Articles in Business

You can build a business or you can build a prison.

by Nate Croft in Business

Many of you that are reading this blog own your own companies, or are working for yourself in some form or fashion. Most likely we share a common dream, the freedom of working for ourselves! We serve no master, take no orders, and wear no pants! Ok, maybe we wear pants. Maybe. We started out on this journey full of ambition and with the highest of hopes. We, my friends, are free to shape our own destiny.

What do we do with all this freedom? Well, most of us make shackles.

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Requiring an On-Site Kick Off Meeting for New Clients

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

Recently we’ve been pondering a new requirement for large web jobs with FortySeven Media: face to face time.

I know, we keep talking about how the internet has made the world flat and we can work with anyone from anywhere and that’s very true. But lately we’ve been wondering if it’s such a good thing to cut ourselves off so cleanly from human interaction.

They’ll get to understand you, what you believe in, your humor and all sorts of other subtleties that don’t come across in an email.

We see a couple of benefits to working on-site with a new client for a day or so when kicking off the project:

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Institute a Company Day!

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

Let’s face it - between client work, social media, email and the zillion other things we need to do it’s easy to get stuck in a grind. Nate and I noticed a couple of years ago that we were so busy with everything else that we were neglecting our business.

Right, that makes sense. You're spending too much time working, but you're neglecting your business?

No, see what I mean is that we weren’t taking the time to plan, grow and market the way that we should. If all you do is the work that comes in your door you don’t get a lot of say in where you’re going. In fact, you’re probably just stuck in the house.

So we instituted FortySeven Media Mondays! Once a week Nate and I get together, plot and plan and take a look at the big picture of our company and where we want to go.

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Live Kick Awesome Show at Converge Florida this October

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, Kick Awesome Show

Converge FL
R2D2 Loves You

It's no secret we love the Converge conferences. And wouldn't you know it, there's another one coming to Florida in just a few months! We had the honor of doing a live Kick Awesome Show at the last Converge conference and we've been invited back along with live tapings of Bizcraft and the Non-Breaking Space Show.

So! If you want to attend one of the best web conferences around and see some awesome live shows go and get registered for Converge Florida October 4th -5th 2012. Tickets go on sale August 1st for $200. We'll see you there.

Register for Converge Florida

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How We Built a Recurring Billing Video Training Site with ExpressionEngine, Membrr, Vimeo & Stripe

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, ExpressionEngine

We’ve had a few people ask us how in the world we built Kicktastic, our video business training project, so we thought we’d tell you.

Real quick - what is Kicktastic?

Kicktastic is unconventional video training for gutsy businesses. Every month you'll get fresh content in the form of a main topic video, transcript and resources, and related video tips. We'll be interviewing the smartest minds in the business and refining it down into info packed, entertaining videos that don't waste your time. Plus, each video has its own discussion thread below so members can ask questions, share their stories and help each other out.

Pretty straightforward, right? Well, not so much. If you’ve ever tried to build a video training platform that takes recurring payments, and do this for under $1,000 in expenses (minus the time to build/design of course) things get a little nutty. Let’s look at each piece.

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Kicktastic - Unconventional Video Training for Gutsy Businesses

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

We're so excited to announce the official launch of Kicktastic!.

Why did we make it?

  1. Running a business is really hard. There's no way you and I can know everything there is to know about it in and of ourselves.
  2. Most business training is long, boring and one sided. We wanted to change that.
  3. You need to make more money.

What is Kicktastic?

Kicktastic is unconventional video training for gutsy businesses. Every month you'll get fresh content in the form of a main topic video, transcript and resources, and related video tips. We'll be interviewing the smartest minds in the business and refining it down into info packed, entertaining videos that don't waste your time. Plus, each video has its own discussion thread below so members can ask questions, share their stories and help each other out.

The first video series is by us, and it's called Branding, Attention & the Power of Video. You'll see how we've branded, marketed and used video to increase our profit over 50%!

This is obviously a lot of work, so it won't be free, but you'll have access to all the videos, books, transcripts and everything else we create for you as long as you're a member. The entrie site is responsive as well, so you can train on the go!

