2009 | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 4

Yearly Archives: 2009

How Bad Do You Want It?

It’s easy to get down on yourself. You’re not finding success as easy as you thought it would be. You’re frustrated. You are ready to give up.

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I know what you’re feeling. I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I am still there. Sure, I do well for myself, I’m not complaining, but there are times when I even wonder how come I’m not doing better. You know, rockstar better. 6-month vacation in Europe better. You know what I’m talking about.

It’s all possible. Set a goal and do everything you possibly can to get there. Claw, scratch, beg, borrow, negotiate, convince, raise… anything you have to do to get there.

But also… want it. You have to want it badly.

Let’s say your goal is to make $20,000 a month. How are you going to get there? Do you know? Or do you just write it off as impossible? I can tell you that it can be done, but it’s not going to be easy.

If you want it bad enough, you’ll get there.

I just finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “Crush It” (see banner link in sidebar). Great book that covers the major themes that Gary has been touting for years now, which is that you can “crush it”, if you are willing to try and work hard.

Many of my clients and students say they want it, but often back down when they find out how hard it is.

So how bad do you want it? Because you can have it if you want it bad enough. No question.

The Three Stages of Internet Marketing Consciousness

There are three stages of Internet marketing consciousness. Outlined below.

1. It’s All Bullshit
This is the stage where you don’t believe that anyone makes money online, and every “guru” is a scam-artist.

2. It’s Not For Me, But I Wish I Could Do It
This is the stage where you finally realize that not every “guru” is a scam-artist, and that they do in fact make a ton of money and help people. This is also the stage where you wish you could do what they do, but you can’t bring yourself to do it.

3. Let’s Just Make Some Money
This is the stage where you say to yourself… “My ego is stopping me from being successful.” You finally realize that most of your “organic” efforts to monetize have failed completely and you need to make some cash. So you start buying into the system. You create products, you start teaching, you put ads on your blog, etc… You “sell out” per say, and you realize it’s not a big deal because you’re helping people AND making money at the same time.

Sound familiar? Which stage are you in? And how long did it take you to get through each stage?

Twitter Lists Resurrect The “A-List”?

Twitter just released Twitter Lists. Steve Rubel points out that this is perhaps the new measure of influence?

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In July 2008 I wrote “The Death of the A-List” which caused a slight stir. Ok, not really, I was right.

Here’s what I know. We don’t need lists to tell ourselves how influential we are. You don’t need them. I don’t need them.

You have influence or you don’t.

I was influential speaking to 30 entrepreneur ladies in a knitting shop the other night in Lakewood, Ohio. I didn’t need to be on their list to know I affected them. I could see it in their eyes.

I was influential on stage in front of 3k people introducing Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuk at the past Affiliate Summit events. Do I need those people in that audience to put me on a list to tell me that I’m influential? No. Hundreds of emails and contacts later I just know I did a good job.

Haven’t we got past this yet? Twitter lists seem to want to resurrect the idea that certain people are “more” than others. Being on a list doesn’t mean anything anymore, as it shouldn’t. It’s nice to be included, but…

Influence is measured to me in terms of sales, leads and publicity for myself or my clients. Or in the way that my audience reacts to me either immediately or down the road. Perhaps it’s measured different for you, that’s fine. The point is there’s ROI in influence. Being on a list is going to help that? I’m not so sure.

Or maybe I’m missing the point entirely?

Todd says…

I think Twitter Lists will end up helping separate the men from the boys when it comes to influence. In addition to seeing a Twitter users follower count, we can now see the number of other Twitter users who have added them to lists (example to the right). I would argue that getting added to a list is a bigger deal than simply getting someone to follow you.

In today’s world, if you need to be on a list to prove your influence. You’ve already lost.

Be Yourself, Success Will Come

It’s Halloween. Time to put on your ghoulish costumes and masks and pretend that you’re someone else (or something else) for a few hours. Who doesn’t like to do that every once in a while?

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But just remember to take the mask off tomorrow.

Too many of us try to be something we’re not, all of our lives, and in business. We spend years of effort hoping that if we could just copy someone else’s success we’d be happy. It doesn’t work.

You can’t be someone else. You can hope to emulate them, but you can’t be them. So stop trying to duplicate what they’ve done into your own plan. Get your own plan, and use the lessons those people have learned to power you to be all that you can be.

I see this all the time. Heck, I’m guilty of it. I see a successful author/speaker person who I think has it all figured out and I say to myself, “that’s what I want to be.” But that’s a trap. I can’t be that person. I can’t emulate their success. I can only be myself, and trying too hard to move down that path traps me into a plan that isn’t my true path.

