I recently reflected on the differences that I experienced from moving from a larger company to a startup environment. To be honest, there are a lot of areas that overlap and do not change, but there are two major differences:

1.Wearing a lot of hats

Every employee needs to learn how everything works in a business and execute on a variety of projects outside their expertise. Which is typically very different from a corporate entity where you specialize in one targeted area. This is great for an individual that likes to be constantly busy, but it also makes things incredibly tough to prioritize and do well.

2.No red tape

No red tape in an organization has a lot of positives and some cons as well. The positives are that a company can move incredibly fast. Going from ideation to execution is not slowed down by organization rules and regulations.

The negative of this work style is that most projects have little direction or guidelines. This commonly leads to the constant change in messaging or moving forward with plans that are not thoroughly thought through.

To help with these changes of culture, I have created 3 startup takeaways that help in managing your time, think through projects, and prioritizing your activities:

The first idea is usually not the best idea, but the one you are most attached to.

Back when I was is entrepreneurship class, we were broken into groups of 3 to create business concepts.

In the brainstorming of what our company would do, everyone said something that was prevalent to their profession. Engineers talked about mechanical parts, marketers talked about software automation, etc..

Although through the brainstorming one trend always remained, each person went back to their original idea and then tried to defend its weaknesses or boast about its strengths.

The same applies to an actual business. People throw out their ideas and they are emotionally attached to those ideas, making those that disagree with those ideas (because we are all stubborn):

a. People that don’t understand it correctly

b. Dumb

c. People that have a personal vendetta against you


The truth is, the mentality that your idea is the best is a common way of thinking. When you throw an idea out, it has a part of you with it and it is easy to be offended when people don’t agree.

By understanding that your first idea is most likely your worst. It allows for a couple of benefits:

a. You collaborate better with coworkers

b. You make better decisions

c. It allows you to build off ideas instead of defending them


Automate the things that are repetitive, and that you do not enjoy.

This take away is rather obvious. If you are doing something over and over, look for ways to automate it. This also applies to things that you do not enjoy. Let me explain why:

One thing I have never been good at is Accounting.

I have taken numerous accounting classes through undergrad and graduate school. I am still awful.

Why am I bad at it? Yes, it is confusing for me (like really why are there so many buckets!). But I have understood a lot of other confusing topics in the past that I have become good at.

The real underlying issue is that I do not care about Accounting, I will continue to do the bare minimum in accounting because it is something that I never enjoy or pride myself in being good at.

If I did it for a living – my work would be riddled with errors.

That is why I am NOT in accounting.

The same applies to your tasks. If you do not enjoy something, most likely you are not good at it. Therefore you should look for ways to automate these items as it most likely will not lower your performance, in fact, it might improve it.

These could be everything from social media posting, content creation, design, and of course accounting. Continue to look for ways to outsource or automate these areas to free up time and increase performance.


Understand the opportunity cost!

In business, we tend to look a lot at the physical costs – the costs like rent, advertising, software programs, etc.

People rarely look at the actual cost of labor. Just because someone is a salaried employee, it does not mean there is not an hourly cost to their time.

To quickly estimate someone’s hourly rate simply remove 3 zeros and divide in half (ex. 80k employee = $40/hr)

By understanding this, you know that a meeting with 10, 80k employees at a minimum must generate $400 in profit to be productive.

In a small startup, a salary may sound like a luxury and therefore people believe these costs do not exist – but they are just less monetary.

Time spent on one item means not spending it elsewhere.

Instead of looking at your monetary cost, think about your current activity. Is it the most productive and revenue-driving thing you could be doing at this time? If not, then your cost is what you could be making in a different activity.

These three items undoubtedly can be applied to any size of business or department. Is there another one that you follow? If so leave it in the comments below.


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I have come to the conclusion that I love to build things. It is what drives me. Something about building anything, whether a brand, campaigns, blogs, or actual items, I absolutely love it! I am not sure if it is because I am so proud of being behind the creation of something or just the idea of physically seeing progress but either way…

Because of this passion, I have found myself building multiple things, lots of things, at once.

As you can imagine doing everything at once can add up quickly and become overwhelming.

In the last 3 months in my house alone I have torn down walls and started to add a bathroom, in the basement I have remodeled and added new rooms, and in my backyard I have destroyed a deck and replaced gutters.

I know, I have a problem.. and from my coworkers mouths, “I need to get a life.”

I would be lying if I told you that it wasn’t overwhelming and extremely frustrating creating and maintaining so many projects at once.

But oddly, I have found ways to maximize my time. Most of the projects I create have shared resources that allow me to power through entirely different projects at the same time.

For instance, removing my rotted deck. The demolition from the interior projects was being picked up and there was room for more debris.

And when you give me a saw and an impact wrench, anything comes down in a couple hours.

The same applies to my marketing campaigns. Sometimes I see how some marketing activities open doors to completely different marketing channels that are typically ignored.

To maximize your resources, you need to look for ways that allow you to accomplish more with less resources.

