From College To Cubicle – The Orthodox Blueprint

From College To Cubicle - The Orthodox BlueprintLet me start off with a story…

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a mildly respected Music Producer here in Toronto’s local Hip Hop scene, under the stage name MrBlue.  I’ve developed artists and produced several albums over the last 8 years – and during this time I’ve been fortunate to share creative exchange with many ambitious, and uber-talented individuals and I want to tell you about one in particular; Lets call him “Steve”.

I’ve been collaborating with Steve for roughly 5 years, and out of all the artists I’ve ever worked with, he has the most potential for greatness without a doubt.  Steve has been signed to a label, had his record in stores, and has performed with some major recording artists during his artistic career and yet he’s never seemed to have his musical endeavors flourish.

Steve has been in school for as long as I’ve known him – bouncing from one major to the next.  It feels like every September he is starting a new course, or academic path, and what really stirs me up about his whole situation is that all he talks about is music and how he wouldn’t be where he is without it – but where is he really? Rather than pursuing his passion to the full extent, he has remained shackled to this cycle of call center jobs and tuition deadlines, and his governmental debt from education alone surpasses mine and Veronica’s debts combined – including our tuition repayments, credit cards, etc.

On numerous occasions I’ve said to him, “You should be going to school for what you’re passionate about.  Why aren’t you taking music or recording arts?”  His answer’s usually “I know, but I’ve already gone this far.  I can’t just change course now, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Wouldn’t it?

Unfortunately Steve is a victim to what I refer to as The Orthodox Blueprint.  Now before you start bombing me with religious questions and moral script, let me elaborate. defines the word Orthodox as:

Adhering to beliefs or practices approved by authority or tradition.

The word Blueprint is defined as:

A method for making, doing, or accomplishing something.

String these two words together and we have the 9-5, 40 hours a week until your 65, then retire and die life-plan.  It’s been accepted by society that we are not to find enjoyment in our working lives, but rather stability and a maniacal sense of economic and social responsibility.  It is our duty to contribute as citizens.  It is our responsibility to work in a factory or office and pay taxes, because that’s how the system works – and the system is proven.  The only career advancement worth pursuing is within the corporate ladder, because that ladder is sturdy and will provide you with a spending account and company car – and these are true signs of success.

As people, we’re so afraid to take the fork in the road, and face possible consequence, because a sign has been put there to warn us of the dangers in doing so.  Just keep going straight and you’ll be fine.  Finish school, get a job that will provide you with benefits, a steady paycheck, and you will eventually develop your method for tolerating with this blueprint.  Adhere long enough and you’ll be rewarded with a mental notebook full of I wish I could have’s, a pension that will barely sustain your mortgage and minimum credit card payments, one trip to Florida every winter, and a deposit on your coffin.

This is what we should be afraid of.

In today’s world we are provided with more options than ever to lead a life of choice, passion and excitement.  There are academic diplomas and degrees for everything from holistic medicine to audio engineering – and even e-business marketing.  Technology provides us with the tools to be global entrepreneurs from the comfort of our living rooms and home offices.  The Internet presents us with an abundance of resources and self-learning mediums in order to further develop and discover skills based on areas of personal interest.  In 2008 you can be whatever you want to be, but ultimately it’s up to one person –  You.

So don’t let yourself down.

I want to thank Alan from for inspiring this post by his use of the term “from college to cubicle.”  I’m not sure if he is the originator, but it was the first time I’ve heard the saying used, and It inspired me to share my translation with you.



Why Wayne Gretzky Would Make A Great Blogger

The Great One - Wayne GretzkyOver the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with a group of wonderful people via Lynn Terry’s weekly webinars – one of those people in particular is an SEO Expert by the name of Roy Montero – also known as The Twitter Guy.  If you haven’t yet bumped into Roy somewhere online, you’re missing out!  But be warned, although Roy is one of the most sincere and knowledgeable individuals you will ever encounter he is also strongly against get-rich-quick seekers and snake oil salesmen, as he likes to put it – so If you are planning to connect with him make sure you’re ready to step up to the plate.  Roy hosts a weekly mastermind group on Skype, which I am a part of, and two weeks ago he shared a quote that stuck in my mind to this day and ultimately led to the title of this blog post.  It went something like this:

Early in Wayne Gretzky’s hockey career he was coined as “The Great One“, and one night during an interview with the press he was asked “What’s the difference between a good hockey player, and a great hockey player?” and Wayne responded effortlessly, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is.  A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

When Roy shared this quote with us I completely hit the floor. Preparation is the difference between good and great, and spiritually speaking, this Mantra can be applied to every aspect of our lives.

