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2 Facebook Business Page Strategies

Tons of info out there on Facebook strategy. Posting, Content Ideas, Strategies, etc. Facebook is its own ecosystem and now boasts more than 2 Billion (that's with a B) users as of the writing of this article (end of 2017). I want to quickly share how I utilize a specific strategy for finding great content, sharing great content, and networking with other businesses or pages. My first suggestion is to like pages as your business page rather than you personally liking it. For this example, I'm liking pages as The Mobile Rundown. The Rundown has a Facebook page where we connect our citizens through local events with cool stuff happening in our city of Mobile Alabama. What I'm looking for is other pages that post great local content; I can help them as well as my own brand by sharing the content. Maybe they're a business that I want to target for advertising. Or networking with them just makes great sense so I want to build the synergy. See the photos below to see how to do it. Step 1: Facebook Business Page Strategy       Step 2: Facebook Business Page Strategy         Step 3: Facebook Business Page Strategy         There's no better way to track these pages than this. Once you have a number of these pages that you're following via your business page, you can view the feed of their content. It's like your personal Facebook newsfeed, but just with businesses, local content, and folks you want to network with. It's Gold. No pictures of food, good times on vacation, and kiddos --- not that those are bad. Here's how you access that news feed. Facebook Business Page News Feed     Accessing via that route also makes it really easy to comment and like those pages content, which of course is another great way to network, get pages attention, etc. The second method that I want to show you is something we recently stumbled upon. As you have a great posts and get good interaction from them (sponsored posts or just ones that organically do well for you) you are actually able to then invite those folks to like your page. There are 2 simple steps to do this. Step 1: Click on the folks that liked your post Invite facebook folks to like your fan page that like your posts       Step 2: Invite the ones that don't already like your page to do so. Invite facebook folks to like your fan page that like your posts

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Misery or Pleasure? 31 Mile Alabama Trail Run

Ok, so when I checked off a marathon from the bucket list back in 2006 I thought that was my first and last.  Apparently I was wrong.   running-a-marathonI’ve decided to step it up slightly.  31 miles (50k) that is a trail run that gains and loses elevation rapidly.  [ see what the Cheaha 50k is all about ]. Why run on a perfectly flat road when you can risk breaking your face on a rock or twisting your knee on a root.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget the stream crossings in February mountain weather. Am I crazy?   Maybe. But I think life is meant to attempt such things. Want to run with me? If not, I’ll give you a chance to live vicariously through me. I want to raise money for a Gulf Coast organization called Fuse Project which is dedicated to helping youth (our future) along the Gulf Coast. They’ve got the energy and drive to make serious change in our community, so I’ll be raising money for anyone that wants to “run” with me.  I’ll be donating all of the net proceeds to Fuse Project. Feel free to join me by donating below.
And I want to hear your ideas.  Want me to take a selfie for you?  Make a donation and tell me so! Want me to wear your company’s shirt?  Make a large donation and ask me to! See you on the trail or the "trail"...

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Startup Weekend in Mobile, Alabama

I recently had a taste of my first Startup Weekend Competition powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. Here is my personal experience --- it might help you decide whether it’s something that would be up your alley or not (in case you were debating). What is it? It’s a competition. It’s networking. It’s summer camp. It’s pitching. It’s creativity. It’s teamwork. It’s learning. It’s fun. It’s intense.  startup weekend mobile alabama It’s the opportunity to show up with an idea (not a requirement) on a Friday afternoon and then pitch that idea turned business to a live audience on Sunday afternoon. If you’ve every tried this you’ll know just how much work this really takes. You don’t get to polish details and speeches for weeks. You get more like 48 hours. Let me give you the overview of how this goes. 5pm, Day 1: We show up. Meet. Eat. Wonder how this works. Then we pitched an idea (60 seconds max).
sometimes you've got to wear some granny panties

