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Mack Fogelson

Quest-Post

Why Follower Count is Bullshit

By | Data and Analytics, Mack's Musings, Social Media, The Quest for Quanlitative Measurement, Web Marketing | 7 Comments

Quest-PostIt’s impossible to communicate the value of social media efforts when you’re using a metric like follower count. It’s easy to measure, but it doesn’t mean anything.

You’ve got to put in the work to measure the right things so that you can determine whether your efforts are actually making a difference.

I’ve got a whole lot of reasons for (and proof of) why you should be measuring social media success differently. In an effort to provide a few suggestions on how to do that, I’ve put together this case study. A slide deck that tells the story of my own two-year, follower-building effort.

Enjoy.

Keeping Your True Self Intact with Boundaries (and Trust)

By | Mack's Musings | 13 Comments

I’ve recently learned that when your kid starts lying it’s a sign of intelligence. A big cognitive advance worth embracing. My son must be really smart. He most certainly would fail a polygraph at three and a half.

e-cookie-1

This is Easton. He’s cute for a reason.

 

Teaching Easton what it means to be trustworthy has been an interesting journey. How do you explain the concept of honesty to someone who still wears a pull-up at night? This is one of those phases we’re supposed to chalk up to “normal childhood development” and hope he re-calibrates before he ends up in a correctional facility.

When you’re teaching your kid why it’s important not to lie, you start to think about whether you’re a shining example yourself. After some slight self-reflection I’m afraid I fall a tad short of perfection.

It’s not like I’m a compulsive liar. In fact, I’m pretty much tipped a little too far on the transparency side of the scale and could probably learn to be a bit more discrete. It’s more the little white lies side that are concerning. It’s the equivalent to the seemingly harmless “I washed my hands with soap mom! I’m telling the truth!” fabrications. For me, it’s the tiny commitments I’m continually breaking with myself that are starting to take a toll.

Admitting there’s a problem

A couple weeks back, I had lunch with my husband (who is undeniably and unconditionally my biggest supporter) and he made a casual comment that he can’t tell the difference between when I’m working and when I’m texting with friends or looking something up online. It was a subtle wake-up call that there really isn’t much of a difference in my life these days. I’ve been working all the time.

I tell myself these little lies about how it’s just the stage we’re in as a company. It’s just because we’re short-handed on the team right now. I’m just writing this one email so that I’m not obsessing about it all night (or all weekend). I’m just jotting down a few thoughts in Evernote real quick. I’m just going to schedule this one more meeting even though I’m already overloaded this week.

Every single one of these small exceptions ends up in a teetering stack at the top of a very slippery slope that eventually collapses into absolutely no separation between “life” and work. No breaks. No downtime. No room to breathe. No space. Which ultimately results in less and less time for me to fully be present, in the moment, and enjoy some sort of life outside of work.

For two years it’s been time to re-introduce some boundaries. Setting them isn’t the hard part. It’s trusting myself to stick to them.

Making some space

A few months ago I hired a personal assistant. I wrestled with this decision for quite some time. When you’re a small (but mighty) team and you have limited resources, spending the money on a personal assistant just doesn’t seem like the best use of our cash. I’m extremely glad I took the plunge.

Her first priority was to help me introduce some boundaries into my schedule. So we put the no meetings block rule into place. This meant that my “work day” would be made up of two time chunks: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm.

If a meeting gets booked into the first block of the day, then immediately the second block gets closed. All meetings would then be stacked on top of each other in that first block so that I could get them out of the way. Then, once that block of time passed, my schedule would open up and I’d be free to work on the things that I needed to get done during real, actual work hours so that I could bring less work home and allow myself that gift of space.

meeting-blocks

At home my boundaries started with cutting off easy access to my phone. I put it away so that I’m not tempted to breeze by and pick it up. If I need to make a note about something for work I use my shit list.

No, really:

macks-shit-list

I’ve cut down tremendously on how much I work at night and the time I spend on email (both at work and at home). When I leave work, I quit all email. I go to bed sooner and I get up thirty minutes earlier so that I can go through emails in the morning before the kids are up and before the team needs my feedback.

