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Personal Branding Winner of the Month – April 2009 – Tom Johnson

April 14th, 2009
A few days ago I announced I’m retiring the Personal Branding Award.  This is the last one I’m giving out as part of a monthy series.  I might do one here or there if I get really inspired, but it’s time to move on to something else.  There are over 20 award winners now, and tons of great info and examples for you.  Next month I’ll announce the new series, which I’m really jazzed about!

I have been really impressed with the blog from Tom Johnson.  I met Tom’s wife at a Utah Bloggers Dinner about a year ago, but he wasn’t able to make it.  Then, at PodCampSLC I heard him speak and checked out his blog.  It was solid when I saw it a long time ago, and it’s solid now.  This is one of the best blogs I’ve ever seen, with regard to personal branding (and blogging in general!).

Tom is a really cool guy – down to earth, approachable, etc.  He is a technical writer and his blog is called I’d Rather Be Writing.  The tagline is “a blog about the latest trends in technical communication.”  It’s pretty obvious what his expertise and professional passions are.

Check this out: Tom does more than technical writing.  He is a podcaster and interviewer (that is what he spoke about at PodCampSLC), and he loves to do WordPress development for companies.

Diluted brand?  Not necessarily.  I’d love a copywriter (or wordsmith expert) to be involved in my web strategy.  How else could he convey his expertise, except through his blog?

I’ve said before, a blog allows you to showcase your professional breadth and depth, in a way that makes sense (breadth through categories, depth through frequent blog posts).  Tom is showing, in his blog, his knack for and interest in podcasting, graphics, and more.

We are so easily stereotyped (Tom should be stereotyped as a “technical writer”), and it’s so hard to crack out of the stereotype.  But he is doing it well with his blog (and his Twitter account: @tomjohnson).

Many of the things he is doing right are documented in the other monthly winner posts.  His messages are on-brand, on-topic, the blog design is clean (I like the white background!), and he showcases his expertise.

Congratulations Tom! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else :) ), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the two hour (!!) recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).

You can see the other winners of this award, which has been going on for over two years, at the Monthly Winner category.

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Sanity Check: This Is True [dot] com

April 13th, 2009

I have been a subscriber to Randy Cassingham’s This is True newsletter for years.  A couple of years ago I did the premium upgrade for about $22 a year so I could get more stories each week.  But the free version is plenty fine.

I have thought about recommending it for a while, but every once in a while there is something that is offensive to some group of people.  Randy basically finds crazy stories from the news, writes a small paragraph about them, and ends with his own tagline.  Nothing he has written has been offensive to me (yet) but the reality of how funny/crazy/weird our world is just keeps me coming back each week.

It’s been part of my sanity check.

In a recent edition he included a note someone wrote to him, which I wanted to share here:

[name] in South Carolina upgraded this weekend too, and attached a
note to me: “Randy, I just got laid off yesterday (Friday the 13th!)
and couldn’t think of a better way to make a clean break than to
finally become a paid subscriber. I’ve been a free subscriber for years
and benefitted from the laughs and groans each story brings. This is an
investment in my own faith in things working out for good for
reasonable people since you so frequently show the results of
unreasonable (and unreasoning) people. Thanks for providing this
service for all these years.” You’re most welcome, [name] , and best of
luck finding a new and *better* position soon.

My last day of work was a Friday the 13th also :p

If you are interested, you can get the free email newsletter by signing up at ThisIsTrue.com.

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Hey Stalker, Go Away. Or Email Me So I Can Reply.

April 12th, 2009

Dude, seriously, leaving anonymous crap comments on my blog isn’t helping anyone.  And using the Contact Us form, without leaving an address I can reply to, isn’t helping either.  If I knew how to get ahold of you I’d tell you this:

Last week a JibberJobber user found a feature within the system that allowed him to send an email to all of his contacts in a way that we never intended.  As a result, thousands and thousands of people got a message from him… and I’m sure some thought it was spam.

You obviously did.  Sorry about that, although we (Jason Alba, or JibberJobber) did not intend to send the message out, nor to spam anyone.  So for that, we’re sorry.  Sorry that you got the email at all.

We are going to disable the feature/function (don’t want to say what it is, lest others find and exploit it), probably permanently.

That’s all I can say – my apologies.

So please stop leaving comments like this:

And this:

And this:

I don’t care to get into any discussion with you, since that is obviously going to be futile, but I do want you to know that we have found the problem and are addressing it.

Cool?

Thanks.

Now go away.  Bug someone else.

