+

4 ways to create and manage relationships in business

It doesn’t matter what type of business or industry you are in. In order to be successful, you will need to be able to create and manage relationships with all of your various partners.

Here are some ways to make the most of that effort:

1 – Take a chance … and show up
You’ve heard it before and it’s worth me saying. Half of everything is simply showing up. We all get nervous, excited, bored, comfortable (the list goes on) and it’s easy to sit idle because of any one of those. Those who are successful in meeting new people understand that in order to do so, you have to attend the party, go to the networking event, wander into the bar at the hotel, etc. Nothing ever comes from doing…well nothing.

There’s a line in the movie, “The American President,” where the President is dancing with his date at a State Dinner. His date comments that people are going to wonder who this lady is and why she was there. The President responds by saying her name and that she is there simply because she said yes. I always liked that.

lead_960

Said scene from the movie, “The American President.”

2 – Break the ice … and establish even ground
… so now that you’ve met a potential partner, it’s imperative you break the ice. Introverts have a high disdain for small talk and extroverts thrive on it, so strike a balance, because it serves a purpose. Meeting people or entering into a relationship of any kind is naturally a little uncomfortable at first. Small talk calms those nerves and gives people a chance to relax before diving headfirst into business… and for the introvert in all of us, it doesn’t have to be endless. Just enough to get the conversation flowing.

Furthermore, at times, an inability to do this can create a perception either by yourself or from the other person that you’re above the other in some way. Most of us aren’t celebrities, executives or politicians (yet) and if people are viewing you this way, whether it’s awe, disdain or something in between it’s going to prevent you from being able to connect… and one of you is bound to end up very uncomfortable. No one wants to be studied or stared at from across the room with no chance for a connection.

I found honesty works best. Stating your intentions or that you are indeed a little nervous or dealing with some travel fatigue or bringing up a past failure (and how you want to overcome it), etc. is usually enough to get started. Anything that will make you relatable in some way. It also establishes how the two entities can work together, as either person is going to be able to identify how they can help and what role they will play.

3 – Do the things you say you will do
Once the relationship begins, it’s time to maintain and enhance it. A big part of that (like any relationship) is built on trust. You don’t have to be perfect and you can make mistakes… as long as you keep your commitments. If you said you will do something for someone or a business, you must do that and eventually arrive at an end goal. That comes in the form of regular check ins, status updates, honest assessments of the status of the relationship/project/business. I’ve heard lots of stories about successful sales people being more than just a partner … they become trusted confidants. People who are called in the middle of the night for emergencies, who are invited to celebrate milestones, to vent, etc. That doesn’t happen by accident. It’s earned and treated with the highest regard… and if’s it not present, the relationship will likely not last.

I’m partly stealing this from the current CEO of the company I work for, but I’m amazed at the level of people who just don’t respond to partners and potential partners. In many cases, the company that wins the work is simply the one who responded and gave said company what they actually asked for. I know it sounds so obvious, but take a deeper look at how much this truly happens at your company.

4 – Don’t agonize over the rejection … and leave those people/companies alone.
Easier said than done. In all aspects of my life, I’ve dealt with rejection… and I truly hate it. I’ve been ignored, yelled at, whispered about and flat out told I’ve made people uncomfortable. I’ve talked about in the past that to put so much thought and effort into something and then not have it pan out, well, hurts.

I’m not telling you this in order to throw a pity party, but rather to overcome it. The only reason I’ve been successful in certain endeavors is because I’ve failed at them at one time… and it’s great fuel. If you spend your time agonizing over what didn’t happen, you’ll miss new opportunities to hone the first 3 skills in this blog. Sticking with the Politics theme, President Bill Clinton once spoke about how people have as many chances as they are willing to take. It’s not a one and done thing.

It’s also important to know when someone just flat out isn’t interested. It can be hard to know the mix between being persistent and just annoying. My general rule of thumb is to cease communication after reaching out 3 times with no response. We’ve all been on both sides of this… and it doesn’t make either party bad or evil … so stop wasting your time and energy.


So there you have it. As Digital Technology continues to change the way we interact, I think it’s important to remember that it shouldn’t replace humans…it should enhance our ability to connect with others. Try some of the above. I think you’ll find it rewarding.

Until next time.

+

…Cheerio, Mate. 10 things I realized over the past 10 days in London

I had the good fortune to be sent to London for 10 days by my place of employment… and I must say. I had a wonderful time.

Between all the travel and mix of client pitches and onsite work, I had some time to ponder & appreciate what I was experiencing. I may or may not be exaggerating pieces of it..you’ll have to decide for yourself 😉

The soundtrack this time around? “Everything Now,” by Arcade Fire…



1 – Yep. The actual travel part still sucks.

I left on a Wednesday morning. It took 1.5 hours to get to Chicago O’Hare. I wanted to ensure I had ample time to get through security, so I got there three hours early. After making it through, I had 2.5 hours before my flight to walk around the terminal. By the time my plane took off, it was approximately 4:00 pm with a 7 hour journey ahead of me towards Dublin. Did I sleep? Of course not. Landed in Dublin at 5 am local time. A 2 hour layover before hopping another plane to London Heathrow, this time 1 hour.

Finally arrived in London a little past 8 am local time, but I wasn’t done yet. I hopped a train (It was only 15 minutes) to the nearest underground, and then took that for 30 minutes into the city of London and headed to the office. By now it was almost 10:30 am and I felt like a zombie. Good thing I had a full day ahead of me. Speaking of which…

2 – The Human Body really is amazing.
I made sure to eat regular meals and drink lots of fluids during what I described above, but one thing just wasn’t available. Sleep for 24 hours. I was warned by my colleagues (and mentally prepared myself as best I could) that the first day would be rough and just something I’d have to get through. I suppose on one hand, it’s scary how fragile we actually are. One night without sleep and I felt sluggish, foggy and may have been battling some slight vertigo. Nevertheless I made it through the day, which I found funny and fascinating. When I was around my colleagues, I wondered if they could tell how tired I was. Then I’d get pulled into a quick demo or client pitch and I’d get a burst of energy. I did this pretty much all day.

IMG_8204

One of the offices I worked in..

Before I left my workplace that evening, I said goodbye to my London colleagues and headed down the elevator to head to the hotel. I didn’t realize it until I walked out of the building that I left my backpack and the rest of my luggage in their office. Yeah, it was time to shut the engines down… I think the total log time was 35 hours. My head hit the pillow around 8 pm and I think it only took about 35 seconds before I was out cold…

3 – London isn’t really known for it’s food
I chatted off and on with friends and family when I was over…and they all wanted to know what kinds of foods I was eating. I never had a good answer, but when I asked one of my work colleagues, they replied that the city wasn’t known specifically for any one food, it was more of an international city. On one hand, I could have anything I wanted. On the other hand, there wasn’t anything special that I could ONLY get in London. I did enjoy the English breakfasts every morning, though (poached eggs, white toast, blood sausage, bacon and baked beans).

4 – Rain isn’t really a big deal
It rained almost every day I was there. On a few of those days, I was accompanied by colleagues … and at first I was like, “We’re walking over there in this weather?” I would get the same emotionless look and a reply of, “Yeah, Mate. It rains a lot. What can you do?” and then they’d be off.. They were right. I got used to being a little wet right before meetings.

5 – Apparently I’m from the moon…
I had an opportunity to spend three days onsite with a client and they were nice enough to bring in food for lunch each day. I picked at the sandwiches and fruit, but admittedly so, I was more focused on presenting and delivering value than I was with eating. At one point, one of the ladies asked me if I’d ever had pie before? Another one of the ladies shot back quickly, “Of course he has! He’s not from the moon!..” The look I gave very much affirmed that…or so we thought. I said, “Yes. Yes I’ve had pie before….” and put one on my plate. I wish I could have seen the look on my face when I bit into it and came up with a mouth full of meat. I was expecting dessert. We all got quite a laugh out of it.

Just afterwards, I was offered tea with milk (which isn’t that weird) but I was a little cautious about it. I had some, of course and everyday after one of the ladies would bring me a cup at approximately the same time… It was very enjoyable. Although…

6 – I take black coffee for granted
So the Brits love their tea…and we Americans love our coffee. I wish you luck over there… it was all expresso’s, flat whites, americano’s, cappuccinos, etc. I’m used to slowly sipping on my black coffee through the mid morning, not a shot of 150 mgs of caffeine all at once.

7 – Politics…was still just politics
Per usual, I’ll leave out my own personal beliefs, but I found it interesting how much the landscape was the same. Instead of reading a bunch of negative daily yahoo articles or newspapers about US leaders, I got used to reading a bunch of negative daily yahoo or newspaper articles about UK leaders. I found it slightly comforting and discouraging all at the same time… I guess you don’t get into politics if you want to be loved …

8 – Speaking English didn’t guarantee people understood me…nor I them.
So the Queen’s English is really a thing. I found it fascinating that multiple times a day, I would have to ask someone to repeat what they said to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t hear them, or understand the words…I just had no idea what they were asking. For any of my colleagues or clients that are reading this, you were all great, but I’d order food, or ask someone a question on the underground, or be in a cab, etc… and yeah. A few times we both just finally nodded our heads, smiled or gave a thumbs up and then stopped talking…

9 – The public transportation is amazing.
I’m sure New York City rivals it (and Chicago is pretty good, too) but I was heavily impressed by London’s public transportation. While I was a bit nervous taking the underground at first and figuring out the directions and changeovers, once I did I was unstoppable. I would take it multiple times a day to all different parts of the city without much concern of getting home. I felt pretty good about that.

IMG_8220

My final underground ride (this time anyway) to the airport..

10 – Apparently I look suspicious.
On my way home, I did more of the same travel routine. Hotel > Underground > Train > Train was out so I had to take a cab to Heathrow > Dublin > Chicago > Milwaukee. Needless to say, it was just something I was trying to get through. I knew it wasn’t going to be enjoyable. To add to that, though, right before I got on my flight to Chicago, I was asked by the gate to get out of line, where I was escorted back to security (where I’d just came from) for a full pat down and inspection of my luggage. I likely didn’t help matters because I was less than enthused and had been up since 4:30 am. I cooperated but continued to have a scowl on my face while they looked through my dirty laundry and patted me down. They brought me back to the plane and told me to have a nice flight. I forced a smile their way and walked to my seat… I couldn’t wait to get home. Either that or I was just randomly selected 😉


So there you have it. I’ve written in the past about the Euphoria associated with doing things that make you uncomfortable (and succeeding anyway) or just shaking up your normal routine. Walking back into my home in Milwaukee yesterday, that feeling was all mine.

Until next time…

+

First impressions mean everything… but they should mean nothing

You’ve heard the phrase before. First impressions mean everything. That’s a shame, because as human beings, the only thing that mode of operation can do is halt opportunity and prevent people from getting to know each other.

The best business Executives know that consistency is what determines one’s worth. Whether that be a product, a service, an organization..or a person. Doing something repeatedly a certain way, for better or worse, is what creates a reputation.

…and I really like the idea of this and I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. We’ve heard about someone. We’re intrigued by someone. Impressed by their accomplishments or certain abilities or like the way they look, etc… and then we meet these people and they are nothing like what we imagined. The book is closed before making it through the first chapter.

There is something to be said about expectations, too.  As humans, if someone thinks you’re at the top of the mountain, they are going to easily be let down when they see you’re just a regular person.  Alternatively, if expectations are low, it will be easier to impress upon someone.

…and I’m not suggesting not to have a first impression (and it’s inevitable I suppose), I’m suggesting to collect a series of impressions. As someone who loves the MB Type Indicator, I understand that many people make decisions based on gut feels (I’m one of them), but I don’t care how many other blogs I’ve read about the different types. None of us are true mystics or wizards, we just make decisions based on how something made us feel or what made sense to us at the time.

Point being, gut feels can be wrong and people’s feelings/thoughts change upon each interaction. I tell many of my clients that the secret to successful project implementations is a willingness to take chances on a strategy. We need to be able to get started, and that is often by wondering what’s possible and committing to giving something a firm try for a certain time frame. We’re going to see initial success, initial failure, periods that are stagnant, etc. We’re going to question everything we do and at times feel like we’re hanging in Limbo. We’re not going to know if we’re successful, though, until we learn more about ourselves and the project…and that takes time and consistency. I’m amazed at the amount of companies I come across who try one thing, have a quick, single failure…and then BOOM. Never again!  Get back on the horse!

The same thing happens with people. Someone doesn’t say hi the right way, or talks too much at first, or not enough, is having a bad day, etc and right away a negative perception is formed. I’m amazed at how many people don’t give things a chance based on that or just one interaction. Jobs, friendships, relationships, project teams, etc all don’t move forward because of a person’s hunch based on a single interaction.

