Tony Halsted

What To Expect At The Midwest Social Media Summit

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The Midwest Social Media Summit is slated for October 24, 2015 at the Muse Norris Center at NIACC in Mason City, Iowa. You may be wondering what this day is all about. Here’s a quick run down of what you can expect and what you can do to prepare for the day. It’s also important to note that lunch is included in your ticket price.

First of all, the Midwest Social Media Summit is being organized by Social Connections, LLC, NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Webster City Chamber of Commerce. We want folks in North Iowa to understand how to market their businesses when it comes to social media. Marketing today is much different than it was 15-20 years ago.

Just yesterday I read a quote that said that the seven most expensive words in business are- “We have always done it that way”. Can you relate? Like it, love it, hate it- Change is a part of our daily lives. When social media is used as part of your marketing program, your business can grow. Notice I said the word part. Social media cannot be all of your marketing, it’s a small slice, yet extremely important part of your marketing program.

If you think your community is to small for social media, think again.

Tony Halsted

Speaker Tony Halsted runs Hoover’s Hatchery in Rudd, Iowa (population 360) and his topic is: How we used social media to reinvigorate a 70-year old family business to multiple year-over-year sales growth greater than 30%. This is just one example of what you will learn while attending the Midwest Social Media Summit.

Attendees that want hands on help in setting up a Facebook Business Page, the North Iowa Bloggers will be on hand to assist. They will also offer tips on how you can be successful using your Facebook Business Page.

Want to learn more about Twitter and Instagram? We’ve also got that covered.  Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids  met with the sharks on Shark Tank during Season #1. Lori has used Twitter to grow and evolve with her business.

Lori Lite

Social media gives business owners the chance to have daily conversations with their customers. Come and learn how to begin the conversation and grow your business. We want to see you at NIACC on October 24th.

What to bring:

Business Cards

Laptop or tablet (especially if you would like some one on one assistance)

Notebook/writing utensil

A willingness to learn

There you have it! Be ready to have fun and learn. Social media is a fun and exciting topic and I look forward to meeting all of you on October 24th.

SM Breakfast February 2015

Tips For Making New Business Connections In Your Community

Making new business connections in your community should be one of the simplest things you can do. With social media and local coffee shops there is really no excuse for not making new business connections. The one thing that will stop you in your tracks, is you! Social Media Breakfast Club in North Iowa is one of the easiest ways to meet new people to do business with. We meet the fourth Wednesday of every month from 8:30-10:00 a.m. at First Citizens National Bank(Heritage Room) in Mason City, Iowa. If you don’t have a Social Media Breakfast Club in your community, the best advice I can give you is to start one ASAP!

SM Breakfast February 2015


Fact of the matter is, if you want to get better at what you do, you will have to put yourself out there. And I mean that in a nice way. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, attend functions that fit you and your business profile and most of all, talk to people. Starting those initial conversations is easier than ever. Follow a new to you connection on Twitter and let the conversation happen. From there, take the conversation off of Twitter and meet up at the local coffee shop. Seriously, Twitter is where I have personally made more business connections than any other social media platform. By connecting online and then taking the conversation offline, magical things begin to happen.

If you are a blogger, introduce yourself to a local business. Chances are they have no clue what a blogger does. Show them your blog and offer to showcase their products on your blog. Once this local business sees that you are serious and you do have reach, you will more than likely find yourself working with this local business in some way, shape or form.

If you are still with me, you have probably picked up on the fact that this is not rocket science. It involves reaching out to people within your community and making things happen. You are your only stumbling block and once you take that first step, the doors will open up in ways you never imagined. When you take the necessary steps to put yourself out there, your business will grow through local business connections.

So, tell me- Are you involved in your community? I’d love to hear how you are meeting new people and making those business connections.

Your Time Is Now – Make It Happen

If there is one thing we are promised it is the moment we are in, right now! I often see people asking when they should start a business or a blog. Really? Why waste all of your time and energy asking, when it would be much smarter to invest your time and money into the doing! I am an entrepreneur. I get that you want the time to be right, but in all honesty if you wait for the “right” time, you will be waiting your whole life.


Make It Happen

When you dig in with all you have, that’s when things begin to happen. Your blog will not magically appear when you spend all of your time asking others about a title, a hosting service or even when or how often you should post. I see this over and over again…seriously, just do it!

I have learned more from the mistakes I have made by doing. Sure, I have asked a lot of questions along the way, and will continue to ask. Most importantly I will continue the doing part. Once you stop doing, your business comes to a halt. Many people stop because they don’t understand that their customers are changing, yes, that does happen!

There is nothing wrong with evolving. Most successful business owners will tell you that in order to be successful you will need to continue to evolve. I have learned this myself, as I have dug in and made things happen. In 2009, I can tell you that the words North Iowa Social Media Breakfast Club never crossed my mind. In 2012, the words began to cross my mind and in 2013 I dug in and made it happen.

When you actually take the time to DO, that is when the magic happens! By doing you learn what works great and you also learn what does not work so great. The best things I have learned, as a small business owner, is that in order to grow, mistakes will come and I have learned from them. By doing, I have learned so much more than anyone else could ever show me. I could spend 24 hours a day asking questions of others on social media and get absolutely nowhere. Instead, I have chosen over and over again to dig in and make things happen!

So, if you are caught up in asking others what you need to do to get your business going, why not just do it? Life is to short to spend time doing nothing. Share your passion with others and live your life! Trust me, you will be grateful that you took the plunge to make it happen. The people you meet will continue to bless your life in ways you never imagined. Making a difference in the lives of others is a terrific feeling and I hope that each of you can experience the joy that I have been able to experience.

What are you waiting for, Christmas? Please don’t, get out and make it happen TODAY!

SM Breakfast February 2015

An Entrepreneur Is…….

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately in regards to who I am. I started blogging a little more than six years ago and out of my blogs I have grown this business. It has been a fun journey and I have learned so much about myself that I thought I would share it with all of you. I have never seen myself as a successful entrepreneur until this morning.

Entrepreneurs Think Differently

You are probably asking, how so? When I have an idea I literally take it and run with it. I do not sit around and analyze how it may or may not play out. I look at it this way, if I never try, I will never know how it would have been. And you know what? 98% of my most successful projects have happened this way. The other 2% happened out of a project not working out as I learned what I had to improve on to make it happen and BOOM- Success!

Entrepreneurs Do Not Know The Word Never

The word never is not a part of my vocabulary, as there is always a way to get things done.

Entrepreneurs Love The Word No

The word NO literally opens a new doorway of opportunity. When I hear the word No, I am instantly trying to figure out where and how I need to find the word YES! Believe me, I have heard the word No more times than I care to tell you.

Entrepreneurs Surround Themselves With Awesome People

I know the term “good people” sounds kind of vague, but in all seriousness find people that have integrity and have the same work ethics you do. Honesty and integrity will carry you more miles than you will ever imagine.

Social Media Breakfast Group With Jody

Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding life experiences I have ever had. Day in and day out I get to dream big, meet inspiring people and create my own destiny. How cool is that? I’d love to hear about your experience as an entrepreneur and why you love what you do.