Category Archives for "business"

Embrace YOU for Happiness & Success

In 2001, I was having lunch with Neil Evans, the first CIO of Microsoft, in Bellevue, WA.  At the time, I was the CIO for ITech Services, a company managing technology training programs in partnership with academic institutions, which included 150 colleges and universities in the US.  We were in the middle of building the Microsoft IT Academy (now called the Microsoft Imagine Academy), which I had helped design and was eventually rolled out to over 10K academic institutions around the world.   We had stopped for lunch, and during the conversation, Neil asked me why I called myself a CIO.  At first, I was a bit surprised and slightly offended, because I thought he was implying I wasn’t qualified to be a CIO.  I started to explain my technical background and duties at ITech, and he stopped me and said, “No, I mean you are not a CIO…you are a CMO.”  I started to stammer and defend myself as a “techie.”  You see, at the time I thought being a “marketing guy” was like being a used car salesman…always trying to make a pitch….stretching the truth.  I hated selling.  It just wasn’t me.  However, he pointed out that I was building products and programs, coming up with ideas on how to get these programs adopted by our target markets, and that this program development was really a marketing function.  It would be years later before I embraced my marketing side and actually called myself a CMO, but that opened up the “flood gates” in terms of opportunities.  I felt free to think about things that were “pie in the sky” ideas instead of always forcing myself to think about processes and the immediate future.  Instead of trying to automate everything and take people out of the equation in the name of efficiency and cost-savings, I could actually think of ways to put people back in the equation…to understand their needs and pain points so that I could solve them.  However, this would not be the only time I had to look in the mirror and be honest with myself.

Fast forward to 2012 – I was known as “Ronnie Tsunami – The Tiki Techie,” and I helped coaches to market themselves better and grow their businesses by leveraging the latest technologies.  I was doing videos and workshops, and I was using my island persona – Ronnie Tsunami.  In case you don’t know, I am originally from Hawaii and am also a professional musician in my own trop-rock band, the Tsunami Wave Riders (imagine Jimmy Buffett meets Santana in Hawaii).  I was doing island-themed technology workshops for entrepreneurs while dressed in an aloha shirt, cowboy hat and flip flops…and my band would actually also perform at my workshops.  It was so much fun, and I was pretty happy and excited because I thought it was very unique.  To grow even bigger, I met up with THE video marketing “guru” as part of special brainstorming session, and I showed up in my aloha shirt, cowboy hat and flip flops.  His recommendation to me was “get rid of the Hawaiian shtick.”  To him, the island theme represented a lack of technology.  He wanted me to instead lead off with my tech credentials (i.e. working for the Secretary of Defense and building large scale training programs), and for heaven’s sake – “lose the aloha wear.”  I remember jumping on the plane from San Diego, CA, back to my home in Charlotte, NC, and being the most miserable EVER.  Physically I was so sick I couldn’t even talk, and apparently had laryngitis.  Emotionally, the wind had been knocked out of me as well.  I actually had to be rushed to the hospital right from the airport.  It took me a few weeks to recover, and during that time I did a LOT of thinking.  I decided if I wanted to succeed, I had to listen to successful people like the one I just met – I had to give up being Ronnie Tsunami.  I changed all the branding on my website, and I dressed like the perfect businessman.  I got rid of the island imagery in my materials and events, and I was oh so “professional-looking”…and I was also oh so depressed.  It wasn’t until I mentioned this story six months later to one of my clients and a network of coaches I had been working with that I got feedback – be authentic.  The love and support I received was overwhelming, and within a few months of being me again, I was the happiest I had ever been AND I had tripled my income.

Today, in 2018, I am still Ronnie Tsunami, and one of the things I enjoy is doing keynote talks on how change leaders and organizations can go bigger and faster in accelerating product launches, movements and anything else in between…and I still do my talks in my aloha shirt…tsunami-style.  One of the first points I talk about is being authentic…being true to your core values as as an individual and as a company.  This may seem like an abstract goal, but there are real steps you can take to identify who you are, what you stand for, and what your organization stands for.  Taking the time and making the effort to do this self-exploration has real consequences.  It creates a self-awareness of strengths, weaknesses and purpose that allows an individual and organization to anticipate problems, overcome challenges, and react faster to change.  Many of the people I meet are caught up in “positioning” themselves on social media, whether on Facebook or LinkedIn, based on what they perceive is most valued by all their “friends” and contacts rather than what is most important to them.  Considering how people are very selective about what they share on social media, especially challenges and “pain points” they have, basing your persona solely on what you see on social media is a mistake.

I’m sure you can see my point about why you should embrace YOU if you truly want to be happy and successful.  The catch is that you have to take a long look in the mirror and be willing to see both your strengths and your weaknesses.  That can be pretty scary if you hate criticism.  YOU have to give yourself permission to love yourself….warts and all.  No one else can do that…not your friends, not your children, and not your spouse…only you.  It can be challenging, but it is oh so worth it.  The act of liberating your mind and be your authentic self…it is more than just temporary motivation – It is lifelong inspiration.

So are you ready?  It’s time to embrace YOU for the happiness and success you know you deserve.


