#29 Free Online Business Tools for Which I am Thankful – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

If you’re like me, then the holidays are the only time you have to dig out the neurons covered in dust that have been on sabbatical while you:

–         Herd cats

–         Deal with other mammals in your life

–         Follow your own grandiose visions

So, I am using this post to share some of my favorite “get your act together” tools I use for “dealing” on a daily basis. Keep in mind, I am a busy, quasi-stressed out mom, entrepreneur, and colossal nerd.

THINGS I USE TO DEAL ON A DAILY BASIS

  1. www.Mint.com – A free finance tool
  2. www.Doodle.com – Easy group scheduling tool (see “cat herding” above)
  3. www.GoogleDocs.com – I use an excel sheet in Google Docs to manage my team, some of whom are virtual. Love it.
  4. www.PollDaddy.com – Polls are a great. I really like them. The fact that they are free makes them even better. You can use Google Forms as well.
  5. www.EventBrite.com – This was introduced to me by the guys at iStrategyLabs. Use it for your real life events or virtual seminars. You will see why.
  6. 1888PressRelease.com – Good stuff. I always like things that give you reach you don’t deserve because you have no money. But, we can’t let that stop us!
  7. www.TwitterAnalyzer.com – Gives me good stats I can share with the guys in my department and let them know I’m not TOTALLY wasting time.
  8. www.SlimTimer.com – It’s like you’re back in high school with your mom telling you to get your homework done. Love it.
  9. Six O’Clock Scramble – Healthy meals in 30 minutes. I’m sure I would use this if I cooked. Okay, also, this is not business. But, you gotta cook, right? And if you spend 30 less minutes on cooking, then that’s 30 more minutes for your business.
  10. www.FitDay.com – While we’re on the health topic, my favorite free health tool. Most entrepreneurs I know in EO (Entrepreneurs Oranization where you’re under 40 and have sales of $1 million or more) have some major hobby, including working out, etc.

What tools are you thankful for (more like the above, and less like – uh – a jack hammer). Or, as my aunt and dad and other erudite folks might correct me, “For what tools are you thankful?”

 

THINGS THAT ARE HIGHLY ANNOYING.

I have just read this blog, and am feeling quite snarky now. I am less thankful for the following:

  • Trump Network on Twitter– How did Trump let this happen to his name?
  • The “make cash at home” people
  • The “make money on Google” people
  • The “you can earn money on Twitter” people
  • When I am looking for a document on my computer and click through like six windows, and then do that every time I need to find a document, several times a day, for years.

IF YOU DON’T LAUGH, YOU’LL CRY

It is important to laugh, because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry. Here are some of my favorite sites right now. These are only for people with sick senses of humor. If you are “normal,” don’t bother.

  1. @darthvader – That’s right, you heard me.
  2. Does this Blog Make Us Look Fat?
  3. The Bloggess
  4. The Onion

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and don’t forget to nominate the dynamic women in your life (over 18) as a role model for the Hot Mommas Project 2010 case competition. We make everyday women’s stories teachable to help the next generation. Email us with your nomination including name, contact, and reason for nomination.

Related links:

Why Mentoring Matters for Girls and Women – and How to Be Part of the Solution

My Interview on Washington Business Tonight on “Hibernating for Business” (Windows Media Player Needed)

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#28 – Free Black Friday Gifts: The Gift of Mentorship – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

Today I posted this attempt at inspiration on our main blog. As Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi says, it’s not enough to just get attention. People want INSPIRATION.

So – how to get tactical about inspiration is the topic of this post. I will update this insider’s post throughout the week to let you know how it’s going. It’s starting with a news show.

All of this is being done to:

1.  Launch The Hot Mommas Project 2010 Case Study Competition

2. In preparation for my appearance on Washington Business Tonight with Rebecca Cooper (11.24)

Stay tuned for our Black Friday “Give the Gift of Mentorship” developments.

