So September has come and gone pretty quick, and I figured it was about that time for me to step back into my blogging shoes and broadcast my life (and musings) to the interwebs once again. Continue reading Next: Get Google AdWords Certified.
Midnight Inspirational Video Action
Just wanted to touch base with a little midnight-inspirational-video-action from my good man Gary Vaynerchuk. I love his intensity, honesty and “common way” of explaining his theories and what’s happening to companies and consumers. Continue reading Midnight Inspirational Video Action
Reminder: Your Most Valuable Asset is You
I love when I get inspired by fellow bloggers and random online people during my day-to-day scuffles on the interweb. Those unexpected moments of inspiration, if harnessed and absorbed, will turn into a full tank of optimistic fuel that will CRUSH whatever challenges or goals lay dormant ahead.
Earlier this afternoon I was eating lunch (at my desk) and snapped a quick pic to blast on Facebook. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but I looked at the picture I posted up and realized that I’m no longer working at home on the roller coaster of self-employment. How I managed to snag a job doing what I do – internet marketing and blogging – is beyond me, or at least that’s what I initially felt right then and there.
For you to fully understand where I’m going with this, let me break a few things down…
Last October I wrote a post called How to Keep Your Hustle on Point in 2011, and one thing that’s always stuck out for me is the topic of you being your most valuable asset, personal branding and putting your face “out there”, because you never know WHO is watching you [online].
Now I’m not exactly the type who practices everything I rant about, but I’d like to think that the art of “putting it out there” is in my DNA.
Thinking back, it all kind of makes sense. From quitting my job to learning the necessary skills to advance in the industry, I’ve always positioned myself for who I am rather than what I can do, to get to the next level. Here’s a little timeline:
2003, 2004 – I got accepted into music school without a demo or formal training because I sold them on my dedication and years of self-teaching.
2004, 2006 – I started selling myself and my music and collaborating with artists all over the globe via Myspace without ever releasing an album.
2007, 2008 – I quit my job, started a blog and positioned myself to bloggers and marketers who were already experienced, and in turn taught me what they know.
2009 – I started several web businesses without any credibility and relied on my word and ability to not sleep for 30+ hours to get me by.
2010 – I connected with a local SEO expert on a personal level, who in turn took me under his wing and schooled me on the wonderful world of search marketing.
2011 – I positioned myself and my informal, real world experience to a web agency who gave me an opportunity to do my thing (with salary and perks).
As I read what I’ve just typed, it amazes me that a guy who dropped out of 12th grade twice, drank his way through music school (and graduated) and enjoys talking about midgets and mushrooms has made it this far. I mean, the ride isn’t anywhere close to being over but I think I’d like to stay on for a few more rounds before I get off [the Ferris wheel].
I am my most valuable asset, and guess what… So are you! If you’re not getting ahead or the opportunities don’t seem to be lining up the way you’d like them to, stop trying to get by on what you can do and start showing people who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Know what I mean?
I’m not even sure, but I know I feel better now that I’ve blasted these thoughts onward, into the infoverse.
90 Days in a Nutshell
Over the last 90 days my life has drastically changed in several monumental areas. Rather than give you the “sorry I haven’t updated the blog” type of post, I’m going to sum up what has happened and where the blog is going in 300 words or less.
In April my father passed away unexpectedly (sort of). What I mean by ‘sort of’ is that he wasn’t living a very healthy lifestyle for a number of years and battled with some pretty heavy demons for most of his adult life. He had no will and didn’t leave anything behind (no insurance), so being the oldest of his children, I was left with the responsibility of his death.
Veronica and I are planning to get married next year and it looks like we’ll be having a fatherless wedding – which sucks. Her dad was defeated by cancer, my dad was defeated by the bottle.
Shortly after my dad’s passing I was hooked up, through a mutual friend, with the managing director/owner of a pretty renowned web agency here in Toronto. One thing led to another and after a single “sit down” with their department heads, I was made an offer that I would have been stupid to refuse 🙂
“At Home” Elijah is now officially working at a web agency as their lead internet marketing specialist (rated 4th best web development agency in Canada) and I have to say it’s been pretty awesome!
After spending 6 years mastering my online marketing skills and 3 years living the work at home life, I must say that the opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.
Things were getting stagnant and I wasn’t feeling challenged enough. Rather than working with local businesses, I’m now running social media campaigns and doing SEO for companies like Honda and Astral Media.
Just so you know – my web business is not on hold! I still have my monthly clients and build awesome WordPress websites for small businesses, the only difference is between the hours of 10 to 6 I’m in “agency mode” and between 7 to 12 I’m in “work at home” mode. More blog posts to come!
P.S. Correction – in 350 words or less 🙂
You Can Just Call Me The Job Hobo.
So, here I go again.
Packin’ my bags and on my way down another path, although I have no idea what path that is right now.
I feel like a job hobo or a “jobo”, if you will. Always changing jobs, always with the new ideas, never knowing where they’re going to take me or who I’ll meet along the way. Sounds invigorating right? It is, but I find it exhausting to put time into something and then have to walk away from it.
