The Powerful Snowball Effect… March 2016
Wow! I didn’t think that we would ever get out of our home and back to civilization after the huge three-foot snow that hit us last month. I mean, when do you ever see estimates of 24 to 36 inches and then find that the meterologist are ACTUALLY correct? It was crazy the amount of snow that got dumped on our region. But thank goodness we knew about this storm a week in advance so that everyone could prepare.
Did you see the stores? Literally, entire aisles were desolate and had been ravaged by people who thought they would never leave their home again. At worst, you might be stuck at your home for two, three, maybe four days. How much food could you possibly eat?
And then it happened. Starting late Friday night and going into Sunday, it just kept accumulating. It got to the point that it was not fun for the kids to go out in because they had a hard time walking. We were able to play a little on Saturday and Sunday, but those days were mostly for digging out and trying to stay ahead of the snow. (That didn’t happen) Thank goodness it was a light snow, so there was very little weight on the trees and power lines and not many people lost power.
So, it was basically 48 hours of being stuck in the house. There is only so much reorganzing of the closets, so many inside games you can play, so much soup to make until you just want to get out.
Come Monday, we were ready to play. The sledding was still good and we were able to build a snowman and a huge fort. This fort was six-foot by six-foot square with four-foot-tall walls. It was a pretty impressive structure that the boyz and I were able to build. There are a couple of concepts thatI observed from that day that I want to share with you.
The first is the “Snowball Effect.”
When we started making the fort, we first tried to just pile up the snow between two sleds. We used “forms,” if you will, for the walls. Anthony would hold the sleds about eight inches apart, and Alex and I would fill the gap between the sleds with snow and then as it was filled, we would pack the snow. This wasn’t a bad strategy and worked in the beginning, but once we started to really fill in the gap, it became too much for Anthony to hold and maintain constant pressure.
Then we had an idea to build the walls with “blocks,” or snowballs. We would start with large snowballs as the foundation and then make them smaller and fill in the gaps as the walls increased in size.
Alex was the one who was in charge of making the snowballs that were the foundation for our Snow Fort. Anthony and I put the pieces in place and molded the fort, but Alex was the one rolling the snowballs. What I noticed was that it would take some time to actually start the ball. You first pat a snowball—you have to make it a solid core because if it’s not solid, you can’t build on the initial snowball. And then when you actually start rolling the ball, it is a slow start to gain momentum. I would say that 80% of the effort is in the initial phase of building the snowball. Once you get to a certain point, the ball just rolls easier and picks up more and more snow and grows upon itself.
It is hard to get the snowball packed and started. If you don’t properly pack the snowball in the beginning, it will break as you try to grow the snowball. However, if you take the time to properly pack that snowball and start with a good base, then you can grow the snowball in size, and as the growth happens, the snowball actually becomes much easier to grow and basically just builds upon itself.
My takeaway, and I have a point here.
This Snowball Effect occurs in business, too, as you can see from the chart. These are the downloads for Frederick Advice Givers. If you haven’t listened to any of the episodes for Frederick Advice Givers, you can search us on iTunes, Stitcher, or go directly to www.FrederickAdviceGivers.com.
On the Podcast, I interview local business owners and entrepreneurs to help get their “Story” out about their businesses. We believe that once you can connect with your clients and potential clients on a deeper level and they find out who you really are and hear your personal story, they will have a connection with you and your business. Once this connection is made, clients are more likely to do business with you. But not only that, they also now have a “Story” to share when referring you out to others. “Oh yeah, you have to use Mary. She grew up in New Market, has three kids, and before becoming a therapist, she worked at Starbucks, just like you used to.” Doesn’t that sound better than, “I think Mary is a therapist and her office is on TJ Drive”? You see, most businesses are built on word-of-mouth and referrals. If people know your “Story,” they can share it when referring you to others. That is the beauty of Frederick Advice Givers. We give business owners and entrepreneurs a platform to share their “Story.”
