Increase Your Blog Traffic With StumbleUpon


via SearchEngineJournal.com

via SearchEngineJournal.com

I’ve written about getting more traffic to your site in the past, but web traffic is a never ending battle. I’ve tried many different tactics to generate more blog traffic over the course of the years. Some successful, others not. I want to talk to you today about one of my unsuccessful attempts at traffic…StumbleUpon.

If you do a search for something like, “increase you blog traffic with StumbleUpon” you will find a bunch of articles about how to use StumbleUpon to increase your website’s traffic. They’ll go through how to set up your account and all that jazz. But I’m here to tell you to save yourself the time and energy and skip StumbleUpon.

Why Do People Like StumbleUpon?

As a user, StumbleUpon is great because you’re able to discover a great deal of new content very quickly. When I first learned about StumbleUpon I would just sit there, for what seemed like hours,  “stumbling upon” new sites. There were so many sites that I’d never think to look up pop up on my screen. It was great.

Why Do Marketers Like StumbleUpon?

First of all, understand that there are two aspects of StumbleUpon. There are the free stumbles, where you submit your link for free and StumbleUpon might share your site with people who are interested in your topic. For those that don’t like to leave things to chance, you can use Paid StumbleUpon. Paid StumbleUpon is the same as the free version, except you are paying $.10 a stumble.

So if StumbleUpon shares your site to 10 people, that would cost your a $1.00. For $.18, StumbleUpon will give you even better targeting. If you’re not aware of typical web traffic prices, this is really cheap. A click on Facebook to my site might cost me $1-2 at the very least. That’s a 10-1 ratio. Google would probably be more. I’ve definitely paid $4-5 on both Google and Linkedin. So as far as cost and quantity, Paid StumbleUpon is great.

Caveat Emptor.

Why Do I Hate StumbleUpon for Blog Traffic?

Simple. It’s terrible traffic. The quality of from StumbleUpon, paid or otherwise, is super bad. If for some reason you only have to report on visitors, you’re going to have a huge success. But only an idiot would accept a report like that. If you have any kind of experience, you’re going to look at things like bounce rate, time on site, pages per view, and where she clicked. Basically you want to know what actions the visitor took.

In my experience with StumbleUpon, I’ve found the analytics to resemble something like this: 7 seconds on site, bounce rate of 90%, and 1.1 pages viewed. There is NO way that anyone can read anything worthwhile in 7 seconds. If they actually did, then your content sucks because they didn’t want to get past 7 seconds. But the reality is that these stats reflect the behavior of a StumbleUpon user. Stare blankly at your screen. Mindlessly press “Stumble” and see a new site. Read a headline or two and then click “Stumble” again. Off to a new site. Now does that really do your blog any good?

I really don’t understand why people feel so compelled to use StumbleUpon for blog traffic. I think it’s because the allure of high traffic for pennies. Everything StumbleUpon is selling you want to believe. But like any deal that sounds too good to be true, so is StumbleUpon. Do yourself a favor and skip StumbleUpon when you’re planning your traffic acquisition strategy.



How to Eliminate the Passive Voice


via Daniel Hollister

via Daniel Hollister

My entire life, I’ve written in the passive voice. My Dad always harped on me for writing in the passive voice. I never saw anything wrong with it. Most of this blog will have the passive voice. But, writing in the passive voice is confusing. It weakens the clarity of your writing, which is why your teachers (and parents) want you to eliminate it from your writing. Here’s how to eliminate the passive voice in your writing.

What is the Passive Voice?

First, let’s start by defining the passive voice.

Passive voice is when the noun being acted upon is made the subject of the sentence.

What the shit does that mean? Unless you were an English major and know the English language inside and out, this doesn’t help you.

For me, I get confused on the “subject of the sentence.” Yep, embarrassing, but it’s true. So let’s define what a subject is.

The subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something. You can find the subject of a sentence if you can find the verb. Ask the question, “Who or what ‘verbs’ or ‘verbed’?” and the answer to that question is the subject. (Definition courtesy of Capital Community College Foundation)

Here’s the thing, even knowing what the subject of a sentence is, figuring out the passive voice is tricky. Then I discovered the greatest trick in the book.

