Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Niche of Now

I was posting on another blog I have and started looking at how nobody goes to pretty much everything I write about but they show up here, probably just their queries into a certain word group. I hope I offer people something they can use. On "The Niche of Now" I was thinking maybe I should get a fresh post up here and while I am sort of unsure of where it will go I know that a reoccuring theme I keep hearing from people I meet is, " least I have a job." Just what is great about that is how even in darker times something incredibly great can come from what would at first appears to be crap. "What's that?" you ask. Humility. I am not a huge religious freak, I wish I could be a Jesus Freak. I was reminded of a thought Max Lucado made in one of his books(this is paraphrase so I hope you get the drift), "when GOD wants you to hear HIM He will tear you down to the bottom so all you can hear is HIM". Anyway these tough times are pretty cool in the respect that it brings people to be less full of themselves and they say Nature abhors a vacuum so if there is less of them in there maybe it is a great time for a little GOD to drift in. When I speak of GOD it's not the fire and brimstone GOD of the religious shows on tv where all they seem to offer is a prayer and "that will be $29.95." My idea of GOD is more of that of the one William Paul Young wrote of in his book "The Shack". I lost my dad when I was 4, my mom remarried when I was 10 but my step-dad was never the dad I needed and maybe no earthly dad is. Young speaks of the GOD in his book as one called 'PaPa', wouldn't that be great? Being able to take all your fears and all your hopes to a GOD, a GOD that wants to be your daddy?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The "Niche of Neglect"

I found a friend awhile back through sort of an International PenPal organization and we shot a few emails back and forth and I hadn't heard from him in awhile. We all get busy with our lives and I too hadn't wrote him but he sent me an email that resulted in this article. Here is his email to me and my response.


Hey - sorry I havent been in touch for a while - I got heart disease - and have had all sorts of tests - I am now waiting for a by pass operation - nit bad for a fit and healthy 44 years old - We had no idea - until I decided to have a CT scan done - and we found a lot of stuff!!

Anyway =- hope all is well with you M


This is a longer message than what I thought I was going to send when I started it but evidently your news brought up some issues I still had issues with so please bear-with.

Sorry to hear that, I have 3 stories on that 1 is heart-breaking(for me), 1 is a Sign(here's your sign pointed towards Mike) and 1 is very encouraging.

Will get the "Here's Your Sign" out of the way first... my biological father died at 46 from massive heart attack(I'll be 48 next month) I should be working out everyday. I am an easy 70 pounds overweight(260 Lbs/ 6 foot tall). I say biological because I only have 2 'visions' of recollecting him(he died when I was 4.

The heart-break was when my step-dad died, he was 56 and had been married to my mom for 27 years(since I was 10) I have a bunch of regret of not spending more time with him when he was getting weaker and weaker.

The "Encoragement" is from a friend and fellow construction buddy of my step-dad's, my step-dad and he had heart bypasses just a month a part. My step-dad had a double-triple(6) bypass and his friend Dean had a quadruple(4). Well I saw Dean a few months ago still going strong. My step dad was 50 when he had his bypass and Dean was 52 if memory serves me.

My step-dad always had a problem with following Doctor's orders, he had a gastric bypass when he was 29 but never changed his eating habits so he was sick(puking from over-eating) almost everyday till he died. My dad would sneak "no-no foods" and he ended up on dialysis for the last 6 years of his life. I really believe if he could have controlled his eating we would still be 'putting up with him controlling everyone and everything' still(he was a control-freak). Very successful though.

The stress of caring for him took it's toll on my mom but she had a big strike against her because she smoked, died from emphysema 6 years ago at the age of 71. She was 9 years older than my stepdad but they were like two peas in a pod.

Some of the following may not apply to you so catch what does and forgive me for what doesn't.

Now for you, if you smoke QUIT. GOD delivered me from a 4-pack a day habit 10 years ago come this October.

You and I need to start exercising(maybe you already were exercising), I know I have spent too much time this summer in front of the PC not getting a darned thing done except gain an extra 10-12 poiunds.

We both need to start eating much better, I can imagine you already have been given a List by your doctor of the "do's and don't" maybe you can share it with me. Vegetables are a hassle around my house but very much needed. My wife is an easy 130 pounds overweight, she needs your prayers as I do. You already have my prayer with you.

Enough of that, do you have Skype? I have the free version for instant messaging, etc. I got it because a friend wanted to send me some big files, too big for an email attachement. My skype addy is ( mike.feddersen ) without the parenthesis.

When we first started emailing each other you mentioned "I dont know where you and I got the beleif that we werent as good as others - but its time we both stopped thinking it!!!"
Well you are absolutely right on that and when my mom died it occured to me that "nobody that I had looked up to or had allowed 'power over me' had ever offered any sort of Help and that I was no longer going to give anyone control... Well here I am 6 years later still "waiting", I don't know what I am waiting for so maybe you and I can form a pact to start Doing what we (shoulda, coulda, woulda) done in the past but for whatever reason we stopped? I don't see myself with any grand plans yet but that is also one of the things that has held me back, "No Plans". (I read recently and have known this since my mother told it to me as a teenager, "If you fail to plan, you Plan to Fail.) She said it as, "Plan your work. And Work your plan."

You know Richard this has become a bit of an article without me realizing it, I hope you don't mind I am going to put it up at a little blog I have that doesn't get a whole lot of traffic...

Thanks for writing to me Richard, I really am Praying for your Recovery and a long life.

Your friend,


Friday, July 24, 2009

Niche of Mine'

I have a confession to make, and it might shock you that you may be guilty of this too, "I am a DIY a Do It Yourself kind of person". What I mean by that is when it comes to putting something together or driving somewhere I usually take the pieces out the box and see if I can cobble it together without the direction sheet or drive somewhere without a map or instructions on how to get there. Blah, blah, blah... so what does this have to do with anything? Great question.

Many businesses spend thousands and thousands of dollars finding new employees and personel only to use them for one task or another. They might be a literal gold mine of business innovation, marketing knowledge and past experience. They have lives before they come to work for you, after they are done for the day they have lives they return to. Ever think in the course of those lives they might have already stumbled across the knowledge that could help you?

I had a friend that I met at a seminar, we hit it off pretty well and after the seminar we kept in touch. I thought he was just a mortgage guy, turns out he was big in the real estate market at one time owning over 20 houses. My friend also is a master hypnotherapist. My friend also writes copy as a copywriter. Recently he started using some of his skills in a business advisory position with a direct marketing organization. That's just scratching the surface of what I know about my friend.

Most people, if they've been around awhile, have multiple hats that they wear or have worn. I can imagine the people you know and work with on a daily basis are the same.

That story about 6 degrees of separation, while the movie sucked the idea is very probable. If you are unfamiliar with it 6 degrees of separation goes like this: You are within 6 people of knowing almost anyone anywhere. If your circle is similar to mine you might be thinking bull.... but listen for a minute. Most people know someone that has money, family, friend or employer that's the first level. Well I can imagine their circle of friends and acquaintances is larger than ours, they probably know someone that is a big shot by their standards. If you keep progressing in this fashion you will find someone that knows the person that you are wanting to contact. Stanley Milgram and Duncan Watts are two names associated with this phenomenon if you care to ressearch it further.

How does 6 Degrees effect mining friends and employees knowledge? Well first you need to have a want, a wish or bare minimum a question needing answered. Then you need to start asking for help with your solution, either someone knows the solution directly or they know someone who knows someone, etc.

What solutions might you find if you started looking diligently?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Niche "In the News"

I was sitting in the waiting room of a car dealers lube shop waiting on their sealcoat guy to re-apply whatever sort of gunk they put on that keeps your paint from falling off like it did on my 98 GMC pickup, when I heard the tv blaring about a 4 legged shoplifter. I stopped reading the book I had and paid attention to their tale of the thief with a tail. Here is the link to the video of that cool caper.

