How to Create Strong Content


If you read enough digital marketing posts a common theme emphasized is creating strong content for your readers. Writing is a developed skill, but you may be surprised how to improve it.

Put a time limit on it.

Wait, wouldn’t that pressure you into making mistakes? How can your creative juices flow on demand? What if I can’t come up with new ideas?

Let me address those concerns.

Any form of communication is a discipline. If you want to be a better writer, write more. When I first started doing an e-newsletter almost 10 years ago, it took me hours to perfect it. But over time what I noticed is I gave myself less time to complete the task. Now I spend closer to 30 minutes to do an article and if I don’t schedule a time; I just write when an idea pops in my head. Your best work should be ahead of you. You don’t want to publish crap, but you’re also not aiming for perfection.

Creativity simmers best under pressure. People learn best through stories. If you can use a personal example to illustrate a point do it. Here’s some advice that benefitted me: watch this TED Talk. Believe it or not, creativity happens usually two ways: when you not thinking about it and within structure. I get my best ideas in the car, so I carry post-its and a pen on hand. Also I schedule times in my iPhone to write regardless if I have ideas. Whatever I learned recently or pops in my head first initiates the typing. Try it. You get better over time.

Let’s face it there are no new ideas, just recycled ones. Take for instance Uber. They didn’t invent driver-free transportation, but they did disrupt the industry. In fact, it’s better to re-invent off a familiar context rather than attempt to create a new category. People have a hard time understanding a new concept if they can’t build schema off a previous idea.  When it comes to content people are attracted to the way you think (that’s your voice). The clearer you can articulate that, the better chance you have connecting to a wide audience.

So if you want to create strong content, just start. You know you’ve made progress when you can look at your old work and laugh at how far you’ve come.

How To Sell Yourself


Face it. Selling is hard. If it were easy, we’d all be rich.

You may sell products or services during the course of your career, but what everyone sells is: themselves. After selling services for a while and now transitioning to a physical product (a bit easier), one lesson I’ve learned is: in order to be successful in sales, you have to be confident with what you’re selling.

As a relational person, I prefer to connect vs. sell. If you listen close enough in a conversation, you can identify a pain point. If you can relate to it, trust is gained much more rapidly.

A practical example is on a job interview. Your resume may qualify you for an interview, but what you say and how you say it will validate if you have a chance moving forward. Most people get nervous before interviews and that’s normal, but what you don’t want to do is be unprepared or panic. Think about your body language, tone and message you are communicating. Are you being authentic or trying to be someone you’re not?

As a career coach, the advice I give is: understand your strengths, know how you add value to the organization and be yourself. It’s difficult to know exactly what an employer is really looking for, so instead of worrying what they’ll think of your answers, focus on where you fit in.

Leaders are self-aware about their weaknesses and strengths. Not everyone is meant to lead others, but you should be able to lead yourself. One goal I set with every networking opportunity is to try and get the other person to like me. You’d be surprised how much people brag and show off just to look good, but the person on the other end leaves disgusted.

Life is a game of who you know. The less you worry about being the smartest, the better. In fact, too much knowledge can come off as intimidating or arrogant.

Selling yourself comes down to: interests, passions and values. Connect on one of those points and your chances increase dramatically.

Would you buy what you’re selling? 

Why Goals Are Overrated


Coaching is much more like personal training than therapy, yet goals shouldn’t be the focus.

Let’s take your next career move as an example. If you’re looking for a new job, you’re normal. But the question is once you achieve that goal, will you be happy?

Research says short-term yes, but long-term no. The average tenure in a position is under 2 years for Millennials and rapidly shrinking. It has a bit to do with short-attention span, but mostly because of lack of purpose and challenge.

A job can fulfill that, but ultimately a combination of lifestyle and utilizing strengths is what matters. Let me explain.

People don’t work just to make money anymore. They want a job to provide their desired lifestyle. I’ve worked with plenty of clients who hate their job, but won’t leave because it supports the lifestyle they want to live. There’s also many people who stay at a low paying job because it allows them to pursue their passions on the side or make an impact at work.

Now moving on to strengths. If passion + strengths + experience = purpose, then strengths is the most important aspect. Passion and experience combined is the American Idol candidate who can’t sing. You have God-given talent, but it’s others who validate your strengths. The prime example are professional athletes. Paid extremely well to do one thing.

You might be saying, “But what if I’m not a professional athlete?” Well neither am I and here’s my answer: You may not get paid to play sports, but there’s 1 – 2 things you do really well. Find those things and do them over and over.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become successful at one thing (approximately 10 years if you’re wondering). That means there are no overnight success stories. Here’s my overall point:

Goals are like checking off a to-do list. Habits create the lifestyle you want. If you want to have a successful career you better figure out what tasks you should be doing on a daily basis, regardless of your job. I tell my clients after the initial session, finding your next career move will be easy…but understanding your strengths, knowing where you best “fit” and building confidence is what I really want to see flourish.

So stop worrying about setting and accomplishing goals. Instead identify the successful habits that will fulfill your desired lifestyle and do that, daily.

Why College Has Lost Its Mojo


Someone recently asked me, “If you could go back and give yourself advice what would it be?

My response: drop out of college

With a perplexed reaction to my comment, I began to explain:

A college degree isn’t worth much anymore…just ask your next employer. Experience matters, where you got your degree from doesn’t. The sad reality is most college grads take a job outside of their major and spend the next 5 or so years working just to pay off student loans.

Also college doesn’t teach “real world” skills. I spoke to USC freshmen and sophomores in a career workshop before and said the 3 most important skills to learn in college are: networking, gaining experience (usually through an internship) and learning how to sell (product, services and yourself). Ironically, those tasks aren’t taught in college unless you take advantage of resources as a student.