The Zombie Rule

via Twitter

via Grammarly 

The Zombie Rule was created by a professor, Rebecca Johnson. Months ago she tweeted out her mind blowing tip. If you can insert, “by zombies” after the verb, you have the passive voice. It’s that simple!

Let’s look at two examples.

1. The school was attacked. 

2. Zombies attacked the school. 

Which sentence was written in the passive voice? Which one is the active voice?

Now let’s add “by zombies”

1. The school was attacked (by zombies).

2. Zombies attacked the school (by zombies).

Adding “by zombies” makes is abundantly clear that sentence #1 is written in the passive voice, while #2 is written in the active voice.

There you have it. You now know what the passive voice is and how to identify it in a sentence. I should note, that the passive voice is usually considered bad. But, that’s not always the case. The passive voice is not preferred because it dilutes clarity, but in certain scenarios it’s perfectly ok to use the passive voice.

[First Image Courtesy of Daniel Hollister]

[Second Image Courtesy of Grammarly/Rebecca Johnson]



What’s the Difference Between Affect vs. Effect?


via Quinn Dombrowski

via Quinn Dombrowski

This is embarrassing, but I still get affect vs. effect wrong. But you know what? So do a lot of people. I know it has something to do with one being a verb and the other one a noun, but I still forget which is which. I end up just changing my sentence instead of looking like an idiot and writing effect instead of affect. So enough of that. Let’s breakdown what the difference between affect vs. effect is.

What’s the Difference Between Affect and Effect?

Affect = Verb

Effect = Noun

See? I told you it had something to do with verbs and nouns. It’s not that easy though. If it was, I’d have remembered it by now. So what’s the trick to remembering this?

When To Use Affect?

Alright, we’ve established that “affect” is a verb, but what does that mean? Affect means to influence. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

The weather affected my decision to wear a coat. 

My poor attitude had an affect on my team’s performance.

When To Use Effect?

For most people, effect is the default word to use. Most of the time they’re right. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know the right use of the word. Effect is a noun and its common meaning means “a result.”

I was not effected by the storm. 

Your smell has no effect on me.

Rules to Help You Remember

Everyone has their own rule to remember the difference between affect and effect. Except me that is.  I did some digging and these are a few that I found.

Affect is an verb. Affect starts with “A.” So does action. Affect = action.

Cause and effect. Affect is the cause and effect is, well, effect.

Verb substitution. If you’re unsure, replace affect with a verb to see if the sentence makes sense.

Ex:

As a child, he was affected by his parents.

As a child, he was affected eaten by his parents.

The Aardvark Rule

via Marie Hale

via Marie Hale

 “The arrows affected Aardvark. The effect was eye-popping.” 

Remember these two sentences. The sentence with “affect” has all the “A” words. The sentence with “effect” has the “e” word in it.

Exceptions to the Rule

Just when you think you have the rules down, you find out there’s an exception to the rule. There’s always an exception. I’m hesitant to even include these, because you’re going to use affect as a verb, effect as a noun 95% of the time.

Affect can be used as a noun in reference to psychology – the mood someone appears to have. Psychologists can’t really know how a patient feels, they can only speculate how someone appears to feel.

Effect can be used as a verb and it means “to bring about” or “to accomplish.” Like, “The congressman hopes to effect change in his district.”

How are you feeling about the difference between affect and effect? I’m feeling more confident, but I’m sure I’ll still make some mistakes. I’ll be sure to reference this post when I am unsure. I hope this post helps you in your writing.

[First Image Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski]

[Second Image Courtesy of Marie Hale]



Prepare.io’s New Direction


The idea for Prepare.io originated when I first was working on my first company, Demeter Interactive. I ran into problems creating editorial calendars for clients. I hated emailing spreadsheets and Word documents back and forth for approval. A nicely designed PDF took way too long. Google Calendar/Spreadsheets were useful but when clients didn’t use Google products, it proved to be a breakdown in communication. Any other product that would be helpful to me cost way too money, so I was left piecing together different free solutions. So I decided I needed to figure out a way to build an editorial calendar that would be a better solution.

A Pre-Production Mock Up of Prepare.io

Here’s an early look of Prepare.io, pre-production.