We all struggle with this. Look around in the “making money online” arena. So many people want to be John Chow, or Shoemoney, or Zac Johnson. So they go out and try to duplicate their path. Sure, you can put tactics in place that will help you get there, but you’re never going to be them. You have to be you. Build your own brand. Focus on what you know. Don’t go out and try to be someone who you are not.

It won’t work. Find your true path. It will come to you. It can take years, but it will come. The mask will wear thin eventually.

This Is A Business, Not A Hobby

It’s interesting that this post from Copyblogger came out today about the ‘3 fatal diseases that kill good blogs‘. Why? Because I’m currently writing a book right now called ‘Attention!’ and one of the themes I’m working on in the book is…

This is a business, not a hobby.

Social media, blogging, email marketing, affiliate marketing, online PR, you name it… This is a business. We’re doing this to make money, or leads, or get publicity. Not for fun. Not for “friends”. Until you flip that switch in your head where you understand this, you’re going to continue to find it very hard to find success on the Internet.

From the Copyblogger post…

If you are serious about blogging, you need to treat your blog like a business. You are the CEO of You Inc., and you’ve got to weigh every single decision as if there were millions of dollars on the line. Yeah, it would be great to blog in your underwear and sleep in every morning, but the reality is that most of us can’t afford to do that.

Measure the day’s work in results, not in hours spent typing on Facebook or Twitter. Absolutely, fostering relationships is important, but every action needs to be treated as an investment of your time.

This is especially important if you are a solo blogger, as there is only so much work that you can get done in a day. You’ve got to be efficient with your time. This means measured action and measured results — not just going with the flow.

I wrote the first eBook about how to make money from blogging back in 2004 called Blogs To Riches. When I wrote it and released it, I was getting hate mail from people saying things like “You shouldn’t use blogs to make money you jerk” and “You’re ruining the Internet, F#$% you”. These people didn’t believe that blogging was a business, or could be.

Of course, a few years later people like Problogger came on the scene and proved that you could buy a house with the money you make blogging. Now, today, we all realize that blogging is in fact a great way to do business. Yet, still so many of us treat it as a hobby still.

Here’s why. Because “regular people” are the people who start blogs. They’re not marketers. They’re not entrepreneurs. They are people who have a passion about something and they want to share that passion with the rest of the world without having a gatekeeper tell them they can’t.

But things are changing, yes they are. We’re no longer bloggers anymore, we’re “publishers”. The majority of people don’t start blogs anymore just to waste time. They want something out of it. It may not be money they want. It may be fame. Whatever it is, they want something for their effort, and that makes them a publisher.

What happened to me in 2004 is the same thing that is happening now to social media. We’re all being told we shouldn’t try to make money with social media. It’s pure, they say. Leave it alone, you’ll ruin it.

This is ALL a business, not a hobby.

Blogworld Expo 2009 Recap

I’m just getting back into the swing of things, despite having been back over a week from Blogworld 2009. Whew, what a show. This was my third year attending, and also organizing and moderating the entire monetization track. If you didn’t make it to any of my sessions, too bad for you, because they were the best ones at the show!

Day 1 – Zappos

King Jim at ZapposThe week started off by taking a tour of the Zappos facility with a gaggle of others who also wanted to see just exactly what “awesome customer service” meant. On the bus was @ctango @jasonrubacky @AllisonNazarian @leesabarnes @elizabethpw @sarahrobinson @carlayoung @davetaylor @mpgomatic and me. We were picked up at the LV Hilton by the Zappos tour bus, and driven to their facility. Our tour guide, Mika, was fun, perky and well versed in the inner workings of the company. (I think they all have to be to do tours.)

Mika Tour Guide At ZapposWhen you first get into the lobby, you’re greeted by many bookshelves filled with books that their CEO Tony has read. You’re instructed to help yourself to a book as well. I helped myself to two, sorry Mika! Then it’s off on the tour. What a fun place. It’s lively, open, loud, and in general fun. I don’t see how it would be possible to get any “real” work done with all the “noise”, but I guess you get used to it?

One of the highlights of the tour was the blending station. With an actual Blendtec blender from the WillitBlend.com series. Of course, I had to ask if we could blend something and we did. Here’s the video of that.

Part 1

Part 2

Overall, Zappos is #1 because they get it on so many levels. You can tell they treat their employees right, and the employees love them for it. The do an extensive weeding out of the bad apples during the hiring process, and if you haven’t heard, they even offer potential employees $2k to not take the job. It works.

