ajmorris

AJ Morris

Setting goals is never more true, than in a startup. In our fast-paced, high-pressure world, it can seem like everyone is setting goals and resolutions. And while that’s great, what isn’t so great is that so many of those goals go unachieved.

But you don’t have to be a statistic; you can set measurable, achievable goals for yourself quarter after quarter. The key is figuring out how to set goals that actually get achieved.

It’s not as hard as you think!

Knowing the right techniques and tricks will make all the difference in the world.

Here are five tips for setting goals that actually get achieved.

Set SMART goals

In order to set goals that actually get achieved, you’ll need to set SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym that stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.” If your goals don’t have all of these components, then they’re probably not goals that will get achieved.

Make sure you write down your goals, and then take a moment to examine each one. Make sure it meets each of these parameters. If it doesn’t, rewrite it. See if you can make it clearer, more precise, and more detailed.

Your goals need to be as clear as possible so that you know exactly what you’re working towards.

Turn your goals into a game

One of the best ways to stay focused on the goals that actually get achieved is to turn them into a game.

You don’t have to turn them into a competition with other people or anything like that. You can turn them into a game in your own mind. You can make it a challenge for yourself to see if you can meet your goals on time.

Make it a game to see if you can get more done in a day than you did yesterday. Turn your goals into something fun and challenging, and they’ll seem less like work and more like a game.

You’ll be less likely to get stressed out, and you’ll have more fun. You’re also more likely to stay focused on the game at hand — which is finishing your goals on time!

Make sure your why is bigger than your what

Goals are important, but so is the motivation behind them. Even if you set SMART goals and you are challenging yourself, you may want to consider what your why is. If your why behind them isn’t strong enough, then those goals could fall short.

Make sure your why is bigger than your what.

Make sure your why is something you feel strongly about. Make sure your why is something that will keep you going even when the going gets tough. Make sure your why is something that will keep you motivated even when other people’s goals have fizzled out. Make sure your why is strong and powerful enough to keep you going when things get tough!

Write it down and make a plan

Another important aspect of goal-setting is writing them down and making a plan. You can’t just set random goals for yourself and expect them to get met. You need to take the time to break down what your goals actually are. You need to sit down and write them out so you can really examine them and make sure they’re the goals you need to be focusing on.

If a goal isn’t helpful, or if it isn’t getting you closer to where you need to be, then you need to toss it out and start over. As you’re writing down your goals and examining them, you’ll also want to look at what comes next. What are the steps you need to take to achieve these goals? What can you do to set yourself up for success?

Don’t be afraid to fail — but also don’t be afraid to succeed!

Even if you think your goals are great, they’re probably not all going to get achieved. That’s just a part of life. You’re not perfect, and neither is your goal-setting process! But that’s okay. That’s normal.

But don’t be afraid to fail.

That’s a big part of goal-setting. You’re going to fail. You’re going to fall short of your goals sometimes, and that’s okay! You’re human! Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just take the lessons you learned from failing, and use them to succeed the next time around!

Don’t be afraid to succeed!

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to succeed. Setting big, audacious goals for yourself isn’t a bad thing. It’s important to challenge yourself with big, lofty dreams. It’s important to step outside your comfort zone and to challenge yourself to do things you’ve never done before. If you don’t set big goals for yourself, then what’s the point? If you don’t set audacious goals for yourself, then what’s the point? Make sure your goals are SMART, turn them into a game, make sure your why is bigger than your what, write them down and make a plan, and don’t be afraid to fail or succeed!

Conclusion

What makes someone successful? Is it talent? Is it luck? Or is there something else? Most people have a vision of their future self. They know what they want to happen in the future, but very few people know how to make it happen.

Many people don't realize that setting goals is a crucial step in creating the future you want.

If you want to succeed, you have to set goals! And if you want your goals to get achieved, then you have to set SMART goals. You also have to turn them into a game, make sure your why is bigger than your what, write them down and make a plan, and don't be afraid to fail or succeed!


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It’s been about 6 months since I’ve moved out of the WordPress space for my daily job.

