Why Leaving My Day Job’s One of the Best Things That’s Ever Happened to Me

Some people have the luxury of not working. Not so for me, nor do I think it ever could be.

Since the age of 15, I’ve trudged diligently, relentlessly — even haphazardly in essentially every retail/restaurant and customer-service setting conceivable. And let me tell you, these people know how to hustle. 

In light of all the hullabaloo surrounding Steve Jobs and what he gave us — hope, a new perspective — and how he redefined a generation of tech believers, creators and thinkers, part of me largely feels inadequate to continue on the subject.

So instead, I’d prefer to honor him by doing what I believe he’d want all of us to do: keep moving forward. The legacy Jobs leaves with us is not just a product, transcendent as it is, but an attitude: Embrace failure.

Unlearn everything you have learned. 

geeks science innovation vision Apple Steve Jobs Mac iPhone

That’s what we’re here for. Onward and upward.

Though put in rather harsh perspective, I recently celebrated two milestones in personal and career development since October knocked me over the head like a tack-hammer (seriously, my 26th was the only thing I remember about last month…) –>

1) I left my day job

2) I finished something summer didn’t afford the time for: HubSpot’s inbound marketing certification via Inbound Marketing University (essentially the quintessential grad school for geeks).

Some of you may ask why I’d leave a company on the eve of my annual review, a raise and potential for securing ultimate full-time stability with a local retail store.

And the answer is simple, however immodest: Because I know what I’m worth, and I know what I want. The fact that unapologetic is one of my favorite words notwithstanding, a recent quote shared by Olivier Blanchard’s really resonated with me in the past few weeks: Always be absolutely unapologetic about anything you love deeply. 

In love, life, and work I truly believe in that. Without passion and trust I’d be no one, nowhere. No-how.

So yes, I’ll continue to sound “like a broken record” and assert that I see, feel and believe what convention and the mainstream does not:

That if the world is mute to your aspirations, passion and conviction stemming from them, only you can take charge of your destiny.

Super Mario Nintendo SuperMario tech geek Luigi 1UP Mario Bros. video game

After all, that’s “what Steve would do.” Below is just one of Jobs’ countless quotes going around that serves as testament to the potential and power of the human spirit reflected in our communities across the world:

‎”Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”

Thank you, Steve, for giving smart-alecks (who dare refer to you by your first name) like me continued belief that we, truly can, change the world 


Walt Mossberg >> The Steve Jobs I Knew 

Dan Holowack, TwitSprout >> 40K Tweets/Minute Celebrate Steve Jobs

The Next Web >> Honoring a Legend

Inaugural HubSpot User Group (HUG) comes to Cleveland


CLEVELAND – A highlight of the summer and excellent segue for Junta 42’s upcoming inaugural Content Marketing World in September, good food, fun and company was shared by all at the first HubSpot User Group (HUG) meetup hosted by PR 20/20 in Cleveland’s historic Caxton Building.

Making the rounds through the 7th-floor loft inspired by Paul Roetzer’s vision and his wife Cheryl, a gifted local artist, the usual inbound buzz could be heard over the lounge music, sights and smells of veggie/fruit trays, shrimp cocktail, buffalo chicken dip, guacamole and other refreshments: value, content, agencies, outsourcing, in-house, lead generation, blogging, PR, marketing, ecosystems … hacking and hackers?!? (Never a dull moment when Susie Sharp’s in town!).

Aside from customary shenanigans with Lake Erie Moose and Ohio Blogging Association friends, HubSpot inbound partners from Lorain Websites and some fresh faces also shared their success stories with inbound marketing campaigns, as well as brief histories of their PR and business backgrounds.

In addition to celebrating Content Marketing World with friends from Junta42 Joe Pulizzi, Pam Kozelka and Joe Kalinowski, Paul also shared with us further details about his debut book through WILEY, The Marketing Agency BluePrint due in early December. Techies get ready: expect some Matt Cutts and Steve Jobs influence.

