3 Simple and Easy Steps to Get Started with Your Business Blog

Blogging is not a new phenomenon. It was introduced as a term in the late 90’s but for entrepreneurs and business owners, it is just starting to become mainstream and be seen as a way to promote, brand and generate leads for your business.

I think blogging is going to become more and more relevant in 2016 and beyond. I decided to write a step-by-step guide on how business owners can get started with blogging.

What is a Blog?

First, I thought it was important to define blogging. I have a more “broad” definition for blogging that most. I don’t see it as only having a Blogger, WordPress or Medium account. I see it simply as the publishing of digital content. It’s a lot more of a broad definition than is traditionally thought. There’s two reasons for this broader definition:

  1. Some of the social media sites are building a way to blog within their platforms. Twitter was always defined as micro-blogging. LinkedIn has Pulse and even Facebook has Notes. (Side Note: Be on the lookout for Facebook’s Instant Articles launching in April)
  2. Blogging can take many different forms including video (YouTube), audio, and photos (Instagram). When I’m speaking with clients, I usually recommend blogging related to their strengths. Are you great at talking to people, maybe start a Podcast? Are you great in front of the camera, maybe start a YouTube channel?

3 Steps to Get Started

  1. Come up with a list of ideas for blog ideas. As a business owner or entrepreneur often your best way to use your blog is to educate your target market. I always believe the best way is to provide content and information that is simultaneously relevant to your target market and your business. So some blog topics can include questions that your clients might ask you.
  2. Choose a way to blog. There are many ways to blog including guest blogging. You can even blog on one of the existing platforms like LinkedIn, WordPress.com or Medium. If you have a blog on your website, you can also start to blog there.
  3. The most obvious step is just to start writing. While, it is always better to have a strategy and an approach. I think one of the biggest reasons that people don’t get started is because they think too much about it. Really, what you should be doing is to just start writing. Find a blog within your industry or target market and reach out to the editor and ask to guest blog there or add a blog to your website and just blog there.

If you thought this was interesting would love to see your comments below! Also check out my FREE Business Blogging Course at CEO Blog Nation.

Veteran In Transition Q+A: Jon McCann

Each month, Capitol Post interviews veterans in their post-military careers to get their insights on how their military service has helped them succeed. This month, we spoke with Jon McCann, Assistant Operations Officer in transition. Here’s what he had to say… Name: Jon McCann MOS/Branch: Engineer Officer Current Job Description (in your words!): Plan operations for the…

Each month, Capitol Post interviews veterans in their post-military careers to get their insights on how their military service has helped them succeed. This month, we spoke with Jon McCann, Assistant Operations Officer in transition. Here’s what he had to say…

Name: Jon McCann
MOS/Branch: Engineer Officer
Current Job Description (in your words!): Plan operations for the Army’s only unit that provides temporary emergency power in cases of natural disaster.
Where did you grow up? Westlake, OH
Current home: Old Town Alexandria, VA
School: I received my BS in Economics and Operations Research from West Point.  I then attended The Australian National University, where I studied Economic Policy on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
Role Model: Older brother, Ben, who was co-founder of Connectifier, recently sold to LinkedIn.
Favorite Restaurant: I try not to repeat restaurants, since there are so many good ones around the DC area!

Favorite Local Activity: Happy hours, bottomless brunches, wine bars.  Sensing a trend?  Plus the occasional game of golf.
Family: Wife, Elisha — I married way up — -is a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton.  Dog, Brady, is a six year old Australian (barks with an accent) Kelpie.
Little Known Fact About You: I founded a pretty successful lawn care business in high school that did so well that I (just this week) had to shut down the old Angelfire website because it was still generating customers.  On second thought…maybe that was a missed (second) opportunity!


QA

What did (or do) you envision life “on the other side” to be like after you transition/ed?

Growing out the hair/beard and getting fat! (Not really.)  I’m just looking forward to being in charge of my own career, challenging myself intellectually, and contributing to something bigger than myself.  I actually believe that you can should do your answer to the question “What would you do if money were no object?”

What has been the best part about transitioning from military service?

I’m still in the middle of transition and don’t have anything lined up, so it has been stressful.  But it’s also been really exciting and motivating to explore new ventures.  I feel like I did in high school, when I had that sense of “I can do anything!”  Plus, I like the chase.

