6 Years Without a Boss

On this day in 2011, my life changed dramatically. I didn’t know it at the time, but the change was for the better.

I was laid off on August 18, 2011, and it was my second layoff in about two years. Confidence was at an all-time low. Pressure to produce for my wife and three boys was at an all-time high.

I could never have dreamed on that day that six years later I’d be boss-less. Well, I’d likely assume unemployment was a possibility. But not a business of my own that would not only succeed but sustain that long.

I’m not your prototypical entrepreneur, by any stretch of the imagination. You may think of overachievers. Hyperactive personalities. Extroverts. Work over sleep. None of these words and phrases describe me.

I feel incredibly lucky.

My wife Lisa has supported me throughout the crazy. She remained patient while my lack of paycheck could have been interpreted as laziness and refusal to work.

I’ve had jobs, experiences, friends, acquaintances, support system, privileges, and education that all helped make this possible.

Six years ago, our oldest son was 10. He’s now driving. Six years ago, I felt like a mid-30s kid still trying to grow up. Maybe even resisting adulthood.

I had no vision. I had no grand idea for what I was going to create. There was no business plan.

I just started to write…

This is where you expect me to write about how I became rich and famous. About how I make six figures when I sleep at night, and “here are the three steps so you can do it, too.”

Wealth and fame may motivate some, but it’s never been interesting to me. I measure wealth in time, freedom, flexibility. Time with family. Freedom to do what I want. Flexibility to control my own hours.

By that definition, you’re damn right I’m rich.

I walked my youngest son to school this morning, and I’ll pick him up when he’s done. I spend more time coaching my middle son’s baseball team than I do worrying about work. My wife and I spend so much time together that she gets sick of me.

And it’s glorious.

This new life of freedom still has its challenges. It’s not perfect. I have regular battles and struggles that are unique to this type of life.

After six years of this, here is a sampling of the important lessons I’ve learned…

Have Patience

That first year was rough. The first six months were even worse. It felt as though I was going nowhere. Progress was difficult to spot, and each step forward seemed to be followed by a step back.

You aren’t going to figure this out overnight. Progress may be slow. Have realistic goals and expectations.

So much of why I’m bossless today is because I didn’t let early failures ruin me. It could have easily happened. I was certainly close to that place. There are times when I still get low.

Impatience leads to a negative outlook. Dissatisfaction. Eventually, you’ll want to give up.

Don’t do it. Be reasonable about your goals. Be fair to yourself and your ability to reach those goals.

Keep Grinding

Going on your own can be overwhelming. There are so many things you can do, so many products you can create, so many tools you should use, so much advice you can take. The result is often paralyzation.

Paralyzation defined much of the early part of my journey. There are so many ways to go, and you don’t know where to start. The easiest thing to do: Nothing.

Progress happens when I create. So what if no one reads that blog post? Write. So what if no one attends that webinar? Host it. So what if no one buys that product? Launch it.

Irrational fear keeps us from trying. But the reality is that we learn something valuable with each new attempt. We learn about what worked and what didn’t, and we make it better next time.

If we’re constantly sitting back, waiting for whatever we’re thinking about doing to be perfect, we’ll never get anything done.

Keep grinding. Fight through the doubt and urge to do nothing.

Keep creating. The joy of helping even one person will be worth it.

Keep failing. It won’t be perfect. The more you fail, the more valuable experiences you’ll have.

Keep learning. Read, try, and experiment. Make yourself and your business better through knowledge.

Take Care of Yourself

You can sleep until noon if you want. Skip breakfast. Eat Skittles for lunch. Watch every episode of Game of Thrones in your underwear.

Who’s stopping you? You don’t have a boss. YEAH! You don’t have a boss! You do what you want!

As someone who’s done it, don’t. It’s not worth it. After 16 days of Skittles, you’ll begin to regret it.

Try to sleep like a normal human. Eat good meals. Don’t forget to exercise. Remember: Your business depends on you. You’re its most important asset!

Solitude is Hard

In the beginning, it’s pretty awesome not having a boss. There are other perks like not having that annoying co-worker around, too. But eventually, it can get awfully quiet.

