Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Generalist Opportunist Case Study 3: Community Investor Magazine

How I Got My Company Mentioned on Community Investor Magazine

Drafting.  What is it?  In the sport of cycling, drafting is when a rider gets as close as possible to the bike in front.  The rider in front takes the full force of the headwinds.  The rider pedaling behind has a more aerodynamic (less drag) and energetically favorable position.  When the front rider can no longer “pull” as hard, that is, when they have lost their steam, they move over to the left, signaling to the rider behind to take the line and move-up.  Trading the front, back and forth, saves both riders substantial energy over the course of their bike ride.  It’s even better with three or more (a peloton) riders!
I’m a Generalist Opportunist in all walks of life, even out on the road when I’m on my Bianchi 10-speed.  You see, I normally ride for two hours, no matter how much ground I cover.  And where I ride, the Pacific Coast Highway in North San Diego County, headwinds coming from the north as I double-back are as certain as me avoiding being hit by a car at least once.  It is on my way back home, when the punishing headwinds begin to discourage me that I start looking for horses.  Horses?  That’s what I call cyclists with fresh legs that I can draft off as far as they will take me northbound.
All of what I’ve shared so far is a metaphor for creating financial opportunities.  I want to help you understand how I find horses and make pelotons out of them.  In this case, consider the horses to be small, privately owned companies.  You or your company is the opportunistic rider, looking to draft, realizing that you can benefit from someone else’s forward pull.
In late 2014, I read an inspirational and compelling story about six, young African-American men in Community Investor Magazine.  These gentlemen had pooled their money and resources together and founded a real estate company: Legacy Six Enterprises.  I saw a horse!  An upstart magazine (Community Investor is a recent publication) profiling and chronicling the business dealings of a newly founded small business.  Mind you, my own business, Common Core Money, LLC is less than a year old too!  So what did I do?  I reached out to the Legacy Six Enterprise team via Facebook Messenger.  At the time, the L6 team only had a Facebook fan page.  Their business website consisted of just their domain name.  This is what I wrote (I still have the string of messages):
JAN 4, 2015 11:14 AM
“Love what you guys are doing.  Following your story.  Check out my blog, www.commoncoremoney.com. I promo entrepreneurs/their companies for free.  Just be a matter of you doing a write-up.  It’d be free marketing basically.  Keep it up.  Carlos”
Response from L6:  
JAN 6, 6:35 AM
“Thank you.  That sounds great.  Just let us know what you need and we can write it up and send it to you.”
The response above was essentially an agreement.  The L6 team did right in looking after their interests.  They saw a free marketing opportunity being offered to them, and took it.  They didn’t perhaps understand how blogs work at the time, and missed seeing how I would benefit from their blog post contribution.  When communicating with small companies, a person does not have to reveal what they stand to gain from a brief partnership.  I didn’t have to tell the L6 team that I believed their contribution would jack-up my blog traffic.  They didn’t need to know that more traffic means more revenue from my blog in the form of more clicks on my affiliate or Google Adsense links.  All they needed to know is the most important business relationship hook around: What’s in it for me?
That’s what I spoon feed all of the horses I find.  I contact them.  I tell them who I am and what I can do for them.  I call this my “WIC-D-FY” or What I Can Do For You, email.  I almost always get a reply.  There are times when they pass up my offer to “pull” for them, of course.  But sometimes they fall in line and say, Carlos, lead the way.  I then do the initial pulling on our way to the front of the peloton; then they switch places with me, sometimes unknowingly, like in the case of the L6 team.  And even if the small companies I work with are on to me, there are no hard feelings because they know they got something for free too.
Once you establish a drafting relationship with a small company, you keep it going!  If the lead rider does something for you, you return the favor.  Let me explain.
Unbeknownst to me, Legacy PR man, Deon Watkins had shared with the editor of Community Magazine that I, “Carlos Gomez,” had done a feature of the team on the blog, Common Core Money.  Did Deon have to do this?  No!  But Deon is a smart man.  And he did what a Generalist Opportunist would do, anticipate.  I’m sure in his mind he figured that if he scratched my back, I would continue to scratch his.  And he was right.  I contacted Deon after reading the surprise mention of CCM in Community Investor mag.  It was an entire paragraph about what I had done for the L6 team.
This is the excerpt:
Free marketing
Common Core Money, a blog written by Carlos Gomez, recently published a post about Legacy Six. You can check it out here.
“We all agreed that it would be great for us to be in his blog—free marketing,” Deon said. “He asked us to write something about ourselves, and he sent over a template showing us the type of information he is looking for.”
And don’t forget to follow Legacy Six’s adventures in real estate investing on the team’s new website,legacysixenterprise.com.

I am now doing content for the L6 team pro-bono!  So far I’ve helped them improve their website home page.
I also suggested to Deon that he start a blog page.  He took my advice.  Now his website has more material for prospective clients to read.  It is clear that Common Core Money, LLC and Legacy Six Enterprise are on a bike ride where we share the workload at the front.  And this would wrap things up except that you may have observed from your end that on this ride, there are actually not two, but three participants!  Good eye.
You see, I too anticipate as a GO.  On the L6 blog post, I made sure to add every single link back to Community Magazine that was possible without redundancy.  Where did I do this on a guest post?  In the intro paragraph, duh!  See how I did it below: (From: Legacy 6 LLC)
Friday, January 9, 2015
Legacy Six Enterprise, LLC: Creating Legacies in Detroit

It gives me great pleasure to introduce stars in the making on CCM's blog series: Entrepreneurs Inspire!  Today, I have six of them to present to you.  I first heard the name, Legacy 6, LLC in November of 2014, thanks in full to my subscription to Community Investor magazine.  The magazine published a story, "Dire Streets," to help the company get the media attention it deserves.  The follow-up story, "First Steps to a Legacy," published on the magazine's January edition, was equally compelling.  So much so that I felt the need to have CEO Christopher Jones, come on as a guest author here at CCM blog.  I am quite positive that after reading Christopher's post, you too will join the Legacy 6 cheer squad as I have.  Enjoy!

There were a total of three links back to Community Investor mag.  Could the young, bright, and talented Editor of Community Investor, Erin Shipps, have seen these and seen a way to in effect promote her own work?  What do you think?  Erin discovered the L6 team!  She’s written all three articles about them.  Like Deon and me, Erin, for her personal success and the success of the magazine she supervises, saw an opportunity to draft on a bike ride she started!  Now we’re three strong: CCM, the L6 E team, and Community Investor mag, all trading the front of the peloton.  Remember, this wasn’t something we all sat and discussed at a table.  It is three people seeing horses they can lasso-in and share the pulling with.

Final Points:
  • Technology and social media has made it extremely easy to find “horses” out there.
  • Your hook or carrot is in clearly communicating (spoon feeding) your WIC-D-FY or What I Can Do For You, and letting the horse either turn the corner away from you or start pulling, allowing you to draft.  You then return the favor with your promised WIC-D-FY.  
  • Private companies/owners helping each other gain something need not involve a direct transfer of money; drafting is all about sharing the workload on a ride to each rider’s (party’s) destination.  Nor does there have to be an explicit, agreed-upon arrangement for drafting to take place.

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