Fast forward three years later and I launched the private beta of Prepare.io. It took me much longer than I had ever anticipated to build the MVP* (minimum viable product), but it was done. I recall reading somewhere, if you’re not embarrassed by your product’s first version, you waited too long. Well, good news (I guess?), I was absolutely embarrassed. The Prepare.io beta version was a poor man’s Google Drive with far less less features/functionality AND a monthly price tag. So you can guess how many people started paying for Prepare.io. Zero.

I fully expected this, because I knew in my mind that the product wasn’t ready. But I wanted to get feedback from my beta testers to see what they liked and what they wanted to see. I got a lot of great feedback. I went back to the drawing board and started mapping out the product changes. I prioritized my roadmap into immediate, short-term, and long-term edits. This is still a LONG work in progress, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s exciting see the product evolve.

Since the launch of Prepare.io’s beta, a lot has changed. I’ve learned so many lessons about designing product and building software. I continue to learn new things, things I never thought of, on a daily basis. Here are three of the major lessons I learned from my first product launch:

1. My First Product Was Confusing To Others

Prepare.io started out as an idea, which turned into handwritten plans on a legal pad, then mapped out on a whiteboard, which turned into proper wireframes, and finally the pre-MVP alpha version (so many buttons didn’t work!), all created by me (except for the coding).

I was too close to the product and assumed people would just know what to do when they signed up. Nope. Originally, it never occurred to me to make an onboarding process (probably because I always skip these and just play with the software until I figure it out). Well, this was the first thing people commented on. Most people stopped here and didn’t even bother to move on to the actual product. No matter how simple I thought the product was, I was wrong.

The First Prepareio Calendar View

The First Prepare.io Calendar View

A Look at the Latest Dashboard

A Look at the Updated Dashboard

2. I Didn’t Choose a Specific Customer

If you think your product is for everyone and you build it for everyone, it’s going to serve no one. That’s what I encountered. I originally built this product for freelancers, agencies, and in-house teams. I wanted everyone to use it, afraid that I’d be losing customers by ignoring a particular market. So it’s no surprise I lost everyone by trying not to neglect anyone.

The reason why my product was confusing because I hadn’t properly picked a customer. So I was building features that would really benefit no-one. That’s how I ended up with all these features that were nice to have, not must have.

3. My “Simple” Product Wasn’t That Simple

I can honestly say I thought I built a simple product when I first launched Prepare.io. No. Fucking. Way. It was really convoluted. As I’ve been taught (and I’ve probably regurgitated this advice to some of you) pick on vertical and dominate that vertical. Grow vertically, not horizontally. By not picking a customer, I was growing horizontally. Wasting time and money in the process.

After adding an onboarding process, I was focused on deleting unneeded features to simplify the product. I was also determined to make the core product (the editorial calendar) more functional for users. My first version of the editorial calendar wasn’t more functional than an Excel spreadsheet. So why on Earth would someone pay for my product? I neglected my core product because I was trying to add a bunch of superficial features.

So What Is Prepare.io Now?

Prepare.io is still an editorial calendar, but now I’m focusing on in-house content teams. My mission is to make planning content and communicating with the writing team easier for an editor.

I've got a lot of work to do.

I’ve got a lot of work to do.

“What Can I Expect from Prepare.io?” 

You can expect Prepare.io to continue iterating. I have three major things on my roadmap. First, I want to make the workflow process between writers and editors to be seamless. I want editors to stop using email and Word docs to manage deadlines and edit drafts. Second, I want to integrate WordPress into the dashboard. The first thing anyone who tries Prepare.io asks is if they can publish directly to WordPress. I’m listening! I’m working on a solution for you! Lastly, I want to add analytics to the dashboard. I hate logging into Google Analytics. I’d rather just look at a specific post and see how well the post performed, within the Prepare.io dashboard.

I should mention that I’m bootstrapping Prepare.io right now. I work with dedicated freelancers to build out new features. But that means progress is slow.

“What Can I Expect From the Prepare.io Blog?”

I plan on blogging here again, on a more regular schedule. There were several reasons why I stopped. One reason is because I had to dedicate more time to the product. But with the new direction for Prepare.io I’m going to start blogging with a new focus.

