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Build vs Destroy

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18 days ago
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia is taking on the news media with Wikitribune. With this project he aims to build an advertising free news platform that brings journalists and a community of volunteers together. If anyone can do it, Jimmy can. Let’s support him.

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18 days ago
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Please, For the Love of God: Stop Making Brochures

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Dinner was over.  We were outside the restaurant.  We were about to hug goodbye.  And my friend Doug says, “Hey can you look something over for me?”

Inside, I freeze.

Occasionally, Doug asks me to “look things over.”  That’s fine. It’s not the looking over part that’s the problem.  I’m good at this stuff.

The problem is that Doug is lost in the land of the printed brochure.  Trapped in the illusion that brochures, pamphlets and mailers are the way to build your business and get people to hire you.

This evening, I learn that Doug has made a new brochure to send out to cold contacts who he got from a list of blah blah blah… and who might want to blah blah blah…

It’s the eternal friend-clash in my head:

When I love someone and want to do the thing they’re requesting of me…

…but when the thing they’re requesting is not going to work no matter how great I edit or create a good angle for a cover letter.  (And in this case, it’s already printed and paid for.  The brochure has been made.  We’re now an Air Supply song away from being jettisoned back to the 1980’s.)

If you send out brochures, I’m betting you envision the life-span of your painstakingly produced 6-panel spread like this…

Step 1 – You tuck your brochure into the mailer, and send it out.

Step 2 – The contact receives the mailer and is instantly taken.  Flipping it over, she will think: “Beautiful!  What great colors and what a kind well-meaning look this person has in his eyes. I wonder what sort of work this nice human does and how he can help me?”

Step 3 – The contact will then read every single word on all six panels, working her way, line-by-line, down to the contact information. (Exactly as you planned it! Mwahahahahaha!)

Step 4 – She will make the phone call instantly – and you’ll get a new client, customer or gig.

Now, let’s consider a more likely scenario for your brochure…

Step 1 – The mailer hits the desk of your contact with a giant stack of other mail from people who also want things from her.

Step 2 –  Later in the day, when she has no energy for anything else, she starts to go through the stack. The phone rings.

Step 3 – Cradling the phone with her neck, she opens your mailer and stares at it while listening to her teenage son asking to go to a football game tonight with his friends.  (He’s forgotten that he promised to mow the freakin’ lawn this evening.)

Step 4 – She flips your brochure over while lecturing her son, feeling like a total mom-failure.   She tosses your brochure into an inbox beside her desk. No bandwidth right now.  Your well-meaning eyes are left staring at the ceiling as the shrill voice of a harried mom fills the room.

Step 5 – Three weeks later, your contact slacks her assistant asking for help with her office. There are too many decisions to make, and the clutter is killing her.  In the organizing efforts, the assistant looks at your brochure, flips it over and back. She tosses it into the trash, feeling mildly guilty for the wasted trees and the fact that you look like a pretty nice person.

Presentation vs Conversation

Here’s the #1 problem:  You think marketing is about presentation.

It’s not.

Marketing is about conversation.

A brochure is a presentation. It says, “Ta-dah! Here I am! Me me me me me!”  And, unless it is a part of a meticulously strategic campaign, it’s a waste of money.

You know this. I know this. And yet, you’re still caught in the Presentation Trap, ignoring strategy in favor of hope. You keep trying to  “get your name out there.”

Cut it out.  Let’s ditch the energy of “me me me me me.”  Your work is better than that.  Now that you’re great at what you do, let’s get you great at how you put it out there.

