Focus More, Do Less

Making Changes to

Change is hard. Change is good. Change is here.

For the past 3 1/2 years I’ve been getting paid to promote a different company each day via social media on (IWYS). The idea of IWYS came to me in late 2008 when I had clients for a web design company I co-owned asking about Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. At that time, I had never made a video, didn’t have a Twitter account and maybe had 30 friends on Facebook (didn’t know half of them). But, I saw an opportunity, came up with a unique pricing structure (thanks Chris Yeh) and ran with the idea. I could have easily stayed with my web design company and enjoyed an already comfortable work-from-home job, but I wanted more and I wasn’t afraid of change.

Fast forward to today and another change is happening. After working over 1,300+ companies on a daily shirt wearing basis, I’m shifting my focus to having 1 sponsor per week. This change happens as of July 1 and means I will only have the availability to work with 20 sponsors for the remainder of 2012. Why am I doing this? I firmly believe the landscape of social media has changed drastically since 2009, 2010 and even 2011. So many companies/brands/marketers use Twitter and Facebook each day, that it’s hard to rise above the noise, no matter how unique the thing is you’re doing. Having a week to work with companies means a couple things for IWYS:

  • More time to share the engaging and creative content I/we create
  • More time to engage with the ever-expanding IWYS community and our sponsors
  • My creative brain has been able to handle 365 companies a year, imagine only having 52 (or 20 for the rest of this year!)
  • Much less availability
  • Having initial conversations with potential sponsors to see if IWYS will be a good fit for them (instead of letting anyone sign up and not meeting wild expectations)
  • More time for FUN! 

This weekly sponsor change only applies to me, so what does that mean for my fellow shirt wearers? Well, they aren’t going anywhere and their focus is only shifting slightly. Every day we have companies coming to us that understand the power and value of a good YouTube video. We’ve had to turn companies away because they want us to make videos for internal use only and it never fit in our daily shirt wearing model. Not anymore. 

The 4 shirt wearers (Sean, DeAndre, Bimini and Sarah) will be doing full-time video production and we’re moving away from the calendar buying process. I’ve done a ton of research on video production costs from companies around the web, I’ve talked to a bunch of our sponsors and I think we have the sweet spot for pricing and deliverables. We’ve basically been doing this already, but starting today, here’s the plan for the rest of the IWYS team:

  • Get 1 Video made for $399
  • Get 4 Videos made for $1299
  • Buying a video gets you an HD version that you can use wherever and for as long as you like to promote your brand, product, etc
  • Buying a video also gets you our same shirt wearing promotion we’ve always done. A team member promotes you via their t-shirt on Facebook, Twitter, our YouTube channel and (or you can opt out of promotion)
  • From now until June, we’ll all still be doing TinyChat live shows at our regularly scheduled times
  • 30-60 day turn around and an in-depth project management system to help craft and execute the perfect video(s) for your company
  • We’ll work with you to pick the best t-shirt wearer for your video

Video is the most engaging piece of content we have on the web today. It’s easy to share, it helps explain product offerings and it’s incredibly helpful in increasing Google ranking for specific keywords. The IWYS team has a ton of video experience, knows editing software, is comfortable on camera and you should search how much a “video actor” gets paid (even for small production stuff). The $399 price tag for 1 video is incredibly affordable and this is what we love doing.

As with any change, I know people will have questions and concerns. Let me tell you that I’m not afraid of change, but I’m also not making this decision based on a whim. This is something I’ve been thinking about since 2011 and now just felt like the right time. I’m extremely excited to work with fun companies on a weekly basis and for our team to keep cranking out super engaging videos.

Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions and thank you to all of you reading this for helping evolve IWYS and supporting our great sponsors.

Why the Facebook Like Button and Twitter Retweet Button are Worthless

As someone who’s been on Facebook and Twitter before a Like button or Retweet button existed, it’s interesting to see the progression of these tools. I can distinctly remember the launch of the Like button on Facebook and how dumb everyone thought it would be. That view of “a dumb button” quickly turned to a way to virtually express yourself on Facebook (really cool). However, that same ease of expression hasn’t changed in 3 years and like anything on the internet that sticks around for 3 years without change, is becoming almost worthless. The same can be said for the Retweet (RT) button on Twitter. Before that button existed, when someone (or a lot of someone’s) reposted your tweet and gave you credit for it, it meant something. Now, the RT is something people ask/beg for and when that happens, what’s the point?

With the growth of social media and the influx of businesses, the Like button and the RT button are being gamed. Now, there are some creative businesses that reward Likes and RTs in interesting ways and I’m totally cool with that, but the majority of businesses out there just aren’t Like or RT worthy. I’m sorry, you’re just not. And instead of embracing that and realizing it, business owners brush off social media or say it’s useless because they aren’t good at it (or won’t give up the keys to someone who is). I’m guilty of this to some degree with IWearYourShirt. I want us, as a business, to do less pitching to our audience to Like/RT something, unless we really think it’s Like-able.

