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    The Communication Hackers Blog


November 9, 2017

What Airbnb and Uber mean to your business

Have you been paying attention to the Airbnb revolution?

A recent article on what has been termed the the Airbnb revolution caught my eye.

Essentially Airbnb has totally disrupted the hotel and hospitality industry. With its killer platform it has revolutionized the way people travel. Some hotels have tried to ignore Airbnb (or have complained to regulatory authorities about them) and they are suffering. Others have adapted and have become more competitive in the digital space.

Of course Airbnb is just one of many examples. We can talk about Uber, Avvo, Betterment, etc, etc.

Have you thought about what this all means for your business?

Well, unless you have some rare business that cannot work better on a completely digital platform, here are the key takeaways.

  1. You’d better be building a digital brand. You’d better be spending an inordinate amount of time learning the digital landscape and figuring out how your business will stand out there. Those businesses and professionals that don’t have a digital brand won’t be in business in 2020. Digital brands aren’t built on credentials either. So leave your MBA, PhD, or JD, etc at the door when you’re building your online reputation. People are realizing that these letters don’t necessarily translate into value. Instead, they’re focusing on what kind of content you produce, your reviews from other customers or clients, and what your social media presence looks like.
  2. Make use of the platform. Avvo.com has completely revolutionized the legal industry. It has given consumers unprecedented access to crowd-sourced reviews about lawyers, has massively incentivized lawyers to give out lots of free advice and to change their fee structures (read: flat fees) and, most importantly, it has given lawyers a platform to reach LOTS more clients. Problem is, many lawyers resent Avvo because of how it has disrupted the legal industry and refuse to advertise there or even to claim their profile (which exists regardless). These are the lawyers who are probably complaining to the state bar associations about Avvo. These are also the ones who are bleeding red when it comes to revenue. You can’t stop the digital train and as the saying goes, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Be open to using platforms that are made available to you.
  3. Build platforms, not products. Are you the more enterprising type? Wanna build something digital? Well learn from Uber and build a platform, not just a product. With Uber, the individual drivers are offering a product (and some are even doing pretty well doing so). However, the clear winners are the owners of Uber since they created the very platform where all this business takes place. Platforms beat products every time.
  4. Keep looking for opportunities to be the first on scene for new digital and social platforms so you can build attention there. Attention is the #1 most important commodity in the digital world (thanks for teaching me that Garyvee). The first people to build huge followings on Twitter were huge winners in their fields. Same goes for Youtube and Vine (even if the latter was short lived). Now it’s Instagram’s heyday and soon to be Snapchat. Understand that platforms come and go and that the risk-takers who take the time to build enterprises early on the successful ones win. Bigtime. Be willing to capitalize on the next one to come along and let go of ones that no longer work. That means ditching your Myspace account (finally).

Want some free training? Before we wrap up: are you ready to add Instagram to your digital marketing plan? If so you’ve gotta check out our FREE “Instagram for Small Business” training. Access this on-demand webinar here!

Bottom line. The internet is changing EVERYTHING and it isn’t slowing down. Be smart and strategic and the world literally is your oyster. Just don’t be the one who thinks “this tech thing” is a fad. Otherwise you’ll be working for your competitor who realizes it isn’t.

Now to you. What do you think about the Airbnb revolution? Has this article made your day? Made you mad? What are you doing for your business’ digital marketing? Let me know in the comments or come sound off on our Facebook page!

June 13, 2017

6 Surprising Reasons a Side-Hustle will Make You a Better Employee

Diversity in the workplace is all the rage.

But what about the celebration of diversity of talents within each employee?

I believe we’re each a multi-faceted being – with a natural desire to exercise various (often seemingly unrelated) talents within our daily lives.

After more than a decade of being more or less a cubicle dweller, I’ve listened as countless numbers of my colleagues admit that they spend their evening and weekend leisure time embarking on activities completely different than their day jobs.

Why is this so common?

Perhaps we – as complex beings – are innately wired to crave a variety of experiences.

In the workplace, these outlet experience allow us to flex all our muscles, exercise many different talents, and delve into areas of interest that we might not otherwise be able to do at our day jobs.

Nothing has been quite as rewarding on my career path as my side gig (what millennials call a “side hustle”) of Communication Hackers.

Sure, I have a 9-5. And I’m eternally grateful for such a solid professional career.

But I felt like professionally (career-potential wise) I was a Ford sedan driving around stuck in second gear meanwhile having a V8 hemi under the hood.

That is… until I sucked it up and took a risk to invest my nights & weekends pursuing something more, something different, but in addition to the 9-5.

It’s not about the Benjamins.

Since starting this endeavor, I’ve learned that the benefits gained from a side hustle FAR exceed simple monetary increases and financial diversification.

Most people only talk about the increase in their checking account.

But I want you to hear about the really deep life-changing impacts that a good side hustle can bring.

So here goes.

Six benefits of having a side hustle that have nothing to do with money:

1. Networking.

From discussions at a locally-owned coffee shop, to mind-blowing phone convos with like-minded ambitious individuals, a side hustle allows us to broaden our network of relationships. And it’s often entrepreneurial-minded professionals we might not have otherwise been able to connect with at the 9-5. How does this affect your day job? Well, as they say you never know when opportunity will knock. By having a large, diverse network outside the day job, you are bound to find ways to leverage those connections in ways you never envisioned.

