mDimitry: Branding Yourself by Doing

I recently spent some time on the phone with my friend Alex from That One Adventure Couple.  We spent about 40 minutes talking about branding and marketing. The focus of our conversation came down to this next idea. You need to develop your brand by doing the things for which you want to be known.

mDimitry’s Branding Strategy in 5 steps.

1. Know Thyself:

The first step in trying to get yourself to be known is to know yourself. You can’t expect others to recognize you if you don’t know what your goals and dreams are in life. So some soul searching is a must. What is it you are trying to do?

First of all, it’s ok if you aren’t sure exactly what you are about- as long as you are doing some deep searching and exploration. I recently talked about the direction I want to go with my blog (see mDimitry: Yourself as a Business.) A lot of that is me saying I’m planning on learning by shifting my view of myself from a person to business.

Therefore, I’ve pulled examples from the past where I was successful and trying to bring those lessons to my world today.  It’s fumbling- or also known as experimenting with an eye on the past.

My facebook page Dimitry Sells Cars is a bit better. The title says a lot. The main job I have is selling cars- therefore it’s a page for me being a car salesman. Trying to stick to a pretty narrow set of things I put out keeps me from getting distracted and on point. I talk about personal accomplishments as a car salesman. Recently I started doing car walk around videos. I show happy customer photos. It’s a pretty 2-dimensional page- and seem to be working.

In conclusion- You have to try and figure yourself out. On that note, to know yourself is to watch yourself grow. I recommend having a blog, or even a private journal, to keep track of who you are. As you write, learn, you’ll better understand what it is to be your brand.

2. Know your Audience:

Since you’ve figured yourself out (I’m kidding, you’ll never actually have yourself figured totally out, step one is an ongoing process)- you need to understand your target audience.

This is pretty tough if you haven’t figured out who you are- but it is still doable. I’ve managed to do two things that have helped me understand a bit better what is my audience. First- I have been attentive to my analytics programs. People who look at your stuff are your audience. This works only if you are generating traffic. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other things along those lines have been very helpful. Seeing the numbers roll in from one thing vs another is one way can tell you a lot.

Seeing the numbers roll in from one thing vs. another is one way can give you a lot of information. Interests, what they engage with, and where they spend their time. How they move through your site. It’s pretty impressive.

The second one is to pursue a particular group of people. For example, on my Dimitry Sells Cars page, my major target audience are former clients of mine. It doesn’t matter if they don’t follow me- I still want to cater to them. I try and post their pictures. I try to find their accomplishments and celebrate them. If they run a business- I try to promote them. The goal of the page is client retention- so I try to do stuff geared at them.

To wrap it up- you have people looking at your stuff, and then you have the people you want to look at it. Try and figure out a way to make both those groups happy.

3. Put the Two Together

To wrap it all up, you have to figure out a way to position yourself in a way that fulfills the needs of your people. To do the positioning- you have to know who you are and what you have on offer. You have to know how that relates to your audience. And then you have to figure out how to do it.

For example- I know that one of the reasons my clients at Dick Hannah came to our dealership is because we have a “Belive in Nice” policy.  We’re supposed to treat everyone like they are a much-loved family member.  Therefore I try and be nice. Being nice happens to also one of those things I believe in personally as well. In the past, I’ve been known to volunteer at various organizations. One of my favorite organizations is Share Vancouver. 

Consequently- when they were looking to promote the belief in nice policy-I had the opportunity to participate. Check it out:

I’ve taken this- and posted it on Dimitry Sells Cars page, and now I’ve talked about it here. I’ve used it for my Instagram, and LinkedIn as well. It’s all over the place.

So- what do you guys think? Probably, you have your thoughts? Any extra advice you’d give my readers? How has this helped you?

mDimitry: Branding Like a Boss

Have you ever given someone some advice- but really meant it to be pointed at yourself. I recently talked to one of my friends, Michael Lindberg, at the rock climbing gym about branding- and told him to “Just do it” in reference to putting himself out there more often. He did that next day. Check out his Instagram.

