Friday, January 10, 2020

What if Social Media wasn't free?

You and I both know that social media networks will always be free to register an account. I mean really, who would pay money to sign up to use a service where they read angry messages or have the ability to be criticized by people they don't even know? This article isn't about advocating for TikTok, Facebook, or Twitter to start charging every user a month fee.

Today, I'm challenging you to change your mindset about your use of the social media platforms. This is a thought I had a few weeks back, and it's my hope that it changes the way I use social media going forward. Hopefully, it will do the same for you.

Imagine that every one of your followers on each platform had to pay a monthly fee of $10 to follow and get access to your posts. How do you suppose that would change your content?

For me, I know what would happen to mine. I would instantly begin posting at least once per day on every social platform. If each of my 62 Instagram followers are paying me $10 per month, the very least that they deserve is a post per day, right?

In addition, the content posted would be much more niche and way more informative. It doesn't matter whether your content is more geared toward information or entertainment, because both play very well on social media. The point is that if you have someone paying money to access your account, you would want to triple down on providing as much value to each of your subscribers as possible. After all, they are providing you with value (income) by paying for access to your posts.

OK, so this was all hypothetical, right? You and I both know that the social media platforms earn money through advertising, so they're never going to charge us to have an account. However, I hope you caught the point of this post. People don't follow you if you're just posting random crap. They follow for a very specific reason, and the more niche (I hate that word, and I don't even know why) you become, the more dedicated of a follower you will have.

Here's a fun exercise for this weekend that will help you evaluate your content. Go to Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or whatever other social sites you use. Look at your last 9 posts on each site and ask yourself two questions.

  • Would you pay $10 per month to read what you posted?
  • How could you restructure your post to provide more value to the people reading it?
By the way, the answer to the first question for probably all of us is going to be a resounding 'NO'. That's definitely the answer I got by looking at my posts. That's OK though, because the first step to any change is to acknowledge that there is a problem, or that you could be doing better, in the first place.

Think about what you really want to share about your life experiences. Do you want to teach people a skill you have? Are you just looking to document your life? (By the way, the documenting approach is super powerful if you go about it the right way. I did this with my training for a half-marathon in 2017, and was amazed at all the positive feedback I received.)

Take your followers on a journey. Tell them a great story that they are bound to get very invested in. Never pretend to know more about a topic than you actually do - that's one way to not only lose the respect of others, but you'll also be called out by someone who does know about the topic. 

One of the most important pieces of advice I've received was from GaryVee. Recently, he said to treat every follower like they're the only one. I've got to admit, I do a terrible job at this. Many times, I'm amazed I have any followers at all. Who would want to be updated on all my random nonsense?

Engage with your followers and take an interest in what they're doing too. Reach out and message them (something I don't do enough of), and be authentic when you do. Show a genuine interest in each person who follows you, and you'll be surprised at how many more people show up for your content.

This was a fun story to write, but the truth is, I don't currently do any of this. I'm going to work at this for a month, and on the first Friday of February, I'll write a complimentary piece to this one detailing what has changed.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Focus on your strengths, but develop your weaknesses

There is a lot of noise out there that says just to work on your strengths. I believe in that, because it's a good starting place. Whatever you're trying to achieve, it's hard to get any momentum at something you aren't already good at or don't enjoy.

The opposite side of that coin is the part that many people avoid. While we are so busy focusing on our strengths, many of us forget to address our weaknesses. For example, I really enjoy budgeting, and would like to start a side business around it. I've already created a personal budgeting spreadsheet on Google Sheets, that is both extremely detailed and easy to use. I've been working on the development of it over the last four years.

Ideally, I'd like to sell it online. People would click a "Buy Now" button or something like that, and then I would email them the link. As a part of the purchase, I will also provide training. After all, most people doing a budget for the first time don't really know where to begin.

There is one small problem I keep running into though. I am not good at sales. I've been fired from 2 different outside sales job and 1 collections job. Asking for money clearly isn't my thing. I thought selling online would feel different, but so far it hasn't at all.

It's great to do something you love and that you are good at, but it's very important to realize that you are going to need to address some of your weaknesses - whatever your venture is. No matter what you're doing, there are going to be parts of the job that will not come natural and will absolutely feel like work. In those times, it is going to be critical that have been developing your weaknesses while you focus the core of your work in your strengths.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Become an Asset in a World of Liabilities

I watched a video recently from Grant Cardone speaking about this idea of becoming an asset. Since viewing that video, I can't get this idea out of my head.

