Not Following Through

Following through with something you say you’re going to do is crucial.  Your promise is the heart of your character and brand.  I have really worked on this over the past couple years.  I tend to over promise and not deliver.  So I promise less, give myself room to stay flexible, and when I tell a client I’m going to do something by a certain time I do it.  In all honesty, I’m not batting a 1000 on this but I’m getting close.

A few days ago I sent an email to a bar owner that was referred to me in response to my post on facebook offering my services for free to get some experience under my belt.  Heard nothing back that day.  Called the next day and left a voicemail.  Got an email back the following day saying that she was very interested in talking with me, sorry she missed my call, and will call me tomorrow.  Tomorrow came and went again.

At this point I don’t even want to work her if she paid me let alone for free.  If she can’t call me back in three or four days, then my offering is not important to her, or worse, she is the type of person who doesn’t do what she says she is going to do.  Anything I put together for her isn’t going to work if she doesn’t follow through on her end.

Can’t wait until the holidays are over so I can go find three good clients.  I mean that.  If I could just time warp to January 2nd I would.

Opportunity Comes Knocking

Today I received a facebook message from someone inquiring about my services.  He had seen a post of mine on a facebook page that is a sounding board for all types of goings on in the city (did I really just say goings on?  When did I start talking like Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves?).  The post was basically an offering of my services free of charge to any small business owner in desperate need.

The business is a beach bum type bar with a clientel that is primarily empty nesters and retirees.  I already envision it being a challenge to build the fan base since that demographic statistically doesn’t use facebook much.  Also, it could be tough to write content that resonates with them since I’m so young.

The upside is the brand is fun and carefree.  Perfect for creating social media properties that are wacky and thus more engaging than straight business.

After thinking about it, the best situation for me and the bar might be to for me to serve as a consultant.  I will help them set up their page(s), get the owner comfortable with the platforms, give them ideas on how to build their fanbase, teach them some best practices, etc, etc.  That way they could write the content and I would simply track their results and provide guidance accordingly.

Going to send the owner an email now.

Putting It Off (cringe)

I have decided to suspend my sales efforts until after the holidays.  I intended to go out once more this week but a bunch of piddly life stuff got in my way or rather got the best of me depending on how you look at it.  With the Christmas trip baring down on us we’ll need every dollar we make between now and then.  Filling up with a tank of gas to drive around town talking to overwhelmed, uninterested business owners seems like a bad idea.  My dollar and time will be better spent after the holidays.  In the meantime, I am learning everything I can about the facebook timeline and building my connections on all my social media pages, both business and personal, so Digital Whale can fire out of the gates at full speed on Jan. 2nd.

At least that’s my rationale.  Somewhat, I feel like I am just sabotaging myself with pathetic excuses disguised as rationale.  Am I just being lazy or even worse, am I scared?

Good Talk

I have become increasingly isolated since I have had to cut out all of my social activities.  I talk with people at work and my girlfriend at home but it’s mostly small talk.  There isn’t anyone around me other than my dad who enjoys chatting about business, politics, or philosphy.  Since he’s been pretty busy this year, I often yearn for a stimulating conversation.

Two nights ago I stopped off at a friend’s pub for a cocktail on the way home from work.  I sat next to a couple guys at the end of the bar who were watching the football game.  One of them had a laptop and appeared to be working on something in between watching the game and carrying on conversations with the guy next to him and the couple in the next chairs over.  Towards the end of my drink, just before asking for my tab, we struck up a conversation.  My curiosity getting the best of me I asked him what he was working on.  It turns out he was writing content for his website and is one of the most respected and well known writers on FCS level football.  He and his buddy were in town for the weekend covering a game.

We found common ground on blogging, the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship, the rise and evolution of the internet, social media, content creation, finding a niche, and such.  It was the best conversation I had in months.  I gave him a few tips on how to promote his new site and business through social media and I gained a bit of wisdom, perspective, and inspiration through listening to his stories about the last twenty years of his career.

You never know who you might meet.  I realize now that the social isolation I have resigned myself to is perhaps doing me more harm than good.  I need to meet new people to build up my network and to find like minded people just for the sake of conversation if nothing else.  After Christmas I will try to go out for a drink or two at least once a week and try to meet as many people as I can.  If my finances allow I’ll join a new pool team or dart team too.  I also have this idea to start some sort of group for entrepreneurs that has been rolling around in my head for some time.  Perhaps I’ll finally pursue that as well.

We all have read stories about the eccentric and determined entrepreneurs who literally live in their office and do nothing but work around the clock to create the next big internet start-up.  That type of commitment is inspiring but I would argue that for most entrepreneurs it is not the best path.  What was I thinking I could create a social media marketing business without being social myself?

