What happens when you wear a nametag twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?
Scott Ginsberg has done just that for the last 4,305 days – over twelve years. What started as a social experiment has evolved into an urban legend, world record, cultural phenomenon – even a profitable enterprise. If you Google the word nametag, and you’ll see his work benchmarked as a case study on human interaction, revolutionizing the way people look at approachability, identity and commitment.
As a writer, Scott’s authored twenty-five books, produced his own online show on NametagTV.com and reached millions of readers on his an award- winning blog.
As a performer, his one-man show has made over six hundred corporate appearances in five countries.
He has been featured in hundreds of outlets such as 20/20, CNN, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, The Associated Press, REDBOOK, FastCompany, The Washington Post, Paul Harvey, The CBS Early Show and Headline News, and Scott was even inducted into the hall of fame of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
And best of all, we went to high school together.
Find out more when we talk about:
- How a simple experiment turned into a life-changing career, and how you can apply his lessons to your own personal brand
- How to use “strategic serendipity” to your advantage by being ready for good fortune when it shows up
- The elements that made Scott a highly in-demand speaker and consultant
- Why having an attitude of being open to what the world brings you can lead to some unexpected booms in your career
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 38:04 min — 36.5MB)
Resources and Follow-Up
(According to Scott’s instructions):
“Go to Google, and type in the word: ‘nametag.'”
A lot of us small business owners have the same quandary; we want and need (more need than want) more content for websites. The marketing mega-minds out there keep telling us we need to keep things fresh and updated on our sites, but we don’t always know how to find content for websites that actually relates to what we’re doing and that people want to read.
There’s a concept that I seem to keep running into called Content Marketing. It is just what it sounds — the notion of putting content on websites. But it’s also the study of where to put it, how often to rotate it around, how to place it on social media without overloading your audience, and all sorts of nonsense that probably induces voluntary narcolepsy in most small business owners.
Hopefully, this will simplify the whole “Content for Websites” thing.
Just found a great free resource through TopRank Online Marketing. It’s a free ebook called 29 Secrets About Content Marketing and the Undercover Agents Who Shared Them. I just paged through it, and it’s got some fantastic tips on how to do content marketing without driving a spike through your eyeball.
Wow. That was violent.
At any rate, check it out and see what tips you can pick up to get the whole content monster thing under control.
Gift cards part of Etsy’s fancy new Direct Checkout platform
Etsy, a major marketplace for audience-produced crafts and art pieces, just announced they’ll soon be selling gift cards.
Part of the new “Direct Checkout” platform, the cards will show up in the form of a code. Buyers can then use that code toward purchases at any shop that accepts Direct Checkout.
The cards will only be available online (no plastic or other real tangible versions) and will have a maximum limit of $250.
“You can email the gift card directly to a friend or print one out to give in person,” writes Etsy’s Product Marketing Manager Natalie Schwartz in a blog post. “The gift card credit will be in the form of a code, which buyers will use towards purchases at any shop accepting direct checkout.”
Etsy rolled out the Direct Checkout platform a little over six months ago, and they’ve already rolled $50 million through it via 100,000 shops that have signed up.
The company said they have no plans to remove PayPal as a payment method.
As a way to celebrate the new gift cards and Direct Checkout platform, Etsy is waiving all credit card processing fees for all new (and existing) customers using Direct Checkout all through September. It’s their way to let consumers test out the platform before the holiday season hits in December.
I personally have never used Etsy, but have talked to several crafty crafterson friends who have. Seems like a great place if you’re an independent artist, crafter, or all-around creative type who makes stuff and doesn’t want to build the infrastructure to sell it on your own.
Are you an Etsy-ian? Used it before and made a buck or two (or bought from it)? What are your thoughts about the new Direct Checkout platform? Talk to me in the comments below.
*Some info borrowed from Mashable, who likely knows way more about Etsy than I do.
Entrepreneurial Networking can be fun. No really.
You love what you do. You’re good at it. But that doesn’t mean you love talking to people about it. I know artists, writers, even public speakers who can’t stand entrepreneurial networking. They find it unnecessary, forced, and frankly, they know they kinda crappy at it.
Okay, wait…back up.
Earlier in that sentence was the word “forced.” Why does it have to be forced?