Now let’s insert this Mantra into the blogosphere – I know for a fact that there are thousands of people every day who make the decision to start a blog, and it’s usually for one reason – to make  money online.  Of those thousands, how many individuals take the time to prepare an in-depth business plan with research and marketing strategies?  I think it would be safe to say very few, and taking this into consideration, how many of the “few” actually generate and adequate income from their efforts?

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

Now brace yourself – If you blog about how to make money from blogging, expecting to make money from your blog, you wont!  One of my Mentors, Alan LeStourgeon from just laid this out in plain English recently on his blog.  I strongly believe this is one of the primary reasons why most of us fail, and before you hit me with “but don’t you guys blog about how to make money?let me explain.  To be successful in any business you must follow some sort of formula, and ours is pretty simple:

A + B = C


Preparation + Opportunity = Success

Before Veronica and I decided to start this blog, I spent months upon end preparing myself by learning everything there is to know about Internet marketing, e-commerce, search engine optimization, domain names, web hosting, FTP, HTTP, CSS, WordPress, Blogger, link building, and keyword research. I got my feet wet using a multitude of techniques such as marketing through classified ads, article marketing, as well as using site builder scripts like Build A Niche Store to experiment in more specific areas.  I’ve built made-for-adsense blogs, Squidoo lenses, and even attempted to spam forums so I could witness and document the outcome first hand.  Are we millionaires yet?  Not even close.  Have we made money online?

Sure, we’ve made a bit.

The point I’m trying to make is everything we’ve done up to this point has prepared us for the opportunities we’re currently being blessed with – this blog being one of them.  If you don’t put yourself out there, scrape your knee’s and get back up, how do you expect to be successful teaching people what to do when they fall down?

If Wayne Gretzky were a blogger, he would blog about hockey because that’s his forte.  My forte is my passion for social empowerment, technology and networking.  Veronica’s passionate about travel, interior design and the idea of working from home – so that’s what we blog about.  Wayne Gretzky was a great hockey player because he spent his entire life practicing, and making the necessary mistakes to insure when he finally made it to the NHL, he would be a well oiled machine.  Think like The Great One.  Put yourself where the puck is going to be.  Get your feet wet and learn from your failures.  You will soon realize that regardless of the niche or task at hand, if you’re passionate about what you do – opportunity will arise and success will follow.



The Pressure Of Writing Unique Blog Content

The Pressures Of Writing Useful ContentFor those of you following us on Twitter, we were away at a wedding over the weekend for a friend of the family.  We had a great time, despite the rain, and returned home feeling somewhat refreshed and ready for a new week – or so we thought.  I had the most unproductive day today (well technically yesterday at the time of this post) and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get into the groove.

When we returned on Sunday I immediately went to my white board and jotted down my goals and priorities for this week of blogging, which is becoming normal as the weeks pass, and I felt completely ready to conquer another list of tasks.  Man was I ever unprepared.  I spent the majority of today working on a new RSS/email subscribe form – which is something I didn’t want to spend more than an hour on – and questioning whether or not I liked our new WordPress theme.  I can’t even count how many times I changed the theme on this blog today, and I don’t even know why I was tripping out.  I wanted to write 2 posts today on top of Veronica’s Groundhog Theory post, and at various points throughout the day attempted to focus and write a “killer” article – that was not happening.  I starting thinking about what you guys want to read and began getting caught up in the cycle of jotting down post ideas and titles without committing to any of them or following through.  I felt so indecisive that I started to get frustrated at myself for being completely useless and wasting time “thinking” rather than “implementing” and everything hit the fan from there.

Man… blogging can be stressful.  Not from the pressures or demands of your audience – at least not in the early stages – but the pressures from yourself.  I have a tendency to set my goals super high and strive for greatness, so therefor I find myself to be disappointed on a semi-regular basis.  This is not always good.  When it comes to the premature stages of developing unique, useful content for your blog or website it’s important to write as much and as often as you can – but on the same note it’s just as crucial not to burn yourself out or focus too much on what you should be writing about.  Instead, just write and everything will work itself out just like I’m doing at this very moment.

With the pressure to be different always sitting on your shoulders, it’s easy to forget to just be yourself – because that’s what makes you unique in the first place, right?  This make money online niche can be stressful, so don’t be too hard on yourself and fixate on writing “top ten” articles and pillar style content because you will lose hair.  Just write about what you know, what your doing, and what you love.  If it doesn’t fit into an existing category on your site, then create a new one.  Simple.  As much as we read about writing great content and how important useful content is to Google and the search engines don’t forget to remind yourself of this one point – there are no rules when writing content for your blog.

