9+ Lessons I Learned from Running Ultra-Marathons

I was fat.  From not being able to run a lap around my house when playing with my kids, to running my first 50 mile race two years later is something I am proud to say I accomplished.  I completed two 50 miles races last year.  As I reflect on my goals for this year, there are several lessons I learned that are helpful in business, personal development, and sticking to your goals in 2015. [Read more…]

What I Learned About Goal Setting from Running 17 Races in 2013

#BE1of100: Community Run (8/21/2013)

#BE1of100: Community Run (8/21/2013)

18 months ago I started running.  I didn’t have any particular goal.  I just ran because it would help me lose weight.  Then something happened.  I met some amazing people in the local running group that a good friend of mine, Marc Vaillancourt, started.  I ran more.  In fact, I ran a 5k every week with them.  And I lost the weight I wanted to loose.  But like anything, I knew the weight would come back.  So I set a goal for 2013:

Run one race each month in 2013.

I assumed I would run 5k’s each month.  I planned out the year with 12 races.  I finished the year with 17 races including my first marathon and an insane October schedule with a 5k, 10k, 10 mile, 1/2 marathon and 50k ultra marathon.

What I learned: [Read more…]

My Point of View – Part 2

This is a continuation of the post:  “Where do you want to go.

My Point of View

islandThe business owners I consult have two primary goals they want to measure in 2014.  They want to increase leads and increase loyalty.

Increasing Leads
Increasing leads is not about increasing traffic to your website.  Anyone can bring thousands of people to your website.  Increasing leads is identifying who your ideal client is and getting them to stand up and say they want to learn more about you.  What is a lead worth to you?

Increasing Loyalty
What would a loyal client base look like?  What if an additional 5% of your clients referred new business to you, how would that impact your bottom line?  Loyalty is something to be cherished, but you need to create a program to cultivate and nurture loyalty.

The Map

The best way I have found to increase sales and loyalty is through an Inbound Marketing program.  There are 5 tactics in an effective Inbound Marketing program. [Read more…]

Where do you want to go – Part 1

We are currently in a “Polar Vortex” in Minnesota and it got me thinking more about taking a vacation to a Caribbean Island.  But rather than take a trip, I thought a marketing metaphor would be just as good!

We are all on a journey

As a marketer, I am fascinated with metaphors and the power they have to make us look at our world in new and interesting ways.  As I was searching for Caribbean destinations, a marketing metaphor arose from Google that I have shared with my staff and may be helpful to you as you think about how you market your business: [Read more…]

How do you show you care


I wanted to title this post:  Do you really give a damn? Do you really care about your job, your co-workers, your clients, even your family?

More and more I see people texting at meetings instead of listening.  Checking email while working on other projects.  I am just as guilty.  In the last meeting I had with a fellow co-worker, my computer beeped twice notifying me of incoming emails, my phone vibrated, and I had a brilliant idea pop in my head that distracted me from the topic at hand.  Does that really show that I care? [Read more…]

What I Found Interesting and Inspiring Last Week

There were five articles this week that really captured my attention.

  1. Have you started using Quora yet?  I signed up a few months ago and I am beginning to see the value of this question and answer tool.  Here are 10 tips from Inc Magazine on how to use it to build your business:  http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/10-tips-for-using-quora-to-build-your-business.html
  2. Have you thought about using Facebook as an e commerce platform?  It may be time to consider it.  http://socialmediatoday.com/mattambrose/272418/why-facebook-could-dominate-next-generation-ecommerce [Read more…]

Insight from Around the Web

I was sent even more articles this past week from all of you.  Here are three  post that I found insightful:

  1. There were two posts about Facebook that I loved.  The first one was written by Beth that outlines many of the changes that are happening to your Facebook Fan pages.  She puts these changes in plain English for you.  So, “Take Advantage of the New Facebook Features for Business.”
  2. The second article on Facebook came from Denise Wakeman.  Her post about “I’m Giving Up on Automation” was great.  Many people like to automate the publishing of their blog content to Facebook.  Automation is not always the best answer.
  3. What Nuns, Yes Nuns, Can Teach You About Social Media. This may change your approach to Social Media forever.