The story and the connection you can make with your clients is just like packing the snowball. If you can convey your story properly, that is like packing the ultimate snowball. We’re still building the core, the foundation of the Podcast. We’ve been at this for about nine or ten months, and you can see that we’re starting to gain momentum. The ball is just now starting to get bigger. If we remain consistent in producing content and episodes (i.e. keep pushing the snowball forward), we will get to a point where the downloads and listen numbers just grow and become bigger and bigger, making more of an impact for businesses and entrepreneurs. And the beauty of the Podcast is that we might get 15 new listeners this week, and they might first hear episode 028, Erin Pelicano. But they can then go back and listen to the 27 prior episodes, thus providing future benefit for interviewees.
But, it’s not just providing Content, it is Consistent Compelling Content.
Just this morning, I went to iTunes and found that we have a Five-Star Rating on iTunes. Granted, we only have eight reviews, but they are all positive. I imagine that in a year, if we keep producing compelling content, the reviews will increase.
iTunes is where you can increase your rankings, and the higher you are ranked and the more reviews that you receive, the more iTunes promotes you.
Therefore, you can reach more people and I can help my interviewees share their stories. This is the reason I do what I do—to promote fellow business owners and entrepreneurs.
I’ve found that in business and in life, the Snowball Effect can have amazing results if you stick to what you’re passionate about. Because as you get better at what you are doing, it becomes easier, you become more proficient, and then others take note. There is this MAGIC attraction that makes others gravitate toward your passion.
I know the power of the Snowball Effect firsthand with my real estate business and my newsletter, “The Eric Verdi Letter.” A little over three years ago, I started writing the copy to the newsletter myself, telling stories, both good and bad, and giving real life scenarios through a section I call “Stories From the Street.” The first month that I wrote my own content, it took me 40 hours. Then the next month was a little less, and the third month even less. And by the end of the year, not only was I down to about 15 hours a month, but my writing and my style of writing became much more effective.
Now, three years later, I can write a newsletter in three hours, and the articles are impactful to my subscribers.
I regularly get texts and emails saying that they were entertained and learned something. Now, imagine if I didn’t stick to the process of writing. Think I would have gotten better and more efficient? NO!
The impact is felt on my real estate business—having been in real estate for 13 years now, my “snowball” is bigger than it was ten years ago, four years ago, two years ago. I’m having a greater impact on clients, helping more people buy and achieve greater profits when selling. The business has gotten to a point where people refer others to me, and the referral chains have gotten longer. I’m currently working with a couple, Phil and Tiff, who are selling and purchasing. Phil and Tiff were referred to me from Heather and Matt, who were referred to me from Amy and Carl, who were referred from Mark and Sherry, who were referred from Jerry and Steph. Jerry and Steph are good friends, but were also some of my first clients. This is a perfect example of the Snowball Effect in business. My experience with Jerry and Steph was like packing that snowball tightly. If I would not have properly packed that snowball initially, then I would not have been able to help four other families. Plus, there are other branches from each clientwho has referred others to me.
This is the same effect we are striving for on Frederick Advice Givers, and it is beginning to happen. For the first month—the first four episodes—I was scared to death. I was HORRIBLE. The interviewees carried me! I thank Sloper, Annie, Haggerty, and Katrina for those first four.
Now, it’s almost a year later. Is the Podcast a better quality? Yes, I would like to think it is and I believe from the downloads and listens that it truly is.
We are reaching a larger audience and getting as many listens each week as we got in a month when we initially started. This, in turn, has a greater impact for the interviewees, which is the purpose. Am I a great interviewer like John Lee Dumas or Pat Flynn? HECK NO. They have thousands of interviews and are real pros…but I’m progressing and keeping the snowball moving forward.
Imagine in two more years…
The final example is of Alex. He recently learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. It took months of trying and weeks of my running behind him and holding on as he tried to learn balance. Then one day, IT HAPPENED. He learned. He packed that little snowball tightly and started rolling, and he kept rolling. Then within days, he was trying to do jumps and wheelies. That snowball formed quickly…
My takeaway: If you FAIL at first and it seems hard, THAT IS GOOD!!! It means that it will be worth it in the long run, as long as your passion is there. Because there is nothing as great as gaining that momentum and having the snowball build upon itself!