By now you've all heard about the incident at HUG High School. There was a student with a knife. Campus police disarmed the student by shooting him in the shoulder.
Lawsuits and drama ensue.
But wait! The date on this post is December 5, and the actual event happened on December 7.
And Linda from Facebook claims the event was planned for the 6th, and the media prepared for a big conspiratorial showdown.
Web designers modify dates on the web all the time. We backdate social media posts, blog posts, and any assignments that were supposed to be completed by a certain deadline. We can even modify the dates of an email (it's tricky and not sustainable, but yes, it can be done). Web developers have the power to time travel.
Here, I just traveled to the future:
Or did I?
The media has certainly given us enough evidence to think that everything they pump out is a massive lie, but in this case, we're just seeing journalists take advantage of Google's indexing rules.
Most likely the news websites prepare the framework for "Today's Hottest" article in advance (just like they do with the paper version). They don't know what's going into that slot when they prepare the framework, they just know that the hottest story is going there.
The date can be manipulated so that Google recognizes that story as "the story that broke first" and other journalists will refer to that story as the "seed" article and draw from it.
That's just media strategy. Not conspiracy.
When in doubt, ask your neighborhood web designer! She'll be the first to join you in the bunker if something is truly amiss.
There are a billion ways to monetize your blogging brilliance. You may not be able to support yourself or family when you first get started (true in any business), but with perseverance and a little strategy, you can at least supplement your income and see what's possible.
Google Ad revenue.
You can add Google ads to your website. It takes a little patience to set up, but can give you an immediate return on your blogging bliss. Google: Google Adsense to set up an account and get started.
Google Ad Strategies:
-your audience needs to be the kind of people who click on ads. I built a website once for gamers. The website was a calculator that helped gamers gauge their risk in making different moves in the game. It was awesome. And useful. And gamers would pull up that site and keep it open all day. But they never once clicked on an ad.
Meanwhile, I put ads on a site for Republicans, and oh boy--they went nuts clicking for the whole 17 hours the ads were up. The (elderly) Republican leaders were trying to figure out how ads for Democrats ended up on their site! So they clicked and clicked and clicked to try to get to the bottom of things!! Whoops! Made about $25 before they realized I had the power to remove "the liberal blasphemy" from their site.
My most successful Google ad experience brought in about $100/month for several years (with almost no attention given to the website after the initial setup). The website was for a niche product, and customers were being driven to the website from other websites and marketing methods. People clicked on ads because they were in the market for a product, and the ads were generally related to their product search.
Ever wonder why someone is drinking a Diet Coke in a TV show? Product Placement! Coca Cola will make more money by influencing people to drink their product, than by telling them directly. Use Product Placement with Trade to get started. Want to get your hair cut, but can't afford the best salon? Ask the salon if you can do a trade--a blog post featuring your hair experience with links to their salon site, in exchange for a hair cut! Tip in cash, please!
Once you have a big enough following, you can ask for real money for these sorts of blog posts!
Offer blogs for SEO purposes to local businesses or businesses that hit your niche market (for a fee). Do a story about how awesome a company, service or website is--and include some helpful links to their website in the copy. It's really important that you link properly, or else your blog will come off as spammy, or it won't be effective for your ad client.
-When you're talking about a web design company, link the important words about their SEO services like this.
-Do not link like this: wakinggirl.com
-And don't bother to link like this: Waking Girl is cool.
Link the words that people would use to find the business in a Google search. That will indicate to Google that "Waking Girl" is a "web design company" and offers "SEO services."
Ask for a one-time fee or a monthly fee, or a set up fee + monthly fee (businesses will benefit as long as the blog post is up and traffic is coming to your website).
Run your own graphic ads on the sidebars, footers or headers of your website. Ask businesses or organizations to supply graphics that fit the space, and then charge a monthly, quarterly or annual fee for sharing your web space! Websites generally charge too much for graphic ads. Words are actually worth more than pictures in a blog. The only time an ad would be more worthwhile is if your EXACT readers should be the EXACT customers for the ads. So--if all of your single, mom friends in Mobile, Alabama are reading your blog, then a graphic ad for a Singles Speed Dating event for Moms in Mobile, Alabama would make sense. For ads, go for sponsorship. Who just wants to support you and identify with you to help you out and be a friend? Is there a Women's Crisis Center or a Church or a MicroLoan organization that speaks to you? See if they want to smack their logo on your website for a small monthly fee. If you really want to benefit the organization, take the time to write a proper blog post about them, too!
What to charge.
Google ads: Google will decide!
Product Placement: use this to trade whatever you can trade! Hair care, kid's activities, restaurants. Look for companies that have some extra time or product on their hands, and want to help you get started!
