Have 23 target markets?

My advice to you is simple: pick one. Focus all of your energy on one market, and then once you’ve made this market notice you, and then love you, branch out. Branching out happens after you have achieved millions in annual revenue.

Of course, every industry and every niche is its own unique situation, but this is for sure: You must dominate your niche before you expand your reach.

One niche - 45 holes. And this is just one restaurant. What's your niche and how do you plan to fill it?

One niche – 45 holes. And this is just one restaurant. What’s your niche and how do you plan to fill it?

The Riches Are In The Niches

Cheech Marin at Dodger Stadium

Cheech Marin at the Dodgers trying to capture everyone’s attention.

It’s very easy to create a message that talks to everyone, and then have it delivered so the message reaches the most people. And, it’s only logical to believe if you have the attention of everyone, then you’ve got to reach someone.

Unfortunately, when you aim at everyone, you hit no one. Your message might be seen and heard, but it doesn’t mean it will have any impact on the person who saw or heard it.

The take away here is, it doesn’t matter who sees your message, your product, or your service if they don’t care about it.

Create your messages aimed at that person you know wants to hear what you have to say.

That is the person who matters to your business success. Talk to them. Create a conversation.

Get the attention of everyone


I woke up from a sound sleep last night with an upset stomach. It growled like an angry grizzly bear annoyed by some hipster campers trying to get a wi-fi connection near his personal salmon stream. I got up and looked around in my cabinets for something, anything to keep my puke record untarnished.

I found nothing.

I headed back to bed with a delicate and cautious step. I hurt even worse now – this was not the time for Pepto-Bismol to be missing. I felt like one of those bad actors on a late night TV commercial, acid reflux bubbling up like old faithful at Yosemite. Then when he takes his Previcid, everything is better and the world is a great place to live again. I love television.

While the next 45 minutes, 2700 seconds, of uncomfortable sleeplessness passed, one queasy second at a time, I counted.

Why? I don’t know.

Sometime you just get delirious when you’re sick and want it to be over. You want to be back in Neverland, asleep, especially when no meds of any kind are to be found. At least I do. So I counted. I counted LEDs on my laptop screen, square footage of my house, miles to work. The quickest way to the mall, and the vision that came to me was remarkable. Mrs. Catoe, my high school Algebra teacher, her shriveled face and bee-hive hair swirled in my head like a fast break on my best friends pool table when we tried to pretend we were hustlers in a movie.

Finally, I fell asleep.

When I woke up this morning, all seemed fine. A-okay.

I wondered if counting could be my new cure all my disorders. “I can count on Sesame Street’s Count for relief,” I joked with myself. And even though it wasn’t clever, I still chucked to myself.

Close call last night.

I laid in bed for a few minutes listening to the “too ugly for TV” DJs banter back and forth over the beginning of Madonna’s Papa don’t preach song, waiting for a possible abdominal disruption. Just in case something was hiding out from the night before, like a sneaky commando in the trenches of my innards, getting ready to toss a little grenade of gurgle.

While I waited it came to me that Mikey had swiped my Pepto about three months ago. And counting again, I figured it was 87 days, or more precisely…2092 hours earlier.

He has rushed in after a night of alcohol, calling and checking that I was awake. Complaining of his imminent death to be caused by Tequila and tacos.  “My stomach contains the Mexican Revolution,” he told me. “I’m dying.”  “I’ve got just the thing,” I said. “It’s small and pink, take it.”

I dreamed then of being a doctor.

I pictured myself saving lives.

I pictured patient after patient, lying on sweat-soaked gurneys, with the most awful stomach cramps in the history of disease, with convulsions, and a priest by their side. In the nick of time I would show up in a whirl of medical glory and spoon feed the miracle drug I had just invented in my laboratory. And they would be cured! And I would be the super-hero doctor forever!

After letting Mike take my bottle of milky pink elixir, he just left. Not even a “Gracias.”

I thought he was dying.

When I ask him I’m sure he won’t remember Pancho Villa shooting up his stomach.

And I’m positive he won’t care if I explain my disappointment at my failure to become a Hippocratic hero.

For today, though, I will leave my thoughts of Pepto-Bismol behind.

And resolve not to discuss it with Mike for another two weeks. 345 hours. 20,700 minutes.

The bottle is probably just sitting on his kitchen counter, just one of the 43 things sitting there.

Another forgotten number.

Mike and Math

Stop struggling to be better than the competition. Be better than what you were yesterday.

Stop struggling to be better than the competition.

…is your obsession with them.

We live in a giant community park called the internet. This makes everyone obsess over and get stuck watching and worrying about what the competition is doing. We follow them on Twitter, lurk on their blogs and Facebook, and wonder about every pin and re-pin they make. It seems like every move they make, every victory, acquisition and award is there for the world to see.

But, take your eyes off your phone, mobile, and screen and take a look in the mirror. There’s your real competition. What did you do yesterday to be more remarkable? It’s way more productive and more profitable to obsess over your business and what your customers are doing, then figure out how you can make yourself the thing they can’t live without, or how to help them to do it with more ease.

Becoming your competition means using the same rules to beat yourself at your own game. Focusing on your customers’ desires might be the strategy to beat the competition.

The Most Dangerous Thing About Competitors

Ideas start as words

And most businesses think in words. Open anybody’s notebook and you’ll see that. It’s true.

Photography by Andrew Phipps

Carlos Mencia – March 2010

Communication = words + visuals.

Ideas are the only reason to communicate.

They are integral to the process. Without a message, the conversation is incomplete.

What are you doing to make yourself of value?

What are you doing to make yourself of value?

