The Million Dollar Tattoo

Learning how to turn ideas into action

Rand Fishkin: Inbound Marketing for Startups

http://hackersandfounders.tv/player/RDmt/

Rand Fishkin, one of the world’s top experts on online inbound marketing, and founder of SEOMoz.org talks about marketing for startups.

Why Entrepreneurship & Bodybuilding are the Same

This is definitely harder than I expected. And I’m loving every minute of it.

Setting a challenge for yourself – a goal that is exciting and difficult – is a beautiful thing. Does it hurt? Hell yes. Is it tough? Extremely. Do you want to quit sometimes? Absolutely. As both an amateur bodybuilder (no roids, just exercise) and an entrepreneur, the further I travel into each field the more I see the similarities between them – and they’re deeper than you might think.

It all starts with a goal.Build 5kg of muscle mass, make 100 sales, lift 100 kilograms, talk to 300 customers.

Once you’ve set the goals, you work out how to get there – is it a 4-day split? A pay-per-click campaign? FST-7? Word-of-mouth marketing?

Now – now, I’m in the middle of it. I’m lifting the weights. Right now I’ve got 240lbs on a steel bar and I’m desperately trying to push it above my chest. My body is straining, my heart is pumping and my muscles are screaming. This moment – this is the joy of bodybuilding, the real value in entrepreneurship. It’s not how much the bar weighs, it’s not whether you get snapped up by Google or cruise along with a lifestyle business.  In this moment you are testing your limits. What can you handle? How much pressure can you take? Are you going to give up, or push back with every fibre of your soul?

Like  they say, it’s not the destination – it’s the journey. And, in the process of building your dreams, of taking those steps towards the light in your mind’s eye, you are going to find out where your limits are.

Sometimes you will fail. The muscle fibres tear, the body breaks, the customer rejects you, the pitch flops. It hurts like hell You found a limit.

Then you grow.

And the next time you push even harder.

After a while, you find that weights you used to struggle to lift are your warm-ups. Revenue modelling, managing a team, customer liaison and development – like a hot knife through butter. You’ve grown stronger, bigger, more confident. What now?

Well – there’s always a heavier weight….

 

Running a Competition for Your Business

This is the first time that I’ve decided to run a competition for Best Clubs In, so in the past 6 hours I’ve learnt a couple of do’s and don’ts!. It’s about to go live, and it will be interesting to see the response, but here are a couple of pointers I’ve come across in the process:

1.) Write Terms and Conditions – boring as hell in general, but you can have a little fun with them, and they’re also really important. People will find loopholes, and you can damage your credibility and leave a bad taste in the mouths of your audience if you don’t do this right

2.) Know your goals / objectives – I don’t give away stuff for free. Neither should you. Why are you running the competition? What are your goals – do you want more traffic? Brand recognition? Retweets? Write down your goals and create the competition around them.

3.) Set a benchmark for success – 100 Retweets? 50? 2000? 50 extra likes on Facebook? 500 pageviews? Whatever your objectives are, you also need a benchmark for success. Set some solid metrics that create a line for success and failure.

4.) Work out the mechanics – It’s taken me a couple of hours just running through the possibilities of the comp, and trying to make sure the mechanics make sense. It needs to be easy to follow, yet you don’t want to make it so easy that it’s over in an hour. That’s a possibility with my competition, but part of the reason for running it is to also lay the groundwork for a sponsorship proposal, so it’s money well spent regardless.

I’ll update this with the results when a winner has been announced, hopefully I achieve my objectives and reach the success metrics….

 

 

Discouraged / Encouraged

It’s easy to become discouraged. The response is lacklustre, the views are low, traffic is disappointing. This is the point where the doubt begins to gnaw, when escape routes are considered. This is where you have to make a decision – are you in real danger, or are you just discouraged?

Dis – couraged. The lack of courage to follow through. Fact: it is not easy. If it was then everyone would do it. Spectacular results, big pay-days, reaching the summit – it all takes work. Lots of work. It also entails many points where your courage will be severely tested.

Acknowledge these moments. They are many, but they are fleeting. Look how far you’ve come, look how much you’ve already achieved. Once at the ground looking up, now hundreds of metres above sea-level. Swallow the moment, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to become encouraged once more.

Keep climbing.

How to Write a Sponsorship Proposal

Right now things are really picking up the pace with Best Clubs In. The site is live, traffic is picking up and there are a lot of opportunities being presented. Right now I’m in the midst of writing a sponsorship proposal for the launch of Best Clubs In…TV, and for those of you that are in the same position, I found a really useful resource online that can help you to list the benefits for your potential sponsors.

While watching the video below, they mentioned a list of ‘generic inventory’ – a checklist of every potential benefit that a company can offer (regardless of whether you sell a product or service). So, to get the list of generic inventory you can download it for free here: http://www.powersponsorship.com/free-stuff.html in Word format. Easy as pie and really helpful. In addition, they’ve put up a 10 minute primer on Sponsorship Proposal writing that can also assist your efforts.

Hope that helps you, and if you want to discuss proposal writing, contacting potential sponsors or anything else, leave a comment or some contact details and I’m more than happy to get back to you.

Great Advice from Stanley Kubrick

I came across this while reading Rework by the 37 Signals camp:

Stanley Kubrick gave this advice to aspiring filmmakers: “Get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all.” Kubrick knew that when you’re new at something, you need to start creating. The most important thing is to begin. So get a camera, hit Record, and start shooting.

Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it’s almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute.”

This is just great, straight-down-the-line advice. Just do it, because the idea you have before you start is very rarely what you’ll end up with.

Building a Business – Sprinting to the Starting Line

Something that I’ve learned over the past 6 months in creating http://www.bestclubsin.com is that creating a business – from idea, to plan, execution and launch – all of that is just the race to the starting line. The trick here is to sprint to this point as fast as possible, because when the website (or any kind of business, actually) is ready for public consumption, you are about to begin a marathon that will last for a few years.

Many people have the idea that building the foundations is where the hard work is required. That’s not at all true. It’s important to make sure that the foundation is strong, and for you to put in your best effort yet, when it’s finished, you still have to build on top of it. That’s where the challenge lies. Marketing, building trust with customers, establishing client relationships, improving and iterating – sometimes even pivoting – all of this is an ongoing process that does not stop until the business is sold, killed or abandoned.

So, now that I’ve reached the starting line, I’m ready for the long haul. It’s going to be a long race.