Why I Am Going To Start Up A Business

Why I am going to start up a business. My own business.

start up a business

I HAVE to start up a business. It’s the best time in my life and in world economic history to do it. In this economy, you just can’t count on “job creators” to create jobs if they don’t get some HUGE tax relief. I mean, HOW is one supposed to live these days on so “little” AND hire someone to do their work for them? If there is one thing that I’ve learned working my last two freelance positions (few and far between), it’s that incompetence abounds in this world. Yes, my experience might be “light” in some areas, but I am highly adaptable and learn quickly. And, I don’t work well with the clueless, uptight, and easily distracted. I know. Crazy, right? Who would think that I would be the most professional in any organization? Plus, I am pretty sure that I need a place to work that has chairs and a bathroom, let alone a source of water and maybe someplace to park. To start up a business would alleviate the problems that come with working for the unprepared.

To start up a business, I have to have an idea of what I want to do. The things I would like to do are probably out of my reach at this time in my life:

Male gigolo: there aren’t a lot of women under the age of 50 who are looking for a 42 year-old “toy.” I am sure that there are a few older than 50, but even as I’ve reached my early 40’s, I still think of 50 as that “cut-off” point. Unless, you know, she has LOTS of money.

President of the United States: the reasons WHY I can’t be president are way too many to list, but the reason I choose is WHERE; I just can’t see living in Washington, D.C. I could take frequent vacations to Hermosa Beach during my terms, but I’d rather than spend my time on the front page of newspapers listed side-by-side with George W. Bush on who took the most vacation time. Plus, I would talk plainly, not worry about dropping F-bombs and say what I mean. Not very presidential.

There are some others, including pro golfer and volleyball player, if beer and lack of practice ethic didn’t intrude.

So, with those options closed to me, I have a pretty good idea of what my company will be. It combines the two things that I love the most: writing and being sociable. It’s called social media marketing. If you have a small business, or have friends with small businesses that need their company’s/brands presence elevated organically with SEO marketing, weekly SEO blogs, Facebook, and Twitter updates, I hope to be your man. As a new business, I won’t charge much at first enough for me to keep the property manager at bay while paying for my Internet service so I can work from home. Then I’ll add Pinterest, Google+, FourSquare, Yelp! and eventually short YouTube marketing videos and product placement. Eventually, I’ll be as strong as a 16-year old Asian girl. Literally.

Start up a business – learn from your friends who’ve done the same.

In learning how to start up a business, I’m going to take some cues from a few of my friends. They have taken this leap and started their own businesses.  Some are businesses here in LA. Some are elsewhere. One is in Australia but often is found worldwide. Some I can take advantage of. Some, unless I need to go on the lam, I won’t be taking advantage of anytime soon. These are just a few of them:

Thirsty Swagman – Kenneth Hart

start up a business

Thirsty Swagman is the brainchild of Kenneth Hart, an Aussie from the West Coast of Australia and I’ve never met him. I “met” him through Kevin Wilkerson of PubClub.com. As Kenneth is 7 years younger than I am, his liver works much better than mine does these days, thus his continual odes to the “17th Beer.” He travels around the WORLD on “thirsty adventures,” drinking at world-wide drinking events – think Oktoberfest, Carnival – and other exotic locations and events.  Thirsty Swagman offers up tours and trips that center around nightlife and learning about the local flavor and culture the “real” way – by having drinks with locals in a pub. Check out his website www.thirstyswagman.com, and if you ever meet him, tell that bloke he needs to swing back through the States and say “hello” so we can actually meet. Someday, he and I will tackle the bastard that eyes us every weekend from the ice chest. It’s the one that assaults our livers at night, and our heads the next morning. Its name is the “16th beer” and together we will put an end to its madness with our close friend the 17th beer! Cheers, mate!