I’ve been heads down working on a new cyber security product that I’m super excited about. So much so, that I’ve not really focused on social media or WordPress for quite awhile.

But one thing has been a little interesting.

Recently, I came over to my personal website and noticed that I needed to do updates. Normally, this isn’t a big deal. Like every WordPress site out there, you are going to have to do updates.

This time around though, I had fresh eyes on the experience. This was the first time in 6ish months that I had to login to a site to do any type of maintenance on it and having a number of updates that I needed to do, caused me to rethink the issue.

Let me just say that as an aside, there are tons of fantastic hosts that offer a varying degree of management and updates to WordPress. I spent 5 years building product in that space.

This got me thinking about the process of updates, what I needed to do in order to get my site ready for me to actually write a blog post on. I’ll paraphrase a bit here and just say, that I didn’t have the experience I thought I would and it got me looking at alternatives to WordPress for the first time in 15 years.

Alternatives to WordPress

You heard me. If you follow me or know me, you’ll know that I’ve lived, ate, breathed WordPress for many many years. I’ve worked with some of the best people in the space and built a many products in the space.

So how could one bad interaction with updates cause me to look for an alternative? Glad you asked.

It wasn’t just the updates process that made me rethink about it. Honestly, I think I’ve been thinking about WordPress and the ability to write content on it for several years. More on that soon.

But this time around, it brought me to a brink that made me start looking for alternatives and I think I found something.

Write.as

I landed on write.as. I’m not going to go into all of the details around what got me here in this post (maybe I’ll save that for another), but suffice to say, I’m here. I’ve arrived. I’ve landed on something I think has my full attention and I’m ready to share it with all of you.

Write.as is a platform of sorts. You pay a small nominal yearly price and you get up to 3 blogs. Its focus is primarily on writing, which I love. I can just write. Until my heart is content. And then I can publish.

I don’t have to worry about fighting with Gutenberg or the TinyMCE editor of WordPress’ yesteryears.

I can just write.

I don’t have to focus on design, images, SEO, any of that technical details that make it harder to just hit publish. And I think that’s what I like most about this platform so far.

It just works. It doesn’t require me to get updates, work within the confines of Gutenberg, deal with design constraints while writing, or any of the bloat I felt that came with WordPress over the last few years.

Did you leave WordPress?

Short answer, No. I believe it is still an excellent product that allows a huge number of people to have a platform that they own, where they can build a blog or eCommerce site. In fact, I will still recommend and plan to use it for my own needs as I work on other projects from time to time.

But for me, personally, I wanted something I could just come to and add a post. I didn’t want to deal with anything else. Let me write, then let me leave.

Losing the Joy

I suppose at some point, I found issue with WordPress’ admin. I found it too complicated and too difficult for me to just write. Anytime you stop me from just doing what I want/need to do, where you give me choices, stop me in my tracks, I lose track. I lose what I’m doing in here, what I’m trying to achieve.

At the end of the day, I’ve only been using my site for writing. I’ve not really been growing an email list, building products/services with it, or trying to create a newsletter or podcast.

Yes, there are services where I can do all of that too…but for now, really I just want to have a site/platform that allows me to do the most simplest thing. Write.

And that’s where I think I’ve ended up with write.as for now. It’s the platform that gives me just a little of what I want/need in design, tooling, but most importantly writing.

I can write, publish and go back to what I was doing. For everything else, I think there’s other solutions for. If I wanted to build a newsletter, I’ll go to ConvertKit. If I want any type of landing page and email sequence, again I’ll go to ConvertKit.

That really just leaves long-form content. For me, that will live here on Write.as.

Maybe there will be a time where I move my personal site back to WordPress, but for now, I’m enjoying the simplicity of Write.as and giving myself a pass at being able to enjoy writing again.

Wrapping Up

I want to hone my skill of writing here. I have lot of lessons, trials, etc. that I would like to share. I want to do that first and foremost. I want to get good at telling stories, sharing my experiences here.

