Category Archives for "My Small Business Diary"

Out With The Old, In With The New

To Refresh Your Memory… It Used To Look Like This2015-06-19_23-28-36
Hey All.

Excel.TV is on a break until the start of the July, so I have been taking this time to get my house in order.

First things first. You will notice a fresh coat of paint on this website.

I needed a way to organize the site in a way that made sense to me. To be honest, when I first started this site, I didn’t know what I wanted it to be. I had a developed a product (some Excel Templates for Small Business Owners). And at the time it seemed like I should be writing articles that appealed to that audience. So it was a Small Business Owner’s blog for a bit.  Plus it interested me as well.

The point is, that it started out as some small business articles and Excel Resource pages.

But over the last few years, Excel.TV has taken off, and I am working on ExcelSUMO with some other new friends.  And it just seems more and more, like everything I was writing here was about my business growth.

You know… Things I Wanted To Write About

I have also come to notice that so much of my Business Intelligence and Analytics background is absent from this site.  But it is such a large part of my life, that it should be here as well.

So… these are early stages

But I think I’ve finally decided what this site RickGrantham.com is meant to be.

I will not likely build out Excel tutorials in a massive way on this site.  Still deciding between Excel.TV and possibly another site for that.

But if you are a struggling entrepreneur – particularly in the Excel community.  I invite you to follow along.

As there will be much more coming in the near future.

Until next time…

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

6

Excel Business Strategy Update

2015-05-04_12-19-03I am back from the 2015 PASS Business Analytics Conference.  The Excel TV team was there delivering presentations and providing video content and support for the conference.  More on that in the next post.

While I was there, I got to meet a lot of people that I only knew from their facebook profiles and twitter handles.  It’s a crazy virtual world we live in nowadays.  On several occasions, people mentioned that they were following the decisions that I am making with my online business. My goals, etc.  As it is helping them to think through their own situation as they transition from “working for the man” to “being the man”.  I am not going to give a blow by blow update of every goal, but rather an update on important items that are impacting where I am putting my focus.

Structure

LLC

At the beginning of the year, I started an LLC.  This was primarily so that I had a little personal buffer as I (I mean the LLC) enters into contracts.  As I expect this may happen as the year progresses.  Company is Tagrilla LLC.  Tagrilla is the combination of Taguchi and 500 lb gorilla.  Precise and Bold.  It works for now.

Virtual Assistant

I have had a part-time virtual assistant for about 3 weeks now.  She did many of the videos from the Carl Pepperseed episode and several of the PASS BA Interviews.  I gave her tasks that generally took me 8-12 hours a week.  Additionally, I am in conversations with an Excel guy to take the Excel TV tips and turn them into blog posts.  We have about 50 in backlog.

Excel TV

Social Accounts

Our social accounts are progressing pretty much on target except for Youtube subscribers.  I set a stretch goal of reaching 4k subscribers by years end.  We are trending a bit closer to 3k.

Email

Email subscribers are growing at a pace that is consistent with my projections.

Website

The visitors to the website are slightly above my projections.  Our pages viewed per visitor dropped a ton when I introduced the new theme in January.  That is starting to creep back up now.  Basically the Excel.TV domain is in good shape and growing decently.  Its not making money, but I will get to that later.  As money needs to be made to pay for the virtual assistants. I have been adding a lot of content to the site.

Summary

Excel TV as a brand and as a URL is in decent shape and is growing at a decent clip.  We are getting invited to participate in more and more conferences.  We are not at critical mass.  Far from it.  But things are progressing nicely on this front.

Non – Excel.TV

My focus on Excel.TV has come at a price.  Although my Small Business Champion Bundle Templates are on target to meet the annual goals, I have not accomplished anything.  My success there is just inertia from the previous year – plus a bump in my Youtube rankings.  I haven’t added a single video to support that bump.  It just happened.

Products

With Excel.TV on target to meet its projections, and with the Virtual Assistants in place, I should be able to decrease the effort that I put into Excel.TV.  This means I will shift my focus to product building.  There are two products that are currently in development.  #1 is another series of templates.  #2 is a training product that I am partnering with someone on.  Need to bring both of these to market this year.

Website

This website (rickgrantham.com) is roughly flat month over month.  Not much of a surprise as my effort was diverted to Excel.TV.  As I move more of my mundane tasks over to virtual assistants, I will start adding more content here.  Here is the problem as I see it…

  • Jordan is from OptionExplicitVBA.com, he is an author and an Excel MVP — and is also on Excel.TV.
  • Oz is from DataScopic.net, he is an author and an Excel MVP – and is also an Excel.TV
  • Rick is Excel.TV

When linking to Jordan or Oz, you are most likely to link to their respective websites.  For Rick you are more likely to link to Excel.TV.  Which isn’t a problem all by itself.  It was done by design.  But that will need to change as I progress.  Where RickGrantham.com is my home base, not Excel.TV.  That requires shifting my focus as the VA’s get in place.