(and if you are the same stalker I had a while back, good job on figuring out how to leave comments from different IP addresses (the first was from Atlanta, the second from NJ… good job!))

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My Fourth Revenue Stream Is The “Now What??? Book Series”

April 10th, 2009
On Friday’s I had been sharing each of my ten revenue streams. I took a break for a while because I wasn’t quite ready to share the last three (there are now two left). I’m big on diversifying personal income, whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee. My intention with this series is to inspire or encourage you with your own diverse revenue streams. Below this post you’ll see links to the previous posts, or you can click on the Multiple Streams of Income category on the left.

Mitchell Levy, the publisher at Happy About, asked me over a year ago if I was interested in being the Executive Editor of the Now What??? series.  I had written I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? and didn’t know that it was a series yet!

My response was “no way.”  I did not want to worry about making sure that other people’s books would fit within my brand, that the quality would be good enough, and coddle authors along (aka, babysit people).  I know there was a fair amount of coddling me when I was doing my books, and I couldn’t imagine having to do that with others while I was trying to build my JibberJobber business.

The first few ideas he pitched at me for Now What??? books seemed to be completely out of my brand, and it just made sense to focus on what I was doing.

And then, one day, I got a royalty check.

You may have heard that there is no money in writing a book.  I kind of somewhat believed that, until I got that one royalty check.  I thought ” geesh, if I can get this from one book… what could I get from more?”

I called Mitchell and told him that I was ready to talk about what it meant to be the Executive Editor of the Now What??? series.  And then I started to think what my vision for the Now What??? series was:

What if the Now What??? series had 100 titles, and because of the value/power of the series, they could all help one another sell?  What if they could be branded to some fraction of the Dummies or Idiots books, and companies or career centers would love to have them in stock?  What if we could sell… say… 1,000 of each title each year?

There would be benefits: financial and brand awareness (for JibberJobber) might be two of the biggest benefits.

I approached a number of people who had knowledge or expertise in a certain area and have started down the road with a number books (about 20 titles).  I am not ready to announce any of them yet, but am excited to see this stream move forward and mature.

Who’d-a-thunk: Me, and executive editor.

Has this series been helpful to you, as you figure out your other revenue streams?

Here is a breakdown of the revenue streams I’ve shared so far:

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The Health Insurance Beast

April 9th, 2009

I’ve put off this post for years because I didn’t want to write something that would preclude me from getting health insurance in the future.  But it’s time.

Yesterday I read a very short article from my local online news source: Report shows number of uninsured Utahns.  I could not believe that “a third of Utahns under age 65” had no insurance “at some point during the past two years.”

One out of three of us don’t have insurance?

I hear a lot of people who say “I would like to start my own business but I have to stay at my job because of the health insurance.”

More important than salary (which they think they can replace (I think they can, too), more important than vacation or sick days or any other benefit, health insurance trumps all.

Maybe that’s why Obama got voted in, to help give peace of mind to this group of people who are uninsured.

When I got laid off I had the option of purchasing COBRA.  COBRA is a brilliant program devised by our elected officials that help ensure we still get health coverage after we lose our jobs.  Oops, did I say brilliant?  I meant, the concept was brilliant.  The reality, however, is that it’s ridiculous.  My COBRA costs would have been around $700 a month.

Help me understand how an unemployed guy with no income is going to come up with $700 a month for crappy coverage?  (The coverage, as far as I understand, is the same that you had at your former employer – basically you are “allowed” to stay on that plan, but you have to pay your part PLUS the employers part… and my employer had CRAPPY coverage).

I’ve heard of people getting quoted around $1,500/month for COBRA.  That is more than most people pay for a mortgage.

How could the Washington bureaucrats have thought this would be affordable, even possible?

Ah, the bubble they live in.

And that is one reason why 1/3 of the people (if I can extend this Utah sample out to the rest of the U.S.) don’t have insurance.

I am not a fan of Obama, and worried about the socialism he talks about, but I wonder if he could somehow fix the healthcare crisis.  Not necessarily socialized healthcare… but there are issues with private healthcare that I’ll write about in another post.

Health care – it’s a sad state.

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What Is A Facebook Friend?

April 8th, 2009

I think I’m sometimes misunderstood when I present about using tools like Facebook and LinkedIn for marketing purposes.

Here’s a post from Lauren Yant that I totally agree with: Facebook drama, part 2.

If you have any inclination to use Facebook as a marketing tool, please read this post.  You may not totally agree, but it is something to chew on as you develop your personal relationships.