Take for example buying a sales list. The obvious option is to hand it off to your sales reps (which may be just handing it to yourself) and  call and email everyone.

Now this tactic may drive business… But is it the most optimal?

Most certainly not – You are fighting against a lot of variables from gatekeepers, bounce rates due to bad data, and extravagant firewalls.

A low percentage of the list you obtained will truly notice your message or have an understanding of the product you are offering and the need you satisfy.

Oddly, in this same resource you paid for is also a key to a variety of resources that typically go unnoticed and un-executed on.

Such as company name, this in conjunction with their web URL (which is in their email) can become an accounts list in LinkedIn. Allowing your business on top of calls and email, increase reach an leads using targeted content on LinkedIn or even InMails that can always bypass firewalls.

Or even better yet – look for roles in the same company that would be working with the contact you were originally planning to email. (Account Based Marketing-ABM)

Also, using these same emails, you can upload them to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google to match your audience -doing a variety of campaigns to further increase your frequency and reach of the list you purchased.

Now as I have stated in previous blog, there is always uncertainty in small business. Some of these tactics may not be right for your business, but they do all prove the point that anything with a little creativity can lead to new ways to extend resources.

To help small businesses maximize their resources through lead generation. I have compiled a list of marketing channels that are available to marketers to use, divided by the information they have readily available.

eMail is known


Google Display

LinkedIn Advertising

Bing Advertising

Facebook Advertising

Twitter Adverting



Facebook Advertising

Twitter Advertising

Google Display Audience (if employee login available – by creating an affinity aaudience)

Social Media – use their account to grab attention

Direct Mail

Web Behavior

LinkedIn Advertising (retargeting)

Bing (retargeting)

Google Display (retargeting)

Google Display (create an affinity audience)

Industry / Vertical

Buy eMail list

LinkedIn Advertising

Paid Industry Advertising (publishers)

Organic Search

Social Media – Share to industry groups

Google Display – Affinity Target Marketing (publications or popular sites)

Trade Show


Pain Point

Google Ads (keyword search)

Organic Search

Google Display – Creating Audience

LinkedIn Advertising

Paid Industry Advertising

Video Advertising (what tutorial would people be looking for? advertise beforehand)


Google Ads (keyword search)

Organic Search

Google Display (if cloud based, build affinity audience based on login)

LinkedIn Advertising – Target following / user groups

Builtwith.com or similar for database if target audience uses a tech

YouTube (Video marketing before tutorials)

Share content to User Groups

Trade Show



Organic Search

Google Display – Creating Audience

LinkedIn Advertising – Target following / user groups


Did I miss some? Let me know in the comments!

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Blogging for business

(Not know the reference of the cover image?)

I commonly get asked why I write a blog.

Originally, I created a blog to help startups and create a personal brand. So I started writing about marketing and small business without ever trying to hide who I am personally, a humorous marketer with a love for dad jokes and gifs.

There is no doubt that I am not the most talented writer. I find typos in almost every post I write!

My writing style (like my mind) jumps from thought to thought very quickly. This off road thought logic and writing style can lead my readership to a state of confusion. (Sorry if I lost you already)

Although, after a couple of posts I started to realize a larger benefit.

I commonly come up with an idea, obsess over it, and then try to immediately take action. Oddly, writing has helped me to become a better marketer, businessman, and even carpenter.

I say carpenter because just recently when I was looking to frame a wall, I stared at an empty space for 30 minutes and yet was unable to come to a decision. Here I was trying to make a perfect plan in my mind, obsessing over it, and yet I could not make a decision. It wasn’t until a professional carpenter told me to just start laying out the basics (aka writing) and then improve on it or change it later. This way, I can see the flaws of my plan as I run into them.

Point is, sometimes it is just best to start laying things out and make adjustments or changes later instead of just coming up with an idea and thinking it is perfect.

When working with a small team it is not always possible to get external feedback, or if you are really passionate you don’t want to hear it.

Writing is an extremely effective way to find items early on that are maybe wrong with the concept in question.

In almost every topic I write, including this one, I will throw out a minimum of 800 words on what is top of mind and how I feel about a topic. I then come back to it a day or two later to proof and adjust.

100% of the time I find flaws in my logic, and because I make the blog public, I am encouraged to find ways to iron out these issues prior to publishing (I know, I probably still missed some).

In the process of making those changes, I also change my whole thought process on that topic. This brings in new insights, concerns, and ways to improve.

So how is this helpful to small business and marketing?

I am not saying everyone should write a blog, but I am saying that moving at the fast pace of a startup may have some flaws due to implementation is commonly the following process:


It may instead be better to slow down a little bit and add a barrier in between:


Through adding the writing step in this process, you are becoming objective to your own reasoning.

I know from personal experience, that I have come up with a lot of horrible ideas that I was passionate about. But when you are passionate about something you tend to see what you want through a pinhole.

Completely ignoring the outside world and variables that will lead to its failure.

By writing down your thought process, and your plan in detail and then coming back to it a couple days later, you notice some items pop out of the wood work as you are in a completely different mindset.

