Author: Jason Miles

A Beginner’s Guide To Marketing With Hashtags

Hi everyone, The newsletter is online. If you’d like to print a 1-page version simply click here. I’ve also included an expanded edition below.

A Beginner's Guide To Marketing With Hashtags

Hashtags seem to be everywhere these days. They have become a mainstream part of the culture, but lots of people are still trying to understand exactly what they are, how you use them, and why they exist. As a marketer you might be left wondering –

“How am I supposed to use hashtags for my business? – and should I invest the time to figure it out?”

Let’s start at the very beginning and then review everything you need to know to get up to speed on this topic.

According to Wikipedia:

A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (#). It is a form of metadata tag…Words in messages on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram may be tagged by putting “#” before them.

 What’s all that mean?

 Hashtags are the card catalog system of the 21st century – a method for tagging and then searching for topics

– Jason Miles

 Although hashtags are usually viewed through the specific social media platform you’re used on, most commonly Twitter and Instagram, they can also be viewed in a consolidated way via a third party viewer tool.

Exercise: Look At A Hashtag Viewer

The best way to begin to understand how hashtags work is to go look at them through an easy to use viewer tool. A viewer tool will allow you to see the big picture. You can look up any hashtag and see how it is being used.

I personally like statigram – recently renamed It’s free and easy to use. To give it a whirl simply go to iconosquare and look for the search box in the top right corner.

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Simply type in a hashtag you’re curious about and look at the results. For example, type in “Pixiefaire” or “libertyjaneclothing”. Now try your brand, name, or other names you’re interested in. What you’re seeing is referred to as “User Generated Content” or UGC. Here is what we see when we type in pixiefaire:

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Can You Do Marketing With Hashtags?

Now that you know what a hashtag is and how to look at them. The next question is – can you can use hashtags for sales and marketing purposes? Yes! And that is the real powerful part about them. How do you do it? Let’s look at a simple hashtag marketing plan that you can implement without too much technical expertise.

A Hashtag Marketing Plan: Let’s outline a basic hashtag marketing plan. Here are the steps:

 Step #1 – Claim Your Hashtag & Promote It

The first and most obvious step is to begin using a hashtag in association with your work. You simply “claim it” by using it. There is no formal process and no one can truly own a hashtag. It can be your company name, your product name, a slogan, or just about anything else you want to use. Just realize anyone can use it – so don’t try to use a hashtag someone else has already taken. We started promoting the #pixiefaire hashtag by including a new widget box on our homepage that encouraged people to use #pixiefaire. Here is what that looks like:

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To generate enthusiasm and support you should begin including the hashtag(s) in your product listings, on your website, in your “about me” information, in your newsletters, and everywhere else your customers, fans, and followers might find it. The success of your hashtag promotion efforts will be directly tied to your brand power and influence. Strong brands will get significant engagement. Unknown brands will get very little engagement. But the good news is that even a few enthusiastic fans can make a big difference – so starting small is okay!

Step #2 – Track & Evaluate Usage

Use a free viewer tool, like to track and evaluate how your followers are using the hashtags you promote. You might be surprised to find a new level of community involvement in a fun and easy way. If it’s going well – work to take it to the next level. We were nicely surprised by how people started using the hashtag – and so we expanded it! You created an “inspiration” page that had a much larget collection of images. We talked about that in our newsletter and on our Facebook page. The full page looks like this:

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Step #3 – Thank & Engage Your Hashtag Users

Since most hashtags are used on Twitter and Instagram – you’ll want to get an account on each of those platforms. Then simply like, comment, or retweet the posts that include your hashtag(s). When you thank and acknowledge people for using your hashtag you reinforce the user behavior and join their conversation online. I’ll be honest, we need to get better at this step, (that’s one of our goals).

Step #4 – Add UGC Into The Sales Process

There are various ways to include the User Generated Content. We took the next step by including our product information on the images being displayed – the product image pops up as you scroll over the image. You can go see how it works on our inspiration page – you’ll see something like this:

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When you can include your community’s hashtag’ed content into your product listings then you’ve got some exciting stuff happening. This will become a common practice over the next few years – and it’s something every online seller should begin to understand and explore. I wouldn’t be surprised if sites like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay begin to offer these types of integration strategies. There are free tools available with limited functionality that you can use to get the UGC displayed on your site – and even website themes that are now starting to have this type of basic functionality built in.

The only tool we’ve found that allows you to integrate UCG into the product level sales process is Readypulse. [Full disclosure – I’m honored to serve as an Advisor to them and we couldn’t do what we’re doing on without them]. We are seeing exciting results and as we continue to learn new things about UGC I’ll continue to write about the journey. There are still lots of unanswered questions in our minds about how to do all of this, but it’s fun to begin to see it all come together.

