10 ways to create valuable content for Instagram

Instagram is a great tool for marketing, networking, and sales. As a business, you want conversions, but a consumer wants value. So how do you create value to exchange with your audience, so they make an exchange with you?

Content creation. Not some spammy content, but real valuable content. You want to create content that tells a story, creates emotion, gives value, and yes…you eventually want to ask for the sale. After all, you are a business, and you want to help people with your product.

 

1: Inspirational Quote Post

These are the most common, you’ve seen these type of post everywhere. These make for a nice way to inspire, motivate, but also to give value. How? By not just trying to motivate, motivation is dead. Give “Instructional Motivation.” Simply telling someone to do something, but not telling them how to do it is like giving someone a box of pizza, with out the pizza inside. It’s just an empty box…a very sad empty box.

Give your reader something instructional to do with the motivation.

1_Inspirational

 

2: Shout outs (person or brand)

This is one of my favorite ones to do. Whenever someone buys a product from my store they get a shout out on Instagram, or Twitter (if they have one). This not only brings massive value to that person, because they are now getting free & more attention, it also shows other people what they should expect when they receive your services or product.

The same goes for a brand, maybe you were given a shirt, or purchased a shirt, product, service, anything, giving them a shout out on Instagram is a great way to give out more value.

2_ShoutOut

 

3: Behind the scenes

Do people really know what you do? Do they understand it? Why hide it? Show your audience some behind the scenes images or videos. These are great, because it shows the process. People want to see the process of how things are done. A behind the scenes picture, or video is a great way to give that to your audience. This also can show them the effort, and work you put into what you do.

Give you audience a taste of what you do.

3_BehindTheScenes

 

4: People/Selfies

Show your face! I have only recently been doing this more. Why I havn’t been doing this earlier, I cannot honestly tell you. I like to know who I’m following. Showing yourself on your feed, or with friends, or clients, or colleagues, gives your audience some insight into who you are.

This allows them to have a better connection with YOU. Why? Because now they have a face to the brand. Stop hiding your face behind inspirational quote images, and show yourself!

Be sure to still give value, something the reader can take away. This will be a general theme throughout all of these posts. Give your audience value, by giving them actionable tips. GIVE GIVE GIVE

4_People:Selfie

 

5: Videos

Creating videos can add a lot to your page. Videos tend to do better with the social media algorithms (I do not claim to be an expert on the whole algorithm thing, just what I’ve noticed), especially for any posts that you run as advertisement. If you boost a post, make sure it does not have a lot of text, the advertisement system does not like those as much, and typically don’t reach as much of an audience. That’s just a side note.

The key here is to understand that your audience does not all like to consume information the same way. Some prefer text to read, others just want to listen, some don’t want long form blogs, some want to just watch. That’s where a video can bring some amazing value. Give them something good to watch, and I guarantee success with it.

Don’t focus so much on the content though, focus on the context. What you’re saying in the video, or what the video is about, rather than the quality as much. Make sure your video is horizontal, and not vertical. PLEASE?!?!? Keep the camera steady, good lighting, try to make sure you capture the audio if there’s anything they need to hear.

5_Videos

 

6: Scenic

Scenic views are great for capturing the viewers eye. Post a picture of a beautiful mountainside, a river, the city, train station, anything that has a lot of color, cool designs, and something unique and beautiful about it.

Make sure you tag the location as well, (as long as it is safe to do so, don’t tag your house location…don’t want any creepers). Tell the story of why you are there, what you learned, what you love about it most, give your viewer some insight.

6_Scenic

 

7: Giveaways

As said by the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it away, give it away give it away now!”

I love free stuff, you love free stuff, so why not give away free stuff? At the time I am writing this blog, 1/2/2018, I am conducting a book giveaway. I am giving away a copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book “Crushing It.” I pre-ordered 3 copies to give away. This is a nice way to give back to your audience, and drive new people to your Instagram page!

I have done giveaways in the past, and it has been great. Yes, there is some up front cost sometimes, but the results are always great. You can create more loyal followers, new followers, new business. The giveaway does not have to be super expensive either. It just needs to be a quality item, that brings value to the recipient.

It also helps to know who your audience is, and what they like.