I am 100% okay with people asking to Like a post or RT a tweet when it’s actually of value to other people. I’m not okay with businesses asking to share/Like/RT every stupid discount, coupon, deal, quote, etc that they think is valuable. The thing about the Like/RT buttons is that they directly tell you if what you’re saying is worthwhile. These little buttons are feedback indicators of if you’re doing a good job of saying stuff or if you suck at it and need to let someone else control your voice in social media. Let’s face it, unless you’re selling Unicorn Tears, your business has competition in social media and you need to have the upper hand to set yourself apart and grow an engaged audience (read: be more interesting). And when you do trust someone to create content that could be Like-able or RT-able, that engagement will come without asking for it. 

So here’s a few questions to let your brain chew on: Why would someone Like my Facebook page in the first place? Would people say they “Like” my business outside of Facebook? Do they feel they’ll consistently get interesting content that they’ll Like? Are my tweets always just being pushed or am I pulling people in and using @ mentions? Am I just regurgitating other people’s information? Do I RT people? If I were a consumer and read my tweets, would I actually want to RT them?

Last but not least, not everything you say has to be Like-able or RT worthy. Sometimes you just want to express yourself without any return and that’s okay. But for the love of all things sacred, stop putting “pls RT” or “pls Like” in your social media messaging.

Jason Sadler Speaking Bio

I constantly get asked for a bio about myself when I speak and the only place it lives are in my sent emails (not the best place). I have this blog, it archives stuff and it’s indexable content about me for Google - So let’s share it here!

From drawing on walls with crayons as a kid to eventually graduating from the University of North Florida with a degree in Graphic Design, Jason Sadler has always been creative. In 2008 he recognized the growing influence of social media and decided he could utilize these platforms in a new and unique way, by getting paid to wear sponsored t-shirts for a living. Each day, Jason represents a different company online using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ustream and Flickr. Four years later, has grown from one to five professional shirt wearers and has been recognized by media outlets around the world including The Today Show, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN and more. He’s worked with professional sports organizations, advertising agencies, Fortune 500s and before getting paid to wear t-shirts co-owned a web design company. Jason is an avid automotive enthusiast that loves playing Scrabble, watching terrible movies and has been known to play a hoop of basketball or two. Jason lives at the beach in Jacksonville, Florida but frequently travels to speak publicly and share his nothing-to-something story.

And my headshot (courtesy of Laura Evans Photography):

Getting on the Homepage (Popular) of Pinterest

Update: This poster is officially for sale on Zazzle for $18.95!

We’ve been using Pinterest for IWearYourShirt for about a month now. We’ve been signed up for a few months and one member of our team (Caroline) has been talking about Pinterest since mid-2011. 

Our account has 600+ followers, we follow about 30 people and we have 6 Boards with 127 total Pins. Our team of shirt wearers has done our fair share of repinning, finding interesting things from around the web to Pin, but rarely have we created our on content and uploaded it as a Pin… Until today.

At 2am (Thurs morning) I was struck with a thought that the saying “Good things come to those who wait” is kind of a load of crap. It insinuates that people can be lazy, sit back and success will eventually come. Instead, the saying would be more appropriate if it read "Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up". It’s more truthful and I can 100% attest to my business following that mantra. So I hopped into Photoshop, grabbed a simple font I love (Berthold Akzidenz), stuck with black and white colors, added some minimal design elements and was ready to rock…

BUT! Adding a Pin at 2am probably only would have gotten me a few repins, so I decided to head to sleep and upload it in the morning. At 11am I remembered to post it, 15 minutes later it had 40+ repins and then when someone tweeted a Pin in my Twitter stream (about 3 hours later) I thought about checking in on it again. I was surprised to say the least that my little inspirational poster had received 400+ repins and when I went to the homepage (popular) of Pinterest there it was:

It’s very interesting to see how the Pinterest community works and what catches on. All my Pins about cars, food, fashion and everything else have been pretty much ignored. It doesn’t matter to me that they’ve been ignored, I use Pinterest because it’s awesome and I love the functionality. I just like to dig into how things work and learn from social networks (especially new ones).

I might try to make another inspirational poster from a late night thought and see if it catches on again. Either way, I’m just happy that all of the people repinning it have now pinned something with the word “ass” in it. Hah! 

Happy Pinning and feel free to leave a comment below with a link to your Pinterest account so I can check you out.

Jason Sadler Is Coming Vancouver!

I’m traveling to speak at a half-day social media event in Vancouver, Canada on February 21. I’ll be sharing the IWearYourShirt story, talking about monetizing social media, how I get paid to wear t-shirts for a living and much more. Thanks to CK Golf Solutions, Jordan Consulting and Amuse Consulting for putting on this fun event.

And also a shout out to the sponsors of the event: ING Direct, Aussie Pet Mobile Canada, Mark McD Creative, The Westin Grand Vancouver, Rapid Time Networks and Josh Rimer.

See you in Vancouver!