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What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are the world’s largest collection of teachable role models and virtual mentors for women and girls.  We are housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Click here to nominate someone.  See more on our about page.

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11.23.09 – 12.28 pm UPDATE. FINALIZING MESSAGING, INITIAL DISTRIBUTION. This morning, before running off to my daughter’s Thanksgiving school thingy,  I began our promotion of the 2010 case study competition. It started with:

  • Slideshow. Two different versions of the Hot Mommas Project “Everyday Revolutionary” slideshow                 ( Slideshare and authorStream -which is animated). I am intrigued with this medium for getting across messages.
  • Blog posts. A must, of course, to cover your bases. Two blog posts (the insider’s blog post, which you are reading, and our main blog)
  • Twitter and Facebook. Sending links out on Twitter and Facebook with two different “taglines.” Here they are, verbatim:

1. “Everyday Revolutionaries-Women Making a Difference http://tinyurl.com/ykjdwup #wgbiz

2. “Mentors MATTER for women/girls.Be part of the solution with the gift of mentorship http://ad.vu/mxqz

The second one is getting re-tweeted a lot. So, I will use that title for a press release on 1888PressRelease.com, although I do like this press release from Girls With Dreams that goes right to their site. We just need to get our act together tech-wise and do that. We have prioritized content and surveying/data over tech and I think it’s beginning to show. Anywhoo, here is who retweeted so far:

Twitterati who care:

@alizasherman @Rieva@SalesBogcast@WomanWifeMomMe @Joannefunc@LydiaFernandes @AUJOEevents@BobBurg @TheMojoCoach@agoldfisher

Incredible folks. On Twitter, you start to learn who your friends are. But, they are like your over-achiever friends who push your message out there for you because they are excited about it. It’s quite incredible, actually.

Couple nuggets:

Twitter/FB sync tool. I have a program installed that allows Tweets to selectively show up on my Facebook profile when I add “#fb” at the end. While I’ve never really gotten any big business leverage out of Facebook, I know some have, and that it is always good to be at least somewhat familiar with certain social media avenues and be willing to test.

Slideshare/FB sync. On Slideshare, you can sync it with your Facebook page so the slideshow shows up in the left column of your profile. One bummer is that Slideshare does NOT currently support animation.

11.24.09 – 9:39 am UPDATESo far there have been no comments on the slideshow on Slideshare or authorStream. I am trying not to render judgement too quickly, however. I think starting early, getting the message out there, and keep pushing it forward is the way.

THE BATTLE OF PRIORITIES.

Content, Promotion, Funding are my main priorities right now. This does not include managing staff, emails and basic communication, and lots of other grey area. Here is the list of things I need to do. What will win? This is the daily battle.

  • Press release – drafted, if not submitted, to 1888PressRelease.com
  • Virtual interviews (typing responses to questions for folks who are promoting the case study competition for us).
  • Real inteviews – Interview prep for the show tonight. I need to learn how to use Skype for the interview.
  • Press packet (logos, blurbs, links) for partner organizations helping us get the word out
  • Site and blog stats analysis (have delegated this to Achin so I don’t get sucked into the vortex, but even Achin is behind busy with his promotion list).
  • Get focused back on content. I want the chapters of a book outlined by the end of this month. The slideshow, or “enduring message” as pitch expert Sam Horn says, was the first step. I am hoping the enduring message is resonating.
  • Sponsor brief. I should also be doing a brief for potential sponsors. A lot of folks are waiting for this one pager. Am I nuts? My instinct is to always focus on funding. However, I am having to really focus on my business instincts and what is the right thing to do at what time.

Off to a client call, and to tackle the above to do list. Stay tuned for feedback after Washington Business Tonight.

11.25.09 2.30pm UPDATE. I have done nothing. I tend to over-prepare for any kind of media. Thus, I spent pretty much the entirety of yesterday afternoon getting ready for the Washington Business Tonight interview.  Here it is (Windows Media Required). It was on hibernating from emails and the world in general.  I did manage to check my link stats on Adjix and am fascinated by the number of people who clicked on my reference to the move “Breakin.”