Roetzer will also be the opening speaker for HUG Boston in September, as an early adopter of the Value-Added Reseller (VAR) program and testimonial for how a PR firm can transform into an inbound phenomenon: In the last four years, PR 20/20 has grown from 4 employees to 10 with 467% revenue. 

Special thanks to all who attended, and congratulations once again to everyone on their PR, content and inbound achievements. As Paul said in Rise of the Inbound Marketing Agency, it truly is an amazing time to be a marketer. 

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*Photos courtesy of Susie Sharp, Lake Erie Moose Society and Morand Architects, Inc.


HubSpot: Internet Marketing Vision

Paul Roetzer: An Idea, A Book and An Opportunity for Change

Joe Pulizzi: Content Marketing World 2011

Lorain Websites: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot partners

Crisis Communications and PR: Fail Quickly, Fail Often and Inexpensively

CLEVELAND – Ever feel like you age a century within a week? That’s been my luxury of late, at the cusp of a new month for good measure.

Stupid bunnies. Like my endearingly cantankerous friend Jim Gaffigan says, what exactly do rabbits have to do with Easter and the birth of Jesus? Perhaps they presided at the Last Supper? (Disclaimer: I honestly harbor no ill-will toward animals…in fact, I trust them more than most humans).

I digress. This isn’t about carpenters, comedians or rabbits — it’s about crisis communication and its relevance not only for entrepreneurs or PR and marketing folk, but for anyone interested in effective business management.

So you tripped and fell flat on your face. In front of thousands of friends, followers — fans in an inscrutable arena called Facebook. Or Apple, or the Colosseum, whatever. And quite honestly, you’ve been sick and tired of being sick and tired, so it was just easier to share it with unsuspecting friends, family or colleagues. Thoughts?

Err on the side of humility and honesty. Forget semantic fluff or melodramatic spin; it won’t work. Ironically, margin for error when you publicly fail, miscalculate or overextend as a leader does not exist.

Crises are a challenge, a turning point –a proverbial adrenaline rush for entrepreneurs because it affords the opportunity to rise, reinvent and deliver results (versus spiraling into cyclical fear, anxiety, or self-pity and eventually irrelevance). There is no time for whining or wallowing; only action. Think Rivera in the 9th inning — rise and close.

Confused George W Bush

Less like This

whine snivel crybaby LeBron witness traitor betrayal pussy pansy wimp coward

Or this

stoic power influence articulate highbrow maturity sophistication Genteel gentleman wise wit composed collected

And More like This

Here are five things all great leaders have in common when confronting failure, challenges and obstacles — whether monumental or seemingly trivial (if they’re truly great it always seems trivial…):

1) Own it. It’s not the intern’s fault, not your mother’s or your twice-removed uncle. It’s yours. Don’t wait for someone else to throw you under — you’re already there. Acknowledge it publicly and move forward.

2) If necessary, apologize. There is nothing more disingenuous (and unattractive) than a perfunctory, patronizing sore loser. An honest mistake is one thing, but if you were a blistering jerk than the best recourse is to make sincere amends. You’ll feel better, too.

3) Respond. Reacting only exacerbates the issue. Failure’s usually the quick and easy part. What you spend months, even years building can be gone in a click, an isolated nanosecond of egregious oversight. Gauging the timing of your response is critical. Don’t wait too long, either. Remember to plan the plan.

4) Implement. Anticipate and apply SWOT to your action plan, analyzing potential strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats:

>  What got you here?

> What could you have done differently?

> What policies or guidelines could have prevented the error?

> How will this shape direction and strategy for the future? Take a proactive approach to reflecting and responding with a win-win solution for all involved.

5) Move forward. All that matters is today. Though it may be difficult not to pine for what was lost, force yourself to dwell in the now and next. Be present and apply that same longing toward the future.

Fail quickly. Fail often. And fail inexpensively.

Keep Moving Forward

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