What has been the most challenging about transitioning from military service?

Translating my experience.  I’ve had a successful military career and have a lot to contribute, but it takes some convincing for companies to take a chance on me.

If there’s one job you could have in another life, what would it be?

Country music singer.  But that would certainly be another life, cause I ain’t got the pipes.

Who has influenced you the most in your career?

I’m been lucky to have some bosses that really trusted and empowered me.  I try not to forget how good that feels so that I can equally empower my team.

What is one piece of advice you would give a transitioning veteran?  

If you don’t know what you want to do (or even if you do), put yourself out there, get outside your comfort zone, and expose yourself to as many companies, industries, roles, and individuals that you can.  It’s helped me eliminate many roles, but I still have a long introspective process in front of me of trying to find and pursue a passion.  Networking, and organizations like Capitol Post, have certainly helped me with that.

Briefly describe something you learned during your service. How does that benefit you today?  

Dealing with high stress situations.  If I find myself stressing out now, I can just remind myself that it’s nothing compared to “that one time…”

Top Questions to Ask When Choosing a Co-working Space

Working from your home can no doubt be great. It’s easy. There’s no commute. You don’t have to worry about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn in the afternoon. But as awesome as taking calls in your pajamas might appear, there are also some challenges to working from home or at a local coffee shop….

Working from your home can no doubt be great. It’s easy. There’s no commute. You don’t have to worry about the smell of burnt microwave popcorn in the afternoon. But as awesome as taking calls in your pajamas might appear, there are also some challenges to working from home or at a local coffee shop. Problems such as: collaborating with a group in person, needing to interact with another human aside from your dog or cat, or asking someone a tough question that Google or your crazy neighbor can’t answer. That’s why we created Capitol Post; to be the hub of the veteran business community and give people a place to create, collaborate, and connect. Because not all co-working spaces are created equally, here are some questions to ask yourself when considering space.

Space:

  1. What are the space’s amenities?
  • Wi-Fi – what’s the quality
  • Conference room access
  • Coffee & snacks & food?
  • Printer / scanning access?
  • Phones / answering service?
  • Mailing Address?
  • Parking? Metro access?
  • Basic office supplies (and supplies for purchase?)
  • Front Desk / Receptionist?
  • Bathrooms nearby?
  • Whiteboards?
  • AV?
  • Are there resources that I’d have to pay for myself?

 

  1. What are the local amenities?
  • Where can you pick up a gallon of milk and diapers on your way home?
  • Can you get coffee with someone nearby?
  • FedEx/ UPS
  • Places to bring clients for lunch / dinner?

 

  1. Does it offer any other “perks?”
  • Building concierge?
  • Gym?
  • Local discounts?

 

  1. How much does it cost?
  • Daily, weekly, monthly fees?
  • Most spaces here in the DC area range
  • What system do I pay on? Is it easy?

 

  1. Can I bring clients or investors in?
  • Does that cost $?
  • # of people for the amount of time.

 

  1. What are the hours and security?
  • HVAC after hours (think summer / weekends)?
  • Is it staffed on the weekends?
  • Can I store files and papers / inventory?
  • Can I leave and go the bathroom and not worry about my laptop getting stolen?
  • Do I feel safe here working at night or after hours?
  • Key card access?

 

  1. Does the space have “street access” or do I need to take an elevator?

 

  1. Can I grow my business here?

 

  1. What do people love/complain about the space?

 

  1. Can I try it out for a period (day or week) to see if I like it?

Culture / Vibe:

  1. What is the staff like?
  • Do they turnover often?
  • Are they friendly? Nice? FUN? Do they care about me?
  • Do they provide value?
  • How responsive / organized are they?

 

  1. What do the workspaces look like?
  • Are there offices?
  • Is it open?
  • Where are the power sources?
  • Are the chairs comfortable?
  • Is there enough services space?
  • Where do you put your coat and bag?

 

  1. What is the culture like?
  • Is it a “museum” or a fraternity house?
  • Is it collegial? Open? Closed? Library-like?
  • Everyone in a suit?
  • Average age?
  • Do I see myself working here?

