Ducker Digest: March, 2014 – My Monthly Entrepreneur Report


For the last two months I’ve published monthly reports. No, I don’t go into how much money I make (I’ll leave that to my buddy, Pat Flynn!). What I focus on is the journey.

The entrepreneurial journey.

In my January report I talked about speaking at live events, hanging out with Gary Vaynerchuk and the launch of my book minisite.

In February I discussed how I was launching a new podcast to promote Virtual Freedom, a course on personal branding and the focus I had on getting ready to host my first big event, Tropical Think Tank. I want to make it clear that I don’t publish these reports to ‘show off’ in any way. There are lots of other entrepreneurs that are out there that are overall more successful than me. I publish them because they help ME stay on track, I know people love to be that fly on the wall, and because I simply love looking back on the month that just was!

This report is a little late, as I was focusing on the launch of the book, and then learning how to breathe again after the launch! :-)

So, without further ado, let’s start breaking down the month of March, 2014.

Important Happenings This Month

This month was about two massive milestones in my life and career, as an entrepreneur.

First up – becoming a traditionally published author, a goal I have had for as long as I can remember. Secondly, hosting my first big event for entrepreneurs – right here in Cebu, Philippines.

Tropical TT 2014

Tropical Think Tank – Ever since having a conversation in Portland (while attending World Domination Summit – I’ll be there again this coming July, and throwing a BIG BOOK PARTY, too!) last year, I have been looking forward to this event. I was able to convince some of the biggest business brains in the online space to converge onto Cebu City, here in the Philippines for 5-days of entrepreneurial learning and masterminding.

It was life-changing for everyone. And I mean everyone… all 25 attendees and 8 speakers – myself included.

Here’s a video showing some of the highlights!

We had such amazing feedback from everyone that we’ve decided to do it again next year! Details are still sketchy, however, if you’d like to be notified when we finalize everything, just complete the form below:

Preparing for ‘Virtual Freedom’ Launch – The launch of my first book was supposed to be July, and Tropical Think Tank was strategically placed in the middle of the start of the year and this milestone as a nice ‘break from the norm’. Then my publisher decided to move the launch date of the book to April 1st.

So, I had my first big event to put on and then the launch of my book to prepare for – all within a few weeks! Fun times. Luckily I have great teams in place that helped me with both focuses this month and we did a remarkable job in pulling it, I tell ya!


Many of you participated in the launch of the book by purchasing one of the different bonus bundles I put together to help celebrate the launch, and I’m happy to say that I couldn’t have been any happier with it, as an overall event!

We put on a Google Hangout (with people shooting selfies of themselves at the computer, watching it and then tweeting ’em out – see above!) which was so much fun, and had plenty of other memorable activities throughout the course of the week, including pinning all of the brilliant ‘In the Wild’ photos that readers have been sending in – check them out – some are amazing!

I’ll be doing a full-on review of the launch, covering everything we did to build buzz, and some of the things that didn’t quite work out as well as we expected. However, overall it was a success with the book reaching the Top 150 Amazon Bestseller List and becoming a #1 Bestseller in THREE different business categories, too! :-)

Thank you for your support.

Lessons Learned This Month

This is the section in which I will lay down some home-truths from the last month. Generally speaking they will be from lessons that I learned myself, through personal experiences, but from time to time, I might just share lessons I’ve heard from other people I admire, too.

Your Network Matters More Than You Know – last month I talked about the importance of deadlines and how they truly do matter in your business. This month my biggest lesson was learning, once again (I’m reminded regularly!) that your network matters, especially around launch time, more than anything else in your business. The peers, friends and colleagues I called on to help spread the word for the book came to my aid, and the result was nothing short of amazing.