#27 Confessions and Reflections – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

Stop SignDo you ever just stop? Stop to think. Stop to reflect. Stop to realize how far you’ve come? Stop to think about where you want to go? I’m not much of a stopper. But, today, I stop. This post is like a table of contents of the past year, as well as some inside scoop as to what was REALLY going on when I wrote these posts. Just a few  months ago, the Hot Mommas Project was just an idea and a couple of stories.  Today we are the world’s largest collection of teachable role models for women and girls. Learn more at www.HotMommasProject.org.

 P.s. If you want to read last years’ summary posts, here they are: One and Two

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What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Our big thing right now is the Hot Mommas Project Case Study competition. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page.

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 #15a: The Press Release Back-story In the Summer of 2008 I hired FMS Inc to built a first-of-its-kind “case wizard” software so that women from around the world can be walked through the process of telling their story, so that teachable lessons can be communicated to readers. Talk about women everywhere paying it forward! It also filled a gaping void in the world of women’s leadership. Girls and women need role models for many documented and common-sense reasons. We wanted to be part of the solution.  This post represented our coming-out party. It was the day we announced the judges for the first annual Hot Mommas Project case competition. I sat at my computer, at my house, having done my first online press release, having no idea whether anyone cared or whether this would be successful. I was experiencing Entrepreneur Mania:  Feeling very crazed and looking at every detail as if it would be the make or break for us.

 #15b: Announcing Our Judges Here are our 2009 Judges. I was not sure all of these judges would say “yes.” They are impressive people, and I continue to look back and gasp that they not only said “yes,” but are incredible supporters, advocates, and mentors. It really does impact my view of the world and give me faith that people at the top get it.

 #16: How to do a Mass/Blast Email Campaign – This was a last ditch attempt to get people to write their cases at www.HotMommasProject.org. I had some “issues” with blast emails. It may sound weird, but it’s true. I feared looking cheesy. I feared making people who were important to me seem unimportant by blasting an email. Behind the scenes, I suspected my weird “issues” were actually getting in the way of the business’s reach.

 #17 How to Bring Red Carpet Cache to Your Event  – What a fun event. I think I’d forgotten I could have fun. It also connected me with my deep appreciation of the arts. This was in stark contrast to my very business-focused life with all the creativity sucked out of it. I decided creativity must be a part of the Hot Mommas Project. I met celebrities and agents and creative people. Going up to this premiere was like a celebration. It had been a tough year, and this was just FUN! I also give the scoop about red carpet events.

 #18 Top 5 Tips for Getting Media Coverage – This was Entrepreneurial Mania wave two. We started getting lots of press coverage. I should have been happy, but, it uncovered more of my “issues.” I didn’t like being in front of a camera. I call this the Wedding Theory: At your wedding, do you LOVE being the center of attention or are you secretly cringing waiting for the spotlight to be off you? I am the latter. Most people think I am the former, but I’m not. I went to many people for pep talks, and – FINALLY – now realize that press is actually an incredibly efficient way for reaching mass quantities of people in a short period of time (critical for a busy mom), and it helps establish credibility (our cornerstone). I parlayed what I learned into this post.

 #19 How We Hired an Intern on Twitter (yes..Found, Interviewed, Hired) – This was a fun experiment. It was one of those “Hey, let’s see if this idea will work” moments. And, it did. The Twitter sisterhood really came through for us here.  

 #20 – Nine important questions for entrepreneurs trying to balance – Many people (press, interns on Twitter, fabulous women and the men who support them) liked the idea of the Hot Mommas Project. I started getting requests, lots of requests, to speak on panels and at various events. This is one to which I said “yes” – The Washington Working Women’s Forum. In advance of the panel the organizers had the panelists answer some questions which got me thinking. I asked others to think along with me in this post.

