Getting Started

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worried-man-e1364252851627For me it was probably the biggest question!  Where do I begin?  When I started in this industry several years ago, I was all over the map.  Jack of all trades, Master of none!  I thought that I needed to be able to offer everything to everyone or else they might go elsewhere with their business.  The problem with that is that most of them went some place else anyway because I wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.  Translation:  You’re not as good as the others I have talked to.

Fortunately for me, time heals all wounds, lessons learned, etc… What I did learn was this:

Love what you do, Do what you love.

For me that was Web Design, Social Media Management, Web Hosting and Blogging.  At first it was out of necessity, promoting my company, but then I woke up one day and realized that it wasn’t just that.  I loved doing this!  I am a creative and social person by nature. Working with clients to realize their needs and helping them transform that into something that is successful and fulfilling to them, is greatly satisfying to me.  I love to cook.  I am not a chef because I lack the formal training, but I am very good.  I love creating dishes that my family and friends thoroughly enjoy.  Nothing makes me happier than to see their enjoyment or to hear their complements to the chef!  The same goes for web design and social media, if it isn’t perfect and the client isn’t happy, I am miserable! Because of this passion, it’s not work to me.  I wake up every morning excited to get going and see what else I can do for a client, what else I can learn to make me better, or to write something like this!

Plan your work, Work your Plan

In a previous life, I had a great mentor, Wayne Thomas, who taught me that saying.  And it’s true.  Just because I am creative doesn’t mean I can wake up each morning and “whip something up”.  Take a look at what you want to accomplish this year, month week and day.  No I’m not crazy, it’ll change hundreds of times, but you have to have a game plan.  There are things in life that just happen that we can’t control; cancelled meetings, doctor’s appointments, kids’ schooling and events, and sometimes just getting the flu.  When life happens, you need to have something to refer back to that will get you on track.  Call it your Ever Changing To Do List!  Cross them off when you are done and add or change them when you need to.  This is your plan, work it every day.  Review it every morning before starting, make your adjustments and GO!  You’ll be amazed at the end of each week just how much you have accomplished!  Imagine how you will feel at the end of every month.

Everyone Needs Help

So don’t be afraid to ask!!!  Seriously, and yes I know we have been told that since we were children!  And also, “there is no such thing as a silly question”.  It’s true.  I have found that the people in this industry are wonderful people, who are actually looking forward to helping others!  I can remember being blown away when those I would call my mentors would actually start following my tweets, and posts, and comment on them as well!  No one starts at the top and all of us need help especially when we are starting out.  I also think that it’s the nature of our business, being creative and social!  That being said, there are a few tools I use to make my day easier.

  1. Hootsuite.  There are a few other tools out there that are similar to Hootsuite to help manage all of your social media (SocialOomph, TweetDeck and SproutSocial), but I prefer this one.  It allows me to follow a whole host of my accounts; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, Tumbler and so many more!  It also enables me to bring all of the RSS feeds together, Evernote, and a ton of other apps to add designed to analyze all of this information.  I can even add teams and users and be able to assign tasks to them to help with my campaigns.  It will take some time, but I would suggest signing up to them and trying them out for a few weeks.  That should help you decide which one(s) are right for you.  My earlier post on Social Media Tools will help explain it further.
  2. TweetReach.  Another Twitter tool.  If you want to impress clients and sponsors with the amount of exposure that you and your followers generate on Twitter? Then you want this tool.  By simply setting up keywords or hashtags, TweetReach will provide you with the number of impressions and unique users reached. It also shows who your top influencers are; which is valuable information for later campaigns. Best of all, TweetReach lets you download this data in CSV or PDF form (and the PDF is so professional looking that you can send it directly to your clients).
  3. Tweepie.  This is an invaluable tool to help you manage your followers and who you are following.  Tweepi’s “Flush” option allows you to see the users you follow who are not following you back. Its “Reciprocate” option allows you to see the users following you who you’re not following back. And the “Cleanup” option allows you to see everyone who you’re following so you can unfollow as many users as you like.  You can also see who your friends are following, follow full lists and follow other users based on who they follow.  Tweepi displays the users in helpful columns by showing their names, bios, locations, number of tweets, number of followers, number of users they follow, dates of their last tweets, their Klout scores and more.

Make Time To Learn

Let’s see, you get up and work your plan, which probably includes monitoring your social media posts for the day,contacting and working with existing clients, interfacing with employees, coworkers and/or contractors, working on your next blog, putting out fires, cultivating new leads and clients, and general life as it happens!  I am sure I forgot a few things, but when do you have time to continue to learn about the new technologies, networks and tricks of the trade?  The answer depends upon how your daily plan is organized.  Do you take time for a quick lunch, breakfast in the morning or some downtime before dinner?  Perhaps it’s an hour or so to unwind before bed?  Whatever works for you is what the answer will be, but you HAVE to make time for it.

For me it is like my approach to exercising.   I don’t like it, but as much as I love to cook, I HAVE to do it.  For me its mornings, before I do anything else, before anyone in my house gets up, before the first email, text, whatever…I exercise!   That way it gets done without any interruptions.  Otherwise it wont happen that day.  The same goes for my continual education.  It’s early in the morning.  That way I know it will get done.  And these days, with all of the new social media networks coming out each month, it has to get done!

Make Time To Live

Okay, you’ve got your plan, you’re working it, adjusting it day in and day out, working with clients, getting new leads, making new clients, writing your blog posts, dealing with the issues that life throws at you along the way,  reading up on all the latest from our industry, possibly attending a conference……now Breathe!!!!

Somewhere along the way you have to make time to enjoy life, family, and friends!!  If you are in this industry and love it like I do, you are a creative individual that loves life.  And just like your body needs food and water, your mind and spirit need to be revitalized!  Otherwise, the very things that make you that amazingly productive, creative individual will dry up and so will you.

So take a walk with your dog, a hike in the woods, camping, hanging out and laughing with friends and family, reading or even cooking!  Anything that gives you a break and helps, you live, laugh and love, DO IT, a little each day, on the weekends or plan a short trip every now and then.  And most of all, don’t forget to be grateful for all of the things in your life, every day!

Michael Musto

Just following my passion for cooking & helping Retailers, Restaurants, & Food Industry companies with Marketing Strategies. Along the way sharing recipes from amazing food bloggers, The love of great wines, artisan spirits, craft brews and of course Bourbon.

I grew up in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother and it's where I love to be every day cooking for my wonderful family. I hope you enjoy!

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