You start to see where emotion and quick thinking led you down the wrong path, where your idea maybe has fallen short, or maybe an area of your idea that needs to be added to because it has incredible potential.

It also allows yourself to insert justification for your reasoning and build credibility or certainty to the concept.

When the passion of the idea is not present, you start to insert research and qualitative facts to back up your reasoning. This can lead you to a more detailed plan, or lead to you improving or disqualifying some of your thought logic.

Lastly – It is something off your shoulders.

If you are like me – you get an idea in your head and you obsess, thinking about it 24/7. And although I do cherish my restless nights in deep thought….

This process has really allowed me to remove it from my mind.

By writing it down I get a feeling of accomplishment because I know I am making an effort toward its execution. But instead of my mind recapping the entire idea in my head, over and over, it is all written down to a point where I can also concentrate on parts of the idea instead of the general holistic concept.

Maybe this doesn’t work for everyone, but I thought I would share.

If you have ways other ways to critique your own ideas and expand on them to make better decision, I would like to hear from you. Let me know via comments or message me directly.

EVERYTHING Small business

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What classifies a full-time job?

It commonly comes down to executing 40 hours of “work” a week. This is where the 9-5 comes from:

8 hours per day x 5 days = 40 hours.

Although, be honest, how often are all 8 hours of the day really 100% productive?

So the 9-5 is not to get 40 hours of productive work done, it is more so just clocking in to get paid for 40 hours.

Think what would happen if you applied this logic to your personal life.

You think to yourself:

“Cooking this steak should take an hour” but then you find out you were able to cook it to perfection in a mere 20 minutes..

BUT YOU ARE ON THE CLOCK.. so you sit on the floor (probably crying) for 40 minutes and wait until the work / cooking is done so you can eat.

That sounds and looks absurd right? (and it is)

But is it really that different from the 9-5? Why would we ever measure someone’s productivity or efficiency based on time? Wouldn’t it be better to be based on completing tasks? or maybe even an overall goal?

The thing is, this is a tradition that has been passed on to us. Our culture admires those that work late and questions those that leave early. I myself at time feel bad for leaving early, even if everything I needed to do was completed.

Just sitting there, alone with my thoughts.. until it is 5pm.

Just because you are physically at work, it does NOT mean you are productive.

On the complete flip-side of this, the 9-5 is also the reason for many employees to stop tasks.

Think about any workday, is it the exact same as the one before. Is it full of the same tasks, the same meetings, and the same demand?

If you answered, YES – I am sorry, your job sounds extremely boring!

The truth is work is NOT a constant, it is a variable. Every day has new tasks and new demand, so why should you infer that it can always be done in 9-5. By setting time restrictions to work hours, employees use this as a reason to not meet deadlines, or to not finish a task even if it is near to completion.

[so close]

To illustrate the effect of a 9-5 work environment, here is an illustration:

This is 40 hours of work, but dispersed like a typical work week –  a lot of upfront work.

and typically dwindling down toward the end of the week.

As you can see, Monday and Tuesday have “Past Due / Uncompleted work”. This is because of the tasks/workload exceed 5PM, leaving additional work undone. In some scenarios this is okay if there are no hard deadlines, the tasks can be completed the following day.

But this is not something that should be done repetitively, common rollover of tasks, they pile up and projects typically become behind schedule or abandoned completely, or fall to the responsibility of another team member.

At the end of the week, you notice that there is some unproductive time. This is from the workload depleting and the employee feeling the need to stay at work. This unproductive time has no value added to the company, and the employee is missing out on personal endeavors that they would most likely prefer over sitting at work.

Now, what if an organization was goal or task orientated over time focused?

As you can see, the employee is 100% productive, while clocking in the same amount of time, 40 hours. For the time they have invested extra in the beginning of the week, they made up for by leaving early at the end of the week.

This work style allows for the company to be as efficient as possible, as well as gives employees extreme freedom. If an employee is aware of all the tasks they need to do for the week, they can work more whenever they want to clear up large blocks to leave the office.

Employees that implement this also tend to be more focused on activities that actively help them complete tasks in a smaller amount of time. Due to the fact that non-productive meetings or excursions tend to add more time to their day, they look for ways to automate and streamline their day to be more productive – completing more tasks in less the time.


9-5 practices creates the most unproductive and most expensive workforce

So far we have only discussed this issue on a per employee basis, when really to see the true repercussions of being a time focused company you need to look at it as a whole.

A 9-5 organization creates an excess of work that needs to be done. This leads to one of two outcomes:

  1. The excess work piles up and pushes full departments behind schedule. As seen above, to make up those hours would take 50% more time.
  2. The excess work falls on the shoulders of someone that is a task orientated person, causing specific employees, typically managers, to work long hours to stay on target or meet deadlines.

In the first option, you will find that your business will move slower and deadlines should be taken with a grain of salt.

In the second option, it is possible that with a great manager you still hit deadlines, sadly due to the increased workload of management, the company will witness a high employee churn in management due to the horrible work to life balance.

