This post was inspired by Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion. Marcus is someone I really respect in the industry as I have learned the power of transparency in blogging. So, this post is about my 5 disappointments of 2013 and how I plan to improve in 2014.
Now, this is not going to be all “doom and gloom” as I plan to publish a post about my accomplishments in the coming days. I figure, start with the bad and end with what I am proud of (the good). Although, if you can learn from it all, I think it’s all good.
Update: Here is my other post — Striving for Excellence: My 4 Biggest Achievements of 2013
1. Change Your Sail, Captain!
This website was launched in July of 2012 with the launch of my first book — They Said What?! How to Harness Reputation Management, Social Media & Other Online Strategies to Boost Your Business Profits. (buy the book on Amazon here).
I wanted to focus on helping small business owners repair their online reputation. After speaking with a few business owners that needed this service, I found out some were people I did not want to associate with. I did some Googling of these people and learned why they had these negative reviews.
I felt I was doing a disservice to the consumers out there by “hiding” the negative reviews, and from what I could tell, the truth! No thank you. This type of work did not inspire me so I had to make a change, and quickly, too.
Note: I did not work with anyone who I felt was dishonest and/or untrustworthy. There were people I turned away because of this.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of good business owners out there that have been attacked by unhappy customers. That is not fair, but it’s how the online world works. Everyone is a critic and has a voice.
I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts & knowledge, success stories, industry facts, experiences, etc. I have been blogging for three years to drive awareness, generate leads and close sales, but wasn’t consistent with it. I never really had a blogging schedule and that changed this year.
I have stuck with a consistent blogging schedule (once/week) since April. In 2014, I plan to publish 2 posts/week on this site and one on someone else’s site (known as guest blogging). Guest blogging is powerful because you are using someone else’s platform (blog) to spread your message, reaching their readers.
I saw the power of creating educational, humorous (sometimes, right?), valuable content and how it attracted people to this site. Content marketing works 24/7/365. That is probably the coolest part, this website is generating leads while I sleep. This website was working for me while I spent time in California for Christmas. In fact, it generated 6 leads in the 4 days I was on vacation. I did nothing for those leads while I was away. The website did the work for me. This website is always working for me. I think that is awesome.
I knew this was a service that all small businesses could benefit from so I shifted my focus to content/inbound marketing. I have found by helping first, you get a lot further in business. I found the same to be true in life, too. So I help people through this blog and share what works. I hold nothing back. A lot of people believe that you should keep some information a secret and charge for that secret. That is not what you’re getting on this site. You’ll hear it all — the good, the bad and the ugly.
My Mom asks me all the time — If you are sharing all your knowledge with everyone, why on earth would anyone hire you? A valid question Mom, and here is the answer…
Some people take the information from this blog and apply it themselves, which is great. A lot of small business owners cannot afford to hire a marketing agency, so I use this blog as a channel to help those people. I have received plenty of emails from people letting me know that a post has helped them. It’s a great feeling.
Then there are the people that don’t have the time, so they hire us to do it for them. This is great because this is a business, and we are here to make money. You can’t pay the mortgage with goodwill, I have tried in the past and it didn’t work out.
It’s really a win-win for everyone.
I am just trying to teach my craft to the World. A blog is an excellent platform to do that. I feel all small business owners should blog and take a more educational approach to business. I am being selfish by not sharing the knowledge I have gained over the years with fellow business owners. It’s amazing what happens when you give first.
Also, blogging is a lot of fun. I have met (digitally, of course) some outstanding bloggers. It is a special community and I am proud to be a part of it.
2. Learn To Say No
This is something that has always been an issue with me. I spent a lot of time this year with business owners who said they would like to work together, but we could never come to an agreement on anything. Frankly, a lot of them wasted my time.
I spent months with a few business owners on how to properly use online marketing to add zeros to their bottom line. Phone calls, emails, texts and numerous appointments and they still didn’t elect to hire us. This is my fault and I only blame myself. It is something I have already began working on and hope to eliminate it in 2014.
I gave away way too much information to people and the sad thing is, they didn’t implement what I taught them. If they did, I have no doubt their business would be in a lot better position than it is today.
3. My Why
I have not made my “why” clear enough on this site. It’s something I plan on doing very soon. It will be posted on the side bar of this site so you’ll see it on every page. I want it to be crystal clear why I do what I do. (Hint: it has something to do with the picture below)
This comes from Simon Sinek‘s Ted talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action (watch here). I encourage you to take the time and watch the video. It is a few years old, but very powerful.
Here is a quote from the talk that I love…
A more detailed post about this soon, but would suggest everyone to figure out their why.
Why do you get up in the morning?
What drives you?
What inspires you?
Why do you do what you do?
4. Work/Life Balance
This is something I have never been good at, but plan to improve in 2014. We live in the “always connected world” and that can be a gift and a curse. I am always working and need to separate myself more.
Our daughter was born on August 30th of this year and family time is very important to me. I am fortunate enough to work from home while taking care of her. An opportunity I am very grateful to have. Amanda works during the day while I take care of Ava and sometimes get some writing done. It does make things difficult at times, but I wouldn’t change if for the world. She has actually forced me to become more productive, if you can believe that. That is another blog post, for another day.
5. More Video
I have said I am going to start using more video in my marketing for 2 years now. I have implemented some, but it has not been a consistent effort. This past summer I interviewed 50+ local business owners with about 15 of those interviews being done via Google Hangouts. With Google Hangouts, you can see my smiling face 🙂
That project was for another website though, not this one.
I plan to create one video with each blog post to supplement the written content. There is a science to doing video effectively though. I hope to learn quickly what works, and what doesn’t. Of course, I will use this blog to share my trials and tribulations so you can learn from my mistakes.
Well, these are my 5 disappointments of 2013. I plan to make improvements in 2014 to better myself, my family and my business. I hope you found some value in this post as it wasn’t easy to publish, but it’s amazing what it has taught me.