If you follow me Dimitry Sells Cars you’ll see that I have been growing. I’ve been posting a ton, but this month I pulled back a bit of my budget. I have been trying to do things a little bit more organically. More posts- adding money only if they appear to be getting traction. I did also have a long-term ad campaign with the walk around videos that Dick Hannah Volkswagen did for 4 VW models. If you haven’t- watch these videos below: 2017 VW Golf Alltrack with Dimitry Makhanov

2017 Volkswagen Tiguan with Dimitry Makhanov

2017 Volkswagen Passat with Dimitry Makhanov 

2017 Volkswagen Jetta with Dimitry Makhanov

I’ve had some mixed results. Overall my page is growing. I think it’s easy to really get super excited about how much. I mean- take a look at all the green numbers!

Stats for Dimitry Sells Cars from Mar 31, 2017 – Apr 27, 2017.

But I’m not satisfied. The numbers look great- but I’ve only had had 2 concrete appointments from this effort this month. 5 Prospects- but only two people showed up. Who knows how many other people see this effort and are thinking to themselves – maybe soon I’ll need a car and I’ll reach out to this guy. I know I need to build better sales funnels- In fact, I’ve worked a little bit with Steven Howsley of Begin a Brand.  He’s been helping me develop audience groups for my videos.

So- what’s the point of all this struggle. Why the Title- Branding like a Boss. How does this help me as a reader? I see you are working on… something? The idea behind branding is to associate yourself with some task or product. I happen to sell cars. I want people to know that I sell cars- so that I can sell more of them. The goal is to build Brand Awareness, which then leads to… Leads. I turn those Leads into sales- which then turn into loyal repeat customers.

Building Brand Awareness to build Leads, Sales, and Loyalty

In this effort- what seems to be working for me.

  1. Consistency. I am posting on my facebook page 1-3 times a day.2

  2. Persistence. I don’t stop. It sounds like consistency- but it’s not. If something doesn’t work- it doesn’t mean you should stop doing it all together. Just try and learn what you need to from it.

  3. Humility. Don’t worry about what it will look like if you don’t get it right the first time- or someone gives you a negative response. You are learning- and have a long way to go. In fact- if you get a negative response- ask for advice for next time. Ask for help.

  4. Having fun. I am trying to gamify this whole process for myself. Yes- it is how I’m trying to grow my business, but it’s fun to try and out do yourself. I got 50 new followers in my last 28 days. The time before that I only got 16. That’s huge. Now I have to get 100 this time around? Setting

  5. Set goals. I got 50 new followers in my last 28 days. The time before that I only got 16. That’s huge. Now I have to get 100 this time around? Why not 150?

  6. Don’t forget the point- branding is to help you build leads- not make sales. Actually forgetting to do the sales part is something you can fall into. I have actual leads and existing business I can lose track of if I spend too much time playing around with this ‘branding campaign.’ Never lose track of your existing business.

  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People love helping people. I’ve been working a bit with Steven– If you need help branding- try him. Or ask me. I have lots of cool connections.

  8. Build out new stuff- especially if you found it worked out in the past in other endeavors. I’m about to start a new Instagram and follow my old guide on How to Build an Instagram Following. On that note- Please Follow my new Instagram.

 

mDimitry: Bought a Kindle

I have a mentor that I run with on a regular basis who manages to do a ton of reading. I’ve been wanting to really get started. When I asked him how he does it- he suggested I grab a Kindle and read before bedtime. It helps clear the mind of the day- and it also leaves you sleepy. It’s actually one of the best purchases I’ve made in some time.

I think as part of this blog- I’m going to start doing book recommendations on books that I’ve read as they pertain to business and my own personal growth. Some of them have been quite profound in the way that I look at things- and how I operate.

There is a group of Biographies that really have made me really look at who I am and my objective in life. I’ll list a few in the order I read them.  Also- I’m going to try and actually write more on books as I’m reading them- instead of months after the fact.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is one of my favorite sociopathic nutjobs. No notion of anything other than his vision. I really recommend grabbing this book if you want to get fired up about being obsessive about design. I also encourage you to think about the result of his drive.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

This is probably one of my favorite people to watch in the news- Elon Musk is a machine. This book follows him. I loved it- it really is inspirational and makes you think about what your passions mean for the world around you.

If Elon keeps up with his vision- he’ll have really made a name for himself and the world. I recommend this book for anyone really trying to find their way. Elon dreamed big- and pushes hard. What do you want to do- and are you willing to go for it?

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Warren Buffet is probably one of my greatest heroes. I have heard his named mentioned over the years- but he is kind of boring. That is- he was until I read this book. The title comes from the idea that a little investment over time grows.

Warren Buffet takes his time making money by making sound decisions. He uses the principles laid out by HIS hero Benjamin Graham in the book The Intelligent Investor. You get to watch as his entrepreneurial spirit combined with his eye on the prize has made in one of the richest men in the world. I highly recommend this book!

Ok- that’s it for now. If you want any of these book- press on the pictures- and it will get you to the amazon page for it where you an buy it! 😀 Enjoy!

mDimitry: Yourself as a Business.

Years ago- I read something about Bill Gates. It is said he was making so much money that it wasn’t worth the effort for him to bend over and pick up a $100 bill off the ground should he accidentally drop one. This situation is defined by the concept of opportunity cost, the thought that doing one thing limits the opportunity to do another. The notion of opportunity costs haunts me to this day.

What does it cost to do what I am doing at the moment? I’m sitting down at a Starbucks working on my blog. Does an activity benefit me or hurt me? Could I be doing something else? Should I be doing something else- or if I continue- will I somehow receive my big break here? What would a big break look like, and how would I know it? What about doing my job selling cars? Should I work on my day off- or should I blog- or should I take a nap. How do you make that sort of trade off?

Selling cars, I make money on commissions, yet most of my life my employment was hourly. I make more money now, but when it is slow- it is hard not think about how much money I would have had if I was working hourly. I still find it good to break down my income monthly and give myself a baseline income to judge what I take on to see if it is worth it or not.

So far so good. But for how long? And what’s next? Am I worth more- and how do I reach my potential. Every self-help book I’ve managed to power through has a similar refrain- find something you are passionate about and do that, hard. Follow your dreams.

But what are my passions, what are my dreams? How do I find them? Recently I read “You’re a Bad Ass” by Jen Sincero- who suggested I think back on when I was in my ‘element.’ Think about the time that you were obsessed with something and got good. Really good at something. Think about what that felt like- and what I was doing at the time. For me, two things stand out, and I could be slightly embarrassed about them- but I think the world is a bit more accepting. Both were video games I had played.

The first one was a game called Monarchy. Think Clash of Clans but text based. At first- this game was a bit dense, but one of my high school buddies was into it- and MMO’s weren’t much of a thing just yet so there was a bit of an appeal. I wanted to do all things online as my family just got its first computer and our dial-up connection was very slow. This game turned out to work perfectly with a slow dial-up connection.

It started innocently enough- log in- build and attack and log off. Then I got attacked- and realized people were playing on teams (guilds), and if you weren’t on a team, you were easy prey. I joined a guild- and that’s when things got interesting. Turned out- I was chatting with people all over the world, and many of them were very smart. Programmers, writers, businessmen from all over.

And they were all interested in winning. And since it was a numbers based game- you had to understand the way the numbers worked in the game. The guys reversed engineered the game- and had a pretty solid database. We’d look for patterns in the database- make plans- negotiate alliances and non-aggression pacts. We’d spy- we’d coerce- we’d sabotage alliances. I was spending 3-5 hours a day planning, writing, thinking, analyzing and negotiating the next move. This game taught me to write, think, strategize. I loved it. I ended up quitting when I realized I wouldn’t graduate high school.

The other game was Parallel Kingdom. A cell phone game that used Google maps and GPS to create an alternate- parallel- world that was full of monsters to kill and land to conquer. I downloaded it- and it didn’t work. I checked on it a few months later- and they had updated it, and it worked alright- but people had already taken over all the land around me.

I struggled at first getting around, finding a place to build, and then collecting resources. Met the locals, and one of them traded something with a stranger in front of me. I thought it was weird, and asked them about it. They told me to be careful of scammers. People who stole from other players. My friend told me what sort of ‘resources’ to collect and for how much to sell them. I gathered the resources- went on the game’s world chat and summoned a trader.