During the summer months, it’s a party in the Loomer house. All of the kids are around. They want me to play catch in the front yard or play Uno while we watch a mid-afternoon movie.

Then they go to school… Crickets.

No work gossip. No complaining about a project. No office pranks.

It’s one of those things that no one really prepared me for. Working out of my dark basement gets quiet and lonely. And it can suck.

Find a way to remain social. Online social activity can help, but only until you fall in a rabbit hole of comments on a political post (DON’T READ THE COMMENTS, DAMMIT!). Get a hobby. Make friends. Do something.

Coaching baseball helps for me. I set up a daily call with John Robinson. I also go out to lunch every Friday with my wife.

It still gets lonely, but it’s a start.

Create a Routine

You don’t have a boss. No one is telling you what to do. There are a million things you can do today. Where do you start?

I’ll freely admit that I am not an organized person. I’m done feeling embarrassed about it. It’s who I am. I’m not changing. “Winging it” is a skill of mine. I can procrastinate like it’s an Olympic event.

But some structure is necessary. Every day, there’s one task that is primary. It needs to get done. If I get other stuff done, great.

Monday is for my PHC – Entrepreneurs Facebook Live. Tuesday is for training program lessons. Wednesday is for my weekly PHC – Elite weekly webinar. Thursday is for one-on-ones. Friday is for blogging, but it’s otherwise my free day.

That doesn’t mean I don’t do anything else on those days, but having that structure makes me more focused without the overwhelm.

Get Help

When you’re starting your own business, it’s easy to try and do too much. You know what’s best, and you’re trying to save money, so you do it all yourself.

Just stop this madness.

I was a designer, programmer, customer service agent, and podcast editor in the beginning. And I was terrible at these things.

Hire people whose expertise is in your weakness. Find people who are experts in the things that you hate to do.

It will save you a ton of time so that you can focus your energy on the important tasks associated with growing the business.

Balance Involvement with Personal Value

There’s a big potential pitfall associated with getting help. I was not prepared for it.

Once I passed off the things I didn’t want to do, I suddenly felt less valuable. I felt out of the loop. It sapped my inspiration.

Example: I don’t like handling customer service. I can get 99 friendly emails, but the one angry message ruins my day. By passing off that duty, I no longer need to deal with the angry messages. But I also don’t see the nice ones.

Those nice messages make my day. They keep me motivated. They provide inspiration and make me feel like I’m making a difference.

My point? Find a balance. Get help while also making sure that the value you provide keeps you inspired.

Biggers Isn’t Always Better

Innuendo is hilarious.

In the beginning, it was always about shipping and creating. Launch something new. Find another revenue source. Hit a new goal.

Those days are over for me. At least in this current stage of my business.

I’ve found a perfect place right now. It’s a good balance between effort and revenue needed to live my desired lifestyle. To make more, I’d need to create more. Launch more. Build more.

As I said earlier, creating and launching are good. That’s how you learn. But stay within your limits. Know that more money doesn’t equal more happiness.

Have a Reason Why

It’s pretty simple for me. My family keeps me motivated. I want to spend more time with them. Coach their baseball teams. Participate in their lives. Go on vacations with them. These things are what drive focus of my business.

Want me to speak at your event? Eh. It had better not be during baseball season. And it needs to be a family event for a fun vacation. Otherwise, it’s not worth it for me, and I don’t care what the speaking fee is.

Making business decisions becomes easy when you have an overarching reason why you’re doing it all in the first place.

Don’t Obsess Over the Competition

I’m not saying you should completely ignore what other people are doing. When I was finding my way, I learned a lot from the likes of Amy Porterfield, Mari Smith, Chris Brogan, Marcus Sheridan, and many others.

But don’t obsess with keeping up with them. Don’t assume that they have it all figured out. That their backstage is a well-oiled machine. That they’re as happy and successful as they can be.

Look, there’s something to be said for a little competition. I learned this recently in a 5K. I ran for 10 days straight to prepare, running some pretty bad times. I then took 10 straight days off for a family vacation. I jumped into the 5K cold, and ran my best time in months.

