Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy

------------------ In Black and White -------------------------------

Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.



Take a look at this site, but only if you have a strong constitution and are not easily discouraged.

JobVent takes commentary and rating information from former and current company employees. Anybody may post anything about any company.

Based upon the reviews, most people, when given the venue and format, will complain rather than praise. So JobVent is what it says; a place for employees to vent about their place of work.

Also, most of the companies I saw reviewed were large. And the complaints are about large company problems - pay, benefits, work environment and "respect" - all directed at "management" primarily.

JobVent exists because a lot of people don't like what they have to do for a living. And dissatisfaction often finds a soulmate or two or a hundred.

Sites like JobVent popup frequently, and if they collect enough opt-in email addresses, will have a huge mailing list of dissatisfied recipients to market to.

I wonder if employers read these sites (I am sure they do). I also wonder if it really matters.

Lesson learned: Those who are posting are fighting with the only option they think they have.

You know better. If unhappy, LEAVE. And using Web 2.0 technology, more and more employers will know where to find you.



Another new site to check out today - Isabont.


Freehive is a new Web 2.0 jobs/career networking site.

Freehive appears to have been started last week; it is that new. There are still some bugs to be worked out, however Freehive looks promising.

Unlike other social/business networking sites, Freehive guides new users through a series of screens designed to create a new account and profile. Emphasis in the Freehive signup process is on academics (universities attended, degrees, etc.) and employment, (past and present).

Once registered, Freehive users can update their profile and personal information.

What is different about Freehive?

myHive - A screen category which contains contacts, opportunity search and positions available based upon Freehive profile.

Buzzmates - other Freehive members you are associated with based upon school, employment or associations. These people create "buzz" about you on Freehive.

I think Freehive is promising, but needs work. A network search located only 9 other people, which leads me to believe that Freehive, again, is brand new and is still obtaining traction.

Further, whoever is behind Freehive has an emphasis on education, associations and "jobs" - this gives the impression that Freehive was the result of a recent university project created by a student from abroad.

More mature networking sites focus on networking and how well connected users can assist each other with introductions and revenue.

Freehive is promising, the "buzz" and "hive" concept are creative, and with time could develop into a useful business networking site.

Check out Freehive here.


The Career Manifesto (viral'd)

From Seth Godin's blog, a viral'd piece from Gaping Void.

To quote:

"6. Your technical skills may impress the other geeks, but if you can't get along with your co-workers, you're a litigation breeder. Don't be surprised if management regards you as an expensive risk."
- Gaping Void

See the rest here.

Good stuff.

LinkedIn Invitations

LinkedIn is a great application - it must be judging by the number of users, the press releases and the size of its users networks.

I receive about 2-5 LinkedIn emails a day for network requests. At first, most LinkedIn users want to accept every single invite and thus grow their network (and get to the coveted 500+ connection ring).

This is all well and good, but I always carefully consider all LinkedIn invitations before I automatically accept them. Why?

Some invitations come from LinkedIn users who only want to have a large network number. How do I know? Try sending a response email or request first. If the sender does not respond, they most likely have sent out hundreds of invites and are not actually interested in networking on LinkedIn.

Also, I see a direct correlation between the actual networking interest of the LinkedIn user and the type of invite they send. For instance, the generic LinkedIn invitation encourages the recipient to join LinkedIn. If I receive this type of invitation, clearly the sender did not put much thought into their invite.

But a lesson from the other side of the fence.

I have accepted invitations from some LinkedIn users that left me thinking, "What is this guy going to do for me?" that left me eating my words later. It is through many of these invites I have received job interviews, speaking and writing opportunities and sales prospects. You never know so tread carefully.

Finally, LinkedIn has some great new buttons which will help you promote your LinkedIn profile on your blog or website.

Go to your Profile and check Promote Your Profile right above your Summary. There is a link to a number of buttons and code for publishing right on your website.

Now if only LinkedIn had a referral button and revenue plan, that would be cool!