Managing a 9-5 workforce

To be clear, a 9 to 5 workforce may not always be more inefficient as a task-based employee. For specialized corporate roles that have less variability in their work a 9 to 5 may line up perfectly with the time it takes to complete tasks.

If you are looking to transition to a task-based organization, you may find that the transition can be tough to execute across an entire organization. Everyone has their own preferences, and some employees prefer the consistency of clocking in and out at the same time every day.

For these employees it is best to recognize that because every working day is a constant, tasks assigned and their activates need to be constant too.

  • Limit meetings – Time in a meeting takes away from their tasks
  • Focus on tasks that are more clear-cut over trying new things. More creative or new tasks have more variability in their completion time.

Every employee has an hourly cost and an opportunity (what could someone be doing that may or may not be more productive than what they are already doing) cost. These costs are higher for a 9 – 5 workforce due to the fact that they have a set hourly rate (if there is not fluctuation in their time input) and that time taken from one task, directly takes away from another. These are items to consider when creating new tasks/meeting that disrupt the typical office work schedule.

The transition from time to task orientation

To be 100% transparent, this blog is inspired by 2 books The Lean Startup and Traction.

The lean startup walks through the inefficiency of a workforce that is driven by time, comparing it to the priniciples of lean manufacturing. To do this, businesses should aim to create an environment that instead adapts and adjusts to the workload presented, and finding processes that eliminate bottlenecks for growth. To be the most efficient at doing this, companies need to focus on goals and the tasks that get them to meet their goals, not the time it may or may not take to complete it.

To implement this logic, traction has offered a step by step process into launching this type of workforce. Through the creation of scheduled meetings, finding issues, and driving accountability, businesses are able to more effectively address what is being completed and find the bottlenecks that are getting in the way.


A 9-5 organization is extremely inefficient. When creating a business you need to find ways to make to make your company more focused on completing goals and less focused on “Going to work”.

A company that is task focused tends to be more productive, accurately meet deadlines, and are incredibly creative in streamlining processes (more you automate, less you work). This not only allows employees to have more flexibility and management over their own work schedule, but it also allows companies to be more agile than their 9-5 competitors.

The productive way to read Marketing Carpenter.

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Failing small business

Whenever I come across a house project that I am not sure about, I immediately go to YouTube.

YouTube is an amazing resource for those looking to find out how to do something, and receive a step by step tutorial.

These videos are so helpful that, there are literally stories about people that have constructed full houses by only watching YouTube videos:

Sadly, the same does not apply when starting a business.

There is no tutorial that is foolproof to help you create a profitable company. Many people, like myself, may tell you about channels that MAY help, but the truth is every business is so completely different that nothing really applies across the board.

Larger businesses don’t have this problem of figuring out how to get a positive ROI, or find success. They obtain a massive amount of data and history that allows them to invest in channels that they know are profitable.  They then focus on increasing the performance of those channels in the future to promote growth.

Although you may not have history or data points there is something that you do know:

You Know Nothing!

This is tough to hear, but embracing the fact that you do not know what will grow your business is actually incredibly powerful. By acknowledging that you know nothing, you start pursuing knowledge as well as revenue for your business.

So how does this help? In a couple of ways:

Remove assumptions

When I first started in a start-up environment, I was brought in largely for my Google Ads background. At the time, it was believed that the slow lead generation was due to the fact that we were not grabbing enough traffic from people looking for a similar product.

I created a ton of campaigns targeting similar industries, general technologies and sent ads to a lot of audiences that I thought would find our product irresistible.

I could not have been further from the truth.

Every morning when I would check the leads from the previous day I would find a long list of unqualified leads. Yet, I continued to invest time and money into the campaigns to try to make this channel drive growth.

But see, that was the problem.

I made one very large assumption. I assumed that due to the fact that Google Ads has been extremely profitable in my past companies, that it would be the key to our success here too. Instead, it turned out to be a channel that drained my time and our budget – which most likely could have been spent later.

By acknowledging that you, in fact, know nothing, you hopefully do not make the same mistake. You understand that you should try the channel but do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Redefine Successful Campaigns

If you have ever worked for a larger company, most likely you have come across the use of KPIs. Of course, your goal should always be to perform better but there is a KPI for small businesses that are rarely accepted anywhere else.


Not every campaign has to drive revenue in order to be successful. Remember your business at this time is trying to find it’s preferred channels, therefore finding out which channels are not a great fit are still extremely helpful.

Of course, a failed campaign is never as good as a profitable one, but the truth is a lot of learning came from it. Why did it fail? how does this change your marketing plan? What did we learn and how can it be applied to other campaigns?

These are all takeaways that will lead to you honing in on your target market later. Because of this, there is no such thing as a failed campaign, as long as you learn from it.


Optimize Later

If you are anything like me, most likely you have some perfectionist tendencies. I like to create campaigns that think of everything, and are optimized for maximum performance.

Although if you are still in the learning phase, do NOT spend time focusing on optimization.