Why? Because I wasn’t running by myself. That 12-year-old kid passed me, but I’m going to pass him back. That man my age will not finish ahead of me.

Some competition is healthy. But don’t let it guide all that you do.

Embrace Change

Change is hard for me right now. I have everything the way I want it. Any big change completely throws that out of whack.

But I realize that change is necessary from time to time. Freshen up your approach. Try something new. Not only can your brand get stale to your audience, but repetition can create boredom for the creator.

I admit it. The very routine that I created for myself this year has resulted in more boredom than I’ve experienced since I started. But that’s just a good sign for me: It’s time to mix things up soon.

Doing something new and different — as long as it’s managed, controlled, and doesn’t overextend — can be liberating and inspiring.

As fun as this has been, I know I won’t be writing about Facebook ads for the next 20 years. I’m looking forward to that next business opportunity (baseball related?) that comes my way.

Your Turn

This list could keep going, but these are the primary lessons that come to mind from the past six years. I appreciate you, and I hope you’ve found this article and my content helpful.

Thank you!

The post 6 Years Without a Boss appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

6 Years Without a Boss
Source: Great Facebook Feeds From Around The Web

Facebook Event Custom Audiences: More Targeting Power

It never seems to stop. Facebook provides a constant stream of updates for advertisers looking to target their ideal customer. The latest addition to the tool box: Facebook Event Custom Audiences.

Facebook Events have been around for years. You’ve been able to create an Event from the Facebook publisher since 2009.

Facebook Events

Facebook Events allow marketers to generate buzz and commitment around a virtual or in-person event. Up until now, Facebook ad targeting of those who engage with Events has been limited to targeting or excluding those who responded (in any way) to a specific Event.

Facebook Events

The latest changes give advertisers much more power to target and exclude those who engage with their Events.

About Facebook Event Custom Audiences

Facebook Event Custom Audiences are a subset of Engagement Custom Audiences. Engagement Custom Audiences give advertisers multiple ways to target those who engage with their

The post Facebook Event Custom Audiences: More Targeting Power appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Facebook Event Custom Audiences: More Targeting Power
Source: Great Facebook Feeds From Around The Web

Facebook News Feed: Website Speed Gets Higher Priority

Facebook is constantly tweaking their news feed algorithm. The algorithm helps determine what users see and what they don’t, all in an effort to make the Facebook user experience as engaging and addicting as possible. The latest impact of the algorithm to the Facebook news feed: Website speed.

This continues a trend for Facebook, putting an emphasis on website speed from a mobile device. They realize that 40 percent of users abandon after waiting more than three seconds for a page to load. This behavior was at least partially behind the development of Canvas and Instant Articles, which provide publishers an instant-load alternative.

Let’s take a closer look at the change to the Facebook news feed algorithm, as well as some of Facebook’s recommendations to keep your content at the top of the feed.

News Feed Update Favors Website Speed

Here is the exact update, according to Facebook:

With this update, we’ll soon take into account the estimated load time of a webpage that someone clicks to from any link in News Feed on the mobile app. Factors such as the person’s current network connection and the general speed of the corresponding webpage will be considered. If signals indicate the webpage will load quickly, the link to that webpage might appear higher in your feed.

As stated above, this update appears to impact mobile only. A slow load time does not guarantee low priority in the news feed, just as a fast load time does not guarantee high priority. But it is one of many factors that Facebook will consider.

While they don’t come out and say it, this will likely mean that Facebook will ultimately favor Instant Articles (also speculated by Sarah Perez of Tech Crunch here).

Instant Articles present an alternate version of your web page that is hosted on Facebook servers. As a result, it loads instantly, which — in theory — provides an improved user experience. It would be easy to assume that such articles will get a boost.

Many publishers remain skeptical of the format due to the loss of control. While it isn’t easy to adjust, you must consider the increased views and improved user experience when measuring value to the user and your brand.

I use Instant Articles. While I’m not bullish on the format, I consider it a necessary adoption for the time being.

When Will This Roll Out?

Facebook’s updates tend to be gradual, and this is no exception. In their announcement, Facebook says the update will be rolled out “gradually over the coming months.”

