Business

Episode 47: Melissa Ergo Captures the Light

Melissa Ergo is a wedding photographer based in Santa Cruz, California. Wedding photography is a competitive business – there’s a relatively low bar to entry so it’s a crowded field. So how does someone stand out, make a living, and actually be successful in a field that accepts all comers? Our guest Melissa Ergo shares her story and dishes on how she’s been able to be herself, while being a distinctive and successful professional photographer.

We talk about her childhood, her education, and how she got started in the photography business. We go over the tools she uses to capture the light through the glass of her lenses. Perhaps most importantly, we talk about what drives her to keep working so hard to deliver uncanny photographs for her clients on what is often the most memorable day of their lives.

See also: Melissa Ergo Photography web site, Melissa Ergo’s Instagram Page

Episode 38: Jennifer Mount on Coaching Leadership and Professional Development

Jennifer Mount is a native of Connecticut, who says she manifested her current life in California while living on the East Coast. In college, she majored in Education with a minor in Spanish, but in 2006 she ended up with a job as a Client Services Manager for Fidelity Investments in San Francisco, who ultimately paid for her MBA, which she got at the University of San Francisco. She calls her time at Fidelity a “tangent” in her career, because coaching and helping others succeed has always been her passion.

In 2010, Fidelity went through a re-organization and offered to move her to Texas, or give her “the package.” She had no interest in moving to Texas, but it did allow her to focus on her passion, which is teaching and Leadership. At this time she decided she’d change her to career to become a professional development and leadership coach facilitator.

Today, Jennifer is a part time coach as well as an instructor and facilitator with Cabrillo College in Aptos. Local businesses in Santa Cruz will send their employees to Cabrillo College for professional development, and Cabrillo College will also send teaching staff into businesses to help them develop their employees as Supervisors and Leaders through a development of a custom curriculum for their business.

The best way to connect with Jennifer is via telephone 831-888-6927 but you can get her via email at jennifermountcoaching@gmail.com

Toward the end, she also shares the famous Secret in Napoleon Hill’s seminal book, Think and Grow Rich! So be sure and listen all the way to the last little bit.

Learn more about Professional Development at Cabrillo College.

Episode 37: David Feinman Makes Killer Video

David Feinman of Viral Ideas Marketing joined me for the 37th episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast, to discuss using video in your business. I do a lot more video than most Realtors, and I do believe in the power of video to win business. But I know that I’m not doing anywhere near as good a job as I could be doing, which is why I was so interested to talk with David Feinman about using video in my business.

I think that there are many San Francisco and Monterey Bay business owners who likewise are interested in using video – or who currently do use video, but their results are not all that they could be. For these folks, listening to our discussion will be very eye-opening. We discuss a wide range of topics such as what kind of organizations can benefit most from using video, the biggest misunderstandings people have around the use of video, successful video strategies, and – crucially – how to get people to actually watch your video.

David’s Companies:

Flixation.co

ViralIdeasMarketing.com

Episode 36: Jeanne Radsick on Service, Leadership, and Real Estate

On the day that I was formally installed as the 2019 President of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS I had the distinct privilege of sitting down for a chat with Jeanne Radsick. Jeanne is currently the president-Elect of the California Association of REALTORS (CAR) for 2019 and will become president of the trade association in 2020.

CAR is a huge and very influential organization, with over 200,000 members. The association is very influential in the state of California but also nationally as well. Real estate comprises about 7% of U.S. GDP so it is a hugely important sector of the economy. Real estate matters, and so the individuals who helm our nation’s real estate associations are important to folks in the Bay Area, as well as coast to coast.

Anyone who listens to this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast will certainly be reassured that the association is in capable, caring hands. What comes through is Jeanne’s commitment to her family, her clients, colleagues, and to the industry as a whole. We talk about a wide range of topics, with a particular focus on leadership and service in and to local Realtor Associations, the California Association, and the National Association. We also talk about the value that Realtors bring to the transaction, new business models for real estate sales, and the California housing crisis.

If you’re a REALTOR or interested in the real estate business, this is an episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast you won’t want to miss!

Episode 34: Soquel Creek Water District Talks Pure Water Soquel

In late December I had the pleasure of sitting down with Melanie Mow Schumacher and Ron Duncan of the Soquel Creek Water District (SCWD). Melanie is their Special Projects Communication Manager and Ron is the general manager. I was there to discuss Pure Water Soquel, which is a project that aims to recycle water for Soquel Creek Water District customers.