 #21 Get Happy, or Get Out – AKA “Making a Deal With Your Entrepreneurial Spouse” – This was a conversation 10-plus years in coming. No matter how successful my husband’s business became, he never seemed happy. I didn’t write about this but had just spent the entire summer meeting with mentors and listening to their ideas about the Hot Mommas Project. I felt very supported and focused, and wanted to pass that mojo along. Being content is an acquired skill. This post was about beginning the conversation. It’s a bit tangential to a blog about entrepreneurship –but at the same time, it’s not.

 #22 – Reclaiming Your Energy from Emotional Vampires – Moving up in the world comes with some downsides. One of those is lawyers (sorry Dad – who is a lawyer – you guys stress me out). So, I was stressed out about some legal wranglings having to do with the Hot Mommas Project. I was spending a lot of time worrying about it. I’m very, very good at worrying. I ran myself through an exercise basically saying, ‘Hmmmm….what could get me to stop worrying.” It semi-worked so I decided to share it. Our really talented and loyal attorney  Tenley Carp also taught me a good mantra: “Trust but verify.” Coping mechanisms are key in life and I guess in business too. P.s. Everything I was stressed about wound up working out beyond what I could have even imagined. So, all the time I spent worrying was completely worthless. A good lesson.

 #23 How to Build a Killer Network Without Going to Harvard Business SchoolThis was a continuation of my learning, listening and networking summer. I decided to write about this particular series of meetings because I was in San Francisco meeting with the amazing Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and Women’s Funding Network. When a network actually results in not only insight and inspiration, but also with partnerships that make your business go vroom, it’s worth writing about. I’m convinced this is how we’re going to be successful. It’s not going to be alone. Just as the Hot Mommas Project gives you a room full of people as supporters and mentors because we know it will lead to women’s success, so too will we succeed with that philosophy.

CONTENT SERIES – All of the 24 and 25 posts continued my summer of learning. And as much as I complain about having to focus and write curriculum, this series showed me what a TON of content I can produce in a short period of time, so I should probably stop whining.

 #24a Techniques for Learning to Improve Your Business – The GrowSmartBiz Conference – This was the first post from the #GrowSmartBiz conference sponsored by Network Solutions. It was fun, and kind of a massive drinking from the firehose of learning – as I’d been doing all summer with mentors. One of the top traits of the most successful Hot Mommas from our survey is a true passion for learning. Also, I really like Network Solutions and wanted to see who they’re targeting and their business motivations with the goal of getting them more involved with The Hot Mommas Project. There are some good nuggets in here to help small businesses survive and thrive.

 #24b Techniques for Learning to Improve Your Business – “Mr. Anderson” Chris Anderson – The concept of “Freemium” is described here based on a talk by keynoter Chris Anderson of WIRED magazine. This was very eye-opening. All businesses need to understand this concept. I couldn’t stop thinking about “Mr. Anderson” from the Matrix during his presentation.

 #25 A Woman’s Business View – The World Business Forum #WBF09 – This was an interesting experience. I was invited up as “one of the nation’s leading business bloggers” to cover the HSM World Business Forum. I am actually NOT one of the nation’s leading business bloggers; at least, I don’t think I am. But, anywhoo – it continued my learning and listening tour. This is a women’s business fact sheet which I would use to translate/filter the conference learning points.

 #25a – Leading in a Time of Crisis by Bill George, The Women’s View – Bill George is THE MAN. He is a great person, a great leader, and great family guy, and a great way to open the conference. I felt inspired.

 #25b – Pat Lencioni Trust and Conflict Exercises for Teams, Women in Business – Pat is – pardon the language here – ADORABLE. Not something you typically think when you see the caliber of speakers here. But, he was such a breath of fresh air. Funny, authentic, real. These are the kinds of speakers I like.

