Big Dog Series Wrap Up (Day Ten of The Big Dog Series)

The Big Dog Series is coming to an end today and what an amazing run it’s been. I want to give a big  howl of appreciation to our Big Dog guest bloggers who have come and shared their juiciest bones with us and dare I say let us sniff their … well maybe not.

This series was not a walk in the park for me. My first big challenge was getting off the dime and doing it at all.  I knew it would be a good thing for me to do. I just “knew” that this was what was next for me to do. But, I was busy “doing the work” of making websites for people and I kept postponing the series mainly because it seemed hard and I didn’t know how it was going to work out.

I first got hung up thinking of a name, really.  Then I  stalled when I needed to ask people to participate. I waited and procrastinated thinking that I would know when it felt “right” to ask. Yes,  you should have some relationship with the people you ask online, but I did have those relationships.  I had formed them online and in real life over the course of the previous year. Who should I choose? What if they said no? What if it is a flop? It was way easier to do nothing and stay on the porch.

Once I got off that lounge chair and asked people to be a part of this, I was fine. Most were an immediate, yes. A couple couldn’t for various reasons but said to ask again next time.  With that behind me,  I had to set up all of the technical aspects of putting a series together with all of  its moving parts and pieces. But that was the easier thing for me since I already have those skills.

But whoa, then came time to actually write the first post of the series. I had a choice to make; play it safe and hide behind my alpha dog facade or step out and take a huge risk acknowledging what was up and put myself out there.  If I was going to [Read more…]

Conversation with Chris Guillebeau (Day Nine of Big Dog Series)

I met Chris online, about a year ago, when I offered to be the Atlanta host for his Unconventional Book Tour for his book, The Art of Non-Conformity.  Atlanta did us proud. We gathered a fantastic turnout of 125 amazing people, music, food and drink and we sold out of all his books! When I asked him to be one of my Dogs, even though he was on deadline for his new book and busy wrapping up the loose ends after his recent World Domination Summit, Chris wanted to be a part of this series, for me.

Conversation with Chris Guillebeau

Judi Knight and Chris Guillebeau
Judi: I was wondering about the meaning of some of the words you use in your work as well as those I have chosen for this series. You are well known and loved on the Internet for your writing on travel, adventure and business on your site, the Art of Non-Conformity. On your site you offer a business product called the Empire Builder’s Kit and your recent conference was called the World Domination Summit. I am talking about running with the Big Dogs. Can you talk about how you chose Empire Builder’s Kit and World Domination Summit and what they mean to you? How about the term, Big Dog?

Chris: The choice of language that we use is important. If you want to set yourself apart as a writer, one of the most important things you can do is choose to be deliberate about your terminology. In my case I try to use words, phrases, and titles that illustrate a sense of scale. World Domination was one of my earlier phrases, and it [Read more…]

Your Blog is a Mirror, a Beehive, a Teacher…(Day Eight of Big Dog Series)

Amy is a Soul Caller and she has a gift. Read her posts and you will see why I asked her to be one of our Big Dogs. Amy has not been doing this online thing long, but she has been doing it exceedingly well. You can too!

Your blog is a mirror, a beehive, a teacher . . .

Your blog will change your life

By Amy Oscar

Just so you know: I’m not an ‘expert blogger.’ At least, not in the realm of website development, marketing or SEO. However, because of the nature of my day job – I write angel stories for a living – I am becoming pretty well-versed in the miraculous.

So today, I’d like to talk about a miracle: your blog.

Though we’ve never met, I already know a few things about you:

1) You want more:

More light – and by ‘light’ I mean, illumination, information, and also, awareness.

More love – and by ‘love’ I mean, connection: friendship, a deepening of family ties, a feeling of belonging, and of community.

More life – and by ‘life’ I mean, vitality, health – your vital, expressive chi, the life energy that moves into and through and out of all that is.

That’s why you started a blog.

2) You want to give – desperately, achingly. You want to be of service, to be generous, to reach out to others; you want to donate energy, ideas and money to the causes you care about. You want to offer your wisdom, to teach from your experience, to uplift and help others.

That, too, is why you started a blog.

3) But at some point – perhaps, right now – you are going to come to a point where, in order to continue blogging, you have to make a leap across some edge of fear, self-doubt or uncertainty: a moment when you find yourself standing at the edge of your comfort zone.

This is where blogging and soul work meet – and a blog becomes a workshop in self-awareness and empowerment.

You see, your blog isn’t just some neutral, formless page out in cyberspace: it’s a projection of your consciousness, an externalized, virtual room hung with mirrors.