Hoping that others will find what I have to share useful, even practical to what they are working on in their own lives or careers. With any luck, I’ll be doing that in no time and you’ll see this site expand into something more than it is.

But for now, I’m good with is just being a place to write. Keeping it simple.


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Do you ever wake up feeling like you just don’t get enough done in the day? Are you tried by mid-afternoon only feeling like your list is as long as it was when you first started the day??

I’ve been there. I even wrote about how I plan my week. But let’s talk about each day. Forming habits are all about building routines. It’s about doing the same thing each and every day.

An excellent book, Atomic Habits, discusses in detail how to form a habit. If you struggle at forming habits, I highly recommend his book.

Success is the product of daily habits—not once in-a-lifetime transformations.

James Clear

One of the things I learned (before reading the book) was to make small changes each day, do it repeatedly, you will form a habit. As I started to form habits, I turned those habits into routines. Today, because of those habits, I now have a daily routine.

Here’s my daily routine. Maybe it will help you if you are looking to form habits.

7:30 – 8:00 – Wake up, hang with the kids (This will get earlier, once the kids go to school) 8:00 – 8:15 – Make a pot of coffee 8:15 – 9:00 – Review tasks for the day, check email, drink my first cup of coffee 9:00 – 1:00 – Work. It varies daily between meetings and structured time 1:00 – 1:30 – Lunch if I wasn’t able to eat before a 12:30 daily meeting. 1:30 – 4:30 – Work. This varies but usually is time dedicated to PM-related tasks. 4:30-5:00 – Review the day. Prioritize my task list for the next day. 5:00 – 5:30 – Look at social, read, play a game, listen to a podcast. It’s my cool-down between work and home.

That’s my daily routine, Monday-Friday. It changes slightly if I’m trying to fit something else in, or if I have a doctor’s appointment. The point is though, is that it’s generally the same every day.

A daily routine is only going to stick if you make sure you set yourself up for success. I do this a couple of ways.

Time Blocking Your Calendar

I’m sure like some of you, I live based on my calendar. I have everything on my calendar. Multiple calendars even. If you asked my wife, she’d tell you I get surprised when she forgets to add something to our shared calendar.

My buddy Syed wrote about his time blocking system so I’ve essentially tried to replicate that for my own calendar. Everything I do is on my calendar. I block out time for strategic work, meetings, lunch, email, everything.

This not only keeps me sane between managing multiple calendars but also helps me ensure that I’m working on the most important things at the right time.

Reclaim

I use a service called Reclaim to help manage a number of things on my calendars. Probably the most important is that it keeps my calendars in sync. Meaning that if I have a doctor’s appointment show up on my personal calendar, it will show up on my work calendar as well. If there’s a conflict, it will alert me so I can decide what I want to change.

However, Reclaim does more than that. Another incredibly useful feature I use is the ability to claim time for yourself. In my case, I have it block off 30 minutes at the beginning and end of the day for “catch up.” Which is really just a way for me to end any meetings and start working on planning or reviewing my days. I also have it find 45 minutes of time that I fit in lunch. It’s usually before or after my 12:30-1:00 depending on the week.

I’d say that Reclaim is the most important tool in my arsenal and helps me manage my time. It’s truly like a virtual assistant.

SavvyCal

The last tool that helps me with my daily routine is SavvyCal. SavvyCal is similar to Calendly which I also wrote about previously. I use this to allow clients, outside contractors, friends, etc. schedule time with me. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not scheduling everything in my life like this. I’m not even sending this to friends when they want to get together. I’m more or less using this as a professional tool.

My workday wraps up at 5 and I typically don’t have anything happening in the evenings, so I don’t need to focus on scheduling that time. But I do have work friends that I meet with occasionally. I’ll use it for those types of meetings.

Wrapping Up

Have you established a daily routine? What do you do? How do you keep it? Any tips for me? Join me on Twitter or my newsletter. Would love to connect and discuss the process.


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One of the things that are always against us, is ourselves. I say that as a perfectionist. Any perfectionist will tell you the same thing. It plays games in your mind. It paints this picture of what something should look like, but no matter what, you struggle to hit that goal..