How much of an impact will this make to your page and brand? It’s impossible to say. But it would be smart to take a close look at whether the speed of your website can be improved in the interim.

Facebook Recommendations to Improve Website Speed

Facebook offers the following 10 website speed best practices to give your links a fighting chance in the news feed:

  1. Minimize landing page redirects, plugins, and link shorteners
  2. Compress files to decrease mobile rendering time
  3. Improve server response time by utilizing multi region hosting
  4. Remove render-blocking javascript
  5. Use a high-quality content delivery network to reach your audience quickly
  6. Remove redundant data that does not impact how the page is processed by the browser
  7. Optimize images to reduce file size without diminishing visual quality
  8. Reduce the size of above the fold content to prioritize visual content
  9. Use asynchronous scripts to streamline page render time
  10. Dynamically adjust the content for slower connections/devices

If you have a tech person who manages your website, pass this on to them and make sure that you’re doing all you can to minimize load time. That’s what I did!

Tools for Testing and Improving Website Speed

I appreciate that Facebook provides several tools to help us test and improve the speed of our websites. Here are the five tools that they recommend:

PageSpeed Insights: This is a Google tool that runs a test of both a desktop and mobile web page.

PageSpeed Insights

What’s nice about this tool is that it provides a list of specific recommendations for improving the speed of this page.

PageSpeed Insights

Note that you get recommendations for both desktop and mobile. The focus of Facebook’s news feed algorithm update is mobile. However, there’s no reason to ignore the performance of your website on desktop.

This is actually my site speed tool of choice as I find it to be much more helpful and user friendly — particularly for the non-techie — than the others listed here.

Page Speed: This is just a Firefox add-on that allows you to easily test the page you are currently looking at through PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights

YSlow: This is a free Chrome extension from Yahoo! that provides site speed recommendations.

YSlow

The program feels outdated, but it does the job.

WebPagetest: This tool runs three tests before showing a “waterfall view” of load performance and an optimization checklist.

WebPageTest

This tool also has an outdated feel and will be overwhelming to non-techies, but that’s why you should send it to your tech person.

Dotcom-Monitor: This tool runs tests in 23 locations and seven browsers to spot weaknesses.

Dotcom-Monitor

This tool runs tests twice as the speeds for the first and second visit are often different.

Your Turn

I’ve spotted areas of improvement for my website thanks to these tools, and I’m hoping to get things cleaned up prior to Facebook’s update. Have you tested your own website yet? What are you seeing?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook News Feed: Website Speed Gets Higher Priority appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Facebook News Feed: Website Speed Gets Higher Priority
Source: Great Facebook Feeds From Around The Web

Facebook Messenger Ads: A Guide

Facebook has added several features and options to Facebook Messenger ads over the past several months, providing new ways to communicate with customers and potential customers. However, advertisers are often confused about how to use these features.

I decided to put together a guide that will help differentiate three primary features of Facebook Messenger ads:

  • Messenger Destination
  • Messenger Home Placement
  • Sponsored Messages Placement

In each case, I’ll help you understand what each feature is and how you can use it.

Messenger Destination

Messenger Destination allows advertisers to create ads that send people into a conversation within Facebook Messenger.

It’s important to understand that Messenger Destination is not a placement. When creating an ad, you’ll have the option of choosing your destination. In other words, where will people be directed upon clicking your ad?

Facebook Messenger Destination

That will typically be an external URL. But when using the Conversions or Traffic objectives, that could also be Messenger.

If you choose Messenger as your destination, you’ll first need to upload an image for your ad.

Facebook Messenger Destination

Facebook recommends this image be 1200 x 628 pixels, or a 1.91:1 aspect ratio.

Next, you’ll need to provide the rest of the content of the ad: Headline, Text, Call to Action Button, and Newsfeed Link Description.

Facebook Messenger Destination

When it’s all said and done, this is what my ad looks like within desktop news feed:

Facebook Messenger Destination

As mentioned earlier, once someone clicks that ad they will be directed to a conversation within Facebook Messenger. You also need to set up what that will look like.