Regardless of whether you use Readypulse, or another tool, or even create your own customer code – getting UGC onto your product pages is a HUGE ecommerce trend that is only going to get more and more common – and I’d imagine it will even become expected by customers.


Hashtags are not going away anytime soon. In fact, they’re just getting started as part of society. So the sooner you begin learning how to integrate them into your marketing the better! Take the first step on your hashtag marketing journey today. You’ll be well on your way to engaging with customers and fans in an exciting new way.

Do You Have A Question About Hashtags?

Leave a comment and tell us what you think – or ask a question about hashtags!

Jason & Cinnamon

Etsy Power – 12 Proven Principles For Etsy Sellers


Hi everyone,

Etsy Power v2This week instead of writing the newsletter I spent the time compiling Etsy Power – I hope you don’t mind.

What’s inside Etsy Power? It’s the 27 page Etsy Survey YOU helped me complete a few weeks ago – plus a nice collection of related articles – these are things I’ve previously written that I reworked a bit to fit this context. When you put it all together it is a nice intro to Etsy.

If you’re a faithful reader of this blog, then you’ll have probably seen almost all of this content before – but you DON’T have it in a concise, easy to read format like this PDF or the ebook version. So I hope you find it helpful.

I’ve uploaded it here as a PDF file, (grab it for free).

Get It On Amazon: I’m also adding it to Amazon as a Kindle ebook so you can get it that way too. That version will cost .99 cents. I’ll share the link when it’s ready.

I would LOVE to have you leave me an Amazon review if you enjoy it.

All the best,


Sample My New Book – Income Power

Hi friends,

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.11.36 PMHey, I wanted to take a minute and thank all of you who have picked up a copy of my new book Income Power – and taken advantage of the special offer currently underway on Amazon as part of the 20 Life Changing Books promotion. If you haven’t gotten my book plus 19 more for just .99 cents – be sure to snag a copy.

Today I thought I’d share a sample chapter from Income Power – it’s from one of my favorite chapters – about how to negotiate a starting salary. Of course you can also “look inside this book” on Amazon and see a fairly big chunk as well as the Table Of Contents. Maybe you don’t need this information, but if you have a spouse, family member, or friend in a situation where they might, then please share this with them.

I have included the entire chapter in this post below, and also saved it as a PDF if you’d like to download it and send it to someone more easily. Get the PDF file version here.


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Negotiating A Starting Salary - An Excerpt From Income Power by Jason G. Miles

Chapter Seven

If you’re trying to increase your income via a traditional employer, my best recommendation is to find a large company and seek promotions within it. In a large organization there are simply more opportunities for promotion than in a smaller business.

Over time promotions in one company will result in your resume looking more stable, as compared to an employee that has moved from one company to the next in pursuit of new opportunities.

Averaging 24% Salary Increases Every Two Year

In the period of my career between standing in the vault and retiring from the 9-to-5 grind I worked for twenty years.

In that time period I worked for my first employer for roughly sixteen years and my second for roughly four years. But I changed jobs nine times during that twenty-year period.

As I was writing this chapter I went back and calculated my salary change associated with each job change to see what percentage of increase I was able to achieve as I negotiated my new starting salary amounts.

The largest increase I was able to achieve was 45%. The smallest was a straight transfer with no pay increase. The average increase over the course of the nine job changes was 24%. So every two years I received a 24% pay increase on average. Ultimately rising into the six-figures.

You Have Maximum Negotiating Power Before You Start        

Before you accept a job, either within your existing company or at a new one, you have an opportunity to impact your pay more than at any other time. So if you’re smart, you’ll put yourself in the situation of being hired for a new job, and then do a good job working through the salary negotiation process.

Here are two of the reasons why your salary negotiating power is highest as you enter a new job:

  1. Your new manager has a problem and you’re the answer. Every day the position goes unfilled your new boss is falling further behind on goals. You are the answer to solve that problem. Often times a manager will get very creative if they are desperate enough.
  2. The manager is at their “most optimistic” about you before you start. Many times managers get very high on the potential of a new employee. They see you as the answer to all their problems. You are the ace, the closer, the guru, or the administrative genius. You have the opportunity to use that positive emotional energy to secure higher pay.

In addition to these emotional reasons, there are also “budget & policy” reasons the manager has more flexibility during the salary negotiation phase. The amount of flexibility will differ from one organization to the next, and from one situation to the next, but frequently there is some flexibility that the manager is working with to finalize your salary negotiation. It may be limited, but there is usually some flexibility.