My Focus

I have been struggling with this for a while.  What is my focus within the Excel community.  What do I want to be known for.  If right now I am known for the Excel.TV gig, then that is fine.   But here is what I mean…

  • Jordan is a data visualization guy
  • Oz is a clean data guy
  • Zack Barresse, Kevin Jones and many others are data automation guys (application builders)
  • Rob Collie is the PowerPivot guy
  • etc

So that’s been the struggle.

During the PASS BA Conference, I was fortunate enough to have lots of conversations that framed my thinking on this.  From beers with Zack Barresse (“so… do you know VBA?”) to quick chats with Rob Collie (“Help me understand the connection between a BI guy and Excel TV?”) and tons of other little conversation.

You know… if you get beyond the Excel Resource pages (best excel books, best excel websites, etc) the most successful things I have done are not where I am trying to teach you how to do a drop down in Excel.  But rather where I am bringing my background in Business Intelligence and Analytics and applying it to Excel.

  • Example 1 – Monte Carlo Simulation in Excel – has been a popular Excel TV post – and is our most successful Youtube video.  3X more traffic than anything else we have done on Youtube.
  • Example 2 – My Guidelines for Creating Effective Dashboards post from PASS – when this was released last week, it multiplied the traffic on Excel.TV by at least 5 and resulted in our most successful days of traffic to the website.

So I think that is where I would like to focus.  Expanding my business intelligence background and applying it to Excel.  PowerPivot, Power BI, DAX, etc.  I think I have a lot to offer in this area.  Bringing my 20+ years of BI experience to bear on these tools seems like a smart way to go.

It also creates a strong alignment with my employer.  Who will create opportunities for me to do webinars, etc on the subject to the extent I do it under their brand.

More to come.

2014 Report and 2015 Goals – Raising Performance

2014 was a great year for brand awareness. This time last year, Excel.TV did not exist. Although I expected to build out Excel TV eventually, I didn’t see it as a near term thing. I thought that I was going to spend most of 2014 building out Excel training programs and possibly start to build out a massive Excel site/blog/community. Then later I would get to Excel TV.

Looks like I am still heading in the direction of building out products and a massive online presence, but the tactics that are getting me there have changed. The path to my destination has changed. The journey is an interesting one, and it reminds me that I must be MOST concerned with my #1 goal… which is to work for myself, full time. Deviations in the path are only taken when the deviation moves me closer to my goal. I’m a “path of least resistance” type guy. I don’t believe in “magical thinking”… putting it out there to the universe, etc. But I do think that as your brain is more focused on a goal, that you become more AWARE of things that are aligned with that goal. Those things were likely always there… but now you see them in a way that you didn’t before.  You are poised to take advantage of them.

What holds most of us back from achieving everything that we want out of life is our belief system. What we BELIEVE we are capable of. And here is the thing… beliefs are REALLY HARD to change. Some people go to a Tony Robbins retreat, just so they can be immersed in a new belief system for many days… plus walk on coals… just to change their belief system of what’s possible. A longer option is what I do… which is to end every day, noting the things that day that brought me closer to my goal… what happened positively? Remind myself daily that things are unfolding for me… Until I believe it. Believe that I am worthy and I am on the track to what I want.  So, let’s discuss that track…

2015 Performance Goals

Process and Structure Goals

Corporate Structure: in 2014 I set up a sole proprietorship (dba).  This will not be sufficient for 2015, as I will need to enter into contracts with people.  So all of my properties will be part of a corporation (likely a LLC) in 2015 — possibly as early as next week.  This will include the Excel.TV and ExcelSUMO related properties belonging to the corporation instead of me personally owning them.  Excel.TV may be rolled out as a separate corporation at some time in the future. GOAL: incorporate in 2015.

Employees: in 2014, I personally edited over 170 videos for Excel TV. I cannot and should not do this in 2015.  Video editing is not a wise use of my time.  I have a process in place, I now need to hand it over to someone else.  This likely won’t be an “employee” but rather a virtual assistant, likely in the Philippines.  I will need to research this over the coming months and bring someone onboard that will allow me to scale. GOAL: Do no video editing personally by the end of 2015.

