Copyblogger Delivers A Content Buffet At Authority Intensive 2014 (#Authority2014)

Copyblogger Authority Intensive 2014 Recap

Throughout Authority Intensive, I shared some of the wisdom being shared by speakers and Copyblogger staff on Twitter, and received quite a few requests (and a threat) from friends to share my notes and what I learned at the event.

When I sat down to write my event recap post, it became quite clear that this event would need more than one post to do it justice.

Yesterday I published the first post about the event, pointing out the brilliant strategy behind the meals and parties that kept all of the attendees together, creating more networking opportunities, more new conversations, more connections being made, and more business being done.

Today I’m sharing the wisdom (and there is a lot) served up from the panels and keynote speakers throughout the event and tomorrow I’ll be name dropping like crazy and introducing you to some of the awesome people I met and hung out with.

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Authority Intensive 2014: Create Raving Fans Without Content (#Authority2014)

Copyblogger Authority Intensive 2014 Strategy

I’ve been investing in attending professional events, conferences, seminars, and workshops since graduating from college and today attend at least 5 every year.

Now, I’m not talking about local networking events. I’m talking about plane rides, hotel stays, food budgets, and conferences tickets ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars (just for the ticket).

Overall, most of the events I have attended have been professional produced with big budgets — and most are pretty great. But, sometimes the speakers aren’t as great as you would have hoped, sometimes there is barely any time for networking, and sometimes the food is lackluster at best. The latest event I attended was different — and in a good way.

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Where do you get your business advice?

Ali Brown Elevate Event Thrive Live 2013

I am a firm believer that no one knows everything about building and growing a business — at least I know I don’t! In fact, most business owners and entrepreneurs (like me) start businesses not because they know how to run a business, but because they are exceptional at what they do and seize an opportunity.

In my experience, learning about business and how to run one effectively comes along the way. A few years into my business, I received a great piece of advice: Know the path you want to take and surround yourself with people who are farther down the path. In other words:

  • Find the people who have achieved what you want to achieve and learn from them.
  • Find out what they did wrong and what they did right; what worked and what didn’t work; what they wish they had done differently.
  • Find a mentor or mastermind group who can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction when you need it.

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Same Tools, Same Strategy, Different Result

Differentiate Yourself By Being You

I see it happen over and over: A coach or expert sells “how they did it” or their process for achieving results. A business owner wanting to achieve the same results hires them to learn how they did it. The business owner learns tactics, uses the same tools, and applies the same strategy… yet they don’t achieve the same results. In many cases, they don’t even come close to achieving the same success. Why is that? Why can you do everything exactly the same and not enjoy the same success?

There is one major difference that wasn’t accounted for.

You are not them! The person, the expert, the history, the experience, the story, the brand, the positioning, the relationships — the person at the center of everything is different. So while you can use the same tools and the same strategy, and you can achieve the same results, you can’t just copy a cookie cutter formula. You must adjust your approach and customize it to fit you, your brand, and your business.

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How to take a real vacation (tech-free), even if you own a business

How to Detach from Business, Unplug, and Take a Tech-free Vacation

Entrepreneurs and business owners are the hardest working, most dedicated and committed people I know. With a vision in mind, and a goal ahead, they do whatever it takes to achieve success, often sacrificing their own personal well being along the way and never taking a break or a vacation to recharge, refuel, re-energize, reinvigorate.

I used to be that business owner. In the first few years of my business, I worked 14-16+ hours a day, at least 6 days a week, and I NEVER took a vacation — because I didn’t think I could.

Eventually I began to take vacations, but the weeks leading up to the vacations, and the week after returning were so awful, that I often wondered if it was worth it. Plus I often pulled multiple all-nighters to finish everything before leaving, so I was exhausted and cranky the first few days of the trips! And, if I am really going to be honest, my vacations weren’t really vacations, as I took my computer with me to check email and work if I needed to (which I always did).