Your job is to gently inquire until you discover the maximum potential of that flexibility, and get your best offer, without damaging your relationship with your new boss.

Here are some of the budget and policy reasons that flexibility exists:

  1. Managers have an amount in their budget for the position. Generally it is the amount the prior employee made. That is, in essence, “all the money they have to offer”. If they needed more to meet your demands, then they would have to go and ask their boss for more salary budget or find it from another place within their budget.
  2. They know the current grade level for the position, which governs the minimum offer they can make, and the maximum offer they can make. This is the “theoretical minimum and maximum” they could offer if they had the money to do so.
  3. They know what the other employees in that position are making.
  4. They know what they are making.
  5. They know what their boss is willing to approve.

A Practical Example:

Let’s look at a quick example and see how these factors mix together to influence a manager’s behavior:

  • You are applying for a Senior Sales Manager position.
  • The position has been formally placed into the Grade Level “20”slot in the company’s Salary Guide, which means, in their system, that the minimum salary must be $62,000 and the theoretical maximum salary can be up to $82,000.
  • The manager knows the other people in that same job are making around $65,000.
  • The manager only has $68,000 in the budget for this position, because that is what the prior employee was making.
  • The manager has a very tight budget and there aren’t any other funds that could be moved around to make the salary any bigger.

So you can see that the manager is working with a range of possible salaries from $62,000 to $68,000. That is the practical range you can negotiate within. Theoretically you could be paid up to $82,000 for the job, which is the maximum of the pay range, but the supervisor doesn’t have that much money at his/her disposal.

If you state your “salary requirements” are $75,000, the manager can either counter back with $68,000 without too much drama, or they can say, “I’m going to have to check with my boss about that“.

If the manager does counter back at $68,000, and you accept, you’ve gotten the best possible outcome. If you would have made the manager go to his boss and ask for more money, you may have gotten it, but you may have stirred up a drama that complicated the negotiation and your future opportunities.

On the other hand, if you accidentally asked for too low a salary and said, “I really need $60,000“, thinking you were asking for a fair amount, they would likely come back and say, “Good news, I’m happy to offer you $62,000“. They would do that because by policy your minimum salary must be $62,000. You’d be happy with the $62,000, and you would never know they were willing to go to $68,000 to get you. In this case you left an additional 8.8% salary increase on the table – bummer!

The Parity Offer Trap

It’s an odd thing, but generally, if you’ve made $80,000 at a previous job or position, then in the salary negotiation for a new job, the manager will offer you $80,000. It’s almost like people think if you’re earning $80,000 then you “need” at least that much, or maybe they assume that you’ll be “okay” with that much.

They are comfortable offering you a salary on par with your prior salary. It’s a parity offer. It is like they want to keep you in income equilibrium. You don’t want income parity as you get promoted. You want a nice big salary increase. It’s your job to focus the conversation on a new level of pay and explain why a new amount is needed.

Of course the Parity Offer is fine if you’re changing jobs under a hardship circumstance and all you’re hoping to do is keep your salary the same level as you go through the transition to a new job. But it’s not good if you’re looking for more money.

Reasons To Accept The Parity Offer        

There are some circumstances in which taking an offer on par with your prior salary is a wise move. Let’s review a few of those briefly,

  • Moving from one industry, like Human Resources, to another industry, like Sales. If the new industry you’re moving into has a much higher set of potential salary ranges and opportunities, then it’s wise to move into that new career field even if the first salary in it is on par with your prior salary. I did that once and it worked out great.
  • Moving into a role that has more benefits, perks, and rewards. If you can get a dream job, let’s say an assignment in Hawaii, then even if the offer is no higher than your last job, it is likely worth it.
  • Moving away from a toxic boss or team. If you are running from a mess then pay isn’t your top priority, your sanity is.
  • Moving into a department that offers faster promotions. Some departments in a company are just frozen with long-time employees that will never budge. Other departments have a steady flow of opportunities. All things being equal, you want to be in a department that has upward mobility.

The Step Up The Ladder Increase

It might sound obvious, but you don’t get ahead financially unless you move up the career ladder. Don’t apply for a job that is not clearly superior to your prior job. If you don’t know whether it is or not talk to a neutral third-party confidentially, like a nice and trustworthy HR recruiter. If you simply move laterally, from random job to random job, you’ll struggle for years to get ahead. If you apply for higher-level roles and get them the pay increases are almost automatic.

The First Person To State An Amount Wins

There is an old adage in negotiation that the first person to state an amount loses, but I’ve found that to be untrue in salary related matters. In fact, the exact opposite is true for salary negotiations in the hiring process. If the hiring manager has selected you as the finalist, and you know it, then they are going to want to state your salary requirement before they offer you an amount. You “claim” the amount you want and then the manager is forced to respond.

