CBNationI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM383- Special Episode

Podcast Interview with Gresham Harkless

Gresham “Gresh” W. Harkless Jr. is the founder and Blogger in Chief for CEO Blog Nation (CBNation.co) and is the founder and digital marketing specialist behind Blue 16 Media. Blue 16 Media is a digital marketing company providing digital marketing services to small to medium-sized businesses and organizations. Central to his marketing philosophy is that You Are a Media Company: Developing a Marketing Strategy to Connect with Your Target and Reach Your Goals. CBNation.co is a community of niche blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners including video content and audio content (podcast). 
CEO Hack: Networking & WeWork (http://cbnation.co/wework) | CEO Nugget: Put it in the oven (but check it) / Execute | CEO Defined: Vision
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Transcription

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Gresham Harkless 0:01

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. Actually, there are no special guests, it's just me, This is a solo podcast and a very special episode, I'm actually going to be taking the same exact format that I take for most of these other podcasts that I've done, the interviews that I've done, where the goal is really to basically two part to talk about the guests background, what led them to start their business, what exactly they do, but then also get some behind the scenes things into what they do to be effective and efficient that you can implement as an entrepreneur and a business owner. So with that being said, I want to start everything out as I normally do with what I call a CEO story.

[restrict paid=”true”]

A CEO story is just a person's background, what led them to start their business or organization, or the current place that they are in their life. So I wanted to talk a little bit more about some of the things that get me going or get me established. I'm a local kid. So I'm actually from the Washington DC area.

I've been around this area later, literally forever. I talked about in previous episodes that I started different ventures, I started an editing company, I started a nonprofit, to help young men get into college and to give back to the community with a friend I started the blog, CEO Blog Nation and CB nation, just as a way for me to learn some of the things that I think that other entrepreneurs and business owners might actually know about. I started Blue16 media as a way just to really give back to the business community to create something around that aspect.

But I really think that what I wanted to kind of talk about today, as far as my story is that there are so many things that a lot of times we think about creating that never get created. And I have ideas myself that I had not actually launched everything from starting a computer repair business to starting a truck hauling company, These are different ideas that I really thought about, you know, creating.

So I've always had that kind of entrepreneurial instinct, I think I don't necessarily know exactly what it was. But I think that's what kind of makes me tick is that there are so many different ideas that I have and things that I want to execute on. But you don't execute on all of and I think that's really one of the most difficult things is to figure out what should you do and what you do not do.

And it's very hard to answer that question because you never really know hindsight, it's always 20-20. But you never really know, if you should have started something or should you let something go? Or should you continue on with it? And I think that's one of the big things that we as entrepreneurs, as business owners have to keep in mind is that we have different things that we can start at, we have different things that we can create. But it doesn't necessarily mean that we should create every single one of those.

So I think it's all a fine line and a balance between understanding exactly what that is and how exactly to execute that. So with that being said, Blue 16 Media is fully devoted to doing WordPress web design services and SEO services for entrepreneurs and business owners. If you are not familiar with what a website is, it basically is your overall digital storefront.

I think a lot of times people will go on your website to determine what exactly you're doing from a business standpoint, If they meet you at a networking group, they might go to your personal brand website just to see if you line up with exactly who you say you are, or who or how great, I guess you say, how great you might have come up to or come up through how you showed up through that first interaction, they might actually go and verify that so you find that from people that you're networking with. But you'll also find that from interactions that you're having with people as well. So it's important to try to keep that in mind. And that should actually stick with you and stay with you more than anything else.

So that's one of the most important things to keep in mind about what it is that we do from Blue 16 media and SEO if you have not heard of SEO it is search engine optimization. Essentially what it is that you are working backward from a search from a person so that your website is more visible. So imagine that you're going to Google and you're typing in whatever you're looking for. You might be looking for a pizza place located near you or maybe you have a toilet that is not draining or you are clogged up so you decide to look for a plumber located near you.

Or like I am in the Washington DC area, maybe type plumber, Washington DC in the search engine or in the Google search box those businesses that show up are a lot of times related to people that have invested in SEO Services, meaning they have had the opportunity to increase the visibility of their business. And also, you might also want to know and be familiar with a phrase known as the longtail because that is a tremendous opportunity from an SEO perspective.