Now what I liked about the story was how smart of a PR tool this could be if some smart marketer would latch on to it and the right dog bone manufacturer. Dr. Paul Hartunian was a struggling marketer that was was working on a method of mail order that relied on Press Releases, he heard a story on the news about a contractor restoring The Brooklyn Bridge. Paul immediately called the contractor to see what they were going to do with the old wood he had seen in a pile in the news footage, the contractor said he would haul it to the dump where they would charge him to throw it away. Paul talked the guy into delivering it to him instead and that he would pay for it. The contractor liked that idea better. Now how would you profit from this story?

There are tons of stories like this everyday in the news and if you look at the stories with a marketer's eye you are liable to be able to make money with many of those stories.

In the "Niche of Time"

Sorry if that title has been beat to death but it did seem appropriate for this post.

I found an interesting article from a man I met through twitter. Here is a link to his timely post on doing due diligence(he described it as to vet). Due diligence is something we all "sometimes' put off on others. A line I often quote by the late Cavett Robert's, "Most people are walking around with their umbilical cord in hand looking for a new place to plug it in." We all get lazy with our "need" to let someone smarter, wiser and better than us to do it for us. Me too.

In my own experience I came into an economic upswing and decided it was time to 'invest in my education'. Well I got an MBA in the lesson of coaching groups, importance of "doing something even if it aint perfect yet" and doing it NOW! I joined a coaching program in a niche business(one I had no knowledge or experience in) because that was where the 'money was'. The coach gave a multiple item list of things to do but since the business was new to me I did not implement those things ASAP, I mule-trained-it. Well it just so happened that this particular niche was going to die in 6 months, but it was Red Hot for 5 months if I would have took massive action, maybe found a partner in that new the business and implemented across the board.

The guy who's blog post that talked about doing your due diligence did not completely explain why he did not get involved with the programs above, maybe he was smarter than the average bear, maybe that's his way. My way has been procrastination, looking for someone to do it for me, "looking for a new place to plug my umbilical cord in."

Now out of even the expensive lessons in life you can learn a ton, and I did. I met some great people just like the readers of this article. I still have a ways' to go but the contacts I have found because of choosing my path will be worth their weight in gold. Jay Abraham mentions in his "Your Secret Wealth" program that when he starts anything he visualizes a pot or bag of Gold coming from it and it always is found. That's an excellent program as all of Jay's stuff is, that and his book "Getting Everything You Can Out of All That You Got" are his least costly programs but they are great lessons in marketing and seeing the unseen.

In summary, coaching programs and opportunities all have their season, there time to act. What do you need to act on?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Niche is in the "Name"

Well it's sort of in the name, in this case it is in the title. While this post is about the imporance of a title it also lets you realize how important a "headline" is.

I found this book in the Public Domain "Sustaining Grassroots Community-Based Programs:
A Toolkit for Community- and Faith-Based Service Providers" , that's not how or why I found it. It reminded me of this true story about E. Haldeman-Julius. E, Haldeman-Julius was a book publisher in the 1920's, and he would take authors books that were not selling and edit them for length and retitle them with a marketable title. I can't remember how short he required the title but it had to grab the readers attention from a one page ad in a magazine where there were, I believe 100 other titles listed.

Here is a better description straight from Gary Halbert's newsletter about the Little Blue Books: "The story of the Little Blue Books offers up a treasure trove of marketing insights that is pure gold. Here are the details: Once upon a time, way back in the 1920's, the Little Blue Books were born. They were, all in all, a collection of some 2,000 titles. All the books had a blue cover and measured 3-1/2 by 5 inches. Most often they contained 64 pages, although sometimes they went up to 128 pages. The content of the Little Blue Books was wide and varied. They covered everything from Shakespeare to the Debate on Birth Control. Many of them were self-help books of the "How To" genre. They were sold in large ads that appeared in many of the major newspapers and other publications such as Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post. They sold for a nickel (5 cents) and you had to buy at least 20 of them with every order.

Now listen: Do you remember when Playboy magazine first hit the newsstands? Remember the technique of how to buy it? Remember how you'd go to a newsstand and grab copies of Life and Look and maybe the National Geographic and a couple of others and then you'd pick up a Playboy and hide it in the middle of all those others when you went up to the cash register?