Your job is to know enough about the new position you’re applying for so that you can put a realistic, but large number in front of them in a gracious way.

Frequently job applications have a beautiful question, “salary requirements_____________”.

That is a fantastic tool in your tool belt. Don’t fear it. Use it to your advantage. Research enough to know a high, but not crazy number, and fill in that blank.

Why Stating A Number First Is Better

Let’s say your interviews are successful and the manager says, “let’s talk about the salary for the position, I noticed you indicated you need $117,000 on the application”, If they really like you for the job, and your stated salary is within reason for that position, the manager will naturally move toward your number as much as possible and then counter back with an amount that is within his/her budgetary limit.

If you put out a big first number, then their offer is frequently more than they might have planned to offer you. You don’t have to talk them into anything. Your opening amount causes them to react to you and when that happens you have the high ground in the negotiation. That’s a good thing at this point in the process.

If on the other hand the hiring manager puts a number in front of you first, and it is not a number you’re happy with, then you have to decide whether to give up on your dream of a higher salary and accept the offer, or counter-back with a higher amount. In that situation you are the one reacting and you’ll have to make a strong argument for why a higher salary is needed.

Additionally, if you counter back with a higher amount, but the manager holds firm and doesn’t budge, then you’re left in the awkward position of either accepting it or walking away. If you accept the lower offer, then as you start the job, the manager may feel like you’re unhappy with your new salary and not 100% on-board. Sadly, that might be true. It’s not a good way to start a new job.

How To Justify What You Need

If you put a high salary amount on the “salary requirement________” field in your application and at the end of the interview process the manager asks you about that amount, you need to justify it.

The manager will frequently “probe” to discover how committed you are to that number before offering you a specific amount. It is common for the application to ask for your prior salary as well. So if there is a difference between your last salary and your new “salary requirement” the manager is going to be skeptical.

There are a million things you can say to justify your amount. For example,

  • Your spouse has lost their job.
  • Your kids are about to enter college.
  • Your health-care costs are skyrocketing.
  • You are now caring for your aging parents.
  • You need to start saving for a home.
  • You never saved anything for retirement and you need to start saving aggressively.

Whatever is actually true, and sounds compelling, use it. It can be personal information – that’s okay in this situation. The more compelling it is the better. Oddly enough, managers are frequently open to helping you solve personal challenges as an opening gesture as you start a new position. They do this because they want you to like them and are willing to offer you a premium to be seen as “cool”.

But six months later, they probably won’t be sympathetic to your personal needs. So be careful. This type of personal justification is only relevant and useful during the salary negotiation period for a new role. If you try to use these arguments to simply get a raise in your existing position, it will hardly ever work.

You Decide When It’s Over

The decision to stop the negotiation is truly yours before you start a job. There is a lot of power in that realization. You should realize that the hiring manager has invested a ton of time in the process. They’ve rejected all the other candidates, and it’s down to you. They want you – and they don’t want to start over at the beginning. So if you can frame your salary demand in a way that makes it appear to be a true need, then you’re in a good spot to continue the conversation.

A Practical Example

Let’s say you put your number on the table first, and you tell them you’ll need $90,000 in the new role. But they counter back with $82,000. You can do the following constructive things to improve your chances of getting the $90,000 you seek.

Ask “Why” – You might be surprised, but in the salary negotiation, if you can calmly and professionally discuss the topic of your salary with your prospective new boss, they’ll probably really applaud you for it. It’s not an easy thing to do.

One way you can extend the conversation is to ask the question “is there a budget constraint or HR policy that is limiting your ability to finalize things at $90,000?” That question will probably surprise them, but you might rattle a candid answer out of them in the heat of the moment. Just remember it must be done in a calm friendly tone. If it sounds like you’re arguing or defensive then the manager will clam up and shut down.

The manager might respond back with an actual reason, like, “well, the maximum of the salary range is $84,000 and HR won’t let us extend offers past that amount“. Boom. You’ve just discovered their maximum per policy. Or maybe the manager will say, “well, I’ve got several people on the team with more experience than you and they aren’t making that much“. Boom. You’ve just discovered the peer group constraint. 

Ask “When” – A great question to ask is something like, “if I could accept the offer at $82,000, how quickly do you think you’d be able to get me to the $90,000 level if I do a great job for you?” Maybe you’d get the manager to make you a promise to try to get you a raise sooner than normal. Or maybe they’ll find another creative way to finalize the deal.

