5 Things I’ve Learned Running a Sort-of-Secret Writing Team

For the past 7 months or so, I’ve been running a teeny-tiny, kind-of-secret content shop.

I realized early on in my writing career that while I can make a decent penny writing for clients who want solid work, I’ve got an implicit ceiling: myself.

To make more money, I either have to give myself a raise (and hope my clients continue to see the value) or burn the midnight oil and never leave my office again like some sort of pale monitor troll (nope).

So I set about building a team of capable sub-contractors – the goal being to find those who had strong work and who were open to mentorship and critique. It took some time, but I’ve now built up a solid little team (USA, UK, Canada) – and tested them in the field.

We’ve handled some great projects: product descriptions, blog posts – even a magazine article or two! But this ain’t your typical team, either.

In this relationship, I play the point man.

That’s been both great and awful all at once. Great because I maintain control. Awful because if anything goes wrong, I burn up hours with a quickness. 

But it works, for now, until I can expand a bit and get an editor other than me in the mix. Right now, I negotiate rates and spend my own time meticulously editing the work so that I’d be proud to be associated with it. I’ve been offering the team’s work as an alternative to my own when I get a lead who can’t afford my rates or whom I want to take but do not have the time. It’s not meant to replace my personal work (please, still hire me for stuff) - just mostly for volume-based projects.

Importantly, clients always know it’s not me doing the work (I don’t pass theirs off as my own), but they take comfort in the fact that I’m editing and guiding the whole process. I charge a little more than you’d pay at Textbroker or oDesk , because I believe in paying my writers well. I know it results in stronger work.

Anyways, during the process of running this team, I’ve learned a lot of things I think might be pertinent to other businesses trying to get content done. Here are just five of them:

1. Administration can (and will) kill you.

You know what stings? Accidentally saving over top of a brief with a different brief, then assigning the SAME brief to two different writers. Yup, I did that, and yup, I ate the cost by paying both writers for the exact same article – and then paying one again to write the correct one.

Another time, I sent a writer the incorrect brief and wound up having to burn my own hours writing the piece myself to hit the deadline, AND paying the writer for what they produced.  The client, of course, was delighted to have gotten a piece I had written myself – but… Oof.

I’ve also quickly learned that burning hours on menial tasks like checking in on deadlines or e-mailing confirmations adds up to a TON of lost money, so I’m beginning to tinker with Zapier to automate my processes – especially now that my team has grown to a modest but respectable 13 writers. I’ve learned to really mind the details, automate what I can and triple-check everything – because mistakes cost money I don’t want to lose.

2. Writers are frustrating, beautiful creatures.

Businesses – let me just say that I have a new respect for the challenge of finding a writer who doesn’t completely womp gorilla balls.

The writing talent pool is ten miles long and an inch deep – when you find someone who is good at what they do, you hang on to them. When you pay a writer, you are paying for more than their creativity – you’re paying for their professionalism, their rational logic, their ability to do business.

So many writers just don’t understand how to run a business. It’s frightening.

I’ve learned that great writers are absolute gold. One of my sub-contractors is a gem of a woman, who has the foresight to name her documents in batch-order and add her last name so I know who they came from. She foresees potential problems, understands the value of a brief and adheres to guidelines like a soldier listening to a general’s command. I send her as much work as I can and pay her before she’s typed a single word – because I can trust her. There’s something to be said for a writer who needs minimal editing and understands the big picture.

And then, there were the ones who didn’t make it. The pure creative types who had no respect for deadlines and thought style guides were “suggestions”. I’ve had people submit hilarious headshots that looked like they snapped them in their bathrooms. I’ve had people with strong portfolios turn in work that was not only late – it was obviously rushed (note to writers: If you’re turning in something late, it damn well better be spotless copy. Don’t double down on your mistakes).

I’ve also learned the value of a second chance. Some writers that I didn’t think would make the grade turned out to be really strong – it turns out I just needed to learn to guide them better and improve the processes surrounding how we get things done. I’ve learned how to spot and test for talent , how to cut people loose when you need to, and how to stay your hand and give deserving folks another shot.

