Books, Music and Other Good Things in 2009!

December 23, 2008

December 22, 6:45 am

 

The final FAST180 webcast for 2008 is in the books! Now we get a two week break to enjoy the Holidaze and make plans for the New Year.

 

Like a lot of people right now, I’m under the gun to make some good things happen in 2009. While 2008 had many highlights, it has also been…, shall we say, a “character builder!” Bottom line: lots of folks are getting their asses kicked financially in the current economy. As they say, “this too shall pass.” Comforting? Maybe. After all, the same logic applies to kidney stones as well… OUCH!  

 

Sick humor aside, you don’t have to listen too closely to hear the stress in peoples’ voices. Blinding flash of the obvious: times are tough. If not for you, then for someone you know.

 

OK, let’s keep the chin up. Things are going to turn around. And the more time and energy invested into the solution, the faster change will happen. Are you ready for a FAST180? As collective wisdom says “It isn’t what happens that counts, it’s how you react.” OK, sounds good, but what is the best reaction to the current economy?

 

For me it starts with finishing up a few misc. projects that have been lingering on the back burner for a while. Case in point, a book I just completed with my co-author Toni Brown. Toni was the longtime Editor and publisher of Relix, a music magazine based out of New York City that evolved from a hand typed newsletter for tape traders of Grateful Dead bootleg recordings to connect and trade tapes back in the early 1970’s into a top shelf music magazine with international distribution, a record label, merchandise division and rabid readership that loves live music. It really is a great story and the book is a very visual retrospective of Relix early years. 

 

Toni has really done all the heavy lifting in this project and my hat is off to her! Same with Ed, Toni’s husband. Ed’s doing all the layout work and is truly crafting a masterpiece! We are in the final stages of sending the finished manuscript and layout to the publisher (BackBeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing), which will be sent off in a matter of days. Toni’s done a great job and I am very excited to see the finished product!

 

The Relix book is four color ink from cover to cover with tons of great rock and roll photos, articles, interviews and artwork from Relix first 25 years. Can you say: “Eye Candy?” Distribution will not only include the bookstores but also stores that sell musical equipment, reaching our hard core music freak target market with laser like precision!

 

So for me, I will finally have a new product to sell (other than real estate) to diversify my income streams. Don’t get me wrong, I write because I love writing and will always find a creative outlet to wreak my personal brand of literary havoc, but the business of intellectual property is my focus for 2009. I just get excited about books and all the side projects that spin off in unforeseen directions.  

 

So marketing the Relix book is on my to-do list. Fortunately, my co-author Toni is a high profile musician on the live music/festival scene and she is, pardon the pun, jamming on this thing full time!

 

The book is scheduled to launch in the 3rd quarter of next year. I need to get busy now on building some strategic relationships to support the book selling campaign.

 

I’m going to start with two old friends who have been in the music biz full time for many years. Lee Crumpton is the founder of Leeways’ Homegrown Music Network, an awesome marketing and merchandise fulfillment service that has helped hundreds of independent touring bands (usually 200 shows a year) sell CDs and other merch to keep their act on the road.

 

I will also speak with Mark Huff, a phenomenal singer/songwriter who has opened for musical icons Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and many, many more.

 

Both contacted me within days of signing up for MySpace a month or two ago. While we’ve exchanged emails, I haven’t had a good opportunity to call and say hello. That’s gonna change in the next few days.

 

These days, ‘social networking’ and online marketing are the big buzzwords in the world of business. Lots of people (like me) are taking a serious look at this stuff for the first time, diving in head first with LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc.

 

Guess what? Musicians and record companies have doing the cyber dance for over a decade! In a lot of ways, the music industry was the first private sector group to start networking online, after the scientists, academics, and computer nerds got the thing rolling in the early ‘80s.

 

So I guess I hear myself saying that the FAST180 is going to feature some of these music biz insiders to share what they’ve learned, and the mistakes they’ve made, building their businesses online.

 

Now I’m excited! Where’s the phone? I’m ready to make some calls…check back soon and find out how the conversations went, next time when our adventure in networking continues… (Follow me on Twitter)


Are You Ready for the Holidaze?

December 14, 2008

December 14th, 20085:42 am

 

I’ve always enjoyed the “Holidaze!” You know what I mean, the week before Xmas thru the first week of the New Year when you just can’t get any work done. Call it “time off.” Call it a vacation. Call it whatever you want. For me, the Holidaze is a three to four week break from the regular routine to do something out of the ordinary.

 

In years past I’ve done a bit of traveling, and most recently, I’ve used the Holidaze to crank out some high quality verbage in the form of two books, which you’ll be hearing more about in the weeks to come.

 

Right now my focus is Holidaze 2008… where to put the energy as we wrap up a very challenging year and look for opportunity in 2009?

 

If all goes well, ’09 will see various projects we’ve been working on, in some cases for several years, finally begin to pay off. I guess I’ll save the details for later. After all, we still have one week left before the Holidaze set in and business grinds to a halt, including the webcasts that would fall on Xmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. We’ll take those two weeks off and come back ready to rock on January 7th!

