shipping containers stacked on dockIt’s time we had a little … talk.

About that “s”-word.

No, not that one.

Ship. THAT one.

Now, don’t get me wrong. “Ship” is a perfectly acceptable word.


See these big containers up above? The ones that look like railroad cars without the wheels? Yeah, those are what we call shipping containers.

And unless the thing you’re ostensibly “shipping” could, conceivably, at some point between you/your place of business and the home/office/yurt/whatever of your end purchaser, travel INSIDE ONE OF THESE, you are NOT shipping.

You are finishing something. Something even maybe huge for you, in which case – yay! Congrats! I am SUPER proud of you!

(But you’re still not shipping.)

You are getting ready to launch a new service, maybe. Or maybe you’ve completed your awesome writing project and are about to upload it to Amazon for sale as a Kindle ebook.

(You, too, are still not shipping.)

“OK, OK,” you may be saying right about now, “but ANNIE, language evolves, and words come to mean new things!”

Yes, pumpkin. You are absolutely 100% correct on that point. You’re still not shipping.

“But, but ANNIE,” you may sputter, “I kinda AM shipping ’cause it’s similar!”

Touché, my lamb. Totally solid point. And yet, similar isn’t shipping, either.

ANNIE!” you fairly roar. “It’s just a … a … METAPHOR! Or something!”

“Something” is thoroughly correct, my poppet. But what it ain’t? Is an accurate use of the word “shipping.”

“Well so what?” you mumble. “Who’s it hurting?”

You mean besides me?

Excellent question, you rock star, you. (Still not shipping.)

OK, all joking aside, here’s where I’m coming from:

  1. Words are important. They mean stuff. They mean specific stuff. When we use them to mean other stuff, we weaken their impact, both individually and as a whole. (Do I need to remind you here that literally literally doesn’t mean literally anymore?!)
  2. You don’t want to sound like That Guy. You know what I mean. You know WHO I mean. That. Guy. The one (because That Guy can be either male or female) who sounds like a reject extra from an early ’90’s movie about day traders.

Ditch the ship. Unless you’re talking about ‘shipping. In which case, I TOTALLY ‘ship Caskett.

Which is a completely different thing than shipping caskets.

P.T. Barnum was a man of many words, which he used to promote hoaxes and circus acts. These days, a whole cadre of words belong to a genre known as jargon. These jibber-jabber nonsense words have come to be a nuisance for legitimate businesspeople and the elixir of life for the more unscrupulous snake oil salesmen in our midst. This month’s Word Carnival explores jargon in depth across a variety of industries, but one thing’s for certain: there’s no double-speak here, just on-the-money advice for anyone tired of flim-flam. Find all the awesome posts from our Word Carnies here!

Photo credit: Tristan Taussac via photopin cc


It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (Ask any parent.) (Or Alice Cooper.)

It’s also time for SPM blogging to kick back into high gear.

But as I sat before the Almighty Whiteboard, multi-colored markers in hand, ready to create the editorial calendar for the next few months, a thought occurred to me …

Why am I not asking you guys what you want to see here?

So. That’s EXACTLY what I’m doing. Right here, right now.  (Or, right here, right now. As you prefer.)

My biggest small business marketing challenge is _____.

I want to know: What’s troubling you these days? What are you struggling most with in terms of marketing your small or solo business? What do you need more information on?

And how can I help?

SO: Go to the comments section below and let me know! I’ll use any and all suggestions (as long as they’re relevant to digital marketing for small/solo businesses) in planning upcoming content.


Give Them What (They Think) They Need

Story time, kids. Gather ’round. So back in the day, well before the Category 5 shit-storm that destroyed my legal career, before I had evolved into the marketing pro I am today, I tried to launch a solo business as a lawyer. Mind you, I’d never marketed my own business before, except as an actor, […]

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What’s It Worth to You?

The email from my friend came at a particularly opportune time. I’d just found out that I’d lost a well-paying side gig, teaching the basics of coding to employees of corporate clients, when the training company that outsourced these courses to me decided to hire an in-house instructor. That one decision immediately cost me half […]

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Images On Your Site Are Probably Breaking the Law. Here’s How to Protect Yourself.

I have no intention of picking on anyone in particular – let me say that right up front. But recently, in a developers’ group I participate in on Facebook which shall remain unnamed, another member (also to remain unnamed) posted a link to his blog post about a really interesting topic (not important). It was a […]

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12 Dirty Digital Jobs You Can’t Afford to Ignore

They might be dirty jobs, but someone’s gotta do ‘em. And if you don’t do ‘em, you’re risking more than just a little inconvenience or some metaphorical dirt on your hands, or literal sweat on your brow. You could be risking your business and your livelihood. The Dirty Dozen: Jobs You Gotta Do They’re not sexy. […]

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How to Remove Endorsements From Your LinkedIn Profile

There’s been a lot of debate in recent months over the issue of LinkedIn endorsements — the ability of other people to “endorse” you for specific skills or talents and have those skills/talents show up on your LinkedIn profile. What’s the Problem With Endorsements? Some people think the endorsement feature is meaningless. Since there is […]

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The “One-Two-Three” Secret to Keeping Your WordPress Site Secure

Wanna know a fun way to wake up fast at six AM in the morning? Open up an email sent at 4 AM with the caption “SECURITY ALERT: Too Many Failed Login Attempts” from your WordPress website — and you haven’t been on your website in the last 16 hours. Better than espresso. The Bad […]

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Going Analog: Adding Offline Tactics to Your Small Biz Marketing Mix

Although I specialize in digital marketing for solos and small biz owners, I frequently remind my clients: “Don’t forget the analog world!” What I mean by that: Offline matters just as much as online, in many cases (if not most). Why Digital Marketing Alone Isn’t Enough For one thing, all of your targeted prospects may […]

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Happy Independence Day!

To all our readers in the U.S., Happy Fourth of July! Be safe, don’t let the fireworks get out of control, and keep an eye on your pets. And in between festivities, check out this infographic from our friends at, all about this most patriotic of holidays: Independence Day infographic  

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