You're surrounded everyday by people that you would consider to be a liability, and so am I. Heck, if we're being honest, we know that many times we are in fact the liability - even though we don't like to admit that. For our purposes, let's say that a liability is someone who isn't pulling their weight, whether that be in a team, business, or relationship setting. In essence, they aren't doing as much as they should be.

To become an asset means to go above and beyond what is expected of you. It doesn't mean to suck up or be a kiss-ass, it just means to do more than others expect of you. With society seemingly lowering the bar each day, expectations aren't all that high to begin with. Yet many of us (myself included) don't perform beyond them on a consistent basis.

So whatever it is that you do, make sure you do it with excellence. That's how you become an asset. When I began coaching kids soccer at the Washington Local Soccer Club in 2007, one way I became an asset was to volunteer for everything. I had run my own league previously, and knew how important it is to have good volunteers around.

I helped run a week-long camp that the travel team was putting on when the rest of the volunteer coaches sat around and watched. I helped build goals when I saw Tom, the League President, doing it all by himself.

By the end of my first season in the Spring of 2007, I was the most well-known coach in the division. By the end of the Fall season, I was promoted to Head Coach of the travel organization (same one that I helped with the Spring camp 6 months earlier).

It doesn't always take a lot of hard work to become an asset. You just need to be willing to consistently show up and do what others won't.

To see the Grant Cardone video on Instagram that inspired today's post, click here.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Don't Forget to Always Speak Your Truth

The Office is a favorite show of ours. Junell and I watch a few episodes almost everyday during dinner, because when you don't have kids, you can do that sort of thing. We're going to miss having our show on Netflix when the NBC app launches in 2021. (We might have to break down and buy that app.)

Anyway, there is an episode where Jim and Pam Halpert are going to couples counseling, and when they return to the office the next day, they constantly use the phrase "to speak my truth". It's a way for them to be honest without upsetting the other person.

So many times when we speak, or write, or do video - communication in general - we forget to speak our truth. We post in a way that will get more followers or likes - pandering to the crowd - and many times we don't even believe in what we're saying.

I've done this so many times, which is why I wanted to address it today. Your truth might not be glamorous or sexy, but it is uniquely you. You don't want to live your life with friends who only like you because you've conformed into a person you think they would like, do you?

This post is a reminder to be yourself. I know, it can many times be easier said than done. I struggle with it a lot too, and peer pressure doesn't end when you leave Junior High, does it? However, it's important to talk about your pains and struggles. In fact, I would argue that those are the areas most others would easily identify with, since we all have them.

I recently had my 41st birthday, and on that day, made a post about it, which is completely out of character for me. In that post, I mentioned that my parents haven't spoken to me in 2 years. That Instagram post got some 'real' comments, which is more than I can say for just about anything that I've posted this year!

Was it easy to post about? Definitely not. I was nervous about how it would be received, since it was the first time I had talked about that situation publicly. Here's the bottom line...your true, honest feeling and thoughts are what make you unique. If all you ever do is re-post someone else's viewpoints, you're not really contributing - you're just spreading their message.

Be yourself. Tell your truth and your story. It's harder than it sounds and lonelier than you might imagine. But in the end, it's totally worth it to have meaningful relationships instead of pretending to be someone you're not.

Friday, November 8, 2019

I'm back!!

I just re-read my previous posts. I said all sorts of things like "restarting for the 97th time" and "I'll be writing every day", but you can look at the dates of the posts and see that's not true. Well, here we go, the 98th time I'm restarting this blog! 😁

You know, I've talked with my wife Junell a lot about goals in our 15+ years of marriage. I feel like I've let her down honestly, because I talk it up and promise so much, then when push comes to shove, I don't follow through on what I say that I really want to do. This past weekend seemed different though, but I guess time will tell.

It was early Saturday morning, about 9:30 or so, and we were talking about hobbies. More specifically, about how I need one that can be a creative outlet for me. She is a world-class scrapbooker (at least I think she is), so Junell has an outlet to document life and be creative. We have many scrapbooks in our home that tell the story of our life year after year.

However, I don't have what you would call a creative hobby, and definitely don't have the patience for scrapbooking. On Saturday morning though, it hit me hard. I am going to be a writer, because truthfully, I already am. I always enjoyed writing in high school and college, and it's a great way to document the story of my life.

My hang-up has always been about saying something about people that they might get upset about, but if that happens, then I guess they should have treated me better. I specifically mean my parents when I say this. My mom hasn't spoken to me in over 2 years as of this writing.

So anyway, there you have it. I am a writer, and this blog will be used to document my journey in all areas of life. I look forward to telling my story and speaking the truth about what I'm actually living.

The plan is to have something new for you every Tuesday and Friday morning.