From the Blog

We had five great blog posts this week.  If you missed any, here there are:

  1. Monday:  Beth started the week with her focus on Remark!able businesses and organizations.  Her topic today was:  A School District on Facebook? Unheard of, Right?
  2. Wednesday:  Sarah took a lead from the Super Bowl ads and wrote, “Is Surprise Advertising Old School?”
  3. Thursday:  Michelle focused on “Staying Top of Mind Through Video Content.”  In this article, she features four businesses in Central Minnesota that are utilizing video on their websites.
  4. Friday:  Wow, Friday was a great day to inspire you with new things that are coming.  Beth wrote on the new Facebook Features for Business and….
  5. Josh provided us with a peak at some new features in WordPress 3.1 that are expected soon!

Your Turn

What do you think?  What did you find inspiring this week?  Share your comments below.

Things You Might Have Missed

Each week I am sent hundreds of blog articles on topics from social media, leadership, sales, customer services, and more.  I wanted to share some of the things that have been passed on to me over the week to provide you with some inspiration (or just plain entertainment.)

This Weeks Cool Links:

There are post that I found insightful this week.

  1. Inside the Mind of a Community Manager.  I suspect this is how Beth’s mind works when she is managing communities.
  2. The second graphic I first saw from Chris Brogan on some Shocking News about Cell Phone Usage.  Do you use your phone to check the time more than you use it to make phone calls?

From the Vivid Image Blog

We had five great blog posts this week.  If you missed any, here there are:

  1. Monday:  Beth started the week writing about “Customizing Facebook for a Remarkable Experience.”  This article looked at five our our clients and the goals they have for their Facebook Fan pages.
  2. Tuesday:  Sarah Manley wrote about “A Crowning Social Media Story” and her journey through Facebook.
  3. Wednesday:  I wrote about “Secret Ways to Get More Out of Your Facebook Fan Pages.”  This was inspired by all of the questions we get about getting new Fans and engaging them on Facebook.
  4. Thursday:  Michelle featured one of our clients, MVTV Wireless, and how they are using Facebook.
  5. Friday:  Ryan ended the week with “Going Green With Design.”  IT really got me thinking about colors and the emotions they elicit.

What is New

We had three great projects go live this week for three wonderful clients:

Your Turn

What do you think?  What did you find inspiring this week?  Share your comments below.

50 Sources of Inspiration for Blog Content

REMEMBER: Write about something you are passionate about; it will show in your writing. Write to the needs of your readers; they’ll establish you as an expert and look forward to what you have to say.

1. You are welcome to think of and write the content yourself, especially if you enjoy writing.

2. Don’t forget to ask staff if they’d be interested in writing articles.

3. Check with Receptionist/Customer Service Department for commonly asked questions, and address those questions with answers in your next article.

4. Use all or part of case studies for articles. If none have been written yet, use client projects or service scenarios to demonstrate problem/solution oriented articles. [Read more…]

3 Tips for Marketing with Social Media as a Rural Small Business

When you have a rural small business, your clientele and target customers are clients are likely spread out and difficult to categorize in any one specific group. Marketing with social media to such a wide variety of people can be a challenge, as knowing how to appeal to a diverse group of people is never an easy task. Here are three basic tips to keep in mind when marketing with social media. As you get more familiar with your target market’s presence on social media sites, you will get a better idea of how to tailor these tips for your specific needs. [Read more…]

Rural Businesses Can Harness the Power of Social Media in One Hour a Day

The Clay Coyote GalleryUsing social media is not limited to big cities, big brands or big budgets. In fact, taking time to engage in social media marketing an hour a day is all you need to establish your small business as a social media player, engaging with the community and potential clients and customers.

Why make things more complicated when you start?

One hour a day. It doesn’t even have to be a continuous hour. [Read more…]

Each Time I Teach, I Learn

rural minnesotaIt’s no secret that I have a passion for rural Minnesota and helping small businesses. That is why I love traveling around Minnesota, teaching others how to grow businesses or non-profits using technology and the web.

For each hour I spend researching, writing curriculum, driving, and delivering speeches, I bet I get back tri-fold from the experience. Each person I meet has amazing ideas, insights into their industry, questions that challenge me to think, and humor to round off my day. [Read more…]

Stop Wasting Time – Invest in Your Passions

I was driving home with my 11 year old daughter a few days ago.  She was sad that I was going to be going to a conference in Chicago over the weekend.   I told her it was a great conference that will give me a new outlook on what and how I blog, use social media, and educate others on building online community.