Most of the time, you don’t even realize it. The result though is that you never click publish. You never produce that book. You never complete the work.

Once you can move past the idea of having things perfect, the better you can move towards completing your work. But how do you remove the barrier? How do you get yourself to get the idea of perfect out of your head?

I can remember countless times in my recent past, where I’ve stopped projects I was working on because I was looking for them to be perfect. Very good, worthwhile projects, that are just sitting, ready to be finished. But for some reason, I haven’t finished them.

I have this idea in my head of what I want them to be.

I can’t seem to shake the idea. it cripples me so much, that I just don’t complete them.

Have you been in this position before? Have you struggled with perfectionism? Here’s how I’m working to overcome it.

Building in Public

Here’s the deal. Getting past the fact that nothing is ever going to be perfect, is incredibly hard for me. So I’ve found that in order for me to break it down, I need to have small tangible goals.

To start, I need to form a habit. This 30 days of clicking publish is forming a habit. I’m positive that these posts aren’t my best work. And I’m ok with that. The point isn’t to be the best writer, or be found via Google. The point it to form the habit. Once I do that, I can set a new goal.

That means that no matter what, Monday through Friday, I need to have a post published on my site. I need to click publishI must click publish. Once I’ve got that down, I’ll move to my next goal.

Do you have struggle with perfectionism? Do you struggle with trying to feel that everything is perfect before publishing it? What are your tricks to overcoming that fear? How do you move past it?

Let me know. Reach out on Twitter or join my newsletter.


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I’m the son of an entrepreneur.. You see, my dad started his own business while he was still in high school with his father. They started a bicycle shop. My dad was always working on his friends’ bicycles in the garage. My grandpa saw that as an opportunity and they decided to open the shop.

There’s more to the story, and maybe someday I’ll explore going into more about it.

I remember it vividly growing up all of the busyness and slow days. I remember stopping in during the winter and seeing everything just be still and contrast that with the summer when we barely got to each lunch because we were so busy.

I never really understood any of it. I didn’t understand how we could be busy at certain times and then almost dead others. Years later, I learned this was called seasonality. More specific it deals with sales of your products.

What is Sales Seasonality

As I mentioned, I didn’t realize what this was those many years ago. But sale seasonality affects every type of business out there. I don’t think I’ve ever found a business that isn’t affected by this.

Many people explain sales seasonality as something that happens for the US-related businesses where most of the US starts to take vacations around the end of May (because of Memorial Day) through September (Labor Day).

I tend to agree with the idea that I’m not thinking about big purchases during those times. I’m typically spending time outdoors, taking weekend trips around Michigan, or spending time at the beach.

I believe to see most businesses, especially around the WordPress space, to deal with this type of seasonality where your sales slow down during what we’d consider the US summer months. This is when the majority of people are taking vacations, getting outdoors, etc. They are not thinking about buying software.

However, in my dad’s case, the summer months were our busiest. We weren’t allowed to take vacations. We worked. Long hours. Spent time putting bicycles together. BMX racing. Our seasonality was what we’d call winter months. It would typically be October through March when it’s cold and there is snow on the ground.

Like I said though, every business has some sort of seasonality.

How do deal with Seasonality?

This is probably the best question I can think of. How do you handle the seasonality? Do you prepare for it? Do you position yourself to survive through it, or do you just get through it?

My dad found ways to keep busy. In the early years, cross-country skiing was pretty popular in our area. That meant he could do rentals and sales of cross-country skis during the winter months here and that would not only keep him and other employees, employed. But it would also mean that they could sell products during those months.

In the later years, it’s been harder to find what to sell. With the advancement of technology and people spending more and more time in front of their computers and devices, no one really ventures out for winter sports around here. Instead, he’s found other ways to keep busy. He donates bicycles to local families for Christmas, the employees take vacations, and they still get the Christmas rush of bicycle sales.