Click “Set Up Messenger Content” when creating your ad, and you’ll see something like this…

Facebook Messenger Destination

Your Messenger content can be text only, image and text, or video. Let’s focus first on text, using the “Quick Creation” method (JSON is much more advanced and needs its own blog post).

You’ll need to provide introductory text (optional), message text, and button.

Facebook Messenger Destination

The introductory text simply appears above your message text. The button is a simple link below that will drive the user to a different destination. If you have a bot, you can use the button as a postback (this again is a discussion for a new blog post, so we’ll focus on using links).

Upon clicking my ad, the user will be sent to Facebook Messenger and see a message like this…

Facebook Messenger Destination

If you want, you can add multiple buttons…

Facebook Messenger Destination

Here’s what the process looks like when using image and text…

Facebook Messenger Destination

For video, you’ll need to provide introductory text, a video file (no more than 25 MB), and a quick reply.

Facebook Messenger Destination

The quick reply will be sent immediately upon the user sending a message, so make sure it’s something that will make sense in all situations.

Messenger Home Placement

In the case of Messenger Destination, your ad may appear in several different placements (desktop news feed, mobile news feed, Instagram feed, etc.), but send the user into a conversation within Facebook Messenger. But placements are also available within Messenger.

When selecting placement, you may notice that there are now two options under Messenger…

Facebook Messenger Home Placement

The ad we created earlier using Messenger destination can actually appear within the Messenger Home placement. It would look like this…

Facebook Messenger Home Placement

This ad would appear within a user’s Messenger, on the home screen, and below their messages.

Note that there are no limitations to targeting when using the Messenger Home placement.

Sponsored Messages Placement

As you noticed above, Sponsored Messages is also a placement option. A Sponsored Message will actually appear within someone’s messages in Messenger, not just within the Home screen.

To do this, though, Facebook limits whom you can target. When selecting Sponsored Messages, you’ll only be able to target those who have messaged your page before. We’ll get to that in a minute.

By default, the Sponsored Messages placement is unchecked. If you check it, you’ll get the following message…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

Upon turning this placement on, all other placements are removed.

Within the ad set, you also must select your Facebook page. Don’t forget to do this!

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

Another difference you’ll notice is under “Audiences” within Custom Audiences…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

The only audience you can target is people who have messaged your page before. This is one of the audiences you can create within Page Engagement Custom Audiences.

If you’ve created one of these audiences before, it will appear when clicking into the Custom Audiences text box.

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

If nothing appears and you’ve created one of these audiences before, make sure that you selected your page earlier. That created frustration for me initially.

If you haven’t created one of these audiences before, click “Create New” and select “Custom Audience.”

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

Select “Engagement”…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

Then select “Facebook Page”…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

To create your audience, select your page and then make sure to select “People who sent a message to your Page”…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

I recommend using 365 days, unless you get a ton of messages. Otherwise, this is going to be a very small audience. After clicking to create the audience, it will automatically be added to the targeting within your ad set.

Note that you can add targeting for locations, age, gender, languages, detailed targeting, and connections.

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

Keep in mind that all this does is filter your audience of people who have messaged your page. As you add targeting, the audience will only get smaller.

Within “Optimization,” you’ll notice that your options are limited…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

You can only optimize for impressions, meaning that Facebook will show it to as many people within your audience as many times as possible. Given the small size of the audience, it’s probably best to use this option anyway.

You’ll need to enter a manual bid. Facebook uses $30 by default (or at least that’s what I get). You should experiment with what works best here.

When creating your ad, you’ll notice that “Single Image” is your only format option.

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

You’ll need to provide the following:

  • Website URL: Where someone goes after clicking your CTA link
  • Headline: The bold text under your image
  • Call to Action: The link button at the bottom
  • Link Description: The gray text under the headline

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

When you’re done, the ad will look something like this in a user’s inbox…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

When clicked, your message will look like this…

Facebook Sponsored Message Placement

Using Messenger Ads

Here are some quick thoughts on how you might use these…

Messenger Destination: This is a good way to get a conversation going about a topic that may be a bit more complicated. Think higher priced products, service quotes, or anything that may generate questions prior to a commitment.