Digg This Story


Writing articles to grow your brand

The Internet has several great services, most of which are free, which can help build and grow your personal brand, i.e. Marketing Me.

Writing articles is a great way to increase your reputation and awareness of your talents and capabilities.

First, always have at least one blog. Your blog will be the test bed for your articles prior to widespread publication and it helps hone your writing skills.

Next, there are several "free" article submission sites which are clambering for content. These sites, like EzineArticles, EzinePlug, and Ezinehub allow you to open a free account and upload your articles for others to read and reprint.

Regarding reprinting, you will be asked to sign off on others reprinting your articles on their websites and blogs. Realize that this will result in a viral transmission of your name and reputation.

Make sure your articles include your name and a URL of your personal website or blog.
(Make sure you create that website or blog first! As always, see my Marketing Me ToDo List for more information and how to get started).

Many professionals report astonishing results from their article submissions. Job and consulting opportunities, speaking engagements, and requests for additional articles.

Writing and submitting articles can grow your personal brand and reputation as long as you submit them to Internet-based e-article websites such as the ones listed above.



Using LinkedIn to build your network

I probably blather more about than any other product right now.

Quite simply it is because I play with the LinkedIn features so much I have LinkedIn on the brain most days.

To quickly build your LinkedIn contact list, make sure you include your email address in your name.

This can be done in your LinkedIn Profile.

In your LinkedIn Profile, Edit your Display Name.

Input your name and follow it with [your email address]in brackets like these.

Every time someone comes across your LinkedIn profile, they will have your email address. They can then send you a LinkedIn invite to join their network.

What about spam? Email has some great filters in place for dealing with spam as does your corporate email server and gmail and yahoo web clients. Spam is annoying, but is less intrusive than it use to be.

Start using LinkedIn today to increase your network contact list!

Using Plaxo to market yourself and products

I have used for a number of years and have been a big fan.

I use Plaxo like everyone else does to manage my address book and contacts.

A great feature of Plaxo is the auto updates it sends to your contacts whenever your contact information is modified.

Besides phone numbers, email addresses and so forth, there is a special feature which is widely underused by Plaxo users.

Log into your Plaxo account and view your business cards under My Cards.

At the bottom of your Plaxo Work Info card is a gray space. This space, when properly populated, will display a Plaxo Card Message.

To edit, click on the Edit button.

Fill in your Plaxo Card Message in the open box marked Card Message at the bottom of the left hand column.

You can add about 500 characters of text to the box. I use this box to highlight -
- products I am promoting
- recent job changes
- awards or honors
- announcements of upcoming speeches, publications, or presentations
- "want lists" like opportunities, etc.

After editing the Card Message, you might want to use one of the other features in your Plaxo Card. For instance, I added a picture of a new product I am selling in the Choose Photo field (who needs to see a picture of me everyday?). You can also edit the URL field to include a specific website as well.

Don't forget to check the Privacy options at the bottom of the card. I allow any Plaxo member to see my business profile. You may want to limit it to your contacts, just make sure your contacts list is as large as you can make it!

Save your Edits and within seconds, your updated Plaxo Card with message, photo, etc will be sent "spam free" to your contacts and inserted in their address cards. Further, they will receive a standard email displaying your modifications!

Imagine how long this would take if you phoned all of your contacts with the same amount of information!

Get Plaxo if you don't have it already and start building your own email networking announcements today.


Ask and ye shall receive..

If I could give anyone ONE piece of advice it would be to ASK.

- Ask for the sale - 25% of all sales are received this way.

- Ask for the job - most employers, HR staff and recruiters are not expecting this question.

- Ask for the raise - most employers will give you one if you deserve it.

- Ask for the date - many attractive people have fewer dates than you think. The same applies for sales and jobs. The most attractive company often gets few offers because "people think it is too hard".

The most dissatisfied person never asks for anything. They make statements ("I am broke") or they complain ("I never get the good deals").

Successful people ask and ask often. Try it.

Requests for references

Do you need a reference for your next job? Most likely you will.

There are two types of references, personal and professional.

Personal references can be written by anyone who knows you well. It is best however, to have someone with "authority" - a minister, doctor, family friend with a strong professional title or well-known personality.

Personal references will vouch for your character, personality, ethics and personal history.

Professional references are from former (and current) employers, co-workers and clients.

Your current employer may be reluctant to provide a reference for obvious reasons; they may not want you looking for another job! But most likely, your current employer will not provide a professional reference because of legal ramifications - if your reference does not reflect your current job status (such as promotions, pay raises, responsibility), then your employer could be sued - by you.

The exception to the rule is if you are voluntarily leaving your current company or are being released due to layoff or economic downturn.

Your former employer will usually provide some sort of professional reference. Generally it will consist of "worked from date X to date Y and eligible for rehire".

If you remain on good terms with your previous employer, you could very well receive a strong letter of reference. Keep these on file and use them again and again.

Co-workers are a good source for references which many overlook. Co-workers are especially good if they have a strong title and can reference specific projects they completed with you.

The most overlooked professional reference sources are clients and customers. If you have provided good service and have a good professional relationship, these are potential wellsprings of incredible value.

After all, professional references from customers attest to your excellent service and value you produced for a revenue source to your customer!

How to ask for a reference?

First and foremost, stay on good terms with your network of potential references. Remain in contact and don't wait until you need a reference to ask for one.

Second, offer to return the assistance in kind at the very least. At best, offer something of value to your references which they will translate as a gift of good faith - referrals, introductions, free consulting or contractual work.

Finally, have several reference sources in mind. No one who provides references wants to be hounded daily by the sad sack who has no network.

If a reference does not get back to you in a timely fashion, do not take this the wrong way - be understanding of their schedule and have an alternate plan.

A final note, do not forget to write a thank you note for the reference. This is common courtesy and should never be overlooked.

Phone messages

I recently received a phone message which made me think about ways we can all improve on this important, yet neglected activity.

The Do

- Speak slowly and clearly.
- Say your name, your company, your callback number and a brief reason for your call.
- Repeat your callback number at the end of the message.

The Don't

- Speak quickly, especially when leaving a callback number.
- Call while eating, coughing, or sneezing.
- Call while outside or a loud environment.
- Leave messages while carrying on a conversation.
- Leave rambling messages which exceed common courtesy.
- Leave a pitch, plea or unusual request.
- Forget to leave your name of callback number

Voice mail is your friend. Use it wisely and with courtesy and it will pay back handsome dividends.


IT job market best in years

Besides Sales, IT work is a field I know best and write about frequently.

Robert Half Technology announced that IT jobs are at a high not seen since 2001 and growing.

From my own experience, I know this was true already. Over the past year, several colleagues in IT work have changed jobs and reported higher earnings.

MS Windows and network management top the list. But DBA's don't need to worry.

Jobs are everywhere, but the Southeastern U.S. is hot as are several major metropolitan areas.

Read the rest here.


I am a big fan of .
- I use it for research on companies (for Sales, Work)
- I use it to market myself, my work, my revenue.
- I use it communicate with coworkers (current and former), business contacts and customers.
- I use it to keep track of others.

Key actions which help others find you

- Update your profile regularly. Update at least once a year. I update mine every week.

- Change your links in your Profile regularly. These can increase your "discoverability" by others. They can also be used to promote your blog, website and other activities.

- Include your email address next to your name. People want to contact you to network. (If you are worried about spam, join the 21st century and get some filters in place on your email!).

- Under Specialties in your Profile, include as many keywords which best describe you and your interests. Keywords are how people are found.

- Elaborate in your Summary (also in your Profile). Don't be shy. Include those keywords, company names and positions which best describe you.

- Use your Experience (Profile, again) as a soap box. Brag about what you did when you were there.

- Write recommendations for others. Ask them to do it for you.

- Use your Additional Information space for Additional Information. Don't waste billboard space!

It drives me crazy when I see someone's profile which looks like it has not been updated in months.

is your friend. Use it!


