Sometimes when I’m working so hard on the daily grind, chasing sales leads, coming up with new marketing ideas, and cranking out jobs I begin to feel frustrated because I feel like I’m losing some strategic direction and a bit of tight organization of the office management. Basically, the Jack of All Trades symptom.
The most important thing that I’ve done to drive towards my goals is to keep an updated vision board that answers the following questions:
- What is the Ideal Natalie Minh and how do I identify myself? Career accomplishments, character, physical goals, family.
- Within each of these ideals, break it down into silos and list what would it take to achieve each point. How would I also know that I achieved it? Are there certain benchmarks?
- Within my business, what are the important drivers for it to reach its’ full potential? Who needs to be involved, what skillsets am I missing today, what can I do better?
I actually have a virtual vision board which I maintain in an iPad app called Corkulous. This thing is just brilliant, like a real life cork board but way cooler. Using Corkulous, I put aside time every few months to do a big strategy brain dump and review my previous notes.. how did I measure up? Did I lose focus? What changed?
Next, I’m a member of a online subscription-based marketing mastermind group. I’ve been a member since it’s inception and can testify that the contents significantly improved my online marketing savvy. They have a forum area where you can throw candid questions at and because it’s a paid membership area, the members are open to share information with each other, unlike other online marketing forums I’ve seen. Also, the site’s creator unleashed his collection of over 40+ training programs on this site, most of which he has sold for $$$ each. Risk free trial is $1 for the first 3 days. I am currently dedicating myself to listen to a video lecture every time I’m doing cardio at the gym.
I also keep fresh and motivated I read business books regularly. I don’t watch TV and instead prefer to research online and read biz books. Here’s some of the good ones that helped shape my thinking:
The No B.S. Series by Dan Kennedy. It started for me with the Entrepreneurs book, now I’ve gobbled up the Marketing for the Affluent, Wealth Attraction in the New Economy, and The Ultimate Sales Letter. Dan is an old school guy who talks much about his experience before the Internet age, which is refreshing to me because I feel that business barrier to entry was much more difficult in those circumstances. His methods remind me of those time-tested ways that move away from gimmick and truly understanding human nature.
Influence by Robert Cialdini. This is a classic book on the levers of compliance, as written by an Arizona State University professor. Reading this book affects all areas of life but especially tactical in the business world. I’ve got something to sell and I need to convince people to buy it. Sounds easy enough and I think I’ve done OK for myself so far but this book was definitely a mind-opener. You can almost skip a lot of other How-To business books by just starting off with this one as your foundation.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Scott. This is good ish. I used this book to train my entire marketing team, chapter by chapter, so that we were all on the same page. This book covers all aspects of Marketing and PR in the digital age.
My oldie but goodies that I’ve read a number of years back but stay on my shelf are the Robert Kiosaki books (Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Cashflow Quadrant, etc) Malcolm Gladwell books (Outliers, Blink, Tipping Point was OK the others were awesome).
Lastly, I have to give major kudos to my fellow entrepreneurs (Chady Dunmore, Michael Verlackt, Bobby Ashhurst, Jamin Thompson, Shawn Ray, Gary Warren, Clark Bartram, Manuel Alaez, Rob Riches, and my husband Andrew) who stay up with me late nights and days on text and Skype to hammer out ideas, problems, etc between each other. We work ourselves up into such a fervor of excitement with all of the cool projects coming our way that by the time the conversation ends, we are all fired up for the weeks after. I love you guys and how much you challenge my mind.