Partner with Industry Leaders: Partnering with Jordan Goldmeier and Oz du Soleil on Excel TV has been a good thing for all three of us.  It has helped raise our profile in the Excel community and has given us all a platform that would have been more difficult if done alone.  I/we also worked with the ModelOFF organizers in the 4th quarter and was in NYC as part of their Financial Modeling World Championship.  In 2015, I will look to further partner with leaders in the Excel community to build products and services.  GOAL: at least one additional partnership in 2015 for an Excel related product or service.

Web Assets and Collaboration

Web Assets: Coming into 2014, the only asset that I owned that was built out was this website, RickGrantham.com and SmallBusinessChampion.com.  During the year, I purchased a premium domain, Excel.TV for a premium price.  I picked up ExcelSUMO.com for a minimal price.  I also purchased other top level domains as they became available, but haven’t done anything with them to date, these include Excel.Social, Excel.Careers, Excel.Wiki, Excel.Agency and Excel.Zone.  These aren’t built out nearly as much as they could be, as we used the Excel.TV Youtube Channel for most of the 2014 build (and I don’t own Youtube)  Using http://worthofweb.com as a guide, RickGrantham.com is worth $1,850.  Excel.TV is worth $1,039ExcelSUMO.com is worth $124 and SmallBusinessChampionBundle.com is $103.  I get that these values are arbitrary… but at least its something to start with. Goal: 2015 Total Value = $10,000 as the goal is to go exponential this year.  2014 was $3,116

Social Accounts:  Made a lot of traction here in 2014.  I am not going to quote the RickGrantham.com social sites…  as FB followers were through advertising and the results I got were shady at best.  Perhaps I will start to track “engagement” instead of followers in a future year.  But for now, lets focus on the social channels that are organic and are being cultivated:

Will also continue to experiment with newer accounts at About.Me, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Lead a Tribe: Grow groups and communities.

Traffic: Not a great year for traffic.  I am doing really good with Google Rankings related to Excel Books, like “Best Excel Books”, “Advanced Excel Books”, Excel Books”, etc. and starting to move up the rankings for things like “Excel Training”.  These terms set me up nicely for the development of future products (and affiliate sales), but I do not want to rely on Google for traffic.  As a total for all my sites:

  • Sessions (visits)
    • best month – Nov 2014 = 4,667
    • 2015 best month goal = 12,000
  • Users (visitors)
    • best month – Nov 2014 = 3,865
    • 2015 best month goal = 10,000
  • Pageviews
    • best month – Nov 2014 = 9,324
    • 2015 best month goals = 30,000

The pageviews per visit were lifted dramatically by Excel.TV.  When people come to the site, the click on several pages and check out several videos before leaving.  Excel.TV can (and should) be a driving force for growth next year.  We must build out the site to be MORE than a Google Hangout.  More than just a place where we occasionally blog and categorize our videos.  The google hangout videos will be a smaller and smaller piece of the site as we continue to grow.

Email List: Currently about 250 people signed up for various email lists.  This must expand to over 1,000 people in 2015.

Products and Sales Goals

I will come back to this product and sales goals area a few times over the coming weeks and provide better goals.  The truth is that I have built ZERO products last year.  My entire year was getting Excel.TV off the ground.  Well, its off the ground, now I need to circle back and build out products.  I need money from products to feed the business growth.

Excel Templates: I own http://SmallBusinessChampionBundle.com where I sell a series of Excel templates for small business owners.  I built them in 2013.  The site was down for 2-3 month in 2014 due to a server crash.  36 sales in 2014.  Goal = 100 sales in 2015.

Affiliate:

  • My best month for Amazon sales was moving 68 books/products, mostly from my Excel Books page.  2015 Goal is to have my best month selling over 200 books/products from Amazon.
  • Rarely make more than $100/month from all other affiliate sales combined.  I should be making at least $0.50 a month from everyone on my email list.  So this number should be $500 a month by the end of next year.  Goal – Have at least one month where I make $500 in affiliate sales through my email list.

My affiliate program:  I have not built out my affiliate program yet.  ZERO dollars from sales.  Need a successful product first.  No immediate need to build out affiliate program.

Video Training: I have yet to release video training.  However, this is part of my central strategy in 2015.  The goal is to release 2 video excel courses in 2015.

Books:  I have not written any books and have no immediate plans to write one in 2015.  However, I was mentioned in 2 books in the last 12 months.  In Jordan Goldmeier’s Advanced Excel Essentials book I was mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” section .  In Oz du Soleil’s book Guerrilla Data Analysis v2, I wrote a testimonial for the back cover of the book.