SEO: If you write up a full, engaging story on a business, that's worth at least $50. If you use some SEO, and target relevant businesses for your audience, that's worth as much as you can sell it for ($75, $100, $250). I prefer low set up fees with ongoing monthly fees ($50 + $5/month, and yes, you may pay for a year at a time).
Ads: $5/month to $500/month. Seriously--the sky is the limit. Try to give people both an ad AND an SEO blog post AND a product placement experience!
Important next steps:
Quantity! Go! Keep writing! The deeper you allow people into your life, the more valuable your blog will become.
Plug into your audience.
Seek out Facebook Groups that feature your target market. Who is your target market? People just like you! Find your people!
Check in with your sponsors.
Follow up regularly with anyone contributing to the cause; communication will help you find new ways to help, and that will ultimately boost your bottom line! :)
Blogs: the gateway drug to your new business.
You go to work every day. You punch in. You punch out. You carefully label your lunch and don't meddle with other people's office supplies. You're a good worker. You look in the rear view mirror before walking in to greet your colleagues and tell yourself hopefully, "Maybe today is the day I'll get a raise."
Sorry. Ain't gonna happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever--not like that.
Raises don't just happen. They don't just fall out of the sky. They're not rainbows. They're not unicorns.
Raises do not come to those who wait.
But why not? I deserve a raise, don't I?
I dunno, DO you? A business owner has a lot on the line and quite frankly, often doesn't know if *she* is going to get a cut from month to month. You were hired because a business owner needed help; and hiring you was probably long overdue, but once you were hired, the business owner realized, "Shoot. How am I gonna afford to feed all these people AND train these people AND pick up the slack when they tap the snooze icon too many times? Can I raise my rates? Can we find a more innovative way to do business? Maybe I can just stop sleeping for a few months."
Rainbows and unicorns don't just fall out of the sky for business owners either.
Every business owner dreams of the day when a new hire knocks assertively at her door, enters, sits down and says the following:
Boss Ma'am, I would like to present a plan I've been thinking about. I noticed that Teddy, Bill and Sally are awesome at organizing and generating content. I also noticed there is some down time when we're not on the phones from about 10am-11am each day. I was wondering if we could take over the social media work that Big Mega Co. has been handling for you during that time each day. I hope you don't mind, but I went ahead and looked at your contract with Big Mega and according to Section 14 we can pop right out of that contract at the end of this month. It looks like you're paying Big Mega about $800/month. Would you be willing to give me a raise of half that amount to handle the management and responsibility of this task?
Sold. Done. Immediate raise. Promotion. Partner in the company by the end of the year.
But I'll take over the social media for my company. Do I get a raise now?
No. Getting a raise isn't about taking on more tasks; it's about taking on more thinking. A small business owner's brain looks like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory--on steroids. If you can handle just one chocolate slide, that frees her brain up to make more blueberry bubble chutes.
I like chocolate slides. Do I get a raise now?
Are you handling the responsibility to the extent that the owner would? More? Better? Beyond? Then, yes! A small business owner is in a place of being able to hire others because she has exceeded her customer's expectations and her company has grown. Her products and services are in demand. But considering we're not ready to clone business owners (yet), she has the unruly task of hiring/contracting, training and praying to God that her new team will love her clients just a fraction as much as she does.
How did my boss exceed expectations?
She did what the client *would have asked for*, if the client knew such a thing existed.
How can I exceed my boss' expectations?
The same way. Stop looking at your work as a job, and start looking at your work as a service. You are in the business of helping your boss, boosting her profits, and reducing her costs, and above all--easing the Willy Wonka chaos. Thinking in this way immediately increases your value. If you're there to HELP your boss now you can offer to do tasks beyond your job description. You can even offer to help with things that are fun for you, but clearly a chore for your boss.
But my boss makes a lot of money; shouldn't I get a fair cut?
The reason a boss will love you forever if you waltz into her office with a money-saving or profit-boosting proposal is because you're paying attention. You probably know exactly how much money you cost the company and how much money you make the company. Just because the boss is invoicing lots and lots of dollars doesn't mean she's taking any of it home. Companies rarely make tons of money over night; there are debts to be paid, investors, mistakes, blood pressure medication, and it all adds up. Instead of looking at your paycheck with a "gimme gimme" mentality, go get the facts. Find out if your boss has been coming out of pocket to keep you on the team, and more importantly--if your ideas can boost the bottom line!
But what if my ideas offend the boss?
Then it's time to start your own business. You have the confidence and the know-how to be an entrepreneur! Give your two week's notice and get to it!
Ok, ok, I'm not quite ready for that--but can I work for you?
