Author Archives: trk2n

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Don’t Eat Your Crayons, Recycle Them

I’m not sure if any of you eat crayons. If you do, please stop. They are non-toxic, but all that wax gums up your system. Just a few days after ingestion you’ll end up giving birth to a multi-colored toilet baby, and that’s just gross.

Let’s get on to the cool part.

I get excited when I find new things.

Just the other day I found out that you can recycle old crayons and markers. This made me happy. I have 5 kids, and that’s a lot of crayons and markers over the years. When we eat out, they break a dozen of them at least while we sit for a meal.

Not only can you recycle them. It gets better.

  • You can set up stations in your schools, daycares, and churches.
  • You don’t have to pay to ship them to be recycled.
  • There are tons of resources to help teach kids about the process.

Here’s some links for you:
Recycle markers through Crayola Colorcycle
Recycle crayons through The Crayon Initiative
My fave crayon pack of all
Markers I use for my own art and journal

Sure, markers and crayons are a small part of the landfill, but I like the idea of reducing trash even one piece at a time.

Now, go out and color something nice. Feel free to send me a picture of some freehand art or even a page your kids color from a book.

Dr. Dave, a guy who uses up a lot of red coloring in his beard on photos

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Art Money Success by Maria Brophy (Book Review no. 87)

I recently read Art Money Success by Maria Brophy. It’s an excellent book for artists who want to make money and not be a stereotypical starving artist. I’ll let the review tell you more.

Find the book here: Art Money Success by Maria Brophy

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Best Practices for Conferences no.34- Advice from a Celebrity Handler for Vendors

Back to round two of the interview with Rikki Adams, a guy who works fulltime with conventions and the celebs at them.

This time Rikki has some advice for vendors-

  • Make a check sheet of things you need and ask for it before you reserve your spot.
  • Don’t forget, things like electrical outlets, WiFi, and tall tables should be requested from the beginning.
  • Know how much space you need.
  • Don’t monopolize beyond your allotted space. I have seen some set-ups that crossed over onto other spaces, and that’s not fair to them.
  • Try to get a look at the layout and pick a spot that has high visibility and traffic.
  • In my opinion, some of the best spots are the endcaps. People tend to walk slow in that area because there is more room.  Also, you can normally see endcaps from far away.

Thanks Rikki!

Next time we’ll hear from Rikki on speakers and panels.

Dr. Dave, a really easy speaker to work with because prima donna speakers are a pain in the…


This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Secret Hack to Sell More Books on Amazon

I’m betting that most of my readers are either already authors, want to be authors, or know someone close who fits either category. If you’re in the first group, try this hack and you’ll see it pushes extra sales your way. If you know an author, feel free to forward this on to them.

  • It doesn’t matter if your book is already published or not yet launched, you can still use this hack.
  • If you’ve already done the first steps, skip ahead as needed.
  • If you need help, get in touch. I can help at any step from publishing to marketing.
  1. Get your book ready to publish to Kindle and Amazon print (formerly Createspace).
  2. Hit that button and publish it! Get this done first so you’re not waiting on proofs and edits. Wait until your book is live and for sale before you move to step two.
  3. Sign up for the Amazon Associates affiliate program. This way all the links you send out point back to you and Amazon pays you extra money on any sales that come from you.
  4. Copy the link to your book and add it to your Works inventory database. If you don’t have one set up yet, you really need to get in touch.
  5. Find a hot-selling book that just came out, is coming out soon, or hit it big for some reason. Old books come back all the time when a TV show or movie comes out, e.g. The Handmaid’s Tale. Get the link to it.
  6. Put together a sheet of instructions and send it to everyone you know. Have all the necessary links in the instructions. (If you want a detailed tip sheet with these instructions, message me back.)
  7. Tell them to type in the link to your book on Amazon and add the book to their cart. They don’t have to buy it.
  8. Type in the link to the other hot-selling book you researched and add it to their cart.
  9. If they want to buy either book, perfect! You just made a sale. But they don’t have to buy. They can just let it sit in the cart until the end of time or go back in and empty the cart.
  10. Your book will now be more likely to show up along with the best-selling book anytime someone searches for either one. Because of the association effect you’ll grab a few of the customers who are buying the other book.