 

  1. Who is currently working there?
  • Industry focus?

 

  1. Is it clean? Well-maintained?
  • Who does it? When does it happen?
  • Where can you eat?

 

  1. Are there “rules?”

My Own Considerations:

  1. What are my needs?  
  • Am I trying to professionalize my company? Or is still okay to have people come to my house or a Starbucks?
  • What are my norms?

 

  1. What is driving me to make this change?
  • Productivity?
  • Professional appearance?
  • My own sanity?
  • Community / resources?

 

  1. How much space do I need?
  • Inventory

 

  1. What can I afford?

 

  1. How long is it going to take me to get there? Can I park?

 

  1. Can my clients / customers easily get there?

 

  1. Am I am employee-based company? What does my growth look like?

Programs & Services:

  1. Are there any programs & services offered?

 

  1. Social / networking events? Opportunities to connect?

Meet the Staff Q+A: Harry Alford III

  Here at Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC, we love to highlight the amazing founders, entrepreneurs, startups, staff members and mentors working in our space and engaging with our community through a fun and informative Q&A. Get to know the newest addition to our Bunker Labs staff, Harry Alford III! Name: Harry Alford III…

 

Bunker Team

Here at Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC, we love to highlight the amazing founders, entrepreneurs, startups, staff members and mentors working in our space and engaging with our community through a fun and informative Q&A. Get to know the newest addition to our Bunker Labs staff, Harry Alford III!

Name: Harry Alford IIIHarry Headshot

Where did you grow up? I grew up in NW Washington, DC attending an all-boys school fourth through 12th grade.

School(s): I received a BA from the University of Maryland, an MA from Georgetown University and a current MBA candidate at Babson.

Military Branch & Service/Specialty*: I have not served in the military although my father is a veteran, my uncle is an Officer in the Navy and I am the grandson of one of the original five Tuskegee Airmen.

Favorite DC-area Restaurant:

I have a few! Currently, a restaurant I’m really digging is called Alfies. It’s a Thai restaurant located in the Petworth neighborhood in DC.

Favorite Local Activity:

Yoga and strength training

Tell Us About Your Family:

I have a twin brother and my parents are entrepreneurs. All currently reside in the DC area.

Little Known Fact About You:

I played professional lacrosse for two years after college.

Brief Business or Personal Description:

I’m a passionate entrepreneur.

Briefly tell us how you’ve come into your current role.

I want to help create the next generation of amazing startups and valuable companies. Bunker Labs is the perfect platform for entrepreneurs to realize and accomplish their dreams. I also want to be a good team member. The Bunker staff is phenominal!

Who has influenced you the most in your career or organization and why?

My parents have definitely had the most profound impact on my life and business acumen. Seeing them run their business for two decades is an amazing education that I couldn’t acquire at any institution. I learned through a process of osmosis by immersion in entrepreneurship since an early age.

What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?

Scaling and exiting my own company with my brother.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to another startup or entrepreneur?

In the beginning, focus on things that don’t scale. Get out of the building and talk to your customers.

For more information on Harry and his interest, visit his blog

Veteran Owned Business Q+A: Dark Cubed

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Dark Cubed, a startup  focused on simplifying a new approach to cyber security.  Business Name: Dark Cubed Year Founded: 2014 HQ: Washington, DC CEO Name: Vince Crisler Key…

Dark CubedEach month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Dark Cubed, a startup  focused on simplifying a new approach to cyber security. 

Business Name: Dark Cubed

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Washington, DC

CEO Name: Vince Crisler
Key Members: Theresa Payton

Brief Business Description: Vince Dark Cubed
Dark Cubed is a cyber security company focused on developing a new, innovative product that focuses on simplicity rather than complexity.  We are developing a product that can scale and provide value to the smallest and the largest companies alike.  We take a different approach to information sharing, threat awareness, threat discovery, and triage.

Little-Known Fact About You:
I have been a DJ, Camp Counselor, and a Magician!

Briefly tell us how you decided to become an entrepreneur.
I am not sure I ever “decided” to become one, it has always been a part of me.  I started my first company in high school doing web design and have always enjoyed starting new and interesting projects.

You are a veteran-owned (or led) business. How has military service (Air Force, Communications) influenced your company?

Patience is probably one of the most important lessons I learned.  Everyone in the military has experienced the phenomena of “hurry up and wait.”  Many tend to get comfortable with the fact that things happen in their own due time, but when the moment happens that you have to take action, you must seize it.