 Hollywood Branded – Stacy Jones

start up a business

Stacy Jones is a good friend who was the result of a losing a girlfriend. (If I got a good friend every time I broke up with a girl, I’d date more often…) Hollywood Branded is the first business that I worked for after an extended stay outside the entertainment industry. Hollywood Branded is a “boutique” product placement agency. Not sure what “product placement” is? Ever seen your favorite character in your favorite TV show use a BlackBerry phone? (yes, I know). That’s product placement. Stacy is great at what she does. She had been doing product placement for years and years for others before starting her own successful business and has some of the best business acumen I know. She’s very hands on and driven. Too much for me, possibly. But, if you have a small (or big) brand or product and you want to try product placement, reach out to her. I’m not saying that she can help, or that it will be cheap to do. But hey, Silly Bands was just a rubber bracelet once…

Isla Mujeres Property Management, et al.

start up a business

I believe that my friend Marla Bainbridge is actually just on the run from the government and moved to Mexico to start up a business or two. No, not really, she’s a great person who I am privileged to have met. It could just be the fact that she’s an Auburn alum and is prone to yelling “War Eagle” out loud, which frightens the uptight kids in the U.S. So, she moved to Isla Mujeres in the Mexican Caribbean, having visited the island many times. Getting out of the rat race, she leveraged her education, her drive and her opportunity to find herself in a position where she no longer drives a car (she uses a golf cart on the island), has an condo with an excellent view and she loves every minute of it! Listed below are the businesses that she has taken over or established herself:

Property Management – www.islamujerespropertymanagement.info
Property Rentals – www.islamujeresbudgetrentals.com
Online Marketing  – www.islandonlinemarketing.info
La Banda Sin Nombre – www.labandasinnombreislamujeres.com
Co founder of Liberty School – www.libertyschoolmexico.org

Kathy’s Dog Walking – Kathy Nelson Clarke

start up a business

Kathy is a Penn State alum, so we have to go easy on her these days. Her team, once thought of a contender against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten just avoided NOT playing football this year… She is another long-time South Bay friend who was tired of the rat race of ad sales and gave it all up to start up a business, walking dogs – a HUGE business here in Los Angeles. She loves dogs and animals of all sorts. Five years ago, she started Kathy’s Dog Walking and Pet Sitting with just a few clients. She has grown her business to 20+ independent contractors while starting a family as well. As she puts it, the best thing is that she feels that she has created something bigger than just dog walking. Her 20+ employees have employment in this tough economy and all are doing something positive and nurturing. And apparently, it’s not just dogs that can be walked. She mentioned to me something about a duck…

 

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How CNN News Lost Its Way – #CNNepicfail

What happened to CNN News?

CNN news ratings drop

On Friday, CNN News announced that its worldwide president would resign at the end of the year due to a dramatic ratings decline. I love watching the news and I still like CNN News. But, even I have to admit that it’s no longer the news powerhouse it was in its early years. There was a time, even 12 years ago, in the TV landscape when CNN News was THE place to get the news. From the time of its launch in 1980 until 2000, CNN was the undisputed leader in TV news. Although Fox News would supplant CNN in the ratings 2002, CNN News was often seen as the source of news everywhere – even government intelligences would turn to CNN to find out what was happening.

The Fox News challenge to CNN News.

In 1996, Fox News was formed to help “fill the public’s demand for more 24-hour news coverage.” With a former Republican strategist at its helm, many viewed it as an alternative to the CNN News – or as some called it the “Clinton News Network.” By the 2000 election, Fox News had gone from just over 10 million homes in the U.S. to 56 million homes and saw a 440% increase in viewership. By January 2002, Fox news had surpassed CNN News, and has consistently stayed #1 since.

The Digital Age

As more and more people get their news online, they turn to CNN News and Fox News for the perspective on the stories of the day. CNN.com is strong. But, it’s also its weakness. In its effort to become more personality driven, it has failed miserably. It’s daytime anchors and interaction with its audience have to be two of the most insipid parts of CNN News itself. It has an identity crisis and it doesn’t look like it will get figure itself anytime soon.

What’s wrong with CNN News and how I would fix it!