Looking at the WordPress space, I seem to see sales more often during the slow periods to try to generate sales. Having worked in the hosting and plugin space of the last 6 years, it’s the playbook for many. Run various types of sales to entice those that aren’t paying close attention to bite. It’s also why most will spend the rest of the year building their email list. The larger the list, the better the sales will be.

What types of tricks do you have for battling seasonality in your business? Tag me in your conversation on Twitter or join my newsletter below.


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Over the last few months, I’ve really been enjoying the weekends. We’ve been doing a little bit of road trip traveling (I call it that because it’s something where we can visit <10 hours of drive time) and spending time at the cottage..

It’s good to unplug; get away from technology, and enjoy the outdoors.

When I set out on this 30 Days of Clicking Publish, I knew that in order for me to be successful was to take breaks from the weekend. I didn’t want to pull out a device to compose a blog post. I also knew I didn’t want to frontload the month by writing a couple of posts per day.

I knew that in order for me to succeed at this, it was important for me to not take away some of what I put in place over the last few months, and that included breaks. My weekends are mine. I enjoy time with family, watching my kids grow, getting to experience new things with them.

Health Work/Life Balance

The past couple of years have been an unprecedented work/life balance. It’s no fault to anyone but myself. It started in 2015 when I first joined Liquid Web. We needed to build brand recognition in the WordPress space.

However, I was the only person at the time that had any connections to the community. My wife and I were expecting our first child and she spent a lot of time resting those first couple of months on the weekend, so we decided it would be ok for me to be gone just about every weekend to attend a WordCamp.

The short of it is this. At some point, I found it prideful to say that I was working for 4 weeks straight.

It wasn’t the fault of my company. It was my fault. I made those choices.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m sure you can guess where this is going, I felt like there was no longer a work/life balance. When Mach 2020 hit and conferences were canceled, everyone shifted to working from home, and we lost our babysitter for a period of time, it intensified the fact that I no longer had a work/life balance.

I found myself working all hours of the day. It was about the health of the company, more than it was about my own personal health. It was a compounded time where I felt like I could never get ahead or get through my to-do list.

It was a complex time in my life that we’re only skimming the surface on.

Finding a Balance

Stepping away, disconnecting, trying to achieve a more healthy lifestyle has been something I’ve found myself working on over the last 6-8 months. It’s been about finding a way to create a truly healthy lifestyle where I get to experience life with kids under 5. I get to be present in their lives each and every day. I get to take them on adventures getting to show them the sweetness in the world.

If it’s not about spending time with those that you love, being present in their lives, then I’m not sure what we’re doing here. It’s about making time for those things that matter most to you. Whether it’s spending time with loved ones or spending time on hobbies you enjoy, unplugging from your job, your day-to-day workflow, is important.

What do you do to find work/life balance? How do you check out? Let’s connect on Twitter or my newsletter.


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I used to feel completely overwhelmed each day. I was one of those that had a never-ending to-do list, that only got longer every meeting I attended. I can’t tell you the number of times that I ended the day feeling more overwhelmed with the amount of work that I had to do than when I started..

Thankfully, I got a coach. I talked to my coach about all the feelings I had in order to get things done. I questioned my sanity several times, but she was there to help walk me through it. To help get me to where I could logically think through each day and put in place a system that is working well for me.

Let’s talk about the system.

Take Time to Review and Plan

I think some people would call me crazy, but I spend about 8 hours a week, reviewing and planning for the week. That’s 20% of my week spent reviewing and planning. It might feel insane, but when I break it down, I don’t think you’ll think that.

I’m going to walk you through my Fridays first because that’s where the most planning really begins for me.

Starting with Fridays

My Friday afternoons are reserved for reviewing my notes from every meeting I attended that week. I take notes on everything. My day job gives me a minimum of 12 hours of meetings a week. That’s the typical week. And the recurring meetings. If I’m meeting with users, I might have another 2-4 hours of meetings. Then comes the drop-ins. There are probably another 2-4 hours of drop-ins a week. Drop-ins are meetings that are ad-hoc or other 1:1 types that get scheduled to go deep about a specific topic. That means on my busiest of weeks I’m looking at 20 hours of meetings.