Spinning Your Wheels Does Help… Sometimes – Not in a positive sense, however. There were a lot of things that I did throughout the course of March that, quite frankly, I shouldn’t have handled myself. I’ll talk more about this in a future post – however, its through spinning your wheels a little that you can learn such things and then move on and well above and beyond from them. Once again I’m reminded, even after 23-years in business and 10-years as an entrepreneur, that we all still have plenty of learning to do. And I love that fact!

chris and erz - ttt

The Support of Your Spouse is Needed More Than Anything in Life – If you’re running a business your focus will shift entirely to that business on a regular basis. Sometimes that focus will last an hour, or two. Sometimes a day, or two – sometimes longer. From the beginning of March, before Tropical Think Tank began, right through to the end of the first week of April my wife, Erz (pictured above with me), was there to help and support every single step of the way. She was amazing, as always. So, thank you, darling. Mwah!

Plans for Next Month

After one of the biggest, busiest months of my entire career I’m taking it a little easier in April, if that’s okay?!

London Town, Mate! – April marks the return to my birthplace for the first time in a year. I absolutely LOVE the City of London. I’m going to be in town for 2-weeks and will be doing nothing at all, but spending time with family, reading, eating fish and chips, enjoying a fine ale or two and… hang on – wait. I can’t go to London and do absolutely NOTHING business related… it’s just not my bag, baby! :-)

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 12.56.11 PM

Presenting at a special London, UK ‘Meetup’ 4-Hour Work Week Event – One of the biggest pivots I’ve made in my life has been my 2010 ‘Virtual CEO’ Goal, which I put in place after reading Tim Ferriss’ game-changer back in 2009.

And I’m super excited to announce that I was recently contacted by the organizers of the London ‘Meetup’ group under the same name (not officially affiliated with Tim, FYI) and will be presenting at a special ‘on-off’ event for them on April 28th in London. More info on the event can be found here, but please note – you need to be a member of this group first – it’s free, so just hit the ‘Join Us!’ button and once approved, you’ll get access to all the event details.

London ‘New Business’ Mastermind Session –  This will be my first private mastermind session of the year – I’m holding FIVE of these events this year – in five completely different cities around the world between now and the end of 2014. These events are among some of the most fun that I’m blessed to be part of throughout the year, as they allow me to get up close and personal with my online tribe and to genuinely help them build their business – one on one.

Overall Business Growth Planning for the rest of 2014 – I’m also using April to spend time re-setting myself a little bit, as an entrepreneur. The first quarter of the year has flown by, and the next three are going to be just as exciting and busy (lots of speaking gigs planned!) and I want to make sure that my goal of launching my own community based project, by the end of 2014 will happen.

So, when I’m in London I’ll be taking plenty of walks and enjoying many fine cups of coffee over some business and growth planning sessions. Anyone that knows me knows that when I zone-in like this… plenty of action is taken!!!

Now it’s Your Turn!

I’d like for you to tell me what you have planned for the coming month.

Writing it in the comment section below will make it way more likely to happen, and you’ll be holding yourself accountable in front of the rest of the ‘New Business Tribe’.

Remember, being a productive entrepreneur is about taking action. Start now by sharing your proposed next 30-days worth of business goals, and lets all cheer each other along towards achieving them!

Until next month…

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Squeaky Clean: 5 Tips for Writing Spotless Marketing Copy

5 Tips for Writing Spotless Marketing Copy

Author: Marissa Lyman

Did you know that grammatical errors are the number one cause of work-related aggression?

the office movies angry mad

Okay, that’s a lie–but if everyone cared as much about grammar as I did, I can guarantee that misplaced commas, subject-verb disagreement, and improper use of “your” would top the HR incident list.

A degree in journalism, numerous media internships, and nearly two years editing the homepage for America’s most-watched cable news network inadvertently turned me into what I recently told a colleague was “The Grammar Hammer” (copyright pending). To me, editing is like a treasure hunt, and finding each error brings a degree of satisfaction or–if it’s published– immense and somewhat irrational rage.

The fact of the matter is that, at their core, typos in collateral undermine a marketer’s credibility with customers and prospects. If your company doesn’t know the difference between “there,” “their,” and “they’re,” how are you supposed to be trusted with the hard stuff, like–I don’t know–revenue generation? (For the record, “there” refers to a place or the existence of something, “their” is possessive–like, “Have you seen their new nap room? I am filled with envy.” and “they’re” should be used any time you can substitute it with “they are”–like, “They are going to be so well-rested! I hate them!”)