I also find it interesting all of the chatter about people and projects. Adding some complexity to this topic, I’ve come across people with negative reputations among certain groups, only to spend time with them and then come away with a really great experience. In other cases, I’ve walked away saying, “Well I guess I was warned..” The flip side applies here, too.

…which leads me to manipulation. Sometimes when someone says hi the right way, talks the perfect amount, or just makes everything seem too good to be true, it can be cause for concern (still other times that person could just be really, really polished and able to back up their talk.) You could find yourself in a miserable situation later down the line, but hey, it sounded good at the (one) time, right?

In all of these cases, though, how will you truly know based on ONE impression?

You won’t. A willingness to take chances on all of these opportunities and hanging on for the long haul is where the true magic lies. In my experience, the majority of my best friendships came from either college or being colleagues (and the projects we were on). We were more or less forced to get to know each other over a series of time. In different scenarios our true colors surfaced whether we wanted them to or not. If I were to go back on all of the people I consider friends or projects that were a success, I know a lot of my first impressions were flat wrong (and some of the ones with good first impressions were cut loose).

I’m also not suggesting people’s first impressions are always wrong. I know that some people exist who are just really great judges of character (but would anyone actually ever say that about them-self?). In conclusion, my main point is that you should confirm based on calculated risks, a time frame and taking the chance!

Coming full circle, that person you’re intrigued about from my above example? Forget their first impression and spend time working with them (or just with them). After awhile, I bet you’ll begin to see why they have the reputation you’ve heard about…could turn into a great story!

+

5 Tips to help you pick a Career Mentor

The best part about your career is the fact that it can be a journey.

It can include multiple chapters in the book of you. Some good, some bad, some in between. I’ve written in the past about the idea that this journey is just a race with yourself. Figure out where you are, decide where you want to be and then chart out your course.

… but wherever you are, someone has been there before and can be a great help to you as you climb your way forward. Here’s a few tips to consider when picking a mentor:

1 – DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
What job do you want? What kind of company do you want to work for? Do you want to be a leader of people/process or a role player? There’s no wrong answer and people of all types are needed.

In the early 2000s, during the Los Angeles Lakers three-peat championship streak, Robert Horry was the perennial role player. Barely averaging 8 points per game, he regular came in and sank three pointers to tie up or win games. While he wasn’t Shaq or Kobe, he was essential to the Laker’s ability to win games… he has a total of seven championship rings, more than both of those other players mentioned…

Knowing what kind of role you want to play will help you identify the person that can help you. If you want to be a CEO, you probably won’t pick a Sales Account Manager to emulate or show you the ropes. Likewise, if your goal is to have a long career in sales, you’re not going to pick someone from top leadership or an accounting function…

HA Horry Buzzer Beater

2 – FIGURE OUT WHO YOU TRULY ARE
I also write a lot about personality types (I’m particularly interested in feeling versus thinking functions). Are you a people person? I’m not talking extrovert or introvert, I’m talking emotion. Do you want to understand people? Do you want to lead a department? Do you want to be inspiring and the one that takes care of everyone? Are you a subjective person?

Take the test: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

Or do you want to focus on process? Do you want to help a company be lean and help plan out all of the operations? Do you want to be involved in numbers and making sure the balance sheet..well, balances? Are you an objective person?

Point being people often sway one way or the other. They either make decisions based on how they think it will make someone feel (the immediate needs of one is the most important thing)… or what makes logical sense (the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few). Using extreme cases, if you are more an emotional person but pick someone who is all about process, that person probably isn’t going to give you relevant feedback, nor understand exactly what it is you’re after. Vice versa, if you’re looking to implement a new process and pick someone who wants to just make people feel good all the time, you’re also going to be frustrated as that person is going to have a completely different point of view on your situation.

3 – BE CAUTIOUS OF LOUD MOUTHS
In a world that is increasingly louder by the minute, talk truly is cheap. Be weary of people who boast about their accomplishments. Many people align themselves with successful people and ride their coat tails. Personally, I think it’s fine to talk about accomplishments…but in the right situation, so just know what to look for.

For example, avoid the people who are around the water cooler talking about how they implemented this & that, how important they are, how great of a sales person they are, etc etc. That and the ones who go cubicle to cubicle talking about how busy they are rather than just doing their work. If you start to follow a person like this, it will often be too late by the time you’ve figured it out. You’ll have created a perception (and gained a new reputation) that you’re cut from a similar cloth.

Alternatively, if someone is in a 1-1 situation where they either have to give a presentation, sales pitch or talk about their qualifications, look for the detail. The people from above likely won’t have much to say, but the people who are tried and true will shine with detail.

Look for the person that is a little more on the humble side whose name seems to come up time and time again when certain projects/initiatives/work is mentioned. I’ve found the people who are the most successful are less likely to talk about their accomplishments because they know that 1) current success doesn’t guarantee continued success and 2) they are too busy working on their next goal to brag about their past.

4 – MAKE SURE THERE IS INTEREST ON BOTH ENDS
Just like the dating world, just because you’ve decided you like someone, doesn’t mean they will like you, nor does it mean they want you after them… and that’s okay. Sticking with the dating theme, there are plenty of other fish in the mentor sea..

It doesn’t have to be a formal request, either, but take the soft approach. Next time you see them (e-mails work great, too), compliment them on something they’ve done or are working on. Let them know you’d like to do similar things in your career and would love to work with them or get their thoughts/feedback sometime. Leave it that and see what happens. In many cases, I think you’ll find you’ve been recommended to be on a project team, asked to tag along on a sales call, invited to a meeting, etc.

When I was starting out, I selected someone I admired and just assumed he would teach me everything because I was so interested in him. He had someone else in mind he wanted to bring up through the ropes. I became more of an annoyance than anything and I caused a lot of frustration on both ends (This is not a knock on this person, either.  He’s an incredibly polished Executive who I still learned a lot from). At the same time, there were other individuals that were willing to help (and in many cases did), but I focused instead on what I couldn’t have. I was the one in the wrong, but infatuation exists on all sorts of levels. Make sure to check yours at the door.

5 – KNOW THAT YOUR MENTOR CAN (and likely will) CHANGE
You will likely find yourself in different functions, industries and levels as your career progresses… and you’ll come across different people & experiences in all of those scenarios.