Speaking at Conferences:  I typically speak at 2 conferences a year.  This year should be no different.  Goal: Speak at 2 conferences

Life Goals

Improve Fitness: I spent the last half of 2014 starting down this journey with 3 months of P90X3 and 3 months of the Body Beast program.  I want to continue down this path and will use my own “made up” metric to track my progress publicly…  abdomen size divided by arm size (bicep).  I started July 2014 at 43″ waist and 14″ arm for 3.07.  I will end 2014 at 43″ and 14.75″ for 2.92.  If I could end 2015 at 40″ and 15″ that would put me at 2.67.  So that will be the metric…  2.67.  Which will require getting stronger and losing some of the belly. Goal: 2.67

Decrease Consumption: In 2014 I stopped using cable TV.  I bought an Apple TV, a Netflix and HULU Plus subscription, and a digital antennae.  Also turn off the central heat and air when I am out of town traveling.  Electric bill is cut in half, and with my monthly cable savings, I buy new TVs, antennaes and Apple TVs.  In 2015 I will take this to an entirely different level and get COMPLETELY out of debt.  No mortgage, no car loan, no credit cards.  Nothing.  I will need to sell my house to do this.  More details on this goal are found here. Goal = Zero debt.

Zen Out: I meditate.  I use the Holosync program and try to meditate whenever I can.  In 2015 I will complete Purification Level 3. Goal: Complete Purification Level 3.

2015 BIG Goal – Lowering the Hurdle

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  Maybe its because I don’t like admitting I’m wrong.

I don’t like viewing life… or a task… as something I need to OVERCOME.  It feels like a “defeat driven” way to look at the world.  I don’t care for it.

As a new year approaches, I typically look for one big overarching theme.  And if I can accomplish that one thing, it will be a good year.  Its not a resolution.  It’s a goal.  So we will hit the one thing, and then speak about SUPPORTING goals (mostly business goals) that are a bit more tactical in the next post.

That One BIG Thing

There are several steps that a person must take in transitioning from being a person who trades their time for dollars (employed by others = my current state) to being a business owner with a passive income (build stuff once and make money forever = my goal to work for myself).  You must develop a business, make products (or sell other people’s products), make enough money to replace your current income at your day job, etc..

I am fortunate that I am highly employed at my day job.  Its a job that I love and I am highly compensated.  I am not a 1%-er, but I am close enough.  That’s a double edged sword.  I have big-boy bills and a dependence on that income.  I need to minimize my life.  Get my financial house in order.

Owe No Man Anything But Love

That’s something that has really been gnawing at me lately.  Owe no man anything but love. Its taken me 45 years to reach this point.  Realize that we all inherit some type of institutional-type thinking.  We get it from our parents, because they got it from their parents, and so on and so on.  For me, the life picture went a little something like this.

  • Graduate High School (barely…  thanks summer school)
  • Graduate College (at 30 years old, but that was a different New Year’s “resolution”)
  • Get a Job (finally something I’m good at)
  • Get Married (something I’m bad at)
  • Have kids (I have plenty… anybody want one?)
  • Get a Mortgage (debt, debt, debt)
  • Be a cog in the wheel of society (that’s me)

11459469_sAt 45 years old…  something about that life view really bothers me now.  I’m not fond of quoting Oprah Winfrey.  Not because there is anything wrong with her…  it’s just that you lose “man points” when you quote Oprah too frequently. 🙂  But I once heard her say something like this…  “If you are lucky, you start figuring yourself out when you are in your 40’s…  If you are LUCKY.”

I Guess That Makes Me Lucky

And I guess I feel lucky too.  Also pissed that it has taken me this long to question my world view on so many things.  I’ve come across two financial teachers recently that have helped me with coming to this goal, Dave Ramsey and Jim Sammons.  There are religious undertones to these teachings.  So if you are not inclined to such things… too bad.

Click to View Book

Click to View Book

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey’s books teach more about a particular series of financial steps that should be taken.  A specific order.  Once you take those steps you are on a path to your “Total Money Makeover”.  Its more of a recipe book.  But is a good read and makes sense.  Should you sell your car, or keep that car payment for the near term?  Dave will let you know.  And also tell you what type of mortgage you should get, if any at all… and at which point in his sequence you should pay off your mortgage. Its good reference material.

Jim Sammons

Jim Sammons.  I came across this guy because I was googling Jim Bob Duggar.  He’s the patriarch of the family with 19 kids. Here in the USA, he has a TV show with his wife called 19 Kids and Counting.  Anyways, I was stalking him on the internet because I was intrigued that this guy has no debt.  He has a huge family and pays for everything cash.  He is not a burden on society at all… even with all those kids.  A little internet searching brought me to Jim Sammons.

