The Journey I Took to be an Entrepreneur

I was just watching a video from a presentation I gave at David Vogelpohl’s AUSOME meetup at Capital Factory in Austin, TX, and I realized I never shared it.

no-limits

I talked about how going through two tough times in less than a year became the catalyst for me to go out and live the life I wanted to live.

Plenty of people start their journey as an entrepreneur, because they just have it in their gut. I was trying to be satisfied with working in a cubicle for somebody else.

I was never satisfied with it, though. But it took a couple shitty days to make me brutally aware that fear of failure is nothing compared to waking up one day and realizing that you tolerated life, instead of living it.

One of the people in the audience was uphappy about the lack of practical advice I shared, and she posted a review about it. Looking back, she never did respond to my comment on her blog post.

No sleep was lost.

Slides: Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery

Thanks to David and the Marketing Clique crew for having me at the meetup.

SumoMe is My Favorite WordPress Plugin Right Now

SumoMe is a fantastic plugin that has a variety of useful applications for marketers using WordPress.

I give this two thumbs up

I think to refer to SumoMe as a mere plugin is a disservice, because it’s a suite of powerful tools.

At the core of SumoMe are a number of add-ons for a blog to grow an email list, and they integrate with the major email solution providers.

But there are also a few options to enhance sharing, as well as content analytics and a heat map to measure visitor behavior and activity.

Plus, it’s free (there are some optional paid upgrades, many of which I’d gotten, because they are that good).

SumoMe.com is latest project from Noah Kagan, who will be a keynote at Affiliate Summit West 2015, taking place January 18-20, 2015 in Las Vegas.

4 Essentials for My Sanity and Productivity

tl;dr – My work days are broken down into four types of things I look forward to doing.

caffeine

Everything I need to know I learned from the Dead Milkmen. As guitarist Joe Geraro (aka Joe Jack Talcum) once sang on the song, The Secret to Life, “The secret to life is no secret at all.”

Well, it has been sort of a secret, but I’m going to let you in on it right now. It’s all about setting up little milestones in your day to look forward to doing.

I’ve got four things I like to do on each work day to maintain my productivity and a sense of sanity.

Energy

I like a nice sit-down breakfast of eggs, home fries, bacon, and all of that good stuff, but I usually can only manage to make that happen on the weekends.

So, I settle for liquid energy to start most work days. It’s typically an Atkins shake and Diet Dr. Pepper or Rock Star sugar free energy drink. Later on, I mix in a banana here and a cheese stick there. Plus, lots more Diet Dr. Pepper and occasionally coffee.

Is this ideal? No, but I like it and it gets me going. So don’t go and send me a link on Facebook to some article about how bad artificial sweeteners are for me.

Exercise

I make it a point to start most days of the week with some exercise. I’ll typically run, hike, or cycle. But occasionally, when I am crushed for time, I will use the treadmill desk that I set up in my garage.

I get in no less than 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days per week, and it really sets the tone for my day. I count on the exercise time to shake off stress and start my work day clean. Plus, when I am on the treadmill desk, I get work done.

Re-charging

In order to get the most out of my day, I need to step away and not work for periods of time. One of my favorite breaks is to take a nap in the late morning or early afternoon. I am ridiculously refreshed after I nap without an alarm, whether it’s 20 minutes or two hours.

Another out of the office thing I like to do is to meet friends or family for lunch. It can be a quick half hour or whatever.

Other days, when I am caught up and anxious for some sun, I’ll get out on a boat (with my iPhone to stay up on emergencies). All of these breaks help to reboot me, so I can start fresh into my work the next time I am at my desk.

Bonding

My schedule is crazy from time to time, but there is one constant on most any work day, and that’s sitting around the dinner table with my family.

I really value this time to catch up, decompress, and goof around with my wife and kids. When I’m camped in front of a computer for much of the day, this people time is so important, too.

This article appeared in issue 27 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in August 2014.

How Jason Calacanis Helped Our Business

I’ve been following what Jason Calacanis has had to say since he was publishing the Silicon Alley Reporter back in the 90’s.

missy-ward-jason calacanis-shawn-collins

Back in February 2008, Jason was a keynote at Affiliate Summit West 2008, and it was a privilege to have him up on the stage.

Anyhow, shortly after that he wrote a blog post titled, “How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips)“, that is maybe the best thing I ever read from him.

I took action on one tip in particular…

Use Google hosted email. $50 or free per user…. how can you beat that?!?! Why screw with an exchange server!?!?

Up until this point, we weren’t using an Exchange server for Affiliate Summit, but we were all using Outlook, and it was a regular hassle with exploding .pst files and stuff.

So, after reading that from Jason, we moved to using what was Google Apps Email (I think) at the time. Now it’s Google Apps for Work.

Not only did it enable me to easily admin all of the email for the company, but with the huge storage capacity, nobody had to delete email to make space anymore. And no more days of lost productivity when .pst files were being repaired.

Plus, Google Apps for Business enables us to collaborate easily through Google Drive and Google Docs, and it’s really helpful to have the shared Calendars. I’d highly suggest making the move to any startup or growing company – it’s so worth the modest cost for the efficiency we’ve gotten out of it.

Thanks, Jason.

Free Email Tracking

HubSpot has a service called Signals that enables you to see who opens your email.

signals-by-hubspot

Signals works with Gmail, Outlook for Windows, Salesforce, and Hubspot.

I really like it, because I am regularly working in an environment governed by deadlines, and it’s essential for me to know whether my messages are getting to my contacts and being read.

Since I can see where, when, and how many times an email has been opened/clicked, I know whether I need to follow up.

Being an email maniac, this calms me and helps my workflow.

Get a free month of Signals to try it out.