Pixilated

Action Vs Inaction: Engineering Movement

Ideation: Entrepreneurial Gold

I thought I'd start this blog off by talking about how you engineer yourself into a place that's different from where you currently are. Or maybe I should say how I go about it. How do we actively choose to create a watershed moment, a dramatic change, a moving towards our ideal self?

The ideal is to start with intention. A more thorough thinking through of what the goal actually is. There's absolutely a series of steps that I take myself through to ensure that I successfully end up where I've set out to go. More importantly, that I accomplish my goals along the way.

Fundamentals

I can't stress enough how important it is to actually do the hard work. It doesn't matter who it is that you want to be, or what it is that you want to do. It's important to have the right insight and the right tools and skills at your disposal to make you successful in your pursuits. 

Whether we'd like to admit it or not success comes at the hands of being a good practitioner. Whether your desire is to communicate with people as an Influencer, tell a story that promotes truth as a journalist, or become a web marketer, the basic access for those roles is by becoming an expert practitioner of your craft. Whatever that may be.

Entrepreneurship is sexy; don't get me wrong this dude looks so good and smoldering in the mirror some days. Put on the flippity flip, this shit is also a whole lotta hard work and there are tons of times where things are not sexy, not one bit. I mean who the fuck thinks a Facebook Ad Group is sexy? I don’t, but I rock that shit.

I find that day in and day out I try to spend more time focusing on the fundamentals of my craft. Whether that's via blogging or advanced advertising techniques, trying to figure out new ways to grow my list or drive traffic to my offers it's always, always in the forefront of my mind. The more skills I master in the pursuit of success for my businesses, the more of a businessman I become. 

A Plan

Once you get your fundamentals in place the next most important thing is to put together a plan. When I say a plan I don't mean something loosely sketched out on the back of a napkin. I mean a serious hard-hitting plan that tells you step-by-step what you intend to accomplish and how you're going to do so.

The thing that makes having a plan so valuable is that as entrepreneurs we’re often willing to jump in line for the bucket brigade and start throwing buckets of water on the fire without necessarily realizing the most valuable place to apply our efforts.  We take Action ya know, so sue us :)

Violent thrashing is great in the early days; it's important to get the ideas out; push the ones that aren't going to survive down to the bottom, let the other one soar! But... there comes a point in time when that will no longer be the best fit for your business. That my friend is the point in time when you turn to your plan. 

A System To Put In Place

Once you've developed a plan it's time to test your hypothesis. There's no easy way around putting a system in to place to produce the best results for your project. Unfortunately, it's a long and tedious process of applying ideas, seeing how they perform and then adjusting. Don't get me wrong there's prosperity on the other side of it, you just have to get in the trenches first.

You'll most likely go through a few iterations of your system before you find something worth trying on a larger scale. Often times we assume that our first hunch is the best hunch but that’s not the case. Don't be afraid to try something and fuck it up and try something else again. The route of perseverance is really the key here.

Applying A Focused Pressure Test

Once you have a system in place it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to stay your system forever; or that It's going to be your system for the time being. The thing about systems that are designed to perform a specific objective is that if they don't perform that objective well enough we fire them. No sympathy.

One of the best ways to find out if your system will actually stand the test is to perform a test at high-pressure. That's right, once you get an idea of how things are going to work, and you know that from the beginning to end it actually transitions through, the next step in your journey is to apply pressure and see how it holds up. #Cringe.

If you can scale the volume of the system that you're trying to test and it performs well in small and large capacity then you've got a winning recipe; now it's time to hit the afterburners.

Scaling Your System

Scaling the system that you've built is where all the real fun comes in because you've already proven your idea is good and you've developed a way to bring it to fruition on a larger scale in a manageable system. The fun comes when we get to apply a greater effort and it compounds, giving greater results. This is where all the hard work pays off.

Now you can take your system and begin to scale it by changing out minor variables to have that system apply to more than one persona or demographic that you've identified as a vertical for your business. Quite simply this is the application of multiplicity across a proven idea that more importantly has proven return as you invest more of your energy.

When the energy you invest in a project starts to return to you in multiples the value of proofing your idea and taking the time to understand your product in the beginning will be obvious. Then, you do it again. And again. And again.....

So, how do you proof your ideas? Leave me a note in the comments below! I'm looking for a few great practitioners profile in the coming weeks.

Until next time.....

For more Marketing Awesome Follow a dude on Twitter and Instagram @PatrickRife!

 

Master Social FREE-dia

Nic China

Master Social FREE-dia: Startup On A Shoestring - Part 4 of 6 

Build a reputation. Create a following. Influence.

In a technologically driven, social media addicted age, exposure for broke, young business owners is easier to get than ever before. Think about it…every thought in your overflowing brain can easily be out there in the universe with the click of a mouse or tap of a finger.

The beauty of it all!? IT’S FREE!

Or is it?

My fourth tip in 5 Tips To Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget is:  “Become a master of social free-dia.”

So before Facebook or Twitter ever existed, if someone would have told you that you could expose your brand to thousands or even millions of people without spending an exorbitant amount of dough, you would’ve probably never believed it.

Say Whaaat

Social media makes that entirely possible, and it gives bootstrapped startups the ability to market brand culture and awareness with little capital. It gives you the power to create a fan base which will ultimately influence your client base.

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Without further ado, I’m going to do a quick dive into each of the major social media platforms. I’ll briefly describe one aspect of each social site that I like and one aspect that I hate. I’ll also give you a single tip; some tidbit that we implement on my companies’ social pages regularly. I’ve also included a quick “cheat sheet” graphic to help you optimize your social media photos across all platforms. 