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Making Decisions Based On Where You’ve Been vs. Where You Want To Go

Decision Making Mindset

The ability to make decisions in business is critical to your success — as long as you’re using the right frame of reference, and frame of mind for your decision-making. For the sake of this article, I’ll assume that you are not a business owner satisfied with the status quo, but an entrepreneur striving to improve, evolve, and grow.

The Wrong Decision-Making Mindset

There is a popular phrase often tossed around by business coaches: “What you focus on expands.” With that belief in mind, one surefire way to stay where you are and stunt your business growth is to focus on the past — what has happened before, what was true before, what worked before — and let it hold you back.

Focusing on where you’ve been will result is staying where you are. The same is true for your decision-making mindset. To move your business forward, continue to grow, and achieve your goals, it is imperative that you stop making decisions based on where you have been.

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Take Your Business Into Your Own Hands

If you want to be a leader you must improve your skills

After a three week staycation, we got back to back to business as usual in January, back to the trenches, and back to being crazy busy with new projects — But we’re never too busy to keep learning! If you want to be a leader, you must continually improve your skills and take your future into your own hands with action.

Above is a photo I snapped of the kids on the Sutter’s Fort cannon crew! Natalie is in fourth grade this year and since she is learning all about California history and the California Indians, I took the kids to the California State Indian Museum — and lucky for us it was also a special historical re-enactment day at Sutter’s Fort. The kids loved it, they learned new things (like what a thunder mug is), laughed a lot, and Natalie brought back some great information and souvenirs to share in class.

The schools no longer have the budget to take students on fields trips like they did when I was a kid, so now it’s up to the parents to provide the hands-on learning experiences that come only with experiencing history first hand. We have to be proactive and take education into our own hands and take action.

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Letting Go: Clients and Customers Always Have Final Control

Lego Village

Check out my Lego Winter Village! It took hours, upon hours to build and it’s the only Christmas related decor that we haven’t put away. I just don’t want to break it down yet!

This Christmas, we trimmed the tree, decked the halls, hung the stockings on the mantle … and built the winter village. Think this was done by my kids? Think again. The winter village is all mine. As soon as I was done, I photographed it and called the kids in to check out my hard work. The layout was carefully planned, each scene was set, each mini figure was placed, and then …

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Capitalize on Your Uniqueness

Branding You - Capitalize On Your UniquenessIn the book,Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares a story about Henry Ford charging a company a large sum of money (for the times) to solve a problem the company had been struggling to untangle. Ford completed the task quickly, received his payment, and then proceeded — immediately — to share his solution. Seeing how fast Ford had worked, the folks who hired him became angry. They felt hoodwinked.

But, Mr. Ford replied, “Whether it took me five minutes or five months, you got the result you were looking for when you hired me. You didn’t hire me for how long it would take. You hired me for the expertise and value I bring to the table and those qualities have taken me my entire life to accumulate.”

In other words, Ford’s unique level of expertise and experience — expertise and experience that the business owners did not have — is what gave his work its value.

As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to have enough confidence in our goods and services that we can ask for the price they are worth. And we need to know that our customers are comfortable with the value they receive from us. Setting a fair price for both parties will require reflecting on what goes into your goods and services in the first place.

So, what are your knowledge, experience, expertise, and the products and services built from them, really worth?

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Work For Me For Free, For a Limited Time

Work For Me For Free But I Don't Value YouThe nerve of some people absolutely amazes me. Well, let me rephrase. The poor and completely inappropriate application of marketing principles and strategies amazes me.

Recently a woman — we’ll call her Susie — contacted us for a quote on the design and development of a completely custom WordPress theme. She wanted the sun and the moon and had high expectations as most of our clients do. But she clearly wasn’t ready to invest in the up leveling of her brand and was a bit miffed at our quote. She made it clear that she wouldn’t be hiring us.

Then, Susie paused for a moment and spoke very seriously. Hello! Didn’t we know? Susie is a BIG deal. She has a giant list and she is an influencer.

Susie then made us an offer — She was going to make a special opportunity available for us, to design and create her custom WordPress site for FREE, in exchange for some promotion by her to her list. Oh, and we better act fast, because this opportunity to have our name in the same sentence as hers is only available for a limited time.

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