His name was CashMoney. I told me to drop the resources- he’d collect- and I would get the money. I wasn’t dumb. I thought that was crazy. He didn’t care. He told me he never went first since he was a legit and I was a ‘noob.’ This was a dilemma. I asked on the chat about him- and it seemed like it was safe to trade with him.

I made the trade- and then we talked. It turned out- CashMoney was incredibly wealthy in the game. I didn’t realize that wealth within the game was compared. He also told me he typically doesn’t bother convincing new players into trading with him. But since he’d never seen me- he’d give me a lesson and leniency. He explained a few things about trading- told me to keep my nose clean. After that- I was hooked.

I was the Bill Gates of that game. It got to the point where I was affecting the markets with decisions to buy- or sell specific things.

Both of these games capitalized on my desire to see patterns, watch trends, engage other people while keeping track of the score. There were clear metrics for winning in my mind. In Monarchy- it was all about getting our guild to win- and in Parallel Kingdom it was about getting more ‘gold.’

Now I look at what work I am doing. I am selling cars. I know I like games- I love figuring stuff out and making it work for me. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make this feel like one of the games I was playing.

I’ve been wracking my brains and come up with something. I want to gamify my efforts as I grow as a business person. Weird word- gamify- but I think it’s something to help me keep motivated as I try to expand my abilities.

The first thing I want to start with is this blog. I haven’t been working on it much- and traffic on it has died off a bit. I’ve been too busy to spend much time here. And I didn’t have a clear objective that would help me sell cars- or get better as a business person. I knew I wanted to do a blog… and have it help… but didn’t know how or to what end.

So- starting today- mDimitry.biz is the overall focus of my day today thought process (as it relates to making money.) I am going to think of myself- the business person- a consultant/independent contractor who is hired out from mDimitry.biz to various places- like Dick Hannah. I know it’s not official yet- but eventually, I might make it so. That means I’m working on an assignment for this blog as a car salesman and want to explore what a good one is- to report back to this blog. I’ll take on various projects that will hopefully help me.

For example, I have some experience with social media- and that’s one of the first projects I’m going to start to push. I have a Facebook page called “Dimitry Sells Cars.” I currently have 255 followers. I want to grow that number to… I don’t know… 5,000? Have regular engagement and work out a system that would allow me to get car deals when I invest time. Starting now- I’ll record how much time I look at the Facebook page- and keep track. I’ll attribute a dollar amount to the time spent- as well as actual money spent on Advertising through Facebook. I’ll work on making the whole exchange profitable.

That’s the second part- I want my projects to work together- but all the knowledge I pick up will be funneled back here and dissected and explored. Hopefully you- as the reader- find that interesting and will read up here. Maybe comment.

The final part- I want to review different books/blogs/and resources through which I am working. I will interview others who I see as real business people and report on those interviews. Hopefully, this will provide bigger better ideas for how to more forward with my business.

All in all- I really look forward to working on this little project more. Stay tuned- I’m going to try to post at least once a week- maybe twice. So subscribe.

A check in from Dimitry at Volkswagen

I’ve been working in the auto industry for eight months now, and it has been an exciting opportunity. And by exciting, I mean my first day at the Dick Hannah Volkswagen dealership was the day they announced the Diesel Gate Emissions Scandal.

I very much remember those first two weeks. Lot’s people scared, confused, and angry. We had just started running a little promo to get people into test drive vehicles- and none of the employees want to talk to anyone. They were hiding in the sales office, avoiding awkward conversations.

I being green and new loved the opportunity to talk to everyone I possibly could. It was fun, in a strange and weird way, it was something like popping huge pimples. Now I see things turning around. Next month there will be a resolution by Volkswagen with the EPA on the whole matter- and I’ve heard some pretty hopeful news.

Lot’s of people have asked me- why Volkswagen. Why not leave? Why not go somewhere they have tons of foot traffic- internet leads they don’t know how to handle- no scandal that hangs over them like a dark cloud?

It comes back to my dad. We had a few Volkswagens over the years, but the one that stands out was a Golf. My dad’s pride and joy. I think it was a mid-nineties gas model. He was working in life insurance and drove that thing into the ground. 360k miles on the little thing, driving back and forth between Portland, Seattle, and Spokane. That was incredible. It was the manual on which I learned to drive stick. It was so powerful, versatile, and handled better than anything I’d driven by that point.

