The Best Way to Land a Job in Social Media? Just Dive In.

Q: What’s the best way to get started with a career in social media/digital advertising?
Christopher Young
Elkins, W.Va.

A: Just like any industry, there are a lot of ways to get into “the business.” In my opinion, the best way to break into a new industry is to dive right in. Do so by reading books and blogs, look at job postings and network by attending meetings and informational interviews. Here’s how:

Must-read books
You’re going to want to read. A lot. These are the books I recommend without hesitation. (I’m keeping the list short to avoid scaring anyone)

  1. Ogilvy on Advertising: Do not skip this book! Famous advertising executive David Ogilvy wrote it in 1983, but the insights are timeless.
  2. All Marketers Are Liars and We Are All Weird: Seth Godin is considered the modern marketing thought leader, and his books are clear and sophisticated. Start with these two titles and work your way through his library.
  3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion: Learn the mental and behavioral switches to throw for compelling marketing.
  4. Trust Agents: I believe this book offers the best high-level view of how social media works.
  5. Web Analytics 2.0: Analytics and data are required skills for any internet marketer and this book can take you from beginner to expert.
  6. Anything by Edward Tufte: Data visualization will eventually make or break your ability to explain things to bosses and clients. It’ll also make or break your career. Statistician Tufte presents anything and everything on the topic of data presentation. 

Related: 12 Must-Know Trends in Digital Marketing 

Read them in the order, as the books build off each other. Then, look at the authors they each cite and work through those. After 18 years in this business, I still try to read one new marketing book every two to three weeks. 

Blogs to follow 
Books give you the high-level view, but blogs are a great place to learn tactics. There are a lot of marketing blogs out there, but only a few offering real value. Here are the ones I read every day:

  • Scott Stratten’s Unmarketing: Scott doesn’t publish often, but when he does, it’s well worth a read.
  • The Moz blog: The company behind search engine optimization software and analytics tools has its pulse on these marketing tactics, along with pay-per-click.
  • Occam’s Razor: is Avinash Kaushik’s blog, the author of Web Analytics 2.0. He offers examples, lessons and downloadable reports.
  • Annielytics: will teach you everything you need to know about Excel and then some.
  • A List Apart: gets tactical about everything from typography to project management.
  • The Harvard Business Review: has given me some of my best lessons. 

Related: A Social-Media Marketing Primer Even Your Mom Can Handle 

Getting a job
You did your readings, have a solid foundation of marketing trends and now you are ready to find a job. This is always the hard part, isn’t it? Everyone wants marketing experience, which you can’t get without a marketing job, right? Wrong. We’re fortunate to be in an industry where you can build experience any time you like. 

Get noticed
The best way to build an online presence is sharing your insights on a blog, Google+, Facebook, Twitter or a Tumblr page. If you feel so inclined, you can also create YouTube videos, Vine loops or upload an entire slide deck on SlideShare. Just get out there, as it will help you define yourself as an expert, while also building your network.

To do so, you should set aside an hour a day and choose a topic you love (I started writing about video games and bicycles). Brainstorm a few good articles to write, pick your favorite and begin producing content. I suggest writing for 30 minutes. 

Not every post is going to be brilliant but you should aim for publishing at least one out of three times you sit down and write. If you never publish, you’re not a marketer: You’re just keeping a diary. 

Once you hit publish, become active on social media. Peruse your favorite relevant thinkers on sites like Twitter and see who is following them. Follow those people. 

Also, make sure you socialize your own content. Take time to announce your latest and greatest on all pertinent social channels. Remember to engage with your audience on these networks.

Get out there
You can make connections in the industry at networking events. Honestly, it’s a tough way to gain entry into an agency that might hire you, so I suggest scheduling informational interviews with team members at agencies. Most of us are more than happy to meet, tell you about what we do, what skills you need, and yes, size you up to see if we’d like to hire you. Very few agencies will turn down a smart person who can write. And worst case, you learn a great deal from someone who’s got a job in marketing.

Related: 4 Contacts You Need In Your Network Now 

Stick with it 
Persistence may be more important than anything else. If you keep reading, you will learn. If you keep writing, you will improve. Keep at it. Marketing’s a great profession, because you never stop learning.


7 Steps to Finding Success as a Millennial Entrepreneur

Older generations say millennials have short attention spans, a sense of entitlement, and little patience. The fact is, those qualities are not necessarily bad — especially for young entrepreneurs.

What some call faults can actually be advantages if leveraged in the right way. The key is finding that sweet-spot between youthful enthusiasm and the more “old-fashioned” values that have served as the backbone of business for generations. I started my company when I was a freshman in college. Fourteen years later, we are generating annual revenues in excess of $10 million.

Here’s what I’ve learned about striking that balance:

1. Stay energetic. Starting a successful business requires tireless enthusiasm. You have to be excited about the product or service you’re providing. If you’re not, no one else will be. On the flip side, enthusiasm is infectious. Your excitement can help you secure business leads and build a committed, energetic team. Your Gen X and Boomer counterparts can attest, you will never have as much energy — and stamina to work through late nights — as you do now.