7_Giveaways

 

8: Audience Participation

Get your audience involved, and engaged. Ask a question for them to think on, and answer. The term “Social”, means having a conversation. Get your viewer talking, and converse with them.

Come up with some thought provoking questions. This can help you in a couple of different ways. It can help you improve your engagement on Instagram, and give you some insight into what your audience likes, or dislikes. That’s valuable data.

8_AudienceParticipation

 

9: Showcase Product/Service

Yup, you get to show off your product/service. There’s a good way, and a bad way to do this. What I have been learning, is that you do not just want to show off your product in a spammy way where it is just “BUY BUY BUY!! BUY NOW!!!,” on every single post. That annoys people. That’s why you want to give lots and lots and lots of value, so when you do go in the ASK, it doesn’t seem pushy or of bad taste.

Make sure when showcasing your product, it’s done in a native way. What I mean is, simply showing the product does not do as well. What value is that? That’s just like one of those advertisements that we ignore. If you can get someone, a recent client, to showcase the product for you then you have something of value. Or, showcase yourself wearing/using the product in your everyday life.

If someone is wearing/using your product, make sure to give them a proper shout out! This gives back to the person who bought the product/service, and shows your viewer the product. It also helps give the product/service some authenticity as well.

9_ShowcaseProduct

 

10: Repost/Curate

Sometimes it’s okay to not have 100% original content to post. That’s where reposting, and curating content comes into play. I really love what Gary Vee, and Grant Cardone have to say on social. I know my audience does as well. So from time to time I will curate off of their content.

What is curating content? It’s where you combine original content, with other peoples content. The example below will show you exactly what I mean. I repost an image from Gary Vee, and then add my 2¢ of original text to it. I make sure I tag the person who owns the original image (that’s just the right thing to do).

This is a unique way to give your audience a little something extra on your feed. This may also introduce them to someone knew, who can give them value in different ways. This inadvertently gives them value, because you have given them something new and fresh. Or you’ve simply expanded on something they already love.

10_RepostCurate

 

 

Final Thoughts

These are just 10 ways in which you can create valuable content for Instagram. Are you doing anything else? If so, let me know! I would love to hear what is working for you!

 

 

 

Starting Your Podcast

Prologue

First of all, you do NOT need $1000’s worth of equipment. Let’s just get that out there right now.

Honestly, your cell phone is good enough. If I can stress one thing here, is to not stress about the quality of the audio, but focus on the quality of the context. You can record short podcasts straight to the Anchor.Fm application. This is really an amazing program for anyone wanting to dive right into doing voice! I plan on recording short segments to it as I go, but also recording podcast in my studio that I’ve been building over the past 10+ years.

This article will be about equipment, and software to get you started with podcasting.

 

Equipment

 

 

blueball mic

 

Blue Snowball USB Microphone- avg cost ~$40-50

This is a great starter microphone for a few reasons.

  1. It’s USB so you don’t need any additional equipment to hook it up to your computer
  2. It’s fairly inexpensive, ranging typically from $40-50
  3. Very easy setup, and works with a lot of different software (which I will talk about later)
  4. It comes with a desk stand. This is a great addition because stands can cost you additional money, and the point here is to spend as little as possible and get the best you can.
  5. Custom condenser capsule offers crystal clear audio for Skype, Messages and FaceTime
  6. Record vocals, create podcasts, and add narration to your home movies
  7. Add crystal clear audio to recordings for YouTube
  8. Easy plug and play directly to your Mac or PC-no drivers to install
  9. Ships with desktop stand and USB cable

Info from the manufacturer:
Whatever your favorite software is—Garageband, iMovie, Pro Tools, Audacity, you name it—Snowball and Snowball iCE will produce amazing results. Simply plug the mic into your Mac or PC and start down the path of your next project—no drivers required. See, we told you it was simple.

Snowball mics are backed by a two-year limited warranty.


 

Additional recommended equipment

Pop Filter – avg cost $7-20+

popfilter

Why do you need a pop filter? It’s to help block out some of the Plosives.

  1. a plosive speech sound. The basic plosives in English are t, k, and p (voiceless) and d, g, and b (voiced).