Let Them Know You Need To Discuss It With Your Partner – Another great way to extend a negotiation is by bringing in an appropriate third party. Let the hiring manager know that you need to check with someone else, ideally your spouse. Then you can come back and say, “I know it sounds funny, but [insert spouses name] really reminded me last night that [insert the reason you need more money], so I’m really going to have a hard time accepting that offer – so I’m not sure what to do at this point – man I really want to join your team, but this is a tough situation.”

Key Phrases To Avoid

There are key phrase you definitely want to avoid in the process of negotiating your starting salary. Let’s review a few of them together. Don’t use,

No – For example, instead of saying, “I cannot accept that offer“, say, “That amount doesn’t meet our household budget needs, so I’m not sure what to do at this point”. The difference is that if you say you cannot accept the offer – then you do end up accepting the offer – you look like a liar. Or worse, if you say, “I cannot accept that offer” the manager might assume you are ending the conversation and that your final answer is “no”. They might move on to the next candidate.

I’m worth it – Saying you’re worth a certain amount is never a wise phrase. It comes off as arrogant, sets you up for future harsh judgments, and isn’t prove-able. Instead consider saying, “to meet my families financial needs, I really need X amount“.

X Amount Is Fair – The problem with using this phrase is you don’t know what your new coworkers are making, or what your new boss is making – the hiring manager does know those pieces of information, so they probably know what’s fair more than you do. So if you say, “$80,000 is fair” you run the risk of the hiring manager saying, “no – actually it’s not and here is why…

I Deserve It – This is probably the worst phrase you can possibly use. Why? You haven’t worked a single day for the new boss yet. You don’t deserve anything until you prove you are a valuable employee in their department.


If you get good at making career moves, then the opportunity to step up into a higher salary is fairly simple. And when you’re in the heat of the discussion over your new salary, be sure to take your time, be calm, and think clearly about each step in the dialogue. This is your best shot at getting a big raise.

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I hope you enjoyed that sample chapter! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of my new book, plus 19 more for free on Amazon, for just .99 cents. Hurry, this offer ends Sunday July 29th.





Etsy Power Survey Results


Hi everyone,

The newsletter is online and this week it’s a special 27 page report outlining the Etsy Power Survey results! We hope you enjoy it. survey cover

Click Here To Get The Full Report

Jason & Cinnamon

P.S. last week I told you about my new book project Income Power and I’m excited to let you know that this week, (from the 23rd to the 29th), you can get it for just .99 cents and also get another 19 ebooks completely free! Yeah, it’s an amazing offer that I hope you take advantage of – simply visit the book bundle on Amazon here.



Get My New Book Plus 19 More For Just 99 Cents!

(Limited time offer through June 29th)

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 11.11.36 PM


Etsy Power, The Survey

Hi Everyone,

This week we’re mixing it up a bit and instead of me writing the newsletter – I thought I’d ask YOU to write the newsletter. The topic? Etsy! To participate simply fill out the survey and hit, “Finish Survey” button. Then (to enter the book giveaway) leave a comment on this blog post saying you completed it. I’ll choose one participant and send them a paperback copy of Instagram Power! I’ll post the results next week!

The 4 Futures Of Social Media

Hi everyone,

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 9.53.53 AMThe newsletter is online. If you’d like to print a 1-page version simply click here. I’ve also included the
full edition below.

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Lots of people are asking the same question these day about social media. They wonder –

Is social media truly valuable to a business?

For example, if you invested $100,000 in Facebook related work, (through hiring someone to do the work and running FB advertising, etc.), could you reasonably expect to get $100,000 of income from that effort in a short amount of time? (If you’re uncomfortable with that number, reduce it to anything you’d like, for example $1,000.)

Most journalists and article writers are quick to say, “the monetary value of social media is unproven”. They claim that marketers haven’t been able to demonstrate the revenue impact of social media work.

After spending the last three years writing books about social media, researching the best companies, and interviewing the most innovating practitioners, I can tell you the answer is – it depends on the tactics you use – as to whether you’d recoup your investment of $100,000!

The analogy that comes to my mind is that of the adoption and use of the U.S. Mail service.

  • Most individuals use the U.S. Mail and most individuals use social media.
  • Most businesses use the U.S. Mail and most businesses use social media.
  • It took years for a Direct Marketing industry to clearly demonstrate the monetary value of direct mail – and to clarify and articulate the principles that work effectively. Even still,
  • Most businesses don’t use Direct Mail Marketing techniques. They use the U.S. Mail, but not Direct Mail Marketing and therefore don’t reap any significant benefit any more than a personal user would.

Premise #1

To refine this point further – let’s start with a basic premise. I believe social media is simply a digital adaptation of long-standing social activities. Such as chatting with friends, sharing pictures, gossiping, etc. In that way, the social behavior isn’t new, it’s just occurring on a new media.