Monday

After working two doubles over the weekend I fell behind on keeping up with all my social media.  My goals for the day were to catch up, post some content, prospect a dozen local businesses by checking out their facebook pages, and if I had time left over I was going to improve Digital Whale’s facebook and google +.

Usually my girlfriend works during the day which allows me to fully concentrate on my work.  Today she had the day off and works in the evening like I do.  I got almost nothing done.  I found myself unable to focus…..I was distracted by her beauty….actually I was distracted by her moving all around the tiny apartment, in and out doing laundry, asking me questions about her homework, sitting next to me, then sitting at the counter, then next to me, then at the counter, and blowing her nose every five minutes because her allergies are acting up today.  It took me an hour to get through a 12 page article.  I just about blew up when she pulled out the vaccum.

She was just trying to do chores that needed to be done but I was frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done.  It started as a discussion but turned into an argument.  Not a shouting match, we rarely do that, just both of us getting more frustrated that we can’t get done what we want to get done.

The reason I am writing about this is because the people closest to you cannot fully understand the rigid self-discipline and unwavering focus it takes to build a successful business unless they have done it themselves.  They will at times create more obstacles for you, albeit unknowingly, but it is ultimately up to you to do what it takes to get the job done.  At the end of the day, I have no one to blame but myself for my lack of productivity and I know my girlfriend supports me.

So much for today. At least I managed to catch up and post this.  Time to go to work.

Get Knocked Down. Get Back Up.

Today I woke up inspired.  I went straight to work improving my flyer that I hand out to local business owners.  To make it more eye-catching I added a dozen small logos of popular social media platforms around my Digital Whale logo.  I also hoped that this would better convey that I do more than just Facebook and Twitter.  I also removed “no job is too big or too small” because I realized that may come across as too cheesy and desperate.  My new and improved flyer looks ten times better.

I’m confident and ready to hit the streets.  But with the Holiday frenzy in full swing I anticipate running into a lot of busy and overwhelmed biz owners.  Accordingly, my goal is to keep it short, sweet, and laid back.  No probing questions about their social media efforts.  I just want to get the flyer in their hands, ask them to keep it on file, and keep me in mind for the future.  Basically, a simple awareness campaign.

I hit up a few restaurants, a couple bars, and the design district  which consists of about 10 fashion boutiques.  The response was not as good as my last outing.  The owners and managers were extremely busy but a few promised to keep me in mind.  A couple mentioned that they were in the market for a website….which I don’t do….yet.  Rather than make myself irrelevant and encourage them to just throw my flier in the trash I just said “sure, give me a call after the holidays.”

I have connections with a couple free lancers web designers and programmers in town.  Why not just go with the flow and do websites too?  The next few weeks should give me enough time to put it together and educate myself beyond my basic understanding of usability, design standards, CMS, SEO, etc.

With that in mind I was still up-beat despite zero interest in social media marketing from anyone.  Typically in sales you have to get through a lot of no’s before you run into a yes.  Finished with the design district, still having a dozen flyers and an hour left before I had to start getting ready for work, I rushed back to my car thinking about where to go next.  I reach into my pocket for my keys; wrong pocket.  I reach into my other pocket; not there either.  SHIT!!!!  Yep, my keys are in my cup holder….along with my cell phone!!!!!  This isn’t the first time I’ve locked my keys in my car downtown.  Last time I made it a point to leave my clicker in my junk drawer at home so I can get out of these situations cheaper.  Oh wait, no, I used my clicker the other day when I locked my keys in my car in my driveway and then put it in the center counsel and never took it back out….

To make a long story short, embarrassingly, I had to enlist the help of one of the boutique owners that I had just visited to call a lock smith which cost me $80 I didn’t have.  After 45 minutes and two denied credit cards the lock smith had to follow me to the bank where I withdrew the funds from an account I don’t have a card for.  That money was supposed to go towards a bill that I had just sent the check out for today.  I was late for work, miraculously by only 5 minutes, and my day went from being uneventful to a complete failure that may end up costing me family Christmas in New Orleans.

Get knocked down.  Get back up.  Get knocked down.  Get back up.

Working a double/double this weekend but Monday I will pick out a dozen new targets, do a little research on their social media, and go see them on Tuesday.

Inspiration

He ran for state legislature and lost.

Then, he started a business and failed.

He ran for Congress twice and lost both times.

He ran for Senate and lost.

He ran for Vice President and was defeated.

He ran for Senate again and wasn’t elected.

In 1860, he was elected the 16th President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln.  Imagine if he had given up.