Chances are the person who helped grow you early in your career won’t be the person that helps you finish your career, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still work together or stay in touch. As you climb the ranks, you may find you’ve moved ahead of your current mentor or decide you will go a different route…and in some cases, you might just disagree with them. Still further, you might not have access to certain mentors until you reach certain levels, which will require some shifts. All of those are good things in the long run and the more open you can be with yourself and others, the more friends you’ll find you have. I think that makes being in business and having a career all the more worthwhile…

In conclusion, George Clooney said, “Where I come from, you figure out what you want to do in your 20’s, get good at it in your 30’s, make your mark in your 40’s and 50’s and give back whatever you can in your 60’s.” Don’t forget to be a mentor yourself when the time comes..

Sign up for my updates.

+

The Head and the Heart … in Business Relationships

The best business relationships focus on two functions:

1) The processes that help the business run seamlessly, both internally for it’s employee’s sake…and externally for their customer’s sake.

2) People. At first glance, that likely seems obvious, but it’s what you do with them and how you make them feel. Fostering an environment that people WANT to be in… and can thrive in. Many times, the processes put in place have a direct effect on this.

Most people have a tendency to lean one way or the other. They are either really good at setting up processes…or really good with people.

The best executives can do both.

That’s where I want to live and I wanted to share my thoughts & experiences as I continue to work my way towards being able to do both of those functions really well.

THE HEAD
I’ve written in the past about the importance of spending time alone (and enjoying it). This is a time for reflection. A time for analyzing past experiences and planning for new ones. Why did something happen? What do I need to do in order to be ready for tomorrow’s call? What will happen because of X and how it will affect the next X years, etc. etc. It’s largely NOT about being in the present. You’re either looking backwards or forwards. At first, this may not be an enjoyable place to be, as it will be just you and your thoughts…and trust me, those thoughts can go in any direction real quick and can be hard to shut off. The caveat? It’s a safe zone. You can write down plans, give a presentation in front of the mirror, write a nasty letter to someone who will never receive it, etc.

Eisenhower DD

During WW2, General Eisenhower was in charge of the Normandy Invasion.  He was highly skilled in planning operations.  It was him who led the planning/process.

This is important. If you look at the US military, they train and train and train as if they are at war at all times. We’re going to do the same thing. There is always a presentation to be ready for. There is always a client to sell. There is always a person who needs help. Anticipating and being ready for that is all about process.

THE HEART
At the same time, we need to be able to act on these thoughts and processes. This is all about being in the present. What’s the point of all those thoughts if you aren’t going to share them or try to enact them throughout an organization?.. and it’s heavily focused on people. The presentation you prepared for is for an audience. The sales process you outlined is to help sales people sell better. The pitch you outlined is for a company to use your product or service. This is not the time for thought. It’s the time for engagement. We need to make the people on the other end of these processes feel good or move forward in some way.

The caveat here? The safe zone is gone. We’re in real time, baby!.. and anything can happen! This is the time for wearing it all on your sleeve and improvising.

George Marshall.JPEG

On the flip side, Chief of Staff of the Army, George Marshall was highly skilled at inspiring others.  He also did little things like insist soldiers had candy bars and coffee to keep their morale high as they crossed behind enemy lines.

What’s interesting to me about this, is if you want the best responses, you need to be ready…and that comes from the head. Without both of these functions, you’ll just be in front of a group of people bumbling nonsense. I think this is one reason why a lot of sales people fail or never make it as a true manager of relationships…

SOME EXAMPLES
I’ll share two examples from my experience that has helped me grow in these areas.

A trip to Brazil
A few years ago, I was in Brazil for a sales training session regarding salesforce.com. I had planned the presentation. I had run through the entire process, at work, at home, in coffee shops and on the plane. I had my passport ready. I had timed out the length it would take me to get to the airport, park my car, get through security. What I would do on the airplane. I told myself to be ready for something to go wrong (and wondered what that might be) I ran through it 25+ times. The night before I left, there was nothing to do but wait, and I tossed and turned with anxiety wondering about everything that could go wrong. The alarm went off at 6 am, I got up, showered and grabbed my suitcase and was out the door. My head was turned off and it was all heart from there. Was I nervous about going to another country? Yes. Was I nervous about the 11 hour flight? Yes. Was I nervous the sales training would go bad and I’d suffer the repurcussions with my boss? Yes. None of that mattered anymore, though, as I had a job to do and I’d never have answers to these questions if I didn’t execute all my planning in the present.

I remember getting off the plane and being exhausted. I was in the Sao Paulo airport with a coworker from Mexico. No one looked or talked like me. We hailed a taxi to take us 2 hours inland. The culture shock was real. I didn’t know this place, nor did it know me. I could barely keep my eyes open. We got to the office and no one spoke English… and they were eager to begin. I hadn’t planned on giving the presentation that day, nor did I have a translator. Didn’t matter, it was Go time. We setup the projector and my coworker helped me translate the presentation. Suddenly a burst of energy overcame me. Everything went pretty well.

If I’d stopped to think about any of the things that were happening, who knows what would have happened. Being uncomfortable in an unknown land. Not being ready for translation. Being too tired to function. My head could have taken over and told me all of the things I couldn’t do. But I blocked it out. I had prepared everything and was determined to follow through. I did.

Every Presentation I’ve ever given
I enjoy public speaking and giving presentations. I receive lots of compliments on my ability to do so. Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m a natural, like I just love talking and being around people all the time. Truth be told, the only reason I’m good at giving presentations is because I prepare for all of them extensively.

The first step is outlining what I’m going to talk about. I then run through it 10+ times to make sure it’s flowing, telling a story and relevant to the audience. I then find an individual I admire and study one of their speeches. How they move. How they say certain words. When they pause. What they do when they make a mistake. I then try to incorporate some of that in my prep. This is the safe zone and all in my head. I can make as many tweaks as I want and mess up as many times as I want. I can hit the rewind button when something seems off or push fast forward when I think I’ve nailed it. Finally, I wonder what questions people will have for me and prepare answers for them.

When it comes time to actually give the presentation, I’m always nervous. There have been a few times right before I’ve gone on stage or been set to deliver where I’ve wished I could run the other way or just cancel the whole thing… and then something happens. About 5 seconds before it’s my time to deliver, everything slows down. There is a calming sensation. It’s me accepting that everything can either go really well..or terribly wrong and I’ll never know if I don’t go and deliver.