sometimes you've got to wear some granny panties

I presented an idea called Panty Pockets - undies for women with storage built in them. [It didn’t win, but I gave the crowd plenty of comic relief]. There were 60 pitches or so. Each of us received a giant sheet of paper titled with our concept. When pitches were completed, we placed our papers around the room and encouraged others to vote for our ideas (each person had 3 sticky notes to vote with). Next, we narrowed down to the ideas with the most votes -- 10 ideas or so. These folks had anywhere from 5 to 18 votes (for reference, panty pockets had 3 - so close!) This is where the real fun began. The moderator says, “great, now form your group. You have to have at least 3 but no more than 8.” If you couldn’t get at least 3, then you had to close your idea and blob with another group. This was 15 minutes of a Survivor Series episode. You wanted to sell yourself to the leader with the idea you liked the most. That person with the idea was also looking for folks with particular skills -- design, coding ability, public speaking, etc. It was an interesting networking session. I sold myself to my first choice team. “Yes, I’m in!” But then, the team got loaded with team members; clearly, I wasn’t the only one that saw its merit. My 2nd favorite idea’s leader was enticing me to come and join his team. Turns out he currently only had 2 others on his team and 1 was a coding guy (not me). I could be a bigger fish in this smaller pond and hopefully utilize my skills better. I told him I was in. So I switched. 8pm, Day 1: The real work begins. We start to discuss the idea in detail. Punch holes in it. Firm it up. Here’s the idea we’re going to build upon the next 36 hours and what our final product became (the name being finalized later in the weekend)... Conference Cash: an app that is used to enhance the experience of both vendors and attendees at trade shows, expos & conferences. 11pm, Day 1: Tired from the evening’s work (little do we know this is just the beginning!) we retreat home to rest up before the next day. 8am, Day 2: We greet each other warmly and hop right back onto the saddle (but not before being well feed by the organizers - we had incredible food from local businesses all weekend long!) Some heavy hitter coaches from local companies were in the room. Each asked what we were working on. We began to realize that this was a chance to pitch the idea to them. We let them punch holes. We refined. We started to refine how the app would look and feel. Our coding guys discussed how to make a live demonstration of the product happen in 24 hours. 9pm, Day 2: We’re the last team left in the building still working on our business. Understandable; it was Saturday night and there was a beer festival happening in the streets less than 100 yards away. Teams were dropping like flies. But we had work to do. We had the basic workings of our app. We had an outline of an outline created for what we wanted to present. 8am, Game Day: We had zero slides created for our presentation. We needed to finalize our demonstration. We needed to finalize notes for our pitch. We had a long way to go. 3pm, Game Day: I’m voted the pitch man and this is the very first time we attempted to put together my notes with the slides that we created (not having completed until 30 minutes prior). Our first run through is beyond rusty. It’s more like a junkyard with pieces spread all over. 5 run throughs; each time making adjustments to what we’re going to say. I made the decision to use notes. I’m not happy about this, but normally I would practice at least a full day for a presentation of this magnitude - not only an hour. 5pm, Game Day: We decided to do a few run throughs without stopping to make edits. Time to let it flow the way it’s going to flow. In the middle of our 3rd run through, we were told we were on deck. We closed our computers and walked downstairs to the presentation hall. We gave it our best shot. We gave it all we had. And. We. Won. startup weekend mobile alabama5 guys that had never met before Friday took an idea and streamlined it into a real business by Sunday afternoon. We worked extremely well together. We took criticism and well. We focused on what our core strengths were. And we got the job done. Now we have an obligation to the idea, the sponsors, and the City of Mobile. The business must happen for this entire weekend to be a complete success. And it will. There was an angel investor group present and our first meeting was set up that same night. More to come on that. But next year it’s your turn...

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Passion and Purpose.

What’s my purpose? What am I passionate about? Purpose and Passion. Passion and Purpose. Passion - Purpose I truly admire when I see someone literally beaming as they talk about what they do or an idea they have --- getting passionate enough to scream out or have tears roll down their face. But that’s just not me and it’s not how I operate. I used to continuously ask myself, “What’s my purpose? What is it that I’m truly passionate about?” Look at where you spend time (or would like to). Where does your mind drift? What turns on the endorphins and gets you going? For me excitement is in the brief moments. It’s... Making a deal. Talking about our origins and why we’re here. Having an idea come to reality. Getting someone to say yes. Getting some good news. Conquering a new skill. Being in nature. Starting a business. Slowing down. Going full throttle. Enjoying those you love. Making money. Talking about things that matter. Giving money. Being appreciated. These are where I find passion and purpose. I would argue that you probably do too. If you agree, then find ways to have more of the above experiences. Have less of ones that don’t qualify. It’s that simple. Not easy, but simple. So do the tough things. Climb a mountain’s ups and downs. Reach the top. Throw your hands in the air. Bask in the glory for a brief moment. That’s the moment of purpose and passion. Then, start climbing the next peak.