Broader audiences are okay here. It’s also a good way to increase the number of people who have messaged your page — an audience that can be used for Sponsored Messages placement.

Messenger Home Placement: It’s just another placement. If you use automatic placements, you’ll be using this without knowing it anyway. So this placement is all purpose.

While it’s not as intrusive as Sponsored Messages, you should still monitor how this performs and respond accordingly.

Sponsored Messages Placement: You’re sending someone a private message within their Facebook Messenger. This is about as intrusive as advertising gets. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, but you should do so with caution.

It’s good that you’re limited to targeting only those who messaged you before. That should cut down on the complaints. And if done properly and respectfully, you may get great results.

Similar to Messenger Destination, consider this an opportunity to start a conversation around something that tends to be more complicated or create confusion.

Keep in mind that this placement is going to typically have a very small targeted audience, so your budget should be very small as well.

Your Turn

Have you started experimenting with Messenger ads yet? How are you using them, and what types of results are you seeing?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Messenger Ads: A Guide appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Facebook Messenger Ads: A Guide
Source: Great Facebook Feeds From Around The Web

Facebook Groups for Pages: Cut Through the Clutter

Facebook has announced the launch of Groups for Pages, allowing brands, businesses, and artists to create groups around their super-fans.

Let’s take a closer look at how these groups change things and how you can link a group to your page today.

Groups Linked to Pages

In the past, you could have created a group for your most engaged customers and fans, but finding those groups could have been difficult.

Now, brands can showcase related groups straight from their Facebook pages…

Facebook Groups for Pages

Publish as Yourself or Your Page

One of the complaints of Facebook groups in the past has been that you couldn’t publish as your page. While this added to the personalization of groups, it removed branding opportunities to communicate directly between brand and customer.

That changes with this update. Admins of a linked group will have the option of publishing as the page or their personal profile.

Facebook Groups for Pages

How to Link a Group to Your Page

If you see “Groups” on the left side of your page, great. It’s pretty easy and self explanatory. But if you’re like me, this wasn’t the case.

If you don’t see “Groups” on the left side, go to your Page Settings and then click “Edit Page.”

Facebook Groups for Pages

I’ve found that clicking the “Use Default Tabs” slider will bring the Groups tab up.

Facebook Groups for Pages

Otherwise, click “Add a Tab” at the bottom.

Facebook Groups for Pages

That should bring up an option to add a Groups tab.

Facebook Groups for Pages

Then you should see “Groups” as an option on the left side of your page. When clicking on it, you’ll have an option to link or create a group.

Facebook Groups for Pages

To link an existing group, click “Link Your Group” and select the page you want to link to this page.

If you want to create a group from scratch, click “Create Group” at the bottom and start the creation process.

Facebook Groups for Pages

Facebook will automatically add you and your page as people to the group. You can add others (like other admins) if you want.

After choosing an icon, your group will then be linked to your page.

Cut Through the Clutter

If you’ve been marketing on Facebook for the past few years, you’re well aware of the primary complaint from brands regarding reach. The news feed is a competition for eyeballs, so Facebook helps surface what they believe will be most interesting to users. More often than not, this is at the expense of brand messaging.

That’s not necessarily wrong. Brands are boring. Facebook usage continues to climb. So the deprioritization of brands in the news feed is apparently the right move for user experience.

One challenge for brands is that a post to the news feed is a one to many conversation. It’s not much of a conversation at all. But groups give all members who share an interest equal standing to start or join a conversation.

Linking a group to your page has the potential to generate more natural discussion around a shared interest related to your brand. As a result, this discussion is much more likely to make its way into the competitive news feed.

Your Turn

I see opportunities to encourage higher quality conversation between brand and customer with this update. I’ve already applied it to a baseball related page with great success.

What are your thoughts of this update? Is it something you’ll use? How will you apply it?

Let me know in the comments below!

The post Facebook Groups for Pages: Cut Through the Clutter appeared first on Jon Loomer Digital.

Facebook Groups for Pages: Cut Through the Clutter
Source: Great Facebook Feeds From Around The Web