Hope this makes you a ton of money! Do me a favor if it does. Once you hit a benchmark- $1000 in a day, one of the Amazon best-seller lists, or your own personal goal, send me an autographed copy.

Here’s a concrete example. Bear in mind, by the time you read this, I’ll have more recent ones as well.

A buddy of mine and former Marine Paul Yurkin published Memoirs of a Security Contractor a couple of years ago. Mat Best, spec ops veteran, security contractor, and owner of Black Rifle Coffee, also released his memoir Thank You for My Service. Both books are very similar in tone and story.

The difference- Because of his coffee and wildly popular Youtube videos Mat has a monstrous following, and his book skyrocketed to several best-seller lists. If Paul’s book shows up on the suggested products from Amazon, he’s liable to make sales as well. It’s a perfect book to associate with because it carries the same customer base.

It gets even better. Because Mat owns Black Rifle, both Mat and Paul’s books are liable to show up when customers search for Black Rifle Coffee.

Here’s a funny catch. I was going to read Mat’s book much later after used ones show up on Amazon. While working on the links for this newsletter, I went ahead and ordered a brand-spankin’ new hardback copy. It’s proof the hack works, because it sold me unintentionally.

I’d love to hear any success stories based on this.

Take care,
Dr. Redbeard


This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Memoirs of a Security Contractor by Paul Yurkin Book Review

Awesome book about my buddy Paul Yurkin’s time over in Afghanistan training police forces in country.

Here’s the review-

Find it on Amazon right here-
https://amzn.to/2KXpAV8

 


This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Best Practices no. 124- Advice from a Guy Who Works with Conference Celebs

Last time I talked about using celebs to boost attendance at conferences, so this week I thought I’d talk with a guy who works WITH the celebs. Just don’t call him an Agent (you’ll see why later).

Here’s Rikki at a convention with actor Brian O’Halloran from Clerks.

I met Rikki Adams a few years back at X-Con, a pop culture convention in Myrtle Beach SC. As we were both there for a number of years, we got to know each other pretty well. You might also remember X-Con was also mentioned in a previous interview with Robin Roberts, the founder of X-Con.

Rikki quickly progressed in the convention scene from a volunteer to a fulltime job. As a matter of fact, he’s booked almost every single weekend this year working conventions. As he works professionally year-round in the industry, he has a lot to offer. To avoid inundating you with a monstrous e-mail, I’ll break his interview down into several segments.

For now, I’ll let him tell you about his best experiences working conventions. Here’s Rikki-

It was definitely XCON. I considered it a mid-sized CON.  The volunteers were local and we all knew each other as friends. Being friends helped because it made us care about the big picture, which was to ensure everyone had a good time, including the clients.

Everyone was assigned duties based on their strengths.  There were also a lot of activities just for the volunteers and awards given out at the end for those that went above and beyond. I remember one year the award went to the guy that volunteered to clean up the vomit in the bouncy house. He actually volunteered to clean it up. Another nice thing  about XCON was the after dinner. There were two. One for the clients and one for the volunteers. It was nice touch.

I enjoy the bigger cons, but I tend to lean towards a smaller ones because they’re more intimate.

I can’t really say there has been a “worst experience” as a volunteer.  I was just happy to be there. The only time it gets bad is when there is someone in charge, and they do not know what they are doing.
At XCON we would meet throughout the year before the show and discuss our assignments. By the time the show starts, we all know what is expected and are able to handle the unexpected.  And if we couldn’t, we knew who to contact for guidance.

You don’t see this a big cons. There are so many people involved and sometimes it would take an hour just to find the right person to talk to.

After working two shows as a volunteer I was officially signed on with ZSC entertainment.  I would be called as an agent or handler…but I am neither.  We are assistants to the agent. Handlers are volunteers that get assigned to assist us.  I am OK with being called a handler, but it does offend others within this group.

When someone’s intros me as an agent, I correct them because the agent is the boss and has a lot more responsibilities than I. I would never want my boss to think that I was trying to pretend I was her. So as long as I am not referred to as an agent, I am OK.

We’ll hear more of Rikki’s story in future newsletters. He has a lot of advice for vendors, speakers, and promoters.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this, Brian O’Halloran cutting off Rikki’s ponytail at X-Con to give you an idea of the steps Rikki goes through to keep his clients and the audience happy.

Thanks for tuning in,
Dr. Redbeard, a speaker who has no hair for Brian to chop off

For information on booking me as a speaker, click HERE.

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Couches are Repositories for Butt Sweat and Farts (no. 82)

Most life coaches and motivational speakers will act like everything is perfect. Sure, they’ll tell you about a past time when they hit a few roadblocks. As a matter of fact, it’s the main theme or story in most keynotes. But the bad stuff is always in the past, never the present or even the recent past.

Not me.

I’d rather tell you about how I screw up or when things go wrong. That way you can glean some lessons from it. Like a good parent, it’s my job to help you recover from or avoid the same mistakes I make.

You know, like the time last year I busted my head open climbing on an old abandoned train.

Let’s talk about couches. Most of them are pretty gross. When I visit people’s homes, I always angle for the hard furniture, like a dining room chair, and not the soft cushiony stuff. Basically, couches are repositories for years of butt sweat and farts. Those things get trapped in the fibers and soak into your clothes when you sit down.

Let me tell you about my couch. Here it is by the dumpster.

It’s gross.

It’s got all the adult smells plus 15 years with 5 kids. That means 15 years of kid farts, poop accidents, puke, and pee-throughs times five.

It was time for a new couch a long time ago, so what were we waiting for?

Here’s the success story part of the message. We just got completely out of debt, including the mortgage and cars, using the principles from Dave Ramsey. Then we budgeted $1500 for a new couch and saved up the money to pay cash for it. Even better, we found a great one at Costco for only $1000.

We wanted something like THIS, but it just didn’t fit the budget, and we’re okay with that.

Boom! We got a new couch with that new couch smell and no stains. Also, with only one kid still in diapers, the stains and smells will decrease greatly.

Here’s the lessons from this story:

  • Don’t sit on other people’s couches unless you know them well.
  • Get out of debt.
  • Any speaker or coach with a 100% perfect life is full of crap.
  • Don’t ever take a used couch from anyone.
  • Save up cash and go buy a new couch.
  • If you want to sit on my couch, visit soon while it’s new.

Thanks!
Dr. Redbeard

PS: Send me photos of your couches. You can see ours and some fun in the video HERE.

PSS: The absolute best thing about a new couch- huge boxes to make forts out of!

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Who wants to be on The Profit television show?

Some really great things are in play around here lately that I wanted to let you know about in case you wanted to capitalize on it as well.

Anyone here ever watch The Profit on CNBC? Me and my wife love it. We don’t have cable, so we usually just buy a new season on Amazon or we’ll binge on the marathons when we’re in a hotel.

I just helped one of my small business clients apply for the show. There’s not much to the application, but getting on a show like this is usually all in how you word it.

I can help you out or you can click HERE to do it yourself.

How about Fiverr? I’ve mentioned them before, because I use folks from Fiverr to design graphics, t-shirts, book covers, and more. I get good work out of them for really affordable rates, i.e. $5.

Here’s some examples-

Fiverr has been expanding into some new areas recently that I wanted to tell you about. They’re going way beyond just graphics and videos.

Here’s some new stuff from Fiverr-

  1. The one I’m most excited about is a new category offering services to gamers to build and modify games. I’m not a big electronic gamer, but I’m really psyched about using some of these services to enhance my videos and animations for lectures.
  2. They launched a new service called And.co, which combines a lot of the admin stuff that small businesses need into one platform. I’m talking everything from invoicing to time tracking.
  3. They’re moving beyond only offering services to offering on demand classes as well. Classes like these are invaluable to me when I need to learn something new. I’m also using them for homeschool. My 15yo is currently learning Photoshop.

I hope some of these services help you out and move your business to the next level. If I can help in any way, just let me know.

Dr. Redbeard

P.S. To check out stuff I offer on Fiverr, click HERE.

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Be the Easiest _________ to Work With

Here’s a short tip I learned from my friend Kent Julian over at Live It Forward. He said-

Be the easiest speaker around to work with.

It makes sense as a speaker. If I’m the easiest speaker in the world to work with, conferences are more likely to bring me back, have me do more, and tell others about me.

