Tag Archives: blogging

Boomer Business Blogger Part 4: You Have to Like Writing

True confession: I love writing. I love short sentences, strong words, making myself understood.

I think most, if not all, good bloggers like writing. Video people do vlogs and YouTube, poets go to Twitter (say, what?), but bloggers are writers. Almost all of my favorite blogs — I’ve got the blogroll on this blog, rightmost column, near the bottom — are written by people who care about writing. Not that they don’t care just as much about business, their main content area; but they’re writers.

Yes, I’ve done all the startups in my bio; yes, I have the MBA degree; and yes, I built Palo Alto Software. But if I could have made a decent living just writing, I would have.

Flashback: 1970, I was 22, wanted to write, studied literature. I was in a PhD program in comparative literature, briefly; ended up with MA in Journalism. UPI, McGraw-Hill, Mexico City, and whoosh, the 1970s all gone.

Flashback: 1979, journalist, bored filling space between ads, enrolled in Stanford University business school. Then I fell in love with business planning, helped to start Borland International, founded Palo Alto Software, founded bplans.com. And grew it, slowly for years, no outside investment. Tough times, good times.

And suddenly it was 2007, 40+ employees and a great management team, me struggling with changed technology, and I changed jobs. And started blogging. That change was Part 1 of this series.

So what helps me a lot is that I like writing. As a journalist I wrote a lot for many different publications. I also wrote published fiction (not very good, by the way, not worth citing, but they paid me) (and I’m not including market research that was wrong, either) and a full-length novel that got some second looks, but never got published.

So now, you can see how much blogging I do by looking at the sidebar here on the right. You can’t see that I’m also writing a lot on a family site, a personal site, and even an anonymous pure writing site.

If you’re going to be blogging a lot, you have to like writing.

Boomer Business Blogger Part 3: Is It Good Business?

A nice person almost apologized to me for not having her business on Facebook. I said: “but why?”

Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest of that “social media stuff” may or may not be good business. But not just for its own sake. It has to be part of a strategy.

Otherwise, it may or may not be fun, depending on who you are and what you like to do; but it’s not good business without a related plan for how it’s supposed to help. Does it generate leads? Page views? Validation? Or is it just a rationalization for spending time doing something you like, like keeping up with friends, being clever.

My blogging has a business strategy. I don’t sell anything, but I do talk about business planning and business management. It relates to my books, my software authorship, and the company I founded. It generates page views in the Bplans.com domain. It validates.

So it’s fun, but it’s good business too. In this case, at least. It relates directly to validation of product, to page views, and to marketing objectives.

What is it for you? What’s the business objective? How to you measure achievement of that objective? Do you have metrics to review? Do you remember to review them?

Boomer Business Blogger Part 2: It’s A Full-time Job

Benjamin Floyd of Read Click Done asked me after yesterday’s post: “how do you do it?” Two books, 1400 or so posts, 1300 or so tweets in the last two years. “Where do you find the time.”

Fair question. Reminds me of Bob Sutton’s Really, I Write it Myself. So do I. Bob thanks his editors, and so do I. But yeah, I write it all myself. (Well, there was that one guest post on angel funding, but it was the only exception.)

It’s a full-time job

To all the real business people feeling insufficient because experts say they’re supposed to be doing all this as a sideline, I say: relax. That’s a myth. A post now and then and some tweets here and there, maybe; but this blogging I do is a full-time job.

I go to the office every day, and I’m there all day except meetings (and traveling, and teaching, and speaking gigs, and angel investment, but that detracts from my point, so forget I said it).

I’m often writing at night too. And on weekends.

I also use scheduling. For example, I’m on vacation with family today, so I wrote this last Saturday, to be posted today.

Repeat: it’s a full-time job. It doesn’t just happen.

It’s no coincidence that my new life blogging and writing and speaking and teaching, and tweeting too for the last few months, was a delightful baby-boomer late 50s career change. While I’m still employed full time by Palo Alto Software, the company I founded, I don’t run it. Nobody reports to me. As I said in yesterday’s part 1, my business card says “President” but it should say Chief Blogging Officer.

Boomer Business Blogger Part 1: Two Year Anniversary

Two years ago this month I started blogging. Just a couple weeks after naming Sabrina Parsons CEO of Palo Alto Software. I remained president, but switched my job to blogging, writing, speaking, and teaching. I guess I should have changed my title to CBO, for chief blogging officer.

I didn’t understand at first …

“I’m a business plan expert,” I said, naively. “I write how-to stuff. It doesn’t work on blogs. It’s static.”

Sabrina, however, insisted.

Set up your Google reader. Start reading Anita Campbell, John Jantsch, Guy Kawasaki, Pam Slim. You’ll figure it out.

What happened? On the day of that conversation I’d posted seven times on my one main blog Planning Startups Stories. As of today I’ve posted 700 posts on that one, plus 460 posts on Up and Running, my blog at Entrepreneur.com, plus 43 on Huffington Post, a couple dozen on Small Business Trends, about a dozen on USNews, and 140 on Planning Demystified. And come to think of it, I’m also posting on Business in General, Email Fail, and some others.

I read a lot of great blogs. Those four above, Steve King’s Small Business Labs, Seth Godin, Bob Sutton. Oh. I just checked. Several hundred links on my Google reader. Better stop listing. I owe thanks to so many others.

I think I get LinkedIn now. I’ve been answering questions in LinkedIn too … I’ve got a good ranking in the business plan category there. I’m connected with people I know and like.

Lately I’m loving Twitter. I’ve tweeted more than 1,200 times. I love keeping up with friends and favorite bloggers, the news in general, a few celebrities, and, my favorite benefit of Twitter, links to Web things that interested the people I follow. My Twitter friends keep me up to date. I love it. I don’t do Twitter clutter: no tweets about what’s for lunch, going home, ball games or weather; I do tweets about links, issues, articles, people, news.

I’m still struggling with Facebook, trying to figure out how to resolve the inherent conflict between use for business, keeping track with business-related contacts, and use for personal, photos from the kids and grandkids, keeping up with cousins and nieces and nephews. I’m a split personality in Facebook.

So for the record, they were right, I was wrong. I did have blogging in me. “And,” they added (flashing back to that conversation two years ago), “your blogging will be good for our company.” They were right about that, too.

I don’t think anybody (certainly not I) realized how much I’d enjoy writing again. Maybe it’s that 30-some years ago, before I got the MBA degree and got into business, I was a journalist. I was a foreign correspondent in Mexico City. I was night editor for United Press International (UPI) there, then I was a McGraw-Hill World News (think Business Week) stringer there, and I freelanced a lot too.

Not that journalism is the same as writing. In my case, I also wrote fiction, got a short story published, wrote a novel that got some second looks, but never got published (no loss, it wasn’t that good). My BA degree was in literature, and I got an MA in journalism too, just before going to Mexico for years, and long before coming back to the U.S. to get the MBA degree.

So let me say that I love it. It’s been great for me. But it’s also been very good for business, too, which is really cool. But that’s another post, scheduled for tomorrow.