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I've been wanting to jump in and run a kickstarter campaign for years.  I finally got the chance.  My wife runs a women's clothing boutique and decided to start a Fashion Truck in our city of Mobile, Alabama. Perfect Kickstarter opportunity!  We put together a campaign with some really cool rewards for backers.  Check it out here:  http://www.bottegacollection.com/fashiontruck  [as of 08/21/2015 we have 13 days to go on our campaign!] You can help us wrap the exterior in exchange for free clothes, photo shoots, modeling opportunity, being on our 'made possible by' poster, etc. -- it's really a cool opportunity to allow the community the opportunity to say "I did that!" It's been one of the most challenging things I've ever done.  Once you exhaust reaching out to friends, family, and current customers, your marketing brain has to go into overdrive.  Now it's media relations, local businesses to partner with, and other creative ideas. And although we're not relying on the finances in order for the project to happen (we're wrapping no matter what), my competitive nature is going to be sure that we fund our project by at least 100% --- because with Kickstarter, if you don't fund 100% of your goal, it's considered unsuccessful and nobody is charged anything. So we're busting it. 17 days into our campaign, here are some photos that we've shared with our backers - I'll share here also.
Bottega Collection Downtown Mobile Alabama Women's Boutique

Filming our Video

           

Gutting out the inside of the new Fashion Truck!

                   
Sample Design

Sample Fashion Truck Designs

For more info on our company check out Bottega Collection.        

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Be Still.

Some philosophy hit me this afternoon so I figured I'd philosophize a second. Be Still.The world whirls around us. New status updates ping our phones. The roads are crammed with commuters. It’s constantly Go, Go, Go. Be Still. We’re making plans for the holidays. The weekend looms and we’re checking schedules. We have meetings to attend. It’s Go, Go, Go. Be Still. You get asked to serve on yet another committee. The deadlines are looming. Bills are coming due. It’s Go, Go, Go. Be Still. In the Stillness is where the answer comes. It’s where everything else around you fades away and your mind is tuned in. It’s the beginning of inspiration. Stillness doesn’t necessarily mean physical stillness, although it can. Stillness is that warm shower where the ideas storm your mind. Stillness is sitting alone on a sunny porch with a warm cup of coffee. Stillness is being quiet and alone in nature. Stillness is hearing the seagulls and the waves lap the shore. But how can I be Still when there is so much to do? You must make time to be Still. It must be placed in your calendar if that’s what it takes. But isn’t that forcing the issue? Perhaps. Do whatever it takes. Be Still. We were intended to be Still and notice the Greatness engulfing us. Surrounding us. Swarming us. Ok, now get back to work! 😉    

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Travel Hacking.

I’m a pretty big fan of personal finance and I love the hunt for great deals. I’ll open a new bank account and use their debit card a number of times in the first 90 days to get a free $100 credit. I’ll open a credit card to get a bonus $100 cash back if I spend $500 in the first 3 months. I make 2% back on my credit card for doing nothing - spending $10,000 on normal expenses in a year yields me a free $200. [notes of importance: I pay off my balances in full every month so that I don’t incur any interest charges. I have my cards set on auto-pay so that I don’t even have to think about the monthly payments. I only spend my credit cards on normal monthly expenses. *In 10 years, I haven’t had to use a credit card in an emergency situation, but I wouldn’t hesitate if the situation was life or death]. With that said, I’m just now beginning to look at the possibilities of credit cards with airline bonus miles. I know, I know, some of you are probably laughing at me because you’ve had them for years. But I’ve always used the following strategy: use credit cards that give me a good cash back bonus and then shop for the best airline deals. I always figured that this would be an approximately equal deal. And with the simplicity of it all it might just be. But I’ve been recently turned on to skymile cards from a friend that met me in Guatemala and used his airmiles in order to get there. I had an hour long talk with him and I want to give you the bullet points of what I learned on travel hacking. These simple notes may easily be the difference in hundreds of dollars of savings for you. 1. Most domestic flights in the U.S. cost 25,000 miles 1a. These flights are in a zone and you can often fly to other close by countries (in Central America for example) for the same amount of mile - so plan accordingly. 2. Some credit card offers will give you 40,000-50,000 bonus miles with their credit card offers (most are only 30,000) so it pays to google search and look around. 3. United has the most generous policy overall and is the simplest to redeem your skyline miles with. 4. Most of the cards have an annual fee after the first year. If you decide you don’t want the card, you can call an cancel it prior to being charged the fee. You will be able to keep your skymiles as they are tracked in a separate independent account. 5. With United Airways you get 5,000 mile discounts when booking domestic flights. 6. Pay close attention who controls the hub at your local airport (in my case it’s Delta). You may want to use this airline’s credit card programs. Otherwise, you may have to go to neighboring airports in order to get on the flights of your choosing. This is enough info to get you in the game. Another great source that I’ve heard of is Chris Guillebeau's Travel Hackers - although I must disclose that I’ve never used myself. Happy Travels!

