I saved my son’s life

We decided to take our three kids to the snow. It turned out to be a quick snow day as a blizzard came in and froze our faces. Liam’s last sled run almost took him off a 15-foot drop. I forget how fast sleds go with little kids on them. Liam flew right by me and I took off running as I quickly realized his sled was not stopping anytime soon. If it was not for a last second grab of the sled, he would have slid right over the edge onto some rocks about 15 feet below. He was not as shaken up as I was.

Besides a near emergency, we had fun. Shortly after the last sled run, our kids were crying from the cold and we were ready to go. We spent 1.5 hours driving each way and about 30 minutes at the show. Such as it is with little ones. My knee took a beating during that slide to grab my son. My body does not bend that far these days.

Make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel for more family adventure videos.

Office Workout of the Day – OWOD

Since I was a teen I have always cared about fitness. Over the years, my level of motivation has changed as I have aged and entered into new life chapters. After I turned thirty, I started to realize that I need to stay more on top of how I take care of my body. Over the last five years, I have battled with acid reflux and an underactive thyroid. Due to general business and just being tired, I have let myself slack on staying fit. My eating habits have been less than desirable as well. I have not put on much additional weight over the last several years, but I have not improved in any way either.

A couple of weeks ago, I started going to bed earlier so I could get up and go to the gym before my family gets up for the day. This was and still is a struggle, but I have been able to get a good workout in at least 5 days each week for the last two weeks. Over two years ago, I purchased a few weights for my office and occasionally would work out from my office. I never worked out very hard at my office because I did not want to get sweaty or be uncomfortable. I don’t have a shower here. Today, I decided to challenge myself to do a simple workout every hour at my office to get me up out of my chair or from standing in place. I have a desk I can stand at and spend about half of my day standing at my desk versus sitting. To keep accountable and to challenge myself, I started blogging about my process at http://owod.fit. The idea is that I will do a workout-of-the-day at my office that is something anybody could do with limited or no equipment. You can follow along with me at the new website.

I hesitated using the acronym WOD, which has become synonymous with the Crossfit movement. I think Crossfit is a good thing, however, I also think that it has opened the floodgates to improper form and potential joint/muscle damage by those who do not take the time to learn proper form. This is not the case for all Crossfitters, but what I see on Instagram and Facebook is a good indicator that Chiropractors and Orthopedic Surgeons have a bright future.

I am not following Crossfit, nor do I plan to. I am simply using the acronym WOD, which stands for Workout-of-the-day, which was around far before Crossfit was a thing.

Goblet Squat - OWOD

Office Workout of the Day: http://owod.fit

How to Backup Your Facebook Photos Easy

A few weeks ago I decided to delete my Facebook profile. You can read about that here. What had kept me from deleting it even earlier was wanting to have a full backup of my photos on Facebook. I do a pretty good job of keeping photos backed up when I take them, but I am sure there are photos I uploaded directly to Facebook that were not backed up. I also would have liked to have a backup of all of the photos I was tagged in by others.

ODrive allows you to connect to Facebook from your computer and backup all of your photos quickly and easily. It’s so easy and fast, that I decided to put together a video showcasing the process for those of you who want to make sure you have a backup of your Facebook photos. Whether you want to move away from Facebook or just want to make sure the photos you have shared are backed up, ODrive makes it easy to do that.

Though ODrive allows you to download all of your photos from Facebook, they are not as high-resolution as they were when you uploaded them. They are however much higher resolution than if you used Facebook’s archive option which allows you to save a copy of your Facebook data. The photos they offer are small and almost unusable.

Download ODrive directly from their website: http://odrive.com

I’m taking my life back from Facebook

I made a decision that I should have made a few years ago. I deleted my Facebook profile. I have wanted to do this many times before but could never pull the trigger. I logged out of Facebook a couple of times for an extended period, but I always ended up back there. You can read about that here.

Let me start by saying that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Facebook. The fact that there is a service that lets us share our lives and stay connected easier is a pretty amazing thing. The problem is not with Facebook, it’s with much of the content within Facebook.

