My guest today is recognized as an unquestionable authority in the content strategy space, after having written her seminal article, The Discipline of Content Strategy.
She is also one of the coolest, most passionate and friendly people that you could ever hope to meet.
Although we don’t avoid content strategy explicitly in this conversation, we are here to talk about her as an entrepreneur.
My guest is currently the CEO at Brain Traffic, and Founder of the Confab Content Strategy Conferences.
Her agency Brain Traffic is home to a team of renowned content strategists, serving clients like Hewlett Packard, Coca-Cola, Merck, and Best Buy.
She currently lives south of me in the northern city of St. Paul, Minnesota with her two kids.
Let’s hack …
In this 37-minute episode Kristina Halvorson and I discuss:
- The one thing that you should do at the next conference you attend
- Being an introvert while getting out there and meeting people
- Decision Making — The good and The bad
- Understanding failure vs. going through a phase of growth
- Changing people’s lives – her humbling experience
Listen to Hack the Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
- Brain Traffic
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking
- Content Strategy For The Web
- Content Strategy For The Web Book
- Content Strategy Conferences Website
- Kristina on Twitter
- Jon on Twitter
Starting Small, Thinking Big, and Becoming Unemployable
Jonny Nastor: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at HacktheEntrepreneur.com/Rainmaker.
Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big-name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now, here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Hack the Entrepreneur. It’s so awesome of you to join me again today. I am your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me “Jonny.”
My guest today is recognized as an unquestionable authority in the content strategy space after writing her seminal article, “The Discipline of Content Strategy.” She’s also one of the coolest, most passionate, and friendly people that you could ever hope to meet. Although we don’t avoid content strategy explicitly in this conversation, we are here to talk about her as an entrepreneur.
My guest is currently the CEO and founder at Brain Traffic, and the founder of the Confab Content Strategy conferences. Her agency, Brain Traffic, is home to a team of renowned content strategists, serving clients like Hewlett Packard, Coca-Cola, Merck, Best Buy, and a whole slew of others. She currently lives south of me in the northern city of St. Paul, Minnesota, with her two kids. Now, let’s hack Kristina Halvorson.
I want to take a minute to thank our awesome sponsor, FreshBooks. Not just for being our amazing sponsor of the show, but also, their support is so damn good. I’m trying to get my year-ends done to get to my accountant, and I realized that my expenses from my bank account can be linked directly to my FreshBooks account, and it’s all automatically done for me. Amazing, right?
I have a software company, as I’ve said, but I’m not very technically savvy. I was doing it completely wrong, but I instantly called them and got on the phone with a real live person who walked me through it in like two minutes. It was immediately done, and the report was sent off to my accountant. I just need to thank them because I may have smashed my computer otherwise, and that would have been a very expensive mistake.
Try it absolutely free today at FreshBooks.com/hack, and join over 5 million users running their businesses hassle-free like I did today. Be sure to enter ‘Hack the Entrepreneur’ in the ‘How did you hear about us?’ section.
We are back on Hack the Entrepreneur, and we have a brilliant guest today that I’m so excited to get to talk to. Kristina, thank you for joining me.
Kristina Halvorson: Thank you for having me.
Jonny Nastor: It’s my pleasure. What do you say we jump straight into it?
Kristina Halvorson: Great.
Jonny Nastor: Awesome. Okay, Kristina, as an entrepreneur, can you tell me, what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
The One Thing That You Should Do at the Next Conference You Attend
Kristina Halvorson: Yes. Meet people. Whenever anybody asks me, “How did you build your business, and what do you attribute this or that to?” I tell them the whole thing has been being brave about reaching out to people. I often joke that I built my early copywriting freelance business on food and coffee, because if you offer people free food, nine times out of ten, they’re going to take it. So it was asking people to lunch, coffee, happy hour.
Then, once I started talking about and learning about content strategy in earnest, it was LinkedIn, and Twitter, and Facebook, and stalking anybody who talked about content or thought of themselves as a content strategist. That’s the thing, right? If you’re a total introvert, it’s going to be tough.
Jonny Nastor: You’re not a total introvert then?
Being an Introvert While Getting out There and Meeting People
Kristina Halvorson: I was an extrovert when I was younger. Since going out there, and getting my work published, and then speaking at so many conferences — what is that Myers Briggs thing? Last time I took that, I was exactly in the middle of introvert and extrovert. How that typically manifests is that I go out on stage, and talk, and get to talk to a lot of people afterwards. Then, when it’s time for the party, I go to my room and hide under the covers.
Jonny Nastor: When you’re in performance mode, you can do it?
Kristina Halvorson: Yes, exactly. There’s some article in the New York Times, I think, talking about that book that was written about introverts that was so popular, and that was one of the things it said is that surprisingly a lot of introverts are really great at public speaking or being public figures.
Jonny Nastor: Wow, that’s interesting.
Kristina Halvorson: Yes.
Jonny Nastor: I haven’t read that book. I will need to look it up.
Kristina Halvorson: Are you an introvert?
Jonny Nastor: Yeah.
Kristina Halvorson: But look at you doing a podcast.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly, but as you said at the beginning, the whole “call people up for coffee,” if I would’ve just, obviously, emailed you and been like, “We should just get on Skype for half an hour,” you would have been like, “Uh, I’m kind of busy.” But it’s like, “We’re recording it. We’re doing a show. I’ll release it.” You’re like, “Okay.” That’s been my way, I guess, of meeting people as well.
Kristina Halvorson: I will say, though, if you had called me up and said, “Hey, can I talk to you for half an hour about how you built your business in content strategy?” I work really, really hard to do those calls. If I’m super overwhelmed, I will say no, but a lot of times, I will take those calls because if other people had not spent their time with me when I was still trying to get it all figured out, it would’ve been a lot harder climb.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, that’s true, and that was jerkish of me to just say that you wouldn’t. I mean, just in general by just people.
Kristina Halvorson: No, it wasn’t jerkish of you. I know where you were coming from.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, most people would.
Kristina Halvorson: It is a lot easier to respond to and commit to a formal request when you’re super busy, so I didn’t mean to call you out on that. Let’s be friends. Let us never speak of this again.
Jonny Nastor: All right. We can do that. But let’s go back a little bit because I like that idea of taking people out for coffee, or for lunch, or happy hour, getting started in the content strategy business. Because lots of people listening are getting started and are wondering how to go about meeting those people. We can go to conferences, be the one person in a thousand, and you can meet some other people where you’re at, but not so much where you want to be.
Kristina Halvorson: No. At Brain Traffic, we produce content strategy conferences. We’re doing three this year. We get feedback a lot. I want to talk about conferences for just a second because we had a lot of feedback where people are like, “I need better opportunities for networking,” and, “What about for introverts?” and, “I came here to meet people.” We’re working harder, actually, to provide smaller, more intimate, less scary opportunities for people to connect with others.
I teach a workshop at those conferences, and that’s actually a really terrific place for people to meet because it’s like a safe learning environment. Honestly, if you were just getting started, I think going to a conference with a thousand people and hoping for the best is probably not a great idea because a lot of people who are doing networking are vendors, and everybody’s got their vendor blinders up. Do you know what I mean?
I think it’s much smarter to start smaller, so join a local interactive. Like here, there’s a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. I joined the board in 2002, and I totally credit my involvement there with starting my practice here in the Twin Cities. Volunteer for a conference, and meet the other volunteers and the organizers. Don’t push yourself to do something so crazy and overwhelming. Just start small because then, you build your network and you build your confidence one block at a time.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. I love the advice. That’s great advice. Especially for somebody putting on conferences, you think you’d be like, “Everybody should go to conferences all the time.”
Kristina Halvorson: Don’t get me wrong. Everybody should go to conferences all the time.
Jonny Nastor: Two steps.
Kristina Halvorson: Actually, that leads to another point, which is that as an entrepreneur, I think it’s so easy to go heads-down into your own thing day-to-day, and you’re managing your books, and your finances, and people, and product or service. I think it’s really easy to stop getting out to conferences or let that go down to the bottom of the list because of the time, and the expense, and the travel, and whatever else.
This idea of constant learning and constantly fostering curiosity in the areas other than your own, I think, is really critical. In fact, for people at conferences, I always tell them, “Go to at least one session that you think has absolutely nothing to do with your job because you’ll learn something that might shed light on what it is that you do all day every day.” I think that’s a hugely critical component for folks considering becoming entrepreneurs.
Jonny Nastor: Nice. That’s a smart idea. I like that because you go to a conference, and you pick your stream like, “I know this. I want to know this. More of this, more of this.” But not, “I like that. I totally have nothing to do with this one, but I’m going to go and broaden my horizons.”
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah. Sometimes, you’ll be bored out of your mind, and sometimes, you’ll realize, “Oh, this is something I’m really curious in,” or, “Wow, I actually understand what’s being said up there. I feel smart.”
Jonny Nastor: Exactly.
Kristina Halvorson: That’s how I feel every single time I go into a discussion about structured content, or metadata, or XML, or whatever.
Jonny Nastor: I know this stuff. I know this.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah, yeah.
Jonny Nastor: Back to these coffees and happy hours — so right before that, I guess, is when you decided that you were going to go out on your own and do your own thing. What I’ve noticed, from all my guests, is that there is this time in every entrepreneur’s life, and they might not even know they’re an entrepreneur at this point yet.
Kristina Halvorson: Right? I think that all the time. That’s me.
Jonny Nastor: Exactly, yeah. They either have this calling to make something big in the world, or what seems to be most of the time, they simply just can’t work for somebody else. Can you please tell us how this happened for you?
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah. I have an attitude problem is what it comes down to. When I was younger and hot-headed — like more hot-headed — I would work with people, and I would just be like, “No, that is not the right way to do that. Give me that.” It started with writing, where I would look at brochures that somebody was going to send out. I’m just like, “No, we can’t … Just give me that, and I will rewrite that.”
On the one hand, it’s great because I was a good writer, and it was helping the brochure. On the other hand, it was totally obnoxious, and set bad team dynamics. It’s embarrassing now, although any employee of mine now will tell you that I am still guilty of doing that sometimes. Essentially, I was a super lousy employee because I always thought I knew more than the people running the company. God bless my poor parents who had to live with me growing up.
I went on and decided I would try contracting, so I went and got two part-time jobs. They both had super egomaniacal people running the company, so I left one of them, which did not sit well with me. I left one of them. Then, the second one, the guy fired me the very first opportunity he saw available to him, which happened to be the day after 9/11. I was out of a job just like the day the US economy crashed. That was awesome. But I had to say, “Okay. Well, what is the one thing that I do that I feel the most confident about because I need to go figure out how to make money off of that?” That was copywriting.
Jonny Nastor: Nice.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah. I say all the time, at this point, I am completely unemployable.
Jonny Nastor: I think it happens. It sounds like you weren’t even at the beginning, but now, you’re probably even further from that because you’ve run your own thing.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah, but don’t get me wrong. I fantasize about being somebody else’s employee at least once a week. Right?
Jonny Nastor: Right.
Kristina Halvorson: Of course, I leave out that what always gets me is that then I would have to like go to an office from 8 to 5 every day, and that just sounds really miserable. So that brings me back around to the fact that not every morning can I be trusted to change out of pajamas.
I will say that as much as I joke about how hot-headed and know-it-all I was, and I’m sometimes so guilty of being. There is nothing more humbling than running your own business. It’s humbling to the point of mortification. It’s good, but it’s also part of this. One of the scary things is having to face yourself, and your limitations, and the parts of yourself that cause trouble with employees or get yourself into financial trouble. Yeah, it’s humbling.
Decision Making — the Good and the Bad
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. I like it. It is absolutely humbling, obviously. Lots of it, if not all of it, now is on you and your decisions and what you decide the company should do. That makes it hard.
As entrepreneurs, just in general — I think you would agree with me, Kristina — one of the hardest things for us to do is to deal with the fear of being wrong, making mistakes, and then failing. You are in business. You probably make bold decisions of what you think you should do, and they might not always end up right. Could you walk us through how to be wrong in your business?
Kristina Halvorson: Why yes, I can. I wrote a piece about a year ago at this time about the low point in my business at Brain Traffic. It was a very frank piece where I was just like, “Look, we were up to 22 people.” We were like ‘BRAIN TRAFFIC’ in all caps. “The leading content strategy consultancy in the country.” And I was Kristina Halvorson, “Speaker, and author, and content strategy thought leader,” whatever horrible things people called me. For all intents and purposes, we should’ve been on top of the world, right?
I‘d grown very quickly to 22 people. I was super inexperienced as a business manager and especially as a leader and a manager of people. We made a bunch of really bad decisions around finances. I made decisions based on keeping people happy and keeping people employed versus keeping the business intact and healthy, which in turn, of course, completely backfired, and everybody became miserable. Everything fell apart, and I went deeply, deeply into debt. I ended up having to let go of 75 percent of my staff.
I had to go back and do work that I had not formally done in like three or four years because I’d been so busy out there preaching about it, and talking about it, and inspiring people about it. Those were very dark days. It took me a while to really sit back and identify where I had went wrong and untangle some of those really ugly feelings around, “Well, this person did this,” or, “If this hadn’t happened,” or, “I can’t take the blame for X, Y, and Z,” and getting to, “I am accountable for this, and I am accountable for that.”
At the end of the day, I was the one that made the calls. I was the one that made decisions. There’s no one to be responsible for the mess we were in except for myself, and that is a bitter pill to swallow. Right? I think, “Okay. Well, why didn’t I just fold? Why didn’t I just fold, and cash out, and pay off my debts, and go get a job elsewhere, and give up?” I think that part of it is that I really, truly never saw that as a failure.
Understanding Failure Vs. Going Through A Phase Of Growth
Kristina Halvorson: I spoke with a lot of other small business owners at the time, and they were just like, “Oh, you’ll be fine. Oh, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened to you earlier. You’ll be fine.” I was just like, “I am going through one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I don’t think you’re taking it seriously.” Now, of course, when other people are like, “Things are slow,” I’m like, “Oh, you’ll be fine.” I didn’t see it as a failure. I ended up seeing it as a phase of growth.
When I mean ‘growth,’ I don’t necessarily mean growth of the size of the company because we’re not going to grow again — we’re eight people, and the most I’ll ever have again is 10 — but growth as a professional, growth personally, growth within our own Brain Traffic practice. I think that framing it like that is important because otherwise, if you’re constantly like, “I have succeeded,” or “I have failed,” why would you do that? It’s not like everything is going to stop, right? You have to keep going forward one way or the other.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, that’s epic.
Kristina Halvorson: It hurt. It was bad.
Jonny Nastor: That advice that people gave you like, “Oh, what? You’ve never dealt with that before?” — I went through something like that late last year. Then I was talking about it with people on the show, and they were like, “Well, yeah. That’s just what happens. That’s just business.” I’m like, “What?” I’m like, “I literally couldn’t get out of bed for three days.” It just devastated me, and people were like, “Oh, yeah.” Does that really help? Does that advice help? Did that help you?
Kristina Halvorson: For sure. Totally, it helped me. First of all, it didn’t make me feel alone. I didn’t feel alone. It made me feel a whole lot less stupid.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah.
Kristina Halvorson: These are big names in the design industry, in the content industry, who have gone through these expansions and contractions over and over where sometimes things are fantastic and sometimes things are awful. Just knowing that that’s how it goes was enormously — I don’t know – “fortifying” isn’t the right word, but just like, “Okay. Well, now, I know that. Now, I can move forward, and I can put aside these feelings of embarrassment, and humiliation, and despair, whatever, because this is what happens. This is life. This is life in business.” It was very helpful to me.
Jonny Nastor: It’s really helpful to me too. Often times, we really get stuck in our own heads, our own lives, our own businesses, and think that we’re the only ones, obviously, in this issue. Typically, a thousand, or ten thousand, or a million people have done it before us and been through all the same crap.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah. Exactly. But we are all unique snowflakes, right?
Jonny Nastor: That’s true.
Kristina Halvorson: “It’s never happened quite like this.”
Jonny Nastor: Of course, of course.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah.
Jonny Nastor: That’s a nice way of saying it. You say once a week, you still think of working for other people, but just last year, you went through something that was so dark, and traumatic, and epic to you. Why do we do this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Are the high points really equal to the low points? You know what I mean?
I often wonder sometimes. I go through crazy stuff in my business, and it’s brutal and devastating. But every once in a while, I think, “Uh, it would be okay to work for …” but I don’t really think that. I really think that I need to do this, but I do often wonder. I talk about it with my wife like, ”I don’t know why I do this. I don’t know why I continually want to put myself through this.” It’s a weird thing.
Kristina Halvorson: Yes, you do.
Jonny Nastor: Do I? It’s such a weird thing we do. We just hammer ourselves.
Kristina Halvorson: Here’s the thing. I’m probably exaggerating when I say once a week. I also should clarify. I actually went through that two and a half years ago. It was in the fall of 2012 when I had to lay everybody off.
Jonny Nastor: Okay. Still.
Kristina Halvorson: It’s been such a great, fantastic process of rebuilding our book of business, rebuilding morale. It’s not to say that things have always been super awesome and happy for two and a half years, because they haven’t been. It’s scary when things slow down again because then, you’re like, “Oh, here it comes again. Everything is going to fall apart again, and I should’ve just cashed out.” I keep saying “cash out.” “Here, I’ll take my $5 and leave.” It’s not like anybody is going to buy an eight-person company.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah.
Kristina Halvorson: I mean, what are the things that keep me coming back to it? I would say, first and foremost, I have six, seven employees. I never remember if seven includes me or not. I come back to a person whom I respect and admire who cracks me right up on a daily basis, who I am completely like honored and joyful to work with. I love coming into the office and seeing these people. That is part of it, right?
I get to hire those people. I get to help create that culture. I get to benefit personally and professionally from working with these folks. It’s brutal when those people move on because it happens. It’s happened over and over again for one reason or another, but I have people who’ve gone, and then come back. That community, being able to create and co-create this community, is huge for me.
I think another thing, too, is getting to pick the work. I know that not every entrepreneur is in that position when they’re in a service industry to be able to say, “Yes, this is an interesting project with a good-hearted client that I want to work with,” versus, “No, I don’t want to respond to your owner as to be a RFP. Also, stop being a jerk.” That’s definitely part of it too.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah.
Kristina Halvorson: I think certainly, everybody points to the flexibility. I have a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old, and I’ve been able to schedule my travel and my working time day-to-day where I don’t think I’ve missed a single school event, or a recital, or sports game since they got into school or whatever.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah.
Kristina Halvorson: That’s a big part of it too. I don’t want to worry about PTO if my kid is going play in a bongo concert at 2:00 in the afternoon. I made that up.
Jonny Nastor: Because you wouldn’t go to that if they were.
Kristina Halvorson: Yes, I will. Hell yeah, I would go to a bongo concert with a bunch of 10-year-olds.
Jonny Nastor: That’s awesome. Sorry, that was funny. This takes us to where you are now. You like the flexibility. You can pick your work. You get to work with great people, but let’s look at personally.
Personally, there seems to be this struggle that often we go through as entrepreneurs, which I’ve seen referred to as the ‘entrepreneurial gap’ where we are constantly looking to the future —
six months a year, five years, we’re setting goals. Often times, right before we even hit those goals, we set five other bigger goals, and everything will always be better. We’ll always be happier with what we’ve accomplished in the future when we get there, and we don’t necessarily ever stop to appreciate where we are, so we get stuck in this gap, and we don’t look back to what we have accomplished in the time that we’ve been doing this stuff we’ve been doing, which is usually amazing.
If we were 10 years ago and we could look forward to where we are, it would be like, “Wow, I can’t believe it,” but we don’t do that. If you were to stop right now, Kristina, and look back, what would you think and what would you say about everything that you’ve accomplished so far in business and in life?
Kristina Halvorson: Okay. I have to pause for just a second because I’m literally sitting here with my jaw on the floor. I have to say I think of myself as a content strategist first. ‘Entrepreneur’ is like way down the list in terms of how I identify myself, so everything that you just said, I’m just like, “Oh, my god. That’s what I do. I do that all the time. I’m tense all the time because I can’t stop thinking about the future. I never slow down to celebrate my accomplishments, and everybody always gets on me about that.” It’s a thing. It’s the entrepreneurial gap. It’s a thing.
Jonny Nastor: It is. I know. I just discovered this in the last two months.
Kristina Halvorson: This is amazing. There must be a book. I’m going to go find the book.
Jonny Nastor: I’m writing it right now.
Kristina Halvorson: Okay. Are you? Fantastic. Let me know when there’s a draft copy. Okay, so I was seriously so stunned by everything that you were just saying that the question was what? If I look back … ?
Jonny Nastor: I knew, almost, that you were going to be stunned by this question. That’s why I love it, and I want you now to literally stop, and turn around, and look at what you have done, and appreciate it, and tell me if you actually do appreciate what you have accomplished up till now. No looking forward. It doesn’t matter. If it all stopped right today, tell me how happy you are with what you’ve done.
Kristina Halvorson: I somehow feel like I’m at the front of a church with the pastor going, “Do you accept the forgiveness and your grace?”
Jonny Nastor: I’m so the exact opposite of a pastor, but that’s cool.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah, no. I know.
Jonny Nastor: It’s cool though. I can take it.
Kristina Halvorson: I grew up in Oklahoma. I did a lot of witnessing in church, in Baptist churches in Oklahoma.
Changing People’s Lives – Her Humbling Experience
Kristina Halvorson: I was actually just thinking yesterday. Somebody tweeted a link to an essay I wrote in 2008 called “The Discipline of Content Strategy” that a lot of people point to as kicking off the larger conversation about content strategy. Whoever tweeted it, the link to it was like, “This beautiful essay, this epic …” — I don’t know — “landmark, groundbreaking,” whatever. It was worth revisiting at least once a quarter. My reaction was, “Aww, how nice. That’s so sweet.”
Ultimately, I had somebody ask me maybe last year, “When you wrote that essay and when you wrote Content Strategy for the Web and when you started talking about this, did you know what was going to happen? Could you have foreseen the conversation that you would be helping to lead in the coming years?”
My honest answer was, “Yeah, I knew what was going to happen. I knew I had the story right. I knew I had identified the pain points clearly because I’ve been experiencing them. I knew I was getting in front of and getting the attention of the right kinds of people, so yeah.” I understand what I did and what I contributed. I also very clearly understand that my work was built on a lot of work that had come before me. Largely, I was just good at marketing the discipline and telling the story.
I get it, and I know that the opportunities that I was able to provide people here at Brain Traffic have assisted them to go out and find interesting work. I will say, too, the thing that brings it home to me, I guess, more than anything else is when I hear from people — either at conferences, or I have received emails or even handwritten letters — saying that this talk, or this post, or the book has like changed their careers and changed their lives.
Even to hear that from just one person is overwhelming, right? You hear it from a hundred people, and it’s the kind of thing that makes me want to go home, and get in bed, and under the covers. And I don’t mean to be a jerk by saying, “Oh, it’s so humbling,” but it is. Who hears that? Not many people. Yes, I get it, and yes, I appreciate the work that I’ve done. Just like anybody else, I also feel like I should be doing more. I could be doing things differently or better, and it’s the entrepreneurial gap. That’s what it is.
Jonny Nastor: Beautiful answer. I love it. We’ve got to talk a lot about you and your business in passing today. Could you just specifically tell the listener where they can go find out more about you, please?
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah. I always tell clients that less is more when it comes to content. We walk the walk by having a one-page website, so you can go to BrainTraffic.com and spend 30 seconds there learning about what we do. That’s pretty straightforward, though. We got the messaging now, and I’m proud of that website. I’ve only had one person complain about it in the three or four years that it’s been up.
Jonny Nastor: It’s really awesome because you’re a content strategy company and there’s one page and a retired blog. There’s a link to a retired blog.
Kristina Halvorson: Oh, god, our blog. I don’t want to talk about our blog. It was the right thing to do to shut it down. We decided from a strategic standpoint we’d leave it up as a resource, but it’s so embarrassing. I can’t talk about it. Anyway, BrainTraffic.com. You can learn more about the book, Content Strategy for the Web at ContentStrategy.com.
Jonny Nastor: Okay.
Kristina Halvorson: You can learn about our conferences, our Content Strategy Conferences, which are super awesome and amazing. It is a blast to participate in them as a host at ConfabEvents.com.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. When is the next event?
Kristina Halvorson: It is in mid-May. We call it Confab Central. It’s our largest conference, and it takes place here in Minneapolis. If you don’t love Minneapolis, you’ve never been here. That’s our slogan.
Jonny Nastor: I love Minneapolis.
Kristina Halvorson: Everybody loves Minneapolis. People come to Minneapolis and they’re like, “Oh, my god. Minneapolis. Who knew?” Of course, we bring them here in May and not in February. Yeah. I guess conference organizers probably say this every year, but this is our strongest program yet. Literally, I look at the program, and I’m just like, “Wow.” I feel badly because I don’t know how people are supposed to choose among these sessions like people are going to get mad. I can say that, right?
Jonny Nastor: You can.