All of this has also helped to affirm to me that I’m worth the rate I charge for my own, personal work (which maybe sounds arrogant – I don’t mean it to, it’s been a genuine relief to discover). Having been in the hiring position, I know how much more I’m willing to pay for someone who just gets it – and I actively look for writers who have a formal business education (or anything that proves they’re more than fancy words).

3. The devil is in the details. Mind them carefully.

There’s just little things you don’t think about that wind up costing you – any ambiguity in your process will create dissonance and waste. What do I mean? Well, as a writer, I’ve always just assumed it was best practice to include images, cite your sources (including images), start pieces by providing context (instead of just jumping into a list or a bunch of stats) and the like.

I took that knowledge for granted – and you just can’t do that. Every expectation, every guideline, every instruction needs to be documented. Never assume anything.

It took a bunch of pieces for me to establish guidelines for sourcing images (high res, please. No, don’t just steal from Google image search) and even how to include them in a document (don’t just paste them in there, save them separately and flag within the text). It took awhile to get the point across that you needed to cite sources for stats and figures. It took a bit to teach writers to use the proper formatting so that a client can easily pop the document into WordPress.

The tiny things – the little things you omit – they’re the things that wind up costing you. Leave off a critical detail in the brief, and the writer will write something completely different than you intended.

I’ve learned to be thorough in my processes, and to never stop refining them over time.

4. Content ideation takes time and practice.

Coming up with content ideas for clients is hard – and if you’re not careful, it’ll run up a huge tab. I’m still perfecting the ideation process, but I’ve learned the value of doing a lot of ideation at once; I’ve gotten better at lateral thinking, learned what questions to ask clients, learned the value of picking up a phone and going beyond the brief.

Rock-solid ideas don’t just happen. They don’t materialize in a dream. And, sadly, I didn’t really budget for that time. Oops.

It’s been exciting to find myself getting better and better at eavesdropping on conversations and putting together content calendars that clients are really stoked about.

5. There’s hope for quality yet.

I was worried, in the beginning, that the team would constantly lose out on jobs because people just wanted cheap work. I’ve been delightfully proven wrong. There are a growing number of businesses who, while they want to outsource, genuinely care about who is handling that work.

It’s a trend I’m happy to see – both for my personal work, and for the industry at large. It gives me hope – hope that I can help these writers build meaningful careers on their own (I do a fair amount of Skype calls, coffee dates and e-mailing, trying to help them grow their careers and earn their own clients).

To those who respect the writer – I salute you. Thank you for that.

In the months to come, I hope to offer this little content team as a boutique service for businesses.

I’m still ironing the kinks out, but I’m proud of what I’m building. I’m stoked to work with who I get to work with. I’m ecstatic that I get to pay these writers significantly better than other jobs. I’m elated to be able to mentor them and be a part of helping grow their careers outside of the sub-contracting I send them.

The goal has always been to build a content creation service that can handle work for people who need affordable quality. I want to build relationships with agencies, and be a part of solving the cost vs. quality problem (hell, I’m doing all the sourcing work FOR you!). I believe clients can get content they can actually use and also have the pleasure of working with a team who has a really high level of “give a damn”.

We’ll see how it all pans out.

Still a lot to learn.

 (Side note: If there’s a sixth lesson, it’s to pace yourself. I started working on this within three months of stepping out on my own to write full time. The stress of trying to spin this up while keeping my own work top-shelf has probably taken years off my life. But hey, learn to love the hustle, right?)

P.s. It should now make sense why I’ve been writing pieces on topics like how to outsource product descriptions, how to find and keep writing talent, how to work with copywriters and so on – I’ve been learning myself!

Posted In: Other Stuff

Why the Smartest Copywriters Won’t (Just) Write Forever

In the working world, there are only two types of jobs:

1. Technicians (the worker bees)

2. Managers (the owners)

If you’re a technician, you only make money while you’re working. You perform the task, get paid hourly (or per project) and move on with your life. It’s a good gig – you can make a living at it. But your income ceiling is limited to the work you can perform yourself. You can keep giving yourself a raise, but clients need to be willing to pay it.