I can’t recall how long ago it was, but I realized that Facebook had started to become a place where people go to complain about stuff. Just about every post in my newsfeed was a complaint. I would go on Facebook to see what my friends were up to and I would end up depressed by the end of it. Either Facebook was only deciding to show me negative posts or those are the only posts that stuck out to me. Facebook has allowed people to complain about their lives rather than taking responsibility. It’s easy to post to Facebook in an attempt to get sympathy from our friends. It’s actually kind of sad and it doesn’t help anybody.

There has been a change in society during the past 5-6 years. People used to be able to share their opinion without being ran over for it. We used to be able to accept the fact that people had an opinion other than our own. That has changed. We can still share our opinion, but if it goes against anything the media is focusing on, it is best left unspoken. I realized that the bulk of the people I was connected to on Facebook cared more about trivial things than actual travesties. I tried to filter my Facebook newsfeed, but Facebook makes it a pain in the butt to customize the content that you prefer to see.

About two years ago I stopped accepting every friend request that came in. I realized that my newsfeed was so cluttered that I couldn’t see updates from people I was actually connected to. I tried creating custom newsfeeds, but that was a pain to manage. I was not going to go through 4924 friends at the time and manually clean house. To be honest, I even considered hiring someone to do it for me.

My frustration came to a boil last week when I realized I had been scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed for 30 minutes and my heart was racing because of the content I had just ingested. I felt like I had just spent the last 30 minutes reading all of the tabloid articles in the grocery store checkout. Just about every post was negative, disgusting, rude or a conflict against something I believe strongly about. During the time I had logged out of Facebook for two months, I was blogging more and¬†able to read more books. I didn’t mindlessly go to Facebook, I intentionally picked up an actual book.

I had entertained the idea of converting my Facebook profile to a Facebook page for a while. A Facebook page is different than a profile. A Facebook page allows you to post updates just as you would a Facebook profile, but you have no newsfeed and people don’t friend your profile. It’s similar to Twitter in the way that people can decide to follow your updates by “liking” your page. Facebook used to allow you to do this conversion while keeping the history you have amassed in your timeline. That is not the case anymore and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

I have always recommended to all of my clients who want to start a Facebook page not to post unique content to Facebook that they hope to never lose. Facebook will most likely not always be the cool place to hang out. All of the content that people poured into Myspace is now worthless or gone in many cases. Depending on how you used Myspace, this may be a good thing. I have been posting to Facebook just shy of 10 years. I joined in 2006 when Facebook began allowing anybody to create an account. That is a low of content to allow to perish. Within the last 10 years, I started dating the woman I would marry. I got married and had children. Much has happened, and the majority of it was shared through Facebook.

Facebook allows you to backup your data. You can download it into this basic looking archive that you can click and scroll through (see mine here). It’s not very searchable but it’s better than nothing. I was able to backup all of my photos in case there were one or two that I had not saved somewhere else. I never take photos inside of the Facebook app so the majority of my photos were saved in Google Photos or iCloud Photos. I realized that I almost never scrolled back into history through my Facebook timeline anyway.

I needed a change. I was wasting a lot of time reading the nonsense that was being posted to Facebook in hopes of coming across something nice someone else had to say. I am afraid that I will miss things. I have been able to pray for people who are going through hard times because I read about it on Facebook. I would have never known about the situation outside of Facebook. My wife and I like to help people when we can and many times we have discovered a need through someone’s Facebook post. I will miss this, but it will make me actually reach out to people to stay connected rather than scroll Facebook in an attempt to get the highlights.

I converted my personal Facebook profile into a Facebook page. I did not want someone else to end up registering http://facebook.com/jeradhill to use it for their own purposes. I will continue to post to Facebook through this page. I converted a personal account that I had for managing Facebook pages before Facebook Business Manager was created so I could remain connected to the Ditch Auto photography group I created. I will not be adding any friends there. I am sure that this will not be a popular choice among many as the Facebook connection just became a one-way road, but I had to make the decision.

To keep connected with people who’s updates I would miss by not having a personal account, I will actually¬†connect with them in person or follow their updates on other social networks such as Twitter or Instagram. I have had this intention many times, and I know it will be hard to do, but I am going to make an effort. Limiting the information intake will help me focus more on my family and my closer friends, who often get overlooked because they don’t post to Facebook that often.