It’s your blog, containing your thoughts, and there will always be people who feel the same as you.  I feel much better now.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings 🙂



The Groundhog Day Theory

bill-murray-groundhog-dayIf you’re a late twenty-something like Elijah and I, then chances are you remember a movie from the early 90’s called Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, in which Bill Murray’s character relives February 2nd day after day.  It’s a hysterical movie, until you start living it.

I have always dreaded working full time.  Ever since my very first job at a movie theater when I was fifteen, I remember working the entire march break and looking forward to going back to classes – pretty twisted huh?  It’s been like that with every job I’ve had since.  My theory is that with most full time work, everyday begins repeating itself at some point and in my day to day, it’s unbearable and sometimes uncanny how repetitive my work is – this was the primary reason I went back to school in the first place.

I took a year off after high school to “find” myself, and what I found was the wonderful world of low end retail and realized I had to get myself an education – so that’s what I did.  To the chagrin of my parents,  who wanted me to do something more practical, I chose to pursue a degree in Interior Design.   The decision was easy because it’s something I’m passionate about, good at and I thought it would prevent employment  monotony to be doing something I love.  This unfortunately is not the case.  I am working now for a reputable, Swedish home furnishings giant, and although I love the people I work with, I cannot shake that ugly Groundhog hovering over my shoulder.  It’s even gotten to the point where I’m seeing the same people in the morning on my walk to the subway.  There’s shuffle man, who shuffles his way to the park along with his golden retriever.  The skinny jogger, who is doing the same stretches before his morning jog, and the little man on the train who wears shoes that are too big for him and eats his breakfast of fruits out of a Tupperware container with a toothpick.  Either I have a problem or there’s a pattern here, or maybe both.  This isn’t even touching on my day to day responsibilities at work.  If there’s one very important thing I’ve learned from my job, it’s that human nature is unbelievably predictable.  Although change and renewal are boasted, there’s not much diversity in my position.  Everyday just repeats itself.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not to say that working full time is bad, it’s just not my thing and I think a lot of people feel the same way I do.  I went into the design field because I wanted variety and creativity and I’m starting to discover  that I won’t get that unless I do it on my own.  The most obvious con being the lack of health care coverage as an entrepreneur, but I’m willing to take that risk in return for mental sanity.  If I were to work for myself as hard as I do for someone else, I could accomplish so much more and reap the benefits directly.  The main objective of course being to keep myself fresh and wanting to do my work.  Picking when and where I work (coffee shop, the park or in the car before you get to the cottage), what my work consists of and what my next project will be.

The movie itself is great, but the messages that can be found are even better:

  • Educate yourself on a daily basis
  • Discover what excites you and embrace it
  • Don’t wait until you tire and eventually dread your existence – do something about it now
  • Don’t eat Groundhogs 🙂
  • Just because no one else is aware of the repetition it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening
  • Tomorrow is another day, try something different

This is my theory and I’m sticking to it.  My days of waking up to the alarm clock playing “I got you babe”  are soon to be over.

Stay classy,


What Am I Getting Myself Into?

It was approximately January when Elijah first came to me with all this internet jibberish.  I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.  He was so excited and so passionate about everything he had just discovered, it was hard not to be affected by it – even though I couldn’t for the life of me wrap my head around everything he was trying to explain to me.

He spent as much time as he could (often in lieu of sleep) reading and researching and trying to get in contact with anyone that could help.  I could tell he was getting really frustrated at some points.  It’s such a huge undertaking and learning curve and I still have no idea how he processed so much information.   I was a little nervous, to say the least.  He was throwing so much at me constantly and incessantly, I didn’t know what to think . . . Although I knew Wordtracker was an amazing discovery.

Very important: if you don’t understand or something’s not making sense, just ask!

The thing is though, now that I know what is attainable the possibilities are endless.  Internet marketing and having an online business is such an awesome way not only to make money, but also to meet people, network, and fulfill your goals.  We’re not out to make millions of dollars and be internet moguls, but my goal personally is to be able to compensate my current salary at my day job, so that I can free up my time and focus on the things that I’m really passionate about.

If there is one aspect that makes me excited about these new horizons it is the possibility of travel, whenever and wherever I want.  I look forward to having the freedom and mobility to see the world, and enjoy my life now while I can.  Our biggest stress would be having to leave our cat, Shandy, behind for extended periods of time, and  If it were up to me I would hide her in my pocket.

But that’s a another story. 🙂

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this journey so far has been one of biggest risks I’ve taken thus far in my life, and I’m not worried.  That’s not to say I’m not a little stressed because there’s still bills to pay and mouths to feed, but I know this is just the beginning of all the great things to come.