So if you have an SEO or you don't have an SEO strategy, definitely look up, look up the longtail, They're also being linked in the show notes that talk a little bit more about that. But that brings me to what I would consider to be our secret sauce. And I've touched on this numerous times about how important it is, how relevant it is to have that your immediate company mindset, I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. And I think the secret sauce that we have is that we try to really make sure that we are executing, executing on a small level, but within a grander scheme. And that's really what CB Nation is all about.

The reason that I wanted to bring that up because I think that was that what really makes us unique is that we understand there are certain opportunities that might show up as niches. But those niches, if they're part of a greater, larger scope, provide a tremendous opportunity. As I talked about in episode number 378, I believe the first solo podcast I did in this series, the series of seven, I talked about journalism, that's really what this is all about. It's really looking at, and hopefully providing a solution for the journalism industry as far as how to create a business model around content.

I think that there has been an opportunity for people who have products and services to create content so that you can connect with your target market. But it's interesting that people within the journalism world have not necessarily created services to a higher degree, You do have your USA Today's of the world that have and provide digital marketing services, but it's fewer and far between.

So I think that there's a tremendous opportunity to be able to scale out based on the services that you're providing and create an entirely new model for journalism and for people who are starting businesses. So it's a super exciting time, I think because there is a disruption happening, there is an easy and an easiness happening, especially for journalists and people in the industry, that I think that is ripe for disruption direct, right for opportunity.

See also  IAM378- Special Episode

And I think that is going to be a paramount way that that happens. But you just have to make sure that you are able to execute that or partner with the right organization to do that if you are in the journalism industry. And that's basically what I talked about where it's all about hitting base hits in order to hit a grand slam. So you want to hit those bases, you want to do those small wins, get those small wins in order to set yourself up so that you can hit a grand slam so that you can change it, but you make small bets. And there's a book that is called and I haven't read it, but I think it's called small bits.

And I forgot the other part of it. It starts out with small bets, but it is you're making small bets you can make big bets as a result of it so that you start to build up from that. So that's kind of like our I think the secret sauce, isn't that yes, we're playing small and to some degree. But if you look at the holistic perspective of what we're trying to do, you'll see it's a lot bigger than that. So that's one of the big things that I think makes us unique, and it's our secret sauce. And then I wanted to go into what I call a CEO hack. CEO hack is something that might be an app book or habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

The CEO hack that I probably swear by more than anything else is networking as a whole. I think it's something that as a tool is something that I've learned a tremendous amount. I've learned a lot about the idea of networking and what exactly it is what it isn't do what it isn't. I didn't always have a positive perspective on networking, but it has changed and largely just changed this because I understand that at the end of the day, it's all about relationship building. It's all about getting to know a person and getting to understand what their goals are and what they'd like to do what they don't like doing evolves and develops over time.

I think that you always want to try to have that mentality that you're providing a positive networking experience, but you don't want to have it be as robotic as here's my business card. Call me if you need XY and Z. If this is the first time that you met a person, I think that you want to try to build a rapport and build a relationship, not necessarily because you want something.

But the idea is that you're always of service first, if you lead with service, then a lot of times that will come back to you, either in one opportunity or might be a huge opportunity later on, in the years down the line. So it's just important to kind of make sure that you understand that you have that overall perspective when it comes to networking. And there's a slew of resources you can do, I was a part of two BNI groups for about four years.

So I think that I learned a lot about the methodical and strategic approach to networking, but also how organic and free-flowing it is, as well. Now, I think it's time to take this into account. Related to that I want to talk about, a platform that you may not know about, you may not have heard about called Wework. And I think we work is always kind of associated with the co-working space is probably the biggest I don't know if they are the biggest, but I would be very shocked if they're not the biggest co-working space.

Literally all across the world, there's different we work and I'm actually a member of and I haven't, we weren't membership. And the idea is that you can definitely look at this like a chamber perspective, I think because you can have different people that are in, we works all across the world, you can be a member of a specific we work, you can be a member of we work and then you have a specific location that you can go to for about I think, hour per month, but you can go to any other ones. And you can have access to the overall member directory as well.

So I think is absolutely a game changer and a huge opportunity that I think people can definitely leverage as well, too. If you want to try to network and get your name out there, definitely look into and tap into WeWork we have had some people who have been guests on the show as a result of networking through our work. So I think that there's definitely an incredible opportunity there. And then, that's the CEO nugget, which is like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. And again, if you happen to be a time machine, what would you tell your younger business, so again, we did the acronym recippeee. The whole idea is there are two of the P's I talked about today talking about the last episode, which was to pick and prepare this one to put it in the oven.

So again, we're talking about creating a dish, whatever that dish is, I usually talk about sweet potato pie, You have to make sure your crust is in place, you have to make sure you pick the right ingredients, you have to make sure that you're picking and preparing the ingredients that are central to your overall goals and your resources and what you're hoping to accomplish and who your target market is. And then you have to put it in the oven, which means you basically have to execute that strategy.

And usually, I say, Yes, put it in the oven and make sure you're checking it when you put it in the oven, make sure you are looking at your analytics are you looking at the number of subscribers that you're getting in your checking in to make sure that those are the correct subscribers that you want. So you want to put it in the oven, but it's not put it in and forget us put it in and check it more often than not.

So that is the last P and it's something that you definitely want to make sure that you are paying attention to. And last but not least my absolute favorite question, is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So being a CEO, one of the words that has come up consistently throughout these episodes has been the idea of vision.

Why vision, vision is one of the things that you need, I think to be a CEO, because you need to be able to understand if there is an iceberg in the middle of the water that you're riding through so that you're that you're sailing through. So you have to be able to see the forest for the trees, you have to be able to see those opportunities that are perfect for your organization to jump on and those that maybe you need to let go. And it's really hard to do.

But I think that's really what separates the CEO from maybe even if you go more traditional definitions, the entrepreneur and maybe even the business owner, I think that you need to have a vision for each of those aspects. I'm not saying anybody who says that they are any of those or defines themselves as that does not have a vision.

I just think the idea is that the CEO really has that visionary perspective and understands all the things that are happening, that has all these different balls that are being juggled at the same time and is able to make decisions based on that. So that is really a definition that I think resonates with me tremendously. And I think that is one have been one of the stronger definitions that I've had in this podcast.

So I think you definitely should listen to the other podcasts. I appreciate your time appreciate all the awesome things that you're probably doing as well too and achieving and putting your vision into practice and in place and executing just like we talked about what the CEO nugget If you want to reach out to me you can find @progreshion.com That's a funky spelling progression. As always, you can find us at CBnation.co. And we are proudly powered by Blue16media.com. Thanks and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Gresham Harkless 0:06

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Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. Actually, there's no special guests, it's just me, this is a solo podcast and very special episode, I'm actually going to be taking the same exact format that I take for most of these other podcasts that I've done, the interviews that I've done, where the goal is really to basically two part to talk about the guests background, what led them to start their business, what exactly they do, but then also get some behind the scenes things into what they do to be effective and efficient that you can implement as an entrepreneur and a business owner. So with that being said, I want to start everything out as I normally do with what I call a CEO story. A CEO story is just person's background, what led them to start their business or organisation or their current place that they are in their life. So I wanted to talk a little bit more about some of the things that get me going or get me established. I'm a local kid. So I'm actually from the Washington DC area. I've been around this area later, literally forever. I talked about in previous episodes that I started different ventures, I started an editing company, I started a nonprofit, to help young men get into college and to give back to the community with a friend I I started the blog, CEO blog nation and CB nation, just as a way for me to learn some of the things that I think that other entrepreneurs and business owners might actually know about. And I started Blue16 media as a way just to really give back to the business community to create something around that aspect. But I really think that what I wanted to kind of talk about today, as far as my story is that there's so many things that a lot of times we think about creating that never get creative. And I have ideas myself that I had not actually launched everything from starting a computer repair business, to to, you know, starting a a truck hauling company, these are different ideas that I really thought about, you know, creating. So I've always had that kind of entrepreneurial instinct, I think I don't necessarily know exactly what it was. But I think that's what kind of makes me tick is that there's so many different ideas that I have and things that I want to execute on. But you don't execute on all of and I think that's really one of the most difficult things is to figure out what should you do and what you do not do? And it's very hard to answer that question because you never really know hindsight, it's always 2020. But you never really know, should you have started something or should you let something go? Or should you continue on with it. And I think that's one of the big things that we as entrepreneurs, as business owners have to keep in mind is that we have different things that we can start at, we have different things that we can create. But it doesn't necessarily mean that we should create every single one of those. So I think it's all a fine line and a balance between understanding exactly what that is and how exactly to execute on that. So with that being said, Blue 16 media is fully devoted to doing WordPress web design services and SEO services for entrepreneurs and business owners. If you are not familiar with what a website is, it basically is your overall digital storefront. I think a lot of times people will go on your website to determine what exactly you're doing from a business standpoint, if they meet you at a networking group, they might go to your personal brand website just to see if you line up with exactly who you say you are, or who or how great, I guess you say, how great you might have come up to or come up through how you showed up through that first interaction, they might actually go and verify that So you find that from people that you're networking with. But you'll also find that from interactions that you're having with people as well too. So it's important to try to keep that in mind. And that should actually stick with you and stay with you more than anything else. So that's one of the most important things to keep in mind about what it is that we do from Blue 16 media and SEO if you have not heard of SEO is SEO search engine optimization. Essentially what it is is that you are working backwards from a search from a person so that your website is more visible. So imagine that you're going to Google and you're typing in whatever you're looking for. You might be looking for a pizza place located to you or maybe you have a toilet that is not draining or you are clogged up so you decide to look for a plumber located near you. Or like I am in the Washington DC area, maybe type plumber, Washington DC in the search engine or in the Google search box andthose businesses that show up are a lot of times related to people that have invested in SEO Services, meaning they have had the opportunity to increase the visibility of for their business. And also, you might also want to know and be familiar with a phrase known as the longtail because that is a tremendous opportunity from SEO from an SEO perspective. So if you have an SEO or you don't have an SEO strategy, definitely look up, look up the longtail, they're also being linked in the show notes that talks a little bit more about that. But that brings me to what I would consider to be our secret sauce. And I've touched on this numerous times about how important it is, how relevant it is to have that your immediate company mindset, I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. And I think the secret sauce that we have is that we try to really make sure that we are executing, executing on a small level, but within a grander scheme. And that's really what CB nation is all about. And the reason that I wanted to bring that up, because I think that was that's what really makes us unique is that because we understand there's certain opportunities that might show up as niches. But those niches, if they're part of a greater, larger scope, provide a tremendous opportunity. As I talked about in episode number 378, I believe the first solo podcast I did in this this sevens, the series of seven, I talked about journalism, that's really what this is all about. It's really looking at, and hopefully providing a solution for the journalism industry as far as how to create a business model around content. I think that there has been an opportunity for people that have products and services to create content so that you can connect with your target market. But it's interesting that people within the journalism world have not necessarily created services to its higher degree, you do have your USA Today's of the world that have and provide digital marketing services, but it's fewer and far between. So I think that there's a tremendous opportunity to be able to scale out based off the services that you're providing and create an entirely new model for journalism and for people that are starting businesses. So it's a super exciting time, I think because there is a disruption happening, there is a an easy and an easiness happening, especially for journalists and people in the industry, that I think that is ripe for disruption direct, right for opportunity. And I think that is going to be a paramount way that that happens. But you just have to make sure that you you are able to execute on that or partner with the right organisation to do that if you are a journalism industry. And that's basically what I talked about where it's all about hitting base hits