After all, entrepreneurial networking, at its heart, is just having a conversation with people who are interested in the same thing as you, and then finding a way to help each other.
When you look at it that, way…that you don’t have to prove anything, sell your widgets, or self promote, things get a little easier.
Here are three quick tips to grease the wheels and make the process more fun, so you actually go do it…and like it.
Networking Tip #1: We’re All in This Together
Entrepreneurial networking is a big scary term until you break it down and say, “This isn’t about me finding people to do business with — this is about me finding friends who do the same thing.” Find people who are in at least a similar or complementary industry to you.
When I go to a networking group or conference with small business owners, I often have a nagging fear camped out on my shoulder that’s jabbing me, saying stuff like:
“I’m not on the same level as these people.”
“I won’t know what to talk about.”
“I bet my teeth won’t be as white as theirs…”
…blah de blah blah.
Those are all ill-placed self-defense mechanisms that are kicking in. But they aren’t really going to protect you. They are based on fears…usually unrealistic fears, that come from some part of your history or some other area of your life.
If you’re interested in what you’re doing, neither your experience nor the whiteness of your teeth should matter. Why? Because these people you’re talking to are interested in the same thing.
When you approach a conversation with those people, realize that they’re probably in the same boat as you; they have some of the same fears, challenges, interests, and even passions as you. That means you have plenty to talk about, and frankly, they’re probably just as worried about how they’re coming off as you are.
Networking Tip #2: Never Lead With “What Do You Do”
I picked a great tip from my friend Patty Farmer, the Networking CEO about this particular phrase.
When you ask somebody what they do, a particular sequence gets triggered in their brains. They are no longer in “I’m talking to a person” networking mode; they switch over to “I’m talking to a potential customer” selling mode.
Instead, ask somebody about them. Find out about their kids, their hobbies, what inspires them, how they got involved in this particular group/function/etc.
Obviously, you’ll eventually want to lead into the “what do you do” piece, but starting out, get to know the person and NOT the business person.
Business networking is a funny animal. Especially entrepreneurial networking. Most business owners are pretty alpha and like to talk about themselves. Not all of us, and certainly not all the time. But 9 out of 10* of us admit that we are often waiting for the break in conversation so we can talk about how flippin’ cool it is to be us.
But if you take a real, active interest in your conversation partners, the better the conversation and relationships are going to be. Be anactive listener — one who listens and asks good follow-up questions that are open-ended (meaning those questions don’t just get a one-word answer).
And one key piece to the whole puzzle is having empathy for other independent professionals and small business owners — trying to truly understand who the other person is and what they’re going through…good or bad.
Building your entrepreneurial network isn’t the unslayable dragon that we make it up to be in our minds. It’s a great way to not only grow your business, but make friends who are often on the same path as you.
So, try hitting up a entrepreneurial networking group or Meetup.com event, and, y’know…try to have some fun while you’re at it.
*A completely unfounded, made-up, and can’t-back-that-upable statistic.
Guest Post by Kevin Houston of A Turnaround Group
“I have searched for thousands of bids.
I have found hundreds of them.
I have applied for a lot of them.
But in the end, I only won a few.”
Sound familiar? Oh I am sure that you have been down this path before in fact I dare say that you are on it right now. I applaud you for your efforts on finding and obtaining government procurement opportunities. But did you know that there is a cycle?
I am sure there are a number of names for it, but we will call it a procurement cycle. All government entities have them, so it stands to reason that it is simple, right? Well, yes it simple, but it is still difficult to understand. So today I am going to take some excerpts from the book Cutting the Red Tape, the Definitive Guide to Federal, State, and Local Government Contracting and give you a brief description of what the procurement cycle is and how you fit in to it. Here are the seven steps.
1. Accumulating Information:
This is where it begins. This is where the buyer is gathering their requirements and begins seeking out suppliers to satisfy those needs. It is here that we have to find out anything and everything about that
government agency or private corporation because they are doing the same when it comes to potential vendors. You want to make sure that you are on that buyer’s mind each time they are looking to satisfy their company’s needs. If a relationship hasn’t been established they will check their database for vendors that meet their qualifications. The way modern technology has grown, especially with social media. Don’t be surprised when they put Google to use on finding your company.
