Fear

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The aftermath of an invigorating conference like Content Marketing World is usually two-fold:

  • I walk away inspired and empowered to pursue my passions.
  • While all that inspiration is surging through me, I go through the recovery phase, which includes a blue period, missing the constant interaction, and recharging from that constant interaction.

You can call me a lot of things but “simple” isn’t one of them.

There’s usually a third phase but I’ve come to accept that particular phase to be a constant in my life. I try to push it out of my mind and forget about it. At times, I’m fooled into thinking I’ve conquered it but it returns at the most inconvenient times to cripple my progress.

As entrepreneurs, we don’t talk about fears as often unless it’s in a book, we’re asked about it, or there’s a listicle on Forbes quoting something we mentioned in a conversation.

We all have fears.

We don’t volunteer this information because we think it makes us look weak.

Maybe it does. Maybe after reading this blog, you’ll reconsider your opinion of me. You have that freedom.  Continue reading

Slow Down to Reach Content Marketing Success (and some other CMWorld takeaways)

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Disclaimer: There will be more than one post related to CMWorld

Truth be told, I’m still going through my notes from Content Marketing World. The notes I took in addition to all of the tweets I sent out during the week. I may have gone a little overboard on Twitter, but there were so many great insights! As a writer and strategist, I’m naturally planning out content themes around the sessions I attended so look out for those in the upcoming weeks. (Oh and subscribe to my email newsletter!)

For this post, I wanted to focus on the major takeaways from the conference, the ones that haven’t stopped bouncing around my brain. Continue reading

7 Reasons CMWorld Is Like Coming Home

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There are no shortages of conferences throughout the year. There are small ones. There are huge ones. There are super specialized ones.

Hell, I even cofounded a specialized conference with three amazing people.

Not every conference is created equal.

Good news: The industries and internet are big enough for all of us. Local conferences are great for those with small budgets who don’t have the luxury of traveling on a company/client account.

Bad news: More often than not, quantity sacrifices quality.

As a freelancer-turned-solopreneur, I haven’t had the luxury of having a large conference budget. I’ve been lucky enough to have clients who saw the value proposition in covering my expenses, and other times, I’ve volunteered in exchange for attendance.

For me, the CMWorld conference was like coming home. I was surrounded by like-minded individuals who were passionate about content marketing, making a difference, and genuinely helping their clients/customers. I fell in love with the color orange. I walked away inspired and exhilarated.

After volunteering at this conference last year, even though I had introvert fatigue, I was also exhilarated. I felt connected to every single person there because we all shared the same passion, in varying degrees. Different industries, different backgrounds, but all with a common passion: content and content marketing.

Here are the 7 ways attending CMWorld felt like coming home.
Continue reading

Harnessing the Power of Online Reviews for Your Small Business

When my brother’s car broke down last month, and the dealership quoted him a ridiculous price for fixing it, we turned to the internet to find a local mechanic. He’s new to this city, and I’ve never actually needed to get my car fixed – so we went down the list of small businesses that came up.

There was the specialty shop where I had gotten my oil changed. We went there first without looking at any reviews. His quote was lower than the dealership, but we didn’t want to commit before shopping around a bit more. There was a little muffler shop with 55 reviews on Yelp – and what’s more, they were all POSITIVE reviews. I looked up the address for the muffler shop. It was located on a street I’ve driven down hundreds of times in the past two years, but had no idea it was there.

We drove up – I actually passed it the first go. The location itself is hidden by trees, and even walking by it on the sidewalk, I would never notice it. The little garage looked run down – and the lot is tiny. We walked in to a tiny room with just a desk, two chairs, and the owner at the computer. He was on the phone when we walked in. He asked us how he could help, we told him our predicament, and he said he would call us in 15 minutes with a quote after doing some research.

If we had walked in without seeing those positive reviews, I would’ve told my brother we should move along and find another option. He called my brother with a quote, and we decided we would have his car towed there. When we went back in with the car, he asked us how we had found him. When we told him he had great reviews online, he was genuinely surprised. As an unassuming small business owner, he had gotten two new customers simply because of word-of-mouth.

My brother and I were part of the 90% of consumers who read online reviews before visiting a business. According to a survey from business2community, a one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5-9% increase in a business’ revenue, and a negative review can cost you 30 customers.

There’s no longer any doubt when it comes to the power of online reviews. So, how can a small business owner encourage their customers to leave those reviews?  Continue reading