No one is going to hire me to fix CNN, although I bet I could do it. I can’t do any worse. But, I’m not sure I could live in Atlanta. I am sure they are good people and a great city. But, it’s not for me. But, in the event that the hiring manager for CNN is reading this and wants to hire someone who can fix CNN on the cheap, here’s what I would do:

Report the news: If there is one thing that Fox News does extremely well, it’s that they report the non-political news really well. If it doesn’t have to do with Obama or Romney, Republicans or Democrats, Fox is amazing at reporting just the facts in an analytical way that lets me know the who’s, where’s, what’s, when’s and why’s without all sorts of pontificating. CNN News seems to make every story somehow about the anchor reading the news. It’s like watching someone who’s really drunk try to tell a story to friends at a party. EVERYTHING. IS. SO. MUCH. MORE. DRAMATIC. Stick to reading the news without emotionally throwing yourself into every story.

Stop with the audience interaction: This is especially true for the “talk back” questions. Seriously, the only “talking back” that should be done is yelling at the screen “why the fuck are you even asking people to talk back!?!?!?!” You’re a news organization, not a talk show. My jaw literally fell to the floor as the morning anchor asked this “talk back” question recently: “Where was God in Aurora?” My head is still spinning why we needed people posting Facebook comments on this – or any story – that CNN News covers. If you want to know where God was or is, wherever he is, he’s not watching CNN, I can tell you that.

Educate your anchors: Nothing kills me more than watching a news broadcast (on ANY network) and realize that the empty haircut reading the teleprompter has no idea or any outside knowledge of the thing on which they are reporting. The intern that wrote the teleprompter text has more general knowledge than the vapid, empty shell speaking to the camera. I realize anchors don’t actually have to do any investigating, but reading the daily paper, a Time or Newsweek every week, or watching the news on your own channel will do you a world of good. It’s important to be able to draw in a younger audience to replace the older audience as it dies off by being able to discuss something like who “Bane” is in the Batman franchise…

Stop talking!!! I realize that this may be an issue as it’s the job of the news anchor to report the news, but when you are doing interviews, stop interjecting before the interviewee is finished. Unless, of course, you’re telling the interrupting cow knock-knock joke. YOU are not the story. You guest should have the right to finish up what they want to say.

I realize, good people of CNN News, that it’s hard to be in second place to Fox News. But just because you lost your way, swinging for the fences by trying anything that might get you ratings, it doesn’t mean you should be lowering your standards to get more viewers. Start acting like a news organization again. Tell both sides of the story. You don’t have to be the counterweight to another news organization. Just tell the news. Don’t make it.

 

 

 

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Why You Need a Good Copy Editor – “Looking to Hire A Experienced Copyrighter [sic]”

(oh, yes, I answered that classified ad, but I proofread it and then sent it back to them first…)

The pitfalls and obstacles of the job hunt

What I face every day in THE JOB HUNT. Minus the suit.

Always on the job hunt, I answer ANY posting for any job that seems remotely like what I HAVE DONE, COULD DO, or WILL DO. And that means that I turn over every stone that I can; jobs from legitimate job sites like Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn to the odd and entertainment specific sites like Media-Match, 4EntertainmentJobs and Mandy’s. And of course there is CraigsList, where not only can I peruse job opportunities, I can buy tickets to a concert or sporting event, buy a slightly used couch or I can look through some of the greatest personal ads, “casual encounter” ads and “rant and rave” postings ever created…

(Seriously, if you have a day where you have absolutely nothing to do, go to Craigslist and find the “Best of Craigslist” link off to the left. There are some fantastic creatively-endowed people out there.)

Anyway, I would guess that I have responded (“applied” just doesn’t seem the right word anymore these days…) to approximately 400+ job postings at various sights in 2012 alone. These is just one of the posted jobs that I have run across (I have left off the jobs with the words “intern,” and only included the jobs I have found in LA):

Jobs to which I have applied

Looking to Hire A Experienced Copyrighter” [sic] – from the title of this post, I had to apply to this job posting because the way it was written screamed that they NEEDED a new copywriter. Turns out it was too good to be true, as I got a reply that wanted me to link to another site, which had a lot of creepy young Abercrombie and Fitch types – the men with waxed chests and the women with the eyes of a heavily “roofy-ed” Tri-Delt… The sight was about vacations or something, but I quickly cleared my cache and cookies and logged off. No go on that one.

I have others, but I haven’t saved them and so I will have to add them when new ones come up or I can find them again.