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My Rules for Retirement

I grew up reading financial books - learning about the stock market - increasing my investment vocabulary - on and on. I loved it. I’d read more. More books - Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Knack, The Number, etc. - you can find them on my resource page if you're interested. I loved it. I got into business - I started a blog - I started investing in houses - I got a real estate license - I started a local entertainment website - I started a real estate brokerage. I love it. But I realized that my mindset was shifting. I realized that I didn’t agree with a lot of mainstream thinking. I now read Money magazine and view it similar to Cosmopolitan - the same stuff packaged in different ways. Nothing different. Going further, I realized that some of my principals were different. 1. I can’t stand the idea of setting aside a certain % of cash for future consumption each month. How do I know that I will make it to 40? to 50? and not 120? The truth is, I don’t. But what if I do? Then I better be ready. But I don’t believe that we’re supposed to worry about that. We aren’t in control. We can’t take any of it with us. When the game is over it all goes back in the box. It’s our jobs to be steward of what we get while here --- time, resources, etc. With that said, this doesn’t mean that I don’t save. I do. But when I have the opportunity to take from my savings and invest in myself and others for education, business opportunities, experiences, giving, etc. - I do. Why? Because to me, this is compounding my investment. What if I lose it? So what. I will be smarter and better and ready to move with the next opportunity. I believe in investing in yourself and creating opportunities that will either give you passive income or large chunks of cash. 2. I can’t stand insurance My goal is to eventually get rid of all insurance except health insurance (too risky to be without for me). Auto Insurance: I hate having full coverage on my autos. I’ve never had a wreck that largely damaged my vehicle. Insurance preys off fear. The “what if” scenarios. Well, I don’t plan to get in a wreck. But if I do, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take. I will either fix it myself or call it a loss, but the only coverage that I need is liability insurance. Life Insurance: When I was 29 and single I got a $100k term life policy because a good friend told me that it was unfair to stick my family with all of my debts if I were to die. Great point. So $10/mo. later I had it. It’s cheap. But then, my bank accounts started offering free $1,500 policies hoping that I’d increase the policy. I didn’t but I did sign up for the $1,500 ones. Then my house gained equity. Serious equity. Even in a depressed market. So I figured that without a family yet there was no need for the term insurance at this point. It was almost more of a nuisance to cancel than not, but now that I did I’ll be happy to save the $120/yr. Now that I’m 31 and married I’m back to having a life insurance policy, but currently only carry $250k (I’m banking on investing in myself with the savings from a higher premium). Home Owner’s Insurance: I hate this too, but I have it. Because the bank requires it. And if I pay off my loan I’d still keep it since my house is currently my largest asset. It’s currently $1,900 annually. I’m in the real estate industry (I win when I sell houses) and you should seriously look at renting. For starters, you would get a month + of free rent every year just by dropping property insurance - not to mention yard upkeep, major repairs, property tax. Yes, you would lose out on deducting my interest, but shouldn’t the main goal be to lower expenses in the first place? Paying money just so that you can deduct a portion of it is insane to me --- read "The Fair Tax" if you never have --- interesting read. Insurance on New Electronics: No Thanks. If it breaks I’ll buy a new one. Insurance on my Package Shipped: No Thanks. I’d prefer for you to do your job and not lose it. Insurance for my Insurance: Uhhhhhh, what? 3. I can’t stand having tons of stuff. Having less stuff can do a few things for you. It can cause you to need less insurance (yess!) And it can cause you to get used to living a simple life which will make life in general much easier. If you live a simple lifestyle then there’s no problem commuting by bike, having only one car, downsizing a home, not owning a boat, riding a bus, cooking at home, drinking less, growing your own food, etc. Living simpler can cause you to need less money currently, which means you can give more away or invest more in yourself (there’s that long term plan again!) With that said my Rules for Retirement consist of: 1. Creating opportunities of passive income. 2. Creating opportunities during my life to bank large chunks of cash. 3. Moving from an amount of greater insurance to less insurance. 4. Always trying to live with less. 5. Putting the “game” back in the box when I die. What are your rules?