The rest of the day I spent doing a staff meeting with the Blogworld team. We get a tour of the show floor and the rooms and this and that. Same thing every year, I know what to do. :) I met with John (Vegasgeek) about a project we’re working on together, and had a few drinks with @jasonfalls of social media explorer. Wednesday was also the night I got to go see Mystere at Treasure Island.

Time I was in bed sleeping? Midnight.

Day 2 – Off Day

My track didn’t start until Friday, so I got to spend Thursday hanging out in Vegas. You know what the problem with “hanging out in Vegas” is? It means either drinking too much, or spending too much. I did both. At last count I drank Sake, Whiskey, Vodka, Beer and something else, I forget. Dinner was blur, and so was the late night fun. I do remember, however, meeting up with my new super-cool editor for my new book from Wiley… the awesome Shannon Vargo. I also remember not being let into the super-party at “The Bank” club because I was wearing shorts and sandals. It’s ok, I hate clubs anyway and I like it when they don’t let me in.

Time I was in bed sleeping? Um… 3am-ish.

Day 3 – My Track Begins

Got up out of bed and headed over the show with a mean head hurter. But managed to get all the panels in my track off without a hitch. Heck, I even moderated a few of them. If you want to see what my track looked like, you can view the agenda here. Tim Jones has a summary of the panel he was on here.

anniedukeFriday night was a blast because I got the opportunity to play in the Blogs with Balls charity poker tournament at the Hard Rock Casino. For $60, I was able to sit at a table with two professional poker players… and beat them both! Yep, I sat with Annie Duke (she was on the Celebrity Apprentice) and another guy named Gavin Smith. Side note: I’m pretty sure Annie and Gavin were completely annoyed that a total n00b beat them both. Oh well!

2-hours later, I had won the entire table and earned my way to the finals. What a rush! I hadn’t played poker in over two-years at least, but I kept getting good cards and kept getting lucky. For my effort, I won some prizes, including a year subscription to Sports Illustrated, a Tiger Woods Xbox game (which I gave to mad man Jason Rubacky) and a bottle of Crown Royal. Side note: You can’t pack a bottle of whiskey in your carry-on. TSA threw it in the trash. Duh, Jim. I didn’t advance very far in the final table, but it was a great time!

ipThings only got more fun that evening. After beating the pants off some poker sharks, the crew I was in headed over to the Imperial Palace to play some cards. “Why go there Jim? Isn’t that place dumpy?” Why yes, it is, in fact the bathroom I was in had raw sewage coming up through the floor drain. But! And a BIG but… they have celebrity lookalike blackjack dealers. We got to play against Tony Orlando (who was super funny) and Garth Brooks. Great time. Thanks to Brian Littleton for leading the crew. And Missy Ward, well, she’s always just awesome to hang out with.

I hate to admit that I had not eaten since noon and I had the cab driver take me through McDonalds at 2am. That Big Mac was great though.

Time I was in bed sleeping? Um… 2:30am-ish.

Day 4 – Final Day

Chad Vader & Jim KukralThis was actually the best day of the show for me. My panels were kicking on all cylinders. My room was packed for almost every one of them too. People were swarming the speakers at the end of every session wanting to get more questions answered.

On the show floor, I fulfilled a life-long dream of meeting Chad Vader, from the Web series. I got my picture with him and watched as he played actor Kevin Pollak in Rock’em, Sock’em Robots. Kevin won.

That night the show wrapped with a very nice dinner out by the pool put on by Blogworld, hanging out with Cleveland buddy Joel Libava, and a Tech Karaoke event in the casino. I was going to sing, but went upstairs to pack and fell asleep. #finalnightinvegasfail Rumor has it that Shannon Paul does a mean Pat Benetar Heartbreaker, but I can not confirm this.

I’ll be back for Affiliate Summit West 2010 in January.

Summary

Another GREAT show in Vegas for Blogworld. I was able to have a LOT of fun, and connect with many people that I only get to see on Twitter usually or in emails. There’s a million people I would want to call out here but it would take me hours. Remember, you NEED to go to shows like this because you NEED to get the face time with your peers. You need to be seen.

If you’d like to see a bigger breakdown of a ton of excellent blog updates from the show, visit the Blogworld blog.

Thanks to Rick, Dave and Jim for the invite again. See you next year!

Get Out There & Get In The Game!

Everyone always asks me why they should spend their hard-earned money in a crappy economy to go out to one of these trade shows like Blogworld or Affiliate Summit. They say, “Jim, what am I really going to learn that I can’t find for free online already?” Or, “Jim it seems so expensive when I can just watch the videos later.”

Good points… but wrong. You don’t go to shows like these to learn a ton of stuff (by the way you do). You go to shows like this to network.