I’ve been adjusting to these new parameters and doing all of this good stuff at work and home for more than two weeks now. At first I was allowing meetings to creep into my no meetings blocks so I had to get that under control (and now my assistant fully controls my schedule so that I don’t even have to say no). It also took a few days to adjust to being away from my phone at night (I felt like a crack addict for at least three days). The shocker is that the work isn’t really piling up. No one’s dying. Everything is getting handled.

And for the first time in a long time I feel like I can breathe.

Looking out for myself

There’s a heaviness I feel when I’ve disregarded the boundaries I’ve put into place. When I’ve said yes too much. When I’ve given every ounce of energy away along with all of my empathy, patience, and compassion. When I’ve left nothing for my family and certainly not myself.

I’ve been learning that setting boundaries and being strong enough to keep them is a reflection of how much you care about yourself. I need to care enough about my well being that I’m willing to say no to a client, a colleague, or even a team member who requests a meeting during a no meetings block. I need to be able to trust that I will put my phone away at home and get in that play room — fully present — with my kids, just like I promised I would.

I’ve been learning to better recognize the intense cycles of this job as an entrepreneur. The extreme mental demand at all hours of the day. Apparently there’s a big disregard for personal space when you’re running a business which is why you’ve got to set boundaries and defend them like your life depended on it. These boundaries come in the form of small promises that you make to yourself and when you continually allow them to be broken, you quickly realize that you’re not only overwhelmed and headed for a nervous breakdown, but you’re cheating your family, your team, and chipping away at your best self.

I’ve got a lot to teach those two little nuggets of mine. I want their memories of me to be playing with them, laughing, and snuggling (I LOVE to snuggle) instead of working on my laptop, being glued to my phone, or always needing to get something done. And even if I didn’t have kids, prioritizing me above my work and keeping my commitments to myself gives me purpose and meaning. It reminds me that not everything that makes me feel alive, happy, and satisfied has to come from my work. Because it doesn’t.

So I’m setting some limits and cautiously standing guard. I need to be able to trust that I can actually have a life outside of Mack Web and keep my commitment to honor and take care of myself. When I actually do it, I prove to myself that I can, it feels really good, and I trust that as things shift (again) around here, I’ll be able keep myself in tact.

 

 

The Integrated Marketing KPIs of Using Video to Build Your Brand

By | Building Community, Data and Analytics, SEO, Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

Sum-of-the-parts.png

Using video to build your brand is powerful. It’s the closest thing to real, human interaction and it’s what helps to connect people to the authenticity and personality behind your company.

But if you’re simply using video to build your brand, you’re leaving opportunity on the table. There is so much in your video efforts that can be leveraged in other channels like social, search, email, and offline. Integrating these channels will accelerate the growth of your community and your brand. It’s the sum of all the parts that leads to your true value and return on investment (ROI).

Measuring The Success of Your Efforts

There’s two things to consider when you’re measuring the success of your efforts with something like video (and other types of content): you’ve got The Parts, and The Sum of The Parts. With The Parts, you want to consider how the individual pieces of your efforts, like video, are performing.

What value are they providing? Are those videos furthering the reach of your brand? Are they helping people to feel more connected? Are they garnering more leads? The same thing applies to other “parts” like social media, email marketing, other types of content, search, and offline efforts. Analyze how those parts are individually contributing to your success.

And then, more importantly, be sure you’re taking a look at The Sum of The Parts. This is your 30,000 foot view. When you add up all of the integrated pieces of your efforts like video, social, search, email, and offline, what effect have they had on your business as a whole?  It is the sum of all of these parts that provides the true ROI and that work together to build your brand and your community.

KPIs for The Parts and The Sum of The Parts

Depending on your project, and goals, there are many key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you determine the success of your efforts and the impact they have on your business. This slide deck includes some suggested KPIs for both The Parts (video) and The Sum of The Parts (video, social, search, email, offline) communicating success indicators for integrated marketing efforts.