What have you done that you’re most proud of to date?
The thing I am most proud of is starting the companies I am running now, Fortalice and Dark Cubed, and the team that we have built.  It is humbling to pull together people that you highly respect and see them give their all to a vision that you helped build.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a startup?
Constantly question your ideas and your approach and don’t get too invested in your current solution.  Time is limited and every day that goes by is a day that you won’t get back.  Many of our family and friends won’t tell us when an idea we have is bad, they try to be supportive.  Never be afraid to walk away from an OK idea to pursue a GREAT idea.

Where would you like to see your organization in ten years?
I would love to see our product fully deployed across the business and consumer markets and our team continually focused on bringing innovation to the cyber security market.  I also want to be in a position to financially support members of my team spinning off and building their own companies and products.

 

To learn more about Vince and Dark Cubed, visit DarkCubed.com

Capitol Post Sponsor Q+A: JP Morgan Chase & Co

Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC are fortunate to be supported by a number of local and national organizations who make it possible for us to serve as a platform for veterans in business. This month, we are highlighting JP Morgan Chase & Co, who have recently supported Bunker Labs in Chicago and Washington DC…

Capitol Post and Bunker Labs DC are fortunate to be supported by a number of local and national organizations who make it possible for us to serve as a platform for veterans in business. This month, we are highlighting JP Morgan Chase & Co, who have recently supported Bunker Labs in Chicago and Washington DC with a grant of $260,000. 

Print

 

Company Name:  JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Year Founded: 1799

CEO Name: Jamie Dimon

HQ Address: 270 Park Avenue New York, NY

Website: www.jpmorganchase.com/veterans

Elevator Pitch: A strong small business sector means more local jobs and increased economic opportunity for owners and for the people they employ. That’s why JPMorgan Chase is proud to serve 3.9 million American small businesses, including many Veteran small businesses. Empowering Veterans to succeed in small business is a natural extension of the firm’s mission and talent. That’s why, the firm provides products, services, and support through organizations like Bunker Labs DC to make it easier for small businesses to operate and gain access to capital.

Little-known-fact about your company: JPMorgan Chase & Co. played a major role in financing the Allied victory during World War I. In September 1915, the firm arranged a $500 million Anglo-French loan, at that time the largest foreign loan in Wall Street history.


 

What makes your company unique? 

As a leading small business lender with a long history of employing and supporting active-duty and veteran military personnel, our firm is uniquely positioned to understand the needs of Veterans and small businesses and provide resources to help them succeed.

What made your company want to support Capitol Post and/or Bunker Labs DC’s mission?

Veterans possess a number of skills, experience, and attributes that lend themselves to entrepreneurship, such as leadership, problem-solving, and resilience. Our entire community benefits from the jobs and economic growth generated by new businesses. Unfortunately, many veterans struggle to turn their ideas and passion into viable businesses.  Bunker Labs helps Veteran business owners tap into the networks, mentors, and advice that will help them sustainably grow a high-impact business. That is why we recently announced a grant of $260,000 to help fund Bunker Labs cohorts in DC and Chicago.

Toot your company’s horn? What have you done that you’re most proud of recently?

This year marks the fifth anniversary of JPMorgan Chase’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, established to drive our firm-wide Veteran-related initiatives. Over the last five years, more than 10,000 Veterans have joined the ranks of JPMorgan Chase, and the firm has developed programs aimed at retaining and supporting them throughout their careers. We also help to lead the Veteran Jobs Mission – previously the 100,000 Jobs Mission – a coalition cofounded in 2011 by JPMorgan Chase and 10 other companies with the goal of hiring 100,000 Veterans. Now more than 200 members strong, the coalition has collectively hired more than 300,000 Veterans, and is now committed to hiring 1 million.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to one of Capitol Post’s members or start-up in the Bunker Labs DC?

Our Office of Military and Veterans Affairs is fortunate enough to be advised by an extremely talented and experienced External Advisory Council which includes former military and private sector leaders. In November, council member and former Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno shared his thoughts on Bold Leadership. Our advice is to connect with and keep experienced advisors who can help guide you through the development and growth of your business.

Who (or what) has had the most positive influence on your organization recently and why?