When I chose Volkswagen as a company- I liked the vibe of the commercials, I liked the product, and I liked the direction they were going and where they had been. I don’t know what the hell happened with the TDI debacle, but I do know that it’s not endemic of the company ethos.

It will be interesting to see how they will pull through. I’ve bought into it, and I think I’ll continue to be. In fact- I just bought the 2016 Passat SE. The people I’ve met who own them have been incredibly happy. The new 2016 has some pretty neat new features, like Autonomous Breaking and Adaptive Cruise Control. The new body styling is great, and the backup camera is a must. The SE comes equipped with the Discover Media computer. The computer is a touch screen that incorporates Apple’s Car Play and Android Auto/Mirror Link. I love the silly thing. I got the white one with the lighter Cornsilk Leatherette- and soon I’ll be tinting the windows.

I’m curious, what do you guys think? Am I crazy? Or is this long game I’m playing the right way to go? How is this going to affect me as a business?

Also, hit me up if you want to take my car out for a spin! I’d love to show it off! 😛 Email Me! 

Tools I use for Blogging

I had an English teacher turn me onto writing at a relatively early age. I believe I was 13 years old; I had an English teacher, Mr. Carter. I remember him standing on his desk quoting Walt Whitman. His slightly crazy eyes were looking over our class as he, with his best orators voice, yelled, “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” It was the start of the year, and I remember him getting me so pumped on these old writers.

He had a creative writing assignment where we were to write a short story. We talked about writing novels. We were asked to keep a journal. A journal is this weird thing that happens with a notebook; you know like blank paper bound together, within which one writes. If you date it, you have a pretty good record of your life. Writing helps keep track of your thoughts and progressions in life.

At some point I realized my penmanship was atrocious, and if I typed out my entries I could read them again later.  I began keeping it on online platforms. Then it began to be popular to have blogs. I think my first real blog was on Xanga. I tried MySpace and Facebook’s solutions as well. I went blogger, and now I’m on WordPress.

There are some tools that I use to do my blogging.

  1. Site Location/Design:

I have purchased a bunch of different domains on various websites. I mostly use GoDaddy. I have added HostGator to this for my web hosting. They make it easy to setup a WordPress site from the control panel.

I currently favor using WordPress for an actual framework for the site. It seems to make it pretty easy to integrate it with a few other programs.

  1. Monitoring:

Once you get the site up and going, I recommend you set up Google Analytics. Also, make sure you head over to Google Webmaster Tools and Adsense.

Google Analytics lets you monitor how your site is doing, where you are getting your traffic, and how much time people spend looking at your site.

Google Webmaster Tools give you a pretty good understanding how you are doing on Google rankings, as well as if there are major problems with your website.

Adsense allows you to make money on your blog. Having Adsense ads on your site is a double-edged sword. They clutter your site,  but they might have the potential to make your money. If you have lots of traffic, they could help pay for your efforts, but they could also frustrate your viewers.

  1. Content:

I don’t use anything but my brain to develop content. I use my personal experiences to find things about which to write. I do have problems editing my work. Making sure your content is relevant is important. But also making sure it’s legible is pretty significant as well. I’ve been using Grammarly since an embarrassing mistake I made while working for PICR. I thought I had proofread my writing, and I also showed someone else as well. I know that Grammarly would have fixed a bunch of what was wrong with the writing as well.

  1. Promotion:

I like it when I get feedback on my work. The idea that someone will read my work makes me strive to make it worth reading. I could write an awesome guide to buying a car, or growth hacking your Instagram, but what’s the point if no one reads it?

I’ve been getting lots of success using Social Media. Facebook, in particular, has a way of allowing things to go viral. I hear you can have the same thing happen with Twitter, still trying to figure that out. Instagram and LinkedIn have been pretty good to me as well.

SEO is an important part of traffic. It relies on good content. But there is also a little know thought about the internet; it rewards interest. Finding out what words looked for online, you can build your blog around those topics.

The final thing is making sure you get people to link to your website. If you get people to share your articles on their websites, it helps with how search engines few your site! So- please link back to this! 😀

(I plan on working on this as I change things up, or learn more.)