Remember that it isn’t just video, or social, or search, or email, or offline efforts alone that make a difference in your business. It’s the integration and sum of the parts that add up to a greater whole. And that’s what it takes to build a community.

 

 

Q&A: Building a Community Without Content

By | Building Community, Social Media, Web Marketing | One Comment

The Essentials of Community Building

Many companies want to better understand how they can start building their communities. What are the first steps? How long does it take? Can I do this on my own?

A few weeks ago at the OpenView Webinar, we talked a whole lot about the Essentials of Community Building and a related question was posed:

Q: How do you start building a community if you don’t have a ton of content and a full strategy in place yet?

A: It would be incredibly misleading to tell you that 1) it’s easy to build a community, and 2) that you can do it without content. Communities don’t build themselves. They manifest from great companies who invest a tremendous amount of time in their brand, improving their product, and actually listening to their customers in the process.

Apart from content, community takes a ton of hard work, consistency, and heart. But it most certainly can be done whether you’re a one person company just starting out, or a large organization who has been building a following for years but hasn’t really done much to foster those followers into brand advocates.

Much of what you do to build a community begins with goals, strategy, and ultimately, content. That content can come in many forms: the carefully generated content on your website and your blog, the stuff you share on social media, the prose you choose for your packaging and products, and certainly the words your team speaks online and offline when they’re interacting not only with their peers but with your customers.

So how do you build a community without content?

You don’t.

But what you can do is get a head start on building your community with other people’s content. And that, in itself, is an integral component to building your audience. Sharing other valuable content isn’t the only way to build a community, but it does make a statement about your knowledge (reflected in what you’re reading) and builds relationships and connections with people who may eventually become part of your community.

So, if you don’t yet have a ton of content, but you really want to build that community, give some of this a try:

1) Set some goals

Even if you don’t have a bunch of content, a strategy, or much in terms of company resources, you still want to start with goals. Setting these goals (and we’d recommend that you make them SMART) will help keep you focused on where you can add the most value and make the biggest difference in your business.


2) Identify your community and share other people’s (good) stuff

As I mentioned, if you don’t have much of your own content to share, you can share other people’s valuable content to get the momentum going. Sharing other people’s content adds a ton of value to your own customers and community and it also helps you to begin building relationships with the people and companies who may end up being part of your engaged audience.

Start by identifying the people, blogs, and knowledge sources that may be a match for your community and then share their content.

There’s a detailed breakdown of how to do this on the Moz blog, but we like to start with questions like these:

1. Who is your target demographic?
2. What specific industries do you cater to?
3. Who are your partners and colleagues?
4. Who are your competitors?
5. Who do you respect in the industry (people and companies)?
6. What organizations are you a part of?
7. What industry blogs do you currently read?
8. Who do you follow on social media (people, companies)?
9. What events do you attend?

Identifying the possible sources for building your community will help you to determine who to begin building those relationships with. But remember, don’t do this with a “what’s in it for me?” mentality. You’re certainly looking to be strategic about who you’re building relationships with, but be sure to keep your customer (and your future community) in mind.

As you read the content from these sources, determine what’s a match for them. Look at this process as an opportunity to learn new things and become exposed to new people who you may actually enjoy becoming friends with. If you genuinely come from a place of authenticity, this community building thing becomes a whole lot more effective and valuable. So if you don’t have a ton of content, start building your base by curating other people’s valuable content.


3) Don’t just broadcast, engage

Let me put it to you straight. For a long, long, long, long, long time, you may have absolutely no engagement (did I mention this could be for a long time?). You will go through a stage in your community building efforts, especially in the beginning, where you’re being extremely diligent and consistent in your efforts, you’re sticking to your established routine, and you’re sharing all kinds of great stuff. But that doesn’t mean that anyone will talk to you, care, or be motivated to engage with you.

The thing to remember about building your community is that it’s all about people. Just because social media is digital and seems so convenient, doesn’t mean that these relationships will build overnight. Keep in mind that you’re connecting with real humans and that requires you to actually be a person yourself.

