What marketing works best for you?

Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent

Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent

Back in June, I introduced you to Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent.  One of the things that I know about Doug is that he is a connector.  Recently he hosted a number of his Rapid Time Networks team at a Vancouver Canadians game.  We sat with him and his son so that Nathan would have someone to talk to.  As it ended up, we mostly sat with his son because Doug was jumping all over the stands connecting people.

When we met I asked him what form of marketing he did when he started DA Top Talent.

He told me that it was mainly referrals and word of mouth.  He put up a web site, got business cards, attended networking events and became members of various organizations “but a lot of it didn’t work and a lot of it was a lot of time spent without any return.”  Doesn’t this sound familiar?  “I’ve been lucky and blesses that I’ve had some great people to help along the way.  In return I usually get an unsolicited referral from most of my customers, and that has allowed me to have a very busy and successful last 10 years.”

I know Doug does a fair bit of networking.  I asked him if that worked for him.  “In some cases but I think, gone are the days of networking and just showing up to one event per week because that was the industry event.  Now there are literally 3000 Meetup groups that you can attend.  I think it has even become more difficult to get traction in a networking environment.  Especially when you are going to half a dozen different ones each week.  My advice would be to find 2 or 3 that you really like and go regularly without the expectations of getting a referral.  And to go there, make an impact and help the group with their achievements.  Then you’ll find the referrals will flow after.”

Please tell my your networking philosophy.


How do you get noticed?

Blue Jays Clock

Nathan’s Blue Jays Clock

As I wrote last week, I recently joined Rapid Time Networks as a vendor partner.  As a vendor partner, I get to promote my business, Anything on a Clock to the network.  Mark and George have developed an amazing number of ways for their vendor partners to promote their businesses.  One of the easiest ways to promote your business through RTN is through Vendor Presentations.

At each of the meetings, they allow 4 vendor partners to have the spotlight for 4 minutes (and usually a short Q&A after).  This gives the vendors an opportunity to promote their businesses.  After all, people do business with people they know, like and trust.  Chances are if they just see your name in a directory without meeting you, they will most likely not promote your business.  What is unique about RTN is that they allow you to go around to as many of the chapters as you wish, as often as you wish.  I am going to, in the next couple weeks, do vendor presentations at as many different chapters as possible.

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to do my first ever vendor presentation at the Tuesday evening meeting in Port Moody.  I am a pretty outgoing person but you may not know about me is I usually get really nervous when talking in public.  You know… the pit sweats, speed talking, mumbling, forgetting my points.  Last week I thought that instead of memorizing a “speech” and forgetting most of it, I would tell a story.  

A couple weeks ago we went to Seattle to watch the Toronto Blue Jays.  My son, Nathan had a great opportunity.  He got to get a ball signed by my favorite player, Brett Lawrie.  When we were walking around the stands, we heard Lawrie being announced I took a photo of Nathan holding the ball with Lawrie in the background.  When I got home I looked at the photos that I took and thought that this would be a cool clock. 

For the first time that I could remember, I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous.  I actually enjoyed getting up in front of the group and tell my story.  If you would like to hear the complete story, come on out to an upcoming Rapid Time Networks meeting or tune into Wednesday’s RTN webcast “StRut Video Live” at noon.

What are you doing to change your bank account?

When I first started Anything on a Clock, I went to the Douglas College Self Employment Program.  This program was full of interesting people and fantastic information.  One of the more memorable instructors was the Big Picture Coach, Patrick von Pander.  Patrick taught us about networking.  a concept that was totally foreign to me at the time.

In the last couple of weeks, I have really enjoyed my time networking.  I joined various networking groups and Meet-Ups as well as attending numerous Board of Trade and Chamber of Commerce meetings.  These events were great as a social event but I didn’t get much business from them.

A couple of months ago a friend of mine, Doug Anderson, introduced me to Rapid Time Networks.  Then newest brainchild of Mark Wright and George Moen.  When I started going to the meetings, I was a tad skeptical.  I thought that it was “just another networking group”.  I wasn’t prepared for what was to follow.

As I went to the meetings and met the people, I started to realize that these people truly interested and cared about the people who they network with.  A couple months ago I decided to join as an affiliate.  I was quite impressed that, although I was not a vendor, people were already starting to promote my business.  Almost 2 weeks ago I decided that I would join as a vendor partner.  Rapid Time Networks currently has about 27 tools for vendor partners to promote their business and the list is growing.

One of the tools is blogging.  Then I got thinking.  This blog is about businesses “In The beginning”.  So I am going to, along with profile business leaders and their businesses, chronicle my journey through RTN.

Stay Tuned

I’m back…. almost.

I must tell you, I really have missed blogging.  Since my last post, life has been quite hectic.  I thought that I would let me know what I have been up to before I start posting about others again.