Here are 12 ideas to get you started…

  •  What if you spent a good solid hour a day for one week getting clarity on who this person is (the one who hires you/pays you)? Know her challenges, fears and dreams. Get to know her even better than she knows herself.
  •  What if you recorded a short video about a topic you’re an expert in and post it on your Facebook page?  Do this every week.  Take a popular misconception or question about what you do and distill it into a 3 minute video.
  •  What if you created a podcast about the issues that your ideal client or your industry deals with and position yourself as an expert?
  •  What if you started a contest on Facebook that captures the attention of the people who would normally be hiring you?
  •  What if you took the time to mine for and collect testimonials and success stories?  Get your peeps to talk about themselves and the impact you made on them.  (Video is best.)
  •  What if you became a LinkedIn publisher and posted shareable articles right there where your ideal client hangs out?
  •  What if you grabbed sections from that book you wrote two years ago and repurposed them into a cool little eBook to send to people for free?  (Don’t forget to add in a few of those testimonials you got.)
  •  What if your next talk is a specific topic that’s timely and relevant to the audience of that person who might hire you? (Like, “The New Practice of Inner Peace in Tumultuous Times.” Not, “Hey I’m a speaker and I’d love to come to your event/institution to do my thing.”)
  • What if you made sure you always articulate your clear call to action when it comes time for the ask?  Know exactly what you want your peeps to do. “Hey, I’m here. Contact me,” is about as compelling as the aforementioned Air Supply song.
  •  What if you searched the names of the “warmer” people on your cold list on Facebook to see what they post about, and what matters to them?   Then, find a way to genuinely connect with them on common ground. (Hey, they hike with their dog and kids on the weekends – and you have a pass to the one of the synchronous firefly events in the Smokies that you can’t use.  Send it to them!)  Be conversational.
  •  What if you took photos of you with the promoters/peeps you work with and post them on social media to build credibility and create a consistent stream of social proof?
  •  What if you created your own Facebook Group around your business? A place where others can find their tribe, ask questions, collaborate.  You build your authority in that niche as well as having access to potential clients.


I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of people start businesses from nothing, hit the $100K mark, and then go on to create empires.  There’s a moment that happens for each of them when they’ve worked with me for a few months. They’re shifting out of presentation and into conversation.

And the miraculous happens…

They get a client effortlessly. They are invited to do something they’ve been coveting forever.  Their response is always the same. A big long, “Oooooohhhhhhhhhh. I get it!”  The lightbulb flicks on – and they’re now addicted to being great marketers and conversation starters.  Marketing becomes a part of who they are, not something to present.

Now, it’s your turn. Any of these ideas look like something you could use?  Tell me…

The post Please, For the Love of God: Stop Making Brochures appeared first on Christine Kane's Blog.

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18 days ago
Very Good Advice.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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How to Design New Information Environments That Don’t Suck


Jorge Arango conjures Gall’s Law, the 40-year-old dictum of systems design that remains as relevant as ever:

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system.”  — John Gall

Every ambitious project launches amid a thicket of fears and grand hopes. The worst thing you can do is try to design for all those assumed outcomes (let alone the edge cases). Start with a sturdy but simple system and build from there as you learn. As Jorge writes, that’s the appeal (and necessity) of the MVP:

When the product is real and can be tested, it can (and should) evolve towards something more complex. But baking complexity into the first release is a costly mistake. (Note I didn’t say it “can be”. It’s guaranteed.)

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24 days ago
San Luis Obispo, CA
24 days ago
Louisville, KY
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Not Enough Readers, Fans, or Peeps: What To Do When Your Numbers are Embarrassingly Low

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Not Enough Readers, Fans, or Peeps

Every now and then, someone will complain to me about not enough people signing up for their event.

Or that they only have 47 registrants on their webinar.

Or only 13 people in their first program.

Recently, a doctor sent me his marketing sequence and wanted me to tell him (for free) how to get 35 more people to his very first day-long retreat next week. Only 9 had signed up so far and that was just embarrassing.

Here’s what I want to tell these people:

I want to tell them that the first time I launched an online program, 12 people paid me.

I also want to share that the first time I did a workshop, about 10 people came.

I want to remind them that my first webinars didn’t have even close to the thousands of participants like they do now.

But when I say these things, people look at me like I’m lying. Their eyes glaze over and they say things like, “Okay. But what should my next email say?”

So instead, I tell them about Jim.

You may not know this, but the first business I built was being a musician, making CD’s, touring and managing my own music career.

