The Secret of The Sharks

Often, we hear founders and CEOs talk about what makes them successful. Most answers consist of hardwork, constant learning, networking, mentorship and willpower.   We say that as if it is holding them back from achieving something.  I disagree.  I think  that chips can hold people back but I’ve also seen it be the leading cause _________ in business

A couple month back, I heard Robert Herjevic and Daymon John from Shark Tank, speak at an event I was attending.  They recounted their rise to success.  For both of them it wasn’t pretty beginning. Failures, being fired and bank troubles marked their early years of entrepreneurship.  What kept them going?  Their troubles would have had lesser men running with their tails between their legs. What kept driving them forward?

Short Answer: Pain.

Robert Herjevic’s family immigrated from Croatia to Canada.  His family struggled to make ends meat and he recounted hating to see his family's financial situation. He remembers vowing to himself that he would do whatever it took to change his family's situation. He credits not passion but pain to be one of the greatest motivators in his career. 

Robert went onto create BRAK Systems, a Canadian integrator of Internet security software.  A decade later he sold his company for $30 million. He is now CEO of the Herjavec Group which is one of Canada's fastest growing tech companies.

Daymond John also came from humble beginnings.  Raised by a single mother in the poorer parts of New York, life wasn’t easy for him.  He harnessed his anger and pain into motivation for building his business.  

Daymond went on to create the very popular FUBU brand.  His Net worth is over $300 million and he continues to build companies by investing in great people. 

Pain is unfortunate but it can be one of your greatest assets.  Many entrepreneurs point to sources of pain as their launchpad to their current positions.  

Pain is real and we all have to deal with it at some time in our life. Let's use it to our advantage to build great things, help us stay focused and if we can, benefit others. 

If you are curious more about their stories then check out their books: Power Of Broke: Daymond JohnDriven: How to Succeed in Business and in Life: Robert Herjevic.

Tools For People Who Suck At Writing (Like Me)

I openly admit that I am not a good writer.  For some reason, the basics of grammar and sentence structure never made into my little elementary school brain.  Against my will, I have been forced to write emails and advertising copy all of my adult professional life. At the beginning of my career, I remember being so nervous to send an email because I knew I was inclined to send typos or grammatical errors in my emails. Sweating was a byproduct of the anxiety towards  I was so worried that I would mess up. I did mess up, and it sucked. 
Over time, I gathered tools and applications that helped me not suck so much. I figured I am not the only one who isn't the next Shakespeare.  I've compiled this quick list to help those of us who need a little help.

Grammarly

This tool is a godsend.  I want to kiss the feet of the founders of Grammarly because they have changed my life.  It's easily the most powerful tool on this list.  
Grammarly is the bigger, faster and stronger version of spellcheck.  It works in several capacities, but my favorite is the integration with Google Chrome.  It allows for everything written (social media, blogging, email, etc.) to be spellchecked real time.  It doesn't just spell check; it is a full-service writing-enhancement platform.  I almost put everything everything in Grammarly before I publish it or hit send. Go get Grammarly now...

Hemingway App

This app helps you cut out all the unneeded words.  It encourages you to write like Ernest Hemingway which is good because he knew a thing or two about writing.  Like Grammarly, it is a vocabulary-enhancement application but instead of focusing on grammar it helps users to simplify their writing. 

I have no idea when I am using adverbs excessively, but the Hemingway App does.  I find that this tool can help you simplify your communication on long emails, wordy blogs or even long form Ad copy.  This is a neat tool and it worth looking into. Check it out. 

 

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

Let's be honest, headlines matter.  It makes people click on your ad and open your emails. If like me, you get performance anxiety when needing to write a headline.  I overanalyze and then nothing happens.  Then I found Advanced Marketing Institutes tool, Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.  When you have a limit of 15 words, each words is very important.  This tools gives some great insight on your word choice and measure your Emotional Marketing Value (EMV).  This tool sends me back to thesaurus time and time again to see if I can find better words for my headlines.  I always try to shoot for 45% - 55% EMV score.  Use this tool to enhance your headlines.

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Is your writing less than spectacular? Do you use an online tool to enhance your skills?  Shoot it over to me please. I'm very interested in continuing to work on my skills. 

Thanks for reading! 