The one job I’d be really good at, but can’t seem to get in touch with them

Spam email writer – I receive enough spam email on a daily basis to know that I can write better spam. It’d be so much easier to write in the voice of a Nigerian prince if you don’t have to write it in Russian (most email scams originate from Russia and other former Eastern Bloc countries), then do a conversion to English, where everything written turns out like a Cold War Yoda, “Pleased to be making your acquaintance this day fine, I am.” If ever I am kidnapped in a foreign country and held for ransom, I would suggest they let me earn my freedom by writing email scams which you can’t tell immediately are scams. I’d start by saying I’m seeking donations for (insert your political representative or his opponent here). What a racket THAT is!

Jobs to which I have received a rejection letter, but found errors and wrote back, “Nice one. A good ______ would have caught that.”

Well known, world-wide advertising agency (some of you have already heard this one):

Please continue to review our job postings for positions that peak your interest.

The job was for a freelance copy editor position here in LA, in the South Bay, even. So, I copy edited the rejection letter, explained that the correct word was “pique” and mailed it back to the creative director at the LA office.

It occurs to me that the best way to do anything is for YOURSELF. So, starting next week, I’m going to be starting my own Social Media Writing Agency. I think I’ll call it “Hi!”

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Do You Understand Why Learning Is Important?

To continue growing and evolving as a human being and a society, it’s necessary to understand why learning is important

Quote for why learning is important

Indeed

I learned something yesterday – you CAN take an infant to a showing of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.” That baby didn’t make a peep at all! Sure, the movie was loud as hell and I couldn’t hear anything but the film, but I’m pretty sure that baby didn’t have a clue where it was and will one day have to watch it on Blue-Ray. AND, I would never take my child to ANY midnight screening of ANY film no matter how much they whined and cried. Go ahead, call me a bad parent and a “no-fun” dad. I come from a time when parents didn’t cave into their children’s childish demands and was constantly told “no.” And I plan on being a RESPONSIBLE parent, because I’ve learned how to be a good parent. (The fact that I have no kids or potential wife is the real issue here!).

But, that’s just one thing I learned yesterday. And it occurred to me that it’s necessary to understand WHY learning is important in one’s daily life as a person and a society.

When I was a kid, I was always learning something. Whether it was “reaching for a dead fish with a stick while standing on a moss covered boulder will lead to a head first fall into Lake Michigan and a cracked-open skull,” or that “using the butter knife to pry out a piece of toast while the toaster is still plugged in will shock the hell out of you,” I began to understand why learning was important. It helps you to evolve and grow.

“Nourish the mind like you would your body.The mind cannot survive on junk food.” Jim Rohn, the late American entrepenuer, and mentor to the likes of Tony Robbins  once said. If you’re spending your day reading US Weekly or People and following that up by watching “American Idle” or “America’s Got Talented Pets,” you’re really not nourishing your mind, are you? What have you learned from that? Have you learned why learning is important? Sure, you can talk about it at your water cooler the next morning. But, what have you learned?

Why learning is important even if you’re not going to “need it later in life”

Why learning is important for all of life

You don’t think that it will come up ever again, but it might!

As Calvin demonstrates, there isn’t really much need for what you learn as a kid later in later. Or is there? When I was growing up in Portland, Michigan and was sitting in Mr. Rainey’s World History Class, I wasn’t sure that the lesson plans on the Mongolian domination of Asia, the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages would ever come in handy. But, drinking beer while attending the higher learning institution called the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the show Jeopardy! became an obsession that I would finally cross off my bucket list in 1999. At that point, I finally realized why learning is important.

Plus, chicks dig it if you can talk about something other than Robert Pattinson and frowny face McFrowner and whether or not they will split up. Well, classy chicks will appreciate it.

There are other reasons why learning is important

Getting ahead – The U.S. is 27th in the world in education in science and math. Even if you just take the time to watch some TV that isn’t about singing competitions like almost ANYTHING on the Discovery or Science channels, or even SyFy’s TV shows “Eureka” or “Warehouse 13” (trust me, I’ve learned a LOT about scientific principles by watching “Eureka”), you’ll walk away with some little nugget related to science that will stick in your head. Maybe it will even make you Google it later. Take that, run with it, and you’ll be smarter than your friends.