Facebook is still an excellent tool for keeping in contact with people. As a business owner, it’s a fantastic marketing tool as well. This is why I am not leaving Facebook altogether, I am simply limiting the amount of content I consume so I can fill that extra time with what’s closest to me.

Instead, let’s follow each other on Instagram or Twitter.

I needed a refresh

I am at my most content and successful when I am working on my own projects. I’m not trying to say that I don’t enjoy working on the projects of others, of course I love that. It’s why I do it for a living. However, as much interest and passion as I have for helping my clients succeed, I want my own projects to succeed as well.

In marketing, it is hard to keep clients forever. Whether you are working on their projects daily or only a few times each year, clients feel like they need to switch agencies to make change happen. I get that. This year has brought on a lot of that change. Years back I grew Hill Media Group quite a bit with many new clients coming on board. We built them new websites, helped them with social media, ran ad campaigns for them and introduced them to email marketing. Over time, things change. People need something new, and to find something new, they have to leave. I get that.

In 2007, I had a lot more free time than I do now. I was engaged to be married and was working from a home office. I had just purchased the very first iPhone and was super excited about it. After spending a few weeks with my new phone, I realized that there needed to be a website where people can learn how to use the phone and which apps would be worth downloading. I started a website called the iPhone App Podcast (known today as State Of Tech but prior to that was called DailyAppShow). The website started as just a place for me to podcast and put up videos. It quickly became a popular destination that people used to learn more about apps and even learn how to use them. At the high point of that website’s popularity, it was generating $15,000/mo in revenue, not including partnerships and outside ad revenue. Since then, we have had a lot of new competition. Major news sites started creating similar content to what we were producing which made it harder for us to keep growing our viewership. Today, State Of Tech still exists and is a destination for mobile device education. I still have a passion for educating people on how to get the most out of their smart devices. As long as I have the time and resources, we will continue to educate.

Since launching that website, I have had many ideas which I consider “good ideas.” However, I have not had the time to pour into them like I was able to when I launched the smartphone website. I have attempted to work on and launch these ideas but have pulled them back because I was not able to focus on them. I have been focusing on growing Hill Media Group by taking on new clients and providing them with my undivided attention. I went from having very few clients in 2008 to over 80 clients that we provide some sort of ongoing service for. I am very thankful for my clients and for the trust they have given me to manage their online marketing efforts. Nothing is changing with Hill Media Group, or my involvement. I love helping businesses solve problems. That will never go away as it is part of me.

Over the last year, I have made a couple of big commitments to two different clients. I have always kept my distance from committing too much of my time to only one or two clients because I knew that if I was to lose them, it would cause a significant hardship financially. Last year, I had a client pay me for a month of a one-year agreement only to take my ideas over to a competitor. Within two weeks, I saw my ideas go live across their website and social media. People do what they are going to do… This year, I had a similar situation, but this time I had really committed a lot of time and effort into the project. It was pretty depressing when I was told that we would not be continuing on with the project as agreed upon. I really get into what my clients are building. On a couple of occasions I think I was more emotionally invested in the success of the business than my client was.

As disheartening as it is to lose a couple of clients, it has reminded me of my desire to build things. It is hard to build things when you need to work to survive. I have many more responsibilities than that time I started the smartphone website. I have a wife, kids, employees and overhead. Life has never been more expensive. That is a fact that I need to get over. Life will continue to get more expensive. It’s not really worth focusing on so long as I am being responsible and continue on in faith.

After realizing that I had spent a few days in a slump, I decided it was time for a refresh. The great refresh of mid-2015 will have two parts. The first part is a revised focus on Hill Media Group. The second will be scheduling some time to work on my own projects. More on the refresh soon.

I have had a couple of interesting things happen in the last 30 days that I plan to blog about as soon as I have a chance. I also want to get back into the routine of vlogging on a regular basis. For 15 days in a row I filmed short snippets from my life and created a new video every day. It was a lot of work but it was so much fun. You can see those vlogs here: