Making a Website

I’ve been so lucky to get so many professional referrals for so long that I have put off a lot of the basic “I’m running a business” tasks. An important, but annoying, task I finally tackled was building a website.

It’s not so much that it’s difficult to make a simple website, but it’s the creative planning and thoughtfulness that it requires. So I dedicated a weekend to putting together the bare minimum for what I need.

  1. Shopping around WordPress Themes. This bit of research included looking at features, design, and basic functionality. I ended up with a free theme that suited my needs.
  2. Connecting my domain name (BeckmannCollaborative.com) from GoDaddy to WordPress.
  3. Customizing my WordPress Theme – site name, layout options, etc.
  4. CONTENT. This is the animal I didn’t want to tackle, but decided was absolutely necessary. My final decision was to keep the content very simple – home page with intro information, an about page, blogs, contact, and partners/collaborators.

It took me about 10 hours total over 2 days, and now I have my framework for a functioning website.

Other factors to consider:

  • Contact Form. I recommend using a plugin to a email platform. Almost anything is better than the free contact forms that come with WordPress. This is important for your lead generation plans as well as developing drip content (if you so choose).
  • Blog Plan. To have a blog or not? I just about always choose to have one because I love great content and sharing stories. If you hate writing and know that you will not keep up with a blog, then don’t bother setting one up. An empty blog looks like you don’t care enough to try.
  • Images and Brand. Something I have yet to address for my own business is branding. While I have a ton of ideas about what I think it should look like, few decisions have been made. At minimum, I knew the ascetic that I wanted for my website and the kinds of images I prefer to get my point across.
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30 Of The Hardest (But Most Necessary) Things That Must Be Done To Achieve Success

This article was originally posted in Elite Daily. 

Success is defined differently for everyone; however, facing difficulties on the road to success is a common denominator for anyone pursuing his or her passions.

Road Diverged, CEO Candi

What separates those who see their dreams through and those who don’t is the ability to do what others will not. Everyone can dream of eventual success, but accomplishing one’s goals requires taking on the difficult tasks and functions for which many people do not have the courage or stamina.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Taking on the hard tasks time and time again is what defines a person’s character and generates the most rewarding results. Success is not a tangible product. It is a lifestyle and a mindset. And those who have found their version of success did not avoid the most difficult steps.

Here are the 30 hardest things you need to do to be successful:

1. End friendships if they are not beneficial to your overall goals.

2. Prove the doubters right by making mistakes, before proving them wrong in the long run.

3. Realize if you are unable to maintain a romantic relationship.

4. Avoid the “fake it ’til you make it” belief and focus only on making it.

5. Allow the idea of “the greater the risk, the greater the reward” to lead your actions.

6. Fail with your head held high.

7. Wake up earlier than others.

8. Maintain self-worth even when nobody else sees your value.

9. Talk about ideas, not people.

10. Put in more than you get in return at first.

11. Stick to a strict schedule, even if it makes less time for excessive fun and relaxation.

12. Over-deliver, don’t over-promise.

13. Respect the competition.

14. Support the success of others, rather than hoping they fail.

15. Understand that the first version of your idea may not be the best.

16. Sacrifice your social life and weekends.

17. Admit you need help and ask others for guidance.

18.Turn the complex into simple, so people can best share your vision.

19. Be accountable for all failures without blaming others.

20. Accept insecurity and fear as unavoidable emotions.

21. Don’t actively seek credit for success.

22. Track finances to the penny.

23. Celebrate the small victories even if the end goal is far away.

24. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

25. Embrace change and adapt accordingly.

26. Place money at the end of your priority list.

27. Don’t overthink and learn to trust your gut feeling.

28. Do what others would say is an impossible task, without making excuses or feeling like a victim.

29. Get up after getting knocked down, stronger and more prepared than before.

30. Smile at the people who doubt your abilities.


Passion, Money, Success, and Chaos

Why did you choose your current job or career? 

Was it for the money and success? Was it for the expression of your passion and interest? No matter what reason for your choice, there will always be chaos and imperfection at times.

I believe that life should be full of passion. My significant other always tells me that he works hard so that he can do the things he enjoys most, and that the job (in the end) does not really matter. As long as he can be a high-performing team member, then the chaos is worth it. We often disagree about this point. While he claims to not necessarily “like” what he does, I think he secretly loves it. The level of detail in and organization of software development interests him, and it helps that it is a lucrative career. My love of music, art and creativity does not always tie me into lucrative roles. Though we do not always agree, I appreciate the fact that he questions me. I look closely at my driving force everyday because I am reflecting on the questions he pushes me to ask of myself.

Is it better to earn a steady paycheck now, and you can enjoy your passions during free time?

I could take a high-paying marketing role with an established corporation. It’s likely that I would enjoy it to some degree, and I would appreciate the safety of the regular income. But is that really the kind of person I am? Sometimes the best thing to focus on (other than income) is your ultimate career purpose. When I look back at my career 5 or 10 years from now, what will that picture look like?

life choices

It is hard enough to choose the right pastry. How will I choose the right career path?

Confidence and Negotiation

Own it – your future, your finances, your role in a company.
If you don’t own it, then it will own you.

When we are fresh out of school and excited about stepping into the working world, we are willing to be pushed around and told what to do. In some ways, that is okay when you are 23 years old and finding your place & your voice within a company. However, if you are 30 years old and still letting the company decide your future it is time to step up and own it.

Recognize Your Value

You bring something valuable to the company. Throughout your work, school and life experiences you have honed a skill that brings value and gains profit for the company. If you are in marketing (like me) then it is difficult to see that dollar amount, but I promise that you make a difference.

