Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneur’

LOGO_onWhite_noTagMany of us might make the mistake and assume that our friends, family and connections know exactly what we do for a living. But how often have you heard someone say, “I didn’t know you do that!” You think to yourself, “How didn’t they know? I’ve told them more than once.” Without sounding like an annoying sales person, a friendly reminder will put you front of mind when they hear of a potential opportunity for you/your business. So here is my “friendly reminder” about what we do at ÜberBlue. Thank you for keeping us front of mind.

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Be sure to let people know what you do. With so many ways to spread the word you have no excuse. Choose now to remind people people so they will remember you.

When is the last time you heard, “I didn’t know you do that”?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlue Digital Media: A New Awakening for Brands, Businesses, Individuals and Agencies. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

Video CameraA few months ago I started shooting brief videos of entrepreneurs and business owners sharing some nuggets of information/advice that they felt would be helpful to other entrepreneurs and business owners. As they shared, I shot their responses in short-format, using the least amount of production time and equipment. The videos were minimally edited, to keep the flavor of the chat in a conversational mode with the idea that you (the viewer) are actually having coffee or a meal with the person in the video.

Why do I shoot these videos? Because it gives you, the viewer a reason to check back and see what’s new. This is an opportunity for you to learn something and to be inspired with information which can help you grow your business. It also gives me interesting content I can share. But the videos also represent who we are as a branding and social media agency. We are in the business of helping other businesses succeed.

Do you have an interest in shooting and uploading a video? The topic of your videos will naturally depend on who you are and what you do.

We don’t always have to make things complex when it comes to video. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid (or if you don’t like using the word stupid I suggest replacing it with “Sweetheart”) still applies in many scenarios. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t give any thought to the topic, the audience and the desired outcome for the videos. I’m saying that the more complex you make the project, the more expensive and time consuming the project will be. This quite possibly will lead to your being less likely to shoot the video, .resulting in a failure to execute. Don’t fail to execute something that can be this simple.

Once you have the video edited and uploaded don’t forget to optimize the descriptions, tags, thumbnail and category. These are important items that many people forget when they upload their videos. This means they are missing out on the opportunity to “be found”. One other important step is to push the video out on all of your other social networks. You have the content. .  .use it.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlue Digital Media: A New Awakening for Brands, Businesses, Individuals and Agencies. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

How are you successful? What did you do to become successful? You have an opportunity here. You see, each one of you has been successful in some way. Maybe you have enjoyed amazing success. Maybe you turned a failing company into a profitable powerhouse? Maybe you retired at 45 years old? Maybe you would say you have only had limited success.  Either way I hope you can take a few minutes to share one or two stories of your own success with us here.

Many successful people will tell you that the only way to succeed, is through failure. You’ve probably heard this famous quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison. We all learn from failure. Some people like to hear more about people’s failures in business, than their success stories. Why? So they don’t make the same mistakes. In fact, if you have a story of  failures (a.k.a. what not to do in business), I know our readers would like to hear about them.  The advice you share through your past failures may just help someone who is trying to build a successful businesses.  True we could all go to another webinar, read another self-help book or watch a video. But we would rather hear from you. Also, if your success came from any others sources you respect, let us know.

As you know I do like to include videos in my posts. I was looking for one or two that would meld well with the theme “Success”.  Steve Jobs explains the rules for success. . .


On a more lighthearted look at how to be successful I also found the Michael J. Fox full length movie from the 80’s, “The Secret of My Success”. Not sure that it is exactly the roadmap we should follow but you might find it entertaining.


So what is YOUR secret to success? 

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.




I took some time off during the summer. As an entrepreneur, its important, no matter how busy you are that you take time off to recharge. It could be an hour, half day, full day, one week or even longer. Some of you might think your business will simply fail if you take time off. If taking time off wrecks your business, you probably have a much bigger problem.

I actually started writing this blog as an brief introduction to our monthly eNewsletter: “What’s News at ÜberBlue Digital Media” but felt there was more to say so I added a few thoughts below. Would you like to subscribe? Click [HERE]

We have a client who recently decided he would take the entire month of August off. I let him know how cool I thought his idea was, for a variety of reasons. He’d worked hard to build a very successful business and this had been one of his dreams, being able to take time off to play golf and enjoy some of the finer things in life, as a result. Perhaps most important, he also felt he could do this at this time because he had taken care to hire good people who were very capable of running the business while he was away.