I find that it’s important to review those to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. Whether there was an action item (to-do) assigned to me, or I need to document decisions from a meeting, it’s important that I review these.

Ok. So my Friday afternoons consist of going through all the notes from each meeting throughout the week and documenting those outcomes in our various internal documentation places and working on grabbing my tasks for the next week.

Documentation

Let me try to break down documentation a bit to give you an idea of what that looks like. As a product manager, I’m a chief communicator of our product internally. I’m informing people of plans and getting feedback on those plans or ideas for the future. These items shouldn’t be something that lives in a document that only I have access to or that is attached to a shared meeting notes document.

That means someone (me) needs to make sure we’re documenting our outcomes and feedback in places that others can see it.

At my day job (Gravity Forms), we use a variety of tools. Github and Product Board are our go-to for most of this type of documentation. That means I’m spending a lot of time in there updating features or issues based on the outcomes of our meetings.

I’m also spending a lot of time in our Github wiki to help document some of our processes. To some people, the documentation doesn’t sound like a fun job. But it’s rewarding to see that you can reference it when needed.

Tasks / Action Items

I typically review and plan my tasks or action items before getting to the documentation, but I’m going to keep the order of them here as I think it flows better.

Throughout the week, it’s inevitable that items will be assigned to me during a meeting, or I’ll need to add something to my to-do list to find further out about something. I make sure that I collect all my tasks from my notes (both written and through meeting notes) and begin to work through them.

I first put them all into a list. If they have due dates, I’ll make note of that, as it helps to prioritize them. If they do not have a due date, but maybe someone is needing me to get information or make a decision on something, I’ll work with them to understand the priority.

Ultimately, my goal here is to end up with my to-do list prioritized. Happy to go further into detail about it at a later date if that’s of interest.

Prep for Monday

At Gravity Forms, I’m not just a product manager, but also a product owner. If you are familiar with the SCRUM product development model, you’ll understand what a P.O. does. If not, here’s the gist. A P.O. will plan the next sprint for the development team. This means that I’m having to take into account a wide range of inputs and put together a week’s worth of work for our development team to focus on.

On Fridays, I’m putting together a preliminary list of tasks to be worked on during the following week. My goal in doing this is so that Monday, the rest of the product management crew can look over the tasks and agree or suggest slight changes before I present it to the product development team.

In most cases, this is only about an hour’s worth of work. But if I found myself during the week being a little apart from the product development process (like focusing on competitive analysis, or going deep into user research), it might take me a little longer to feel comfortable with planning the sprint for the next week.

My goal though is to end the week with a plan for the following week. This way I can spend Monday setting up the week.

Monday – Planning the Week

During the weekends, I mainly check out from the work. There may be one or two things I’m subconsciously thinking about, something that is typically something that requires deep thinking and marinating.

Monday’s are generally my planning day. Because I’ve taken the time on Friday to review the previous week and get my to-list in order, I can come in feeling refreshed and ready to go about my week.

The first thing I do on Mondays is to spend about an hour scheduling out my to-list. To me this means, I’ll move some of my to-list items to various days, schedule any ad-hoc meetings I need to be scheduled, and generally plan my non-meeting time with what I’m going to be tackling for the week.

Because I work on a team, I have several planning meetings on Monday. They are about 4 hours worth of my day, but it sets the tone for the rest of the week.

I’ll start off by meeting the rest of our product management crew. We have a planning and strategy meeting on Monday where we agree to the sprint and plan what we intend to go over in other meetings throughout the week. We do this in a collaborative nature, so we’re not relying on a single person to come up with the plan.

The second planning meeting for the week is the product development meeting around the sprint.

On Staying Organized

Fellow’s great for note-taking and planning your week

There’s a multitude of tools that can help you keep organized. I’ve tried them all. I’ll say that the best I’ve found is Fellow. And it wasn’t until I started working at Gravity Forms that I found it. It provides me with the ability to take collaborative notes for each meeting, take and assign action items from meetings, and even have a feed of previous meeting notes.