Career planning

Career Advice

I have written about this many times before and cannot stop expanding upon it - What is your career plan?

All too often we depend upon our employer or "management" to have a career plan or path ready and waiting for us?

Why is this?

Your employer hired you for a specific job.

Managers in most companies, (especially the larger ones) are trained to keep employees busy and productive.

Companies do not expect managers to build realistic career paths or plans for their employees.

When companies do anything which resembles an employee career plan, they are only doing this activity to build a reasonable expectation for the employee within the organization.

Your career plan is yours and yours alone.

Start on it today.

How to get started

Decide what you want to do. Base this solely upon your interests and desires. Ignore what everyone else - especially what magazines, newspapers (anybody read those anymore?) and television news - says. If you want to be blacksmith, then be one!

When are you are going to do what you want to do? This is the killer. We have dreams, hopes and plans yet never execute on them primarily because we do not have a "drop dead date". Get a calendar and make a date with your life.

How are you going to do it? Want to be a dance instructor? Can you dance? Do you have shoes? Are there any preparations you need to make? Get busy.

Who will know about your plan? How will you tell them? Do you have the proper tools to remarket yourself to the world?

Finally, are you ready to walk away? This is easier than you think. Once you make your plan, you will know when to walk.

Your career plan is yours alone. Stop being stuck in the same place and make your plan today.

Great places to find new customers

From the people at Just Sell. 50 Ways to Find New Business and Generate Leads


Sales Tough

You know I am in sales so I read a lot of sales books, newsletters and web sites related to sales.

Check this one out - Sales Tough from Just Sell. Download the ebook, print it out, save it on your hard drive and read it frequently. It is that good.

I have said this before, and will say it again - what you put in you get out. If you fill your mind with negative, defeatist garbage you will regurgitate the same in your life.

Stay motivated and positive. If you need help, read, listen, and watch that which motivates you.

Stay tough.


Change your number

"“I’ll tell you a secret: When your number comes up, you’re going to go. Well, every morning I get up, I change my number.”"
- Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Chun

I love that statement from Mr. Chun. Something that stuck with me all day long.

Work is a far cry from war. Not to be disrespectful, but it is a battle out there. Layoffs, outsourcing, downsizing, offshoring, age discrimination, and so on.

Work is hell, to paraphrase.

Changing your number can mean a number of things in your career.

How can you change your number daily?

- Disrupt (they hired you to diversify the gene pool, not inbreed it)
- Make things (sales are good) happen
- Exceed (expectations, earnings, sales)
- Uncover (opportunities, savings, products, features, markets)
- Praise more and complain less
- Get out and grow the business (plants die without sun)

Never design the box. Live without the box. Demand more of yourself and your value to everyone. Keep raising your stock value. Break records. Set new ones.

Wake up on December 8 and change you number. Do it again on December 9. Don't stop.

Here's to you Mr. Chun and may you have a never ending supply of numbers.

Call toll free for a free gift yours for the asking

Examples of tired marketing statements which won't go away.

We are immune now. We hear that operators are standing by or read that Marketing Me was seen on TV and we don't care.

Our minds tune out the repetitive clutter and search for the substance to the ad, the product or the person which best meets our need.

Does your resume declare how productive you are? Or brag about the timeliness or quality of your work? What about how cost-affective you are?

How about your profile in LinkedIn, Ecademy or XING? Still proclaiming your loyalty and teamwork?

Who cares.

In a world where computers screen resumes for keywords and recruiters hunt prospects based upon company affiliation and industry, why aren't you changing your calling card?

Stop wasting white space and start managing your ad. You may only have one shot at the big time... today.

And call before midnight tonight for once a year big savings.



Earlier I posted here: Check out my lens

- I am becoming a bit disenchanted with Squidoo as of late. There is no support to speak of save impersonal auto-responders and blogs which are infrequently updated (once a month!). This is a Web2.0 company?
Seth Godin seems more obsessed with making a difference charity-wise than making a "company different" - which is how he made his name in the first place. ("Seth, you are not Mother Teresa or even Bob Geldoff. Do what you do best. Market and make Squidoo a great business first").
I hope Squidoo does not follow the same path as GM - remember the great quote from Walmart's CEO? "General Motors is a benefits company which makes cars". Think about it.

