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

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


Marketing Me! NYT and WSJ abandon subscription model, join twenty-first century

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal will/have abandoned the idea of subscriptions to read news off their web sites. Read it here.

I think it is big time funny.

For years, if you wanted to read the NYT on line, you had to subscribe and hand over all kinds of personal information.

Meanwhile, all the other news sites were handing content over in favor of your eyeballs viewing loads of sometimes, very creative ads.

The Times thought that subscribers, the old model, would benefit the Gray Lady better than new-fangled, unreliable, Internet advertising. Great thinking.

Guess who won? Not hard to determine with the Times decision today.

Okay, so how does this apply to Marketing Me?

First, how hard are you making your life to prospective revenue sources? You know people and companies who are willing to pay for your time and talent?

Difficult people require all sorts of protection and firewalls which keep revenue at arm's length.

Freewheelers, people who move fast and rely on personal marketing, remove every barrier possible to making things happen. Further, they find ways to monetize every potential customer opportunity.

Difficult people love certifications, trial periods, apprenticeships, reviews, check boxes and any other roadblocks which makes their life feel worthwhile, yet often, unprofitable.

No different than the Times and their subscription model. Make your best customers go through the ringer in order to protect a short-sighted, old-fashioned, "because we always did it that way" goal.

Got a suggestion for you: Stop making it hard for your customers to give you money.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! GM Strikes, Iranian visitors, Cracker Jack and inevitable quarter demise

General Motors Strike

The UAW hosted a labor strike at GM plants around the country on Monday. I can't see why this is big news anymore.

- GM is losing money.
- UAW member and retireee benefits are in serious trouble
- Toyota is gaining market share.

The key word is relevancy. Both sides speak in broad terms and with generalized goals - "return to profitability", "job security" and "health benefits".

GM makes cars. There are two goals that matter: Make cars people want and will buy (key word) and make a profit on the sale.

Everything else is secondary.

Ranting about "quality" and "productivitiy" is a moot point.

In my world, the solution lies with the Big Three becoming the "Small to Medium 300".

Tragically, this all comes at the same time Michigan comes close to shutting down state government operations due to a massive budget shortfall.


The president of Iran spoke at Columbia yesterday and will speak at the United Nations today.

Who cares?

Why does the media still think that 19th century country borders and their leaders matter any longer?

I would rather read Shoemoney or hear his speech from last week.

Cracker Jacks

I received a bag of "Original" Cracker Jacks today at my children's school.

Hint: Original Cracker Jack was in a skinny box with a platic toy enclosed in the blue stripe packet - (I am too young to remember tin toys, thank you).

This product did not taste like Cracker Jack, had a cruddy prize and not enough of those burned peanuts in the bottom of the bag.

Sort of tee-d me off this morning.

The Quarter is still going to end this week

I tried to push back, but the calendar got in the way.


Marketing Me! Business 2.0 bites the dust

Business 2.0, the magazine "that could" in my opinion, has announced the next issue will be their last.

Actually, I read it first over on TechCrunch, a wonderful blog BTW, which has had a close relationship with B20 for some time now.

When magazines fold, it often goes unnoticed. Circulation is down, readers are scarce or content is poor. One day they are there, the next day a blank space at the news stand.

Business 2.0 was different. Everyone read it, perhaps only on airplanes, but it was read all the same. Unlike an similarly demised magazine, Fast Company, B2.0 focused on how the internet was changing businesses and business models.

Where as the DotCom boom of the late 20th century focused on traditional leverage or new companies, B2.0 reported on the creative, and generally more successful ways, new businesses were using social networks, blogs and "click" technology to build revenues.

My favorite part of Business 2.0 were the small stories. The paragraph or two about a great idea or product which might not change the world, but would shine some light in one corner of it.

I always read each issue cover to cover (a common comment about B2.0) and walked away inspired and energized to keep this dream of Marketing Me! going.

I will miss Business 2.0 and look forward to the innovator (who shares my passion for this space) who brings us the next revision of a publication created in the same vein.

As I stated over on TechCrunch, buzz me if you want some input or collaboration!

Until then, happy hunting!

Don't forget, Just Sell reminds us: There are only 6 days left in the quarter and month! Get busy!


Marketing Me! Feeling left out?

Jeffrey Fox in How to Become CEO makes a recommendation about when to know you won't make it due to circumstances beyond your control.