So make an effort to engage. Don’t just share other people’s content. Get out there. Talk to people (both on and offline). Read stuff. Learn some things. Don’t make it about you. And look for opportunities to connect with people (and not just because you want their business). It’s those connections that will eventually help you to build a community full of brand advocates who love your company and want to tell their friends about your product.


4) Be worthy of your community

So this whole sharing other people’s content thing will only take you so far before your followers will start wondering why they would follow (or keep following) you. Why would they tell other people all about your company?

At some point you’ll hit a wall and need your own stellar content (and strategy) that exudes personality and communicates the story of your brand (and not just on social media). You’ve got to eventually have something of value that will attract people to your community. This plateau will come quickly. So get the ball rolling with other people’s content but all the while be sure you’ve got a plan to generate your own.


So while you’re working behind the scenes to set your goals and build your own something of value, identify the higher purpose of your company. That’s what you’re going to actually build your community around, and that’s what your content should be about.

In addition to this question, I also addressed a question about increasing engagement and content sharing. Have another question about community that we haven’t yet answered? It may be in our community building guide, but please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.

 

Q&A: Increase Engagement and Content Sharing

By | Building Community, Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

The Essentials of Community Building - Mack Web Solutions

During the Essentials of Community Building Webinar last week with OpenView Labs, we had a few questions that I was not able to answer. I’m going to provide some of those answers here over the next few weeks:

Q: Once you get your following, how do you get them to really start engaging and sharing your content?

A: My recommendation would be to make it all about them. Figure out what your community really wants. You’ll know you’ve hit it right when you’ve accomplished the goals you’ve set forth: more engagement and more sharing of your content.

If you’re wondering how exactly to better engage your community and discover the content they would love to read and share, ask them. Try doing some surveys to determine what’s on their mind. If you’ve got a large community like you’re suggesting, you should get some really good data.

There are a few companies that I’ve seen do the survey thing really well.

Wistia’s Take Our Survey Video

Wistia put together a video that asked their community what they wanted to learn. Not only was the survey conducted in a manner that fits perfectly with Wistia’s culture and values, but it provided them with some really important data about their community.

Wistia received more than 780 responses in just 1 week. The video was so successful that Wistia had to take the survey part down so that it didn’t collect any more responses (and just allow people to link to the video). It was a really creative way to connect with their community and figure out how to get them what they want.

Moz’s 2013 Blog Survey

You certainly don’t have to create a video to administer a survey. Moz put together a survey to ask their community what they thought of their blog and then they published the results.

Moz Survey Results

This survey helped Moz figure out what their community really wants, and it also lets their community know they’ve been heard. What’s great about that is, in the coming months as the Moz blog fills with all of the content that they know their community wants, they should receive more engagement, more shares, and many other indicators of success that they’re tracking.

As with everything in your marketing (and your community building), it’s all about experimentation. You’ve got to try some things out and see how it works (or doesn’t). Start by really listening to your community and let them help you determine your direction.

More Questions?

If you have more community building questions that you’d like answered, reach out to us at @mackwebteam or contact us here.

The Essentials of Community Building (with Guide, Webinar & Slidedeck in Tow)

By | Building Community, Social Media, Web Marketing | 3 Comments

Community building is not about social media. It’s about people. Building a community is not about how many followers you acquire on social media. It’s about becoming a valuable brand and then building an engaged audience around it.

All of this community building stuff requires a shift in perspective. It’s a focus on accomplishing goals for your whole business and really paying attention to your customer’s needs. But lucky for you, everything you do to build a community will naturally build a better business and help you weather Google’s ever-changing algorithms.

Over the past few years I’ve been blogging, speaking, and, as a company, we’ve been doing a whole lot of community guiding. As a result, I’ve got some resources that will help lead you through three of the biggest building blocks of community: the tools, the process, and the measurement.

I’ve broken these resources down for you in three simple steps:

Step One: Download this Sucker

If you haven’t yet downloaded our free guide to building online communities, now’s your chance. This 147 page guide is packed full of all the gory details of community building. From the benefits to the tools, to the process—and even how to make adaptations as a company, an agency, or an in-house person tasked with the role of community building—this guide has it.