It’s a world of light and shadow, conjured out of your own imagination. As such, like all projections of the psyche, your blog is going to test every personal edge you’ve got.

It will remind you how afraid you are to let people in; how shattered you are by criticism; how orgasmic you get when someone you admire offers praise. Your blog will walk you straight up the plank of enlightenment and invite you to plunge in.

This is a good thing. In fact, it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you – but only if you stay the course, and open to the lessons that your blog will, inevitably, present.

There’s an entire book in this, and one day, perhaps I will write it. For now, I offer up this list – because bloggers (and magazine editors) love lists – to inspire you to consider what your blog might teach you.

What my blog taught me. [Read more…]

Social Media Lessons from My Dog Max (Day Seven of Big Dog Series)

Toby’s blog, Diva Marketing, was named one of the Top Ten Blogs for Social Media in 2010 by the Social Media Examiner. So this is a Diva that knows exactly what she is talking about.

Social Media Lessons from My Dog Max

By Toby Bloomberg

My Westie pooch, Max, doesn’t know he’s a little dog who should only run with dogs of his size. One of his best pals is Alex, a beautiful Borzio (Russian Wolf Hound).  In fact, Max has a diverse group of friends, including Tab The Cat.  It was his YouTube video with Tab The Cat that turned Max from just a cute puppy into a YouTube Rock Star. Really!
One of the lessons that Max taught me is that when you put preconceived ideas aside, your accomplishments can exceed your expectations. This holds true in the world of social media, where marketers frequently approach blogs and social networks as though they were another traditional messaging channel. Let’s explore the world of blogs through the lens of a different set of possibilities.

1.  A business blog is a powerful website that can not only be viewed as a unique form of digital communication, but can complement and support other tactics … both interactive (email, social networks, mobile, etc.) and traditional (broadcast, PR, outdoor, etc.) The  options we have to connect with our customers and stakeholders continue to grow; however, the most powerful benefits are realized when each is integrated into a master plan.

Tip: Create your master marketing strategy to leverage the benefit of your blog content.

Example: A traditional ad can include a URL to a blog post that drives customers to a post that offers value-added content and in-depth discussion.

2.  Blogs are more than just a communication channel.  They are digital assets that, unlike Twitter or Facebook, you own.  That means you set your own community guidelines, visual branding and links that will not disappear at the whim of the owner of a social network where you “rent” space not unlike an apartment tenant.

Tip: Create your blog to incorporate your visual branding and add elements that reinforce your brand promise.

Example: Set expectations for your community through guidelines that align with your brand promise. Link to bios of your blog authors that include something beyond their professional resumes. It might be an inspirational quote, a favorite vacation destination or perhaps a story about a pet. [Read more…]

This Big Dog Began as a Piddling Puppy (Day Six of Big Dog Series)

Bruce Sallan is one of the most friendly and engaging people I know online. I asked him to tell his tale, which is different from chasing his tail. Big Dogs don’t chase their tales. If they do, they get over it.

My Online Life: This Big Dog Began as a Piddling Puppy

by Bruce Sallan

My given topic, for this series, is how to unleash your blog’s potential and play with the big boys! I’ve learned much in my years of writing, interacting with the Internet, and from the granddaddy of all TweetChats, #blogchat. But, if there’s one lesson I’ve learned, it is that both passion and content (quality) are the keys to any success in the blogosphere. It’s truly that simple and you can’t fake it!

But, let’s begin with a little history lesson – my history. I’m a baby boomer. I know everything because our generation invented everything, changed everything for the better, invented rock ‘n’ roll, MTV, the Internet, and Starbucks. Oh, and we also ended a war. I have a second career — I really made two career changes — and I had to re-invent myself, throw out all my assumptions, and truly start over. It wasn’t easy, but it has been one heckuva ride!

That ride began as an uber-achiever. I graduated high school at 16, college at 19, and had my MBA at 21. I entered showbiz and produced my first movie-for-television at 23 and was Vice President of Movies at ABC Television at 29, back in the days before cable or even Fox.

As far as family went, I was an under-achiever or “late-bloomer,” however you want to define it, as I got married, for the first time, at 39. I became a father four days after my 40th birthday and had my second son at 43.

Five years later, I retired from showbiz and became a SAHD (stay-at-home-dad). Shortly thereafter, my marriage ended and I found myself a 24/7 single dad, while at the same time caring for my ailing parents and dealing with the “pleasantries” of an ugly divorce.

I was lucky [Read more…]

Authenticity Unleashes Our True Potential (Day Five of Big Dog Series)

Brandon Sutton is our Fifth Big Dog and he gets us back to the “getting naked on your website” theme I started on Day One. Big Dogs just be who they are. That is all.

Authenticity Unleashes Our True Potential

by Brandon Sutton

When Judi asked me if I would contribute to this series, I was honored and excited all at once.  I felt strongly that I could provide value to the community by speaking with my true voice and sharing some of my life experiences, some of which are blog related and some not.

Unleashing your true potential can be very personal, and each person has his or her own version of what potential is untapped.  What is universal, however, is the concept that unleashing your potential requires you to be your authentic self.

Not formulated or emulated.  Just you, blemishes and all.

Not long ago, I was unsure if I could truly be myself and be accepted by others, especially my clients.  What I found is that once I got clear on who I am and began to share openly and honestly, the world began to unfold in ways I could never have imagined.

Here’s the thing: only you can [Read more…]

Bark Louder: 5 Awesome WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using (Day Four of Big Dog Series)

Mitch Canter is the real deal, a Big Dog if there ever was one. He is going to give us a big dish of “how to” because we Big Dogs must know how to get ourselves out there and WordPress is our muse.

Bark Louder: 5 Awesome WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using

by Mitch Canter

If I were a real dog, my dogtag would have a WordPress logo on it. True Story.

After seeing some of the other Big Dogs that Judi had lined up for you (and the lineup was absolutely fantastic, by the way), I realized that on a scale of “writer” to “coder” that I am one of those strange people that falls on both ends.  My name is Mitch Canter, and I’m a WordPress designer / developer from honky-tonkin’ Nashville, TN.  I spend my days writing code, pushing pixels, and getting the luxury of working in WordPress pretty much every hour of the day.  I also technical edited fellow “Big Dog” Lisa Sabin Wilson’s WordPress Web Design for Dummies, and am finishing technical edits for WordPress for Dummies, 4th Ed. Aside from working with my own consultancy clients (via studionashvegas), I also work at the enterprise level at Bridgestone of Americas as a contracted consultant.  Needless to say, I stay busy!

That said, I’m one of those guys whose job it is to know the latest and greatest WordPress plugins are, and I constantly scour the official plugin database to make sure that I know what the next big thing is.  So, I wanted to share my top five WordPress plugins – a few of them that are on the obscure side.  Think of them as plugins you never knew you needed, but once you add them in you won’t be able to live without.  Shall we?

By the way, if you’re not a user of WordPress, stop reading, email me at, and let me convince you to switch; you won’t be disappointed :)

5. W3 Total Cache

I like to start with the nuts and bolts kind of stuff.  I’m a tinkerer; it’s what I do.  If the whole idea of technical terms and jargon makes your head spin, don’t fret.  Basically, when you visit a WordPress site, it has to access a few different elements to display everything to you: a few database hits to pull your content and image source links, the actual images themselves, and any other data that’s been coded onto the template.  Needless to say there could be hundreds of outgoing calls depending on your server and theme setup.  W3 Total Cache takes all of those database calls and makes one page out of them; this cuts down the number of calls, and makes your page load faster.  There are also many other things it does (hooking into a Content Delivery Network, minifying JavasScript) but for the sake of the non-technical out there we’ll just leave it at “it makes your website noticeably faster without a lot of setup”.

4. Digg Digg

If you’ve ever been to Mashable and saw their [Read more…]

How to Develop Laser Sharp Clarity Like the Big Dogs (Day Three of Big Dog Series)

Today we will be hearing from my mentor and coach, Sarah Robinson. Sarah has a way of whispering in your ear so that you take the next step, I guess we should call her the Blog Whisperer.

How to Develop Laser Sharp Clarity Like the Big Dogs

by Sarah Robinson

How would you, your blog and your business be different if you had laser-sharp clarity about The Thing you are up to in this world and the most important things you should (and should not) be working on to get where you know you are supposed to go?

Today, I’d like to share a tool with you that I teach my clients that is part of the Irresistible Business Presence Equation (you can learn more about that here if you’re interested). When you are overwhelmed by options and uncertain of the best direction to take your blog, you can access what Martha Beck (she trained me as a coach) calls the Body Compass. Here’s the thing – for your blog to be irresistible to your right people, or your Tribe, it must be deeply connected to who you are. By tapping into your inner wisdom, you can be certain that the steps and choices you make resonate within you, and will then resonate with your tribe.
So, how do you setup your own Body Compass so that you can run your blog and your business with laser-sharp clarity?

Step 1. Think of the most joyful moment of your life.
Close your eyes and really put yourself into that moment. What do you see? Who was there? What do you smell? Anchor it into your senses. Now, scan your body. Where does that supremely joyful feeling live? Really nestle down into its place of residence like a big down bed.