By "make it" I refer to the road block many of us have hit during our career inside of our place of employment - we just can't seem to make it up the ladder.

I recently explained to a group I was speaking to the reasons this happens.

1) History -
Often, the top executives have a long history together of which you were not part. Your company could be the latest of a long string of companies which has bound these executives together and closes you out of the loop.

2) Proximity -
The top team could have attended the same university or MBA program. Or originally hailed from the same region or city. Either way, you started at the wrong place as far as they are concerned.

3) Cultural -
Like it or not, often times top executive team members have a similar cultural background which bars entrance to all others. Call it what you will, it happens and often by those first to call foul in other arenas.

4) Traumatic effect -
This circumstance is overlooked or ignored. Take a group of top team members who have suffered through a common disaster, say a bankruptcy or layoff. That event has bound them together like passengers of a lifeboat and it could be guiding their entire management philosophy - "Green Banana, Inc. will never make the mistakes that Plump Tomato, Inc. made!". Since you were not part of the original disaster, you can't participate.

5) The Profession Factor -
It could be that everyone in top management has an engineering background or some other nearly impossible achievement which you cannot match despite all efforts. If the resumes all read the same, most likely you won't be asked to play.

Remember, when the gate comes down or your career approaches the local glass ceiling, do not take it the wrong way. Recognize the signs, make sure the doors are entirely closed and make plans to move on. Do yourself the favor.

Until next time, happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Friday snippets

A busy week with work has me struggling for blogging time, but Marketing Me! will not suffer!

LinkedIn - Have you seen Barack Obama question on LinkedIn?

1) It won't matter what your answer was - 1300+ the last time I checked! This was some skillful, but small scale political posturing. Expect to see more of this on other Web 2.0 sites.

2) Several complaints about politics on LinkedIn from users; "Isn't this site for networking and work, only and not politics?" is the general gripe. Haven't heard about anyone canceling their membership though.

Speaking of LinkedIn, check out Jason Alba's new book. Jason runs Jibber Jobber! which is also a neat site.

Things I have learned being in sales..

1) Silence is golden. Listen to your prospects, spouse, friends, etc when they are talking, nothing is more powerful. Also, when "debating" any subject, silence has more power than any argument. Make your point, shut up.

2) Persistence counts. Call, visit and write. Often. People reward persistence and hard work.

3) You don't get anything in life without asking first.

Have a great weekend, and happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Dressing for success

Yesterday, when writing about the Britney Episode, I mentioned dressing and a few rules to follow...

Dress for success - It is far better to be overdressed than under dressed. It is far better to be subdued than over the top. It is always better to be timeless rather then trashy. All common sense points, but all to often forgotten on stage and in the office.

Although most of you have no problem dressing or with your wardrobe, it never fails to amaze me the number of people who still go to work clothed awkwardly and without sense.

Some advice and ideas when one is not sure what to wear for work..

Go classic - khakis, black (slacks, skirts, dresses), grays, blue, whites

Go timeless - Suits rather than sport shirts, dresses rather than slacks

Go traditional - Traditional business clothing (suit, tie, business suit, etc)

Dress up rather than down - Wear coat and tie when meeting with client for instance

Avoid trends or flashy styles - If your favorite hip hop artist, professional athlete or diva is wearing it, you most likely do not want to do the same!

Shorts, sandals, flip flops, t-shirts (especially with witty sayings or pictures), halter and tank tops, anything political or controversial is a no-no.

In 25 years of business, I have never regretted wearing slacks, shoes and pressed shirts to work.

You won't either.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Lessons from Britney Spears

I am not that big into pop culture - guess that dates me in some circles. But my wife pointed out the awful mess Miss Spears made this weekend.

Marketing Me! is not a celebrity news site. Our position is the celebrity is you. However, many celebrities know quite well how to market themselves successfully and keep their personal brand going long after critics have deemed them "washed up". (Google Billy Ray Cyrus sometime..).

Britney Spears, in case you just dropped in from Mars or recently awoke, Rip Van Winkle style, is a pop singer who attained notoriety about a decade ago at the age of 17. Since that time, her life has had it's fair share of ups and downs as they often do in that tumultuous business called entertainment.

After a long down period in her life, Miss Spears had the opportunity to perform at the Video Music Awards in Las Vegas this past weekend. Put before her, was the chance to redeem her recent foibles and gain back some accolades for the talent which brought her to this point earlier in her life.