And the best part about it is you won’t want to stick a fork in your leg when you’re reading it, either (which we feel is a pretty large incentive).


Step Two: Watch this Webinar

After you’ve downloaded our 147 page guide (we don’t call it Truly Monumental for nothing) you may want someone to hold your hand as you read it. And because that might get a little weird, you can watch this Webinar instead (thanks to OpenView Labs). It’s the 45 minute run down of our 147 page guide and it walks through the key takeaways of community building including the tools, the process, and the measurement.


Step Three: Download this Slide Deck

In addition to the guide and Webinar above, this slidedeck is the play-by-play of the key takeaways in our guide (and it’s what I walk through in the Webinar). Throughout the deck you’ll notice some references to pages in the guide where you can get additional details and information.

This deck also has a few new things in it that are not in our guide like how to use the SMART framework to define goals (starting on slide 35) and an approach we’ve been using for buy-in (starting on slide 84) that can help better communicate the expectations that come along with the phases of community.


Send Us Your Questions

We spend a lot of time testing and determining what really helps businesses build their brands and communities online. We’d love to answer any specific questions or help you solve any unique challenges you’ve been facing. Please feel free to reach out to me or the Mack Web team on Twitter, or certainly contact us here. We look forward to having you in our community.

 

Onwards and Upwards – 2013 in Review

By | Building Community, Data and Analytics, Miscellany, SEO, Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

onlywayoutisthrough

One of the best things about having a blog is that it becomes a natural archive of everything you’ve ever written. Better yet, it holds the story of the transformation and evolution of your company.

I am tremendously grateful for the prosperity and lessons that 2013 brought. We saw tremendous growth not just in our team, but in our reach. We continued to hone our focus, seek our passion, and experience first hand the rewards that come when you invest in your own brand and community.

What follows are some of our most visited posts of 2013 and the story that they tell of our growth over the past 12 months.

Measuring Community: KPIs and Social Media Metrics for Community Building

We’ve had many pivotal moments in this company over the last couple of years and this post was one of them. Tyler wrote  Measuring Community: KPIs and Social Media Metrics for Community Building as a start on our quest to answer the recurring question of return on investment (ROI) earned from social media. Tyler continued this conversation with Our Experience With See, Think, Do – A Reporting Framework and you can look forward to more in the days to come. This topic will be a priority on our blog as we continue to add value to the discussion throughout 2014.


This Job (as an Entrepreneur)

I am inherently an extremely positive person. I constantly exude energy and passion. I dwell in possibility. And normally that’s what I write about when I share my experiences of growing this company.

2013 was a test of my optimism. It challenged my endurance, my commitment, and my spirit. This Job (as an Entrepreneur) divulges the personal and mental struggle I sometimes face as a mom and CEO of a growing company. This was a risky one for me to write, and I’m glad I did.


More than you Ever Wanted to Know About Building Online Communities

2013 began with my very first post on building community. Over the course of the year I continued with 5 more posts that provided all kinds of details and goodness to help businesses understand the benefits of and grow their very own online communities. In order to make those posts easily accessible, I put together More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Building Online Communities, a curated post of every community building resource I’ve written on the Moz blog.


Our Guide to Building Online Communities is Finally Here

The biggest milestone we’ve ever had in the history of our company’s existence was when we launched our community building guide. I’m really proud that we were able to mark our 10th year with this achievement. We knew people needed it and we knew it would be awesome but we had no idea how well received it would be (more than 3,100 downloads to date).

Our Guide to Building Online Communities was the final post in a video promotion series we had put together to promote the guide (or ‘Arthur’ as we so fondly refer to it). Certainly the guide was a huge accomplishment and so was the fact that we were finally experimenting with video. Sort of a buy one, get one free of achievement.


4 Flat Design Takeaways and How You Should Use Them

What I love most about the fact that 4 Flat Design Takeaways and How You Should Use Them made the list of our most visited posts from 2013 is that it was written by Nat. By the middle of the year we had all agreed to contribute to the blog, but of all of us, Nat was the most reluctant. As a designer, she didn’t recognize the strength she had in writing.