Premise #2

For marketers, the best historical analogy (or at least a good one) for understanding the near-term future of Social Media is to reflect on the introduction and use of the U.S. Mail service.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.03.18 AM

A 1931 U.S. Mail Box


The 4 Futures Of Social Media

If we use the U.S. Mail as an analogy to understand what might happen with the ongoing use of Social Media, we can clearly see 4 distinct futures.

Future #1 – The Individuals’ Future

Individuals will continue to use social media with no loyalty to any specific platform. Facebook will not be the monopolistic incumbent. Users will migrate to platforms that best serve their social sharing needs, and reflect their values and interests.

Future #2 – The Direct Marketers’ Future

Direct marketers will learn to master social media in the same way they learned to master the use of the U.S. Mail service. This new breed of marketers will become expert in the tradecraft of social media marketing for conversion goals.

Future #3 – General Business Future

Just as most businesses use the U.S. Mail, most businesses will use social media platforms. However, their use will be very different than the Direct Response Marketer’s use. Most businesses won’t see any large-scale benefit from using social media. It will be helpful, but not a significant driver of revenue or growth.

Future #4 – The Regulators’ Future

Just as regulators passed laws to protect people from abuses of the U.S. Mail, and email, regulators will pass laws to protect users from abuses of social media.

Choosing Your Future

We are at the bleeding edge of understanding how to use social media to convince and convert prospects into customers – and customers into loyal long-term advocates. Just as the U.S. Mail was available for any small business marketer to use – so it is with social media. Those that use it for industrial strength purposes will see large scale benefits. The time, energy, patience, experimenting, trials, and frustrations involved in learning to adapt it to your business are the only barrier to use.

Do You Have A Question?

This newsletter is written for you! So feel free to submit a question today. Submit it here. We are honored to partner with you!

Jason & Cinnamon

Ps. I made a slideshare of this presentation – Let me know if you like it and/or share it socially 🙂

The 4 futures of social media from Jason Miles

The Heart Of A Business Lion

Hi everyone,

The newsletter is online. If you’d like to print a 1-page version simply click here. I’ve also included the Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 9.24.28 PMfull edition below.

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Yesterday I was asked to share business lessons with aspiring seamstresses in Lusaka Zambia as part of a week of sewing & tailoring training we’ve organized with a local community group.The twenty enthusiastic students hadn’t ever used a sewing machine before. They had no computer skills or computers. No Internet access. As a group they had four sewing machines – four donated from BabyLock (thanks BabyLock) but one of those didn’t work because we didn’t have the right adapter.

They also had one very old treadle machine, (that still worked nicely).
What they did have was a strong desire to improve the quality of their life, provide for their children, and work together to learn new skills. They had enthusiasm, joy, and friendship.

Where Do You Start?

As you might guess – I wasn’t sure exactly how to help them. They have none of the advantages of aspiring entrepreneurs in the U.S. or other first world societies. I felt like my “bag of tricks” was useless. eBay auctions? No. Online selling? No. Email marketing? No. Social media? No.

I was going to have to get much more primal – and go all the way back to the beginning. I decided to share lessons that every successful entrepreneur knows.

6-Steps To Being A Successful Business Woman (or man)

As you might guess we started our time of sharing with our own personal story. The story of us needed more money to pay our bills. The story of Cinnamon being good at making doll clothes. The story of us wondering if that could be a business. The story of our first sale. The story of us working together to build Liberty Jane Clothing. Then I told them that we had learned six lessons that we wanted to share – as well as a list of three challenges that they’d have to learn to overcome.

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Looking At The King Of The Jungle In Zambia

Step #1 – Perseverance, (never giving up)
I told them that most ideas don’t work. The job of the entrepreneur is to learn from every failure and to continue to try new approaches until they discover the things that do work. Sadly most entrepreneurs give up before they find success, but those that have perseverance will embrace the struggle and learn to find success.

Principle #2 – Optimism
I shared with them that friends and family will call you crazy. That I have a relative that questions the soundness of our business every time we talk about it. If I listened to that family member I would have given up a long time ago. But optimism means I believe for the best – even when things are hard.

Principle #3 – A Learning Attitude
We discussed the importance of having a learning attitude and taking advantage of every opportunity to get trained on the aspects of a sewing business. I told them that a sewing business is not just about sewing – it’s also about sales and marketing. So there are lots of lessons to learn in several areas.

Principle #4 – Goal Setting
I highly recommended that each of them write down a personal financial goal. We discussed how goal setting shapes your actions and gives you a way to hold yourself accountable.