The truth is, optimizing campaigns adds more labor and expenses that could be used elsewhere. By spending time creating a better campaign, you are only adding to the costs of a failed campaign.

Therefore, apply the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) methodology to create more campaigns in a far smaller time frame. Forget about the custom images, the unique landing pages, the custom print outs, or the additional development. Instead, look to clone similar campaigns and continue to just slightly alter your current content.


Keep in mind, your KPI is to learn. Once you learn that a campaign is profitable, that is when you optimize.



It would be nice to have the ability to look up a tutorial on how to drive growth for your specific business, sadly due to the uncertainty and uniqueness of every venture that is not possible. You lack of knowledge or uncertainty, therefore, gives you only one option to succeed:

Gain knowledge.

Startups need to embrace the concept that there will be failures. But cumulative failures lead to a path of success.

By learning what messaging doesn’t work and what channels do not drive revenue, you can start simplifying your marketing plan, optimize your time, and focusing on the marketing channels that drive results.

Therefore, your goal should to try everything, fail fast, learn fast, and then double down on what works.

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I will just count it as a failure, and try a different CTA on the next blog.

When constructing a house I sure hope that the builders have an idea of what the finished product should look like.
Without a plan or a blueprint, then it is safe to say that the end product will most likely have some flaws, or at least a couple weird kinks:
You: “Hey Bob, why did you put that pole there?”
Bob: “It felt right… ehhh maybe it could be plumbing, or maybe the house needs a fire pole into the kitchen?
Even though a quick access fire pole into the kitchen is an AMAZING idea, it most likely does not align with the vision of the house you first set out to create.
When constructing a home everything needs to line up to get the finished product you set out to create. Digging the foundation, measuring the rooms, figuring out the plumbing, understanding the electrical is decided before or very early in the building process.

Yet for many small businesses, we do not create a plan for the business culture.

When it is 2-3 employees, culture seems to be the last thing on your mind and most likely you possess a good culture so there does not seem to be a need for anything official.
Although it should be something that you depict clearly and early in your company’s creation.


Because a company’s culture is its fingerprint – it is what makes the company unique, and if it is not identified early it will be lost with the companies growth.
By defining culture you put direction to how your marketing acts, which employees are the best fit for your organization, what HR benefits make sense, and sets the overall vision for where the company is moving.
Basically whatever has made your company thrive needs to be called out and highlighted to make sure that it continues as the number one priority throughout its continuous growth.
When people ask me about what working at a startup is like, I tell them it pushes your creativity to a new level and is always fun. No one that is from a large corporate entity that has asked me that question has responded, “Sounds like my job”
I say this because a lot of startups have similar experiences, but once they grow to a larger size something changes.
Fast growth leads to quick hiring where the need for labor is weighted higher than the need for cultural fit. The revenue grows to a point where trying something new or different is more of a risk than an employee norm.
The company then moves from trying to be a disruptor into trying to hold market share to please shareholders and meet the needs of the quarterly forecasts.
I know what your thinking…
But it is something to consider.
What if the purpose and culture of your company were lost, would it still hold a competitive advantage?

Most likely not.

Although defining your culture can be tougher than expected. But if you follow Traction / EOS, there are some quick giveaways (you should still buy the book btw).
To help define your culture, think about what your company’s purpose is.
I can make the assumption that the purpose in creating any company was not, “To please shareholders”

Was it?:

To provide the best customer service of an industry? If so, you probably need to establish a culture that is customer-centric.
Or was it to launch the most tech-savvy toothbrush? If so, then you need to establish a culture for cleanliness and technological growth.
Whatever your purpose is, think about what values are needed in employees and your company overall to achieve it.
Once your values are established, make sure it is well documented and enforced.
By using your values as a guiding light for your hiring choices, your marketing decisions, and your product development your company will turn into a productive culture that is dedicated to the company’s purpose, and this will be responsible for its dramatic growth.

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Marketers making mistakes

I get contacted by sales people all the time asking me if I would like to attend their events. Oddly and they all seem to use the very same sales pitch. If you receive these calls, then I assume you have heard this sales pitch too:

“Your competitors are attending!”

It is basically going back to the old phrase:

Everybody’s doing it” and reminds you of:

if everybody jumped off a bridge would you too?

Now this sales pitch must be very effective because it is repeated, over and over again.

So why does this technique work for sales people?

Straight emotion

I would be lying if I said that when sales people said that my competition was attending that I didn’t have the immediate urge to attend as well. I am a very competitive person, I believe that my company should have ALL the business and not share any prospect or revenue. (realistic, I know)

Even part of me wants to attend just to single-handedly make it a worse event for my competition. But then logic kicks in. Asking questions such as; is this profitable? Is this the best way to spend the budget?

When I ask myself these questions, I am quick to talk myself out of attending.

See, if I am going to invest thousands of dollars of my marketing budget and take employees away from their day-to-day activities, I want the ability to grab leads and close them quickly without them knowing about my competition.

Just think about it, the instant your competition is at the show, is the instant you will have to get in a discussion about how you compare to your competitors, this prolongs the sales cycle and not to mention probably significantly lowers the conversion rate (assuming your competition is comparable is some way).