It has been incredibly refreshing to have Nat’s design knowledge on our blog. She too has had a remarkable journey this past year with starting grad school, embracing flexible work hours, and stepping up her illustrating skills. Everything that Nat writes is definitely worth a read.


Our Experience with See, Think, Do – A Reporting Framework

In 2013 we did a whole lot of testing. Throughout the year we had iterated many different versions of reporting with our clients in an attempt to effectively communicate the value of what we do. Our Experience With See, Think, Do – A Reporting Framework was a big victory for us. Adapting Avinash’s framework for use at Mack Web was a breakthrough in our approach and certainly in effectively presenting how our efforts (heavily weighted in content and social media) affect the entire brand, revenue and all.


How We Accomplished (big) Goals with Content & Social Media Marketing (in just 10 months)

I wrote How We Accomplished (big) Goals with Content & Social Media Marketing (in just 10 months) in 2012 when we first began seeing the positive results of making ourselves a client. With the use of content, social, and email marketing along with SEO and concerted offline efforts, Mack Web was quickly gaining traction and momentum in the industry. It’s neat to see that this post was one of our most visited in 2013 as we are still making Mack Web a priority and it continues to pay off.


Make Friends not Followers: Targeting the Right People on Social Media

One of the biggest contributors to our growth in the latter part of 2013 was when we pushed toward that T-shaped specialization and invited an experienced Social & Community Strategist to join our team. Ayelet spearheaded a bunch of valuable efforts for our community and industry last year.  Make Friends not Followers: Targeting the Right People on Social Media was a delightful collaboration of interviews with several community managers from some of the best companies in the industry to determine their best approach for making proactive  friends instead of just passive followers.


On Processes and Predictability

I’ve always had a strength in systems and process development. I think it comes from the many years of teaching I endured. Because of this, I continually work with the team to develop systems and processes that will make our work more enjoyable, efficient, and certainly pave the way for the team to come.

In 2012, we threw out a whole lot of systems and processes. By the end of the year, I felt like giving up as nothing seemed to stick. Then finally, toward the end of  2013, something changed and our systems and processes started working.

Tyler is our minimalist. He’s always asking why and looking for ways to reduce effort and maximize efficiency. When he  wrote On Processes and Predictability to provide his take on the need and importance of process, I knew we were making progress.


Not Remotely as Expected

It’s quite fitting that we end our year in review with Not Remotely as Expected.  In 2013, Courtney, our beloved Content Strategist and voice of the Mack Web brand, decided to move to Chicago. At first we discussed keeping her on as a contractor, thinking that her relocation meant she couldn’t contribute as a full-time member of our team. As her move got closer, I realized I had overlooked the possibility of her remaining on our team, fully in-tact, remotely.

The way we work is changing. Everything from productivity to balance and how work is ingrained in our lives. We’ve been learning to adapt and evolve in a lot of ways here at Mack Web, and allowing for a flexible work environment this year has been such a benefit. We are passionate about the work we do and diligent about the people we work with. There’s no denying that our work lives are part of our lives as a whole and so learning to blend and balance the different parts is a natural part of caring for our incredible team as we grow.


What a journey running this company continues to be. Always so much to do and even more to learn. Maybe it’s the fresh taste of the New Year, but I’ve got a feeling that 2014 is going to be a great one. We wish you all of the abundance, joy, and satisfaction you can possibly handle.

This Job

By | Mack's Musings | 17 Comments

ry-and-e

It’s Sunday just before noon. I’m headed to speak at my final conference of the year. I purposely booked my flight in the afternoon so that I could have more time with Jon and the kids.

There’s anxiety in the kitchen as Ryan notices my suitcase by the door.

Tears well up in her beautiful baby blues. She doesn’t want me to leave. I wipe her face with my fingers and tell her to close her eyes.

“Can you picture me in your head, Ry?”

She squints, using all of her might not to open her eyes and look at me.

“Can you see me?” I ask.

“Yes.”

“OK. Anytime you miss me just close your eyes and that’s where you’ll find me.”