You do not need a super expensive one of these. The one pictured is ~$8, and will suffice for what you need.

To explain further, the pop filter does exactly what it sounds like. Lowers the amount of “popping” sound when speaking. The plosives, “t,k,p,d,g, and b”, typically make some unwanted loud popping noises when talking into a microphone. Typically you are going to be fairly close to the micro, within 3-4 inches, to pick up the best signal.

You don’t want to gain the microphone, (gain: the amount of input signal the mic is picking up), too high. When a microphone is gained up too high, you will get a lot of excess noise from the room like humming, buzzing, or you might cause the audio to do what is called “clipping.” This is where the signal gets too high, causing it to distort.

 

Software

Mac users: GarageBand is perfect. It’s already on your computer, it’s free, and it is easy to get started.

Windows users: Audacity offers some great freeware, http://www.audacityteam.org/download/, for audio recording.

 

FREE is the key.

You do not need professional $600+ ProTools software to achieve a great podcast. You need CONTEXT. I say “context” rather than “content” because too many people get hung up on making things perfect.

Where to post your podcast?

There are really two places that are great, and easy options to post your new podcast.

soundcloud-Logo-Font

anchor-masthead

Both of these sites are a great option to host your new podcast. You can also use iTunes, or google music, but right now I prefer these two. They’re very easy to use, free, have apps, and have several users who actually engage with one another. This is a great place to get started.

 

It will never be perfect

It will never be perfect. The end.

Okay, let me elaborate a little bit. As I stated, you cannot get hung up on making the content perfect. Stop worrying about it not sounding perfect, and work on the quality of the context.

Yes, you are going to stutter when doing your podcast for the first time, and several times there after.

Yes, you are going to get lost in thought.

Yes, you will lose your place on your notes.

Yes, you will struggle with it at first.

This is how everyone started, this is how I’m starting. The more podcasts you do, the better they will get. You will sound more natural, things will flow better, you will be more skilled, the context will improve; it all just takes some time.

So stop waiting for it to perfect, and start starting.

 

 

Have questions? Need help cleaning the audio up? I do that. I can help you clean your audio up, insert intro/outros with music, and have it prepped for upload. There’s always a little work that can be done on it.
Contact me here with any questions you may have: 10xmillennial.com/contact

Re-purpose Your Content

So you have a message you’re trying to get out to your audience, a great piece of value for them. As you know, you’re audience does not all consume information the same way. Not everyone wants to watch a video, not everyone wants to read a blog, not everyone wants to listen to a podcast.

So, what do you do?

You re-purpose your content to reach everybody in the way they want to consume the information .

Step 1: VIDEO

First I created a long form video, it was about 3min 12 seconds, giving information on how to re-purpose content. When I finish editing it, it will go on YouTube, as well as be chopped up in smaller bites, 60 seconds, for Instagram posts.

I also put the entire video into 15 second segments on Instagram stories. Below, you will an example of one 15 second segment that went on my Instagram stories.

 

I also saved the entire series to my Instagram page, which now have the ability to save what are called “Highlights.” Which act like a picture album. This way people can come back and re-watch it.

 

Instagram

 

Step 2: AUDIO

I then took the audio from the long form video, did some editing to it to make it as clean as possible, and uploaded it as a podcast.

I uploaded it to soundcloud, and Anchor.fm for people who prefer listening to podcast.

A really awesome new thing that you should be looking into, is Amazon Alexa skills. There is a skill called “Flash Briefing” which allows you to upload short clips of audio, or video, to a Daily Flash Briefing.

You wake up in the morning and say “Alexa, play my flash briefing” and it will play your audio, and videos that you’re subscribed to. After that, it will tell you the weather today, and any of the 100’s of different types of briefings you can enable.

As of 12/25/2017, I do not have a flash briefing set up yet. As soon as I do, you will know!

 

Step 3: BLOG

Now that you have the audio, you can transcribe that into a blog. Which you are reading right now. I don’t stay 100% true to what I said in the video, because I can now expand on things that I did not in the video.

There are a lot of different places you can put your blogs. You can use free resources like WordPress, Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook blog, you could even do mini blogs on Instagram posts.