I’m going back to writing about blogging and writing. Great writing is a never ending quest. Therefore, I am going to write tips on writing, grammar, and blogging. I’ll sprinkle in some tips about management, product, and entrepreneurship.

thank-you-gif-Zach-Galifianaki-LA0p

Thank You

Lastly, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has helped Prepare.io get to where it is today. Yes, there’s a lot of work to left, but I couldn’t have made it this far without many people by my side. Whether you’ve worked on this product directly, tested it, or just asked me about it, I thank you. I’d also like to thank my friends and family who have just loved me throughout this arduous process. It hasn’t been easy and I probably would have crumbled without your support. Thank you.

If you lead a content team, or know someone who does, please sign up for Prepare.io’s free trial and let me know what you think.

*One day I will share with you how I was able to find the money to build Prepare.io’s beta version. It wasn’t cheap and it deserves its own post (or two). 

 

 



How to Deal with Adversity


Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-air

In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys, they were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
And said “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-air”

Adversity. It’s just a fancy word for “shit hitting the fan.” But no matter who you are, you will face adversity in life. It sucks. I’ve faced my share of adversity during my life (specific examples to be shared at later dates). But regardless of what the specific adversity you run into, I’ve found a formula that can teach you how to deal with adversity.

Before I begin, let’s be clear, this is the formula that I’ve found to be successful. I’m sure there’s a bit of Kubler-Ross’ 5 Stages of Grief mixed in here, but that’s not the basis of my advice. Mine is more one part emotional, one part pragmatic.

Step 1: Accept The Depression

Eeyore

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Depression doesn’t have to be a nasty word. We all feel depressed at times and that’s ok. When you deal with adversity you’re going to feel sad. Allow yourself feel sad! Mourn your loss and give yourself time to process what just happened.

How long you feel depressed will be contingent on the severity of your adversity. Losing your job vs. losing a client will require different mourning periods. For some small bouts of adversity, I allow myself a night off from work. For bigger events, I might give myself 72 hours. That’s me. It could be longer/shorter for you. The point being is, accept your sadness, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Step 2: Process The Situation

Image Courtesy of Tomas Sobek via Flickr

Image Courtesy of Tomas Sobek via Flickr*

While you accept the depression and take some time off, start to process the situation at hand. At first you’re going to feel shock and numbness. My first reaction is to brush it off and try to figure out what to do. But the reality is, this is probably the worst thing I could do.

When I take time off, I try and do non-work related activities that don’t require me to think about anything related to what just happened. I often lose myself in movies or books. By escaping mentally, I’m calming down my emotions, which will allow me to be more rational later on. DO NOT under any circumstances make any important decisions during this time. Your judgment is clouded. Spend this time bringing yourself back to normal.

*Bonus tip: Do something that makes you feel like you’re in control. When things in my life seem out of control, I clean. I hate cleaning, but when I clean, I feel in control. I feel like order is being created. Scrubbing dirty dishes and vacuuming really clears my mind.

Step 3: Make a List

To-Do-ListI love making lists. I do this on a daily basis. But the list I make after a big set back is a little different than my day-to-day list. I simply write down things I need to do or want to do. There’s no order or level of importance. And it doesn’t have to be work related either. If you have to take out the garbage or buy apples, put that down on your list.

Making a list helps me decrease the clutter in my mind. Getting it all down on paper eases the temporary mental burden. You’ll start to feel more relaxed and one step closer to getting back on the horse.

Step 4: Devise a Plan

Image Courtesy of Ecotrust Canada via Flickr

Image Courtesy of Ecotrust Canada via Flickr**

Now that you’ve calmed yourself, processed the situation, and written down things you need to do, start creating a plan. What’s your strategy to overcome your adversity? On your To-Do list, what needs to be taken care of now and what is going to take longer than 30 seconds to complete?

The reason why I add simple things like “Buy milk” on my to-do list is because it’s an easy win. Get milk and cross it off your list. It feels good. Crossing a few of these tasks off your list will help you get the blood flowing and allow you to really conquer the bigger issues. And that’s what this 4-Step process is about…getting you mentally prepared to overcome the recent adversity.

Use this plan as a loose blueprint. Everyone is different. Your problems will vary is severity as will the variables surrounding your situation. But I’ve overcome firings, eviction notices, legal notices, breakups, and much more with this plan. This isn’t something I read in a psychology book that I’m regurgitating back to you. This is exactly what I do when I face adversity.

If you’re dealing with some type of adversity, feel free to reach out to me. My email is jesse at prepare dot io. While I can’t solve all your problems, I can lend an empathetic ear and offer some advice. You’re never alone in this world.