I pull out of the driveway and sign I love you at the window as I wave to her, E, and Jon. I’m relieved I booked a quick trip. I’ll be back in less than 3 days.


“I never learned to count my blessings. I choose instead to dwell in my disasters.”
Empty
Ray LaMontagne


If you had handed me a script of what was going to unfold in my life over the last couple years, I would have called you crazy. When I reflect, my throat gets tight and I have to fight back some pretty heavy emotions.

And not entirely from joy.

I signed up for this job as an entrepreneur completely blind to the sacrifices that would be made. Time with my kids. Time with my husband. Time with myself. Stuff I won’t get back. Things I can’t undo. In 10 years, will I regret that I wasn’t entirely present during these years of my kids’ lives? Worse, will I be able to forgive myself when the lament finally settles in?

All the recent success we’ve had aside, this job has left me feeling pretty broken. I’ve wrestled with extreme self-criticism, doubt, and guilt. The isolation. The relentless pushing and driving. The extreme highs and even more severe lows. Utter exhaustion. Defeat. Hurt.

And now I’ve got my big girl pants on.


“Wake me up when it’s all over. When I’m wiser and I’m older. All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.”
Wake Me  Up
Avicii


I get it now. It took me a while but I can clearly see that everything in this job is a cycle. Stuff gets accomplished and crossed off the list but there will always be more impatiently waiting right behind it. It’s up to me to drive the rhythm.

I understand now that I need to make the time to look for those extreme spikes in the pattern of my work, identify where I’ll need some space, and communicate that beforehand to Jon and the kids. And, just as important,  prioritize time off with myself when the push is over so that I can rest, recover, and be completely present with my kids and spend some much needed time with Jon.


“Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.”
Counting Stars
One Republic


Every time I go away to a conference I am torn. It’s really hard to leave my kids.  And even though I enjoy the change of pace and am fulfilled from time with friends, I question whether it’s worth it. Do the gains that I make for my career and the business really mean more than the time I’m trading with my family?

What I have come to understand about this job is that I derive an incredible amount of satisfaction, passion, and joy from it and that’s nothing to feel shameful about. The key for me is to learn to prioritize my family over my work and not criticize myself when I don’t.  I am Mack the Mom and I am Mack the Entrepreneur. Sometimes one requires more attention than the other and I’m learning how to tell which one that is. I’m not making a choice between the two. I just need to give my all to both and know that it can’t happen at the same time.


“Even on my weakest days I get a little bit stronger.”
A Little Bit Stronger
Sara Evans


This precarious balance between this job and my family is truly a daily exercise in mental and emotional strength. But I can see now that this job is a gift. Like parenting, it’s been a daily lesson in self-awareness and personal growth. I am grateful for the constant reminder and perspective on priorities, meaning, and purpose. That even though I indulge in and crave the validation of what we’re accomplishing at Mack Web, that I would be empty without the love and true reward my family brings.

My dad always tells me, “you’ll never get it wrong and you’ll never get it done.” This job is relentless and I’m sure it’s not going to let up any time soon. But I’m not going to punk out and I’m not ready to quit.

This is the job.

Our Guide to Building Online Communities is Finally Here

By | Building Community, Creativity, Events, Online Community Building Videos | No Comments

The Truly Monumental Guide to Building Online Communities is Here

We are proud and excited and overjoyed (and just a little bit exhausted) to finally reveal our Truly Monumental Guide to Building Online Communities to the world.

We worked really, really, really hard and firmly believe that this product of our blood, sweat, tears, and countless visits to the petting zoo is an enduring addition to the universe’s knowledge on effective and sustainable integrated web marketing. (Which is why we went ahead and called it the Truly Monumental Guide and not just Metaphorically or Figuratively Monumental).

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Make Friends with Other Communities

By | Building Community, Mack's Musings, Online Community Building Videos, Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

Make Friends with Other Communities

Making friends is an important part of building community. When you go to meet-ups, conferences, and events and get to know the people who are doing great things, you not only get to be a part of what they’re doing, but you get to leverage their communities.

So be a friend, share the cookies, and sign up for our free community building guide.

(Only 4 more days until launch!)