Related: Why We Don’t Need New Policies to Boost Startup Rates

2. Be impatient. Ironically, sometimes the same people who tell you not to be so impatient will remind you that the early bird catches the worm. What they don’t realize is that your impatience stems from your desire to get that worm! Take that impatience and run with it. When a problem arises, don’t wait around hoping it will get resolved. Take action to fix it immediately. Speed and your drive to produce immediate, quality results will serve you well.

3. Take risks. Launching a successful business almost always requires risk taking. Lucky for you, that pill is pretty easy to swallow right now. When you’re young, you have less to lose from a failed business attempt than you will ever again. If you think you have a good idea, give it an honest try. At the very least, you’ll learn something. Now is the time to be bold.

4. Stay social. Do your parents ask you for help with “the Twitter?” When you’re done rolling your eyes at them, consider what an advantage you have as an entrepreneur. Social Media is indispensable for expanding your network, increasing product awareness and building your brand. While older business owners may be struggling to learn the latest social protocol, it’s already second nature to you.

Related: 10 Myths About Creativity You Need to Stop Believing Now

5. Seek help and advice. Smart entrepreneurs know how and when to ask for help. Talk to business owners you admire, read about successful innovators, and seek out a mentor.

6. Hire experience. There is something to be said for life experience. Consider hiring someone older than you when it makes sense. You’ll set yourself up with a team that has the benefits of youth and the advantages of experience. Mark Zuckerberg hired Sheryl Sandberg, a woman with 15 years more experience than he had. Both of them contribute differently to create a company balanced in youth and business expertise.

Related: 5 Things You Have to Understand Before You Start a Business

7. Stay social, for real. Forming real, personal relationships is good business, and this is often best done face-to-face. I love social networking, but it’s not a replacement for getting to know someone in person. Take your hand off the mouse, move your eyes away from the screen, and go meet someone. What are you waiting for? Your next client is out there waiting for you to find them. 


Why Your Business’s Name Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think

In our company and among our super loyal customers, we love to joke about how many times our skincare line S.W. Basics has reinvented itself. We’re like Prince except we haven’t really earned it. Aside from evolving our packaging, branding and labels a dozen times in less than four years, we’ve also gone through a name change…more than once. Let me just sum up this whole article by saying I don’t recommend it.


But let’s say you don’t have a choice. Back in 2007, I had launched Sprout Wellness as a nutrition, fitness and wellness organization. Its focus was to empower people through free or low-cost do-it-yourself workshops. I didn’t know this would lead to a skincare line, so we’ll cut me some slack for the first change, which was moving it to Sprout Skincare. Also, this was pretty painless. A year into rocking that name, we received the dreaded cease-and-desist letter.


Related: Why Every Personal Brand Needs a Target Audience


Sprout is basically as popular a word as, well, Prince. So, getting the letter wasn’t a big shock. But it was no less daunting. The letter came during the holidays and alloted a cushion period to sell through our old inventory. After that, we were given 30 days to transition our labels and website. The same week the letter arrived, we were in the process of hand-making a wholesale order for almost 4,000 products, had a video shoot scheduled for our studio (featuring a whole lot of “Sprout” collateral), and we found out we were going to be in Oprah’s Magazine… as Sprout. Of course. The next 30 days were an insanely stressful blur, but we made it happen. 


Though it was obviously a bear to deal with, I think we’re better off now. We didn’t feel the name Sprout was right from the beginning. It was unsophisticated, had too many implications, and people always thought we put alfalfa sprouts in our skincare (um, no we do not).


While you may not be forced to change your name (you may just feel it’s time to go in a new direction), the process is still the same. Here is exactly what we did to transition:


Act fast. If you are worried about the name of your company, make the decision to switch sooner rather than later. The beauty of a startup is while you may think everyone already knows who you are, actually no one knows who you are. Most people will never know Sprout Skincare ever existed. The longer you wait the harder it is — it’s like moving a big ship instead of a tiny speedboat.


Hire professionals. They know what they’re doing better than you do. Also they’re less attached to your company and will be able to see what risks are worth it. We spent probably ten to twenty insanely difficult hours brainstorming with our branding agency.


TRADEMARK right now. Don’t even finish reading this. If you have a name you like, go find it. You can look it up here. Then go get the domain name, which I believe is even more important these days. And don’t forget about your social media handles! Do all of this before you launch anything, ever.


Tell a positive story about the change. This is the first time I’ve even publically discussed the cease-and-desist letter. On our site we talked about how it was time to grow up, how much we had developed as a brand and how excited we were for the change. That was true, except we skipped the part about how stressful it was.


Related: How to Become Your Company’s Storyteller


Don’t tell people before you launch. Seriously don’t. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. You don’t talk about your baby’s name either. Every single person will tell you what’s wrong with it. They do not know your business like you do (or like the professional you hired does or like your lawyer does). Don’t talk to people about an unhatched idea and expect them to just get it.