Every day, I ask myself the same question:
What can I do today to increase value for my customers (blog readers, art lovers, Twitter followers, etc.), for my team and for my friends?

I also ask these questions to the people I work with:
Why do you exist, your site, your company?
What specific attributes are you trying to get across?
How do you help your customers’ lives?
How are you applying this to your products and your brand?

I ask myself the same question

Steve shows up on time. He designs two posters and three billboards by lunch, then sits back and waits impatiently for the five hours until he can leave to click down. And spends that time looking busy while bitching through email about how much he hates his job to a sympathetic spouse. All because he wasn’t singled out and congratulated for his great speed.

Lisa takes five minutes to chat to the coworker who has a story about his kids, and remembers the new kid has a birthday coming up. And goes out of her way to create a hand-made card for the office to sign. She remembers being that awkward newbie that just started and everyone ignores. She works hard, but she also works smart. And her work is impeccable. The clients who ask for her by name are happy to wait until she’s free. Her day is gone before she realizes it.

Are you telling yourself you're a hard worker when you're really a Queen "B"?

Are you telling yourself you’re a hard worker when you’re really a Queen “B”?

The truth is that both employees perform, but one employee is considered a worker bee and the other isn’t. Everyone respects one and the other is only fooling themself.

The story we tell as people and in our work is our impact on our whole life. And these stories scale. And in our increasingly connected world business is built on interactions and not transactions.

What is the story you’re telling yourself?

The world is built on interactions and not transactions

… every time you communicate you should tell a story …

Everything in nature and life has so many stories to tell.

Everything in nature and life has so many stories to tell.

My clients are not just companies they are people who also believe in the importance of remarkable stories. And every company has story after story. Just waiting to be told in an interesting and compelling way.

Leaders put passion into what they do. It’s about more than money. They have something unique and compelling — different than what anyone else has done — and they need to recognize that to compete through the future they need to tell their story. My strength lies in creating memorable connections through photography, story and design.

Everything has it’s own story


Not the way they love food or music. You want people, after the first time they deal with your business, to run immediately to their closest friends and tell them how amazing you are and why they should go buy what you sell. Today. Not now, yesterday! You are now their hero and they can’t figure out how they ever lived without you.

This shouldn’t be mission impossible. It’s your mission statement. Your business is fantastic. You regularly amaze your customers. They’re thrilled they found you.

So, what’s the problem? Are new customers finding you? Does your marketing show how brilliant and unique you really are, making those people – your would-be raving fans – think you’re just like all the other guys.

You know you’re not. You know your business is so much better. And you need someone to tell your story the right way, to the right audience.

That’s where I come in. I’m here to banish bad ads, sound-alike ads, buzzword-speak marketing, that stuff that seems to stand in the way of your brand advocates seeing who you really are. You need a unique selling position that is believable and convinces that person to come on in or call and discover what they’ve been missing all this time.

They’ve been missing out on one spectacular good business. But not anymore.

There are so many things I can’t live without. Some of them I have no idea how I found them. Some of them didn’t have a voice at all. But the do have a bad website, no cohesive marketing materials, nothing that lets me know that this one-of-a-kind product was right there waiting for me. Some of these “friends” have copy that reads right from the pages of War and Peace, so boring or full of buzzwords and corporate speak that when I read it I couldn’t tell this business was secretly the one that would save me.

I know there are many businesses out there. You have the best products in the world, and you’re missing that one spark…that voice, and sometimes it’s worse, you have the wrong voice. Your business would be thriving if it was’t slowly suffocating under mounds of bad marketing.

So I’m on a mission to give your businesses its voice.

If you love your company and want it to prosper, I can create for you. If you’re just a cool person, I want to hang out with you even if you don’t need me. But if you’d willingly sell snake oil because it can make you rich, find someone else. Someone without those pesky ethics. Sorry.

I have experience from working with some of the best companies around, clients from Florida to California, and a very traumatic story from a weekend in Morro Bay, California that I will happily retell to anyone who cares to buy me a beer.

There is no limit on what I will do for a client. If you’re one of those people who needs your ad yesterday (and we have all been that person), take a deep breath, look around, and see what can do…if you don’t see what you’re looking for, DON’T PANIC! Just pick up the phone and call me and ask, and I’ll be happy to promptly to say yes, I do that too.

I can usually return phone calls and email with a swiftness that can put a peregrine falcon to shame. Please do not be alarmed. I’m here to create solutions that solve problems, not sell you something.


You want people to love you

The idea is that content should be engaging, entertaining, interactive, interesting, relevant, and useful. Anything visual can reach out and tell the exact story you want to hear.

Queen of Hearts Art by Andrew Phipps

Queen of Hearts
Art by Andrew Phipps

Creativity should enrich people’s lives

Creative works hard, and looks good while doing it. It is what is remembered, shared, and talked about. Photography by Andrew Phipps

Creative works hard, and looks good while doing it. It is what is remembered, shared, and talked about. Photography by Andrew Phipps

Great creative is attractive and clever, but great creative is also smart because it has substance. Creative is the medium that delivers a message without making people feel like they are being sold. Creative talks to individuals like it knows and understands them and makes them more receptive to the message. Creative works hard, and looks good while doing it. It is what is remembered, shared, and talked about.
In today’s market, guess what gets noticed? The creative.

Creative is power

How do I use this theme?

Drake performs at San Manuel casino on February 10, 2011. photography by Andrew Phipps.

Drake performs at San Manuel casino on February 10, 2011. photography by Andrew Phipps.


Well, just bought my first theme on WordPress. And, to start, I am not impressed. In fact, navigation sucks. Sucks, Sucks.