We are inspired by the thousands of Veteran employees working beside us every day. Through their continued success at the firm, we see first-hand how much Veterans have to contribute to our country and our workforce. This is why we will continue to focus on their successful transitions into the private sector, especially as business leaders and owners.

 

Veteran Non Profit Q+A: Four Block Foundation

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-focused nonprofit. This month, we spoke with Four Block Foundation, a nonprofit that equips Post-9/11 student veterans to find meaningful careers and maximize their potential through a 12-week program and a network of alumni and partners. Non-Profit Name: Four Block Foundation Year Founded: 2012 Executive Director Name: Mike Abrams Key…

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-focused nonprofit. This month, we spoke with Four Block Foundation, a nonprofit that equips Post-9/11 student veterans to find meaningful careers and maximize their potential through a 12-week program and a network of alumni and partners.

FourBlock_Primary_CMYK_sml_tag

Non-Profit Name: Four Block Foundation

Year Founded: 2012

Executive Director Name: Mike Abrams
Key Members: Eric Ahn, Pat Murray, Chris Vasiliou
HQ: New York, NY
Number of Full-Time Employees: 5

Brief Organization Description: Four Block equips Post-9/11 student veterans to find meaningful careers and maximize their potential through a 12-week program and a network of alumni and partners.

Little-Known Fact About Your Organization or Founders:

– Our founder is the Commanding Officer of Battery M, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment out of Chattanooga, TN.
– A few years back, a Marine officer, who had a NYU Stern MBA, was tasked with putting labels on DVDs at his new job. Because of his first-hand experience of just how little companies knew how to use their veteran employees’ true value, Mike Abrams founded Four Block to bridge this gap.

What makes your organization unique?

Four Block is a community of both veterans and organizational partners. Our aim is not just to prepare veterans for meaningful careers, but also educate companies on creating an environment that maximizes veteran potential.

You are a non-profit associated with veterans or the military. How has military service influenced your organization?

It drives everything we do. Each of us has a particular passion for mentoring veterans and helping them succeed, whether it’s because we were squad leaders who wanted nothing less than excellence from our Marines or because we lost a loved one and now as a Gold Star Mother, want to see their friends succeed.

Toot your organization’s horn. What have you done that you’re most proud of to date?
Four Block is the official mentor program for all wounded Marines and sailors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Despite significant injuries and seemingly impossible limitations, these veterans are definitely proving they are more than capable!

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a non-profit start-up?
Focus on the mission first and foremost; on getting tangible, measurable results. The rest will take care of itself.

Who (or what) has had the most positive influence on your company and why?
Our veterans. They’re resilience has been inspirational and their feedback has significantly shaped our services.

Veteran Owned Business Q+A – Pair

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Pair, a technology company that brings the showroom to your living room.  Business Name: Pair Year Founded: 2015 CEO Name: Andrew Kemendo Key Members: Taylor Clark…

Each month, Capitol Post interviews a veteran-owned business to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly on creating a sustainable and scalable business. This month, we spoke with Pair, a technology company that brings the showroom to your living room. 

Pair Logo

Business Name: Pair

Year Founded: 2015

CEO Name: Andrew Kemendo
Key Members: Taylor Clark (CTO), Mike Mills (Chief Scientist), Israel Medina (VP Business Development)
HQ: Cheverly, MD
Number of Full-Time Employees: 4

Brief Business Description: 
Pair brings the showroom to your living room by letting users see over 400 virutal products in their real environment using only their iPhone or iPad Camera view.

Little-Known Fact About Your Business:
Both Taylor and Andrew started flight school for their private pilot’s licenses a month apart in 2000 before having ever met!

What makes your business unique?
We have successfully commercialized the capability to convincingly see something virtual as though it is real.

You are a veteran-owned (or led) business. How has military service influenced your company?

In every facet of the company, the lessons I learned as a commander and leader in war and peace shape how we do business. We put people first, are laser focused on the mission and do so with the highest level of integrity and transparency.

Toot your business’ horn. What have you done that you’re most proud of to date?
By far it has been moving advanced technology from the “future technology” category to “available to everyone worldwide” category. That takes a special team and the right partners.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a start-up?
Be exceedingly responsive to, and over communicate with your core user base.

Who (or what) has had the most positive influence on your company and why?
Our network, built from our team and including our investors and product partners have brought more value to the table than anything else.