Professional Development

No matter how good you are, there is ALWAYS something new to be learned. Take the time to perfect your abilities and learn new complimentary ones.

  • Marketers – learn about your product inside and out. If it is a technology, then at least learn how to speak some of the lingo.
  • Developers – learn how to communicate with non-techies (please).
  • Designers – if you haven’t already, then learn HTML and CSS. Whether you like it or not, you will eventually need to know it.
  • Financers – learn more about the product/service and how the marketing and public relations teams interact with the public.
  • Account Managers – if you are not already managing projects, then learn more about project management. Otherwise, get more involved in finance and the client goals.
  • Creatives/Artists – learn about finance and management. I know you hate that stuff, but you will bring so much more value to the team if you understand it.

Research

Before you start negotiating with a supervisor about money or positions, take the time to do the research. There are a plethora of online resources that can help you figure out your worth.  Make sure to account for the years of experience and city you are living in when you do this research.

Make a Plan

How long have you been working with this company? What is the trajectory for your continued growth? Where do you see yourself professionally in 6 months, 1 year and 3 years? Once you feel you know the answers to these questions, then schedule time to discuss your future with a supervisor or human resources. Take a deep breath and (in your head) repeat the mantra “I am a valuable employee and deserve to be treated as such.”

For more advice, check out this article How to Ask for a Raise

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Music Review

Meiko (untitled album)

She has a pretty voice, but it reminds me of too many other singers. Her music does not feel unique to me, and I value musicians with a truly unique sound. I enjoy her music in the background, but I do not foresee going to see her in concert or spending money on albums.

Meiko, singer songwriter

What Should I Be When I Grow Up?

Eight years in the workforce and yet I still ask myself this question.  The average kid responds to this question with something along the lines of “teacher,” “doctor,” “nurse,” “president,” or “lawyer.” I was similar to my peers, but changed my mind rather often. Each kid in my family was given the wonderful My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss. I filled out every single page in that book – from the number of stairs in the house to the self portrait. The page that had the most on-going attention was definitely the career page. Every few years I would write down a career and scratch out the previous one. This is a collection of my scribbles:

  • Mother (age 6)
  • Nurse (age 8)
  • Singer (age 12)
  • Model (age 13)
  • Agent (age 15)
  • Music Venue Owner (Age 17)

I could not make up my mind as a kid, and now it is even harder because I have tried on a few different kinds of jobs. Why do we have to be just one thing? In church, my pastor told me  that God was 3 different people in one – the father, the son and the holy ghost. And look at Richard Branson‘s career. He has put his hands in several different industries since the 70s – music, airlines, mobile phones, clubs, birth control, sports, beverages, healthcare, and banking (I’m sure I missed something).

Branson’s list of seemingly unrelated products and services all have one common thread – Life is an Adventure. Every endeavor has captured Branson’s “live life as an adventure” energy. This is his driving force. Instead of trying to figure out what I am supposed to be, maybe I should take a step back and consider what my driving force is.

When you are happiest at work or coming up with a new idea that excites you, where did that energy come from? Why did that particular idea make you so happy or excited?

Life is an Adventure, Live it

Life Is An Adventure. Let’s Play

Strategic Alliances for Your Business

My energy comes from other people, so the connections I make around my business are highly important. One often thinks of strategic alliances as a tool of manipulation. It assumes that we align ourselves or businesses with certain people purely for tools or power. I treat strategic alliances as deeper relationships that need to fit with both my core values and my professional goals.

At each point of developing a business, you need different things.

  • Beginnings: on-boarding strangers to understand and get excited about your idea. These people’s tools only matter to a small extent, because the excitement behind them is more important
  • Established: the people you align with your business begin to fill needs. You may need to find a CPA or a lawyer who has interest in what you are doing
  • Growing: you need to admit that there are some things you cannot do yourself. It is time to trust someone who is an expert in that area, and invite him or her into your circle of strategic alliances

Throughout all of these processes, we must keep in mind the key element that can easily break the connection made – trust. There is a world of difference between the person who is great at his job, shares an interest and passion for your business, and has mutual trust with you; and the person who is the best in his industry, sort of understands what the driver is behind your business and is questionably trusted.

strategic alliances

Incredible Energy in Business

Over the past few weeks I have been fortunate to participate in a group with many incredible people. Everyone has their own story to tell, question to answer and unique perspective on the world. We all have one thing in common – we are on a journey. Most of us have the novelty seeking gene for needing to create something new. For the past few Monday nights we have gathered to discuss and understand the most important part of how to start a new business – the owner/entrepreneur.

In class we share our stories of who we are and how we arrived in this place. We ask about the question or goal that drives through your story. We learned about people’s core energies, according to our leader, and reflected upon our own energy. Even though this group has very much been a space for learning about ourselves and our peers, it feels like a tight nit group of strangers meant to be friends.

So far, my biggest take away from this class has been self-reflection. When I take the time to reflect on the events of the day, my reactions to things, subconscious thoughts I usually ignore, and how I feel, then I see things much clearer. The questions like “why am I stuck on this business model and blinded to other options?” becomes apparent to me. In many ways I am keeping myself in a holding pattern until I have found the person I decide to trust – the person who will help me carry the weight of these ideas buzzing through my head.

A big part of my journey is about the connections I make, how I nurture them and what they mean to both me personally and my business. My next steps are to deepen the relationships that have already begun to develop and to keep myself open to the opportunities that cross my path, especially the people with incredible energies.

Entrepreneurs Journey, CEO Candi