Before my son Nathan was born, I was a ticketed carpenter for about 20 years or so.  When my son was born, I decided to give up the carpentry and turn a hobby that I loved doing (making photo clocks) into a home based business so that I could be available to help my disabled wife with our son.  I worked most of my carpentry career with my buddy Ken.  About 7 years ago Ken and his wife decided to make a life change and move to Mexico where he has bought and renovated a number of condos and has built numerous houses.

For the last month and a bit I have been working very long hours on a basement renovation so I haven’t had the time to post anything.   I am back now and more energized than ever.

For the few days I will be concentrating on interviewing new and interesting business owners to share with you.  Next week I will be back sharing their stories with you.

Finding Your Own Niche.

Clock made with a boudoir photo taken by Karen at Amber Light Photography

This is one of the boudoir photos that Karen of Amber Light Photography took. We make it into a clock for her.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends.  The last week or so have been quite busy.  Along with working on growing my Anything on a Clock business and working on this project, I have also taken on a basement suite renovation for a friend of mine.  Unfortunately my blog has suffered a bit in the last week and for that I am truly sorry.

When I met with Karen Learmonth of Amber Light Photography a few weeks ago, I asked her what was the most important quality you needed to grow your business?

“Definitely persistence.  If you have a bunch of people telling that that you can’t do what you want to do, you won’t stick with it.” Karen answered.   In the field of photography there is so much competition.  You need to be able to be persistent.  “You have to continue to look at new ways of doing things.  Continually making sure that you are staying one step ahead and finding your own niche.  You won’t do that if you aren’t persistent.”  Karen has found her niche. Along with her traditional amazing photography, Karen is known in the photography world for her  boudoir photography.

When I talked to Martin Jongejan of Zoom! Building and Property Care and Ever After Photography, he echoed Karen’s thoughts about the competition in the photography industry.  He told me that the problem is that because we are now in the the digital age, anyone with a camera and Photoshop can call themselves a photographer.  Unfortunately only the real persistent photographers will thrive.

What is the most important quality do you think you need to grow your business?

Week 19 – Martin Jongejang

Martin Jongejan of Zoom!

Martin Jongejan of Zoom!

A year of so ago I met Martin Jongejan, the owner of Zoom! Building and Property Care.  Over time, I got to know him and about his cleaning business.  What I didn’t know it that he is also a quite accomplished photographer.  

Who is Martin Jongejan 

“I was born inToronto, but I try not to let that get around” Martin joked. ” As a child, I was fortunate that I moved around quite a bit.  I spent most of my childhood in Montreal.  Then we moved to the other side of the planet,New Zealand.  After we spent a few years there, we moved to Australia.”  Martin holds a duel citizenship with Canada and Australia. 

“I’ve seen different cultures and I’ve gotten really good at starting over, making friends, getting connected.  I’ve also always been quite independent.”  Martin explained.  He wasn’t challenged enough when he had the dreaded JOB.  He would stay at it for a year or 2, and then he would get bored.  In 1990 he launched his own photography business.  “It was born out of the excitement of being in control.  I’m responsible for my own destiny and are not held accountible to anybody else.  Ultimately, you are always answerable to somebody.  If it’s not your boss, it’s your customers but still, there’s a lot more autonomy.  A lot more control you have over your won destiny” 

About 4 years ago Martin was in a quite serious motorcycle accident which forced him to re-evaluate his life.  “I started to realize my mortality.”  As a photographer, it is a tough go out there.  “Everyone and his dog can be a photographer now with the advent of digital photography.  So I wanted a change.”  In the course of his research, he read in a franchise magazine that 6 our of the top 10 fastest growing franchises in North America were cleaning companies.  That is when he decided to start his newest company called Zoom! Building and Property Care.

Who am I writing this for?

Usually I write about business leaders that I had a coffee with to learn more about them and why they started their business.  I started this because I thought “What better way to get in front of business successful business leaders than to learn about them.”  My problem is, I am not a blogger.  Today I am going to be a bit different.  I recently went to a blogging workshop by Bonnie Sainsbury.

Who Is Bonnie Sainsbury?

Bonnie is the founder and online marketing consultant at Left Brain Media.  Bonnie is  a passionate advocate of social media and internet marketing for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses.

I decided tonight to write this post because Bonnie gave us a bunch of really useful tools to help with our blog writing.  I thought that it would be good to share some of these with you.

Why blog when I have Facebook?

Many people don’t know that you don’t own the content that you put up on social media sights.  Facebook and Twitter, and in some cases, can take down your sight.  If you are passionate about what you are talking about or possibly controversial, the only way to truly keep your content is to blog.

Who am I writing this for?

A lot of people write their blog promoting their business.  Bonnie told us “When you write a blog, you are writing for your customes, not about you.”  what does this mean?  Bonnie gave an example of a landscaper.  Instead of him telling people how they built a fence.  Instead tell your readers how to build the fence.  some of those people will try it on their own but some will take the landscaper as an authority and hire them to do the work.

Bonnie gave us many more tips that I will be incorporating into my blogs.  

I haven’t yet interviewed Bonnie for my blog but I will be soon.

Please let me know what you think!

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