Principle #5 – Striving For Quality
I encouraged them to focus on quality in their work and to strive to learn new things that would allow them to master the different aspects of a sewing business.

Principle #6 – Building A Brand
We explained how a reputation in the marketplace turns into a brand over time – and how a brand is the most important thing a seamstress can develop.

3 Challenges Entrepreneurs Have To Overcome
We also encouraged them to prepare to encounter several very hard obstacles. Including,

Challenge #1 – Failure Is Normal
We discussed the fact that most of the time an entrepreneur is trying to make something work – that doesn’t work. Products fail. Companies’ fail, ideas fail. Failure is totally normal. Entrepreneurs keep exploring until they finds success.

Challenge #2 – Competition Is Normal
When an entrepreneur finds success you can be sure that others will quickly copy the idea. That’s normal. Don’t hate them, be mad at them, or try to stop them. Simply realize they are trying to succeed too – and they see the value in your ideas..

Challenge #3 – Small Steps Forward Are Normal
Most businesses grow very slowly – through hard work and little incremental improvements. Don’t expect fast growth. Plan for slow steady progress.

Do You Have A Question?
This newsletter is written for you! So feel free to submit a question today. Submit it here. We are honored to partner with you!

Jason & Cinnamon

285 Pinterest Marketing Tips For Just $1.99

Hi friends,

Hey, quick update – Amazon is featuring my bestselling book Pinterest Power for just $1.99 in the ebook format today. I believe it’s just a 1-day sales, so if you’re interested – act fast.

I was just doing some quick math – If there are 15 tips per chapter (that’s sort of a guess on my part) and there are 19 chapters – then that’s something like …

285 Pinterest marketing tips – for just $1.99!

That’s just .70 cents a tip! What a bargain!

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I’m sure lots of you have already gotten the book, so you can ignore this, but tons more haven’t. So now is a great opportunity!

I hope you snag a copy today!


Genius Pricing Lessons From Costco

Hi everyone,

The Newsletter Is Online – if you’d like a printable version simply click this link.

14526 newsletter imageThis week we learn a lesson from Costco’s founder Jim Sinegal and his incredibly genius pricing strategies.

Ps. Grab a copy of Craft Pricing Power on Amazon today. If you don’t have a Kindle you can still read it via the Kindle App for PC, MAC, Tablets, and Smartsphones. And – the paperback version should also be available any day now. Check Aamzon for that now.

Here is the full text as a blog post:

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Genius Pricing Lessons From Costco

[An excerpt from Craft Pricing Power]

 This week we’re featuring an excerpt from Craft Pricing Power, we hope you like it.

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You might be saying to yourself,

“The low price leaders do well; why not be one?”

 The reason it is difficult to be one is because you have to create a way to sustain your low prices and maintain revenue. A great example is Costco, the Seattle-based warehouse store. If you look at the company’s total revenue, it is the fourth largest retailer in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Target.

But Costco only has 435 stores, whereas the others have between 1,778 and 4,550. So Costco makes more money from each store than anyone else.

How does Costco sustain its business so successfully? By using several strategies, including:

• Charging everyone who enters the store an annual membership fee. This helps provide additional revenue.

• Only selling bulk items. So a funny thing happens: customers pay more for a bottle of aspirin at Costco than they do at Walgreens. The difference? They are buying four times as much. So the price is higher, and the quantity is higher.

• Not doing any advertising or promotions. Costco depends on word of mouth and the loyalty of its members.

I didn’t understand the full business value of these strategies until I heard Costco’s founder, Jim Sinegal, speak at a business dinner. There was an open Q&A time with him, and someone asked,

“Why don’t you sell things in smaller quantities, like a 100-count bottle of Aspirin, instead of just the 500-count bottles?”

 Jim’s answer was simple:

 “Because people would buy them.”

 That night, I realized what he was doing. He’s providing a discount to customers in exchange for them making a bigger purchase than they otherwise would have wanted to make.

Those bigger purchases allow Jim to get bigger discounts from manufacturers when he is negotiating the prices with his suppliers.

So while you can go to Walgreens and buy aspirin for $6.99, you’re only getting 100 pills. When you go to Costco and buy aspirin, you’re spending $13.99—twice as much. But you’re getting 500 pills. You’re getting five times as much on a per-pill basis.

This also allows Costco to transact fewer orders for higher total dollar amounts. So while the company is a low-price leader, Costco’s business model produces many of the rewards of being a premium provider.

These strategies and others allow Costco to maintain its system of low-cost selling. Like Costco, if you’re going to embark on that venture, ensure that you have systems in place that make your low-cost selling strategy profitable.