Kristina Halvorson: Yeah. It focuses on all different kinds of aspects of content strategy, content in the user experience, content management in terms of the tools, and machines, and workflows that we use to manage it. Governance of content within the organization and how to take care of that. Editorial stuff in terms of crafting and maintaining content. It’s a good one. It’s not content marketing. It’s not content marketing. It’s about the messy realities of content.
Jonny Nastor: I just wanted to say that I will link to all of that in the show notes for everyone, so it’s very easy to find.
Kristina Halvorson: Excellent.
Jonny Nastor: I’m also going to put your Twitter on there because you’re really active and good on Twitter, so I think people should check you out and say hi to you over there.
Kristina Halvorson: Great. I love Twitter.
Jonny Nastor: Thank you so much for your time. I really do appreciate it. Keep doing what you’re doing down there in Minneapolis because it’s awesome to watch.
Kristina Halvorson: I will. Thanks. Excellent. Congratulations on your podcast and your new home with Copyblogger. That will be fun to keep an eye on too.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah. Thank you. Folks, that is the one and only Kristina Halvorson. She’s amazing, isn’t she? I told you she was. I told you. You didn’t even believe me, but she totally is. Exactly. I know. Find her on Twitter. Say hi. Tell her where you heard her. Tell her what you learned. Ask her some questions. She’d love to talk to you, and I would love for you to go meet her on Twitter. She’s just a great, super awesome person.
She said a lot of smart things, but she said that one thing, that one thing that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Right? Didn’t she? She totally did. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Kristina Halvorson: There is nothing more humbling than running your own business. It’s humbling to the point of mortification. It’s good, but it’s also part of this. One of the scary things is having to face yourself, and your limitations, and the parts of yourself that cause trouble with employees or get yourself in a financial trouble. Yeah, it’s humbling.
Jonny Nastor: That’s the hack. Kristina, thank you. That is the most Kristina Halvorson answer, even the way she explains it, that I can imagine for and hope for, and it’s awesome. Yes, Kristina. It is absolutely humbling running your own business and dealing with your own fears and limitations. It’s scary, and it’s crazy, and it’s amazing. Of course, it’s scary and crazy, and bad things happen, and good things happen, but it’s life, man. This is it. Why not? Why be bored? Why be just go on this straight path? That’s what I say, anyways.
It’s humbling. It’s scary. It’s frightening. It’s crazy. It’s enlightening. It’s amazing. It’s all those things. Yes, and that’s what makes it awesome. That’s what makes life awesome. Taking those chances, stepping up, doing these things that are big or small, or whatever they happened to be, but they’re things that we don’t know how they’re going to turn out. To me, that’s what it’s about.
Thank you so much because I think that that needs to be shared. It’s not all roses. It’s not all great. It’s not all amazing. Maybe most of it is not even all good, and great, and amazing. I don’t know. It depends on whose path and an infinite amount of variables. Parts are good. Parts are great. Parts are terrible. Parts are horrible. But it’s life. That’s how it is. Just step up and do it, man. Let’s do cool stuff. That’s what life is for. Let’s just step up and do it — like Kristina, highs and lows. Thank you.
HacktheEntrepreneur.com. There’s a picture of me taken by my daughter at the very top of the website. There’s a place to put your email in there. If you dropped your email in there, this Sunday afternoon, I will send you an email, and it’s going to be the best writing I’m doing. There’s not even a whole lot of people on there, so you really got great odds — this is not like a crazy lottery or something — but two people will get a copy signed by me of Seth Godin’s brand-new book. I will mail it straight to your house.
We’re doing this for the next five weeks. I got 10 copies. I want you to have it. Seth Godin was on the show a week or two ago. If you haven’t listened to it, go, HacktheEntrepreneur.com. There’s a search bar on the right-hand side. Just type in ‘Seth.’ There it is. It will pop up, or I guess Google would actually do this too. If you typed in ‘Hack the Entrepreneur’ and ‘Seth Godin’ in Google, it will probably find it too.
Gee, I’m having too much fun, guys. You guys are just awesome, and you’re blowing me away that there’s so many of you out there listening, emailing, tweeting me. It’s awesome. It really is. I know I say ‘awesome’ a lot, but I’m happy. This is really cool. I thank you for it because if you were not there listening, I couldn’t do this. This has been a lot of fun. Until next time, please keep hacking the entrepreneur.
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