*Tomas Sobek Flickr

**Ecotrust Canada Flickr



A Look Back: 10 Years on Facebook


*My college roommates that huddled around a Dell computer, first discovering Facebook.

My college roommates that huddled around a Dell computer, first discovering Facebook.

If you’ve logged into Facebook the past few days, you’ve probably seen a plethora of Look Back videos in your Timeline. These fun snap shots of your time on Facebook are a fun way to look back at some of your best Facebook moments. But for me, some of my memorable moments on Facebook can’t be quantified by the number of likes a post received. Instead, the stories that stick out in my mind illustrate how far the product has come since I joined.

I joined Facebook when I was a junior in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and we were still using AIM on our black Dell desktops. I recall learning about Facebook weeks before I ultimately signed up. My friend Meghan Korol had a Facebook widget in your AIM profile. I distinctly remember seeing it, wondering what it was, but also thinking it looked really dumb.

joined-facebook

The date I first joined Facebook.

I forget how it exactly happened, but all my roommates on Doty Street in Madison, WI gathered around our roommate Cubby’s computer. He too was friends with Meghan and had clicked on her Facebook widget and we were all suddenly engrossed with the site. We kept saying how dumb this was and why would anyone be on it? Yet we continued to click around and looking for our friends’ profiles. This went on for at least an hour. After we finally pried ourselves away from the computer, we all dispersed to our separate rooms to create an account and continue our stalking.

Looking back, it’s remarkable how early I was on Facebook. I joined on December 1st, 2004 and it was that month that Facebook officially passed one million users.  Out of the more than one billion people who use Facebook today, I was one of the first million! The University of Wisconsin-Madison was one in the wave of major schools that Facebook was open to after the Ivy League schools. I remember my friends at smaller schools feeling left out that they couldn’t get this Facebook thing that everyone else had.  It’s weird thinking that I was on Facebook before every college student had access to it.

first-facebook-wall-post

The first wall post I received. You can see the sentiment around joining Facebook at the time. The photo being referenced was a marketing photo I took for the small liberal arts college I went to my freshman year before transferring to Madison.

One of the features that I most loved about Facebook in this era was the public class schedule. You could enter in what classes you were enrolled in and see how was in your classes. I loved this because I took this to my advantage during final exams. I would look up students in my class and go to Helen C (the major library on campus) and actively look for students in my class. I would “bump” into them and do the whole, “Aren’t you in my X class? Are you studying for the exam? Do you mind if I jump in on your study session?” routine. This feature was deleted years later, but to me, it’s one of those features that reminds me of Facebook’s early collegiate beginnings. It’s a feature that many have either forgotten or were never privy to.

In 2005 I had moved to another house with my roommates and Facebook was becoming more ubiquitous on campus. So much so, that I felt comfortable using Facebook to invite people to my house for a kegger. I bought a keg and told everyone in advance on Facebook that I was having a party. That’s the only way I “marketed” my party.  Exactly two people showed up to that sad, sad party. I had overestimated how many people checked Facebook daily for messages.

Little known fact, I requested to be Mark Zuckerberg's friend in the early days. He declined my friendship. It still hurts.

Little known fact, I requested to be Mark Zuckerberg’s friend in the early days. He declined my friendship. It still hurts.

Fast forward to 2014, when everyone has Facebook. (I should mention that when Facebook made the announcement that anyone could sign up for Facebook, no longer needing a .edu email address, I personally felt the loss of exclusivity that Facebook had given me.) I recently threw a party for my friends here in LA. Like my party back in 2005, I only used Facebook to invite people to the party. But unlike my party in 2005, present day Facebook blew up my invite list. The party got so big that I had to get a larger venue and I ended up throwing one hell of a party. Same strategy, 9 years apart, two very different outcomes.

I have dozens of stories like these about my use of Facebook over the years, but these stories stand out in my mind. I can’t believe that Facebook is ten and I’ve been on it for more than nine years.  Happy birthday to Facebook. You’ve done a lot for me in my life. I would have never imagined that huddling around Cubby’s computer 9 years ago would change my life.

*BTW Trying to find a digital photo from our 2004 college house is damn near impossible. We still used disposable cameras and no one scanned and uploaded photos for Facebook. 