And then there’s managers. Managers have people under them who can do the work. They might do some of the technician jobs themselves (and have likely proven that they can), but at the end of the day, they’ve got capable hands handling the work they can’t.

If this were street fighter, they’d be using a combo multiplier.

As a writer, you’re a technician from day one. You’ve got to build up your brand, get people to trust you. You’re essentially marketing your own talents. So how do you transition to manager?

You’ve got two options:

1. Build products

Products are way that technicians can cheat the system and manage without having any employees. If you build a product, it can be resold over and over again, making money while you’re in bed. If you have no aspirations of managing people or can’t reasonably do so, products are the way to go.

Why else do you think the best writers in the world sell training classes and eBooks? Because these scale outside of themselves.

2. Build a team

If you’ve got a talent, pass it on. People come to you with a need – how can you build up a team that would fulfil that need? There are all kinds of challenges in doing this – you’re essentially building a company. But they payout comes in that you benefit from the work of those you’ve hired/referred/sourced.

Now let’s make this all about me for a second.

That’s something I’m personally figuring out. See, I’m at the point where I have more leads than I can fulfil. I can (and will) raise my rates when the time is right, but for now, I’m just stoked to be working with so many great people. (If you’re interested in working with me, somersault your way over to Business Casual Copywriting. Currently booking into November.)

But I guess now is as good a time as any to announce my long-term plans: I’m building out a team of writers to service a market I see a need in.

  • SEO’s and digital marketing agencies need content, but can’t find talent.
  • Budgets for content are increasing as people realize that maybe overseas writers working at $10/hour is a bad idea if you want to be taken seriously.
  • Finding talent that fits the bill is hard, even when you have budget.

So what am I gonna do about it?

I’m assembling a justice league of hand-picked, talented writers. I’m on the hunt for the underpaid, the ones making the transition to full-time freelance, the ones who are damn good at what they do but don’t know where to go to prove it.

I want to build relationships with good writers who want to be rescued from the cesspool of oDesk and Elance and make what they deserve.

I want to be a source of talent for agencies who “get it”, put quality first and have the budget to match. The ones who have been jaded by bad writing and are ready to pay for someone who can just get the job done right the first time.

Sound like something you could use?

If you’re interested in either writing for, or hiring out the team, tweet me @JoelKlettke. I’d like to clarify that I am NOT offering full-time or employee-based positions. This is referral work as part of a team.

Stay tuned, universe.

Posted In: Other Stuff

In controversial move, Google recommends shutting down blogs

BREAKING: Google’s Webspam Team Recommends Taking Down Your Blog To Avoid Penalization

It was revealed today in an exclusive, as-yet-unpublished interview with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan that Google has adopted even stricter policies toward webspam than have been seen over the past few turbulent months.

After announcing hard-line policies against Infographic links, warning about guest post schemes and continuing to beat the drum for the ongoing Penguin algorithm refinements, it was communicated that Google has a new recommendation for website owners looking to stay on Google’s good side.

Cutts Speaks Out

Speaking candidly, Google’s Matt Cutts explained, “Google has recognized that the great majority of webspam takes place on blogs across the web. By our estimates, over 95% of manipulative linking originates from blogs.”

Continuing, Cutts explained, “We’ve also become concerned by the manipulative content creation we’ve seen out there – it seems that blog owners are writing all sorts of low quality content in attempts to manipulate the long-tail. Other site owners have produced content like guides, how-to’s, editorials and so on that are then being linked to from other blogs and media outlets; this type of manipulative behaviour has an adverse impact on rankings and is something we intend to address. Clearly, blogs must go.

Cutts then, completely calm and straight-faced, relayed the following recommendation: “Site owners, if you want to avoid coming under Google’s scrutiny, take down your blogs or implement “noindex, nofollow”. Just remove them from the internet, and never bring them back.”

When asked what kinds of content remained acceptable, Cutts, agitated, replied: “Direct mail.”