Instead, viewers were witness to a dazed, badly dressed (unfortunately under dressed) young woman who clearly needs some help and attention. It was very, very sad.

Lessons learned from this event which we can appreciate in our own professional lives.

1) All the world is a stage - An interview, presentation or speaking engagement gives us one shot to impress or depress our audience. Practice, practice and practice before hand. Get professional and personal feedback on our presentation before hand.

2) Dress for success - It is far better to be overdressed than under dressed. It is far better to be subdued than over the top. It is always better to be timeless rather then trashy. All common sense points, but all to often forgotten on stage and in the office.

3) You are judged on every moment - both fairly and unfairly. Critics call your worse your standard and your best a fluke. Anticipate criticism but offer no fodder to your critics!

4) Don't let your personal life interfere with your talent! Keep it separate always.

5) Your name is your brand, your work your calling card and your resume your testament. Do not let your brand become usurped by others, your calling card to be discarded or your resume misunderstood or unfocused.

Britney Spears is ready for a personal (re)Marketing. Clearly she has talent and can accomplish great things given the right personal direction.

You can too.

Get aware, get busy.

Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Sales - Final Quarter!

September marks for some, the last month of the third quarter (Q3) for 2007.

That meas the mad dash to close the final business of the quarter is here!

If you are in sales, where are you for your numbers? I hope you are right on target to meet your personal goals and professional quotas.

If not, here are some quick sales tips to help you close some last minute business. Remember, you still have a couple of weeks left in the quarter!

The Golden Rule of Sales - It is easier to sell to existing customers than to find new ones.

Concentrate on your existing pipeline!

Getting started...

1) How much more did you want to sell this quarter?
Let's say you wanted an additional $100,000.00 in sales this quarter. You have checked your pipeline and there simply is not a single opportunity which will help you make this number.

Consider adding together three or four opportunities to reach your target. It may take seven or eight smaller customers, but the number can be reached if it is broken up.

Which leads us to...

2) What is the current state of your pipeline?
Do you have any customers who consistently order $5000.00 to 20,000.00 at a time yet who are not in this quarter's forecast?

When was the last time they placed an order?

Now is the time to get on the phone to these prospects and line up an unplanned sale for the quarter. That customer who has placed $25,000.00 and 50,000.00 orders might need an additional, but smaller order now. If you can find three or four of these customers, you will be that much closer to your goal!

3) Check your channels; partners, distributors, and resellers.
Where do they stand? Do they have any opportunities which have not closed?
Do they need your help with the final call?
Have your channels optimized any and all leads and prospects sent their way?

Have these team members come in for the final big push and bring some business over the line.

4) How about inventory?
Is there any excess inventory? What about closeouts or end-of-life products?
Get with your company CFO and Operations people and find out what your can clear off the shelves.

These types of sales are generally high-margin or can be sold at a discount.
Remember: Your customers are just like you. Everyone loves a bargain!

5) What about those new prospects?
Sure, they may not be placing production sized orders, but they may be ready to put in that demo or pilot order.

Yes these orders may be small, but it might be the few small ones which push you over your number.


Before you start with point 1, do the following:

Check your attitude at the door - Anger, depression or bitterness have no place in sales.

Deal with the facts - Summer is traditionally a slow time and credit has been tight in some markets. This may be why you are below your number. Accept it and move on.

You cannot build a pipeline in the last month of the quarter - Pipelines are built over time through careful prospecting and networking. "Last minute, gotta have it, just walked in the door, Big Sales customers" are the stuff of sales legend and myth.

If you sold anything this quarter, 'you done good'. If you sell more, 'you done better'.

Most of all, start building for the fourth quarter which I have always said is a tougher quarter because of the holidays and shorter work time.

Hang in there! Happy hunting!


Marketing Me! August was tough!

August was a tough month all the way around.

It started with a bouncy, topsey-turvy stock market.

Then rolled into the wonderful news about the sub-prime housing market.

Then comes the credit/cash crunch. Some businesses lamented that there wasn't a dollar to be found on the street.

And all of this happens in what is traditionally the deadest month of the year for business, not only in the U.S., but worldwide, August.

Could not have happened to a nicer month!

Somehow, someone forgot to mention that little fact. August is "roll up the streets" time in Europe and other parts of the world.