There is absolutely no substitute for being seen. It’s the secret sauce that turns you from being someone’s recognizable Twitter icon, to being a real, human being. And in case you haven’t noticed, people do business with people… not icons.

There is a limit to how successful you’re going to be without being seen in person. You’ll never forge the friendships that will turn into business partnerships. You’ll never get in the “inner circle” of the top players in your industry without being seen.

You HAVE to get out there and mingle. You MUST!

By the way, if you haven’t been to a show in a long time, it’s not like it used to be where all the “big names” go and hide at a private party. Times have changed. Everyone is approachable. Everyone is accessible, just like social media.

Get out there and get in the game. See you at the Affiliate Summit in Jan. Oh yeah, another great reason to meet in person is to get disagreements or misunderstandings straightened out.

Believe me, pony up the dough for the next show in your industry. It will be the best money you ever spent.

Vegas & Cirque ‘Mystere’

Thanks to the power of blogging, I was able to get to go see my first Las Vegas show while attending Blogworld 09. I got free tickets to go see Cirque Du Soleil Mystere, and wow, it didn’t disappoint.

Myst? | Cirque du Soleil show at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Here’s a video teaser.

What a fantastic show. Makes me want to go see all of the other Cirque shows now, and I will. But perhaps one of the coolest things I’ve seen is that they have a Web-based tool that allows you to take a quiz that then tells you which Cirque show is best for you. Smart marketing.

If you get to Vegas, check out one of these shows. Truly amazing. Note: I was not paid to do this review, or required to do so, however, I did get free tickets to the show. If the show sucked I wouldn’t have written about it. Frankly, I think it’s a smart way to get the word out about the show from their end.

Great Book Marketing

These authors get it. This Is Why Your Fat. GREAT book marketing.

Why so smart? Here’s a few reasons:

1. Combine a wonderful website full of extremely viral photos that drive attention.
2. Include links of places to buy the book on every page.
3. Use social media Twitter/Facebook to put content out there that is then easily shared.

Books do not sell themselves. As an author, you are mostly responsible for getting the word out. You can either spend millions of dollars, and all of your book signing bonus, to get noticed, or you can do some smart marketing like this. I vote this. Cheaper…better…faster. Did I mention cheaper?

This is why you're fat. - Ultimate White Trash Hot Dog A hot dog infused...
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The New eBook is Online Teaching

Update: Want to see Prfessor in action? Watch this screencast.

prfessor.com-product-reviewMillions and millions of people try to “make money online”, yet, in my experience hardly any of them ever really do. Why? Well, there are a myriad of reasons. One of them being that it’s much harder than it looks; you have to put real effort in to be successful. Another reason is that people don’t know how or are misdirected in their path. Then you have the technology issues, or lack thereof really.

But what everyone fails to realize is that everybody knows a lot about something… and if you can get through those challenges (time, effort, technology) you can find success online.

Case in point, if you wanted to create an eBook, you had to first write the eBook, which is hard enough, then design it, create a pdf, upload it to your site/blog, put in a mechanism to sell it (paypal, clickbank) and then market the thing and hope people buy it. There’s a big curve there, or as Seth Godin would call it, “The Dip”.

Or maybe you wanted to make a membership site where you try to get customers to pay you a monthly fee over and over. Great idea for sure. But again, not easy to implement. There are issues with deciding on the right pricing scheme and the technology to implement is beyond the average user’s skill.

You can see where is all leading I’m sure. There’s a new way to “make money online” and it’s called Prfessor.com.

Prfessor allows you instantly create your own academy, online university or training center, without technical skills, where you can take the knowledge in your head and transfer it to people who want it in classroom form. All for $49.97 a month.

Early reviews of Prfessor take it further.

What Prfessor.com Offers:

  • The ability to for experts to publish content (courses), and charge for it.
  • Handling of customer payment (after your Paypal or Authorize.net account is configured)
  • Course quizzes/exams
  • Ability to invite other “Professors” to submit their content, giving them a percentage of the sale (this is a big deal).
  • Ability to manually register students, take payment over the phone, override a fee for a given course. You can even promote a student to a professor
  • Dashboard to reveal course registrations at a glance, enrollment performance Course success tracking, and payables.
  • With this service, learning online is no longer the future, but is attainable now for everyone who has expertise to share.

Here’s a video that explains more about the system.

In future posts I show you how I use Prfessor, and talk about how others use it as well.

Summary from MarketingProfessor.com.

If you are someone who has expertise and wants to share it with the world, but not give it away, while minimizing technical barriers, Prfessor.com should be among your top considerations. It is also great if you want to joint venture with others in your market, product content, and sell it, making you an expert by association.