He closed the conversation by warning of an algorithm update coming later this year. “It’s going to be a cold, cold winter for bloggers.”

Click here for the latest on this story as it develops.

So much for “Don’t be evil”, right guys?

Posted In: Other Stuff

90 Seconds or Less: Why Smart Writers Will Stop Writing Blog Posts

There’s a few things I’ve learned incredibly quickly as I make my foray into full-time copywriting:

1. There’s an unbelievable demand for blog posts, and

2. Smart writers will avoid making blog posts a big part of their offering if they can.

Why?

Perceived value.

When I’m approached by a company to do their website copy, their perceived value is high. This will be their longer-term, client-facing presence for the foreseeable future. It’s important that it come across the right way.

A client asking me for copy like that cares less about how many hours it’s going to take me and more about what the end product is going to be. Let’s imagine I bill them $950 for a 7 page website (not at all unreasonable). It may take me 4 hours or 20 hours – they don’t care. We’ve priced for value to them. We’ve priced for my skills, not my down-to-the-minute time.

Same goes for bigger, more important content pieces, ad campaigns and so on.

Blogs are (usually) the opposite.

If someone wants me to write up well researched, reasonably lengthed blog posts for their website on an ongoing basis, I’m going to be absolutely pulling teeth 9/10 times to get somebody to pay me even $100 per piece.

This is because to most clients, the value of a blog post is seen as low and the writing process is poorly understood. People tend to assume blog posts erupt from writers’ fingers spontaneously, without any time spent researching, planning or organizing. (For more on how this actually works, see: What Happens Before Writers Write?)

As such, there’s this weird prevailing thought that writers should be able to crank out high quality, share-worthy posts in an hour.

Even if it takes me the same amount of time to write a 3,000 word blog post as it does a small website, the perceived value is lower. Add in the recent epidemic of SEO’s who are only looking for mass quantities of content they can rocket launch all over the web, and blog posting starts looking a lot less attractive long-term.

If you get a client who values your talent and experience as it is applied to blogs, stick with them. Love them forever. Thank them for being against-the-norm and give them your best work. But if you want to be writing bigger, better paying jobs, it’s best not to let blogging eat up the bulk of your writing time.

I’m not trying to bite the hand that feeds – right now, blog posts and articles help keep food on my table. And if you love the subject matter (or the client), it’s a great revenue stream.

But I’d be a damned fool if I wasn’t trying to target more of those higher-value projects.

Wouldn’t I?

 P.s. I hope I didn’t scare you off! If you want me to write cool things for you (blog posts included), head over to Business Casual Copywriting.

 

Posted In: Other Stuff

90 Seconds or Less: How SEO Got Into This Mess (And How It’ll Get Out)

When it comes to writing, less is more. In 90 seconds, here’s how SEO got into this mess and how I think it’ll get out.

Early Days:

1. Early search algorithms are easy to game.

2. Businesses slowly wise up to $EO, creating a market. 

3. Few skills are needed to succeed for copycats & “me-toos”. Opportunists with little marketing experience move in.

4. Rankings, traffic are primary SEO metrics. Rankings become synonymous with SEO; services are sold on this premise. SEO is perceived as tech work lumped in with “online marketing” – little marketing is actually done.

2002 – 2010: The Golden Era

5. Google’s algo has holes they can’t fix short-term. Warning shots are fired via PR and TOS. Content is supposed to be king, links are. Few punishments happen.

6. Link signals are easy to game; success can be systematized (so it is). Few clients know enough to investigate work quality. 

7. Competitive SERPs become a linking arms-race, creating an industry-wide mindset of quickly scaling link building. Industry becomes addicted to “tactics”.

2011: Google’s Warpath Begins

8. JC Penny & others disgraced for bad SEO.

9. Panda hits. Content is suddenly important again.

10.Penguin slams link schemes. Industry loses primary ranking source.

Clients start asking questions.

SEO’s New Golden Cow: Content Marketing (CM)!