In the States, many take their final vacation of the summer.

For families, work comes second to back to school and the related activities.

Finally, the whole thing ends with ironically and aptly with Labor Day - in other words, "Get back to work day!".

Last week, I heard my final "I am out of the office" voice mail and instead started off with the phone ringing off the hook. Today was no different and I found myself at the office an extra hour this evening just answering calls.

I fully expect next week to be more of the same and so it will continue through the end of October as businesses close out their fiscal year.

November will bring in some additional business and the 2007 business year will come to a grinding halt around the second week of December (for some, not all. I make some great, end-of-year, Yule deals in the final two weeks of the year!).

2008 will be another thing, what with the fallout from the sub-prime market and a presidential election. But that is next year, we only care about what we are going to do tomorrow, right?

I don't know where you stand today or tomorrow. But try not to let August and the summer doldrums get you down. Tomorrow is another day and don't forget, it is Friday!

Until then, happy hunting!


Marketing Me! Are you entitled?

About ten years ago, while managing an IT workforce, I welcomed a new technician to the company. After giving him a tour of our office and outlining our processes, I asked if he had any questions.

His first, "How do I park in the covered parking garage? Do I need a pass?".

"There is limited covered parking and is shared by all the tenants", I replied. "Because of the demand, the cost is prohibitive and we only have a few parking passes included with our rent. Such as it is, most of us park in the open lot out front or around back".

The look on the technician's face suggested that I had suggested he eat dog food for lunch. "You mean I don't get to park in the covered garage?", he responded.


A year or so later, another technician interviewed with our company. Upon viewing his workspace, he requested that the lights above his desk be removed, that he be given a floor lamp, a pad under his rolling chair, a new rolling chair of a certain make and model, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse of a certain model and after hours pay outside of his generous salary.

I showed the prospect the door with the standard, "We will let you know what we have decided".


During the post 2001 dot-com meltdown, an prospect was scheduled for a customary phone interview. After the job description and standard questioning, the prospect informed me that she was interested in the position and would be happy to start the next week. Naturally, she would be working from her home and wanted to know how the arrangements would be made to accommodate her.

I informed the candidate, that the person we were hiring would be required to relocate to our city and would work in the office with the rest of the development team.

The candidate informed me that was unacceptable and was sure the situation could be altered for her specific requirements and that relocation was out of the question; she loved where she lived and would never think about living where our company was headquartered.

I thanked her for her time and ended the call.


Was my reaction appropriate with each situation? Should I have been more flexible and understood the requests of the employee or job candidate? Should I have asked more questions and worked with their specific requests?

The right answer(s):

I should have hired the best person for the job and based their employment upon the need of the position and my desire to have that certain person be part of my company. Superstars are not entitled; they earn their "perks" because they are worth the price paid.

The superstar candidates or employee should have had the power to make certain demands and be ready to back them up with proven results and incredible potential. Superstars make superstar requests because they not only talk the talk, they walk it.

Work has changed. But not in all cases. Some positions are such that working from home or in special surroundings is necessary for the RESULTS desired. Results is the keyword. If the candidate can produce the necessary results in the right surroundings than they are worth the price. If they are self entitled or high maintenance, rightfully screen them out.

Where do you stand? Are you entitled? Do you feel so? Does your employer think so? Have you earned it? Could you earn more? Or are you on dangerous ground?

We live in a society which is moving in two directions.

The first sees the writing on the wall - move fast, provide value and set your asking price.

The other sees work as the environment which is obligated to reward tenure and loyalty with the same measure as results and profitability.

Which one is right? More important, which one is right for you?

Happy hunting.

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Marketing Me! From Seth Godin...

Some people (a precious few, so far) are realizing that this temporary recession is the best opportunity that they've ever had. They're working harder than ever -- mentally -- and taking all sorts of emotional and personal risks that are bound to pay off.

- Seth Godin

Wonderful quote. Is it true?

With recession, I see more people rethinking risk and dwelling on mistakes ("I should have opted for that 30-year fixed loan and avoided that ARM!"*).

(Or "I should have stayed with that big stable company in avoided the layoff I just went through!" - DotCom employee, circa 2001.)

But the risk is worth it. It is knowing when the risk is risky and dangerous vs. being rewarding with possibility. It is a hard.

But the risk is worth it.