2. Bigger Perspective.

Ever stand up from your cubicle (or metaphorical cube) expecting to gain a greater perspective of the world, only to find a sea of more 4-walled cubicles? Having an outside business allows you to veer into other fields, look at other perspectives, and generally just see how the rest of the business world operates. By looking at other models/practices/fields, we have a better shot at remaining current on emerging trends, evolving business models, etc. It reminds me of why I enjoy volunteering my time mentoring teenagers. As I get older, I lose sight of what’s new, what’s emerging, what’s become passé. Being around teenagers (who think and live very different than me), I get to glean from their knowledge. This is similar to how networking through a side hustle can show us a bigger picture of business than hunkering down inside our 9-5 allows.

3. Entrepreneurial Mindset.

It’s hard to be a true free-thinking entrepreneur when you’re workinBenefits of a side-hustleg for someone else and processing assignments day in and day out. That “think outside the box” mentality comes when you start engaging with professional entrepreneur-types who aren’t afraid to take a risk, try something crazy, color outside the damn lines. And every entrepreneur knows that business is primarily driven by providing solutions to urgent, big problems. A problem-solving mindset…without having to go back to school to get an MBA for it. And it costs your 9-5 boss nothing. This could save you from incurring between $26K-$125K for tuition in a 2-year MBA program according to 2016 statistics from the US News & World Report. How many hours of cube life would you need to sit to pay for that??

4. Stretch Your Creative Wings.

If you work in a data processing cubicle job tirelessly typing 40+ hours per week, you might find yourself searching for a creative outlet. Choosing a fun side hustle allows you to build up your skills in your favorite creative outlet, such as starting a consulting business, house flipping, decorating cupcakes, or selling Mary Kay. Maybe your creative outlet gig is something really emotionally fulfilling such as teaming with your coder buddy to make your dream of that novel video game —you’ve been mentally crafting since you were a pimply-faced 12-year old— become a reality. If you have a creative itch that you just can’t seem to scratch at the 9-5, what I am saying rings loud and clear. Just look at funnyman Ken Jeong—a Duke-alumnus medical physician who pursued his passion for acting & comedy on the side. He’s now making bank in Hollywood after spreading his creative wings. Life is short; scratch the itch.

5. Diversify Your Skills.

Maybe your side gig isn’t necessarily a creative one. That’s cool too. Maybe it just allows you to diversify and exercise professional skills you might not be able to use at your day job. My side hustle has forced me to learn new skills in order to make progress. For example, I’ve had to become savvy with multiple social media platforms that I don’t use at my day job. To thrive in this crowded environment I spend my nights and weekends absorbing all I can about website bounce rates, WordPress programming, digital sales funneling, and the list goes on. I’m a Gen X’er. That means I spent the majority of my formative years without the internet. Business was taught to me by taking traditional, predictable, mostly risk-aversive routes. But by jumping into a side hustle both feet in and my “X” eyes wide open, I’ve quickly had to adapt to the new way of the business world. Having a strong foundation in the ways of yesteryears, but realizing that nothing operates likes it did in our parents’ time, many of us Gen X’ers have found that business is not like we were told it would be. My side hustle has taught me that this diversity of self can make or break us out there. Side hustlers adapt to making on-the-fly decisions, chasing emerging trends, and self-induced learning routines. Therefore, we carry that same initiative back to our day jobs.

6. Hustle. 

This brings me to entrepreneurial sensation GaryVee’s favorite word. Hustle. As one of the most sought after public speakers alive today, Gary helps Fortune 500 companies slay the competition by making things happen. Carefully. Immediately. Simultaneously. Innovatively. In order to successfully operate a side hustle while simultaneously kicking ass at your day job, you need to learn the art of hustle. Hustle isn’t the same as the illusory concept of multitasking. Hustle doesn’t mean doing one thing half-ass while simultaneously working on another. Hustle requires us to figure out the main thing, then weigh other choices up against that main end goal and decide which to keep and which to ditch. It keeps us focused, clear, and not so likely to wander down wascally wabbit trails. As a side hustler entrepreneur, time really is money. Time is currency. A good hustler is conscious of every precious second. Every decision I make either earns me money or steals my money. It’s easy to dillydally on superfluous tasks when you’re on someone else’s dime. But the side gig runs on limited time (and budget) and so we must move quickly and with laser precision. Trim the fat, ignore the “wouldn’t it be nice if…” thoughts, and execute on what will help your business succeed. After running my own business on the side I’ve turned into a problem solver. I can no longer look at problems or gaps in my 9-5 and pessimistically murmur “someone should do something about that.” Rather, I analyze the problems I see that might be within my sphere of influence and I start formulating solutions. I’m no longer just bitching about them. This has been the most life-changing mental shift and direct benefit of the side hustle way of life.

Both is better.

I’ll close with this final thought that changed my paradigm towards success and fulfillment.

Rich people think ‘both.’ Poor people think ‘either/or’. T. Harv Eker the author of the bestselling book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth

If you’re contemplating about diversifying your skillset with a side hustle on top your 9-5…don’t feel trapped by either/or… do both!

Help for fellow hustlers.

Running a side hustle can be a lot of work. For hacks & tips about how to juggle it all without losing your mind, be sure to follow us on social media.

To your side hustle success,

— Laura