Day Eight with Two Yogis at a Fork in the Road

Oh, and if you come to a fork in the road at Jellystone Park, be sure to take it!

“Work online, work anywhere, live free’ … will be a blog for anyone who works through the web (freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, webmasters, telecommuters etc).”

 

AnyWired’s Day Eight: Write your portfolio’s “About” page.

“When you come to a fork in the road, ” Yogi Berra once famously said, “Take it.”

No, not that one in Jellystone Park with his side companion, Boo-Boo Bear.

But that famous Yankee catcher from a time before you were born.

Baseball.

Check your collector set of most valuable baseball cards.

Unless someone you love dearly threw them out lo those many years after you left home.

I took the fork when I decided not to follow all the good advice that AnyWired recommended for establishing a side gig or full time business freelancing.

I began a new meal not called freelancing when I had to repeat the 1st grade.

Or maybe I chose a path that required me to cut back on meals – at least on a regular basis.

But one that AnyWired inspired.

“Work online, work anywhere, live free’ … will be a blog for anyone who works through the web (freelancers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, webmasters, telecommuters etc).”

Here’s where the blog’s message inspired me:

  • Work at home, but live where you want instead of where you are forced to.
  • You are in demand, but you don’t know where.
  • Customers, clients and consumers all over the world are searching for the insight you have accumulated.
  • It used to be that you had to be local to work with clients or an employer in a specific location.

Not anymore.

I figured that there were more than enough detailed instructions for earning a living online.

My contribution?

Quality-of-Life Lifestyles
  • If you are already making money as a freelancer or an internet entrepreneur, why not move to where you will find the most inspiration?
  • How do you find the highest quality-of-life communities with people who are just like you?
  • Those that offer everything you enjoy?
  • Plus affordable real estate, shopping, dining and entertainment with award-winning schools?

Wait, maybe Jellystone Park is relevant after all.

For Day Eight AnyWired said:

“Include your current location, any relevant qualifications you have, previous work you have done in the industry and previous clients you have worked for (don’t worry if there are none).” 

“This is particularly relevant if you’ve been working in your field before going freelance.”

If not, then you’ll have to fake it until you make it.

Or, on Day Eight, “You should spend at least 1 hour per day just developing your skill.”

And, on each and every day going forward.

So what lies ahead over the next seven days according to AnyWired?

Inspired, Refreshed, Ready to Take on the World
  • “Day Nine:  Create your Contract Form.
  • Day Ten: Design your invoice template. 
  • Day Eleven: Set up your home office space.
  • Day Twelve: Create a logo OR commission a logo OR work more on your skills.
  • Day Thirteen: Start work on a portfolio item – you will have 5 days to complete this. 
  • Day Fourteen: Add a page to your portfolio describing your one service.
  • Day Fifteen:  Read Freelance Switch’s guide to Getting Started as a Freelancer.”

So, back to Pages in WordPress.

You are supposed to write your About page.

Being such a clueless DIY bumbler I didn’t understand the differences between “Posts” and “Pages”.

Here’s what I found out.

What you are now reading is called  a post.

Like your resume they appear in reverse chronological order, unless

  • You know what you are doing
  • You change the default setup
  • You can see I don’t and didn’t

But we’re not here to wax poetically about posts.

No.

We’re after those non-chronological and often hierarchical content on pages.

According to the WordPress Codex:

“Pages live outside of the normal blog chronology, and are often used to present timeless information about yourself or your site — information that is always relevant.

You can use Pages to organize and manage the structure of your website content.

In addition to the common “About” and “Contact” pages, other examples include “Copyright”, “Disclosure”, “Legal Information”, “Reprint Permissions”, “Company Information” or “Accessibility Statement”.”

Pages don’t change dynamically.  They aren’t time-bound.  Their content doesn’t perish or become outdated like in posts.

A little more from WordPress:

  • Pages can use different Page Templates, including template files, Template Tags and other PHP code.
  • More sophisticated themes may provide a wider range of adjustments or display options for individual pages.
  • It’s quite possible to make a website using WordPress which only contains pages.

So with that cleared up, what about, well, The About Page?

Here’s what I found buried in my dashboard that came with my Twenty Seventeen theme.

“Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors.

It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my website. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickeys to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.”

So how do you arrive at your About page description?

It flows from your site’s mission statement.

Your answers to each of the following question will provide a summary you can fine tune.

  1. What am I going to do with this?
  2. Who is  going to read this?
  3. What kinds of information will I be posting?
  4. Who am I doing this for?
  5. How often am I going to be posting and adding information?