It’s probably the most intensive tool I’ve found for keeping me highly organized. It’s one of the reasons I’ve now moved even my personal meetings and tracking over to it.

How are you staying organized? How are you dealing with the feeling of being overwhelmed? Reach out on Twitter. Or join my email list.


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When I started freelancing, I didn’t fully understand all the questions I should ask when scoping and pricing out a project. However, as the years when on and I took on more projects, I have collected a list of questions I ask for every project I take on..

If you are looking at getting into freelancing, take a look at the list of questions below. I’ve found these to be super helpful when meeting a client for the first time. Hopefully you’ll find these useful too.

Describe your Business in a few sentences

  • What services do you offer?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What makes you unique?

Project Basics

  • Why do you want/to redesign your website?
  • What need or business goals do you have for your website that aren’t being met by the current version?
  • What goals do you want your website to achieve?
  • What is the function of having a website for your brand?
  • What will your visitors accomplish on your site?
  • Top of the line when it comes to that. Will need to do some more research on that.
  • Are you selling products online? 
  • Some of the production programs or art side of ideas.
  • Once they kick off the new brand they would look at moving towards.
  • How do you measure success with your website?
  • I want people to go to the site and be “that’s what I want to be a part of”
  • When someone looks at the site, they want a clear and concise message of what they do and know exactly what they offer.
  • What image, look, or feel do you want your website to portray?
  • Do you have examples of sites that you like?
  • Who are your competitors? Do they have sites? Can you provide them?

Scope

  • What is the scope of the project?
  • What is the timeline you’d like to have this project completed by?
  • Do you have a budget for this project?
  • What functions or features of your site are necessary to have versus nice to have?
  • What is the most important call-to-action on your site?
  • Do you have current traffic load? Do you anticipate an increase in traffic with this project?
  • If your visitors were to only visit your home page, what’s the most important information they need to know?
  • Do you have someone that’s going to work on design? Do they have a brand style guide to provide you?
  • Who is the decision maker of this project?
  • Do you have plans of what will happen after this site/project is launched?
  • Do you need web hosting? 
  • When they have certain events, etc. there would be things that need to change based on events or other things that are going on.

That’s my list. Are there questions I’m missing that you ask? Let me know what you think.


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Everyone I have been talking to lately seems to be over Zoom. They are tired of having every single meeting be on zoom. Anytime you need to discuss something with a co-worker, it seems to be “let’s jump on Zoom” and talk through it. .

The problem isn’t that we want to communicate. Because we do. I think the problem is that there’s a whole different situation where you have to jump on a video call.

As a product manager, I spend a considerable amount of time in meetings. But are meetings the only way to communicate? Are there other ways that you could communicate and get some time back in your day? It got me thinking about how we can have other avenues to communicate across team dynamics.

I’m setting out to get back some time in my day. Here are a few ways we can make that work.

Having Meetings

As part of any business, partnership, or team, you are going to have meetings. They are inevitable. But we can control how and when meetings should exist on our calendar. If we protect our calendar and do a little prep work ahead of the meetings that do get scheduled, it will make our lives a little less stressful.

Meetings Should Have Agendas

Every meeting on your calendar should have an agenda. If the meeting doesn’t have an agenda, cancel or reschedule the meeting. The agenda can be something as simple as a Google Doc, where others can add topics/points to discuss in the meeting. You could also use an app called Fellow.app.

Fellow is one of my favorite applications to use. Not only does it keep me insanely focused and organized for each upcoming meeting I have, but it also serves as a historical note-taking app as well. You can easily collect all of your recurring meetings and you can go back to them whenever you want.

Combining Meetings

Another trick is to take a look at your calendar. If you notice that you have a couple of meetings with the same person, like say a 1:1, you could combine your meetings and just move the topics into a similar conversation starter.

This allows you to meet longer, but less frequently so that you can get all the topics covered in one sitting rather than spreading them around. Of course, this isn’t going to work if someone’s calendar isn’t like yours, or you need to include other people in those meetings.