Understand that people will get on board. If you have a great product and you believe in it, things will keep running smoothly. Even if you’re huge already. Aside from the stress and cost of changing everything, for us it’s been business as usual. In fact, right after being in Oprah’s magazine, and in our first month as S.W. Basics we were in Vogue. If you don’t believe me you could always stalk Prince through the years and see if he seems any less cool, ever.


What are other tips you have for rebranding? Let us know in the comments below.


5 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche

Nihilist. Religious denier. Reformed romantic.

Inspiration for entrepreneurs?

Turns out, you can learn a lot about running a business from Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher and philologist who turned Romantic thinking on its head. He actually had some ideas that provide a helpful path for entrepreneurs.

Just look at his overall philosophy of life affirmation: Essentially that says we shouldn’t let all the ideas and doctrine around us and let it drain our energy. Isn’t one of the essential ingredients of true entrepreneurism the willingness to let go of doctrine and seek our own way?

Here are five specific concepts by Nietzsche that still resonate for business leaders today:

1. Philosophizing with a hammer
In his 1889 book Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche philosophized about challenging — or taking a “hammer” to — our idols. This is central thinking behind an entrepreneurial idea: Idols are the status quo, or the areas most of the market believes can’t be changed. Often, though, the willingness to test the infallibility of a concept shows that nothing is immune from improvement. That leads to opportunity.

Related: Your Fill-in-the-Blank Motivational Speech

2. Creative chaos
It was in the 1883 novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, that Nietzsche, in advancing his concept of the ubermensch, writes, “I tell you: One must still have chaos in oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.” There has always been a correlation among creativity, drive and a little bit of nuttiness, particularly in entrepreneurs. After all, you have to be a little crazy to quit your job, upend your life and give yourself over to a business. This chaos feeds creativity, and we know that ideas build businesses.

3. Finding a father
Nietzsche famously said, “Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.” Nietzsche’s own father, a Lutheran minister, died when he was five years old, yet he had a profound effect on his life. Only the son of a preacher could hate religion with the fervor that Nietzsche brought. But, for entrepreneurs, the “father” is interchangeable with a mentor. Businesses are not easy to run, particularly for the creative types. Often, they succeed because executives seek a mentor or even hire a coach.

Related: What Filmmakers Can Teach Entrepreneurs

4. Future, present, past
Nietzsche believed that “the future influences the present as much as the past.” It is one thing to look to the past to find problems a business can solve. It is quite another to develop a plan to correct those problems. Understanding and being able to articulate your personal and business goals is often cited as a key to success. Visibility about markets and customers is essential. Understanding where you want to be helps you to make the right decisions now.

5. Getting stronger
There is a probably no more cited quote of Nietzsche (often misquoted, actually) as this, also from Twilight of the Idols: “Out of life’s school of war: What does not kill me makes me stronger.” (Yes, it was Nietzsche, not Kelly Clarkson.) Business leaders learn from their mistakes. Often, the larger the blunder, the more experience one gains. Also, getting knocked down by a competitor, or engaging in a battle with business partners, focuses the mind on revenge — in a constructive way, of course. Failure and losing can lead to valuable soul-searching and victories in the future.


Developing The CEO in you

This YouTube video seeks to help aspiring executives prepare themselves to be strong CEO candidates in the future. Professor Joseph Bower from the Harvard Business School believes anyone hoping to hold a corner office someday should be able to ask serious questions—and answer them objectively—about their own work and the work produced by the company. Becoming a CEO is all about constantly learning and improving oneself—and later, others—to establish a true role within a company, instead of merely being a placeholder. Bower also recommends that CEOs-in-training take an interdisciplinary approach to networking, thus promoting innovation within the company.



Governor Evans Kidero directs officers not to arrest residents on Fridays


Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has instructed the city askaris not to arrest any person on Fridays.

The order is to take effect immediately. 

Dr Kidero said that the enforcement of arrests by the city askaris especially on Fridays was an avenue to mint money, especially by the department of Physical Planning.

“Arrests are made on tampered charges, which put residents in an awkward position where they have no recourse but to negotiate their way out privately,” he noted.

He emphasised, “there will be absolutely no arrest on Friday.” He also ordered that any arrests to be made at a planning site, will only be effected in the company of a technical person from the Department of Planning.

He further announced that phase one of CCTV installation system in Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) was through and would soon be launched.

“All the cameras are in place,” he confirmed.

He explained, “The second phase covering hotspots such as Kariobangi, Komarock, Kawangware, Kangemi and Dandora will be operational next year, while by 2016 a total of 200 cameras will have been installed to cover the whole of Nairobi,” he revealed. Kidero spoke as he unveiled the new chief of Security, Compliance, Investigations and Fire and Disaster Management in the city. Former Central Provincial Police Officer Francis Munyama is the city commandant and will be working with director of Inspectorate and Acting Chief fire officer.

Munyambu has a BA and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management at the University of Nairobi.