I am currently actively job searching, because you see, the proverbial “poop” is about to hit the fan. It’s really unfortunate, because I really do love what I’m doing, home staging and design. I love meeting different home owners and the challenge that comes with getting them and potential buyers to fall in love with their homes. But everything changed REALLY fast when I realized just how unappreciated I was by my boss. My dad always taught me that actions speak louder than words . . . and in this scenario, he couldn’t have been more right. Considering how small the company is, it’s really hard to ignore it and keep moving forward. Since the day I was hired, all I’ve heard is empty promises and plans and ideas and none of it has come into fruition.
Couple that with things like a crappy salary, no vacation or benefits, 10 and 12 hour days AND no room for negotiation and I have to start asking myself what is important and what I want from my career. I’m all about paying my dues, but considering how much I have already been paying, this is a bit much.
On a plus side, I’ve gained tons of experience, I will have some pretty good contacts, I’ve pushed the boundaries of what even I thought I was capable of and I met Carrie. Our office admin/manager/assitant/phone answerer/email responder/fire-putter-outer/complaint-taker/gofer and life organizer is quite possibly one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. I have no idea how she manages to keep everything together for us, but on top of that she has another business with her husband and plans fundraisers and events. That girl is always doing something. She really is an inspiration. I’m pretty sure that the universe’s reason for me taking this job in the first place was for our world’s to cross. So I am trying to channel her energy . . . unfortunately I’m a really messy juggler.
And right about now, I feel as though I’ve got a whole bunch of balls in the air and I have no idea which one I’m going to end up catching. (Which would make me a juggling jobo? 🙂 ) I feel so torn as to which direction I should be moving in. On the one hand, theathomecouple philosophy is still engraved in my brain, and I think it would be awesome to be able to be a freelance designer, working from home, helping people like me with little or no money improve their homes and make them comfortable places to live. (My philosophy is that interior design does not have to be expensive.) On the other hand, real life and being a grown up means that I have to be realistic about money and helping to support the life that Eli and I live.
So I’m doing both. Actively job searching to go work for someone else again and trying to get my own thing going. I have made some headway though. I’ve got my design blog going . . . lovefreshdesign.blogspot.com. All my facebook pages and twitter accounts are up and running to try and get my name out there using social media. My methods are pretty primitive, but I’m learning and teaching myself as I go. And to be honest, I end up checking back here to see what Eli’s been posting in the hopes that I can apply some of it to what I’m doing.
Another ball that I’ve got up in the air is Etsy, although I haven’t been as active lately in tossing this one. And this area is a microcosm of my indecision. For those of you who don’t know, Etsy is a marketplace for all things handmade and vintage. For those of you who know me, know this is right up my alley. So I’ve got an account and a shop, but do you think I can pinpoint what it is I want to sell? Of course not. I guess I should just put everything out there and see what happens . . .
I guess this is what being all growns up is about. As Eli thoughtfully posted, I’ve recently turned the big 3-0 (thanks for all the b-day love!) and I’m waiting for my experience and wisdom to kick in. It seems like so far, it’s all been trial and error, ups and downs and constant change. The way I look at, this is as good as a time as any to start doing this. Eli and Bleecker Street Media are successful. Hell, if he can do it, so can I.
But then again . . . we have bills to pay.
Ugh, who knows. Maybe by tomorrow I’ll have a job at the Starbuck’s down the street . . . at least there’s free coffee involved, this jobo loves coffee!
Welcome To The Web: Version 3.0
As much as the title of this article looks like a pathetic excuse for attention – it’s not. I’ve spent the last several months reading, taking notes, researching and following several “authority” figures online; with the ultimate goal of preparing myself for the future web.
Preparation + Opportunity = Success… Right?
Since the whole web 2.0 stir fry has come to a simmer, there have been some very interesting movements taking place right in front of our faces, yet as a community (niche bloggers, internet marketers) we haven’t really sat down and acknowledged what’s happening – and the importance it has in our careers and lives online.
I’m talking about the 3 most crucial shifts in how people use the web, engage digital media and access information online. Web 3.0 is happening now and if you don’t shift your actions with the organic growth of the web, you’ll be left in the virtual dust pan, inevitably waiting to be swept up and dumped in the trash.
Please, if you do anything at all, pay attention to what I’m about to share with you.
Here Are The Top 3 Internet Marketing Movements To Watch For In 2011
For all of you people who spent 2010 mastering pay per click advertising via Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, I’ve got some news for you – web users are mobile, so why aren’t your PPC campaigns?
The absolute truth is, at this moment in time mobile advertising is still very untapped, which means cheaper clicks for online marketers like you and I. So how can we take advantage of this?
Imagine if you became a PPC master back in 2001-2002 when Google redefined the online ad game – you’d be rolling around in stupid amounts of cash, right?
“As of this very moment, there are over 5 billion mobile phone users in the world.”
Out of those 5 billion people (on the go) over 31% of them access the internet using their web-ready mobile device. iPhone, Android, whatever… people are on the move and smart phones are just going to get smarter, cheaper and more accessible in the years to come.
