I work with a lot of small businesses. I own a small business. My friends are fellow 8pm Warriors too.
I see a lot of stuff.
Unfortunately, your stuff is really ugly.
I know, I know I know. It sounds mean. That’s why I was too nervous to tell you directly. I feel bad. If you found this article on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin, your friends probably feel the same way. Everyone (including me) is afraid to tell you, so they nominated me to be the bad guy this time.
Here’s the breakdown:
The visual elements on your website look old and worn out.
Your logo looks like it was designed on Microsoft Paint 10 years ago.
The fonts you’re using say more than the words you’re using.
Your videos look like a 13 year-old made them with a webcam and iMovie.
Your background music is cheesy.
Your clever designs aren’t clever.
Your photos are dark and grainy.
Your stuff is really ugly.
It used to be endearing….a right of passage for new entrepreneurs. “Just design it yourself,” they’d smile and say. I was an enabler, nodding in agreement while adding:
“Entrepreneurs can’t afford great design. Creative people are too expensive for small businesses!”
However, that is poor advice in an online world dominated by Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other visual media sites. I’m embarrassed to share your site. I don’t want to buy from you because I mistake your ugly stuff for a lack of competence.
Good design is achievable for the average small business now. All you need to look good is put an ad or two in Craigslist, use countless crowd-source design websites, rely on templates, find hungry design students willing to intern, or look up tons of design companies that are slow right now.
Your stuff doesn’t have to be so ugly.
With so much ugly stuff out there, it is a crying shame that there are so many creative 8pm Warriors unemployed or underemployed. I see them everywhere I look…I get resumes upon resumes. We had to take our career page down. I feel bad.
This is your chance to look like a million bucks without spending it.
There is no excuse for ugly stuff. It hurts my eyes. It hurts your reputation. It hurts your business.
So, I’ve been lying to people for years about my age. I didn’t think anyone would follow a 27 year-old CEO.
Today I turned 30. Hopefully I’m old enough now.
I made this video last night. It gets a bit personal, but I figure over the past year we’ve gotten pretty personal with each other in the comments here so I wanted to share it with you even though I’m a bit nervous…
So, there it is. I’m assuming I’ve got until 60 with the way I’m pushing my body, so this is halftime.
If you’d like to help me reach my goal, visit my project here. The goal is to bring fresh water to 50 families in Africa. If you want to make a difference with your life, please consider joining me with a donation and/or sharing this post.
Every little bit helps.
I only get one life. It’s “go time” for me if I’m going to reach my goal. Thanks for all your help and support.
YouTube is more than cute animal videos, funny stuff, and stupid stunts. It grew up today.
Ignore at your own risk.
Any 8pm Warrior trying to get their message out or sell a remarkable service should be using YouTube. Video cameras are built into nearly every smart phone and nothing captures the personality of a business like video. Nothing.
I’m sharing from experience as a producer of several online shows and video productions that were created to build community and sell a product in a social savvy way. Video changes the game.
Here’s why YouTube matters:
YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world (think SEO)
It is the largest video-based social network
Google+ is now integrated even closer with YouTube for additional community building (more on the way)
YouTube is simple to use and even offers a free video editing feature
YouTube made widespread changes to their channel formats today and I think it changes everything. In the past it was millions of chaotic channels with long lists of video uploads that were hard to understand or group together. Email subscription was the best way to keep up. It was barely social.
That all changed today.
In what was probably the biggest upgrade since Google bought YouTube, channels can be restructured to display videos in the form of a series, much like a television network groups their shows together for DVR or On Demand. It even tracks which episodes you’ve already watched in a series.
Each YouTube account also has a news feed feature, much like other social networks. To make it more social, the new YouTube is even more integrated with Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. This makes it much easier for interested viewers to subscribe and interact with brands or personalities that they enjoy. It keeps each channel fresh, even when no new videos are posted.
It’s a lot more like TV now. It’s how it should be.
If you don’t have 5 minutes to watch it, I will paraphrase it for you:
When she was already successful, Arianna Huffington (the Huffington Post Arianna) fainted from exhaustion, fell down, and broke some bones in her face.
She met with doctors, scientists, and others to discover that the key to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is…getting enough sleep (contrast this with our current Warrior of the Week: Jordan Zimmerman’s position).
She is starting a new feminist revolution by telling women to literally “sleep their way to the top” and sleep deprivation is a “virility symbol” for men.
Sleeping will save the world.
Arianna, you’ve done some amazing things in your life, and you were an 8pm Warrior. For that, I used to have a lot of respect for you.
However, I respectfully think it is ludicrous to tell those 8pm Warriors at the TED event that sleeping is the key to a more inspired life and I’d like to see Jordan Zimmerman give a TED talk to share the other side. I’m assuming that one of the reasons you were wildly successful is the same reason that you fainted from exhaustion.
You were giving it your all.
One of the reasons that 8pm Warriors work late (and often sleep less) is because we want to; because we are inspired. We’re busy.
We’re busy writing, reading, or watching TED videos.
We’re busy planning.
We’re busy making our dreams come true.
I believe that a person can sleep when they die or sleep when they’re satisfied. Arianna, it sounds like your dreams have already come true. Time to let others chase theirs.
Not the end, but I have serious concerns for the rising popularity of video blogs (vlogs) after the ruling handed down today by the FCC. It allows Internet service providers to charge customers based on the amount of bandwidth they use (raise prices for some, lower them for others).
This will change behavior, guaranteed.
Will everyone immediately cancel their subscriptions to Wine Library TV? Nope, but you can bet that some will cut back on video (YouTube, etc.) and audio (podcasts, etc.) instead of paying higher fees. Verizon already charges based on usage for their mi-fi, and AT&T changed their iPhone plan as well. What happened?
People cut back on video usage.
So what does this mean if you’re an 8pm Warrior looking to start your own vlog or podcast? You’ll want to get going on it…like today. People will stick with their favorites (they’re addicted), but may not “invest” in finding new vlogs once they have to pay for it.
On the flipside, for traditional blogs, we could see the rise in readership as broadband prices go down for those using less bandwidth, thereby making it accessible to more people.
Either way, this could be huge.
Will you cut back once prices go up? Then now’s the time to enjoy sort of a vlogging “Fat Tuesday” before prices go up. These are some of my personal favorites from today: