Remarkable life advice from an entrepreneurial genius

I’m a big fan of Richard Branson. After reading The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership [listed in 8 fascinating must-reads for entrepreneurs…] I started paying attention to his books as well as active blog and social presence. His writings reveal a scrappy, thoughtful, and very much non-risk-averse entrepreneur who lives life to the fullest and shares his experiences and lessons along the way. When he writes, I read. This recent post struck home and I hope you enjoy it as well.

If I could tell you just one thing

“People talk about work and play as if they are separate things, with one being there to compensate for the other, but all of it is life, all of it is precious. Don’t waste any of it doing something you don’t want to do. And do all of it with the people you love.

This was my response when my friend Richard Reed, who knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship himself, asked me for my best piece of advice.

My golden rule in life is to have fun. Life’s too short to waste your time doing things that don’t light your fire. Do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do. Trust me; great things will follow…”

Read the rest of the post HERE.

Outstanding free tools you need to know about

The amount of tools and information available for marketers, entrepreneurs and those bootstrapping a business is wonderful but it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything you might use now or down the road.

After creating a comprehensive list of essential free tools for Entrepreneurial Marketing students, (available HERE) one did a little extra research and found an incredible list of just about anything you might need. Big shout out to these folks – it is a terrific resource and pretty well organized for everything from business, marketing, design & code, and productivity to learning.

Click HERE for the list.

Don’t forget to visit the list of free marketing tools on this site.

Enjoy – and if you have any questions about which tools I’ve used and might be best for you please contact me or leave a comment below.

Who else wants to create a fantastic social media proposal?

It’s always best to personalize your approach with a potential client, but here is a link to helpful tips on what you need to include in the proposal. Best of luck and go get ’em!

“Well-written social media proposals are key to closing deals. If you’re a writer or marketer, your sales team probably needs your help writing those proposals, too. If you’re working solo, you might need to show why you’re a better option than a high-priced agency (or another freelancer or consultant).”

Read the rest: How To Quickly Build Social Media Proposals That Win Clients

Content may be king (but maybe not)

You create great content. Incredible content. You spent hours putting together your website page, social platforms, compelling photos, well written articles. In short, you’re a content genius.

But where’s the traffic?

Turns out content isn’t king, or at least it isn’t the whole picture. (There is more by Blog Tyrant on this and I’ll share a link to the article in a second.)

I think most of you know exactly what I mean.

There’s a ton of noise out there. Unless you get a kick-start, such as a spend (that perhaps you can’t afford), or a chance mention on a popular website, it’s a whole different art to get folks to visit your content.

So we post and post and look at our Google Analytics and still no traffic.

Look, I don’t resort to click bait, I don’t believe in headlines that promise one thing then lead you into an unexpected page for the sake of traffic.

However, to get more folks interested in what you are promoting it needs to be direct and catchy without too much detail. If you’re successful in getting their attention (or, stopping the scroll, as I put it) than you just might have a little more success in directing folks to your valuable content.

We’ll go into more detail on that in another post — your landing page is also another discussion.

Here is the link to the article I mentioned earlier, The Biggest Myth in Blogging: Why Content is Not King

8 fascinating must-reads for entrepreneurs, marketing and business

With six hours of drive time a week, I began using it to catch up on reading (or listening in this case). Here are the best so far.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Big-short-inside-the-doomsday-machineSee the movie and read the book or vice versa. Either way, you’re in for a terrific ride. In a riveting fashion, Michael Lewis describes and makes sense out of the 2008 financial collapse that destroyed almost everything in its path. The real key to this story’s success is Lewis’ attention to the eccentric cast of characters who saw it coming from as far as a decade away.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic FutureIt really doesn’t matter what you think of Elon Musk, his story and work are amazing. Musk is one of the few extremely non-risk-averse entrepreneurs out there who also happens to be talented, smart and not afraid to question, defy and oftentimes battle the status quo (a LOT like Richard Branson, up next). The biography by Ashlee Vance is honest, compelling and pulls no punches with Musk’s frequently challenging personality.  Take the time to read and get inspired by one of the biggest thinkers alive.

The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership

The Virgin WaySpeaking of non-risk-averse types, let’s talk about Richard Branson. His business and lifestyle motto “Screw it, let’s do it” is tempered by his thoughts on successes and failures in his career. The history alone of how Branson developed into one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time –after an unauspicious start as a sixteen-year-old dropout with dyslexia– makes one sit up and listen, but it’s his wise and experienced approach on how he chooses to lead with an emphasis on people/relationships and less on formality that makes the book so valuable. Another book by Branson, Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way gets a favorable mention here for the additional and very entertaining details on how Branson went from magazine publisher, to mail order record business to a recording studio/company to an airlines and his (ad)ventures in just about every product imaginable. Virgin Cola anyone?

Outliers: The Story of Success

OutliersMalcolm Gladwell has his critics, but I appreciate his focus and interest in areas I find fascinating. I have been a fan of his since The Tipping Point and Blink, both books which made me reexamine a few ideas I had about the world and reshaped a lot of the thinking I bring into my daily work. Outliers explores how people become extraordinary (or at least successful in their chosen fields) and it isn’t always how you might think.

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don’t

signal and noiseThe founder and editor of FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver gained national celebrity status after his almost exact prediction of the 2008 and 2012 elections. Here he examines the difficulty in discerning what is relevant in the statistics collected and what may be simply unnecessary and sometimes misleading information. Anyone interested in analytics, statistics, prediction, numbers, science, economics and “seeking truth from data” will be fascinated.

Thinking Fast and Slow

thinkingfastslowIntriguing book by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, that examines the way our brain processes information. As I listened to this, I couldn’t help but wish I was reading it while able to do some of the exercises the book asks you to do to help discern its examples. Besides that, a very thoughtful and revealing view of how our perspective of the world, events, environment, etc. is easily skewed.

Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype

youtility

A recent study by Nielsen shows 63% of shoppers research products online.* Youtility mentions as far back as 2011, shoppers accessed 10.4 pieces of information before making a purchase. This provides one of the many foundations upon which Jay Baer [Convince and Convert] lays his case that objective, helpful information is more appreciated than ever before by the consumer. By examining entrepreneurs and businesses providing useful content, Baer points out the payoffs for taking the time to create collateral that may -at first- seem like a lot of effort when compared to traditional marketing tactics. I used this book in teaching Entrepreneurial Marketing and many students enjoyed it, finding it a refreshing counterpoint to traditional marketing and business tactics. Strongly recommended.

* Nielsen.com

The 48 Laws of Power

48 laws of powerI’m almost embarrassed to admit I read this one as its Machiavellian approach makes you feel as though you’re preparing for a role on Game of Thrones. In its most basic form it serves as a primer on how to manipulate your way into getting what you want. If you work in an environment of snakes –and this book assures you everyone (including yourself) is a snake– then this is the book to read. However, there is some good advice to be found in its pages and most everyone in business has read it, along with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. You might as well arm yourself so you can see ’em coming.

That’s all for now. I’ll update as I come across new books worthy of note. Please leave any suggestions for books that you have particularly enjoyed in the comments below!

~Paul