Here is a draft that I’ve been working from which will be my bio displayed on the inside cover of each of my five books in Volume One of The Knowledge Path Series:

Steve is the founder of the Knowledge Laboratories and its network of enterprises.

He’s been mooning for years. Mostly in the dark.

Write. Write. Write.

Before first light.

Crafting messages “literally bottled and set adrift from KnowWhere Atoll.”

It’s taken him eight years just to bring Volume One: The Knowledge Path Series and its five books into the light of day.

Is it because he’s ADD? Maybe.

While he doesn’t see ghosts in the dark, he sees patterns. And opportunities.  And, well, ways of tying people, places, things, ideas and trends together in new and original ways.

All of which come in handy during his day job in the Executive MBA program for The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.

He advises millennial, midlife and empty-nest executives pursuing new career, entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial opportunities. Helping them get unstuck by seeing their situations differently.

“How to Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy.”

Oh, and if you come to a fork in the road at Jellystone Park, be sure to take it!

Day Seven:  Is It Worth All Those 3 am Wake Up Panics?

Day Six: Who Should Take the First Step the Chicken or Egg?

Day Five: Repeating 1st Grade

Brainstorm Your Business Name

Of course, some of these are really absurd, but they do give you an idea of some common naming conventions.

What is this Business? How do I Name It?
If there’s no domain available for that name, pick another one. Your domain branding is really important.

 

Day Three: Decide on a Business Name

Business name?

I’m not even sure if I have a business.

And, just what that business is.  Sure I identified 11 steps during my last 60-minute practice.

But, I’m too scattered this early in the morning.

First Cup at Zero Dark Thirty

Is it some kind of Chamber of Commerce for Neighborhoods”?

What problem do I address?

Is it how do you find the highest quality of life communities with people who are just like you?

Those that offer everything you enjoy?

Plus affordable real estate, shopping, dining and entertainment with award-winning schools?

Decide on a business name:

Rearranging Creative Ideas
  • Western Skies
  • Island Currents
  • High Planes Drifter
  • Desert Mountain Seas
  • Off-the-Beaten Path
  • Get-aways
  • Four Season Dreams
  • Work Travel Playlist
  • High Country Eagles
  • Wireless Resorts
  • Inspiration Beach
  • Know Regrets Atoll
  • Mountain Reefs and Lagoons
  • Western Playlist
  • Playwork
  • Fusion of Play and Work
  • Flow

Of course, some of these are really absurd, but they do give you an idea of some common naming conventions.

Once you’ve picked a name, it’s time to buy the domain for that name.

Oh, great how do you do that?

I’m not done with this and my time’s up.

I’ll have to table it for another day.

  • If there’s no domain available for that name, pick another one. Your domain branding is really important.
  • Buy a domain name that comes with web hosting, as the next branding step is to create your portfolio.

I’m only on day three and I’m already a week behind.

And I still have to practice writing for 60-minutes each day.

Day One: Behind the Scenes

Day Two: 60-Minute Habit

60-Minute Habit

Day Two:  “Gather learning materials to help you practice your service before taking on a client.”

First Cup at Zero Dark Thirty
Now what?  I’ve gathered boxes of stuff and identified 11 ways of working through a process.

Reviewing this step described by AnyWired now, dredges up my feelings of confusion.

Instead of the blank page problem any author encounters before (or after) that 5 a.m. perked brew, I faced the opposite.

Feeling overwhelmed.

Awash in a Sea of Papers

Too many materials gathered, digitized and sitting in desk piles on my first floor home office.

While this should be mainly direct practice (doing rather than reading about), you will need to gather materials to guide you here.”

Right.

Doing.

“This includes articles, interviews and tutorials.”

Right.

Look, I was moonlighting and running out of time I budgeted before my morning commute.

It will take me more than an hour just to figure out some sense of order with all this stuff.

Reports, Articles, Printouts

Travel articles from the LA Times profiling destinations and vacations along the coast in Southern California and Northern California.

Indexed in an old Mac version of Microsoft’s “Entourage Notes” with full text of the article and linked to their file categorized by:

“Lone Eagle”;

  • Listing of best places by year from 2005 – 2010 and
  • Tools / websites for finding the best; and
  • Regions – western states and Hawaii / Tropical.

And by another category – by “Do What You Love Scenarios:”

  • High Country Eagles,
  • Permanently Temporary,
  • Wealthy Influentials and
  • Wireless Resorters

(16 Lifestyles, 4 for each).

I’m panicked.

Just then a thought bubble popped above my head.

If Only. What if?

What if somehow customers and clients could use my system for tagging the Internet sites and articles on Delicious, the social book marking site?

But, why and how?

Focus mainly on developing techniques you could actually see yourself using in client work.

1.  List of online resources?

2.  Seasonal comparison summaries by categories:  Best Places, Green Planet, High Country Eagles and Wireless Resorters?

You should spend at least 1 hour per day just developing your skill.

I know,

I know.

  • Maybe I could write about how to use delicious (aka knowledge bank) for the sequence of initiating coverage of a best place community?
  • How to use the Internet to build a knowledge bank for finding the right place?
  • How would a potential reader, customer or client?
  • It may begin with a vacation to a favorite destination.

For the first time you’ll want to figure out your route and itinerary, right?

  • Usually you have a region in mind, with some ideas where you might want to visit.
  • You may start with a map of a region within the West or of Hawaii.
  • You can start saving bookmarks about potential places, to revisit later.

Or you recall a trip you took out west a few years ago.

  • From California to Nevada and Arizona.
  • Up to Colorado and back through Utah and Nevada to your return to California.

A name rings a bell when you read an article about the list of top places to retire published by AARP – Loveland, Colorado.

Loveland, Colorado. The Gateway to the Rockies
  • You spend a little time on the Internet and discover, it’s been singled out as a great place to retire on the water.
  • In 2009 it was singled out as a best place to live.
  • You recall the fun you had hiking through the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • What were the names of some of those other places you saw on the way?
Awesome Views from Rocky Mountain National Park

You wonder if it is right for you?

  • After all US News & World Report ranked it 7th on their top 10 places to live in 2009;
  • right ahead of San Luis Obispo, California and
  • behind front-runner Albuquerque, New Mexico, # 3 Austin, Texas and #4 Boise, Idaho.

Now you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Here’s a way to find out.

1.  I recommend beginning with Wikipedia and WikiTravel for a quick summary, local history some pictures and the zip code or zip codes.  You’ll see a map of the state, a subset of that map for it’s county.  WikiTravel profiles vacation attractions – directions and transportation, where to stay overnight, where you should eat and play.  It gives you ideas for visiting local attractions and doing more when you consider a broader vicinity.  So you can plan for a long weekend or a one or more week vacation.

2.  If you aren’t interested in Loveland you can stop there and consider San Luis Obispo next.  Maybe, for this time of year you want to visit the desert instead of the mountains.  Or take a vacation along the coast. Or islands – like Catalina off the coast of Southern California or one of the Hawaiian Islands. If you like lakes and rivers, then Loveland may be worth further investigation.

3.  For our purposes, we are assuming that you really want to move, invest in, work in and around, start a business or retire in a new community that doubles as a vacation resort and with pristine quality of lifestyle activities.  Otherwise, why bother?

4.  So, grab the zip code and go to Google and search on the 5 digits.  You’ll find a map which will show you where this destination is in relation to its surrounding area.  You see photo slide shows and videos of the area.  You can switch to satellite views and hybrid map views.

5.  Still believe this town maybe a keeper?  Jump to Claritas to check out the types of people who already live in the neighborhoods.  Birds of a Feather Flock Together.  Neighborhoods change slowly.  They attract the same kinds of people over time.  If you plan to move, invest, work, start a business or retire, you’ll want to see if residents match your criteria.

6.  We’ve already done the heavy lifting for you by identifying neighborhood characteristics by age and stage of life of their residents.  Single (20-20, 25-54, or 30-44).  Couple (55+ or 65+). Family (20-44, 25-54, 35-54). Empty Nests (55+).  Mid-Lifers (30-44).  Baby Boomers (45+ or 55+). Seniors ( 65+).

7.  And, we’ve compared neighborhoods by status and density.  From Wealthy Influentials and Wireless Resorters to High Country Eagles and Permanent Temporaries.  And from Metropolitan to Suburban to Small Cities and Country Towns.  So, if you want to narrow your focus to neighborhoods with 25-54 year old families in Wireless Resorts, then you can find a list that no other top 10 magazine list can provide.

8.  Let’s say you’ve compared and narrowed your search for real estate investments.  Check out City-Data for in-depth demographics and regional, county and zip code statistics – including the number of registered sex offenders.

9.  If you plan to move, you should search by zip code on Weather Underground to find a wealth of weather patterns including tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters for each season, but especially for January and June to determine just how inviting your new vacation resort will be.  You may just decide to live there for six months and somewhere else for the other.  In the mountains for skiing and snowboarding and then at the beach for surfing and sun bathing.

10. Need a job?  Check the openings by zip code from two Internet sites – Indeed and Simply Hired.  You’ll want to take a couple of job hunting or house hunting trips before your final decision.  Make a vacation of it by returning to WikiTravel to line up the best accommodations, or visit My New Place for a listing, map and photos of rentals by zip code.

11.  We know that the best positions are hidden.  You find them by a chain of referrals and introductions.  How do you create a new network?  Use your zip code and key word description of the town in LinkedIn’s advanced search function and begin contacting the first few of 100 local introductions.

Now what?

Is this really a business?

I’ve gathered boxes of stuff and identified 11 ways of working through a process.

And, I know it will take more that another 60 minutes.

Day One: Behind the Scenes

 

Appeal

“Find one or two lifestyles that describe you, then the logic goes other neighborhoods that attract the same  “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle would appeal to you.”

Peel Away the Outer to Find Your Inner Appeal
An ongoing case study: How to convert thousand lesser fans into a thousand true fans, so they buy enough to support you and make a little profit?

Here’s the part I’ve always hated.

Crafting the sales message.

And, there’s a little irony.

To be successful you have to appeal to human motivations and I earned a masters degree in psychology.

The problem for me has always been that as a professional knowledge worker — in my case a consultant, coach and trusted advisor — we were trained not to advertise or to market ourselves

The path to a thousand raving fans was taken one referral step at a time.

No Advertising or Sales

Not by running ads.

Or by selling.

But by transforming clients with so much value they became enthusiastic advocates.

Can you advertise and sell online without crossing over into the “scam territory?”

Sure.

For the last few years I found plenty of information and inside intelligence that online marketers and other less scrupulous “Make Money Online” entrepreneurs misused.

But some of it could and should be used by legitimate consultants and lifestyle business owners.

Formula for Attraction

How can you convert a thousand Lesser Fans into a thousand True Fans?

So they buy enough to support you and make a little profit?

Keep these tips in mind.

One of the things that motivates you is to avoid unpleasant things.

Will your “knowledge product” – book or ebook, for instance – save your true fans from making a fool of themselves?

If Only You Knew in Time

Remember high school and how embarrassed you felt from time to time because you didn’t know or understand what everyone else did?

Television ads reminded us how bad our breath smelled or our stinky body odor offended the those around us.

We didn’t have a clue.

Others did though.

Or so the ads implied

There’s that whole wall of worry.

Stuff that makes us uncomfortable.

Things like worrying about having enough money …

  • for paying our monthly bills,
  • for our doctor visits,
  • for the car payment and
  • for what the insurance company won’t pay because of our high collision deductible.

As an entrepreneur you wake up abruptly at 3 a.m. in the dark doubting your ability.

  • Money is running out.

    Gotta Get Back To Sleep
  • Did you seriously underestimated the market for your product or service?
  • Can your knowledge product or service offer peace of mind ?

During the Great Recession we all worried if we would keep our jobs.

If we lost them we worried we might not find another one that paid as well located within a reasonable commuting distance.

Just before the Memorial Day holiday a couple of years ago one of the Chief Marketing Officers who volunteers to mentor our Executive MBA students shocked me.

I knew he lost his job, which comes with the territory when you reach age 50 and finally pull in the big bucks.

What I didn’t realize was how traumatic his situation was.

Now What?

He lost his house because he couldn’t make payments on his mortgage – a wapping $6,000 a month.

And he had to find and move into a two bedroom apartment that long weekend.

Plus lease a storage unit for all the stuff that wouldn’t fit.

Not only did he and his wife suffer the loss of their home and their wealthy influential lifestyle that came part and parcel with it, but their basic feelings of security disappeared that weekend.

Neither he nor his wife could qualify for for social security or medicare coverage.

At least not for another 12 years.

But, the truly shocking part he told me was he had taken out and spent equity loans while he drained his 401K accounts to make his lavish lifestyle “ends meet.”

In my chapter, “Why Careers Are like Real Estate Markets,” I described the dilemma many like my CMO friend faced.

They find themselves at the cross roads between “Doing What You Love vs. Doing What You Hate” and “Living in the Same Geographical Location vs. Moving to a New Preferred Community.”

“My passion and location stories described four different communities …  ‘Wealthy Influentials,’ ‘Wireless Resorters,’ ‘High Country Eagles,’ and ‘Permanent Temporaries.’”

Here’s a snapshot of each.

Permanent Temporaries don’t anticipate the future well and have a hard time adapting to new work realities. 

Many become consultants and entrepreneurs because they can’t find full-time employment. 

Guarded Gate Communities

They aspire to live in, or return to, the guarded-gate communities of the Wealthy Influentials. 

What if they’re forced to relocate, where do they go?

When forced to move to lower cost-of-living neighborhoods they choose small university towns populated with High Country Eagles in higher quality-of-life communities. 