How Do I Get Traffic To My Site? Part I


405-traffic

*This is Part I in a series about how to increase your website’s traffic. 

Have you ever heard of the 405 in Los Angeles? It’s our main freeway and it’s ALWAYS busy. There is bumper to bumper traffic at all times of the day. If you’re lucky enough to go 30 miles an hour, you feel like you’re flying. Now if there was only a way that you could divert this maddening traffic into web traffic, you’d be golden! Alas, we live in the real world and that means we have to suffer through too much traffic on the 405 and too little traffic to our websites.

While there is nothing I can do to help you with your daily commute, I can help you answer the age-old question, “How do I get traffic to my site?”  Let me give you this caveat before diving into the different tactics…it’s hard. Building website traffic is time consuming and never as easy as it sounds on paper. That’s why I’m breaking this topic up into several parts. Today we’re gong to start with determining what type of content you should be creating.

thinking-man

Make your audience think.

You can’t polish a turd, nor can you get people to come read crap content. You have to create high quality content that interests people. Your content has to be relevant, thought provoking, entertaining, informative, and fresh. Regurgitating a top ten list that Buzzfeed published a day before is not going to get you people to your site.

An exercise you should think about before creating content is brainstorm what your target audience would be interested in. You need to know what kind of content to create before you start to brainstorm all the different types of content to create.

Believe it or not, you’ll probably have the flexibility with what you write about. Take the Buffer blog. It started out as a blog about Twitter and helping people be more effective on Twitter since that’s what their product originally did. But their blog exploded in traffic once they expanded to topics beyond Twitter. Today they write about things like Facebook, Twitter, productivity, writing, and customer service. While their product is focused on publishing social media content, they’re helping solve problems that their customers have, outside of their product solution.

MadScientist

Experiment to see what content works with your audience.

One thing I found with this blog was that readers were really attracted to my posts about entrepreneurship and client services. I originally thought that I’d only write about how to blog better, but that’s not the case. Some of the most successful posts have been the ones like, “How to Read People” and “How to Write a Proposal That Will Land the Client.” That’s because many readers of this blog are freelancers who are trying to build their businesses. Reading people and improving their proposals is much more valuable content to them than reading another post on the new Facebook algorithm.

You should also know that your first hypothesis will probably be wrong. Just start creating content and see what works with your audience. Even if it’s just a like or two per post, you’ll start to understand what people really want from you. But you have to start by creating any kind of content.

If you can’t figure out what kind of content is valuable to your audience, you’re never going to build regular traffic. You can create all the ebooks you want and post a million times on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get meaningful traffic. Start your quest for traffic by giving your readers a reason to read your content.

 

 



Be Excellent To One Another


Be Kind

Life as an entrepreneur can be incredibly lonely.  The odds are stacked against you and no one really knows what you’re going through internally. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this topic and I’m not the only one writing about it. As a solo founder, life can be especially lonely.

But the point of this post isn’t to talk about loneliness. Rather, it’s meant to remind you that underneath the brave face you see from people, lies another untold story. This lesson isn’t limited to entrepreneurs. It affects everyone in society.

It was pointed out to me the other day that I’m very quick to judge. I rationalize this with Malcolm Gladwell’s theory in his book “Blink.” Often our snap decisions prove to be correct, rather than those rooted in in-depth research. And I have found more often than not, my instincts are correct.

Making snap judgements of people, especially strangers, is dangerous. You never know what’s going on in their lives. Entrepreneurs will put on a brave face for their team, their friends and family, even investors, but you never know what they’re actually struggling with.

My suggestion to everyone, myself included, is to be excellent to one another. Not only will it make the world a better place, but it can make a real impact in someone’s life. I have a mental Rolodex of people who said something as simple as, “How’s your day?” to me when I was feeling like shit. That simple question, and briefly talking about what I was going through (without going into too much detail) let out just enough pressure to make me feel well enough to move on.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”



5 Movies Every Entrepreneur Must Watch


“If there’s magic in boxing, it’s the magic of fighting battles beyond endurance, beyond cracked ribs, ruptured kidneys and detached retinas. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.” – Million Dollar Baby

I know entrepreneurs don’t have a lot of free time. But, everyone should make time to relax and watch a movie from time to time. And if you’re going to take the time to watch a movie, I would suggest watching a movie that pumps you up and gets you excited about building your company. (We all need a shot of energy from time to time.) These are five movies that I think every entrepreneur should watch at some point. Their common thread? Risk, perseverance, confidence, and hard work. Qualities all entrepreneurs need to succeed.