I’ve been hearing about this project for a couple of years now, but the board of directors of the Soquel Creek Water District recently voted to approve the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) for the project and it is now officially moving forward. I had a lot of questions about the project, and what it means for customers of SCWD.

I learned a lot during our conversation. I knew that the aquifers that SCWD draws on are critically overdrafted, but I didn’t know that it is one of only 20-ish groundwater basins out of 500 in the state of California that are designated as such by the State. Being in a state of overdraft is a big problem hereabouts, because it means that salt water is intruding into our fresh water supply, which threatens to make it undrinkable, and that would be very bad business indeed.

The Pure Water Soquel project aims to tackle this overdraft by adding about 30% of the daily consumption of the aquifer back through recycling water. The plan calls for recycled water from the city of Santa Cruz Regional Wastewater Treatmenet Facility to be purified and pumped back down into the aquifer and thus back into the supply. This should push out the seawater and help to make the aquifer sustainable again – which it hasn’t been, for 50 years or more.

It was a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion, and I hope you get as much out of it as did I.

Pure Water Soquel – Project Information Page

Soquel Creek Water District Board Meeting – December 4, 2018 – on YouTube

Seb Frey drinks Recycled Water – on SebFrey.TV

Jack Black Drinks from the Porcelain Springs

Episode 33: Eugene Trak talks White Hat SEO & PPC

If you’re in business today, it almost goes without saying that you need a good strategy for making sure that your business is visible on the Internet. In order to do that, you’ll need to become familiar with at least the basics of SEO & PPC – or, Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click Advertising. On this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast, we welcome Eugene Trak, who runs a local company called Webstrim (pronounced web-stream) who provides SEO & PPC consulting services for Bay Area and Central Coast clients large and small.

You may not know anything about SEO & PPC, and it could be that you don’t want to know anything about it, either…but if you’re in business, and you’re looking to get more business via any Internet presence, then at least understanding how SEO and PPC work on a fundamental level is critically important to you. If you don’t understand how these work, you either stand to lose a lot of money in wasted revenue generating opportunity, or you end up paying someone to provide SEO & PPC consultation services that are both expensive and ineffective.

One of the key take-aways that I had from listening to Eugene is that SEO and Pay Per Click really go hand in hand. Good SEO hygiene lends itself to better results with Pay Per Click advertising, and determining how and where to run a PPC campaign will help inform you about what kind of content you want to optimize for search engines. Eugene takes a very holistic approach to improving your web site’s content and structure so that it will continue to pay dividends long after you’ve finished building the site out.

If you’re looking to improve your web presence, or build a new web site from scratch, you really owe it to yourself to listen to this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast. What you learn could make a huge difference in the success of your online endeavors.

Eugene Trak – Webstrim Website, LinkedIn Profile

Eugene as an Extra on
the Set of the Hunt for Red October – Paramount Studios, Spring 1989

Episode 31: Alicia Heber with the One-Stop-Shop for Vacation Rental Management

Alicia Heber works with Vacasa.com, and their mission statement is succinct:  “Vacation Rentals Made Easy.”  If you know anything about vacation rental management, you understand that there’s not much that’s truly easy about it.  Which is what makes Vacasa such an interesting business.  Their mission is to make it easy to own and operate a vacation rental.  Vacasa takes all the grunt work out of the business, so that when you own a vacation rental, you’ll be able to spend a whole lot more time enjoying it versus worrying about keeping the vacation rental part of the equation humming along.

Vacasa also has a very interesting value proposition:  they say they’ll make you more money using them versus managing the property on your own, or having it managed by any other vacation rental management company.  Actually, they guarantee it, with money back to you from their management fee if they are not able to deliver more net proceeds to the vacation rental owner.

How do they do that?  I gather from my conversation with Alicia that they use a proprietary algorithm to make sure that all the rentals they manage are priced just exactly right to keep them occupied at the highest dollar possible.  And that’s the key – instead of guessing how much you should be charging on any given day, Vacasa employs a finely tuned algorithm to dynamically update the rental fee, across all the different platforms they list the rental on – AirBNB, VRBO, FlipKey, etc.  And not only do they keep the property occupied and money flowing to you, they also take care of all the little details that make running a vacation rental so time consuming.