2014-12-27_15-17-46

Jim Sammons Men’s Manual

It end up that Jim Bob attended one of Jim’s 17 hour programs on Financial Freedom, and decided that he needed to change his path.  He sold his house, got out of all of his debt.  And started his financial life anew.  I signed up for the videos online and have been watching them as I have free moments at home.  Here is the link to the videos. This is not a recipe… not step 1 step 2 like the Dave Ramsey books.  But is instead a series of financial principals based on biblical teachings. In one of the early videos, be speaks of owing no man anything…  but LOVE.  I really like that.  I like it a lot.  What a positive thing to say.  Better yet, what a positive way to live.

This Also Fits in with my Business Goals

Living a more simplistic life.  Minimizing my money outflow.  Downsizing my lifestyle.  Decreasing the monthly financial hurdle I must leap to work for myself full time.  Decreasing my dependence on my day job.  It all kind of fits together.  So…

2015 = Cash Only

This will require selling my home.  A place that I have lived for 13 or so years.  I have owed mortgages since I was 25 years old.  This will be a big deal.  With selling my home, I will pay off all mortgages, installment loans and revolving credit.  Excepting Child Support & Alimony…  I will end 2015 owing no man anything but love.

Since I have been coming to this mindset over the last few months…  family and friends have come out of the woodworks to help me with fixing up my home.  Its like I am aligned.  Which is really cool.

This may seem like… “Uh… So What?”

But as you read from other entrepreneurs like Chandoo, you will also see a similar theme.  Here is a quote from Chandoo’s StartUpDesi blog

Consume less: I am ok with our consumption levels this year. We drove less than 2,000 km this year (if you include our driving in USA, it would still be less than 8,000). We also cooked and ate most of our meals. We relied our garden to grow green vegetables, bottle gourd, guavas, chikoo etc. It was immensely satisfying to eat food grown in our garden. Our electricity consumption is ridiculously low too. I am happy :)

How About You?

What big changes are you making in your life in 2015 to better prepare you for your goals?  Are you changing your life’s trajectory?  Let’s hear about it in the comments.

In the next post we will discuss lower level business goals as I further build out my business presence online.  Including webstats, etc.  Stay tuned.

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

Building an Online Excel Business

I came back from the MVP Showcase a bit pumped up.  Excited to take my business to the next level.  But pondering the next steps I should take to get me where I want to be.  You can read about that post here.

I left out a few things

Some things I should have probably mentioned.  First off, a week or so before I went to the showcase, I started increasing my blogging frequency.  Not because I felt guilt, but because:

  • at a minor level I knew that its what I was supposed to do — as I have had online business coaches and training in the past, and pretty much know what needs to be done online (write… dammit)
  • at a major level I felt drawn to it.  In case you have forgotten, I am a bit of a weirdo.  And as I have become more energetically aligned, I have followed my instincts more.  And as a result have been happier and more productive.  Read about how much of a weirdo I am here.

I also had a few conversations while at the summit that reminded me of things I already know in bullet point #1.  Talking to MVPs that run successful sites and getting their take on Excel.TV, website traffic, list building, etc.  Combine that with some of the comments from Chris Macro, Mynda Treacy and Jeff Weir on one of my recent blog posts — and I believe I am coming to some decisions.

This Site, Excel.TV and other potential platforms

When we left off, I was considering what to do with this site, and whether I should add content in a massive way to Excel.TV or to another site that I have yet to develop.  Here is what I am thinking…

Find Your Voice

IMG_0854

Oz du Soleil, Mynda Treacy and Rick Grantham

I heard this from Jeff Weir and Mynda Treacy.  Although they were speaking in the context of an Excel BLOG.  I think I would like to broaden the meaning a bit to fit my purpose.  There is no better expression of my voice than on this BLOG.  Writing – as I am right now. Stream of consciousness type-stuff.  Getting it out and not really giving a shit what anyone thinks.  Not worrying about keywords, etc.  That said, I also need a following to make this worthwhile.

So I am definitely going to keep this site RickGrantham.com

But the focus may shift a bit.  I like the thought of writing about small business, I have a lot of online experience, and I love Excel.  I used to think that this meant I should write about how small business owners should use Excel.  But I now think that the elements (business, online, excel) can also be met by writing on how EXCEL business owners can optimize their online businesses.  From gathering traffic, to posting frequency, to opt-ins, product development, affiliate programs and tools/plugins to use.  I get that its a limited audience, but it interests me… nobody is doing it… and it could lead to something bigger.