 

In the mean time, our new series on getting started with online networking using LinkedIn.com has been a step in the right direction. We’ve attracted larger and larger audiences and the feedback I get from people who have been on the webcasts, or tapped into the archived recordings, has been really favorable.

 

Right now we are simply laying the groundwork. Early next year we are going to start actively networking during the webcasts and some of the folks in the FAST180 community will make money as a result. Get your attention? Stay tuned! Trust me, sparks are gonna fly!

 

This week will be our 10th webcast. And yes, we have a long way to go. Right now we are still a work in progress on just about every level. Our website is a home made job I slapped together with some duct tape and chewing gum just to get our cyberspace launch off the ground… lots of improvements to make before we are even close to a finished look with operational functionality.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy with the fact that we at least have a website, a place to promote and access the weekly webcasts, as well as our blogs. It’s a good start. Now we can only get better from here.

 

Same with promotion. We need to do a better job on getting the word out. And finally, our ‘on air’ timing is getting better all the time, but again, there’s always room for improvement.

 

The vision is that Nate and I have an ongoing conversation, every Wednesday night, to talk about networking. Sometimes with a special guest, others just talking to each other. Last week was the first time we did the webcast without a guest and I see more of that going forward.

 

The reason? I think Nate and I can share some valuable insight and experiences with our guests, and each other. Our 20 year age difference (I’m 48 and Nate’s 28) creates a natural, almost generational, dynamic, hitting any given topic from somewhat different, yet complimentary angles.

 

But make no mistake, there’s lots of common ground. We both embrace BNI’s Giver’s Gain philosophy and have an unshakable tendency to recognize opportunity in our daily lives and network whenever possible.

 

Bringing out those perspectives and weaving together the best of both to improve our lives and our finances, is the material we strive to create on the FAST180.

 

That leads us to this next webcast, which will be another first. Last week we asked all the people on the webcast to open a LinkedIn account and begin creating their profile before joining us for this week’s show.

 

This week we will work on those LinkedIn profiles as a group, together online, with lots of Q&A.

 

We will also import email addresses to find people you already know with LinkedIn profiles, and cover how to join a LinkedIn BNI Group, make contact and start doing this thing called ‘Social Networking.’

 

And if we have time, we will open the door to the world of blogging. Our focus will be on WordPress.com and how blogging can greatly enhance your social networking productivity on LinkedIn.

 

OK, so there’s one more week to grind away before the Holidaze roll into town and the daily planner flies out the window…  now is the time to set the stage for a fast start in ’09. Not just individually, but as a community. Are YOU ready for a FAST180?

 

I plan to talk to as many of my friends, family and business associates as possible. My goal is to get a firsthand update on how everyone is doing and compare notes on how we can help each other in the New Year. Networking together, all things are possible!

 

So I guess that’s it for now. Check back next time to find out if I have any luck, when our adventure in networking continues…   

 

Visit www.fast180.com for more… 

 

 

 


Got LinkedIn?

December 8, 2008

December 8th, 20086:59 am

 

Our webcast on how to get started networking online with LinkedIn.com featuring special guest Beth Anderson was our best webcast yet! No only did we have the biggest audience, the info was great. I’m getting lots of terrific feedback from people encouraging us to continue focusing on this very popular topic.

 

So that’s what we are going to do! This week we will wrap up the topic of opening an account and starting to build a profile, paving the way for the next step – building your online network.

 

During the webcast everyone will be encouraged to have their LinkedIn account open and profile started before the following week, our final webcast for ’08. To close out ‘08, we will have a hands-on training, enabling people to build their own LinkedIn homepage during the webcast. It will also be our most interactive webcast yet. Everyone will have the ability to ask questions on the phone or over the internet, as we build our LinkedIn networks together during the webcast!

 

OK – let’s talk Power Teams for a moment. The Power Team Certified™ training system is in a Beta Stage testing now with apx. 15 volunteers from around the country who are working their way through the book and online PowerPoints. So far, so good.

 

One volunteer has already completed the 1st phase of the training and has begun to use some of the PTC techniques at her weekly BNI Meeting. I will keep you posted on the results.

 

In conjunction with the training portion of the program, the Referral Frenzy!/Power Team book is moving along as well. At the moment, I am surveying the Top “Thought Leaders” in the BNI and Referral Institute communities for feedback on the definitions of the terms: Contact Sphere, Power Team, Network and Sphere of Influence.

 

Got some comments yourself? Please shoot me your thoughts ( lee@mrlee.com ) on the definitions or differences in meaning among any of these terms. I would love to get your input!

 

There are still a couple of weeks left to be productive before the Holidaze settle in for its annual 3-4 week lockdown…

 

My goal is to position the FAST180 for a rockin’ 2009 with better and more valuable information going forward. Part of the plan is to increase the visibility of this blog. Wanna know how? Check back with me next time, when our adventure in networking continues…