You do not need to spend money on your own personal website. Later down the road, you may choose to have your own site, and that is fine.

Step 4: PICTURE QUOTES

Go through your content and pick out the gold, and make that into picture quotes for Instagram and Twitter.

The biggest thing you need to understand, is this:

“Do not get hung up on the content, focus on the context.”

Photo Dec 24, 06 45 32

 

You do not need fancy video, audio, editing equipment.

“If you are waiting to start creating, because you think you don’t have good enough equipment, you’ve already lost.”

Film from your phone. Do voice from your phone. Blog from your phone. If you want to step up your podcast game, get a USB microphone. If you need some help with starting a blog, email me here 10xmillennial.com/contact, and I will help you get the right equipment for your budget. Seriously though, you don’t need anything fancy to get started.

Anchor.FM allows you to record straight to the application. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about Anchor.fm, and says he is keeping his eye on it. If you know anything about Gary Vee, he is very in tune with things and the way culture moves. I’ve started using it, and I can say it makes putting out small clips very easy. I will be posting more content there.

When I was recording the video, I was using my iPhone 6+, and using my computer screen to add lighting. I put the screen on just a white background, and turned the brightness up. I had my phone propped up on a music stand, which you can get an actual phone stand fairly inexpensively so you don’t have to hold your phone while recording.

 

Contact Me

If you have questions about getting started, or need help creating content like graphics, or editing your podcasts so they sound the very best they can, let me know. Just contact me.

EMAIL

Leaders Make Other Leaders

I want you to think about “What does leadership mean to me?”

My Lack of Understanding

I’ve been in leadership roles before. In previous jobs, I’ve been in roles of management. When it came to leadership, I knew how to NOT be a leader, but did not know really how TO be a leader.

  • I knew you don’t talk down to your employees.
  • You do not leave mid-day for lunch, and not return.
  • I knew you did not borrow money from the cash drawer to buy yourself lunch, then tell your employees to just “balance it out, because I’m going to put money back in tomorrow.”
  • I knew you did not lie to customers, and employees.

I only had the understanding of what kind of leader I did NOT want to be. I never learned, or was shown what kind of leader TO be.

I took on all the pressure, all the stress, all the duties and responsibilities, not trusting anyone else to do things because I didn’t want something to be messed up. I was the one in charge of making sure everything was right, and when it went wrong, it was on me.
I was eventually mentally and physically exhausted, not just from working almost 7 days a week, from 8-8, but also from my upper manager laying down so much stress and pressure, I ended quitting my job after 5 years. The moment I did, I could feel an immediate load of stress be lifted off of my chest.

New Beginnings

I started with the company two weeks later. The moment I got the phone call that I was offered the job, I told my new manager I could start the next day. But, he wanted me to wait the two weeks to leave my company on good terms. That did not happen. I quit that job the next day,
This new culture is 180 degree difference from what I had experienced. I was honestly skeptical at first that so many people actually enjoyed working at this company. It was just unheard of at any previous job I’ve had. I’ve been here just over 2 yrs now.
Here is what I have been shown, taught, and learned about leadership working here.

  • Leaders make other leaders
  • Listen to your employees
  • Employees do not work for their managers, the mangers work for the employees
  • Take care of your people
  • Give people opportunities according to their strengths
  • As a leader do not expect everyone to work as hard as you, this is your team. Own It.
  • Again, Leaders make other leaders. They do not make followers.

I was not a leader before. I was simply an overpaid, overworked, individual, who happened to be in charge of making sure a building didn’t burn down.
Why am I a leader now?

  • Leaders made me a leader
  • Leaders listened to me
  • Leaders worked for me, to help me develop
  • Leaders took care of me
  • Leaders gave me opportunities according to my strengths
  • Leaders did not expect me to work as hard as hard as them, they owned it.

Final Thought:

Leaders make other leaders. They do not make followers.

Gratitude

Gratitude-01

I am so grateful when someone makes a purchase at my store. When someone makes a purchase, this means I was able to provide so much value to them, that they were willing to exchange monetary value with me. How incredible is that?

Another example, when someone tags me in a post, comments on something, likes, subscribes, says hi, messages me, I am grateful. I’m grateful for just that 1 person who does this. Too many times you get hung up on the amount of followers, the amount of likes, shares, and comments. Be grateful for just that ONE person in your audience that spends that little bit of time on you.

Returning Kindness

To anyone who give to you, give back. When someone makes a purchase at my store, I make sure to make a personalized post on Instagram, and a Instagram stories post. Giving back a shout out is an amazing small token of appreciation. You’re telling all of your follows to then follow this person, and hopefully people will. How would you feel if someone gave you a shout out, trying to help you get more followers? I personally always feel ecstatic when that happens! It’s rare, and that’s what makes it magical. So many people care about making themselves known better, but spend very little time giving back to their audience, helping THEM be more known.

 

You can also make a personalized video, thanking them for their purchase. Send this directly to their inbox, put it on your wall, post it to your page, share it everywhere! It’s just a tiny gesture that will 10X that customers experience!

 

Give it a try! Let me know how this works out for you!

 

One last thing

Thank you for taking time to read my blog! I really do appreciate your attention, and time! Have an amazing day!

24/7/365

24seven365Tshirt_FINAL-01

24/7/365 means different things to different people. To some it means simply 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days in a year. Yes, that is actually what that stands for, but for some it means something on a more deeper level.

Your days are numbered

Every one of those 365 days are numbered. You do not have an unlimited amount of them. It’s what you focus on, and what you do with them that matters. The “doing” more so than the simply “thinking/focusing” part. What do you want to accomplish in the time you have? What do you want to do? What is driving you? What you do want to be known for?

24

Twenty-four hours in a day. If you sleep the recommended 8hours (which not everyone probably needs), then that leaves 16 hours to DO. Whether you end up with 16 hours, 18 hours, 12 hours, it doesn’t matter. What matters is, what are you doing with the time?

In those 16-18 hours you have available to you could be doing more. You typically with spend 8 hours at a day job, leaving 8-10 more hours available to do what You want.  Let’s say you spend two hours on quality family time, well that still leaves 6-8 hours. You still have time. You have enough time to spend on your side business. This time will be used up by prospecting, networking, creating, curating, following up, selling, closing, and many more activities.

When you break down the amount of time you spend on things, you will find you have more time than you think in a day. What can you cut out to give you more time? Netflix? Useless YouTube vortex of cat videos? Playing games? Unnecessary naps? Sleeping in?

Make better use

Maybe you can make better use of time when doing things that cannot be avoided. When you have to drive somewhere,  (safely of course) make calls to people you need to contact, listen to audio books, or podcasts. Turning your vehicle into a mobile university. A place of education. Absorb good data, to use, to store, to stretch your mind. If you’re having to do the necessary daily chores around your home, turn that time into education time as well.

Everyone needs something different

Figure yourself out

What do you need?

What do you want?

Make a commitment to getting that, or figuring that out.

Commit yourself to doing. Everyday. Move the pieces one step closer to your goals. You have time, you just don’t use it efficiently yet. Prioritize the things that will get you to where you want to be, and suffocate the excuses. That is honestly easier said than done. That commitment has to strong. You have to first figure yourself out. Again, What do you want and need?

Taste

Gary Vaynerchuck always talks about tasting things. Meaning, try a lot of different things to see which one sticks, and which one fits your best. It’s part of self awareness. The important thing here, is that you do something. Rather than just sit back and imagine the possibilities, actually explore the possibilities.

This is the whole purpose of my apparel design business, 10xmillennial.bigcartel.com, it was to finally DO something with an idea I’ve had for a long time. I have made the decision that when I have an idea to try something, that I’m just going to go for it. Why not? Well…To an extent of course. An idea of bungee jumping with out, you know, bungee cable is just one of those bad ideas you won’t wake up from. You get the idea ha.

I implore you to try things, to put the idea into motion, and see what happens. That’s my goal, to get you to do something you’ve been wanting to. If I can help you get started, let me know.

 

Contact Me, I can help.

If I can help you in any such way, contact me below. If I can help you with graphics for your social media, videos, steps to get started on something, contact me. I will see how I can help, or help you get connected to the right person. I want to see you win in everything you do!