11. Major industry channels (Moz, Hubspot, etc.) put emphasis on CM; try renaming SEO “Inbound marketing” to change perception.

12. SEO’s mistakenly interpret CM as “new link building”; rely on “great content” and business’ activities to create link opportunities. Most don’t see success, because…

Few SEO’s have marketing backgrounds or run their businesses like a marketing firm.

13. Attempts are made to shove CM into the “scale & automate” box of SEO. Mass guest-post schemes ensue. Google announces crackdowns.

14. Once sold as a service, SEO’s now need partnership status & marketing buy-in. Public perception of SEO is stuck in 2002; so are most teams’processes.

The tactics-addicted industry slowly realizes strategy & creatives are important, but has a hill to climb.

Opinion: The Future

15. (Not provided) destroys keywords as a reporting metric, Knowledge graph obliterates rankings. SEO’s must find new metrics, but clients expect to be reported to this way. F-f-friction.

16. Marketing firms seize opportunity to build digital teams & acquire talent. Basic tenants of SEO are easier to learn than marketing skills & strategy; firms already have buy-in, creatives & processes. 

17. Several poorly-run SEO firms close up shop because they can’t evolve in a strategy-based era.

18. Successful firms move away from selling SEO as an independent service, begin marketing holistic online marketing strategies with SEO treated as a tie-in/consideration for other marketing objectives.

AND WE’RE DONE!

Agree? Disagree? Use the comments below to  wave your pitchforks or sing your praises.
By the way, I’m a freelance writer lookin’ to pick up some work – so if you like my style, check me out!

Posted In: Other Stuff

Hawk Attack: And Other Stories of Note (is now free!)

In 2010, I wrote a book.

It was about my hilarious job working in an accounting department with a whole bunch of women who were straight out of Eastern Europe. It was actually sort of a book by accident.

The whole thing started out as notes posted on Myspace and Facebook – little notes to blow off steam and entertain my friends. People told me I should write a book, but I didn’t really know what to write about. So I just wrote more notes about Russian women who microwaved fish and kept their offices at sub-zero temperatures. 

In 2008, my friend Jeff compiled all of his favourites into a book format and gave it to me for my birthday. I was left without an excuse. I had already written a book. Over the next two years, I edited it, added to it and published it in hard copy. It looked like this: 

I like to believe it’s great toilet reading. To date, I’ve sold over 150 copies (which you can still buy) to rave reviews like:

“This made me laugh so hard I farted out my colon and had to go to the hospital!”Crazy guy in hospital with unfortunate case of exploded colon

Take that however you want to, but maybe be careful while reading and wear a pair of pants you’re not totally in love with.

Get it free here (free when you Tweet/Share on Facebook)

If that completely fails and you’re frustrated or you’re just too cool to let a tweet about my book sully your social media account, then you can break my heart and just download it here instead (but think about sharing it – I’d love for more people to share in the freeness and laughter).

Disclaimer: Yes, there are (a few) typos in this. Yes, I overuse commas. Deal with it.

(Got a friend’s birthday coming up? Want to get out of the anniversary dog house? Need a new permanent bathroom reader? You can buy a hard copy by contacting me. We’ll work out a deal.)

 

 

 

Posted In: Other Stuff

Penguin 2.0: Breaking The News to Clients

Everyone’s favourite algorithm update is back and better than ever!

Matt Cutts sparked a frenzy in SEO spheres last week when he announced they were close to rolling out the sequel to last year’s infamous update that crushed dreams and gave spam it’s first real kick in the prunes. It made a devil out of anchor text and turned the SEO faithful from the darkness into the light of “content marketing” (read: guest post links)

Rumour has it that this next one’s a real doozy. If you’re honest, you might not have been playing as nice as your company blog insists.

Fear not!

In preparation for the massive reckoning about to befall you, I’ve prepared some template e-mails you can send to clients  that should get you completely off the hook! I’ve categorized them by the type of excuse you’d like to employ:

Negative SEO Attack

Dear client,

Would you believe it? While we were off doing pure, white hat SEO, some unscrupulous shysters came along and built thousands of directory links with the anchor text of all the terms we were going for! We didn’t catch it until now because we were so busy creating great content and building relationships, but rest assured, we will track down whoever’s responsible and make them pay for this. It’s just another reason the _______ niche has gotten so competitive lately.