2. Buyer/Supplier Contact:
Now that they have narrowed down their list to a select few, the buyer is making the phone calls, sending out the emails, checking the back channels. They are looking for you to do business with them. They will use RFQs, RFPs, or RFIs in order to bring solicitations to the public.
3. Qualification Critique:
When you are selected, they look at your background. The government entity’s buyer will call your references. They will contact your suppliers. They will even contact your financial institutions if necessary. This is the government so please don’t take offense and if you have something bad against you. It isn’t the end of the world but it may hamper your chances of winning that contract.
4. Coming to an agreement, also known as negotiation.
I think you could do this, but if you haven’t done it in awhile it will come back to you soon enough. Just bear in mind that the federal government will set the price and you will take it. They make you factor in a profit though which is a good thing. As you do a few contracts you will get the hang of it. Also make sure you read the fine print. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake and don’t abide by the contract.
If you don’t abide by the contract, one thing that could happen is that you could get kicked off the project. That said, the even more bad thing is that you can’t come back. The worst thing is that you pay fines and go to jail or both.
Stay on your toes and, when in doubt, ask for help.
Getting the supplier ready, dispatching production, shipping the product, delivering the goods, and receiving payment for the product are completed, based on contract terms. Installation and training may also be included. And make sure you create and send proper invoices. You want to get paid in a timely manner, right?
6. Usage, Upkeep, and Removal:
It is here your client is using, maintaining, and when they are done, disposing of your product. And all the while they are taking notes on what’s good and what’s bad.
Solicit their feedback. Are you doing this project efficiently?
I am sure you can make a few tweaks here and there. It would be good that you have a standardized form for tracking your client’s feedback. Be proactive and gather information for getting more referrals.
7. Option to Renew:
We have arrived at the end of the contract. It was a fun ride, but now what do we do?
Well, let’s think about what you have accomplished, what you need to work on, and so forth. The client will let you know, but if you’ve done your work and tracked it properly, this will be a short conversation.
If you didn’t, well let’s just say you want be playing here again.
Here’s what may happen:
Problem: The client is done with your service/product and no longer needs you. (one-time use, i.e. Construction).
Solution: Ask them for more business in the form of referrals. You did ask them about this earlier in the process, right?
Problem: Client will not renew your contract because they are going to another company.
Solution: Determine why. Lower costs? Faster service? Higher quality product? Go ahead and ask. Once again, make sure you have kept in touch with your client. Communication is important you have to know or at least have an idea of what you are doing good, bad, or indifferent.
Remember, there are a lot of factors to consider when a contract gets renewed. I hope that you have a better understanding of what the procurement cycle is like and how it affects you as a
vendor/contractor. Make sure you do your homework and seek expert assistance when doing government contracting.
A Turnaround Group is a small business assistance provider to companies that want to do government contracting and engage in the procurement cycle. Owned by Kevin Houston, A Turnaround Group has guided, trained and helped the small business owner by becoming better at winning bids and proposals with the federal, state, and local governments. In partnership with other small business assistance providers, A Turnaround
Group brings additional resources and help to companies seeking to expand and increase their revenue streams. A Turnaround Group is very active in the community and presently works with a number of non-profits by providing volunteer work and other resources.
Kevin is also the author of the book: Cutting the Red Tape – the Definitive Guide to Federal, State, and Local Government Contracting.
Bryan Caplovitz is the founder/CEO of SpeakerMatch.com. Founded in 2002, Speakermatch provides emerging and professional speakers the ability to find speaking opportunities with all different types and sizes of audiences, and also gives groups and organizations the ability to connect with qualified speakers in whatever topic area they need. The company has had wild success and even been written up in USA Today.
During the interview, we cover a ton of ground that could essentially function as a “how-to” for emerging speakers.
- Your marketing materials: the 3 things you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE before even THINKING about booking speeches
- The two different types of speakers on the market today, and how every business person has the potential to fit into one
- The one thing that 90% of would-be speakers forget to do, and how that costs them thousands of dollars in lost revenue and bookings
- When it’s the right time to start asking for speaker fees; how to establish your fee, and how much you should charge (it’s probably more than you think)
- How to become a better speaker by leveraging the help of two national organizations that most likely have chapters in your town
- TONS More…
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 32:25 — 30.1MB)
Resources and Follow-Up