She said, “Daddy, why do you need to go?  You teach this stuff to others.”  I never really thought about this from her perspective. [Read more…]

Social Media and the Benefits of Operating a Small Business in a Rural Community

One of the benefits of operating a small business in a rural community is the increased opportunity to personally connect with your customers. When you are seeing the same people week after week, or when you are the only business in town offering a certain service or product, it is easy to take customer loyalty for granted. Bear in mind, however, that the dissatisfied customer is extremely likely to jump ship as soon as a new option is available. For this reason, it is important not to take your current customers for granted, no matter how limited a rural location may make their options. A great way to increase customer loyalty is through social media marketing tips designed to increase customer satisfaction and appreciation. [Read more…]

A Gift for the Social Media Enthusiast in Your Life

Christmas Treats 5Belated holiday gifts, Birthday, or early Valentine’s Day ideas…

Need a great gift idea for that special someone in your life whose own life is encompassed by social media efforts? While an ergonomic computer chair is a great idea, I guarantee you that the best thing you can give them is the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m talking about writing an article on your blog or a guest article for someone else; no strings attached. Take your passion and writing skills, and donate a little time toward something that really matters. We’ve all had requests from others to write an article about this or that.  Think of your friends, clients, and colleagues; then go back through your notes or emails and follow through with a few requests.

If you haven’t had any recent requests for guest articles, then choose a few topics that you LOVE and write from the heart. Give a shout out or a link to someone who you care about who also has a common interest or expertise in that area. There is no better way of expressing your gratitude and best wishes for 2010 than to create positive, helpful, and inspiring content for others.

photo credit: smajee

Twitter Giveth and Twitter Taketh Away

Only a short time ago Twitter added the much talked about “RT” button. For days I read nothing but negative tweets with #fail hashtags. Nobody seemed to like it. I was hesitant to use it, but forced myself to give it a try. It was easy to ReTweet with a push of the button. However, it made following RT bread crumb trails more difficult. It also resulted in seeing people I didn’t normally follow appear on my home page. “Who is this?’ often ran through my head.

But, my biggest gripe with the RT button was the fact that using the button meant that I wasn’t allowed to add my personal comment before the RT, explaining why I thought it was worthy of my time and endorsement.

Well, today I need not ponder the issue any further. I logged on early this morning to find the button gone. My first and only tweet thus far today:



I guess it’s back to the old way of ReTweeting.  I really won’t miss it. And you?

Managing Fan Pages on Facebook Just Got Easier

facebook-logoWe’ve all done it. We’ve opened our Facebook emails, read an emailed comment from our Fan Page that ignited our creative juices, and hit reply only to realize that Facebook doesn’t allow you to reply this way. Not anymore!

Facebook recently launched the capabilities of replying to comments via email. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a message from Facebook in each of the emails that reads, “New Feature: Reply to this email to comment on this post.” This is a fantastic feature for anyone who manages a fan page. Manage multiple fan pages as I do, and it is a gift. Today, I’m referring to it as my special holiday gift from Facebook.

I’ve always monitored comments via email. My email feeds into my Blackberry. Now, I can reply faster and easier to keep discussions going and without logging into Facebook. This saves me a ton of steps, not to mention a whole lot of time. Thanks Facebook!

*Hint: Don’t try to reply to emailed messages from last week. The feature wasn’t implemented and is likely not to work on older messages.

Minnesota Fields are Smiling

My daughter and I recently went on a trip to Barnes and Noble to find a couple books.   She is a math genius and wanted to find a book to help her study math at a higher level.  I had an obsession to find a book that was recommend by a friend.

Our drive was uneventful.  She played on her laptop.  I listened to NPR.  Wasn’t quite the bonding time I had hoped.

Thirty minutes into our trip she looked up from her laptop and said, “Dad, look!  A smiley face!”  Sure enough, a farmer has taken the time to plow a smile right into the field.   Not a big deal.  But it has put a smile on my face and my daughters face every time we look at this photo.  Enjoy!