 #25c – David Rubenstein’s Top 10 Chicken Soup for the Economy? Women in Business Get Your Game On – Interesting talk. David Rubenstein kind of barked out his points. I liked it. However, I begin to see by this time in the conference that women are NOT on the agenda. My women’s business fact sheet (#25) clearly shows that women SHOULD be on the agenda. I begin to feel like 1) I’m learning a lot 2) But that I am visiting an alien planet. I used to “roll” with this crowd. It was interesting to feel like they didn’t get it.

 #25d – Will Business Celebrate, or Tolerate, Our Daughters? – Bill Clinton is the ONLY speaker who mentioned women as a specific point that the business leaders in the room should take seriously. As said on a panel the other day, “It was like the world’s worst drinking game. The word ‘woman’ was only said ONCE the entire two days.” This post is a call to action. I plan for the Hot Mommas Project to be a part of the revolution. It’s not about “anti other-people,” it’s about “pro-us/women” which will wind up benefiting all. Research shows that women’s definition of success is largely community based. If our community is successful, we feel successful . So this generation of women – I’m convinced – will give back exponentially what it gets. And if we don’t, then someone should give us a good klonk on the head.

 #26 Top 5 on How to Package Content and Be an Expert  – If we are going to be part of the revolution, we better have our act together. Here I share some lessons learned about packaging content and being an expert.

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Know a dynamic woman over the age of 18? Nominate her to be a role model and tell her story at www.HotMommasProject.org. Emailsupport@hotmommasproject.org with your nomination.

Want to let someone know you believe in them? Sponsor a case writer with your nomination. Every $25 allows a case to be permanently archived on our educational site. Mention your nominees name and email in the PayPal note.

#26 Top 5 on How to Package Content and Be an Expert – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

InfoLitHead
Your brain on “little bundles”

As part of my quest to get nominated for world’s worst professor, last month I actually coached a group of students through a procedure I call “Business Stalking.” This is where you have a target (someone you want to speak with/stalk), determine where they are going to be speaking,  and then you rush the stage afterwards.  Since this time I’ve received many emails, specifically referring to “business stalking” which was probably five  minutes of a two hour talk.  And I realized, really, really clearly: It’s about packaging.

Below I list my top 5 observations about effectively packaging content based on:

  • Doing it.
  • Years of consulting and teaching to people who are/can be very picky (big organizations, 18 year-olds).
  • My background as an award-winning curriculum developer…oh…wait…okay…they are telling me the scrawled crayon star from my kids does not constitute a real “award.” Dang.

Other sources of inspiration from this post are:  Writing for Maria Shriver’s site, advice from amazing mentors, the – The Four Hour Work Week, uber-talented designerDonald Bullach who recently – kid you not – did our high school reunion memory book in what is EASILY the coolest high school reunion memory book EVER.

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What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business in DC and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture/organization…while being led by a mom working part time. Our big thing right now is the Hot Mommas Project Case Study competition. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page.

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The Top 5 of Packaging Content

1. Credibility. And you are….and you’re with? The Law of Superlatives. Right out of the gate you’ve got to answer the question, “Why should someone listen to me?” Superlatives create credibility. In this new economy crowded with messages and free agents, it is critical to make sure you are REMEMBERED. And, no, it should not be for your criminal record. Here is an example: The Hot Mommas Project (aside from being named “The Hot Mommas Project”) is “The world’s largest library of teachable role models for women and girls.”  What’s the superlative one can associate with you?  In what area are you the best, fastest, biggest, etc.?   Another angle is to crunch some numbers for the wow factor.  How many clients have you successfully placed? How many thousands of dollars worth of media impressions have you generated for your client?  When I ran a consulting firm full of the original “Hot Mommas” consultants, I advertised our 94 perent success rate in helping clients plan their annual goals in one day. The bottom line is: If you’re not special, make a placeholder and go out and find something that makes you special. Yes, you can actually do that. Specific sections of Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Work Week are very helpful on this topic.