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Homeaway (VRBO) vs. AirBnB – Costs to Owners

airbnb - my listingThis article is to help those with a home that they want to rent decide which site will yield them the greatest return, AirBnb or Homeaway (VRBO). [if you’re a renter, know that in my opinion, AirBnb provides the most seamless and easy experience - here is a referral link for $25 off your first booking]. I’m assuming that you already have a basic understanding of what both of these companies do. In essence, they allow you to provide your home as a rental on a short term basis, whether that’s 1 night or longer terms like a month or so. For us, the average, has been 2-3 nights, with folks coming to town to visit, vacation, do business, etc. Homeaway was started in 2005 and is more focused on vacation rentals. It has acquired a number of other rental sites in order to increase its market share and help with productivity tools for owners and property managers (a large part of their model). AirBnB started in 2008 and was more geared towards the tech savvy traveler looking for a room to rent. But it’s grown and has expanded into full home rentals and vacation properties, since in essence any home can be used for vacation. Both are close in terms of their number of listings and worldwide presence, but I feel that AirBnB is much better positioned for growth. They seemed to have the vision from the start and Homeaway seems to be playing catch up and acquiring companies that can help them make things easier (which I find in the short term can have an adverse effect and be more difficult for their users, owners and renters alike). Maybe you’re thinking about renting your home using these platforms or maybe you’ve already done it a few times. You may have known about one but not the other. I’ve found that after close to 6 months of renting my home full time that we get close to 50% of our bookings from AirBnb and the other 50% from VRBO, so I’d definitely recommend setting your rental up on both of the websites. It also helps if your property is close to where people want to be (downtowns, beaches, lakes, quiet peaceful country, etc.) Understanding the costs is pretty simple, but you have to spend a bit of time studying closely to understand them, so let me break down what I’ve found out. AirBnB: Takes 3% of the overall rental price (plus added fees) as their charge. This includes credit card processing fees also. (note: guests are apparently charged 6-12% of the booking as a fee to them, so keep this in mind when pricing your home compared to your competition). VRBO: They have the option of no listing fee and 10% fee per booking. This includes the credit card processing fees also. You can also choose to pay a yearly fee starting at $349 for the year. It says there’s a 0% fee, but it’s a bit misleading since you still have to pay for credit card processing. So in reality it’s a 10% fee with no yearly fee or a 3% with $349/yr. (or more depending on plan). We are actually in the process of determining if that net 7% booking fee will cost us more than the $349/yr.   And it’s looking like it may. If that’s the case, we may be upgrading and paying the yearly fee in order to lower our fees from 10% to about 3% (credit cards). So the net effect to the renter is that clearly AirBnB will leave more money in your pocket. But what will your pricing need to be to stay competitive? Will you have more renters from VRBO? My advice is to get your home on both platforms and measure your experiences over time, both with finances and your enjoyment of the experience of working with both. Happy Renting!

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Life List Updates

So I keep a Life List - these are items that I want to do during my lifetime. Some will take years. Some I could do in the next week if I really wanted to. I don’t believe in a fixed list. As my interests change I add to and take away. I keep a list in an app that I use (Trello) so that when something cool hits me I can add it. Here are my latest additions to my Life List: Own a car that runs on vegetable oil. Get sprayed by pepper spray (still debating). Solve a rubik’s cube. Complete the rubik’s cube in less than 1 minute. Raise backyard chickens. Experience sea turtle hatching. [I've got the white side down on the rube.  A Long way to go]. White Side Conquered - Rubiks Cube                    

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Join below to stay focused and get inspired with out of the box ideas for your life and business!

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