in order to hit a grand slam. So you want to hit those bases, you want to do those small wins, get those small wins in order to set yourself up so that you can hit a grand slam so that you can change it, but you make small bets. And there's a book that is called and I haven't read it, but I think it's called small bits. And I forgot the other part of it. But it starts out with small beds, but it is you're making small bets so that you can make big bets as a result of it so that you start to build up from that. So that's kind of like our I think the secret sauce, isn't that yes, we're playing small and in some degree. But if you look at the holistic perspective of what we're trying to do, you'll see it's a lot bigger than that. So that's one of the big things that I think that makes us unique, and it's our secret sauce. And then I wanted to go into what I call a CEO hack. CEO hack is something that might be an app or book or habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient. The CEO hack that I probably swear by more than anything else is is networking as a whole. I think it's something that as a tool is something that I've learned a tremendous amount, a tremendous amount of tremendous I've learned a lot about I'm sorry, I get my words all mixed up. I've learned a lot about the idea of networking and what exactly it is and what it isn't do what it isn't. I didn't always have a positive perspective on networking, but it has changed and largely just change this because I understand that at the end of the day, it's all about relationship building. It's all about getting to know a person and getting to understand what their goals are and what they'd like to do what they don't like doing that evolves and develops over time. I think that you you always want to try to have that mentality that you're providing positive networking experience, but you don't want to have it be as robotic as here's my business card. Call me if you need XY and Z. If this is the first time that you met a person, I think that you want to try to build a rapport and build a relationship, not necessarily because you want something. But the idea is that you're always of service first, if you lead with service, then a lot of times that will come back to you, either in one opportunity, or might be a huge opportunity later on, in the years down the line. So it's just important to kind of make sure that you understand that you have that overall perspective, when it comes to networking. And there's a slew of resources you can do, I was a part of two BNI groups for about four years. So I think that I learned a lot about the methodical and strategic approach to networking, but also how organic and free flowing it is, as well. Now, I think it's time to keep into account. Related to that I want to talk about a, a, a platform that you may not know about, you may not have heard about called we work. And I think we work is always kind of associated with the co working space is probably the biggest I don't know if they are the biggest, but I would be very shocked if they're not the biggest co working space. Literally all across the world, there's different we works and I'm actually a member of and I haven't, we weren't membership. And the idea is that you can definitely look at this like a chamber perspective, I think because you can have different people that are in, we works all across the world, you can be a member of a specific we work, you can be a member of we work and then you have a specific location that you can go to for about I think, hour per month, but you can go to any other ones. And you can have access to the overall member directory as well. So I think is absolutely a game changer and a huge opportunity that I think people can definitely leverage as well, too. If you want to try to network and get your name out there, definitely look into and tap into we work we have had some people that have been guests on the show as a result of networking through we work. So I think that there's definitely a incredible opportunity there. And then, that's the CEO nugget, which is like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. And again, if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business, so and again, we did the acronym recipe. And the whole idea is there's three P two of the P's I talked about today talking about last episode, which was pick and prepare this one is to put it in the oven. So again, we're talking about, you know, creating a dish, whatever that dish is, I usually talk about sweet potato pie, you have to make sure your crust is in place, you have to make sure you pick the right ingredients, you have to make sure that you're picking and preparing the ingredients that are central to your overall goals and your your resources and what you're hoping to what you're hoping to accomplish and who your target market is. And then you have to put it in the oven, which means you basically have to execute on that strategy. And usually I say, Yes, put it in the oven and make sure you're checking it when you put it in the oven, make sure you are looking at your analytics are you looking at the number of subscribers that you're getting in your checking in to make sure that those are the correct subscribers that you want. So you want to put it in the oven, but it's not put it in and forget us put it in and check it more often than not. So that is the last P and it's something that you definitely want to make sure that you are paying attention to. And last but not least my absolute favourite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So being a CEO, one of the words that has come up consistently throughout these episodes has been the idea of vision. Why vision, vision is one of the things that you need, I think to be a CEO, because you need to be able to understand if there is an iceberg in the middle of the water that you're riding through so that you're that you're sailing through. So you have to be able to see the forest for the trees, you have to be able to see those opportunities that are perfect for your organisation to jump on and those that maybe you need to let go. And it's really hard to do. But I think that's really what separates the CEO from maybe even if you go more traditional definitions, the entrepreneur and maybe even the business owner, I think that you need to have vision for each of those aspects. I'm not saying anybody who says that they are any of those or defines themselves as that is does not have vision. I just think the the idea is that the CEO really has that visionary perspective and understands all the things that are happening, that has all these different balls that are being juggled at the same time, and is able to make decisions based off of that. So that is really a definition that I think resonates with me tremendously. And I think that is one have been one of the stronger definitions that I've had in this podcast. So I think you definitely should listen to the other podcasts. I appreciate your time appreciate all the awesome things that you're probably doing as well too and achieving and putting your vision into practice and in place and executing just like we talked about what the CEO nugget if you want to reach out to me you can find me@progression.com That's a funky spelling progression. As always, you can find us at CB nation.co. And we are proudly powered by Blue 16 media.com. Thanks and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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