Yes, typos happen. But if you follow the steps outlined below, you can significantly reduce the number of errors in your work, leading to fame, fortune, and marketing glory:

1. See If It Passes the Jargon Test

You basically invented marketing–that’s how good you are. In fact, there is no industry term, TLA (three-letter acronym), or obscure marketing reference that you’re not familiar with. Well done, you!

Yet not everyone is an expert like you are, so pumping copy full of jargon runs the risk of alienating those in your target audience who aren’t as technologically savvy as you are. You want to sound smart, not pretentious. Your external communications should be engaging and informative, and a major part of this is using appealing vocabulary.

There is a time and a place for all of these “inside baseball” terms–like an in-depth how-to guide. But err on the side of general terms that are easy to read through, especially if it’s on an initial call-to-action. When in doubt, have someone in a different department or job function take a gander at your work. If it leaves them scratching their heads, it’s worth an edit.

2. Let It Sit

You just wrote the copy for what, in your opinion, is the world’s most beautiful nurture campaign, and you’re getting ready to set it up for deployment. Your quest to finesse your language means that you’ve been staring at the same two paragraphs for the better part of the last two hours. What should you do?

Save the copy and walk away. Do it. Tear yourself away. I know you’ve been itching to get this off your plate, but there’s a high probability that if you set it up for distribution now, you’re going to discover once it sends that it’s riddled with errors.

The more familiar you are with text, the less likely your brain will pick up on any subtle inconsistencies. That’s why it’s important to give yourself a break, let your brain focus on something else (maybe this is a good time for a walk or a nap), and come back to the text with fresh eyes. You’ll be shocked by what you catch the second time around.

3. Print, Read Out Loud, Repeat

You’ve just awoken from your nap–now what? Reread your work on your computer?

You could, but–environmentalists, cover your ears!–I recommend printing out what you’re working on. Whether you’re reviewing plain text or the layout of a new ebook, without all that blue light hitting your eyeballs, you’ll be able to focus better. Errors will jump out of the page as obviously as that whale at the end of “Free Willy.”

90s film animals jump features

And once you’ve printed your work (or even if you haven’t–shame on you!), read it out loud. Hearing the words instead of reading them will give your brain a different perspective and help it to catch additional errors. These can range from typos and misspellings to sentence constructions that just don’t sound right. Try it the next time you write an email–this is the type of exercise that helps you walk that fine line between “The webinar is public” and “The webinar is …” You get it.

4. Ask the Experts

I’ve lauded the power of Google in previous posts, but it’s worth a mention here too. Google is a wonderful source for your grammar needs and can also help to end any editing debates you might be having. It may take some digging, but you’ll usually walk away with knowing what the most common and widely accepted approach is for spelling or punctuation. Just make sure you’re getting your insight from a reputable site and one that is reflective of the grammar in your geographic region.

And think about your internal experts as well, often on your Communications or Content team. Does your company prefer the Oxford comma? What solution names are capitalized? Smart marketing departments will implement a set of brand style guides for everyone to adhere to.

WHAT. You don’t have one? Congratulations, you’ve just identified an important, proactive opportunity to make your mark. It’s like I always say, quality control is everyone’s problem.

5. Practice Makes Perfect

I have literally spent days of my life editing things. DAYS. Do I wish I had been spending this time on a beach somewhere? Maybe. Would my written words benefit from a rich mahogany glow? Absolutely not.

The tips above will help and should become standard practice whenever you’re developing external content. However, the only way you’re really going to step up your error-free game is through practice. How do you do that? Edit everything you can get your hands on. Your stuff, your coworkers’ stuff, your competitors’ stuff–everything. You can even search for practice tests as a fun and informative alternative to Sudoku or Candy Crush. There is no limit to how much practice you can do. Now go forth and conquer typos, you smart marketer, you.

Are you a spelling and grammar connoisseur? Share your tips for writing spotless marketing copy in the comments below!


Squeaky Clean: 5 Tips for Writing Spotless Marketing Copy was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. |

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