I stand corrected as far as support goes. There is a forum which is regularly monitored by staff members at Squidoo as well as volunteers. Several recent problems were addressed in the forum and explained.

Fair is fair. Regardless, Squidoo is a neat little place to market yourself - any place like that is good.

Marketing Me Blurbs

Lots today to keep track of...

- Check out formerly known as , a professional business networking platform. They are based in Europe but are trying hard to enter into the U.S. growing social networking market. If you do business in Europe or want to, XING might be a good idea to join.

- is another EU-based business networking platform. I think it has more of a "Wild West Frontier" feel to it (if you can say that about a Europe-based company!). There are plenty of opportunities and JV deals offered by users throughout the site making it a very capitalistic place to visit.

- I am becoming a bit disenchanted with as of late. There is no support to speak of save impersonal auto-responders and blogs which are infrequently updated (once a month!). This is a company?
seems more obsessed with making a difference charity-wise than making a "company different" - which is how he made his name in the first place. ("Seth, you are not Mother Teresa or even Bob Geldoff. Do what you do best. Market and make Squidoo a great business first").
I hope Squidoo does not follow the same path as GM - remember the great quote from Walmart's CEO? "General Motors is a benefits company which makes cars". Think about it.

- Watch out what you send from your account! I passed along an email to some people in my network and had my Send Invitations temporarily turned off.

- Finally, some good words - Seven traits of effective leaders

1) Make others feel important
2) Promote a vision
3) Follow the Golden Rule (Google it if you don't know it).
4) Admit mistakes
5) Criticize others only in private
6) Stay close to the action - visit your customers and suppliers often. Get out of the office!
7) Make a game of competition - celebrate the successes and measure the failures!

- Courtesy of The Toastmaster, Mission Viejo, California

Until next time, keep on Marketing Me!


How to increase


How to increase your the Marketing Me Way


My second quarter this year stunk. I mean bad. It was the equivalent of an extra paycheck.

In the clock punching world, that may be fine, but in the Sales world, that is the kiss of death.

I had tried everything to increase my sales that quarter - cold calling, lowering the price, free shipping, promises I could never keep. Nothing.

So I regrouped. I got out of the office and really thought about ways I could genuinely increase my sales. I took a week off and read a few books and websites on sales and the sales process. I studied companies - especially their ads and advertising strategy. "How did they get sales?"

I realized that "dropping my pants" and bothering customers with unwanted calls was not the answer.

I needed a new approach for attracting customers to my company, my product but more important, to me. In the end, what matters most in sales, is the customer who wants to buy finds YOU and buys from YOU.

Use what works

I had no problem using the Internet to attract and build traffic for ME, but what about for my company? I mean "employees" are not exactly taught to go out and buy a billboard for our company out of our own pocket, are we? That's Marketing's job.

Wrong. This is what sales is about. Sales people can now attract good qualified customers with today's technology and tools. Further, successful sales people are not "employees". They are independent contractors paid for moving other people's merchandise.

Getting Started



Sales people for years have been buying advertising for their own sales. Take realtors and insurance sales people for instance, who buy ads in church bulletins and school yearbooks.

I already had a Google Adwords account. So I created a number of ads for my company and limited them to my territory. Because there was the chance that some potential customers researched products like my company made, at night and on weekends, I went ahead and left my ads viewable during those time periods.

I researched keywords for my ads carefully using Keyword Selector Tool from Yahoo and WordTracker which is a great keyword research tool.

I took advantage of the name recognition of my competitors and used those as keywords as well.

I then considered different variations on my ads and moved text and wording about.

Also, I used the AdWords option for content. Most marketers advise against doing that because content ads often appear where your competition is most likely to click - thereby wasting your money.

But I knew my ads could also be where my competition may not be looking. Like in blogs or press articles.