Just to give you an indication of things that I have learned lately by understanding why learning is important:

– I know how to write an SEO article, blog or web page with the best of them. I learned this skill in two weeks…

– I know that I will not buy beachfront property in North Carolina. The state legislature wants to use historical records, not scientific data by EDUCATED scientists that show sea level rise much higher than the last few hundred years. I wouldn’t want to live in N.C. for many reasons, but that’s the reason I won’t live near the beach.

– I’ve learned that there might be a difference of opinion on the nuances of “going out with” or “dating” someone…

– I can now hit a draw on purpose when I golf, which is what I am going to go do right now…

Why learning is important - the golf draw

It doesn’t ALWAYS look like this…

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Hard Things…

(minds out of the gutter, people…)

hard things

This hasn’t happened to any book I own. Ever.

Last weekend, one of my friends’ friends related a story that she had dropped her Nook on the floor of her parking garage when she got out of the car. It cracked the screen, which didn’t really matter anyway as the device wouldn’t turn on after the fall. She complained that she was going to be without any reading material for her upcoming trip to the U.K.

I said that I felt her pain as I had been reading a book the other day and it had fallen off my chair and into the sand at the beach. Not only had I gotten sand in between the pages, but I had lost my place! Luckily, I was able to get the sand out and found my page and back to reading I went.

Of course she was under 30 and didn’t understand the satirical nature of my comment (satire IS lost on the young). But, it demonstrates that there is STILL a market for “hard things” in this world like books, DVD’s magazines and newspapers. Not everything needs to be digital.

Environmental benefits aside, the world’s rush to transfer everything to digital might one day have its drawbacks. Sure, downloading a film from your TV’s On Demand feature or from NetFlix’s Internet service is getting easier and faster. But solar storms, power outages and natural disasters are just lurking around the corner (or maybe you HAVEN’T been paying attention to this blog). And of course forgetting to recharge your device of choice is an age-old problem that can lead to not having any media at your disposal.

I like books. And DVD’s. And the paper. And hard copies of emails, scripts and notes. These are just a few of them and why I like them still:

Books

 

hard things

This is one of my bookcase. Classified as fiction. There is one of non-fiction and boxes of old Stephen King novels with mom and dad.

I love books because I love to read. Fiction, non-fiction, historical, instructional; they ARE an incredible effing pain to lug around when I move, and so I don’t plan to move often or anytime soon. Also, they don’t need an Internet WiFi connection to load, they don’t run out of a charge and when you drop them, they don’t break. PLUS, they are a cool conversation piece when your date comes over sees how well read you are when looking through your bookcase (maybe she’ll even find that copy of “The Big Book of Sex”). If you’re trying to prove how well read you are by leaving out your kindle to the menu page, then you’re just a douche-bag.

DVD’s

 

hard things

When you’re rolling back home late at night and you just have to watch “Joe Dirt.”

I have a pretty good DVD collection. It could be better. It’s important to have this when your cable company is  having issues or when the neighbors accidentally cut your Verizon cable while doing some work on the building. OR when the DirecTV satellite goes behind a rain cloud… Plus, when you really want to watch “Beerfest,” “Joe Dirt,” or “Southland Tales,” late at night they might not always be readily found On Demand.

The newspaper and magazines

I subscribe to the LA Times. Sure, it’s mostly for the crossword and my new addiction (frustrating addiction) to Sudoku. But, it’s also a great source of news. Not the news on the front page, which has been cut, washed and dried per the editorial dictations of the editors-in-chief’s politics. The little stories near the end of each section are simply the best. Where else can you learn that a black bear had to be removed for the third time from a Glendale pool?

Each one of these mediums does have a common theme: they can all be shared easily by walking over to your friends’ house and having an actual interpersonal conversation and saying, “Here is that new copy of ‘Shades of Grey’ you and your wife wanted.” (And, NO, I don’t mean the trashy S&M novel. I mean Jasper Fforde’s “Shades of Grey.” And if you’re not reading Jasper Fforde, you’re dumb.)

I have made one total conversion to digital: music. I can’t remember the last time I bought a CD and I don’t know anyone who does. Maybe the future holds the same for me and all the hard things I like, but I’m going to go kicking and screaming.

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