3 Motivational Speakers (That Inspire Hustle)

Speakers need to earn your attention.  

I've compiled a quick list of speakers who have earned mine. As business and entrepreneurial minded individual, I can’t thank these people enough. My mindset is that there is always opportunity to work harder, to be more effective and dig deeper into my own capabilities. These thought-leaders continually produce content that has pushed the limits in my own life.  I often get motivation from speakers and thought-provoking leaders like Brene Brown, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris but these people stand out above the rest.  

These are the speakers who get me hype and inspire me to hustle.

Do yourself a favor and check these speakers out.

Eric Thomas

E.T. is an absolute motivational powerhouse. He comes out Detroit, MI and that #DetroitHustle is very evident.  He has that blue-collar ironclad go-getter attitude that can only come from one of America's greatest cities.

You can hear his wisdom echoed from high school locker rooms, board rooms and incubators across the world. If every in need of motivation then you must take the time to listen him.  

Favorite Quote: "Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day, or even a year, but eventually it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever." - Eric Thomas

 

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is an irreverent entrepreneur from New Jersey who built his parents wine business from 4 million to 60 million in his first couple years out of college.  He is now the CEO of Vaynermedia, startup investor and an author of some of my favorite books.
He is also a renown speaker who travels all over the world challenging business-minded individuals on their work ethic, cultural norms and marketing practices.  If you are a business owner or an entrepreneur, you should be following this guy on social media.

Now...  

Seriously, It's worth it.

Also, do yourself a favor and check out his videos on Youtube titled "DailyVee".  

Favorite Quote: "Skills are cheap.  Passion is priceless" -Gary Vanerchuk

Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is one of the current thought-leaders on the topic of leadership.  He is challenging baby boomers to millennials on how leadership in business should look.  
He was put on the map by his famous 2009 TED Talk labeled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”.  He is now a traveling speaker and has written several books in which I encourage you to read.  You’ll want to check him out and if you have the chance to hear him speak, don't pass it up.  You'll walk away inspired to reach for new heights. 
The hustlers of today should be the leaders of tomorrow.  If you are looking to polish up on your leadership skills, Simon is a great place to start.

Favorite Quote: "A leader's job is not to do the work for others, it's to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible." - Simon Sinek

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Any other speakers you listen to that I should be made aware of?  

Please share in the comments below.

3 Things Nonprofits Need To Grow Donor Base

It's a tough life for a nonprofit. It is a constant balancing act between fighting to keep the current donor base engaged while continuously attempting to acquire new donor loyalty.  Here are a couple suggestions on how to make nonprofit life a little easier from the mind of a marketer.

1. Consider your Brand

The very best brands have unified their message, visual appearance, and voice.  If we examine some of the largest brands in the world such as Google, Nike, or Apple, we see that every consumer interaction has a similar look and feel. 

Cohesiveness is an essential piece of building a strong brand. Be attentive and consistent in your design.  Wherever you have donor touch points, make sure you are using the same style of design and color scheme.  Social media, website, email and print should all be unified in look and feel.

2. Use Content Marketing

Raising awareness for nonprofits can be drastically different than for-profits. In the realm of nonprofits, the goal is to strike a chord on the heartstrings of new potential donors while continuing to engage and value your current donor base. That is where content marketing comes in.

Quickly becoming the preferred marketing method for nonprofits and for-profits alike, content marketing is all about attracting, acquiring and engaging a specified target audience in order to produce profitable results.  With a plethora of reasons content marketing is the answer for engaging your current and potential donor base, it's worth looking into.

3. Be Social

It's no secret that many nonprofits are struggling to capture the attention of millennials. With direct mail being seen as a nuisance to younger generations, there is a great need to get creative. Nonprofits need to send their message to places where millennials "hang out" online.

Unless you were living under a rock, you remember the explosive success of the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge." Social Media has quickly become the leader of shareable content, and it's not going away anytime soon. Once your content strategy is in place, define your social strategy and how you are going to capture your audience via Facebook, Twitter, etc.

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In the wide world of nonprofits, it's important to start thinking about how you will capture the millennials and the generations that come after them.  The once successful strategies for boomers aren't going to produce the same results with the younger generations.  It's time to look to technology and how it can help engage and create a thriving community of donors.