Interested? It's time to level up your business powers. Let's do this!

Learn More About Kicktastic

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Don’t Be Scared, Change Things Up

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, Personal

Jon Yelling
Vanquish the foe of fear. WIth your kids's super hero mask.

We’re currently doing some “interior” work on FortySeven Media - changing very fundamental things about how we work, collaborate and make money. We’ve basically done the same thing for quite a few years. Everything’s going ok. Why upend everything?

Because things were feeling too safe. We weren’t challenging ourselves nearly as much as we used to. And while incremental updates to processes and tools and contracts are fine, we got to a point where it was time to start fresh.

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Adam Savage: Why We Make

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, Personal

Inpiring talk by Adam Savage's talk at Maker Faire Bay Area 2012. He tells a great story about his Indiana Jones hat, how he got started building his obsessions, and why makers should embrace the things that they have no choice but to make.

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Why We Loved ConvergeSE 2012

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, Personal

Converge SE 2012
Hello awesome robotic dinosaur of destruction!

Nate and I had the pleasure of attending (and speaking) at ConvergeSE a few weeks ago, and while it's a little late for one of those “I take meticulous notes from every speaker and put them in one massive blog post” deals, I had to let everyone know what a great time we had.

Let's get this out of the way: ConvergeSE was by far the best conference we've been to. The talks were great, the workshops covered all sorts of interesting topics, but that paled in comparison to the people we met and the conversations that were had throughout the conference.

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Keeping Track of Potential Clients

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

If you're a small to medium sized web studio chances are you don't have a dedicated sales person. That's right, you get to do sales right along with taxes, accounting, client management, product managing - you get the idea. Oh, yeah and you have to actually do all the work and manage to get the site launched, too! No biggie.

One thing that we've often struggled with is that while your busy, you're not focused on getting new clients. But when you finish that massive job and there's nothing to work on - then you're like “Oh crap!” So here's two simple things to keep this from happening:

1. Don't stop looking for new clients, even if you're balls to the walls busy.

I know, your brain just doesn't want to deal with them. But jobs take a while to close. If you're not constantly talking to people you're going to have a lull in business. Maybe they won't even be ready until you're done with your current workload. You never know who's actually going to sign so don't count on anybody's word till they've signed a contract and given you a deposit.

Often times we don't even put a full quote together, just a rough idea to see if they're really interested. And if you end up taking on too much, you can always get some contractors to help out.

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The World Needs Your Side Projects

by Nate Croft in Business

Many of us have side projects. You know, that thing you work on when your “work” is done for the day. We have them too. They are a great way to play with something new or build that cool idea thats been bouncing around your head. They can even be your masterplan to escape the clutches of that boring life you seem to be stuck in.

We are currently working on one now, it's called Kicktastic. We thought it would be a good opportunity to turn our experience running a successful business into a product to help other businesses grow into bigger markets and pick up better clients. And it will be. It's coming along nicely and will be out sooner than we are ready for it to be, to be perfectly transparent.

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Redesigning the FortySeven Media Site - Part Uno

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, ExpressionEngine

FortySeven Media New 2012

Note - I was going to have this all be one article, but it was too big and I don't want to bore you. So! Part Uno will focus on the design and stragegy while Part Dos will focus on the dirty technical details - from HTML5 & CSS3 to Responsive layouts and ExpressionEngine programming. Part Uno begins now:

Have you ever climbed to the top of a mountain, cooked a whole pound of bacon, ate it, hiked back down and built a mansion with your bare hands? That's what it felt like redesigning the FortySeven Media site.

Version 1 of was super gray and boring (seriously, it was gray). We were afraid to be ourselves and thought that in order to make it as a design studio we needed to be stuffy, businessy and impersonal.

FortySeven Media 2007
2007 - So much grey. Why oh why?

Next year we sat down and decided that if we were going to have our own company we should darn well act like it. With version 2 we overhauled the identity, made snarky pages like “Don't Hire Us,” created a blog and before we knew it, we were getting business from all over the place.