Sometimes if the show is large enough, or has the correct audience.. maybe. But most likely, I am leaning towards “no”.

Emotion from competition plays a huge role in our marketing strategies.

Think what you do the instant you want to optimize your site? You go to your competitor’s website and see their meta description to help you come up with keywords, then implement it to your own. This is common practice, but when you break it down – You are actively looking for keywords that are not easily obtainable.

What do you do when you have copy writing issues? You go to your competitors’ marketing materials and see how they talk about their product and copy it. This strategy completely ruins any product differentiation and tends to hurt you rather than help.

Lastly, you look at your competitors; paid search and go afters similar keywords. Now you get to go head to head and pay more per word! Great way to optimize a budget. (totally kidding here)

I am not saying that you should not look at your competitors at all, but I am saying do not base decisions off of it.

In undergrad (go Drake Bulldogs!), I had a creative advertising professor that said, “not all agency ads are good ads.”

At the time we all dreamed of working for agencies and admired all the work that came our of these creative firms. My professor said this to outline that, just because someone is doing something.. doesn’t mean it is done correctly.

I believe this also applies to your competition. How do you know that the content your competitor produces is worth copying? How do you know the keywords are the best ROI? And how do you know their PPC campaign is even profitable?

The truth is, due to our competitive nature – we make assumptions.

Marketing Assumptions

Companies actively choose to go head-to-head without making decisions based on their own data or customer base.

This thought process leads to entire industries to have minimal product differentiation, which then just leads to a battle on price. If you are a very large company with buying power, maybe this is the battle you have always wanted.

Although for the vast majority of companies created, I doubt their mission statements are

“To beat [insert competitor here]”

Most companies set out to be different, they find a niche or weakness in the industry that allows them to quickly grow.

We all start with the creation of a great SWOT analysis to know how we stand out from everyone else. Those that succeed are the ones that actually stick to their niche; building brand loyalty and creating clear product differentiation.

You can do the same, it just means that you do not allow your competitor’s actions to be your guiding light for your marketing strategy. To truly stand apart from your competition, find out who your ideal customer is, understand their pain point., learn how to talk to them, and continually try to improve their brand experiences.

By using your own factual data, you will see an increase in product differentiation, lower cost per customer, and speed of your sales cycle due to your honed in the approach of your customers’ needs.

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Say yes

Every homeowner has a task that they do not want to do, whether it is electrical, plumbing, or as simple as replacing a light bulb — we all know what they are.

When we think about doing this work ourselves, our brain sends an immediate trigger that looks something like:

For me, I had the gutter from hell. The instant I saw it, I knew I never wanted to touch it.

It was a gutter that had a rotted away fascia that you knew would only come off in bit sized pieces, and a spout in a location that could only be reached from extending your body from a ladder a meter away. This made replacing it come with the bonus of pulling a muscle and having your life flashing before your eyes at the same time!

But yet, as you can tell from the blood stain that still rests on the gutter today, my decision to never do this project changed.

So, what made this change of direction? I started to breakdown my decision process, and realized that my quick decision actually involved two variables:

  1. How badly do I want it to be done? Could I let it be, and not touch it at all?
  2. How much was I will to pay for it to be done? What amount of money was I willing to pay to potentially save my life?

The gutter had been an eyesore ever since I moved in,so I knew this project was a necessity. Although because this upgrade, unlike a kitchen remodel, adds no value to the house I did not want to pay a lot for it.

So my “No” turned into, “No, not doing it unless unless it ends up costing more than $600.”

After an extremely large quote from a gutter professional. Click here for the full rant on that subject.

I drove over to Home Depot and started my hellish project.

After 5 flesh wounds, 2 days of work, and $300 – I was left with a new gutter and sense of pride.


How does this relate to marketing your business? It doesn’t – I just wanted to let you know that I single-handled installed my own gutter!

Just kidding.

The point I am getting at is that it is very easy to make immediate decisions, especially in a quick moving business. Sadly, these quick decisions commonly lead to saying “no” to projects that fall outside the norm of the company or your preferences.

When decisions are made quickly, they rarely look into all the details that go into them. Things like high cost, large time investment, or increased risk of failure can lead to an immediate denial from any project moving forward.

Although saying no to these outliers may save you from some losses, they also stop companies from being truly innovative.

If a company can move away from the thought process that every decision is either “Yes” or “No” and start thinking more about what would make a NO become a YES – businesses can drive growth, knowledge, and great company moral.

Let me explain:

I am sure you have had a boss or at least a friend that had the attitude, “my way or the highway.” They need to have things done in a very specific manner and tend to not accept things outside of that.

Companies also tend to create this same kind of culture. Some companies are more innovative, some are more prone to take risks, and some tend to have very strict guidelines to how things must be done.

When a company gets to be a certain size, these restrictions are at times needed to keep order, but that should not get in the way of being innovative.