The lessons from Dead Poets Society

 Oh captain! My captain!…

The famous line from the infamous poem by Walt Whitman, bearing the same name. This is how the students would address their teacher John Keating, played by the amazing Robin Williams. Oh Captain! My Captain!

The major theme was Cape diem. The famous verse from the movie still rings in my ears
“Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

The emotions that rise up in me when watching that movie are completely unreal. I become a fighter against those trying to tell me what to do, and how to live my life. I become a romantic, and ponder every single word that drips out of my mouth. A fire lights within the deepest crevasses of my soul, TO GO! TO DO! TO BE EXTRAORDINARY! 

Then my heart breaks. I will not spoil the movie for you if you have not watched it, I urge you to take time to watch this masterpiece.

Fighting against the ordinary

Learning to walk your own walk. Seizing the day. Doing something extraordinary that you want, not what someone else wants for you. The biggest struggle in this movie is between the parents, and the group of main characters. The parents seem to dictate everything they do, including forcing them to go to this school, picking out their classes, forcing on what degrees they get, what they will do for the rest of their lives. The characters struggle to find their own voice, to fight against the ordinary.

They do however find an outlet. The Dead Poets Society.  This was an organization they discovered while looking in an old annual, looking up on John Keating. They asked what the D.P.S. was, and he explained it was about sharing poetry, and verse, and original compositions. This organization was unsanctioned by the school, and looked down upon. From my gathering, it was more about finding your voice, being who YOU are regardless of what others want you to be, and learning to Carpe Diem!

“Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

Time is short, your days are numbered

I don’t want this to turn into a movie review, so I will share something actionable you can do today.

LIVE

Seems almost…tooo easy. Seriously though. There’s no tomorrow, there’s no yesterday. There’s really only today. Right now. We live only in the now.

I didn’t really want to write or finish this blog today. I wanted to sit back, watch a movie, relax, maybe read a book. What a hypocrite I would be though. I figured that if I can get this message out, it might be the one thing you need to push you over the edge, and do something incredible that you have been sitting on for a long time. How amazing would that be?

STOP BEING AFRAID OF WHAT OTHER THINK OF YOU

Seriously…stop. Other people’s opinion is not your reality. No matter what someone else wants you to think, or do, you have to figure out what you want, and what YOU want to do. Then go do that thing. Don’t worry if other people think it’s crazy, a waste of time, not worth it, or whatever it may be. They have their excuses for not doing amazing things, don’t let their excuses become your own.

FIND YOUR VOICE

You have to learn to speak up for yourself. To voice your opinion. To speak YOUR truth. It’s uncomfortable, it’s nerving, it’s vital. Honestly, I’m not sure how to teach this. Other than tell you to just stop worrying about what people think. The truth is, you worry about what other people think, but those other people are probably not really thinking about you. So stop worrying about what they think, because it doesn’t matter.

One final thought, and quote from the movie before we go.

“believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.”

Today is another day

When it just doesn’t seem to work out

Not every day seems to work out the way you want it to. Some days you wake up, can breathe out of both nostrils, full of energy, well rested, and welcome the rising sun.  Some days you wake up, fall out of bed, trip over your own feet, and run into the wall head first.

The day sometimes can start out bad, and end great. Other times it starts out great, and ends bad. We have all been there, and be there again.

You can feel defeated, deflated, demotivated, depreciated, and just flat out devastated. “What a disastrous day!” You say to yourself. “What else could possibly go wrong?!” You cry out to infinite abyss of the universe…just before your phone falls to the ground shattering the screen.

When things go bad, they seem to get worse.

  “When it rains it pours”  

 

BUT WAIT!!! THERE’S MORE!

 From the people who brought you “SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP” now bring you “WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD SALLY!” …

Seriously though, bad things happen. Good things happen. $#£% happens.

 How are you going to handle it? 

Take control. 

Take responsibility.

Make things better.

“It’s easy to be negitive. It takes work to be positive” – Lance Smith

 

Start to Finish

No matter how your day starts, you have to start with the right mindset. Figure out what’s good in your life, and focus on that.

Wake up early, (yes, that’s what I said. No it’s not a typo), and do something you enjoy. If you love to create, then create. If you love building, then build something. If you love music, play music or listen to music. If you love exercising, then exercise. If you love reading, then read. Just make a point to get out of bed, and get your mind and body active in some way.