Let’s start with…

Facebook

What I like.

There is a very broad demographic, so the sheer volume alone makes it attractive for exposure. If a post's engagement picks up traction, it will be shown to a wider and wider network of users and can go viral.

What I hate.

The same algorithms that Facebook uses to help your posts take off can kill them just as fast…especially with Facebook for business. Personal pages are given preferential treatment over business pages. It sucks that you can have 10,000 people following your biz page, yet maybe only 500 are shown your posts. BS, right!?

Also, clutter. Facebook is just littered with crap, ads, and lots of morons.

Tip: Upload video directly to Facebook.

It will perform much stronger than shared video links. Facebook is trying to compete with the likes of YouTube and Vimeo, so they are favoring their direct video content over the others'. They also give analytics on video performance and allow you to customize CTA’s (calls-to-action) at the video conclusion.

Twitter

What I like.

The ability to tailor your news and information is a HUGE benefit to Twitter. You only have to follow who you want to follow, and your followers have to choose to follow you. My entire Twitter feed is filled with things that I want to see. And when I tweet, my followers are interested in what I have to say (at least I hope so!) or why would they follow me?

What I hate.

The learning curve. It can take some time to get accustomed to the Twitter-verse, and I think a lot of users quit before they figure it out.

Oh, and also The Kardashians. 

Tip: Check out Hashtagify.

Hashtagify is a really cool web tool that helps you choose how to #Hashtag your post. You just enter the main theme or topic of your post and it populates other relevant hashtags to use that will help your post get the most targeted exposure.

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Instagram

What I like.

Instagram is my absolute favorite social media platform. Simple and easy to post and peruse your feed. Strictly photos and captions with minimal advertising give it a pure feel. It also has the Twitter-esque tailored feed, only showing those users who you want to see, and vice-versa.

What I hate.

There isn’t much to hate…but one of my biggest frustrations with Instagram is that you can’t put links in your captions. (It took me a while to think of this.)

Tip: Use Iconosquare to grow your fan base fast.

Iconosquare is a third party tool that kicks back analytics on your Instagram account. It reports your total number of likes received, your most liked photos ever, your average number of likes and comments per photo, your follower growth charts, and more. With these simple analytics, it makes it easy to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

If it doesn’t perform well, stop doing it. Duh!

Google+

What I like.

I’ll be honest…there isn’t much that I like about this platform. I hate to say it, and now Google will probably bury this blog post so deep that it will be unsearchable…LOL.

What I hate.

This platform has been force-fed to us as the apparent alternative to Facebook. For whatever reason it hasn’t caught on, and I think it’s because people aren’t looking for an alternative to Facebook, they are looking for something different altogether. Facebook, although still very relevant, is going out of style as fast as it came in, so why is Google+ trying to imitate? 

Tip: Suck it up and exist on Google+ anyway.

The truth of it is, as long as Google pretty much has control of the internet, you might as well appease and feed their social platform. Why? Because it carries weight with your Google ranking. Maintaining a G+ page is a small price to pay for the boost it’ll give your SEO.

Pinterest

What I like.

Pinterest is amazing for niche businesses. It’s an awesome way to display expertise within a field, and to showcase products and ideas. Not only are pin boards a great tool for display, but Pinterest is an incredible inspiration resource.

What I hate.

Sometimes there can almost be too much. The over-saturation can sometimes make it hard to navigate what you’re really looking for and, in effect can make it difficult for others to find you.

Tip: Pin other people’s products…especially things that accompany or accessorize your own product.

Create pin boards for each of your products or services so you can routinely be updating and re-framing to show that your business is active and alive. You also want to create inspiration pin boards of other cool products that parallel your own. It can help bring attention to you within your industry and can get others to discover you when they aren't really sure yet what they might be looking for.

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LinkedIn

What I like.

Legitimacy. LinkedIn has done a great job of getting its users to fully build out their profiles and has done so from a “professional” perspective. This makes it very easy to get a quick snapshot of who does what, and what their goals are.

What I hate.

The down side of the LinkedIn profile is that, much like a resume, there are a lot of legitimate people with horrible profiles (or none at all) and a lot of phonies with smoke-and-mirror filled profile descriptions.

Tip: Publish long form posts on LinkedIn to drive people to your website.

Are you already preparing content for your business? Blogging? A tactic we are using with this very post that you are reading has been used on LinkedIn. Any time you write a blog post for your website, publish it as a long form post on LinkedIn. Here’s the kicker…only publish about half of it. At that point, insert a link that directs the reader to your website to finish reading. Drive the traffic to your site. Thanks LinkedIn!

BONUS TIP: OPTIMIZE YOUR PHOTOS ON ALL SOCIAL PLATFORMS.

Here's a cheat sheet.

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This article, Master Social FREE-dia is part four of my six part Startup On A Shoestring series. 

Part one, 5 Tips To Starting A Business On A Shoestring Budget can be found HERE.

Part two, Blood, Sweat and Tears can be found HERE.

Part three, Lean, Mean Cash Flow Machine can be found HERE.

Part five, Lean Startup Founders: The MacGyvers of Business can be found HERE.

Part six, The Startup Scene Is The New Wild West. Be A Gunslinger can be found HERE.

For more tips, follow Nicolas China on Twitter @Nico_C7.

Nicolas China is co-founder and owner of Pixilated (@PixilatedPhoto) & Startup Soiree (@StartupSoiree).