“The last SEO guys you hired were total scam artists..”

…. as it would turn out, the SEO’s you hired back in ______ are completely to blame for your site being impacted by this update. While we’ve focused on unadulterated quality from day one, those last guys rode in on a dark horse, spammed your site to death with forum profile links and galloped off into the sunset with your money. We certainly had nothing to do with this (please don’t go back and read any of the reports we’ve sent you, they’re completely irrelevant now), but we look forward to being the helping hand that pulls you out of the enormous field of manure you’ve found yourself in. Thank God you switched when you did!

Blame the Intern

… while working on a completely separate internal project, our hapless intern accidentally used YOUR URL in a Xrumer blast instead of the intended website. We can assure you that this totally non-fictional intern has been terminated effective immediately as we work to clean up the mess he inadvertently caused. Please know that we’ve updated our training manual and hiring documents to add an extra emphasis to “attention to detail” so this never happens again.

The Bait N’ Switch

We regret to inform you that your site was heavily impacted by the most recent Penguin update. Visibility has been completely lost for all targeted phrases including your brand name; traffic has dropped by nearly 85%. The cause appears to have been the unnatural link profile accumulated on your behalf over the past several years. 

We also regret to inform you that WiseClick SEO has officially ceased operations and declared bankruptcy. We apologize for the inconvenience we’re sure this has caused you.

Fortunately, we’re excited to announce WiseClick Content Marketing, an exciting new venture entirely focused on the creation and curation  of awesome, share-worthy content! Our prices begin at…

The “Southern States” Approach

Client, now is the time to act! It appears that Google has been hacked by  capitalism-hating commie socialists, determined to destroy the American way of life, take away your guns and rob you of your constitutional liberties. The only way to thwart this great evil is to stand together and invest in this great nation through pay-per-click ads…

Take the Money & Run

…by the time you read this, “Bob Krandal the SEO” will be no more. Do not try to contact me. I’ve changed my name, sold off all of my possessions and travelled to a new sunset far away from here where I plan to frolic in the waves with shapely local women and drink Shirley Temples. I’m sorry for the way this played out. I still believe somewhere deep inside of me that I’m a good person, I never meant for it to end like this..

Get Angry

Listen, you bunch of half-wits! We mentioned the phrase “content marketing” like FIVE TIMES in our e-mails and reports to you. That you can’t understand a good thing when you read it isn’t our problem. Really, the only people you have to blame for this are yourselves. We wanted to do great work, but you just didn’t let us. Well, behold the fruits of your ignorance!

Fire Up The Smoke & Mirrors (Lie!)

Hi client!

Nothing is wrong and everything is great! See the below screenshot of your current rankings and traffic. Boy, you sure are dominating those search results – number one, same as always! Attached is your invoice.

Be Honest (Not Recommended)

Dear client,

Surprise! We’re dickheads!

Posted In: Other Stuff

0 + 0 = 0, and other simple mathematics

Stop what you’re doing. Before you continue, I want you to drink a glass of water. Yes, I’m serious.

Waddle over to your nearest tap, cooler or (if you must) pre-packaged bottle of tap water and chug it down. It’s important for vague reasons I’ll explain by the time we’re through here.

Done?

Great. Wasn’t that refreshing?

Hydrated Readers: Get Introspective

Lately, I’ve been thinking. Thinking’s awfully dangerous if you do it for too long and sure enough I’ve begun to feel a growing tension between the place I am and the places I want to be.

That’s a problem.

Mostly because as a kid you have these wild and exciting visions of how your life is going to play out. You want to be an astronaut – a lawyer astronaut who saves orphans from burning buildings in their spare time. But if not that, you at very least want to be interesting.

Ask yourself right now – am I interesting? And be honest about it – that’s the hard part. Your fragile little ego is going to cry out “Of COURSE!” as soon as you ask the question, but let it simmer. Turn up the heat on it. Force it to bubble a little bit.