For the ladies – special note: Superlatives may, at times, resemble bragging which can be a tricky one for women. There is a good deal of research indicating women  are not always strong self-marketers. (I teach about this in my class. Yes, it’s true and yes, it’s a big deal.)  So put on your big girl undies, move through the list below, and get pep talks from advisors and friends where you need them. Guys, you too (except the big girl undies part…not that there’s anything wrong with that).

2. Story –  “Here to There.” Make the superlative even more impressive by pairing it with your story. Robert Tuchman is a great example of this. His book agent contacts me, tells me about the $70 million dollar sports marketing company his client built, and wants to know will I review Robert’s new book Young Guns? It’s a “go” for me when I hear: 1) Robert was 25 when he started the company and 2) His first office was a one-bedroom apartment. The “here to there” quality is great on a story like Robert’s. His PR person clearly understands this. What is your “here to there” story? What constraints were you under when you built the company, product, etc.? It adds to the story, and people like stories. For instance, I built the Hot Mommas Project case library in seven months while working part-time. I am still not sure anyone actually cares about this fact, but, the idea of it is inherently appealing. America loves underdogs. America loves people who triumph in the face of adversity.

3. Organization – Make Little Bundles. We love little bundles. Not just because it is such a cute little word combo, we love it for two real reasons that will make your life easier:

a. If you have too much information – making little bundles helps you scale the informational K2 so to speak.

b. If you have very little information – making little bundles helps package what you DO have.

Examples: The Hot Mommas Project right now is SWIMMING in data. It’s too much. We have surveys, cases, more surveys. So what to do? I devise a three hour class on mentoring. I lay out the class plan, and what will be covered in each class. Next, I structure each class with intro, wrap up, lecture, and interactive exercises in each one hour module. Last, I run it by someone who gives me feedback, and helps me make it better. Then I get with a free conference call service and market it (see #4).

Note: Another good way to create little bundles is to Q&A with yourself. For instance, I might ask myself “Self, why is mentoring important?” Then, depending on how things are going, I might ask myself, “Why is mentoring particularly important for women?” Then, if I am feeling very bold, I might ask myself, ‘So, why should I care?” And so on and so forth. In general, this type of approach is helpful not just for media training, but for devising REAL PowerPoint presentations. I especially advise this approach to presentation creation if you’re a “Rambler.”

4. Market. You may be in charge of marketing. Even if you’re not, your CMO and Director of Marketing and their brother and sister and dog were probably just laid off, so it’s good to know how to market. I break this section into “Guerilla Marketing” and “Walking Upright.”

Guerilla Marketing. Here is an example of how I approached Guerilla Marketing Hot Mommas Project content this summer. Once you’ve got your little bundles, it’s time to market them. Boy, that sounds really bad.

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Guerilla Marketing Case study: Hot Mommas Project Summer Teleseminars

Courses tested: Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership I  and II, Virtual Mentoring, and “Getting to 5: How to Quantitatively Raise Your Work Life Balance Score.” Two of these generated the most interest…which do you think they were?

Guerilla Marketing Steps (post-content development): Here is the brain dump – Titling, title testing (on Twitter and site based on adjix.com clicks), post on site, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email it to the Hot Mommas Project database, print a schedule on the back of my business cards, and post a big decal on my car [Gotcha : -) I would never put a decal on my car, only my husband deserves that type of humiliation for leaving the seat up and other atrocities]. I also posted on Teleseminar Nation, but got nothing from that.

Did you know – the SEO bonus factor? EventBrite was recommended to me by digital media firm iStrategyLabs. EventBrite has a double benefit of good SEO, so The Hot Mommas Project will be using that for event registration going forward. Press releases on 1888PressRelease.com – of which I’ve spoken in previous posts – also provide traffic. It crashed our site last year, in fact.