You tell me! How can you help me? What's your pitch? What's your proposal? You've visited my website, you've seen my rates. How can you add value to what I'm already doing and tame the explosion of berrylicious goodness in my brain? Can't wait to hear it! :)
Angela Refsland, owner of Waking Girl Web Design worked for a small business over a decade ago, and asked for not just one raise, but two! After just three months, she noticed an ongoing problem and found a solution. She presented the solution, offered to implement the solution for more pay, and it was an immediate YES from the boss. Know what happened? Her colleagues resented her for it, because they had been waiting for 6 years for rainbows and unicorns. The work environment became too hostile so she asked to be switched from an employee to an independent contractor (no more taxes being taken from her checks), and have the freedom to work from home. The company agreed! And from there--it was an easy step to venture out on her own.
Are you feeling like you’re twiddling your thumbs all day waiting for new clients to appear in your email inbox? Ugh! That’s the WORST feeling! Refresh, refresh, refresh and all that’s there is an email from your mom, your kid’s school and pills that promise magic!
Time to step away from the computer and see if you’ve got a viable business! But before you step away, please add this event to your calendar (and keep on reading!):
May 20 from 5pm-7pm: The Breakthrough Network Mixer. This month they're at the Freight House. Don’t get distracted with the whims of Facebook, but please RSVP here,
look for the latest event here.
How to get that loving feeling back for your business at this event:
The Breakthrough Network Mixer is one of Reno’s BEST networking events. Tons of friendly faces, a great kicked-back vibe, and plenty of opportunities to practice your pitch. You can go to this event and feel even worse about your business, or you can use the tips below to make a splash and feel refreshed!
Step 1: Bring a friend or colleague. If you have multiple people in your business, bring them ALL. (For multi-people businesses, EVERYONE should do all of the steps below.)
Step 2: Get crazy on their Facebook event page. Chime in with, "I CAN'T WAIT," and "Will there be clowns?" and any fun thing to show enthusiasm for the event, and give people a reason to say HI to you ("Ohhhh, I saw your funny comment on Facebook!").
Step 3: Show up as a GROUP. In matching shirts (or capes), if possible. Carpool!
Step 4: Set an in-house goal to be achieved at the event. This is just an excuse to introduce yourselves to people. Goal example: shake hands with the most cat-owners. "Hi, my name is Ian. Do you have a cat? .... Sorry, I work for Waking Girl Web Design and we're having a contest to see how many of our designers can talk to the most cat owners. So no cats? ... A nice dog? That might count. So what do you do? Tell me about you!" This question can be adjusted to be STRATEGIC, but not too obvious.
People attend these mixers in the following categories:
Step 5: Be there to HAVE FUN and SUPPORT others!
Step 6: DO NOT BRING ANY BUSINESS CARDS (you can bring a few to put into a raffle, or hide some in your car for security). If someone asks for a card, say "Oh man, they're in my other pants which I left at the pool; [PULL OUT PHONE] oh but text me your name and business, so I've got you! OR, do you have Facebook on your phone? Comment on our page!! Ok, and I'll take YOUR card." Then offer to comment on THEIR Facebook page. Be generous! Facebook LIKES and COMMENTS are FREE for you but extremely valuable for everyone at that mixer.
Step 7: COLLECT BUSINESS CARDS. If someone has a cat or an excuse for a cat, take their card. When you get back to the office the following day, see who collected the most cards. THROW A PARTY. With paperclips and coffee. Sit down on Facebook and go track down all the Biz Cards on Facebook. Give them a howdy shout-out and try to make it specific, so they know they actually talked to you and you're not just passing this off to an assistant (TAKE NOTES ON BACK OF CARD). Don’t mention what you do; mention the conversation and what THEY do. This is not a sales gimmick; this is friend-building!
WHAT'S THE POINT OF THIS?
You send a magical ripple through the business owners of the Reno area that's electric, alive and screams, "We're right here, as we've always been, ready to do business with you, you, you, and you, and your cat."
Business owners who work with or live with your ideal customer are going to feel your electricity and refer you, or tell stories about you, or become part of your friend-building network!
You’re going to get practice talking about your business and finding your HOOK. What is the thing that GRABS people?! Maybe you thought your services were awesome, but it turns out people are really in love with your testimonials. Maybe you’ve been stuck on pricing, but people just want an easy way to refer mutual clients! Go to the masses and find out!
These events happen every month-ish. If May 20 is a no-go, find out the dates for the next few and put them on the calendar. Best results if you show up AS A GROUP (and then spread out once you get there. No buddies!).
LET ME KNOW IF YOU'RE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE!
Need some help with your strategic pick-up line!? Comment below or ask us on Facebook!