If you’ve tried to sell items for a fixed price on Etsy or eBay, then you understand the problems related to open marketplaces that don’t have any pricing controls. You’re almost forced to compete on price.

*   *   *3D Kindle Fire Cover

Read more from chapter two of Craft Pricing Power today – available exclusively on Amazon.

Tell Us What You Think!

What’s your opinion on this topic? Do you think Costco has got smart pricing? Tell us what you think!

Jason & Cinnamon



Tell Your Story In My Next Book

Hi everyone,

The Newsletter Is Online – if you’d like a printable version simply click this link.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.18.00 AMThis week we focus on how to tell your story – and I offer a special invitation to have your story included in my next book. I sincerely hope you take me up on the offer – that would be fun!

Ps. If you want to go deeper on this topic, we have a whole chapter with 10 steps to beefing up your brand in Craft Business Power. As it happens Amazon is running a promotion for that book right now – you can snag an ebook copy for .99 cents today – it goes up in price tomorrow. If you don’t have a Kindle you can still read it via the Kindle App for PC, MAC, Tablets, and Smartsphones.

Here is the full text as a blog post:

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The Art Of Telling Your Story

In last week’s newsletter we looked at the work of David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising methods. This week we’ll zero-in on one of his most compelling ideas and figure out how to apply it to a craft business. He said, (with a bit of tweaking from me so it applies to our industry),

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of …cake mixes, whiskey, detergents, or doll clothes… The doll clothes maker who dedicates her advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for her brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”

 Your Story Well Told

So the question that comes to mind is how exactly do you create a “sharply defined personality” for your brand?

One of the simplest ways to infuse your brand with personality is to identify, clarify, and frequently communicate YOUR personal story.

When people bond with you – they bond with your brand

As craft sellers trying to stand out there are two tracks you can create that prospects can follow. Track one is your personal story. Track two is your businesses story or personality. If you’re just starting out – be sure to get your personal story documented properly. Get it well developed and treat it like the cornerstone of your brand.

Crafting your story can be a real struggle. You’ll feel unsure of yourself, uneasy about how you word things, question your motives, reconsider your phrases, and rework your drafts over and over. That’s okay. Keep at it. Continue to refine and clarify your story. Document it consistently in all the online sites you occupy.

2 Types Of Descriptor Statements

One way to do this is to have a powerful descriptor statement. That’s a statement that describes who you are and what you’re all about.

You want a short version of the statement, (4 or 5 sentences long) for use in situations that call for a brief statement.

You also want a longer descriptor statement (as long as you’d like) for use on your “About Me” pages and situations that call for a longer amount of content.

A descriptor statement is how people find out who you are, what you’re all about, and whether they can relate to you or not. Let’s look at our example of Cinnamon’s short descriptor statement.

Example: Cinnamon’s Short Story

Here is what we say about her on our websites:

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4 Types Of Credibility Indicators

When you tell your story you want to include your best credibility indicators. A credibility indicator is any type of fact that implies you are a credible expert or recognized seller in your field. There are lots of ways to get and then use credibility indicators. Creatively look for them as you work to build your personal brand.

One caution, saying, “I’ve sewn for 40 years” doesn’t convey credibility – yet lots of online seamstresses like that phrase. Lots of people sew badly their entire lives, so it’s not a good phrase to use.

#1 – Who You Learned From

Did you learn from someone special, or did someone special inspire you? Even including a phrase like, “I was inspired originally by the work of Bob Mackie” can have a powerful impact.

#2 – Who You Work For

Do you have a customer base made up of credible people? Even saying a phrase like, “I design for and sell to the doll collector community of Indianapolis” is a powerful statement because it provides context.

#3 – Who You Associate With

Cinnamon became the brand ambassador for Bernina because we entered her in a contest (that only had three other entrants) and she won. Sometimes good credibility indicators come along in very ordinary ways.

#4 – Who’s Featured Your Work

Has your work been featured by a prominent magazine, website, book, or TV Show? These are natural credibility indicators. Want that opportunity? …

Be Featured In My Next Book

In my next book, Internet Marketing Power, I’m going to feature work-from-home entrepreneurs. If you’d like to write your short descriptor statement (4 or 5 sentences long) and send it to me I’ll include it in the book. Or you can simply leave it as a comment on this blog post and indicate that you want to be included. The deadline to participate is June 15, 2014. After the book comes out you can begin saying, “I’ve been featured in the bestselling book, Internet Marketing Power”as one of your credibility indicators. Cool right?!

Tell Us What You Think!

What’s your opinion on this topic? Have you seen it done well, (or poorly), and want to share that example? Tell us what you think!

Jason & Cinnamon