Shankman in Buffalo: Owning Your Shit and Other Tips

Last night, the Ad Club of Buffalo held an event at Templeton Landing that brought HARO-founder and businessman, Peter Shankman to speak about social media and business. I found this event to be not only funny but full of takeaways that I will need to remember as I move further in my education and career.
After listening to his talk, I came away with these few poignant tips that I, or anyone else looking to get into business, should remember.

  1. Take your time writing! I’m going to make this applicable to everything I do. I agreed with Shankman when he said that poor writing is killing America. I can’t stand the people on my Facebook list who uses “q” in place of “g”. Why is this necessary? Or people who use incomplete sentences. And I’m going to take my own advice and start policing myself better. I have always had this habit where I write like I think, or sometimes, talk. I know people can make snap judgments on things like the things I Tweet. I should know, I’ve written about it! Time to be serious about writing, not just when it comes to copy for clients, but when I’m representing myself in front of other people who don’t hear what I say, but can only read what I write. (My mouth dropped when I realized that I spelled sponsoring like sponsering in a Tweet that a former supervisor of mine even retweeted. Face palm. We’ve learned. We’re moving on.)
  2. Find your niche, brand the shit out of it. I need to figure out something that people need. Or at least figure out a way to make what I want to do different enough, that people will want to participate/pay for it. This will take some researching. But I like the sentiment of this statement, because not only is it worded in such a way that I would probably say it, but it’s true. It’s true and not said enough from people in business who want to influence younger people looking to get into business. 
  3. Own your shit. Transparency is key because there has never been a harder time to lie. I use social media items like Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pretty regularly. If I were to lie about where I was, there’s a good chance the truth is on one of those platforms. Thankfully, I keep myself too busy to do such a thing, but it’s not a bad concept to keep in mind once I hit the business world. Owning your shit to the public is for best practices in keeping your audience. Your audience is a privilege, not a right. Treat them as such. It’s like a relationship. For me, Mark is a privilege, not a right. If I treat him like shit and lie, he’s out. The same goes for my customers. 
  4. Money is the motive. Without money, you don’t have a business. At first, I felt like “Oh crap, business is out for me.” I’m not a subscriber to the “profit motive” in the way I see Wall Street/Insurance Crooks/Bank Robbers and other Fat Cat business people do. I hate greed, I hate that money can overtake a persons entire objective/life. But without going into my political ideologies, after some thought and a night over ice cream, talking to Mark, I realized that it’s a necessary evil. And the more money you can make for your business, the more you can offer to your employees, which is ultimately what I’d love to do. I’d love to create an amazing space for people where they want to work and hopefully really bring a lot to the table. In my head, my business is kind of like what I experienced at EMA, but I have to keep my feet on the ground and remember that it could take a VERY, very, very long time for me to get there. Money will help get us there. 
I walked out of there with some clearer, more succinct goals in mind and some not-so-clear goals. Works in progress, I suppose. I guess this talk did its job.
Thanks Advertising Club of Buffalo on yet another amazing event. I’m so glad to be finally getting more involved!
Note: Listening to people like him (and Sheryl Sandberg) make me want to be such an amazing public speaker at some point. I’m sure I’ll get there. I’m terrified of it now, but doesn’t mean I’ll always be.
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