Rarely has a speech or presentation of mine ever gone exactly as planned. When you’re in front of an audience, there is no thought. It’s all delivery. It’s all heart. Sometimes things are out of order or don’t come out perfect, but because I’ve planned for it, I know what to do if a word comes out wrong, or I need to poke fun at myself, or restart a piece of it. It’s just me on a stage being a real person. When the questions come at the end, even if they aren’t quite what I expected, I can usually re purpose an answer from my prep. Do that a few times and then saying, “I’m not sure, but I can find out,” gives you enough credibility for future engagement.

What I find interesting about this is that occasionally I’m called on to give an answer or fill in for someone with no time to prepare. Usually I barf up an answer or bumble my through something that makes no sense.

So there you have it. Coming full circle, if you can work on both of these functions and incorporate them into your business roles…I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people take notice.

+

…and like that it’s over. 10 things I realized over the past 7 months as an entrepreneur.

For anyone who has been following my stint as an entrepreneur, I wanted to update the world one last time. I’ve decided to join Canpango, a Salesforce and Marketing Automation company located in Milwaukee, WI… and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel like I owe some kind of explanation, though, after my last posts.

I realized the happiest moments of my career/life have been centered around helping people, mostly on a 1-1 basis. Whether it was supporting sales, leading projects that excited colleagues, or training on new processes/technology… that’s what all my thoughts & conversations always go back to – moving people forward in different ways. Hopefully, those 1-1 instances add up and are either paid in advance or emulated by others, enabling the masses.

The end goal from a business standpoint is to be a Chief Executive Officer, stewarding the people, vision and assets of a major company/organization. I’m realizing as I get older just how much more experience I will need to have a chance at being successful in that. I will need to further understand people (and not assume I know). What they want and why. To understand situations. To not buckle under some unforeseen pressure. To trust people. To respect them. I’ll need failures & frustrations. I’ll need successes & euphoria. I’ll need experiences with other job functions that are outside my comfort zone. Perhaps most of all, I will need people to teach me. To have faith in me. To trust me.

^ Those were all things I was getting before I became an entrepreneur… I also feel I have a certain skill in Digital Marketing at the moment that should be utilized to it’s maximum. I can make these Marketing Automation platforms sing … and am really looking forward to the opportunity ahead of me.

… but I firmly believe entrepreneurship has helped me, because it taught me so much more about myself. Here’s what I learned over the past seven months. Take it with a grain of salt, as it’s very subjective and only meant to be a window into my personal career journey for anyone who is contemplating making similar moves. I’ll warn you it’s contradictory at times (My hunch is that listening to David Bowie’s, ‘Cat People,’ while writing had something to do with this).

1 – I WAS ALONE, BUT NOT LONELY.
When I first made the leap, I knew I’d be working from home and on my own for awhile. I’ve always enjoyed time to myself, so I wasn’t too concerned, but everything has it’s limits. What I found interesting was that being alone wasn’t so much a problem. The problem was how much I enjoyed being alone. I didn’t think about it at first, but I’d spend pretty much all week by myself…and I was fine. It wasn’t until I realized that I was getting a little anxious (I’m fine, really) at times before I’d have to go out and be social that I wondered if maybe I was spending too much time on my own.

FullSizeRender (4)

Where some of the magic happened.

The solution? I quickly learned I needed to stick to a strong routine. Up before 7 am every morning, shower, big breakfast, move through the To Do List, exercise, bedtime at a consistent time, etc… analyze if you must, but get MOVING! I also began to incorporate social activities (luckily I’ve got the best friends and family) on a regular basis. Keeping a schedule actually helped keep me ambitious… An object in motion stays in motion and as I said, I want to help people. You need to be around in order to do that..

2 – I CONFIRMED I WAS THE REAL DEAL.
I’ve been in the private sector. I’ve been in the consulting world. I’ve been in the agency world. I always had a reputation as a polite, smart and hardworking individual that could give a commanding presentation, but was my success because of that… or because of other people? I could write an entire blog on everyone in my career that have helped me and instilled their knowledge/wisdom (or at least tried to…).

This was on my mind, though. In this case, I had no one else to blame, praise, question, etc. about what was working and what was not. It was all on me. Well, as I wrote last time, I not only established my business, but I secured five clients … and we did good work together. I feel like some of the relationships I developed were on par with similar ones I’ve helped cultivate in the past. I’m very proud of that.

3 – AND GOT BACK IN TOUCH WITH WHO I ALWAYS WAS..
I found it’s easy to be defined by others and to forget our true passions. Once perceptions are created they are hard to break. Tides go in and out, but in random order, I’ve been told I’m too nice. I’ve been told I lack empathy. I’ve been told I talk too much. I’ve been told I’m too quiet. I’ve been praised as an excellent listener. I’ve been told I don’t listen at all. I’ve been told to own the things I’ve earned. I’ve been told I act entitled. I’ve been pegged as “just a sales guy”. I’ve been pegged as “just a technical guy”. I’ve been pegged as “just a creative”. I’ve been told I’m too detailed. I’ve been told I lack attention to details. I’ve been told I don’t know how to take care of others. I’ve been highly recommended as someone who looks out for the best interests of others. I’ve been told I’m not a writer. I’ve been told I’m a great writer and to write more. I’ve been complimented on how much I’ve made people feel at ease. I’ve been told I make others uncomfortable and can be downright terrifying. The list goes on… but it all led to confusion and some restless nights.

I talk about how I want coaching, feedback and advice. I’m very grateful I received some, but what was I going to do with it?..and what goal would I apply it to? I had to accept (and did) that in different situations all of the above were true (and in some cases on purpose). Then I began to wonder how much I wanted to smooth off my rougher edges, as individual instances will not define me. I will be defined by what I accomplish… and I suppose that takes time, more effort..and just being a human (or not trying to be so perfect). My point is that I realized people were always at the center of what I wanted to do and it was great to see that naturally come back out. When I think back on all the things I’ve been involved in, there was always a person or group of people at the end of the scenario. It feels silly to type, but sometimes it can be hard to do (and easy to forget) what you want to do.

… and then I began to sleep again.

4 – ..WHICH TURNED ME INTO A MORE PLEASANT PERSON.
I have mixed feelings about people discussing their own level of emotional intelligence, but I do think I improved mine over the past year. I spent a lot of time in coffee shops (more on that later) and I began to see some regular faces. I couldn’t help but study their expressions or wonder what they were thinking and what they’d been through. Some people were always in there by themselves and you began to get a sense of their feelings. Some seemed lonely, some seemed ambitious, some seemed nervous as they waited for an obvious first date or job interview, some cooling down post workout, some writing a novel, some were just there to study or pass the time until something better came along …and everything in between. I absolutely loved being an observer.