Lastly, flexibility is the new definition of success. Money isn’t as valuable as controlling your time. Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation because they want to make an impact and be happy doing it. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Kevin Rose prove college isn’t for everyone.

Trade schools and incubators are on the rise because if you have an idea that can potentially make a lot of money, why put it towards an education that doesn’t translate to much? As a Bachelor’s & Master’s degree holder, I may sound like a hypocrite, but if I could do it all over again I’d pass college and jump directly into entrepreneurship.

What An Employee Wants, What An Employee Needs…


Enter Christina Aguilera…just kidding.

There’s two ways to look at this scenario: through the eyes of an employee or the mind of an employer. The good news is the answer is the same.

Treat employees like entrepreneurs.

Employees want to feel valued. Give them objectives, but let them choose how to accomplish them. Coach them through the process, but ultimately give them freedom how to complete their assigned tasks.

Employers tend to micromanage. It’s more generational than anything else. It’s how they were taught, so they do the same. The reason flex time is valued by workers is because life outside of work is more important. That doesn’t mean you have to offer work remotely, it just means treat employees like people first, not workers.

Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation in history. All aspire to be entrepreneurs, even if they never make the jump. As an employer, your best retention tool is to treat them like intrapreneurs. You want workers to take ownership and responsibility, so give it to them. Have consequences if they don’t finish the job, but it’s better to give trust initially then respond accordingly to the results.

Entrepreneurship should be available to all. What do you think? 

Guest Post: How to Save Your Small Business from Bankruptcy


Bankruptcy is often the result of bad finance management and resource allocation. Sometimes, however perfect your business might be, your company would face bankruptcy due to external economic conditions. These include sudden currency changes, inflations and global recessions.

More than big corporate companies, it is the small business companies that are mainly victimized. This is mainly because they operate with small budgets and less financial security. Considering the current economic climate, bankruptcy has virtually become unavoidable.

Instead of facing the problem when it comes, take the necessary precautions to at least reduce the possibility of such a scenario occurring. As soon as you sense it coming, you must sell whatever assets you have to pay off your debts. Just keep what is necessary and sell the rest. Since it is an emergency situation, make use of any source that will enable you to get a good price. Whether it is a community sale or an online discount sale through eBay, do not hesitate or waste your time since it will only multiply your interest rates.

You can also try to convince or persuade your creditors to ease your financial burden. To not ask for complete exemptions, but rather try requesting a longer deadline or reduction in the debt amount – maybe both if the situation is critical. If you have borrowed money from an established bank, it will definitely have hardship programs that can help you out.

Latest bankruptcy law stresses the importance of credit counseling during such situations. You can either visit professional credit counselors or bankruptcy lawyers for expert advice and feasible solutions. If you are looking for the best bankruptcy attorneys in Scottsdale, your destination should be Canterbury Law Group. This firm has a number of lawyers who will be willing to be of service. Make sure that you explain your situation thoroughly before asking for immediate solutions.

You can also get rid of your debt by finding more cash. Getting a new loan can ease your financial situation and can even out you through the same situation is the future, but in desperate circumstances, if it can provide temporary relief, it should be considered as an applicable solution. Do not make the same mistake of getting high interest rate loans. You must only settle for a nominal price in any situation.

Management changes can also be effective in such situations. Bankruptcy can happen due to improper and unorganized management of work. Therefore, you will have to make immediate changes in designations in order to ensure the survival of your business. If a particular employee’s methods prove to be unfruitful, you must give the position to someone who will be able to bring positive change to the company’s financial situation.

If nothing works out, you can ask for help and financial assistance from your friends and family. Make sure you use this as a last resort, since although you might be a small business company, it is still unprofessional to do so.

New Passion Project!

ux logo-jpg

I’ll be taking a break from my career/business posts for a bit so I can put my focus towards a new venture launching in a few months! UX Palate is a gourmet artisan subscription experience going live in Mid-September and shipping in November.

It’s a combination of two things I love and always wanted to combine:

Food & the Subscription Model

I encourage all of you to join me on my next adventure by clicking here to be e-mailed updates!

My First Startup – Educational Comic Book For Kids

Move over Shark Tank: Comic book teaches kids entrepreneurship

We live in the age of innovation, of companies started by young entrepreneurs – from Apple to SpaceX. Every year, the founders get younger and younger. Yet, entrepreneurial education has not kept up. Children have spending money before they learn about financial literacy. They are given “perfect career” tests before they’re even aware that working for someone else’s dream is not the only way – that every one of us can create real value pursuing own dreams.

In comes a comic book, My First Startup, that lets children (especially 8-12 y.o.) learn entrepreneurship on their own terms, in a fun and non-patronizing way. Without telling them what they must do, My First Startup helps kids develop problem solving skills, creative thinking, time-management, work-life balance (it’s never too early for that one), mathematical and analytical skills, and so much more.

Created by a Brooklyn-based custom comic book company, Your Comic Story, My First Startup helps parents teach kids an alternative to the 9-5 career, as well as a reasonable response to “buy me more presents” (Want that new game console – earn the money for it.) Ultimately, it’s helping parents raise kids who feel empowered and comfortable in the world where running your own business is as welcomed and rewarding as having a traditional job.

My First Startup was just launched through Kickstarter to let the people decide if teaching entrepreneurial thinking to children is important. To make the comic book especially useful to budding entrepreneurs, its creators brought in some key business service providers, including Shopify, Instapage, Jukebox Printing, SendInBlue and Shippo.

Learn more about the Kickstarter project and pledge your support here.