Today my publisher is having an Amazon book day for the book I recommended a few posts ago, 42 Rules for Driving Success with Books.  If you buy it today you will get over $1,000 in other stuff (see this page)… pretty cool offer.

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Dan Schawbel’s First Book: Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success

April 7th, 2009

Personal Branding has really come a long ways in the last few years!  I remember when William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson wrote “the bible” on personal branding, back when there were really just a handful of personal branding blogs.

Fast forward to today and we have (probably) hundreds of blogs that have some element of personal branding, and the latest book on the subject from Dan Schawbel, who is someone who has completely immersed himself in the power of personal branding.  He’s a pretty dang good networker, to boot (doesn’t it make sense that personal branding and networking go hand-in-hand?).

Dan’s popular blog on personal branding, PersonalBrandingBlog, has evolved into an authoritative resources on personal branding, with a history of interviews from some amazing people, as well as (newer) guest posts from others.  He created the Personal Branding Magazine, and has been interviewed by some great publications.  He has definitely carved out his corner of expertise (combined with savvy SEO, he’ll be around for a long time in this space!).

What should you expect from this book?  Honestly, I don’ t know, since I haven’t seen it.  But based on everything I’ve seen from Dan in the last couple of years, I can only guess this will be a terrific resource for you as you think about, and work on, your personal brand.  Here are some highlights he sent me via email:

  • A proven 4-step process for building a powerful brand (discover, create, communicate, maintain).
  • Tips on using social media tools for personal empowerment, confidence building, and professional networking in order to attract jobs directly to you, without applying!
  • Tested advice on how to create an online and offline presence for career protection and self-promotion.
  • Over 40 expert quotes from leaders including Don Tapscott, Guy Kawasaki, Penelope Trunk, and David Kirkpatrick of Fortune Magazine, among others.
  • More than 70 research reports, three personal case studies and examples to give you a broader perspective on the topic.

At Amazon it shows the price at $11.53 – go get it – you have nothing to lose!

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LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD – Last Day for 49.95 Special Price

April 6th, 2009

Today is the last day of the LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD sale price – I just asked my main web guy to change the price to $59.95 plus shipping and handling tomorrow.  Tomorrow I expect the box of DVDs to arrive at my office, and I’ll ship a bunch in the afternoon.

If you want to save $10 and have me eat the shipping and handling, you need to order today .  Additionally, I’ll throw in some kind of THANK YOU for ordering early thing – not sure if it will be free premium of JibberJobber, or one of my other webinars (Blog Marketing 201 – 501 or Write Your Book), but it will be something cool (any ideas?).

LinkedIn for Job Seekers has the following chapters/session:

  1. Profile Review Part I – Above the Fold – I critique the top part of five LinkedIn Profiles, and make suggestions on how they can make them stronger, and increase the chances of being found in search results.
  2. Profile Review Part II – Below the Fold – I critique the rest of the five LinkedIn Profiles, specifically the stuff that you see when you scroll down (education, work history, etc.)
  3. Applications – To wrap up the “LinkedIn Profile” stuff, I had to talk about the new “LinkedIn Applications,” and what I suggest you do as a professional.
  4. Account and Settings – It’s a big menu page, but what do you need to worry about? We’ll go over some of the things I recommend you pay attention to.
  5. Getting and Giving Recommendations – How to get and give LinkedIn Recommendations.
  6. Answers – Asking Questions – Ask questions in LinkedIn as a part of your networking and personal branding strategy.  Here’s how.
  7. Answers – Answering Questions – Not ready to commit to asking questions regularly?  Answering questions is also very powerful, and doesn’t come with any regular commitment.
  8. Searching – If you aren’t using advanced search, you are missing a big part of LinkedIn.  There are a few simple tricks that can take you a long ways in LinkedIn.
  9. Browsing Connections – Your first degree connections might have some golden contacts for you – here’s one way of finding people you need to network your way into.
  10. Exporting Connections – Exporting your contacts is one of the four things I talk about in my seminar.  Here’s why and how.
  11. Growing Your Network – I had 5 first degree contacts when I first got started, and that was a huge mistake.  Instead of saying “get thousands,” we say “get the right connections, and here’s what that means!”
  12. Groups – Groups for the job search?  Absolutely, and strategically!  We talk about how to find Groups and what to do once you are a member.
  13. Staying Current – I’m on LinkedIn — Now What Blog – Some info on how to keep up with current LinkedIn information, as well as communicate with others regarding issues we blog about.
  14. Company Pages – The Company feature in LinkedIn is amazing… AMAZING.  I think it’s the second best thing they’ve done, next to Answers, for a user like me.  Eventually it could eclipse the value of Answers… !
  15. Jobs – Looking for a job in LinkedIn’s job search area?  Here are some things to know.
  16. Introductions and Communication – how to, when to, why to communicate with people in LinkedIn’s communication tools.
  17. Conclusion – Some final thoughts on LinkedIn, LinkedIn in your job search, etc.