You do remember all that? Geez, time sure passes, doesn't it? Well, since a person had to buy 20 Little Blue Books at a time, that meant he could anonymously sandwich in an order for what he really wanted to read or learn about with all that stuff society was telling him he was supposed to be interested in." Gary Halbert

After E. Haldeman-Julius had sold over 100 million of these little books, then he wrote a book titled "The First Hundred Million". The late great Gary Halbert talks about it in his newsletter Now when Gary wrote he didn't use a filter on the metaphors, the sexism of that era comes through loud and clear. I used to love whistling at the girls, now I have heard it is considered a form of sexual harassment, so much for that compliment method. Gary was a brilliant copywriter and Dan Kennedy says this about Gary, "When he would focus, he was so much better than me it aint even funny." Dan Kennedy, if you could hire him to write a sales letter, would start with a $25000 dollar fee and 3 to 15% of the gross.

The book I mentioned earlier is in the public domain, although I did not read all of it, merely skimmed it, it has good marketing advice and I wonder what Haldeman-Julius would have called it. "How to Be Successful as a Non-Profit" comes to mind.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Customer Service as a Niche

Probably anyone reading this could give boat-loads of personal examples of their own on why "they too think this is a niche". We've all felt the sting of bad service, shoddy merchandise and under-performing products.

We(my wife and I) used to go to Hollywood Video all the time, normally renting 3-4 videos per week. Two things happened, 1.We got stuck with a late charge... twice for the same dam video that we inadvertently had put off watching, then returning. 2. We watched a movie that was so bad that I had asked for a credit, the movie really sucked. They said, "Tough bounce, they only rent the movies, they don't make them. Well between the two events we sort of got a "chip on our shoulder" about renting movies from them. So we went from spending $9-12 per week(40 weeks per year at $9 = $360) to ordering them off cable or just buying a dvd. I think "indifference and smugness" in retailers or just the failure to allow individual clerks a bit of leeway by management costs businesses many customers. How could Hollywood Video have kept us as a customer and maybe even boosted their bottomline? How about looking at our past history of renting when we are right there in front of them? "Oh geez these guys are really good customers, how about giving them a break and not only forgiving half a dozen late charges but that video they thought sucked, how about giving them a two movie credit?"

Have you ever done this dumb move? It's really dumb and I am guilty of it.
For a long time I was going to the deli at various grocery stores and buying sliced turkey, chicken or whatever. Every once-in-awhile I would get some meat that must have been 'bad' when I brought it home, at $8 or $9 bucks a pound and usually two pounds per week that added up. Well on one occasion I took it to Customer Service and they acted like I was the first person that had ever gotten bad meat from them... 'So I must be lying.' They refunded my money but grudgingly. This second one was "the dumb move that I spoke of earlier, that I was guilty of", I got some bad turkey and brought it to the deli and the guy pointed out that I had bought it at another store... which was true. I felt so stupid, so small, so dumb. But guess what? That was a Customer Service moment, not only did I end up going to the other store I refrained from going to that store for two months. I don't know about you but I spend quite a bit for our family of three each month on groceries. If that customer service person would have realized, "This guy's an idiot but we like his money and we don't want to alienate them from our store so we can donate some meat at 'our cost' and keep a steady customer..." Simple. Easy. We spend thousands and thousands each week on store ads, how about a few dollars to keep this guy from "losing face".

Starbucks, when we first started stopping they would automatically put whip cream on top of our drinks, or at least ask. Then they stopped atomatically doing it. Did they stop because of 'their employees forgetting to ask?' Or did most customers not want the whip cream? I don't know but big business's like them have success from 'systems' and one of them should be what to ask every customer every time. Burger King, Whataburger and McDonalds are made up of systems but they all have low-end of the totempole employees, kids just starting out, first time job candidates. They are failable as we all are. What I love though is getting a sack full of condiments (ketchup, salt, pepper, etc.) and ZERO napkins. "I wonder if when they make the various size sacks at the sack manufacturer if they could throw in one napkin for the tiny sacks and two for the mid-size sacks and 4 for the larger sacks if that would be a new smart system?" I would like it.

Well if you have some great or not so great customer service moments please throw them in the comments below.

Mike Feddersen