But, they long for face-to-face project-based work as a way of affiliating with other people on a more regular basis.  

Succeeding at interim work demonstrates their value in a new organization. 

What about the trade offs?

Between projects they miss the teamwork and seek to counterbalance the isolation and extreme independence they are forced to endure being on their own – no matter if they’re  interim middle managers, trapped urbanites or just starting over in a new marriage, neighborhood or way of life.

Wealthy Influentials live in neighborhoods that showcase their status and affluence

Viewed from the outside, it’s as if they’ve cornered the market with a wealth-generating machine. 

Like my Executive MBA Mentor once was able to afford …

They find a safe haven for high margin income, pay for a high cost of living, accumulate peak real estate appreciation, and live in a secluded, secure, and mature suburbs or an upscale metropolitan center. 

Selling products or services to this group means offering highly personalized, luxury, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

What if you found yourself in a similar situation?

How about …

Quality-of-Life Lifestyles

Wireless Resorters share the love of a new quality-of-life community with High Country Eagles. 

They realize that with the ability to operate anywhere there is Internet access, anyone can move to unspoiled smaller towns and rural regions. 

Many moved to the mountains areas that became destination vacation  areas like the ski resorts in Colorado.

All four lifestyles populate thousands of thousands of communities from coast to coast.

Across the western region of the United States you’ll find residents in Wealthy Influential neighborhoods like Del Mar or Coronado in California; 

High Country Eagle towns like Sedona or Bisbee in Arizona or Angel Fire and Taos in New Mexico; 

Permanent Temporaries parts of Reno, Nevada or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; 

or, in some of the better known ski resorts attracting the Wireless Resorters like Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs in Colorado.” 

What if you could find the perfect town for you with just the right kind of neighborhood you’d love?

Claritas, now Nielsen Segmentation, helped pioneer market segments initially based on each new census update.

They linked consumer behaviors for “shopping, financial, media and much more …” with household lifestyles living in specific zip codes across the United States.

Household Shopping Lifestyles

If you’ve ever received direct mail addressed to you or “current resident” those marketers are taking advantage of household data.

The key to their business model unlocks a specific zip code.

In their PRIZM segmentation you can slice and dice over 60 different lifestyles ranging from high to low degrees of affluence and status.

By age and life stage.

Type in your current zip code and they’ll supply you with the top four or five lifestyles in your community.

Find one or two lifestyles that describe you, then the logic goes other neighborhoods that attract the same  “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle would appeal to you.

Try to search for that lifestyle in their segmentation database and build a “Bucket List” of awesome zip code neighborhoods.

Can’t do it.

Doesn’t work that way.

  • But, what if you devoted the time to reverse engineer it?
  • And, you “mobilized” your lifestyle business?
  • Once you authentically built your virtual community of a 1000 raving fans?
  • You could move them with you, right?

And, you’d be able to zero in on regions and communities varying from …

  • high to low  density,
  • from urban to suburban, exurban, rural and
  • remote populations.

You wouldn’t have to worry about making a living solely from the locals.

Instead, you’d live that quality-of-life that can bring out the best in you.

More on that later.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.

Voice

He and his wife recently purchased the Palmetto Guesthouse on the island of Culebra located in the Caribbean. 

Your Own Tropical Paradise With Room for 1000 Fans
Integrate his tips and like him you can start your next adventure bringing your raving fans with you to the home of your dreams.

In the winter of 2007 – 2008 on the AnyWired freelance site, Mark Hayward, who wrote “MyTropicalEscape” and “Culebra Blog,” guest posted.

We found out about his much anticipated big time jump from moonlighting to daylighting.

Not to just anywhere, but to a Caribbean Island under gently swaying palm trees on beaches bathed in soothing island currents.

“He and his wife recently purchased the Palmetto Guesthouse on the island of Culebra located in the Caribbean. 

Mark’s fulltime job ends next week so he is looking to blog or work online fulltime.” 

Before setting up your income generating blog Mark said to create a plan and write down how you would like to be perceived by your readers.

Picking The Right Voice
  • “practical, 
  • humorous, 
  • sarcastic, 
  • authoritarian, 
  • combative, etc.”

Mark also recommends reviewing the sites that you go back to again and again.

“Have you purchased anything from them, or clicked on their ads? 

Analyze specifically what it is about those blogs and the emotions they evoke that have you coming back.” 

Integrate his tips and like him you can start your next adventure bringing your raving fans with you to the home of your dreams.

Steps:

(16) Describe your voice, how you would like to be perceived by your growing audience of fans — practical, humorous, sarcastic, authoritarian, or combative.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.