It makes sense for conference planners and vendors as well. If you’re the easiest person in your field to work with, it will repay you. Word will get around.

We’ve all encountered the dark side of this industry:

  • Speakers that are nothing more than overpaid divas
  • Vendors that don’t show up
  • Conferences that don’t pay invoices

I don’t want to be that person, and I’m sure you don’t either. No matter which side of the fence you’re on- vendor, planner, or speaker- make sure you’re easy to work with, forgiving of trivial issues, and gracious in everything you do.

Thanks,
Dr. Redbeard, one of the easiest speakers in the world to work with

PS- My buddy Kent Julian is not just a friend. He’s an accomplished speaker who has done more to push my business along than anyone else. He teaches speakers how to be better. You can find him at Live It Forward.

Here’s me and Kent together. As you can see, we have the same hairstylist.


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Conference Best Practices- Possibly the Best Vendor You’ll Ever Meet

The most recent best practices newsletter covered the point-of-view of a conference organizer. This time I’d like to give you the POV of a vendor. This interview will cover all bases from best practices as a vendor to how conference organizers can create an all star experience for their vendors.

Hector Miray is the founder of Faith & Fandom, and he normally presents at pop culture conventions. I’ve known him for years as a friend, through his books, and as a fellow vendor. He’s one of the best vendors I know, because he’s not in it only to sell things. His goal is always to enjoy and experience at the conventions and get to know people. Succinctly put, he shows up to a convention to serve the attendees.

Imagine the experience for everyone if more vendors did this!

Hector leading a church service at a comic book convention.

For now, here’s Hector, in his words.

Best Experiences-

“The best experiences I’ve had as a vendor are the ones where the conference makes me feel like I’m valued. Whether it’s promoting me and my material on their website and Facebook in advance, things like nice table markers or banners with my business name on it, or providing food and drinks. A break area has always been nice as well. Ones that take the time to make sure that’s my panels are at decent time slots and that my booth isn’t in like a dust closet somewhere.”

Worst Experiences-

“The worst experiences I’ve had as a vendor usually come when I put my time and money and promotion into a show, and it seems I put more work into building the show than the person who actually runs it. I’ve been in shows where there are more vendors than attendees. I’ve been in shows that I’ve attended for three or four years and never met the person running the show, and that when I try to establish communication I am abandoned.

Beyond running a show poorly, the worst show experience I’ve had as a vender was paying $80 for a table for a show that was cancelled and then the conference organizers disappeared with everyone’s money and have since vanished from the face of the Earth.”

Advice-

  • Don’t be angry when someone else is doing the same thing you’re doing. You having the idea doesn’t mean you’re the only one that had it.
  • Being a unique voice, material, and product definitely helps you stand out, but your personality and the way you treat the people that come by your booth also makes a huge difference.
  • Consistency is also a big deal. When someone sees you one time at a show they may not speak or stop in, but they might remember you the next time they come through.
  • Showing up repeatedly makes a big difference.
  • Never treat a small crowd like they’re less value than a big crowd.
  • If you have a speaking engagement at a show it helps when the showrunner promotes it, but you need to expect that you should be responsible for your own promotion for your speaking time. If that means adding additional flyers, banners or signage to draw people’s attention to your event, take that responsibility.
  • Give people something they can leave with to remind them of what you spoke on and encourage them to tell the convention how much they appreciated you.
  • If you are planning a conference do it at least a year in advance, with intermediate goals and checkpoints of promotion and contact you need to take place ramping up momentum to your conference.

Final Words-

“If I was starting over from scratch I would have tried to develop a bigger team for what I do. I also would have started out bigger and faster. My first year I did maybe three or four events. The last couple of years I’ve been doing 28 a year.  I can’t gauge events based on monetary or merchandise. I gauge them based on exposure and responses.”

All excellent advice from Hector.

One thing I’ve really noticed that sets him apart from a lot of vendors are frequent posts on social media during a conference that promote the con as much as his booth. Because he shows up to serve, he also gets a lot of people posting on their own feeds about him and his books and panels.

I hope you enjoyed this short interview. For more of Hector, you can find him on Instagram and Facebook. His books are all available on Amazon.

Thanks,
Dr. Redbeard

Here’s Hector and I after recording a podcast on a crowded playground.


This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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