After my first week with AdWords, I only had received a few clicks. But my ads had appeared in the top 10 or so ad slots more than 700 times! I had the right keywords, just the wrong wording. I changed the ads out and managed to get a few of them to convert in the 5-7% range. Very respectable for a newbie.


Using , and others

When I say networking, I mean online networking tools (one of my favorite topics). I changed two of my favorite, LinkedIn and Plaxo, profiles to reflect a more aggressive sales tactic. For instance, I included a description of my top selling product in both profiles. Hopefully, they would attract interest from parts of my network I had not considered.

I also signed up for about a half a dozen other social networking websites and increased my visibility. I joined groups within networking sites to increase my visibility. I actively asked for referrals.

At first, nothing happened. But in the weeks that followed, I started getting requests for information. Sometimes it was to write a brief article about my industry (never turn those opportunities down!) and other times just an email or phone call from an interested company. Nevertheless, people contacted me interested in my product - I did not have to "cold call" or phone spam them!


(Now by "mail" I mean snail mail, post, postal mail, etc. Not email).

I read a great book once called "The Power To Get In" which described ways to build interest for your company or product by sending multiple mail outs to key people within an organization. This way you can create "buzz" within an organization.

Taking this to heart, I created a sales letter and put together a packet of materials on our products. Next, I researched dozens (ultimately over a thousand) companies who might be interested in my product.

Then I concentrated on the names of the key people at a company. Once I knew who the key people were, I dropped them one of my packets. Then I did it again, but this time I changed the sales letter to a follow up letter.

I included a business card as well.

Since these companies were in my territory, if they "Googled" my company, they would see one of my ads. I am now bombarding my prospects with my company name.

The end result, by the end of the year, I had fielded about a half dozen calls and emails from interested parties. This may not seem like a lot, but these are calls from prospects who are interested in what I am selling. One sale more than pays for my time and mailings; two sales pays for some nice Christmas presents!


I don't like dropping emails to individuals who did not ask for my email. I call this spam (you should too). However, I do not have a problem checking company website for mail forms. This forms go directly to sales people, but sometimes they go to the head of Marketing, Sales or even the President.

These forms are invitations into the inner workings of any company and they should be used for general questions which can be turned into leads.

And in the end...

After all those mail outs, ads, profiles and emails what happened?

Well, my fourth quarter (right now) is shaping up to be the best quarter I have had yet. I have done more this quarter in the first two months than I did in the first and second quarter combined!

What worked best? For targeted sales increases, I have to say the mailouts worked the best. For most interesting sales calls, networking was by far the most exciting. Your results will vary, but it is definitely worth it to try new means to increase your visibility and sales.

Until next time..

Hey, it's not my job!

From Seth Godin's blog (sorry trackbacks don't work with Blogger!).

You can see the line painter staring at the fallen tree, scratching head and going around it. Like Seth says, classic!

Don't paint around the tree today. Let's make that our motto today at Marketing Me!


Making and How Much Should You Ask For?

Yahoo has an article in their career center about salary advice.

Negotiating the best for the position you are considering is probably about the most important decision you can make for any job.

I don't care what anyone says, getting paid is the reason we work. Sure, it is nice to be financially secure and not have to worry about how much your will be every other week, but the reality is most of us have to be concerned about money.

Simple rule which Jeffrey Fox outlines in his book "How to Become CEO" - take the job which pays the most money.

Why? Because the you make at this job will go on to the next job you take. If you make $150,000.00 per year at job one, your next employer will be expected to match that at the very least in order to attract you.

Besides, it makes paying bills easier which allows you to focus on your work and your own worth.

Another idea is to take the job which pays the most overall.

That is, take the job which has the best cost to you (i.e. lower insurance deductibles, matching 401K, etc.), a better bonus structure (because you ARE going to get that BONUS) and other payment incentives like stock or stock options.

Happiness at a job is important, but one can be much happier making ten grand more per year at job one than suffering joyfully at job two.

Self fund your life. Start now.
We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.