got wind of it later on, actually feeling happy beforehand because I didn’t have to go back.

Once word got out, he knew he was in trouble, and I knew he was in trouble as well. Upper management put the last couple of classes on hold, and suddenly this guy was blowing up my phone; I knew it because of the caller ID. And I wouldn’t pick it up; I didn’t want to talk to him. I wanted him to squirm. I wanted him to come to me. But he’d been banned, so he couldn’t come to me.

I talked to one of my friends about it all eventually, and he told me I deserved to talk to the guy and set him straight. So one day I did pick up the phone. He apologized, then asked my opinion on where things went wrong. That was my invitation, so I spent the next 90 minutes telling him pretty much how stupid he was and how he’d messed up. I wasn’t that harsh, as I never am directly, but in general I told him that he hadn’t taken any time to understand his audience, nor any time to figure out just what I actually meant to all of those people. And he’d also missed that his behavior made him look racist; none of those people were putting up with that, as I wasn’t either.

At the end of all that he thanked me, then said I knew as much, if not more, about management and leadership than him and that I should write a book. And that was confirmation number two.

Number three… I started the book in July 2001 with an outline, then started actually writing. And then, September 11th… you know what happened. It bothered me for a long time, so I didn’t touch the book for 2 months. Then we learned my dad had lung cancer, and suddenly I knew I wanted to finish the book so he’d have a chance to read it. I did get it finished, but unfortunately he only got to read the first 60 pages or so before his mind just wasn’t there anymore. But he told me he liked what I’d written; I’ve carried that with me all these years.

And there you have it. Embrace The Lead is a book on leadership and management, yet I tried to write it in a conversational style. Of all things, Ken Blanchard, author of One Minute Manager, read it and critiqued it. He said it sounded like I was giving a seminar; it wasn’t meant as a compliment, but I took it that way because that’s how I meant it to be. If you follow the link back to the sales page, you’ll see that I have a cross section of people who read it, and all seemed to enjoy it. And I sell it as a softcover book and as an ebook, so two different prices; I’ll even sign the softcover book. And I even talked about how I self published my book on this blog.

It’s not pretty, but it’s my book, and I talked about how I published it. And now I’m done. Embrace The Lead; take a look at it, because you might know someone who’s a bad manager that could use it. 😉 No ad since the book is there on the left side; actually for all of these posts it makes no sense advertising something else at the bottom, so you won’t see it on the second day’s post this week.

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