This will help start your day off on the right foot. Even if you trip over it and run head first into a wall. You refocus on something good. Then throughout the day, focus on what motivates you. It has to be something bigger than anything monetary. Monetary things go away.  They’re temporal. What’s something of higher purpose and meaning that fulfills you? Focus on that.

Look at the positive

Life can like driving a car down a highway, and and a brick wall pops up out of nowhere and BAM!!! Your precious car all nice and polished is crushed up like a tin can. You walk away from the crash with a couple of scratches and bruises, but your car now looks like one of those Picasso paintings. You know, you can tell what it is, but the pieces just don’t appear to be in the right places, sort of jumbled up.

Someone only focused on the negative would be freaking out about their car, the deductible, the cost, the insurance rates going up!!! All legit things to concern a person, but you know what? Someone focused on the positive would look at the fact that their Picasso of a car, and feel relieved they walked away with a few scratches and bruises. They would also probably start thinking they could sell the car as “abstract art” and make a fortune.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Have you ever heard that saying? It means to stop worrying about stuff that’s not important.

  As Gary Vaynerchuck says “Stop focusing on dumb $#£%”

Easy to say, hard to execute. When all the little temporary problems pile up, it’s hard to stay focused on the long term things. It does take work, effort, energy, but it’s totally worth it.

All you have to do, is make a commitment. A commitment to making everyday the best day ever.

Keeping in mind that Today is another day.

Customer Service or Disservice

 

I went to a restaurant for breakfast this morning, and was promptly seated in a booth with a menu, then was told “Your waitress will be with you shortly.” This is where the story begins, and the service ends.

I had arrived at 8:45am, greeted when I walked in, and seated. I sat there with a menu in a packed, understaffed restaurant, debating on what I wanted. French toast. It took me about 5 minutes to decide on that, because they have a lot of great options. I sat there with an open menu on the table, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, still waiting. People were bussing tables, old customers leaving, new customers sitting, still waiting.

Why did this happen?

At this point, you maybe asking yourself, “why did you not just ask for some service?” That is a great question, and there are a couple of reason I did not.

One: I do not believe it is my job to seek out service. I came to YOUR business, with MY money, and YOU should be willing to put in the effort to service. I’ve worked in understaffed, high traffic jobs before. I understand the struggle of keeping up with everything.

“There’s always room for a little more hustle.” – Lance Smith

Two: I was kind of curious how long someone would let this go. What I know to be happening here, is what is called “Pluralistic Ignorance.” Robert Cialdini talks about this in is book “Influence.”

For more than half an hour thirty-eight respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens. Twice the sound of their voices and the sudden glow of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened him off. Each time he returned, sought her out, and stabbed her again. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead. That was two weeks ago today. But Assistant Chief Inspector Frederick M. Lussen, in charge of the borough’s detectives and a veteran of twenty-five years of homicide investigations, is still shocked. He can give a matter-of-fact recitation of many murders. But the Kew Gardens slaying baffles him—not because it is a murder, but because “good people” failed to call the police.  – Excerpt from Influnce by Robert Cialdini

I wasn’t being stabbed in the streets, but the same Pluralistic Ignorance phenomenon was happening. Everyone thought someone else was servicing me, so they did nothing.

20 minutes went by

I decided at this point to be an amiable, and leave. An amiable is someone who displays friendly or pleasant behavior, but really is just saving face. These are the Dark Knight of customers. They seem calm and cool on the outside, but then later PUNCH YOUR BUSINESS IN THE FACE! They don’t want to make a scene, they want to leave peacefully and deal with their concerns in a different way.

I’m not going to figuratively punch this business in the face, I did file a complaint though. I brought up my concerns, my viewpoint (as I discussed above), and let them know that I typically get excellent service from them.

I ended up driving on the other side of town to go to another place I always get great service from, and got something different for breakfast. A hot spiced chai, and raspberry cream cheese croissant. I was actually very pleased with this decision.