I met Jim at my very first show on my very first tour. I’d just been signed by an agent who got me actual paying gigs on college campuses. I was officially a professional musician.

I hit the road, drove two days and arrived on the campus of Jacksonville University an hour before my show time for my first big show.

There was a young woman waiting for me on the steps of the student center. She had a folder and a check. She walked me to the makeshift stage and waited robotically as I did a sound check. She double-checked about the start time and end time. She paid me. And she left. That was the last I saw of her.

After that, I sat in the student center waiting for the throngs to show up. It smelled like stale french fries.

The start time came. And there was exactly one person in the back of the room. The janitor.

I thought of a line I had just heard from The Bhagavad Gita. “Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.” The author of that line, I decided, had never sat in an empty student center faced with the prospect of playing her tunes for the janitor.

But I took a deep breath. And I got up. I told myself that this janitor was going to get a great show, even if he had to feel embarrassed for this pathetic person on stage.

During my first song, he was pushing a broom across the back of the room. By the time I began my third song, he sat down at one of the tables in the front of the room. Since he was my only audience, I started talking with him between songs.

His name was Jim. Jim was from Jacksonville his whole life. He worked odd jobs all over campus. I told him this was my first show on my first tour. That made him happy. He asked for a Fleetwood Mac song. I played it.

Jim did not seem embarrassed that there was no audience. So I kept playing, and he kept listening. When my show ended, exactly no one else had joined us. Jim bought my CD.

So, here’s the thing.

We think that businesses and careers are all about the one moment. The event with hundreds of people. The podcast that’ll make us famous. The big release that everyone raves about.

I went on to make 7 CD’s and a DVD that won a big award. I shared stages with stars like John Mayer, Nanci Griffith, the Beach Boys and Los Lobos. Two dance companies choreographed ballets to my music and took me on the road with them.

But no single event made me successful. Success, I learned, was showing up fully again and again, giving my heart and soul, learning, marketing and doing better each time.

When hardly anyone comes to your thing, whatever your thing is…my advice is the same. Get better at marketing. And then give the ones who show up the very best you have. You don’t have to fake it. But you do have to be there, talk to them and teach them as if they are the most important people in the world. Because they are.

And you never know how your energy and presence will ripple out into their lives and then back into yours.

Honestly, I didn’t think about Jim after that show…

…until a year or so later when I went back to Jacksonville for a CD release show at a coffeehouse.

Jim was there. He brought six people with him. He introduced me to each one of them, and we joked about the time he was the only one in my audience. His friends all bought both my CD’s.

After that, every time I played in Jacksonville, Jim was there with a new group of people who all bought CD’s.

Once he even came to another city and waited with his friends in a line of people to have me sign his CD. With a flourish, he told everyone around us about that night when it was just me and him. “Now look,” he smiled and let his hands sweep across the theatre lobby.

So I tell Jim’s story.

Because yes, it sucks when you’re building your business. It always seems to take slower than the internet gurus say it will. And even when you do have a big night or the best sales ever or a jillion comments – you still have to get back to work and keep doing your thing.

Whether your business is coaching, design, real estate, speaking, training, or writing, you won’t always get the numbers you want. Your ego will say bad things to you. Your ego will say, “Why should I even bother?”

My short answer to that question is something that my own puffy, grandiose, easily bruised ego had to learn over my years as a touring musician:

Keep doing your thing. Because no one is a janitor. And everyone is Jim.

The post Not Enough Readers, Fans, or Peeps: What To Do When Your Numbers are Embarrassingly Low appeared first on Christine Kane's Blog.

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44 days ago
1.) “Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward.”

2.) Give the ones who show up the very best you have.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away" covered by one person in the style of 20 different bands

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Anthony Vincent brings his "20 Different Styles" genius to the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away," as if it was performed by the Beastie Boys, Guns N' Roses, David Bowie, Naughty By Nature, Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, and many more.

Behind the scenes:

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50 days ago
that was fun.
San Luis Obispo, CA
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