In my professional career, I have seen a lot of ideas that got shot down from social media to new product introductions that held a lot of merit, but were immediately not pursued due to their overpriced budget or not aligning with the company’s mindset.

I have found that these decisions of saying no, can be far more productive if you say yes with restrictions. “Yes, you can try this social media..but with this budget until we see it being beneficial” – “I will say yes to this new product, IF you can show a market need and align it to our brand”

by moving to this mindset, here is what you will see:

Top performance from employees

Let’s say a your marketing team has suggested 2 very different marketing campaigns that are targeting web traffic through back-links as a strategy, and another that is trying to create thought leadership in the industry. Both will potentially take a lot of time and money to communicate with other websites and create content.

At this time, you may not have a budget that supports that type of expenditure. Therefore you respond, “if we can get both KPIs for the cost of a single campaign, I will say yes.”

Although this is a “No” in many ways, you will start to notice employees enjoy challenges and are capable of generating creative ways to satisfy the requirements.

For example, maybe you reach out to other thought leaders for an interview. You send over questions and promote it on your site. Due to the flattering nature of the article, the company promoted will link to it and share it to their contacts. This way the content was free, thought leadership is gained, and a back-link created.

Morale Boost

In my first sales job, I heard the word “no” more than 50 times a day.. some of them even said it in more creative ways that involved 4 letter words.

When you hear so many NOs you tend to stop thinking there will ever be a Yes.

Once you believe that you will never receive a Yes, it makes no sense to even try for it. This leads to people thinking they do not have an power to make a difference, and being unproductive in the workplace.

Growth of opportunities

By giving a Yes with requirements, you are providing transparency into the decision making process. Employees will start to notice patterns around what usually gains approval. They will then create opportunities or ideas that meet these KPIs in a more efficient manner generating more acceptable pitches in fewer time.


Giving a yes with guidelines, forces companies to do more with less. In the process, businesses will stumble upon new efficiencies, strategies, or technologies that allow the business to develop a more scale-able company structure.

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What did we just learn about saying no.

I have worked for a variety of companies that have shared very different opinions on how to use Social Media. Some have wanted to invest heavily in it and have multiple channels, while others have wanted to stay out of it almost completely because they did not want to manage it.

It is funny how companies believe that it is either one or the other when the truth is, there is a MASSIVE amount of space between those two (Of being devoted to social or not investing).

In this blog, I hope to show you that, and why this third option may be the best option for your business.

If you have already read through numerous other social media blogs, then I assume you have heard that the most important thing to do is:

Research which social media your customers are on.

By finding out which social channels your target market uses, you can dedicate your time to a select number of channels to get a better return in comparison to spreading yourself across every single social media channel.

To be clear, I agree 100% with this logic. A B2B marketer should probably not be wasting their time on creating amazing images for Instagram when they know it is very unlikely that it will drive revenue.


What I disagree with is the idea that thee are only two options for a specific channel, invest or not invest. Most commonly this decision comes down to KPIs – “if a social network is not directly driving revenue, then it is not worth any investment”

Pretty solid logic.

But social media sites are incredibly powerful these days, they hold an enormous amount of users, domain authority, and credibility. Saying no to any social network is potentially saying no to more web traffic, brand awareness, and higher domain authority for your own site.

So how can you get the best of both worlds? By mitigating the “investment”

The investment of social media is time. Although it may be cool to spend tons of time on Reddit to get an enormous amount of pointless Karma for your business, you need to find ways to eliminate the time spent on publishing to social network sites.

Automating Social Media

We have all seen the social spammers that do a repeat of the same thing day in and day out. If that’s what you thought I was going to recommend, then SHAME ON YOU. I have class! (most of the time)

In order to really automate social media well, a company needs to have a content marketing strategy. Or at a bare minimum a part of their website that is continually updated.

A blog is the best option for publishing, but this could also be a product update section, a portfolio, case studies page, etc.

Once you know what content you want to share generate an editable image for both your logo (most likely with square dimension) and a horizontal banner. Every social media network will ask for different sizes, but it is in your best interest to make them all look similar for branding and ease of execution.

Now it the time to start creating social media accounts. There are a lot out there, here is a small list to get you started.

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Scoop.it
  • Tumblr
  • Instapaper
  • Reddit

Setting this up is rather simple, there are hundreds of WordPress plugins that will share your content directly to the large social sites.

For the less popular networks, publishing your content automatically may be a little more difficult. Using a third party software, like Zapier, can usually connect and automate you to a lot more unique options.

Automating Social Media

As stated previously, automating your social media should only be done to those social networks that you believe are not worth investing an enormous amount of time in. If your target market is heavily concentrated in a specific social channel, I recommend creating unique and creative posts that are well thought out.