If you own a vacation rental, or if you’re thinking about buying one, you’ll definitely want to hear what Alicia Heber of Vacasa has to say!

Episode 30: Rex Northen is Saving the World with Cleantech

Rex Northen is saving the world with cleantech. If you were to ask him if that’s true or not, I’m sure he’d demur and say no, or that it’s an exaggeration.  If you ask me, it certainly isn’t an exaggeration, although of course, he isn’t doing it single-handedly.  Rex is only one of, I’m sure, hundreds of thousands of people working to save our planet – but he’s going about it in ways that few people are thinking about. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of his work, because climate change is an existential threat to our very viability as a species. Rather than just fret, protest, and be afraid, Rex is out there working to find solutions to the Earth’s rapidly warming climate.

And he’s doing so in a very practical, very Silicon Valley way: working to create commercially viable clean technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and other toxic waste products at such scale that they will positively and measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s a very exciting prospect indeed, as it may mean that our children and grandchildren might actually have a bright future on this big blue marble.

I realize that there are a lot of altruistic people out there who will take exception to the idea that we can save the Earth through commercially viable means. However, if you think about it, the greatest likelihood of making the kinds of dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is through the creation of green, clean technologies that will compete cost effectively in the market against all the “dirty” technologies of old.

Don’t think so? Then this episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast is definitely for you. It’s also for you if you think you have an idea for a clean technology that could be commercially viable and you’re looking for a way to bring it to market and turn it from an idea into reality.

Contact Rex Northen via email at rex at merexa.com

Find Rex Northen on LinkedIn

Episode 24: Gerry Bulfin on Building a Successful e-Commerce Business

In this day and age, it seems that everyone wants to get into some kind of online business.  There is truly no end to what kind of sales can be transacted online, and with a global marketplace, the sky is literally the limit.  Seemingly, all one needs is access to the internet and a product to tell – but as Gerry Bulfin can tell you, there’s a lot more to building a successful e-commerce business than that.

Gerry Bulfin is the creator of a very successful online business, CleanWaterStore.com.  He began building a web site, and then dipping his toe into e-commerce, as far back as the year 2000 but did not launch the CleanWaterStore until 2005.  Since that time, his business has grown steadily and has become a remarkable success, selling millions of dollars of product to tens of thousands of customers.

How did he do it?  What strategies, tactics, techniques, and technologies has he used to become so successful in his niche?  Spoiler alert:  he’s tried it all and in this episode we discuss what has worked, and what doesn’t.  We talk about everything including organic search traffic, article marketing, Google PPC (Pay Per Click), social media, YouTube, Podcasting, and much more.  If you’ve ever had the idea of getting into e-commerce, this is an episode of the Bay to Bay Podcast that you won’t want to miss!

CleanWaterStore.com – web site

Clean Water Store – YouTube Channel

Clean Water Store – Facebook Page

Gerry Bulfin – LinkedIn Page

Episode 19: Victor Romero Sums Up the Mortgage Business

There are all kinds of reasons why you’d want to know what’s going on in the residential mortgage business, even if you don’t own a home or never plan on doing so.  One of those reasons is because you’d have a good reason to have a chat with Victor Romero, who is as warm, genuine, and driven a guy as you’d ever be lucky to meet.

In any kind of business, there’s all kinds of shenanigans going on.  The U.S. residential mortgage business, in fact, is kind of notorious for shady dealings – so much so in fact that it brought the global economy down to its knees back in 2007/2008.  And it’s just at this time in history that Victor Romero decided it would be a good idea to get into the home loan business, right at the exact moment when conditions in the industry and the economy in general were as bleak as pretty much anyone could recall in living memory.

It turns out though that the time was exactly right for a return to doing business with integrity.  In hindsight, it was the perfect environment for Victor to start his career as a mortgage professional.  His approach to life, and to his business, is one of care, honesty, diligence, and perseverance – and ten years later, it’s really paid off for him.  It’s a classic story of doing well by doing good, set in modern times and in terms that most anyone can relate to.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to be successful in a business where everyone else is closing up shop, and how to prosper through it to the other side, this is an episode you’ll want to hear.  It’s a long one, about an hour and a half, because we had such a great time talking that time got away from us.  But I bet you’ll be drawn in from the first few minutes as Victor tells his story.  I’m sure you’ll love hearing it as much as I did!

VictorDRomero.com – Victor’s Web Site