Not long ago my main laptop died. A river of swear words shot from my desk. I called support and they reassured me that they could have my baby back in working order in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!?? I have several other laptops that all run Linux, but, aren’t connected to the web for various reasons. Yep that’s right I was going to have to rough it off the grid for a whole two weeks.
At first I was really worried about my clients and how they were going to take the news. But I knew I had to tell them soon. So, I grabbed my netbook and hit up a wireless cafe. Their response was awesome. A few were rightfully upset that their projects were going to be delayed 2 weeks, but they were all understanding and I didn’t lose a single client! Sometimes polite brutal honesty really works well.
So now that I had contacted my clients I had to face the ugly reality that for the first time in close to 5 years I would be with out Internet access for longer than a week! What the hell was I going to do?? I ended up reading a few books and writing a bit. But, for the most part I did a lot of thinking.
Over the last three years I have been busy building a business on the Internet It has been an amazing journey that has taught me so much about myself and other people. And now I had two weeks away from it all, to reflect. When I started out 3 years ago I could write code that could make your head spin (still can). But, I had absolutely no idea how to build a business and a brand. I will admit that in large part I am still learning, like everyone. But, I have realized a few things along the way…
For me 86% of building a business is all social. You can’t build a business and a brand on an island. You have to engage. Engage who? Everyone! Successful entrepreneurs wear their brand on their sleeve, they are their company and their company is them. Every interaction that I have is an extension of my brand. When I am at a conference meeting new people I am building my brand. When I am on twitter or facebook I am building my brand. When I am spending time with my family and “recharging my spirit” I am building my brand. When I am being an active participate of social spaces I am building my brand.
Being social can be scary. Theres a lot of people out there and a lot of times it can be overwhelming I would say about 80% of the folks I meet I want to build my brand with. Others are very interesting, but might not be the best for brand building, and a few are just assholes. Wearing your brand on your sleeve also means that you are always “on”. Which means that you always have to be smart about the ways you engage. This is sometimes a lesson that can only be learned the hard way. I will be the first to admit that I have engaged the “wrong way” in the past.
Which brings me to the beginning of something new. This new blog is fundamentally about engagement and how we can do that effectively the “right way”. We will talk about lots of different topics here, but in the end of the day its the dialogue that will push us forward. So please subscribe to the feed and join me in a new dialog!