With that said, there are also scenarios that may be best to automate all channels:

  1. You have an extremely niche/complex product – Your offering is usually confusing to the public and is only of interest to a very small group of buyers. “Going viral” on any channel is not a focus for you because of the likelihood that it would not generate any revenue. Therefore, automating all channels makes the most sense to drive SEO ranking to target and rank in long-tailed keywords that will actually get you in front of your prospects.
  2. You are a small team / single location – Any social media channel can be a hassle to maintain. This automation helps CEOs to free up their time, while also launching news/content effortlessly. Take for example a Food Truck, it would be a lot easier for them to post a single notice on their site with their location and specials then creating multiple social posts. Through this process, small businesses can promote their business and increase their reach without taking them away from their typical business operations.

Have questions or comments? Don’t be shy. Leave me a note below.

Save yourself some time.

Have Marketing Carpenter come to you instead of you coming here.


Jumping into home ownership is commonly not a rash decision you made on a limb.
Impulse business decisions
It takes planning and there are a lot of variables play a role; figuring out where you want to live, what you can afford, things that you will not compromise on, and what’s a good investment.
Similarly, the decision to start a business, or where you decide to work in general, should also not be taken lightly.
Recently in an Entrepreneurship class, the professor said the common reason for people not starting a business comes down to, “Not being courageous.”
Key to making a leap of faith
In some aspects, courage may help, but I truly hope that people do not believe that courage is the sole trait to starting a business or taking the leap into a new position. Let me explain.
Courage may make you do something, but it does not mean that it is the correct thing.
You can be courageous by jumping off a bridge – but should you?
If you are on the cast of JackAss.. then maybe yes. Otherwise, if you have to be courageous, most likely you are doing something you believe may not work and therefore may not be a great idea.
Let me explain.
In my professional career, the most courageous thing I have ever done was work in outside sales for a company called Cbeyond.
My job was to walk door-to-door to every business and tell them about telecommunications. Every day I would walk into a minimum of 50 businesses and would be required to come back with a minimum of 50 business cards with details about their company and their current communications set up.
I walked into businesses knowing full well that they did not want to speak to me, but it did not stop me. I would put on a smile walk in confidently and then get denied like a nerd at a junior high dance.
At times I was threatened with a restraining order, yelled at, and/or insulted.. but I continued to do my job.
Did I ever make a sale? Nope.
I had a base salary, I was there to get my business cards and get paid. Courage may have been the reason for me to do my job, but it clearly did not benefit the company.
You see this same behavior in every company, the people that do their job, show up from 9-5 but they almost leave immediately at 5 and rarely take projects further than what is expected of them.
This type of behavior has nothing to do with a lack of courage, it has to do with the lack of 2 characteristics that are responsible for growth, passion & confidence.



A person that is passionate about their work becomes obsessive. They believe in the vision of the product and the work that they do so much that they continue to keep it top of mind, thinking of new ways to market and drive growth. Non-passionate people see these types as workaholics, almost in a negative connotation, but the truth is passionate people love what they do.



The belief that nothing is out of reach and that they are capable of anything. Previous success usually helps this trait profoundly but some people seem to naturally have it. This trait like passion can be easily lost as well. As with my job with Cbeyond, after hearing so many “No’s” I started to believe that I was not capable of making a sale.

Oddly these characteristics,  passion and confidence, by themselves do not generate success. But when they are together, they drive companies forward, and this is why:



I overheard my boss say that building a startup is like jumping off a cliff and learning to build a plane on the way down. I thought it was a great analogy for why someone should start a new business or move to a new career.
If you are in a comfortable spot in your career, you are standing on solid ground, and drastic change is always a big leap (or in this case jumping off a cliff). So I thought, how would people with different characteristics approach this scenario?
A courageous person would jump off a cliff for no reason and it would most likely not end well.
A passionate person has a reason and is compelled to jump, but they do not believe they can actually survive so they stay on solid ground.
A confident person believes they could jump and build a plane on the way down, but they have no reason to change their current environment so they do not jump.

A passionate & confident person has the reason to jump and the confidence to build the plane on the way down, so they make the leap and succeed.

the keys to success factors

For those of you that now have the need to watch this Goldeney Scene.

So how can this be applied?

Your current role

If you are a person that lacks passion at work, most likely you are counting the minutes to the end of the workday the instant you come into the office. Your work’s biggest purpose is to give you a paycheck so you can have a better time outside of work.

While a lot of people are happy not being passionate about their work, you must understand that it will be a hindrance on your development. If you are not passionate about something, how do you expect to make others passionate about buying from you?

If growing in your business is something you want, look for ways to become more passionate through gamification tactics, challenges, or maybe a change of responsibilities.

Are you ready to make a change?

I hope at this point you are aware that you should not just make the leap for the hell of it. If you are lacking passion and are confident in your abilities, maybe it is time to make a move.

If you are passionate but lack confidence, maybe look into areas to boost your confidence. These could be volunteering your time in other areas, further education, or maybe stop setting such high goals for yourself.


Look for ways to find these traits in candidates. Experience plays a role in one’s success but it is far from the only thing that matters. Candidates that actively talk about your businesses’ values or goals are a clear sign that they may be passionate about your mission. The use of department keywords or tactics may also be a sign that the candidate has a passion for the tasks in the job description.

If you are passionate about this blog.

I am confident you will subscribe.