I think that would interest me

And it has an undertone that is similar to a guy that I follow, Pat Flynn.  So that isn’t what this site is going to be about full-time.  But there will be an undertone to the site of how you build an online presence in Excel.  Hopefully those who have been successful will also chime in with their thoughts and experience.  We will see.  I will be posting here several times a week in the near term.  Gathering traffic and sharing my results.  I have some specific goals with this site (traffic, etc) and I will share with you as we go along.  Yes, I will be sharing my traffic, opt-in rates, etc.  As well as pointing out tools and strategies that I believe other successful Excel BLOG owners are using.  I will be more vague about Excel.TV.  Giving you generalities, since it is a shared concern.

Excel Online Presence

I have decided to NOT build out one of my other domains (SpreadsheetChampion.com, Excel.Zone, etc) and instead focus my Excel writing on the Excel.TV blog.

Use Confusing Icons Like This - @ RickGrantham.com :)

Use Confusing Icons Like This – @ RickGrantham.com 🙂

There are some negatives to this

Here is the thing, there are things that I know are optimal (silo website architecture, keyword structuring, focus area strategy, etc) that may never be done on the Excel.TV blog.  Or may not be done exactly the way I would do it.  Because we are all 3 co-hosts are writing about the things that interest us in Excel.  To be clear, I would NOT be happy if someone who wasn’t my boss told me what I had to write about — I expect Oz and Jordan are the same as me in that respect.  As such, it will never be a perfect game plan of how a site can be built.  Building my own site from scratch would give me that full control.  I could contribute a BLOG post to every third episode, like the other Excel.TV hosts, and move on with building SpreadsheetChampion.com the way I think it could be built.

But the positives are stronger

Longer term, SpreadsheetChampion.com or something that is all me will need to be built.  It just will.  But in the near term.  Maybe at least through 2015, I think Excel.TV has the lower hanging fruit.  The website is only 3 months old, so its not setting the world on fire with traffic.  But most people in-the-know are aware of it.  So there is at least a bit of name recognition to it. Plus, there is ready-made content that is just aching to be written.  Excel.TV has 40 video tips so far that have not been turned into their own BLOG posts.  It will likely be 50 by the end of the year.  The content is there, it just needs to be cultivated.

But there will come a time

When I will need to build my own Chandoo-type site.  The pull is too strong.  I will need to join the BIG DOGS.  But here is what I think needs to happen before I go there.  One or both of the existing sites (RickGrantham.com and/or Excel.TV) will need to meet some traffic goals.  Rather, lets express it as opt-ins.  As those are people that think I/we add enough value that they want to stay in touch.  I think several thousand visitors a day to a web-property and several tens of opt-ins will be a sign that the site has reached enough critical mass that I can move onto the next project.

So the journey begins

Or continues.  Or whatever.  Right now RickGrantham.com gets about a hundred visitors a day.  Excel.TV gets less than that.  The goal is several thousand a piece.  With people feeling so excited by the value that is brought that they want to stay in touch.  Between now and the end of the year, there will be some changes to this site.  In a near future post, I will discuss front end web strategy for Excel websites.  I will discuss what I am doing, and what I believe others are doing.  I will likely name names along with their likely strategy.  Should be fun.

Leave a Comment

Do you think this will make for interesting reading in the future?  Any specific segment of online development you would like for me to tackle?  Own a website and want to share your story here?  Leave your comments below and let me hear about it.

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

7

The Excel.TV Business Trip

Notes from 30,000 feet

I am on a plane on my way to Redmond to meet two friends. My Excel.TV co-hosts Oz du Soleil and Jordan Goldmeier. Jordan is an Excel MVP and has been called to Redmond, Washington as part of the MVP Summit. This is a place where they bring all the MVPs together (for every product – including Xbox) to pamper the experts and talk about the products. Jordan is included in that group, so he gets a ticket.

On the other hand, Oz and I are there for other reasons. Jordan has secured a booth for Excel.TV. Which means that on Day 1 – which is tomorrow – the MVPs will show up and register. While registering, there will be beverages (the adult kind, I hope) and various booths that represent work by some of the MVP’s. And in one of those booths, you will find me, Jordan and Oz.

I can’t wait

Hoping to meet and shake the hand of all the leaders in the Excel industry. From Debra Dalgleish and Bill Jelen to Zack Barresse and Jon Peltier. Hell – I might even get to meet that guy I stalked a year ago, Ken Puls of excelguru.ca.

As I was heading to the airport today I was super excited. Probably more than I should be. I mean, I’ve made more business trips than I can count. And in this case, I am paying out of my own pocket (or cashing in airline miles, etc). So why so excited?