1. Million Dollar Baby

This movie is fantastic! Hilary Swank’s character is superb. She’s told she’s too old and not talented by the man she wants to train her. But she persists and convinces him to train her. She sacrifices and does what it takes to get the job done. If this movie doesn’t pump you up, maybe you should move to corporate world.

YouTube Preview Image

2. Shawshank Redemption

Another classic movie. Who doesn’t love this movie? I love this movie because Andy Dufresne is one calculated individual. He does things his way, has a plan, and sticks to it. He never gave up and was patient enough to reap the rewards of his patience and hard work.

YouTube Preview Image

3. Pursuit of Happyness

One of my favorite Will Smith movies. Will Smith’s character is a single dad, broke, and goes homeless. Instead of whining, he talks his way into an unpaid internship, even though he’s a grown man. He busts his hump to get the job he wants. “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me.”

YouTube Preview Image

4. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 

I can feel the vitriol bubbling at your lips. I bet you are astonished and upset that Justin Bieber, the poppy prima donna, is on this list. Well, he is. Forget how you might feel about his music, he’s a 16 year old kid ruling the charts (or was when the movie was being made). That’s not by mistake.

The kid worked his ass off to get to where he is today. Truth. He sang on the streets, he toured water parks for 10 people, he did what he needed to in order to get noticed. When his shot came around, he took it and the rest is history.

When you watch this movie, you’re going to feel like shit if you’re not working as hard as this 16 year old kid. No excuse.

YouTube Preview Image

5. Something Ventured

This is by far my favorite documentary of all time. The filmmakers do a brilliant job of combining interviews, with old footage, and emotional music to tell the story of Silicon Valley and its first venture capitalists. You’re not just watching people interviewed like most documentaries, you can feel the story of Silicon Valley evolve. I’ve watched this three times and probably will another three times (at least).

YouTube Preview Image

Honorable Mention:

Pirates of Silicon Valley

The Social Network 

What did I miss? What movies would you add to this list?

 



What’s The Difference Between a Client and a Project?


First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has signed up for Prepare.io and tried it out. Your feedback is really exciting and I’m working on prioritizing new features and functions.

One thing that I’m hearing repeatedly is that the product as a whole is a bit confusing to a first time user. This is something we are working on right now. In a few days we should have a new onboarding process ready. But one thing I’d like to address is the difference between a Client and a Project.

A Client

A client is just like what it sounds like. It’s your client. For example, if you signed Honda as your client, then that’s your client account. I wanted to make this as straight forward as possible.

When you add a client, you can include pertinent information to the account for you to reference in the future. You can add information like:

- Client Name

- Address

- Email Address (Like the main email address that the company shares with the public)

- Phone Number (Main, public number)

- Monthly Retainer

- Who the point of contact is on their team

- What people are on the team

Prepareio-Example-Client-A-Info

A Project

A project is a subset of a client. One client can have one project, or they can have multiple projects going on. How many projects you have depends on how you want to manage your work and your team. The ability to create multiple projects was meant to give you and your team flexibility, depending on your work flow and team structure.

A project is one calendar – what content you want to plan on it is up to you. Some people might want to have one project per client. Others might have to split up projects within the client. Let’s walk through a few potential scenarios.

So according to our first example, your client is Honda. But you are working on content for both the Civic and the Accord. So instead of planning content for both brands on one project, you split them up between two projects. One client, two projects.

Prepareio-2 Projects-1 Client

Let’s use Honda for another scenario. But this time you only have the Honda Civic as a client. You plan on creating regular content via the Honda Civic blog but you’re also going to post on several different social media channels. You prefer to keep your blog content and long-form editorial team on the Honda Civic Blog project. Then you have a separate project for the social media team who deals with channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Again, one client, but two different projects.

I know at first glance, clients and projects seems a bit confusing. But I was really trying to give you, the user, as much flexibility as possible by splitting these up. If you have follow up questions about clients and projects, feel free to email directly. jesse (at) prepare (dot) io.

Thanks,

Jesse