Now I can already hear some of you saying out loud or in your brains, “I have to be in the office or things will crush”. Trust me when I tell you that if you don’t ever take time off you will regret that and YOU will crush.

TAKE TIME OFF! You will feel better, your employees will thank you and your business will benefit.


Tell us here what you did on your time off and how it helped. Vacation photos on Pinterest? Suggestions for where to go unwind? Thanks for sharing.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.


And now it’s time for a new feature we call, “YOU WRITE THE NEXT LINE”. The idea is that we all share our knowledge here with others. You may not consider yourself a writer or blogger. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that you have amazing experience that you can share with others. Thank you for your help with this “experiment in crowdwriting.”

I will start us out with the post below, then you add the next line in the comments section. Please keep your comments as clean as possible. Be creative, don’t be shy, share with your friends, and let’s see where it goes. . .

The train rolled into Union Station like it does every day at 12 Noon. But today is different. You see, today the train carries a passenger named Ted. Ted, an entrepreneur with a history of successful businesses recently started another new business and history wasn’t repeating itself. For the most part he was doing moderately well. But things were different this time around and more challenging than ever before. He needed to reinvent how to be successful in this new economy. Of course he knows that the problem could be his product or service. But he also has the feeling that he needs a fresh approach, help from others: friends, fellow-entrepreneurs or even experts, who might be attacking the “new business world” in a more effective way.  Who were the people, incubators, accelerators and where were the organizations he could turn to for help?

Today is the day. He decided it’s time; He is  going to get the help he needs. The train rolled to a stop and Ted stepped off, onto the platform. The city was begging for him to explore his options. He walked out onto Adams Street and . . .

[Continue the story in the Leave a Reply section below. . .]

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

In the world of social media all roads social, lead back to people. One of the roads I travel on often is hanging out with the best people in social media. I am not going to refer to them with the cliché “Guru” moniker (too many titles these days related to social media experts). It’s no surprise that when we get together we talk about social topics and how they relate to business, clients, trends tools, challenges and the future of social media.

The best part about getting together with my friends and “Experts” is the sharing of our collective knowledge. Put a few social media people in a room together and I can’t count the number of “ah-ha” moments when someone says, “I hadn’t heard about that” or “Wow! That is a very cool new tool. I’ll have to check it out.”

The beauty and challenge of social media is the amount of information and tools being generated at a staggering rate. A rate that is humanly impossible to keep up with these days. The ability to know about everything is just not going to happen. That is why the social media community is so amazing. We share information with each other. We help each other. We aren’t afraid to say, “I didn’t know about that yet.”

I often use the example of wanting to get better as a tennis player. Do you always want to go out and play against someone you can wipe the court with or would you rather play someone better than you? Always play someone better than you and you will learn something. The social media community is there to help educate you on what is happening in the fast paced social media world. Our collective knowledge of new trends, tools and technology is something you need to take advantage of to see how it might help you personally or how it relates to your business.

I truly believe we are only scratching the surface on what’s in store for Social Media. Necessity is the mother of invention and will point us in all kinds of new directions. Whether you’re interested in learning more about social media or finding out current information as it relates to your business, get into a community that will support you and your efforts. Don’t just follow them. Get together with them to learn from them, share knowledge and help each other move this planet and human race forward.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

“It’s not working! Everything we put out there is falling flat and I don’t know what else to do! We post interesting stuff all the time on Facebook, Twitter and on our blog but no one cares. No one is reading it. No one is responding!?!?!?!?!?” These are typical comments we hear from our potential clients on a regular basis.

Sound familiar? Have you ever voiced any of the above questions? You think you are doing the right things for your business but no one else does. Your trusted advisors are even telling you that you are “doing it wrong” but you insist you are doing it right. The fact is that nothing you are doing is creating revenue for your business but you can’t see it through your blurred vision . . .

Here is my advice, STOP. Stop and figure out what it is you think you are doing and why you are doing it. Think about whether or not it is time to consider a new strategy. It is often obvious to outsiders to see when someone doesn’t have a strategy and their activity seems disjointed, disconnected and irrelevant to their overall objective.

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes is the one where George decides that he is going to do everything opposite of how he has done it in the past and everything begins working for him, from that point forward.

Sometimes doing the opposite of what you have been doing is the right decision. I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who insisted everything he was doing was the best way, the only way. The reality was that his “best way” was yielding NO results in revenue for his entire first quarter. When approached with suggestions on how he might consider doing things differently he immediately shut down and wouldn’t consider any other way from his own way of doing things. The logic there still baffles me to this day.

I’m not saying for you to say YES to everything. Clearly that can be the wrong approach if there isn’t a solid strategy behind it. Remember what happened to Carl in the movie YES Man.

Making a decision that goes against your gut isn’t always the right decision. But making good decisions based on the advice of experts and professionals should be strongly considered before summarily dismissing them.

Do you have any examples of when changing your strategy and going in the other direction paid off for you and your business?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

We have a very special guest blogger today, my good friend Bob Jordan. Whether you are an individual or a business, Bob shares great examples and advice for entrepreneurs about people who have found success in amazing ways. Learn more about Bob below and be sure to check out the special offer for our readers. Many thanks Bob!

When Groupon’s Eric Lefkofsky turned down $6 billion from Google, he was both praised for his chutzpah and questioned for his judgment. Turns out Eric was right. Groupon is now a public company valued at $12 billion. When I spoke to Eric, he admitted that to be in today’s business environment, “you sign up for some level of insanity.”

Whether you believe such risky business moves are smart or indeed crazy, the fact is that successful company founders often identify those moments as important turning points that helped determine their ultimate success.

I spent years interviewing many company founders, each of whom started, grew, and sold their companies for $100 million or more, or took it public for $300 million or more. Based on these interviews, some of which became the material for my program How They Did It: Real World Advice from Today’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, here are fifteen “crazy” business decisions that became the pivotal moment in an entrepreneur’s success story.

Stand next to the big boys

Viresh Bhatia’s InstallShield had a hundred competitors, most with similar technology. Unlike most techies, however, Viresh dreamed of advertising as a way to stand out from the crowd. But that wasn’t enough. His chutzpah moment? He and his partner, working out of a 10×10 room, sank their money into a colorful full-page ad they insisted had to run adjacent to Microsoft or IBM in PC Magazine. Customers assumed InstallShield was in the big leagues. Eventual sale price for Installshield: $78 million.

Have a Titanium Story

Dane Miller, founder of Biomet, believed that titanium was the safest metal on the planet for knee and hip replacement parts – far better than the industry standard, stainless steel. To prove his point, he asked a surgeon friend to insert a small piece of titanium into his own arm. Dane’s implant proved to be a powerful promotional tool, and a testament to his passion. These days, everyone now uses titanium. And when he took Biomet private a couple years ago, after having been a public company for 20 years, it was at a $11 billion valuation. So: what’s your titanium story?

Don’t Underestimate the Power of an Empty Box

Don Mauer’s medical device company, Empi, had a great idea for an electro-therapy pain-control device, a scientifically sound study run by a distinguished neurosurgeon, and a market literally in pain. What it didn’t have was a backer or a prototype of the product. So Don made a wooden model of his concept, painted it, glued on some knobs, and pitched his idea to some investors. With that empty box, he raised half a million dollars, enough to get Empi started. He later sold the company for $161.4 million.

Cancel Something Good to Get to Something Great

Scott Jones had a profitable business called Boston Technology. But Scott had a bigger idea around a little-known technology called “voicemail.” That fledgling segment of his business was losing money, while the other two segments were making money and growing nicely – but normally. His decision? Shut down the two profitable segments and bet on the one thing that wasn’t proven yet. From that one risky move, Boston Technology generated 1,000 percent growth, created hundreds of millions in revenue and billions in valuation, and changed the way we use our phones. And no more busy signals anywhere on the planet!

Leave – And Start Again

David Becker saw his credit union clients lacking the software needed to utilize their new powers following the 1979 deregulation of the financial industry. After six months of research, he found a software product he loved, and presented his plan to the league of credit unions’ board of directors. In the midst of discussions bogged down by indecisiveness, Becker stood up, whistled to get everyone’s attention, and announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, let me solve this dilemma for you. I’m going to quit and do this myself.” He thanked them for their time, invited them to be his customers someday, and walked out. Eventually, more than half of those board members became his customers. After selling that first company for $24 million, then selling a second company for $52 million, Becker went on to launch First Internet Bank, now at $500 million in assets, and is recognized as a founding father of the Internet.

Launch is always a leap

A toe in the water approach usually, if not always, fails to produce spectacular results. Success is always a leap from the get-go: an act of faith. What I learned is that avoidance of failure is never, ever going to produce a home run success. Take Jeff Aronin, for example. He left his job at an established company to start Ovation Pharmaceuticals on his own. He made the jump, even though he knew only one in a thousand drugs ever gets approved, and it’s a process that can take 10 years and cost $800 million. Even then, only 40 percent of all drugs ever make back the money that was invested in them. Jeff didn’t even have a drug in development when he started Ovation, but he figured out a way and eventually sold Ovation to Lundebeck for $900 million.

Your first idea is not always the big winner

Highly successful company founders tend to experiment and to listen intensely to customers. Their winning products and winning strategies – the thing that really worked for them – generally was not the first idea out of the gate. I think of Brian Sullivan, the inventor of the Pur water filter found in millions of homes. His first product was a desalinization pump selling to sailors and pleasure boaters. It wasn’t a mass market – just how he got his start.

You have to look again

The opportunities exploited and problems solved by successful entrepreneurs usually are issues that are visible to everyone. Even in highly specialized fields, hundreds or thousands of people missed what one founder saw, saw again, and saw a third time. The difference is that successful company founders started to investigate, resolve, decide, and act. Jim Dolan looked at a 107 year old legal newspaper that most thought was going nowhere, and saw opportunity. He turned the fine print notices of bankruptcies in the back of the newspaper into an online database, and eventually sold for $150 million. It all started from looking at a newspaper in a different way.

Boredom can be a blessing

Boredom is a blessing for champions. Some of the most inspired actions from entrepreneurs come from unplanned, uninvited downtime, sheer boredom and idleness. Dave Becker, the founder of First Internet Bank got in a motorcycle accident and found himself laid up in bed for nine months. Dave was bored to tears and ended up buying a company. So beware of the entrepreneur stuck with a skiing injury, a power outage, or a meaningless vacation. Planned or unplanned solitude can lead to amazing discoveries for founders.

Success is never a solo act

Even so-called solo founders develop partners or key senior managers who prove to be vital to success. None of the companies started by these founders would have made the list without partnerships or very strong management teams. Many had the same philosophy as Andrew Carnegie, making sure to move key people from startup to startup to keep the engine going. Mahendra Vora talks about five hiring 25 who hire 125. Phil Soran, founder of Compellent, met in the basement to think up ideas with his neighbor. Time and time again success came from the formation of powerful teams and partnerships.

Attitude trumps skill

Many times we think that as soon as we get this next skill under our belts or as soon as we I get this next degree, that everything will fall into place. It turns out that’s not the key. The thing which is much more important is a burning desire to be in the game. Relentlessly look for an unmet need that you can fill. With passion many founders delegated or hired people to acquire the skills they needed.

Strike out more, not less

Think of Thomas Edison. We all know the story. I have no idea if it was 3,000 tries for the light bulb or 5,000 or 10,000. It doesn’t matter. The reality of it is we expect Edison to keep on trying because he is eventually going to succeed. And that’s exactly the way these founders were with their startups.

Look in the mirror more

Great company founders look at their efforts and learn to judge those efforts differently. I think for a lot of us, if we try something and it doesn’t work, we start thinking that it’s never going to work or someone won’t like what we’re doing. That is not a recipe for success. I think of Jim Dolan’s story: before his success, he had failed a couple times. On his own dime he hired an industrial psychologist to analyze his abilities so that the next time around he could know his strengths specifically. And he would know who to hire and bring on as partners so that he could be stronger the next time around.

Iterate, execute, repeat

Champion founders keep dancing in the ring and never present a sitting target. The ability to champion an idea doesn’t mean an idea remains set in stone. Dick Costolo, Founder of Feedburner and now CEO of Twitter said that many young entrepreneurs form business models and then stick to it despite evidence that something needs to be changed. He likened his experience at Feedburner to an eye exam. “Better like this or this? A or B? B or C? Oh, C’s better than B; let’s do more C”. Successful founders continue to decide, adapt, act, adapt, reiterate, and execute again.

Let your customers co-create

We live in a new world. When I was younger in my career there was a much more defined path as to how new products would launch and grow. Put out a new product, run some TV ads, and everything would be fine. Today, however, there is no guarantee that when you launch a product and take it to market it is going to work. In fact, these days you’ll find more suspicion of advertised products. People look to their peers who may be tweeting or blogging about a product. So bring your customers into the creation process. Get your product some of the way done and then push it out to your customers to let them be the co-creators.

I think I got their point. In business, chutzpah pays off. If you’re passionate about your business idea, don’t let obstacles of any size prevent you from taking a stand, pursuing your goal, or sticking to your vision.

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About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He’s the author of How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who’ve created $63 billion in value from scratch. His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash project implementation team, and interimCEOinterimCFO, a worldwide network of interim, contract, and project executives. Learn more about the 45 founders and the book at

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Please visit us at or call 847.498.5494.

“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” William Shakespeare. Now who could argue with “The Bard”? Patience is a virtue! Understandably, many clients do not believe that patience is a virtue, in business. Businesses want results, immediately. They expect and often need immediate and impressive results from any marketing program they utilize. Patience while waiting for sales to increase is often non-existent. Yet immediate, dramatic results are not always a possibility with social media, advertising, marketing and public relations.

A few years ago social media for businesses was brand new. There wasn’t much competition on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms when it came to getting noticed. Back in the day our initial conversations with clients talked about what they could expect from their first social media experiences and how long they might wait before seeing results. We talked about the fact that every client is different and results will vary. We still have that conversation.

The vast majority of social media experts I know do their best to set realistic expectations for their clients. It is the other stories I have heard about a small percentage of some “social media experts” that are overpromising clients spectacular results in a very short amount of time. I don’t particularly care for people who give an industry a bad name and leave clients feeling that that they have been hoodwinked. My point here is to caution you: be leery of someone who promises you unrealistic results in a very short period of time. If you have been promised that you will get stellar results in one month…run away. I also warn you about any hair care products that promise the very same kind of results while you are attempting to grow new hair. This video helps explain. . .

Have you ever noticed that whenever something new comes along it’s supposed to be “The Greatest, The Best, super-new, super-cool, super-fast!” Social media is great and it’s cool and it takes time. Maybe Orson Welles in this commercial quoting Paul Masson said it best, “We will sell no wine, before it’s time.”

I have taken an informal survey with my social media colleagues and many of us are seeing that six + months is an accurate timeframe for expecting results. That isn’t to say that you and your business won’t see some victories and successes before that time. Keeping the six month timeframe in focus will afford everyone to set realistic expectations.

Be sure you are doing the day to day things that are going to continue to build your presence. At the same time be very intentional about everything in your strategic plan. In addition to patience, Persistence and Consistency are also key components. And you will sell the wine…when it is time.

How has patience paid off for you and your business?

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for individuals, businesses and brands to build their social media success. He also founded the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN) in the Chicago Area that recently celebrated it’s three year anniversary.

You are a successful entrepreneur and leader, one who has made the right choices and made equally as many mistakes along the way. You now know all the right things to do when starting a business. If this sounds like you then I have a request. As entrepreneurs we need to take an active interest in making sure all entrepreneurs and small business owners are successful. Simply put, entrepreneurs are the future of this country and are the key to our survival in the future. YOU can ensure this success not only for yourself but for someone else who is getting ready to launch down the path that you have already traveled.

The United States of America needs as many successful small businesses as possible. And we all need to make sure that happens-soon!

Ah the excitement of a vision when it becomes a reality: starting your own business. You know exactly what you want to do to make your dream a reality, starting on a shoestring budget and a dream. Yes a dream and then one thing becomes a glaring reality. A moment when most entrepreneurs realize, Hey, wait a minute! You mean I have to do all of those other things that come with running a business like accounting, management, hiring, IT, and so much more. All of a sudden the dream gets a bit cloudy and panic sets in.

Yes you were there once or maybe you are just getting started as an entrepreneur after a long career at one of those BIG companies that promised to take care of you for the rest of your life.

For those of you who are in a position to help the new entrepreneurs I ask that you seek them out. Hopefully someone did the same for you. And if you are the new entrepreneur then actively seek out those people who you know have already been there. Ask them nicely if they can help you. One thing that keeps a lot of entrepreneurs from being successful is PRIDE. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to be the dumb one in the room. But when you ask for help be sure you listen and take great notes. It will save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

What great advice did someone give you when you were starting out?

A few good books I like to recommend for the entrepreneur are listed below. Most of them are quick reads but have great tips and examples.

There are plenty more that I’m sure are as good. Let me know what they are and I will put them on my list.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions and Social Media Staffing Solutions for businesses to build their social media success.