Because its my first “Rick’s Business” business trip

Understand that a little over a year ago, no one in the Excel World had ever heard of me. My reputation was in the Business Intelligence space, not the Excel space. As I started doing interviews on RickGrantham.com a little over a year ago I met Jordan Goldmeier and Oz du Soleil. That evolved into Excel.TV. To think that a year later, things have grown to a point that I am at the Microsoft homebase, shaking hands with leaders in that industry —- and that all of them at least know my name — is — well — COOL AS HELL.

So how did it happen?IMG_0830

Let’s get beyond the tactical stuff and talk bigger picture here.

It all started to happen when I lost my humility.

Let that sink in for a moment. I lost my humility.

About a year ago I was making videos for my Small Business Champion Bundle.  Looking back — the videos sucked.  But these were tutorials for some excel business templates.  It was a bit nerve-wracking to kind of put myself out there.  Although I am extroverted when it comes to business, or when my role requires me to be extroverted – but I am personally introverted.  I am kind of laughing about that right now at 30,000 feet — as my headphones are on even though no music is playing — so that no one will talk to me 🙂

Somewhere in the process of making those 16 videos and publishing them for the world to see — I broke free of something.  At the time I told people that “I lost my shame.”  Couldn’t think of a better way to describe it at the time.

And you should lose your shame too

Trust me on this.  It’s holding you back.  You think people will give a shit…  But they really don’t.  My business coach at the time told me that there are people who will congratulate you and admire your tenacity.  And there will be a few friends and even family that will make negative comments.  “Who the hell does he think he is?”  But don’t let it deter you.  Be Grand. Be Bold. Be A Champion.

Tomorrow feels like the start of something new, even though it is just another step in the journey. Thanks to all of you who have indulged me.  Pics to follow.

Modern Excel with Szilvia Juhasz on Excel TV

Modern Excel with Szilvia Juhasz Excel TV Episode 1

I am excited to share with you a new project that I have been working on with Oz Du Soleil of DataScopic.net and Jordan Goldmeier of OptionExplicitVBA.com.  Announcing the launch of Excel TV

Excel TV

The show will air weekly at 9:05 pm Eastern time on our Google Plus Channel and will also be streamed LIVE to Youtube.  Why 9:05pm?  Because I have 5 kids and somebody has to put them to bed 🙂  Also, this helps to account for travel schedule of the hosts, in the event that anyone is on the West Coast.

Excel TV Goal

The goal is to provide an entertaining and informative show about Microsoft Excel.  If you are looking for hardcore VBA how-to’s – only 5 minutes of the show may appeal to you – there are tons of tutorials Channels out there we can refer you to.  Our Channel is dedicated to Excel Industry News, Excel Tips, and conversations with Excel industry experts.  In short, its an Excel talk show.

Our maiden Episode with Szilvia Juhasz

Szilvia Juhasz, Excel Consultant, Trainer, and Excel Warrior Priestess joined us for our maiden episode.  Major kudos to Szilvia for being willing to take the plunge with us.  Szilvia joined us for a lively discussion about the role of Modern Excel. I have included the full episode below.  Included in the description are links to Szilvia’s website.  Thank you so much Szilvia.
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Leave a comment below and let me know what you think

Until Next Time

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

Hook me up. Why I am up for Joint Ventures.

 

As a burgeoning small business, how do you do everything?  Or better yet, how can you be all things to all people when you likely lack all the needed talent, resources, money, etc?

How do you get all of this done?

In the industry I have chosen, there are well established players.  Those who have been in the trenches and have the battle scars to prove it.  But if you are a new guy, over-reaching in one new area could spell disaster if it fails.

So…  what gives?  How can you do this?

As my readers may be able to tell, I am moving into the Excel Spreadsheet market, particularly as it relates to small business owners.  I am also starting to position myself as something of an Excel Community journalist.

As I sit here on a plane, travelling out to California on business, I find myself chuckling a bit at that last sentence. 🙂  “An Excel Community Journalist”.  How did that happen again?

Anywhoo…  One thing is certain, I do not have the street cred of an Excel MVP.  And I am not battle tested in the way that an Excel Freelancer is.  You know…  somebody who has been doing this for a number of years.

But I do have something to offer.

And many of you may find yourself in a similar situation.

What do you do?

What do you do when you feel that you have many of the pieces of the puzzle that you need – But you don’t have them all.  Maybe you have the talent, but not the credibility.  Maybe you have the credibility, but not the money.  Or you have the money, but not the time?

So, let’s be honest.  Take some inventory.  Look at yourself in the mirror.  What can you contribute in the short term?  Where are your gaps?  If your gap are short-term, you should consider a joint venture.  Joint Ventures by there very nature are not permanent.