Instead of a “here is every link in LinkedIn, and if you click on it here’s what happens” training, this focuses on what I think you should focus on with LinkedIn.  So there you go – if you want it you can get it whenever, but if you want to save some money and get some other goodies then order it TODAY.

I’ll decide on what bonuses to give with these preorders before I ship – you can leave suggestions in the comments (or by email).

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Make-A-Wish of Utah GETS Blogging and Personal Branding Award Announcement

April 3rd, 2009

First, the announcement: I have one more Personal Branding Award to give out, and then I’m going to retire it.  I’ve been doing it for about two years, and I think there’s enough information in what I’ve written that you should get terrific ideas on writing your own blog for your personal brand.  It’s a great resource.

I’m sure I’ll come across some other blogs that are awesome, and I’ll showcase them, but I won’t necessarily do it on a monthly basis (I’ll just do it when I feel like it).  Cool?

You can see past winners of the JibberJobber You Get It Personal Branding award here.  Next week I’ll announce the last winner – it is someone who’s blog I’ve seen over the last year, and think it is one of THE BEST blogs on the internet…

Announcement 2 is that I already know what I’m replacing this award with… I’ve been thinking about it for the last 6 months and am really jazzed to switch gears to this other thing (you’ll see what it is soon).

Today I want to share the blog that Christine Sharer started for the Make A Wish Foundation of Utah.  Christine says she’s new to all this social stuff, including blogging, but one look at her blog and I know SHE GETS IT.  There are only a few posts, but they are so compelling… these are heart-tugging posts.

Make-A-Wish is an organization that needs donatations.  On her blog she is not asking for donations… rather, she is telling you stories about what happened to the recipients of your donations. Each of her posts start off with “Where are they now?” and then the name of the person.

These stories are awesome, and I think just telling these stories is going to do more for her organization than putting “donate here” badges on the blog.

Kudos Christine, may this be an example of excellent blogging for non-profits and for-profits alike!

And if you want to read some super-inspirational stories, go check out the Utah Make-A-Wish Foundation blog!

Want to meet my JibberJobber Partners?  These are career coaches, job search coaches and resume writers and personal branding experts who have committed to teaming with JibberJobber, and see the potential in including JibberJobber as a part of their overall offering.  My team has started to put together a page that introduces them to you … pictures and descriptions… come check it out!  It’s just starting, so there are more to add, but here’s the start of introducing all of the Partners to you.

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Dust Off Your Dream

April 2nd, 2009

I had a dream that one day I’d be fabulously successful.

I was either going to own my own business, or I was going to be the CEO of a really big (like, Fortune 10) company.  Both would provide dramatically different lifestyles, and the latter would be really challenging to have a family life also (I assumed).

I figured the “own my own business” route was just about impossible, at least to acheive the crazy things I thought I wanted in life.  So I did the right stuff to be a CEO of a company… business degree, MBA, solid first job, etc.

Things went well until that day.  You know the day I’m talking about – for me it was the week of Friday the 13th, in January of 2006.

I started my job search, which didn’t go well.

I also started this crazy little website called JibberJobber, which was getting favorable reviews from career experts.

Eventually it was obvious that no one wanted to hire me, which made that dream fade quickly (not a fun realization).  But people were really interested in JibberJobber… and the dream I thought I could never have, that of owning my own business, and perhaps even building a “better mousetrap,” started to become a reality.

I never imagined that dream could become a reality.

But it did, and I’ve lived the dream for almost three years.

I bet you have a dream.  A crazy dream.  A dream you put off to become an accountant, perhaps?  (or maybe your dream is to become an accountant!)

This evolving economy provides a great opportunity to dust off your old dream, stop thinking of all of the reasons why it won’t work, and start figuring out how to make it work.  If you don’t have the guts to do it, read this post.

I give you permission.

Today some dude in Minneapolis should put all my LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVDs in a box and send them to my office.  This starts the countdown of selling them at full price, plus S&H.  If you want the discount, order it now.

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