Asking for Help

Should You Hire a Social Media Expert?

This is a question that many business owners ask themselves. When considering whether to hire someone, you need to ask yourself several questions.

The first is, are you short on time? It takes a high level of commitment (mostly time) to post consistently on social media. The more channels you take advantage of, the more posting you will need to do. If you are currently working for others, and you simply don’t have enough time, or even if you are working for yourself and are too busy with your own tasks, hiring someone could help.

Even if you do have the time to manage your social media tasks by yourself, the next question you need to ask is, do you have enough experience? If you are looking to beef up your social media skills, then you should do it on your own. However, if your goal is to get your business to thrive, you should consider hiring a qualified expert. The techniques for how to manage each of the social media platforms are different from one to the next. An expert will know these differences and will be able to use them to your advantage.

If you are looking to learn how to properly manage social media, watching the work created by an expert will cut down your learning curve by a significant amount. Analyze what they are posting and pay attention to how they format your profiles in all of the platforms.

Another question to consider is whether or not the person you may hire has experience in your niche. Specialized niches are going to require that kind of knowledge. Many general niches don’t require specialized knowledge, so you have to be certain that this is an essential requirement.

Of course, when you decide to go forward with hiring someone, the next step is figuring out if they are qualified or not. You’ll want verifiable proof of their experience. At the very least, they should have blockbuster social media profiles with many shares, likes, follows, etc. If most of their social media profiles are company-based, ask them to show you their personal profiles. Most social media platforms allow multiple profiles.

Ask any potential candidates to give you their plan of execution. They may hesitate at first as they won’t want you to steal their plan and use it for your own purposes. But they should be able to come up with something that is high-level that gives you a comfort level that they know what they are doing.

How Mobile Marketing Can Help Your Small Business

Mobile marketing has become crucial for small businesses. Back in 2014 we passed an important milestone. For the first time people were spending more of their online time on their mobile devices than desktop or laptop computers. That’s huge. It means that if all your online efforts are focused on regular internet marketing, you’re missing out. And if your site and sales funnels aren’t mobile friendly, you’re risking your small business and livelihood. Here are three different ways mobile marketing can help your small business.

Be Reachable

Being mobile friendly and actively going out there and marketing to mobile users makes sure that you are always reachable. If your potential customers are at work and checking on your open hours or product lines during their lunch break, you’re there. No matter how they use their smart phones and other mobile devices to connect with you and your business, it will work and you’ll be able to serve them with the information or products they need.

Interact With Your Mobile Customers

Mobile is also great for interacting with customers through a different medium. This may include emails, social media, or your own app. The key is to be where your customers are. Get in front of your target audience and start interacting with them. Not only will this help you with business in general, it will also help you pinpoint any issues your site or your shopping cart may cause with mobile users. Keep the lines of communication open, get in front of more and more people interested in what you do, and good things will happen.

Take Advantage Of Their Smart Phones

Mobile marketing really shines when you think outside the box and take advantage of the fact that your audience is on their smart phone. For example, if you have a brick and mortar store, you could use the location information to make it easy for them to find your store, or send them special offers when they are within a mile or two of your location.

Other ideas are to use location information in your online business to automatically estimate shipping and tax information during the order process (“estimated shipping based on your current location”).

Once a customer gets their product, you could follow up and ask them to snap a picture or take a video and give a little review of the product, or share on social media.

Keep an eye out for what others are doing in this space and then figure out how you can adapt those ideas to your own mobile marketing strategy.

The 3 Biggest Secrets “Techies” Will Never Tell Entrepreneurs

Techie Secret #1 – Having “years of experience” doesn’t make a better technology expert:

  • With the average life cycle of new technology being 6 to 12 months, experience doesn’t matter as much as the drive to learn new things.
  • Someone with 2 to 3 years experience in the Information Technology (IT) field can surpass a professional with more than 20 years experience in terms of relevant knowledge and the ability to solve problems.
  • A business owner can learn about the latest social media tools in a few months and out perform someone with a 4-year Computer Science AND Marketing degree.
  • When looking for a technology professional, ask them to describe their innovations rather than just listing their skill sets or companies they’ve worked for.


Techie Secret #2 – Everyone is a “techie” (unless you’re Amish):

  • A “techie” is someone who likes to learn and use technology.
  • If you use a computer, tablet, email, cellphone, TV, printer, video camera, GPS, drive a car or even use a microwave…you are a “techie”. Some people are simply “techier” than others. The question is – to what degree are you a “techie”?
  • There is no formal eductaion needed to be designated as a “techie”.
  • Everyone has access to the same information “techies” use to learn about new technologies and find solutions to problems.


Techie Secret #3 – Technology is fun:

  • What’s not fun about making money, saving money or having more time to do the things you want to do?
  • If I taught you how to use a tablet, such as an iPad, to increase your sales conversion and process transactions that put money in your bank account, you might just think technology is LOTS of fun.
  • Still don’t think technology is fun? When I purchased a GPS for my car and didn’t have to worry about getting lost or missing an appointment, I was so happy that I could have married the slightly robotic-sounding woman providing me turn-by-turn directions without scolding me or making me feel like I was a complete idiot.