Loom

Sometimes things don’t need to be a real-time meeting. In some cases, someone pings you on slack while they are thinking about a specific topic or idea. You don’t have to jump on zoom instantly to talk about it.

Instead, you could look at using a service like Loom. Loom allows you to record your face and screen, along with a microphone, so that you can create a quick little screencast or video and instantly share it with whomever you need.

The great part of this is that you can do this all you want and send a video back to the person that requested something. They can leave comments on the link or even share it out with a broader audience.

I will add a little bonus here if you are looking to take the video and publish it. Loom is great at allowing you to download your videos. So you could easily add them to your YouTube channel, giving you a way of essentially creating free to low priority content.

Enter ZipMessage

A new player to the market is a little handy tool called ZipMessage. I can see so many uses for ZipMessage that it has me pretty excited. ZipMessage allows asynchronous communication between 2 people or many people.

What this means is that when you send a video to someone, they can watch it and they can reply to the video or audio message with their own video or audio message.

Wrapping Up

Zoom fatigue is real. Not everything you want to communicate needs to be taken care of with Zoom. These ways can help you get back to having a more manageable zoom experience while offering other negotiable ways of being productive and keeping your calendar from looking straight up.

How do these resonate with you? Am I missing something? Join me on Twitter or sign up to receive these in your inbox. If you reply, I’ll respond to each and every one of you.


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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed sharing everything that I’ve learned along my journey. It could be because I’m become a parent and a father and spend a lot of my day teaching my kids, whether it’s putting on shoes or getting them dressed, or even teaching them how to play ball. .

I find it to be enjoyable to get to experience that light bulb moment that someone gets when they catch on to what you’re trying to teach them.

I was talking to a friend last week about how at some point in your life, you become this nurturing person (when you have kids). I think it’s more than that. I think as you approach the middle of your life, you start to value experiences and life differently.

I think you start to evaluate where you’ve been and where you want to go. When you start to think about what got you here, you realize that path wasn’t always easy. It was challenging, tangled, messy. It causes you to rethink what you want to do with the rest of your life.

As I reflected on my path, the stories, opinions, decisions I made all led me to go back to the start.

It all started with the question of why.

  • Why do I want to blog?
  • Why do I want to write?
  • What do I want to write about?
  • What do I find Interesting?

Ok. Not all the questions started with why, but they all lead there.

Understanding Your Why

We all go throughout our lives, doing a wide range of activities. I think we can agree that we spend a lot of our lives working. Our closest friendships or relationships are with those that we spend a lot of time with or around.

We’re influenced by those relationships and make in many cases never stop to reflect on the why. Why are we in the place that we are now? Where can we go from here?

When is the last time, you spend time reflecting on your life, your options, your choices? Were they always the best decisions?

As I started to evaluate why I came up with the following concept or idea of why I wanted a blog and why I wanted to write at the end of the day.

I want to help people get to where they want to go.

It’s about helping them reach their goals, their dreams, helping them start a business, providing for their family, or even just helping them learn.

When I was starting out in my career, I spent a lot of time searching for answers to the questions I had. I knew very few people that were doing what I was doing.

Teaching What I Know

Today, there’s so much helpful content on the Internet, that it can be extremely frustrating to find something that looks like a solution to your issue, only to find out that it’s outdated or doesn’t end up solving your issue.

I think it’s really about sharing everything that I have and teaching everything that I know that, that ultimately it really gets to helping others that are on similar paths, find what they’re looking for. So how do you do that? How do you put together a concept of teaching everything?

To me, I think there is the ability to share vulnerable moments in your past, where you struggled that gives people an idea of how you found a way to succeed. It’s about sharing your journey up till the point you are currently at.

Sure. You can share how-to articles, frameworks, tactics, even strategies that helped you out, but I think the key is really about tying those together with your story. Painting a picture to your readers about what you were going through, the issue you were trying to solve, and then how to help them.

That’s what I think makes for a great lightbulb moment. What about you? Am I missing something that can help make those moments remarkable?


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