Your business & Your customers

This second place I went to ended up having the service I expected. I was still greeted as I walked with with a smile, but was promptly helped, with a smile, and I sat there with my croissant as I awaited my Spiced chai. Which they brought out to me. They didn’t call my name to walk up and pick it up, they brought it to me. That’s always a nice tough. Let the customer just relax, and enjoy the atmosphere of the restaurant

What can you do to improve your customer service?

“There’s always room for a little more hustle.” – Lance Smith

Remember that quote from earlier? It’s very true. Put in a little more effort to make sure everyone is taken care of. Train your employees and yourself to be observant, and check up on customers, even if they are not the designated server (or whatever your particular set up is) for that customer. Your employees are a team that are helping make your business grow, and bring an experience above and beyond what is expected. They should work as a team.

Even though they may be competing for commission, salaries, shift bids, tips, or something else, they and You, should not forget the overall purpose of your business. To service people. To bring value that exceeds cost.

Conclusion

I will go back to the first restaurant at some point. I will first wait to hear back from someone who reviews the complaint I filed. I am curious how they quickly they will handle that, and what their resolution will be. I’m not holding a grudge, but now more curious about the level of service they are willing to truly provide. Today may have been a fluke, and for some customers that would of been enough to write them off forever.

“Some customers are looking for just one small reason to leave your business. Don’t give it to them.” – Lance Smith

Declining Opportunity

 

Most people would think you are crazy for declining a new position at your job. Most would probably be correct.

What do you do when your mentor at your job, your supervisors, and your manager all think you should apply for a position that just opened up, but you feel otherwise?

Let me set the stage for you.

I work for a financial institution in their call center. It sounds boring, but I find it quite interesting really. It is a very eye opening experience when you can see peoples financials all day, but I digress. I currently do several things including, Mentoring/Training new employees, sales leader (I help keep track of sales, training on sales, staying up to date on information and promotions, attend meetings. Your typical sales stuff), I also on top of all of this I take regular customer service calls.

An opportunity came up to go into a position that paid slightly higher hourly, paid some commission, and would be a stepping stone to other opportunities. Sounds like I should have applied right?

Gains and Losses

I enjoy mentoring, and training new employees. With our department being a call center, we are kind of the best starting place to later move out in the company. We handle a little bit of everything, or at least have exposure to a little bit of everything in the company.

Training new employees, and mentoring them in the start of their careers is something I really love doing. This is something that I would lose if I got this new position.
Am I willing to exchange this for some small financial gain? I have thought a lot the the in the three days that the position was open to apply for.

My shifts right now are typically Monday – Friday 650am-350pm, which allows me to work on my own projects, and build my brand during the evening. This works out great for some work I do, because it gives me plenty of time to get work done, plus get sleep to tackle the next day. This new opportunity, if I got it, would throw me into a situation where my schedule would be thrown off and I would lose my evenings where I build, and create my own thing.

The small financial gain, just did not outweigh how much I enjoy mentoring/training, and working on my own stuff in the evening.

My Decision

If you didn’t figure it out, I declined even applying for the position. That was probably a mistake, and one I will have to live with. My manager, supervisors, mentor, and even my mangers manger were thinking I was the best candidate for that position.  I did not make this decision, because I may be comfortable doing what I do now. Training people is not comfortable. Their success is partially dependent on how well I train them. Of course, the other part is their own personal effort, but if I don’t put in a great effort then they have no where to go from there.

At this point, you have to ask yourself,  “who am I trying to please?”  The answer should always be, YOU! You should be trying to please yourself, build your dreams, take your own path. Even when other people wont quite understand your decision, you need to look out for yourself. You need to look out for your best interest.

Now, keep in mind that this decision I made would not be the best decision for you if you were in this situation. There’s not a singular formula when it comes to making the right decision here. What seems right to me, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

Making a Decision

When you’re making tough decisions, try not to get caught in analysis paralysis. Write down the pros and cons of the decision.

Be honest about these pros and cons, and do not try to weight one side based off of fear or your current comfort level.

Seek a mentor else where. Find someone you trust, and that is currently at a higher level in their career, or business. This way you know you’re getting an insight from someone who maybe has been there before.

Do what you feel is right for you, and will take you the direction you want to go. Do not try to please other people.