I began saying hi to people just because I worried no one else had said it to them in awhile…then I began to wonder what people thought of me, as I was doing much the same thing every day… but the best part? I carried it with me after I left. You don’t always know what kind of day people had or what they are dealing with, so whether at the grocery store, or getting cut off on the highway during rush hour, or sharing the elevator with the grumpy man at 6 pm… I started to smile more and just ask people how they were doing…and actually wanted to know. Cool things started to happen. One such conversation was about the cold brew a gentleman next to me was having. I also saw he was reading, “How to win friends and influence people,” by Dale Carnegie. On his way out, he bought me the same cold brew and had the cashier bring it over to me, giving me the peace sign as he walked out the door. I thought that was wonderful. It was great to see another person thinking about this kind of stuff…

I also realized empathy wasn’t about having pity on people. Whatever race we’re in is with ourselves, and some people don’t want or need help. They don’t want you to ask them certain things. They don’t want you digging into their business. They don’t want you to plan things for them or assume you know how they think/feel. They don’t want to save the world, destroy it or anything in between. They just want to live their lives and need a means to do so. Sometimes staying away or out of the way was the best thing to do. Understanding that makes for an interesting balance and I haven’t figured out how to put it into words yet. Even furthermore, in other cases, some things couldn’t be my responsibility and/or I didn’t grasp the situation, no matter how much I wanted to…

The most interesting part? I’m still not sure I’m right about any of it..

5 – I WAS MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN LAST TIME.
I didn’t mention it before, but this is actually my second entrepreneurial stint. The first one failed pretty miserably. Speaking of experience, I knew from the first stint that I’d need to establish the LLC, a business checking account, organize some marketing, etc… but I took it more seriously this time. I wrote up an actual business plan, created a balance sheet and hired other professionals to help me with legal, marketing and accounting efforts.

Capture.PNG

I hired Katie Robleski to create my website.  I told her I wanted a touch of Michael Mann throughout.

This allowed me to focus on sales and execution right away. What I’m happiest about is the fact that I not only kept the lights on, I made a good profit. I very much feel I ran a successful business, something I didn’t feel like last time.

6 – I GAINED RESPECT FOR OTHER JOB TITLES/FUNCTIONS.
Accounting is hard. Legal is confusing. The best sales people are truly a special breed.

I have a good friend who agreed to help me with my taxes and he is as passionate about his job (and better at it) as I am mine. It was great to share in and see.  Another good friend created videos for me, for free (and he knew what he was doing). I hired a lawyer to help with all the legal aspects. He loved talking about it… and it made me feel like I had the right guy. As for sales..to be able to take the rejection day in and day out and 1) keep doing it, 2) not let it affect other aspects of your day  and 3) close some deals …is all beyond impressive. I definitely have some sales in my blood, but I’m too sensitive to get turned down so much or just straight up ignored. Maybe it was because of Karma and an example of me not being empathetic. I don’t always get back to sales people, either..

7 – I DEVELOPED THICKER SKIN (OR JUST GOT MORE COMFORTABLE IN MY OWN)
So I admit I didn’t like all of the sales rejections, but I understood that in order to market my company, I would have to market myself… and that meant I’d have to be out there…ALL the way out there. All of the quote photos, blog articles, client information, videos etc. I knew it may be too much information, but I also knew that certain percentages of people were going to react differently. Some were going to love it. Some would applaud it. Some would like it. Some would dislike it. Some would make fun of it. Some would absolutely hate it.

It didn’t matter. My intentions were good and I’ve known for awhile there is no in between. You either get everything…or nothing from me and I needed to be comfortable with the reactions to that. … and there was something about both failing and succeeding in front of a massive audience. Regardless of the outcomes, the sun still came up every morning and whether you dusted yourself off or settled down after a “Risky Business” victory dance, it was, “Okay now what?” Life moved forward..

8 – I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT TAXES AND REVENUE.
Wow. Turns out I was getting taxed twice. Once on my over-all net profits and again when I paid myself (What!!?). Furthermore, not only was I spending my own money to run my business, but I had to spend additional money for my health benefits and to keep my retirement fund growing, which was detrimental to my income at the end of the year…something I took for granted working at other businesses. I also learned what you can write off, what you should write off, what you shouldn’t write off…and really just how the whole process works.

It made me even more fascinated with people who can launch and maintain successful businesses.

9 – I BECAME HEALTHIER.
I recently went to the doctor for my annual physical. My weight was down, my blood pressure excellent and my cholesterol numbers all got better. A big improvement over last year, when I began to notice a ton of grey hair invading my scalp…

Did I lower my stress level? Was I having more fun? Was I eating better? Jogging more? Tanning (lol..)? Yes – all of the above, but all of that was more manageable for some reason on my own. There were still some occasional, moody cigarettes, though (oops).

10 – I LOVE COLECTIVO COFFEE SHOPS, BUT NOT COLECTIVO COFFEE
Colectivo was my office for the past seven months. Go there. The atmosphere they have created at their shops is amazing. The coffee? I regularly had to ditch my medium sized mug because of the caffeine jitters… and I’ve been a black coffee drinker for about ten years. The green tea, though? I think I supplied their demand.. I’ll miss being able to spend my days there..

FullSizeRender (5).jpg

Colectivo – my other office.

So there you have it. This little journey has been such a special experience and one that I’m certain I’ll recall fondly as I move forward. I hope to keep you all updated occasionally, but it might be a bit as I undertake my new challenge.

+

What I’m Thinking after my First Q2 as a Small Business Owner

At the end of the last quarter, I wrote an update about the reasons I’m in business along with the things I want to accomplish (and the reasons why).