Listen, you’re not usually asking somebody to join companies with you.  This ‘aint about marriage.  I’m not trying to have kids with your company.  Slow down.  Its just time to date 🙂  Play the field.

ok, Rick.  That last paragraph was kinda creepy.  Where are you going with this?

Thought you would never ask.

My Business Goals

I have a few business goals this year.  Among those are to release two more products and at least one property.  On the product side, I am looking to release my book for sale… yep.  its really going to happen.  And it won’t be free anymore.  I also intend to release one more product, likely an Excel Training product – if you are interested in partnering with me on this, give me a shout.

New Web Property

I am likely hooking up with some friends I have made over the last few months to release a new property.  I am joining forces with two people that I very much respect.  This will become much more clear over the coming weeks, but what I would like to share with you now are some criteria that makes this venture “seem right”.  Or better yet, why I am up for this joint venture.

  • Its finite – The person that you are entering into a JV with usually aren’t being asked to give up part of their company.  But rather they are asked to enter into an agreement that is mutually beneficial — for as long as it feels beneficial.
  • Build business faster – Everyone that you enter into an agreement with should be able to define how this agreement is allowing them to pool resources (or talent, or reach) in a way that would have been difficult without the JV.

What to Look Out For

Since your companies are entering into a joint agreement (you aren’t merging companies) – you need to spend some time up front hammering out division of labor.  Put some “terms of our agreement” together.  Actually type it out.  It may seem silly or like overkill.  But JVs are very difficult when their are no ground rules to start with.

So…  What is planned ?

Let’s just say, there may be a lot more videos coming out… and I may more easily move into a role that is very comfortable for me – Blabbing, Chatting, Talking (eh-hem – I mean being a journalist).  And those that I am teaming up with will do what they are best at —  being both interesting and brilliant.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the near future.

Until Next time

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

29

Hello world!

Its a pleasure welcoming the world to my BLOG.

Come on in.

Take a load off.  Have some iced tea beer.

Anywhoo…

This BLOG will be dedicated to my world. Which right now includes the growth of my online business.

But let me back up a bit

I am a professional management consultant by trade. I work for a consulting firm and am responsible for leading reporting and analytics deployments around the country — sometimes the globe.

That’s Me In The Pic

Also a married man — father of 5 (y’up – 5!). Oldest is in college and the youngest is in first grade. Middle-aged guy I guess. Normal in most respects – except for my unhealthy addiction to the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Florida Gators. For my international readers — google “Best Football Teams walking the Planet”.

I have helped LOTS of businesses, government entities, etc. reach their goals. Reach their performance targets. Streamline their processes, etc. But I have always had a desire to start a small business of my own. Its a feeling I can’t really explain. Its a calling, I guess. My Mother and Step-father own a small business and I have secretly admired them for this. They started it from scratch when they were — well — my age. Its an audiology practice. You know… hearing tests and hearing aids and stuff. Called Hear Here! Not making that up 🙂 But that’s not my family in the header of the website. We are WAYYYY better looking and have much whiter teeth. 🙂

business ebook

Here’s A Free Copy of the Book I am Working on —- Its a DRAFT. (and free) So be Gentle 🙂

I am still a full-time consultant by day. Which means that I am on a plane or at a client site 75% of the time. I tell you this, because you may find that many of my videos are in hotel rooms. Well… that’s just the way it is. Good or Bad.  That’s just my life right now. It also means that there will be some posts where I highlight things that are going on in my career and life that are pertinent to my readers. Like Conferences I am speaking at, or papers I am publishing.

So here I am. Middle-aged father of five, ready to start the second half of my career as an entrepreneur. Smarter (I think). Wiser (I hope). Thinner (Just kidding). And I am ready to do this thing.

That’s my Book —>

I have written a booklet that you will soon find on Amazon. There will be a party when it hits the best seller list — you are all invited. Jordan Goldmeier will bring the BBQ and Andy Pope will bring the Cider.

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Small Business Bundle

<— That’s my Product

I also have published my first product. A BUNDLE of Excel Templates designed for Small Business Owners. Pretty proud of it. Use it myself. Poured my years as a Banking Analyst into those templates. TOP NOTCH 🙂

I will also start a website soon completely dedicated to Spreadsheets. A MONSTER of a site, I hope.  Expecting a 2014 launch.

And I am following my own teaching — which is to enlist a business coach. I have been working with Andy Grimm of Business Builder Center. A guy that I have grown to consider not only a coach, but a guy that I actually like and admire. If you hate my websites and products — its his fault. And if you like it… your welcome 🙂

So anyways… Hello World.

Welcome to my BLOG. Welcome to my journey. And welcome to the second half of my career.

Signed…
That guy who looks like your cousin’s friend,
Rick Grantham