You might (uncomfortably) find that the answer isn’t all you wanted it to be.

Let’s Make This About Me (Because it’s my blog and I said so)

I decided I was going to be honest about it. The answer I came to after a few desperate moments staring into ceiling stucco wasn’t the one I wanted.

I used to do monthly challenges. I slept in my backyard through a Canadian winter, went vegetarian (despite every urge in my German history begging me not to), faced my fear of horses, finished a book, interviewed my grandparents, went for a walk every single day – and life was richer.

I used to tour in a band, used to spend late nights trying to write a piece for a full orchestra, used to organize nights called “friend swaps” where new people would connect, used to put on local shows.

“Used to” is one of the ugliest phrases in the English language.

Somewhere, I started failing simple mathematics. Simple mathematics like 0 + 0 = 0. What kind of new age hippy crap am I on about, you ask?

Zero-Sum Activities

Zero-sum activities are anything that you invest time, money or effort into that has absolutely no outcome on the betterment of your life. By the time you’re done you have nothing to show for it.

The obvious things that might spring to mind are things like watching television or mashing a controller. And it’s not that these things are inherently bad – if we want to get really nit-picky then we could argue that their “outcome” is entertainment.

Still, in a broader sense, they’ll never contribute to advancing your life – unless you plan to be a professional video gamer (I hear that pays out well in Korea).

But the less obvious zero-sum activities are more insipid. Things like worry. Worry is a zero-sum activity. You can worry yourself into an ulcer (I nearly did!) and at the end of all your worry you will be no closer to achieving anything.

Wishing is a zero-sum activity. Feeling sorry for yourself is a zero-sum activity. Carrying a grudge is a zero-sum activity. Being jealous is a zero sum activity.

Zero-sum activities are the types of things that nobody would ever write about in a book because they’re boring to read about. Why write them into your autobiography?

Do The Math, Einstein

If the bulk of my time – the most precious and finite resource I have – is invested in zero-sum activities, then my life will look like a zero-sum life. That’s how you get boring.

Moving past this is simple in theory: Reduce/eliminate as many zero-sum activities as you can. Replace them with positive outcome activities. Getting started on this can be hard, though. It’s tough to break patterns – poor eating patterns, lazy living patterns, emotional frenzy patterns. It’s much easier to come home and flick on the television or worry about trying something new because new things are scary.

But the good news is, you already started. You drank a glass of water. Your body is 80% water. You need that stuff. Good going, champ! You just did something great for yourself.

Now all you need to do is keep it going.

Posted In: Other Stuff

Inbound Marketing: A Reality Check

Channeling the mighty forces of windows paint and harnessing the unrelenting power of sarcasm and jaded, broken souls, POOR QUALITY COMIX is proud to present (click to enlarge):

What “Inbound marketers” think will happen:

What *actually* happens:

Posted In: Other Stuff

Things You Can Say Giving A Presentation But Can’t In The Bedroom

Because I’m some kind of deranged oddball with too much time on my hands, it occurred to me that there are many things that get said by those giving presentations that would never fly in another context – namely, the baby-makin’ context. As a short diversion to your day, I present to you my top 10. Or rather, the only 10 I could think of in the spur of the moment:

  1. “I’m going to go really fast because we’re short on time – so some of this might be a little confusing. If you have any questions, save them for the end.”
  2. “I decided to spice this up with a bunch of cat pictures.”
  3. “I can never get the technology to work, so I’ll just have to do this manually.”
  4. “I’d love to meet you guys out in the audience, so do come say hello when we’re done.”
  5. “I’ll come back to that later.”
  6. “I just want to make sure everybody can hear me out there.”
  7. “Don’t worry, I’ll be putting this online afterwards.”
  8. “I’d now like to pass it off to my colleague, Brian..”
  9. “The hashtag for this session is…”
  10. “I’m afraid that’s all we have time for.”
Did I miss any obvious ones?
Posted In: Other Stuff