Well, another quarter has come and gone and I promised another update.  Let’s look at what I said I wanted to do last time…

GROW MY CLIENT BASE
I want my posts to continue to be a reflection of my personality.  To be honest, I have mixed feelings about talking about my clients, but it’s exciting and really…how else would you know if I’m making progress if I don’t do more than tell you?  Here’s a list of a few companies I’ve partnered with in Quarter 2:

  • Insite Software: A Minneapolis, MN based B2B eCommerce software company that enables manufacturers and distributors to sell digitally. I’ve helped them make the most of their Pardot Marketing Automation Platform.
  • Valassis: A Media & Marketing Firm based in Livonia, MI. I’m assisting with their social media strategy and execution for their small business division.
  • PKWare: A software security firm located in Milwaukee, WI. I’m helping with a roadmap along with execution of an enhanced Marketing Automation process using Marketo.
  • Boucher Auto Group: A group of automobile dealerships in Southeast Wisconsin. I’m an advisor to their social media efforts at one of their dealerships.

I’ve also networked with wonderful people like Erik Eklund from Canpango, Tom Flierl from Hanson Dodge, Ward Alles from Core Creative and Brent Kaufman from Ascedia.  I’m hoping when I write the update on Quarter 3 or 4, I continue to mention their names.  They are polished, smart & kind professionals and if I ever draw a comparison to any of them, I’ll take it as a compliment.

FIND A GREAT CHARITY TO BE A PART OF
My eyes are open to give back.  I dedicated a few Saturday mornings to Next Door Milwaukee, helping repair books for less fortunate children in the greater Milwaukee area.  Admittedly so, at the moment, my main focus is to continue growing my client base…not sure how i feel about it, actually.

HELP MILWAUKEE BECOME A CENTER OF MARKETING EXCELLENCE & INNOVATION
I don’t know how I would measure it, but I will say this.  Every time I do a road map session or a sales consultation discussing the Digital Landscape, I generally get a good reaction.  I’ve done it for people based in California, Utah, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Wisconsin…with no plans to stop.  I make a point to let them know the presentation and person (me) is based in Milwaukee, WI.  I love doing it.

MOVE INTO AN OFFICE SPACE AND HIRE AN ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEE
I’m on the right track.  I’m moving forward everyday… but I’m not yet in a spot to warrant renting an office space or hiring an administrator to help with the work load.  I find it interesting that working from home in Winter and early Spring was no issue whatsoever.  Oh it’s cold and wet/frozen outside?  No problem.  I’ll stay inside making phone calls, writing e-mails and executing Marketing Automation strategies.  Now in summer, though, by the afternoon and a hot sun beaming through my windows, it’s not the same.  I find myself scheduling onsites in the afternoon or heading to coffee shops.  I’m telling myself to enjoy the freedom, which is funny…because it doesn’t shut my brain off 😉

There you have it.  I’m six months in and still loving the roller coaster and still paving forward on doing something I want to be great.  At this point, my days are mostly spent on client work, but I continue to go on sales calls, I continue to get rejected/ignored, I continue to learn about the length it takes a prospect to go through my pipeline and continue to otherwise have/see strange things happen (I’ll tell you about those in the Q3 update).

Enjoy the rest of summer everyone!

+

What I tell my parents I do for a living..

Have you ever been asked the question, “How do you explain what you do for a living to your parents?”

“Well, I code webpages and write e-mails and train administrators on the latest tech trends and do graphic design and…what?  Oh, yeah Uncle Matt’s son does something similar…”  Do they actually know the end game of why you’re doing what you do?

It’s the new elevator pitch.  As new generations take over, it’s a valid question.  As someone in my early 30’s, I need new technology explained to me so I can’t imagine what it will be like in another 30 years.  People who can quickly and simply explain what they do and get a genuine excited response (You know…not the “Oh yeah, sure” head nod before changing the topic) will do well.

I read an article recently about former President Barack Obama talking about the joys of failing at times in front of the entire world and the freedom that it creates as far as moving an agenda forward (This is not a political post, I just related to the humility).

So Here goes… Here is what I do.

Web 2.0 is a term given to the second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online.  It’s made up of blogs, wiki’s, social media, personalized web sites, etc, etc.  There are platforms that consolidate all of this activity and more.  For example, people no longer need social media, search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, etc. explained to them, but did you know that Marketing Automation is really just combining all of these elements to gauge people’s interests in your topics and make the information they look at even more relevant?

The next generation, where I want to play, is focused on combining all of these elements to learn about people, present them relevant offers and track whether they engage with you.  In a business sense, this engagement should be in the form of leads generated, qualified and closed in the form of sales revenue.  To get started, you need a cohesive Digital Marketing Strategy…and that’s what I do best for organizations.

…and for the record, this is not a diss on our parents.  For anyone that considers me a smart individual, my parents are on a level that I’m still aspiring to.  Maybe 😉

I’d welcome some comments (we’ll see if another certain Pellizzi pipes up) ..

+

[Video Series] Part 3 of 3: Scoring Model and CRM Integration

In the last Video Series Post, we charted out the Digital Landscape and defined Marketing Automation for your organization. Now it’s time to tie everything together with a scoring model and CRM Integration.

Transcript:

Hi – my name is James Pellizzi and I help companies set up Marketing Automation. Last time we talked we defined Marketing Automation and charted out The Digital Landscape. Now, we will introduce a scoring model and CRM component that will tie everything together.

Imagine a salesperson pipeline. Without Marketing Automation, they do not know who is hot, cold or somewhere in the middle. They are hoping whoever they call or set a meeting with will be interested in their product or service. Some of those will result in sales.

There is a way that we can identify who we are interested in and of that group, who is interested in us. This is grading and scoring. For a basic example, a sales person would grade the following:

A: Buyers – I’m in sales. I want to talk to people who buy.
B: Managers – perhaps they manage the buyers.
C: Vice Presidents – may be more removed.
D: Presidents – will likely be removed.

This is who we are interested in. From this group, we can start to score them, such as:

1: Sales Qualified Lead – Intent to buy
2: Marketing Qualified Lead – not quite ready but interested
3: Inquiry – hand raisers
4: Nothing – don’t bother

Marketing Automation can combine these two elements and now sales know who to focus on first. This will correlate to higher sales.

The final piece to this is CRM integration. In Marketing Automation, everything is associated with a campaign. That campaign generates a lead that is sent over to CRM. Once in CRM, a sales person will either convert that lead to an opportunity or kill it. When converted, they need to associate a dollar amount with that opportunity. When that opportunity is won, it’s tied back to the campaign in Marketing Automation. Boom – now you have ROI.

Now you know how to generate a lead, qualify a lead and send it off to sales for closing.

Free Digital Marketing Guide

Download my Free 40+ Digital Marketing Guide!
+

[Video Series] Part 2 of 3: The Digital Landscape

In the last Video Series Post, we defined what Marketing Automation was. Now that we know, we can chart out the Digital Landscape and determine how it will work for your organization.