I am a big believer in part-time risk. Build that website at nights and on weekends. Build an audience. Fill a niche. Find a buyer.

If it fails, try again. Try two or three opportunities at a time. Try, fail, try again.

Keep your day job. Work hard to leave it.

Risk is worth it. Stagnation is death.

Happy hunting.

* The ARM loan is worth it if you take advantage of the 3, 5 or 10 year term and pay down the principal.

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Marketing Me! When is retirement? 56!

I was reading a publication for seniors over the weekend. The featured article was about companies who have curtailed or canceled retirement health plans. Unfortunately, companies which either underfunded their health care plans or have had financial setbacks are cutting back on retirees.

Noted was a retired employee of a Fortune 100 company who was upset that his retiree health plan premiums could potentially increase several hundred dollars. But here's the rub: The retired employee was 56 years old.


Where has this guy been the last 25 years!

Nobody retires at 56 unless they are a professional athlete or have won the lottery.

At 56, a retiree is realistically facing 25 years of retirement. Figure how much you would need to live on for 25 years. I won't even through out any numbers because the cost of retirement in Boston, Mass is far different than that of Beaumont, Texas.

With 25 extended years on a fixed income and savings would have me worrying about my health care premium after I figured out "What will I be eating if I get to eat, and where will I live?".


Who sold this guy the dream he could retire at 56 and would be financially comfortable not to worry about his cost of living increasing? Ask any financial planner and unless one is sitting on a considerable nest egg with zero debt, retiring at 56 would be a no-brainer. It ain't gonna happen!

Consider for instance expected cost increases such as taxes (on property, against social security payments, interest on savings, etc.), food, gasoline and utilities. And now consider the possibility of debilitating illness or injury such as a broken hip. 56 seems like the beginning of a long road towards uncertainty.

By the time I am 56, I most likely will be working for my 20th company or more. And with the state of pension plans, Social "Security" and health insurance, I actually expect be working at 66, 76 and possibly 86 if at all possible.

Once upon a time (1900), the life expectancy of a man was 54 years of age in the U.S. 56 would be considered old age and possibly a suitable time for one to relax and enjoy a few precious months with loved ones and friends.

But this is 2007, not 1907.

The rules changed 25 years ago. Maybe longer, but unlikely more recently.

56 is not the time to retire, but the time to start that second or third career.

I believe a person has so much potential and there are so many great opportunities that is almost seems like a crime to give up and retire at such a young age. Even at the ripe old age of 56.

Happy hunting!

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Marketing Me! Labor Day

Here in the U.S., we celebrated Labor Day yesterday. Labor Day has its roots from a little over a hundred years ago when several labor groups (read industrial and agricultural organizations) petitioned for a annual holiday to celebrate their contributions to the American way of life.

All fine and dandy, but the reality of life in the 21st century is the concept of "labor" has changed since its' Victorian age introduction.

Statistics have show that industrial and agricultural occupations have shrunk in recent years whereas office based work has grown.

Even more important, is the explosion of non-full time and non-permanent workers in our modern economy. Contractors, part-timers, temp workers and consultants are filling more and more open slots.

Opponents argue that these non-traditional employees are either victims of evil corporations (for failing to provide them benefits, insurance, etc.) OR the enemy (for taking away positions which historically would have gone to full time workers).

Regardless, the argument overlooks a few international trends...

The cost of full time employees, for any number of reasons, has grown. Many employers have opted out of the traditional management/labor template spelled out over the past hundred years.

The employment border is broken. One hundred years ago, employee availability was limited to walking distance from a central operation. Today, an employee for a New York based company might be in Bozeman, Montana or Bangalore, India.

Income Evolution

At Marketing Me! we do not play the game of what's right or wrong. We play the game of income evolution. We go where the money is. If it is full time work today, it may be part time work three years from now. Or contract work. Or consulting.

The opportunity to make income from work means evolving with the market place and work trends in order to maximize our ability to profit from a changing and expanding market.

Ability Security

What matters in income growth is ability security. There are no more "secure" jobs. Only secure abilities. The skills and adaptability to earn money for our employers combined with personal branding and marketing guarantees us the security of moving to greener pastures constantly.

I hope you had fun with the traditional Labor Day festivities yesterday. An extra day off, maybe a fun activity with family and friends.

However, the historical basis of Labor Day has changed forever. Start planning your own Marketing Me! Day instead!

Happy hunting!

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