Step 2. Think of the most heinous experience of your life.
Do everything you did in Step 1 to anchor it in your body. What do you see? Who is there? What do you smell. Once it’s vividly [Read more…]

Avoid This Trap If You Want to Play a Bigger Game Online (Day Two of Big Dog Series)

Yesterday we talked about fear with a post by Moi! Today we have a Guest Post by Chelsea Moser.
Chelsea is a bright light, a girl who gets sh*t done. Chelsea took a big risk a few years ago and moved far from home to live alone in a condo by the beach. It didn’t take long before Chelsea started her own marketing company and now she has recently become engaged!

Avoid This Trap If You Want to Play a Bigger Game Online

by Chelsea Moser

As the CEO of a full-service marketing agency, I could teach you some pretty cool tech tricks and marketing strategies to go gangbusters with your blog, but instead, I want to offer you something different, and arguably just as important that will help you really rock out with everything you’ve going to learn here.

So many times, as bloggers or entrepreneurs, we dive so fast into the myriad of tools, programs, and platforms out there that we get stuck in the details and never actually manage to get things done.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you don’t need such tools—YOU DO, especially if you want to compete with the big dogs out there, but there’s a flip side called analysis paralysis that will ultimately keep you from playing a bigger game.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.

For the longest time, I had an idea in my mind to launch Solamar’s first info-product and coaching program.  I knew what I wanted to do, but I kept dragging my feet on it because I was unsure of the logistics and the little details.  In my mind I kept feeling like I had to wait until I was 100% clear on the programs before I could even think about bringing them to life.

So I waited….and I waited.  And I waited some more.  Until finally I just resolved in my mind that done is better than perfect and took the steps necessary to role them out.

And you know what? Even though they weren’t “perfect,” they were exactly what my tribe wanted and they immediately brought in income and amazing lead generation opportunities for my business.  If I would have hunkered down and launched 6 months sooner, I would have brought in even more money and lead generation opportunities than we are experiencing now.

I see this happen all the time too with our clients.  They’ll hear of really great ways to increase conversion rates on their site or better expand their presence online, but when it comes down to actually making a decision and getting things implemented, they just get stuck in [Read more…]

Pissed Off is Not a Power Position (Day One of Big Dog Series)

What leash are you are wearing that keeps you from playing full out?  What is the next step you can take towards living the life you know you are meant to live?

Big Dogs

This is the first post of the Big Dog Series. Let’s talk about what I mean by Big Dogs. Am I talking about the leader of the pack, the best of the best, a-list bloggers with 20 K twitter followers? No, that’s not what I mean by Big Dogs. Hey, don’t get me wrong, those people may in fact be Big Dogs, but you don’t have to be all that to be a Big Dog in my book. There are a lot of ways to define a Big Dog but I  think a Big Dog is one who has tuned in and knows what he or she is meant to do and then takes one step after another in order to get there.  Does a Big Dog feel afraid? Hell yes. Fear is part of the deal. But they check in with themselves and those that they care about, assess the situation, make a decision and take their next best step anyway.

If you are a dog person,  you may know that real dogs are hard-wired not to show any signs of weakness or illness, until they are really bad off. Back in the days when dogs roamed in packs in the wild it was an effective strategy to keep safe from the other dogs vying for leadership. This is not such a great strategy for the domestic dog who won’t show his owner there is a problem. Some of us have similar wiring. I know it is familiar territory for me being the oldest of seven children and being a clinical psychologist. My safe role is that of caretaker, teacher, leader. Certainly not to show weakness. Nope, somebody has to be  in charge here. Again maybe that strategy has its benefits but as with the domestic dog sometimes it gets in the way of getting our needs met and real power sometimes comes in the ability to be vulnerable. There is always that period of vulnerability in taking the next step to what we want in life. It is unknown whether it is learning Tango or growing your business.

Dog in Hiding

Doing this series had me step outside my safe-zone. I had to actually ask people to write guest posts for me. Doesn’t sound that hard, but let me tell you, I stood on the edge of that precipice for a couple of months using I am too busy as my excuse. This series has also presented me with a choice. I can to play it safe in the role where I can hide or I can step out there. I am stepping out there.

I just returned from the World Domination Summit where the question was asked, ” What are you going to take from these 3 days that will change in your life that will make the biggest difference to you this next year?” I immediately knew the one thing that was the most salient for me. This is where I have have a chain on, and the stakes on this one are really high. I have gained 100 pounds. Yes, [Read more…]