Enter The Mobile Marketer
How about advertising with mobile banner ads that appear within applications and games? Or running a mobile-only pay per click campaigns, targeting by device or location (within 20km radius) and sending that traffic to a mobile-friendly website? The possibilities are truly endless.
And I’m just getting started… QR codes, mobile app development, mobile design etc. The list goes on and the boom is now, so don’t wait and regret it down the road.
Everyone and their grandmother has been talking about local search, Google Places and Groupon – but the “local” web is becoming much more than that. The localization of the web goes hand in hand with the evolution of the smart phone; as people are searching on the go, the major search engines are being swamped with neighborhood-specific activity.
Here’s one key area to watch for in the hyper local web movement…
Rather than businesses only being interested in local search engine traffic leading to their website, they will start to target mobile search traffic and offer immediate incentive to “walk-in” customers.
Huh? What? Yeah.
Here’s a hypothetical example:
I’ve just finished having dinner in downtown Toronto with a few friends. As we’re cruising around for some midnight suds, I see a bus shelter ad for a pub around the corner. On the ad there is a QR code in the bottom corner which, when scanned, takes me to a mobile-friendly landing page that displays a coupon code for $5 pints. All I have to do is bookmark the web address on my phone and show the coupon code to our server once we’re seated.
Even though there’s 3 pubs across the street, I’ll walk an extra 5 minutes for discount drinks.
That my friends is what the hyper local web movement is all about.
“Over 73% of online activity is related to local content – Google”
Think about the impact this will have on the real estate industry in the years to come. As people are house hunting, you provide them with a mobile web address directly on your “for sale” lawn sign, which when visited allows them to punch in the address of the property and view the photo gallery and listing details – before stepping foot in the house.
Oh yeah, and what about Facebook Places? Offer incentive for everyone who “checks in” while visiting your office or place of business – this really is just the tip of the ice berg.
For the guys and gals who know their online local stuff, the combination of mobile technology and hyper local web usage is creating some very lucrative opportunities. If you can manage a basic PPC campaign, you can easily get local businesses to sign on for a $300-$500 per month mobile ads package.
And when you do, blow their minds with the “click to call” function on Google Mobile Ads and watch their checkbook and pen come flying out.
This is by far one of the most interesting and socially influential movements of all. Again, directly related to the advancement of smart phones and the mobile (social) web.
Twitter sort of acted as the catalyst for the present day citizen journalism explosion, and brought it all together with their stupidly simple format. Express yourself in 140 characters or less… Genius. Throw an iPhone into the pot and all of a sudden EVERYONE is a reporter, with the ability to snap pictures, video or just a few lines of text as stuff is happening around the globe.
Remember when Twitter first hit the web, and most of us thought it was completely useless? I can recall speaking with my mother one night, trying to explain it to her…
“It’s like sending out a text message to the world”
Those were my exact words.
First it was cell phones with cameras. Then it was cell phones with cameras that can surf the web. Then it was cell phones with cameras that can surf the web, upload media to the web and tell everyone that’s interested within 10 seconds.
The combination of these technologies created the perfect machine for citizen journalism. I know you’re probably thinking, “WTF does this have to do with web marketing and making money online?” On the contrary is has EVERYTHING to do with it – just here me out for a second…
As marketers, we need to harness the idea of real-time digital reporting, utilize the technologies available and engage our online communities with the latest and greatest – as it happens!
Smartphones + Micro-blogging + Live video streaming = GUERRILLA MARKETING 3.0
Feel free to quote me on that… Because that just happened.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “life streaming” or life logging, well that term was coined in the late 90’s and basically means a time-ordered stream which functions as a diary for your electronic life online. This concept really fueled other ideas down the road, and all you need now a days is some sort of aggregation service to pull all of your online activity into one convenient stream – like 8hands.com.
I guess my whole outlook on the citizen journalism movement is that no longer are money-sucking news companies reporting the news first, WE ARE! Earthquakes, hurricanes, bombings etc. There is absolutely no reason to believe anything you hear or see on CNN, when you can hop on the internet and get real time conversation – no credit card required.
The true story is always (with proper research) online – not on the television or in the newspapers.
It’s Your Market
Aside from this rant, if you’ve ever had that desire or passion to get up on a stage, host a seminar in your local area or self publish/write a book – now is the time to start. Not later. Web 3.0 is all about you. Market you and you will succeed.
Every one of us on this planet is really good at something, even if it’s just one thing. Everything I’ve just talked about was created with one purpose – for you to use – whether it be a marketing tool, video service or funky gadget for your Android.
Take what you know, what you love and what you’re the best at and turn it into a business.
The tools are all there and 95 % of them are free.
That’s all you need to do. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to make it big so you can pay them to learn how they did (after the opportunity has passed). Learn everything you can, get your hands dirty and create something (whether it’s a blog or a book) then throw up a price on your findings and see who bites.
What do you have to lose?
Sharing Is Caring
In the future web, sharing is caring. Share the best information, share the best ideas and share your most awesome efforts. Share this article and spread the word. Let people know about this stuff because it’s super important, ESPECIALLY for us entrepreneurial type of people. The web is our bread and butter and sharing great info and resources helps feed the industry with yummy possibilities.
This is your year.