This process worked. So, if I wanted to “rinse repeat” and do more of it, I could. In transitioning to “Walking Upright,” I have:

  • Plans to research Alex Mandossian who I’ve heard is the teleseminar guru.
  • Plans to partner with Information Experts, and possibly Learning Tree International, to pilot their web training platform.
  • Making the content pretty, relying on the brilliant  Donald Bullach, an uber-talented designer, and ideas from  ReBrand.com. Here are some other cool web designs.
  • Begun to seek out event planners to see “how it would work” for a larger Hot Mommas Project event which – to be honest – I have zero desire to plan but everyone seems to want one.
  • Made a list of all the Guerilla Steps so my virtual assistant in India (not kidding) can help me with it.

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Walking Upright. Critically important is to have an eye on the big prize. Who goes BIG with content? How did that happen? Do you have any connection to them or people who know that model? I know from personal experiences with major business speakers that even THEY don’t always know the best model and are continually figuring it out. I’ll hear one famous speaker say “I need to get on Twitter and Facebook more” and hear another one say, “The book company is not doing a great job of making sure critical masses are at my speaking engagements” or “My PR company is not getting me the coverage I need.” So, just realize that even Goliaths struggle with it too. I am looking at the three models below in developing my “walking upright” marketing strategy.

5. Economics. This is where the walking upright crowd has it. For the economics to work with content, you must seriously have your act together. I certainly did NOT when I first started writing Hot Mommas Project cases. When we started winning awards people said, “Are you going to sell the cases like at Harvard Business School?” I tried that approach for about – ummm – 6 weeks and “threw it on the ground!”

Currently, I see three realistic economic models for expert content:

A. Publishing and Entertainment. This is what my mentor Amy Millman calls the Martha Stewart “Omnimedia Model.” It’s the job of people in publishing and entertainment to know: a. What people want and b. To give it to them. They push content out there to as many people as possible, and then sell advertising around the promise of reaching that customer base. Martha Stewart started with a magazine and worked up and out from there to the huge company Omnimedia. Magazine, show, product. What started as content has become a movement.

B. Conferences. If you’ve ever seen a top-notch event planner in action, it’s quite a sight to behold.  Business events and conferences typically get sponsors to cover the costs, and sell tickets to make a profit. Of course, it could go up or down in either direction with the sponsorship and ticket fees, but this is a good rule of thumb. Event planner calendars typically go out three or more years in advance. You’ve got to get up early in the morning if you’re going to run your own event. My personal preference is to let someone else run the event, and come in as a speaker. Look up the conferences and events in your area, contact them about speaking or being on a panel. In SXSW you can propose your own panel! In the massively walking upright category of conferences is HSM’s World Business Forum at which I was a featured blogger this past year. I am doing due diligence, behind my computer, and expect to be out from behind that computer speaking and making people less scared of women and our brains (us included!).

Note: For you perfectionists – Remember that even the pros experiment and test. Think “pilot” on TV, think “test market.” Don’t let doing things perfectly dissuade you from making progress. Even the big boys dip their toe in the water first.

3. Screwing everything up is the “Freemium” Model – Read more about that here in a  previous post. My friend in content management says, “Something for free, the rest for a fee.” This is pretty much the Freemium model.

PARTING THOUGHTS:

What is the difference between a cheesy salesman and you? Credibility. Use your brain and know your stuff.Learn and practice. Bring others into it at every step. As Hot Mommas Project case author Yana Berlin says, “A leader is nothing without her followers.”  Are your points resonating?

Not quite there yet? If you don’t have your supreme-being content yet, you can still become familiar with these guerilla tools: Twitter, Facebook, and SEO. More on press and buzz here.

The focus factor. Oh, yeah, BTW – I’m supposed to be writing a book right now. Yes. So, here is another rule of content development: FOCUS PEOPLE! I’m hoping to produce a little mini bundle like this, taking inspiration from Rohit Bhargava.

Related links:  Must-reads. Word on the street is this will change your thinking about the relevance of your voice.

Groundswell (Blog) – Winning in a World Transformed By Social Technology

33 Million People in the Room – How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking

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