TRANSCRIPT:

Hi my name is james pellizzi. Last time we talked we defined what marketing automation is.  Now that we know we are going to chart out what that looks like on the digital landscape.

When I need information on something, the first thing I do is go to google or bing and I search for it.  Let’s say we’re looking for widgets.  I will type in widget in the search engine and google will pull up the most relevant search for that page.  When my company name, Acme, shows up first…it will point to a very basic landing page with a simple photo, headline and value proposition.  It will also have a form to fill out for more information.  This will generate an inquiry.  This is important because 10-20 years ago we’d send this right to sales.  This made them unhappy because this person wasn’t necessary ready to buy and they wanted it further qualified.

Now is where the other components of marketing automation come into play.  We can send them e-mails.  We can track their social media activities like video’s and remarketing.  Finally, we can personalize their websites with welcome back banners or specific offers.  These are all Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) activities that we can track.

At some point, the lead will become a Sales Qualified Lead which will make sales happy.  They can follow up with this person who they know filled out a form, opened five e-mails, watched a social media three times and responded to an offer.

The real opportunity is that marketing departments can run campaigns like this 25 plus times to generate leads for sales.  This is how Marketing becomes more strategic, instead of tactical.

Free Digital Marketing Guide

Download my Free 40+ Digital Marketing Guide!
+

[Video Series] Part 1 of 3: Defining Marketing Automation

Companies are in a race to establish Marketing Automation for their organization. Before you can do that, you must first understand what it is.

Hi my name is James Pellizzi and I help companies set up Marketing Automation.

Companies first need to understand what that phrase means. It’s important to remember it’s not Marketing Automation. It’s Marketing AND Automation.

The components are as follows: e-mail marketing, personalized webpages, social media & search engine marketing, scoring models and CRM integration. These are nothing new and you likely know what they consist of. The first points generate and qualify a lead while the latter ones deliver it to sales.

The first mode of operation includes a contact database.. So if a CMO or CEO asks you to pull up everyone in a state or industry, you should be able to do so within minutes. Second, it’s an engagement engine to have relevant conversations. The third is a Smarter Marketing Department. Marketing Automation is not replacing Marketing Departments. It is taking them to the next level. This is important. It will make your department less tactical and more strategic.

For the Marketing aspects, think of the show Mad Men. It’s about a brand that can tell a story that resonates with their audiences. For the Automation aspects, think of the show Silicon Valley. People who are behind the scenes setting up the actual paths, html and code. Most company’s have one or the other and it is imperative that you have both.

Now that you know the definition of Marketing Automation, you can chart the digital landscape.

Free Digital Marketing Guide

Download my Free 40+ Digital Marketing Guide!
+

What I’m Thinking after my First Q1 as a Small Business Owner

It’s Q2 of 2017 and it’s the first time I’m looking back on the previous quarter and wondering, “Am I moving forward?  Does my business have a pulse?”

Don’t worry too much about me, as the answer to both of those questions is yes.  In the last three months, I’ve  been fortunate enough to engage with four clients, have had countless cups of coffee/lunches with people and kept momentum on all my marketing efforts (no easy feat).

Lately, though, I’ve been wondering why I am in business.  After a few long drives and too many jogs to count, I think I’ve figured it out and I wanted to share.

One of the most appealing things about being my own boss is just that.  I can do what I want.  I can also not do what I want.  After three plus years of 60+ hour work weeks in the consulting and agency world, I found myself tired and questioning the path I was on.  What were my goals? What was my drive for getting out of bed each day?  What started as a mix between wanting some time off and wondering if I had what it took to be in business for myself, quickly turned into a new full time challenge… and a theme kept emerging.  I no longer want to do anything for the sake of just making a lot of money.  I think it’s poison for the soul.  It’s not that I don’t want to make money.  To do the things I’ve listed below, I’ll need a healthy revenue stream…and I want a fair price for my services.  If I am going to work harder and longer than my peers, I want to make more of it than them.  I just don’t want that to be the reason for my existence or let greed take me over.

If you’ve ever taken a Myer’s – Briggs personality assessment, it assigns you four letters that describe you.  While I’m not as extroverted as some people think, there is no denying that I am a strong N (Intuition),  F (Feeler) and J (Judger).  In my mind, Intuition means I am abstract.  I find the thought of the unknown or what’s possible as very appealing and I plunge in head first with little regard to whether or not someone else thinks something can or can’t be done.  Being a feeler means I make decisions based on how I think it will make other people feel… and usually I want to make them happy.  As for Judging, it’s not judging other people, it’s how you go about your business.  Do you keep your options open?  Or do you consistently make decisions and get things done?  For me, it’s always been a very methodical version of the latter.

The reason I write about that is because people poke fun at the meaning of life and trying to figure that out before it’s all too late.  I think you need to understand yourself before you can answer that question.

For me, it’s not about getting rich on paper.  It’s simply doing something great.

…something that moves the needle for organizations and other people in a forward fashion.  I’ve come across too many people or professionals who just want to make as much money as possible or be viewed a certain way by people or their community.  There’s an episode of Mad Men where Don Draper is pondering a boxing match.  One of the boxers constantly brags about how he is the greatest…and Don Draper says to himself, “Not if you have to say it.”  I always liked that quote.  Other people have to assign you labels if they are to really mean anything.  It’s not how you feel inside, but what you do that defines you.

On the flip side, though, I talk often about modes of operation and how they shouldn’t be a secret.  I don’t see anything wrong with stating what your intentions are and what you are striving for.  I’ve found that people will actually get excited about that and want to share in your journey.  If you say, “I want to the greatest” instead of “I am the greatest” it makes all the difference.

For me, I want the Midwest to become a hub of information for Digital Marketing…and I want it to rival San Francisco and New York.  I want my clients to know that I am doing business from Milwaukee, WI. I want their engagements with me to be rewarding, informative and increase their bottom line.  I want to grow slowly, but surely and find like minded individuals.  I want to rent an office in downtown Milwaukee with a view of Lake Michigan.  When I’m in a position to, I want to donate some of my earnings to a great cause in Southeastern Wisconsin.  I want to continue to share my experience as a first year small business owner.  I want to be excited about other small business owners and what they are doing.  I want to succeed by helping my clients succeed.

Stay tuned for a similar update in Q3, where hopefully.. I write about these wants being a reality 🙂