FortySeven Media 2008
2008 - The retro was strong with this one.

We had stumbled onto something, and quite frankly re-designing that kind of success is scary, especially when it provides for your family. The Lizard Brain was in full effect. We got talked about quite a bit when we launched the old site and we didn't want miss that magic this time around. Every time I sat down to work on it I just got overwhelmed. Could we make something nearly as iconic as the first go around? Turns out it didn't matter, because after waiting 4 years we were becoming obsolete. Don't get me wrong, the business was doing better than ever, but the jobs coming through the contact form were less interesting than they were a few years ago.

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FortySeven Media is Now Part of the Fusion Ad Network!

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

Fusion Ads
The MIghty Fusion Logo

We're very excited to announce today that we're becoming part of the Fusion Ads Network! So many of our heroes are part of this network that it would be foolish to start trying to name one or two. Seriously, just go check out the list. To say we're humbled and honored is an understatement.

We love the ethos behind Fusion - that only ad per page is allowed and that they encourage you to make it fit the style of your site. Plus the products and services they're showing are razor focused towards you guys. Ads that are actually useful! Imagine that.

So, hey! If you see something over there that catches your eye it's ok to click. It helps us keep writing more posts, tutorials and deep (sometimes) thoughts. Thanks for reading!

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Truth in Advertising. Or Not.

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business

Save 20% on any one regular-priced baby item

We got this coupon in the mail the other day from Babies-“R”-Us & Toys-“R”-Us. Notice it says, “Save 20% of ANY one regular priced baby item.” Great! Fantastic! Then we turned it over.

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Kicktastic - A New Project to Tell You Our Secrets

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business

Kicktastic. We've made 50% more money this year than last year. Want to know our secret

We’re excited to announce a new project – Kicktastic!

Here’s the deal: We’re making 50% more money this year and we want to let you guys (and girls) in on what we’re doing differently. It will of course be done in typical 47m fashion with loads of style and fun, but we need to know if you’re interested.

If you are, please take a minute, go to and sign up to be notified when it’s ready!

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Learning to Say No

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, Personal

Do you know when to say no to a new job? I don’t either. But I’m learning.

First of all, why is it so hard to say no? Because we want people to like us? Because it’s easier to say yes? Because it avoids conflict? Probably yes to all of the above. No one likes to be the bad guy, right?

“But I might not get that job and have enough money to keep my lights on!” you say. “My client will get angry and fire me!” “Deep down I want everyone to love me!” A lofty, but unattainable goal. Get over it.

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A Look Back at 2010 for FortySeven Media

by Jonathan Longnecker in Design, Business, Personal

It’s time for the semi-regular year end post from FortySeven Media! 2010 was a nutty year filled with lots of traveling, some great client projects and some even better personal projects. Let’s get started, shall we?

Speaking, Conferencing and Traveling

While we got our first taste of web conferences back in 2009, 2010 took it to a whole other level.



First off was LessConf in Atlanta. With speakers like Jason and David from 37 Signals, Cameron Moll, Chris Wanstrath from GitHub, Dan Martell, Clay Hebert and Peldi Guilizoni of Balsamiq we were energized and encouraged to keep making kick-awesome stuff.



Next was EECI2010 the US Edition in San Francisco. I got to speak at this one and we were reunited with a bunch of our old friends from the Leiden conference back in 2009. The city was fantastic and we even got to meet a few of our long-distance clients while we were there!

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EECI2010 EU Wrap-up: Better format, Freedom and Making the Kick Awesome Show International

by Jonathan Longnecker in Business, ExpressionEngine, Kick Awesome Show, Personal

Nate and Jon

We’re a little late to the party, but wanted to give a quick wrap-up on our experience at EECIEU 2010. The ExpressionEngine & CodeIgniter Conference was in it’s third iteration, and I think it was the best. Robert from Whoooz! has been refining the schedule while still taking risks and trying new things. The single channel format this time around was much more enjoyable. At past conferences I kept having to choose certain tracks and felt like I missed things, so the simplification was great. The venue was very cool as well.

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