The Cold Dark Morning

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It was a cold, dark morning.

This morning, when I heard the puppy whimpering, it was early and it was dark.  It was about 10 minutes before the alarm was set to go off, so I turned the alarm off and walked out to let the dog outside.  I wiped the sleep from my eyes as I tried to attach the leash to Fin’s collar.  I would just let him out, but he cannot be trusted.  So I hooked him up and walked outside…and wow!

It was cold!

The cold burst of air hit me and I realized I should have put on more than a t-shirt.  Then as I stepped off the porch and felt the cold, wet drops on my neck.  It was more snow than rain, but either way, it woke me up in a hurry.  I was cold.  I had no coffee.  I was getting wet and standing in the dark.  Ah…the glory of owning a puppy!

That’s not what you think of when you make the decision to get a dog is it?  You think of taking walks with your new buddy.  You envision cuddling up and taking naps together!  And don’t forget playing catch.  It will be SO much fun!  And here’s the thing, you do have those moments.  But they are not the ONLY moments.  You have to do the cold, wet mornings in the dark too.

The same is true for for building a sales career or a business.  We often spend a lot of time envisioning how great it’s going to be.  We think about the freedom.  We consider being our own boss.  We run the numbers and think about the big money you are going to make!  But we don’t always consider the after hours work.   We don’t think about the stress or the number of people that are depending on you.  We don’t always think through what happens when the numbers don’t look good.

In those moments, it can feel like you are alone, in the dark with a cold rain on your neck. It’s not always as glorious as people make it out on the internet.  Being an entrepreneur can be hard and lonely.

But there’s good news within this dark cloud.

There is Good AND Bad

I am not working to be a downer.  In everything there is good and bad.  It’s just better to understand that.  It’s important to know that there will be times that are tough in any endeavor…and that’s okay!  Don’t get down that there are tough times.  Just know that better times will come if you keep after it.  Which leads nicely into…

Most People Are Not Willing To Deal With The Bad

The fact of the matter is, most people want the puppy but not all of the headaches that come with it.  The same is true with building a business.  They see the outer success and would love that.  But most people are not willing to do what it takes.  They are not willing to put themselves out there.  So if you are, you are 100% ahead of the game.

Accept that there will be tough times.  When you do, they don’t surprise and overwhelm you.  Then you have the energy to put in the work that others are not willing to do.

Stop Blaming “They.” It’s Up To You.

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It was several years ago and I had just come from a community meeting.  I walked into a local retailer and started talking to the nice woman behind the counter.  The topic changed to the local “First Fridays” event that was hosted on Main Street.
The idea of the event was simple.  The First Friday of each month, retailers would stay open later, there would be food, and entertainment on Main Street and (hopefully) people would come down and enjoy.  I loved the concept of the event and was involved with helping to plan it.
The woman started to make suggestions about the event.  It went something like this…
“They need to have it earlier in the day.”
“They need to start it sooner in the year.”
“They need to have more food.”
They.  They.  They.  They.
Having just come from a meeting about First Fridays, I stopped her.
“Here’s the thing.  I am a part of “they.”  We are starting a new group called “we.”  You are welcome to be a part of it.”
She had a confused look on her face, so I explained.  “It’s not an exclusive group.  We don’t get paid.  Frankly, we don’t often even get invited!  It’s just a group of people willing to do something.”
The conversation ended there.
That’s how it happens so often.  There is a long list of people willing to bitch, moan and complain about things.  This group does not like how things are and are willing to tell everyone about it.  But when asked to help, they get quiet or disappear.
Don’t be that guy or gal.
If you see something that you are frustrated with in your community, start considering what YOU can do about it.  Sure, it might be calling “the authorities.”  But it might be something you can do on your own.
Are they weeds too high downtown?  You could pull them.
Does one of your neighbors let their grass grow too high?  You could help them mow it.
Is there trash along the side of the road?  You could pick it up.
You may not want to.  You may even be thinking “that’s not my job.”  Maybe not.  But you COULD do it.  So if you could do it, and you don’t do it…it’s a choice.
The same is true for any area of your life.  If you want something to change, you could wait around for someone to change it for you.  Or, you could figure out what needs to change, and take action yourself.
It’s your choice.  Choose wisely.
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The Best Are Constantly Learning

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I was on the phone with our web designer, Eric Dingler, the other day and I realized something.  Eric just finished a new web design for a client and we were talking about re-designing our own site as well.  He was listening to my ideas on things I wanted to include and making suggestions.   Then he spent some time telling me about website podcasts he listens to, and their advice on the matter.  He excitedly told me about a new “tricks and tips” he could work into our site.  That was when it hit me. The best people to work with are the ones that are constantly learning and honing their craft.

Always.  It never stops.

Then I looked around my office and noticed the same thing with our designer Josh.  He is always looking at design.  Sure, he went to school for design and he has the background and the chops.  But he follows designers, he studies their work, he enjoys the conversation.  He is honing his craft.

The question is…what are you working on?  What do you want to become great at?  If you will or if you won’t can be answered by whether or not you are continually learning or studying your craft. Want to be a fitness expert?  Yes, of course you have to put in the work.  You have to work on your own diet and your own fitness.  But are you reading the latest blogs?  Are you up on the latest workouts?

Want to stand out in Content Marketing?  It’s not just about creating content (though that is super important).  It’s also about studying other masters to see what is working and what is not? Want to lead in sales?  It’s not just about making the sales calls (though that is where it starts).  You need to continually be reading articles, books, and blogs on the topic.  You have to get re-inspired and re-imagined to continue to be the best.

Do you want to be great at something or are you just saying it?  A simple self-audit will tell you the truth if you let it.  You are passionate about what you work at and study.  Look at your calendar and study your time.  That will tell you the truth. Make sure you never miss an update!  It’s a great time to become a VIP!  Sign up here for our weekly email with all of our content.

What To Do When You Are Off Your Game

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hasseman marketing game winner

It seems everyone I know has been touched by some level of sickness so far this spring.  If you have not been sick (thank goodness), you know more than a few people who have been. It caught up with me for a few days last week too. I am feeling better now (not quite 100%, but I am getting there), but it really knocked me off my game for several days.

During that time, I struggled to call people back because I could not talk without coughing, I did not create as much content, and I certainly was not thinking strategically!  Everything I did made me want to lay down on the floor and rest. I was not myself, and it totally threw me off my game.

Times like this can be extremely frustrating if you are working toward a goal.  For example, I had been working on creating a new fitness routine in the morning and had made some steady progress.  But as the cold got me down, I threw fitness out the window in the name of more rest.  When you do something like this, most people respond in one of two ways.

Not Perfect, So Forget It: 

So many of us start striving for a goal and go full force toward it.  We work out every day.  Then one day we miss…and the entire thing goes out the window.  Jon Acuff talks about this in the book Finish.  He says the most important day is “the day after perfect.”

This is the day after eating perfectly.  That is the day that often determines whether you will keep going. Self Empathy and Determination:  The other way to look at a setback like this is simple.  We are all human.  Things happen.  We can’t change the past.  What we do need to do is start a new routine today.

We need to hold ourselves accountable without beating ourselves up.   So if you have been thrown off your game recently (like me), start today with a new streak.  For me, that routine starts with creating a new piece of content (thanks for reading it).  Now I am going to head down to the basement to get a new streak started there too. Make it a great day everyone!

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You Probably Won’t Read This Blog

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hasseman marketing content

Okay.  So maybe that was a bit of reverse psychology.  If you are reading this, though, it must have worked.   But I promise there is a point to this exercise. Many of you know that we have been creating content for quite some time now.  I have created hundreds of podcasts, probably over 300 videos, and well over 500 blog posts.

I have committed to the idea of creating value through content, because it’s the right thing to do.  (And it’s working).   But one thing I have yet to REALLY learn is what will work.  I talk about this a bit here.

What I mean by this is that sometimes I write a blog that I think is really good.  I am excited about the topic and I think it will add value to a lot of people.  I am fired up to push publish…and…nothing.  Often, those sure-fire hit blog posts don’t seem to resonate.   Then, especially as I was committed to writing a blog every day, I might crank out a quick one with very little thought and BOOM, that article takes off.

When I blogged about this in the link above I got quite a bit of feedback that I needed to see what my audience was passionate about, and stick with that.   So I tried.   I noticed that sometimes I wrote specifically about a marketing topic, and that did well.  For example, this blog about how to deal with Haters online was read quite a bit.  So I decided to write another article like that.  Here is a one that discusses treating social media like a cocktail party.

The results?  Meh.

Okay…maybe it’s about “real” stories and authenticity.  This is a word everyone throws around a ton, so that must be true!  I wrote this article saying “I am NOT for everyone” and it was one of the most read blogs of 2018.  It was written out of a moment of frustration.

So what if I shared those moments more?  I wrote this blog about being overwhelmed and…well…the results were okay.   I have had the same results with video.  I am excited about my Day in the Life videos.  For example, this one where we lost our Drone got over 500 views pretty quickly.  But we have others in this series that (it feels like) no one watches.

Just currently, I am excited about this video we created that’s a little more inspirational.  It’s gotten some great feedback, so I am thinking of creating more things like that. The point of all of this exercise is that it’s a work in process.  Even the best content creators have pieces of content that flop.

It happens in Hollywood all of the time!  The best studios, producers and actors team up on a project…and no one cares.   So if it happens to the best, don’t worry when it happens to you.  It’s important, I think, to just keep showing up.  Keep pushing out your message and your value into the world.  You probably won’t know when something will flop.

But you also might be delighted when something really takes off and makes a difference. Oh…and the same is true for sales too.  You never know if THIS will be the sales call that helps you break through.   Go get it.

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