Goal Creation has Changed Me

We all create goals.

Few of us reach goals.

I made a personal goal in 2008 to create an industry leading online marketing company. It took several years, and some AMAZING partners and clients, but we are there. I have also accomplished some strong personal goals in the last few years, but I have failed in reaching more goals then I have succeeded.

Recently I began dissecting what I did right and what I did wrong.

What I have come up with, with the help of a few recent books I have read (The 80/20 Principle and The Power of Less) is that my success came from large goals that I supported with micro-goals.

The “goal” of becoming the best online marketing company is as broad as it is vague. To shoot only for that is almost impossible. In order to do it I had to create micro-goals:

1) Create the original Search & Social with Jordan Kasteler. We wanted to offer companies a firm based on youthful, fresh ideas in online marketing. We worked hard to differentiate ourselves from the older, more established firms. It worked to get us in the game.

2) When we merged with Loren Baker’s Search Engine Journal, Inc. the goal was to make a real run at being the best linkbuilding company in the space. We wanted to do this through differentiated linkbuilding, i.e. blogger outreach, social media, content aggregation, and linkbait. We built commodities in a white hat fashion, in a way that had only been previously been accomplished in scale by less legitimate lini brokering
firms.

3) Second Step Search, which began in 2009, had the goal of creating scalable workflow solutions and reporting for SEOs and marketers. This included CopyPress.

4) The last step, the merger of BlueGlass, brought together all of the pieces into the final product that would allow us to achieve our original goal.

Breaking the micro-goals down further:

1) We entered the game and created a differentiation
2) We set out to become experts in one channel of a multi-channel market
3) We figured out how to scale other channels of that market
4) We merged with awesome marketers in those other channels to pull of the goal

By looking hard at these areas where I have succeeded I now know that in order to be successful I have to:

1) Create an overarching but tangible goal. Think big. $1 million in monthly widget sales recurring
2) Setup Micro-goals for this with deadlines. Lets say you want to achieve the $1million in monthly sales, first you should plan on a. creating a sales strategy b. hitting $250,000 a month in sales c. increasing sales force by 50%
3) Create daily tasks to help you reach the micro-goals. In the example above in order to hit my first micro-goal I need to a. do competitive analysis of the competitions sales strategy b. create a pricing structure based on this analysis c. create a sales funnel that meets or beats competitors.

By making this a daily activity, you work daily on achieving your dreams. The upside as well is that by dissecting items like this you know that you can get minor achievements accomplished without burning out chasing the big prize.

Don’t Lose Your Dinosaur

So this has to be one of my favorite scenes of my favorite movies:

In this scene from Step Brothers, Robert tells Dale and Brennan that they shouldn’t “lose their dinosaur.” He tells a story about when he was a boy all he wanted to be was a dinosaur, and he lost that dream when at 17 his dad told him to stop acting like a dinosaur and get a job.

As ridiculous as the scene is, didn’t it happen to all of us at some point?

When I was a kid all I wanted to be was a writer. I would write short stories, and try to begin novels. I wrote poetry, and in high school was editor of the school paper. In college, I studied creative writing. On graduation day the main question from my family was, “Now what are you going to do.”

In our society, there is a perceived separation between childhood dreams and reality, as though the two could not exist. The reality is that in this society, for it to function properly, we can’t all be movie stars, presidents, and athletes. But overall why do we need to lose our dinosaur?

Social media has given us the ability to take back our dinosaur. In my case, you are reading this blog post, so while I may not have written a book (yet) I am obviously getting to leverage my love for words.

Other things I wanted to do when I was a kid:

Be an archeologist – I really thought Indiana Jones was cool, and wanted to run away from giant boulders. If this was still my passion why couldn’t I take a video camera on some amateur archeological digs and highlight them in blog format.

Be a musician – When I was in college I was convinced I would spend the rest of my life playing music, this didn’t happen, but again there is no reason I can’t self produce my music and share it with the world via P2P software, iTunes, and some web savvy.

Even my teenage cousin has started to pursue his dreams in this fashion:

However, Dr. Seuss said it best:

I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly it’s true
That bang-ups and hang-ups
Can happen to you.

Society needs people to do all types of jobs, and with that we often settle. However, the bright side of this is that we do not have to be defined by what we do for money.

Find your dinosaur again. Begin to experience those things that your dreams used to be built on, and share them with others in the world. Don’t be surprised one day that on top of being happy you all of the sudden have a profitable blog, youtube channel, or some other revenue channel you have made just because you love it is what you are doing.

The Two Sides of Business Relationships

The Two Sides:

1) Friendly, Giving Attitude Towards Your Business Relationships
2) Fierce Adherence to What is Right

You never know…

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

Lao-Tzu

In November, at Pubcon, Greg Boser and I took a number of people who were very new to the industry out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the world. We escorted them there via limo, and then we took a party bus to one of the Pubcon happenings afterwards.

The concept behind the dinner was to pay it forward. I have been able to excel quickly in my field based on the support more seasoned individuals have given me, and that jump start has meant the difference.

Everyone at the dinner seemed kind of confused as to why we would do something that nice. The answer was two fold:

1. We are nice guys that like to give back to our community, as is the whole BlueGlass crew
2. However, we were also scouting out the future of our business

That brings me to the first side of business relationships, a lesson sometimes hard learned:

Be humane to everyone, because you never know who they will be in the future

Greg and I are a perfect illustration of this idea.

I first met Greg in 2009. By then he had been in this industry around 13 years, and had seen many people come and go. However, Greg took the time to get to know me, and find out what I was all about. Him, Todd Friesen, and Dave Naylor were all old guard search guys that took me in, with little reason on their part to do so.

A year and change later Greg and I are business partners helping each others dreams come true.

You never know who that goofy kid next to you at a conference is going to become. A vendor, a client, a partner, all possibilities are within the realm of reason. Outside of the simple concept of being humane for the purpose of being humane, this concept should be enough to guide us in business.

The flip side of this coin is the old adage that people will mistake “Kindness for weakness.”

I can tell you that this is unequivocally true.

You are wrong, unless you are right.

Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

Sun Tzu

People throughout my career have mistaken my large heart for a fools mind. In these times I am able to flip a switch , and you must be as well.

Business is guided by items like contracts to set the record and guide disputes. As long as you are in the right in areas where business relationships may test you, then stand by your principles and make them stand by their agreements.

However, even in these places of combativeness, never lose your humanity. Remember the rule above. Nothing makes an opponent angrier than when you handle a disagreement in a calm, straightforward, and polite manner. Not only is this the right way to deal with a fellow human being, you will also find that it gives you incredible leverage in the dispute as you trudge forward with a clear mind and they almost always find themselves being worked into a state of emotional imbalance.

By setting your relationships with people in your professional life, including employees, into these two places you will always find success. You shouldn’t sway. Is this a time where becoming defensive or getting on the offensive is correct? If the answer is no, be guided by principle #1. Make it your default setting for all of your relationships. On top of being more successful, I guarantee you will find yourself happier.