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Boy, did I get my butt chewed last week…

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

Well, I hope you appreciate the tip I gave you last week about boosting your website traffic with Highslide software…because I sure took some heat! Justly deserved, I’ll admit, but I can assure you I don’t want to go through that again.

It started first thing Tuesday morning when my good friend Mr. Dan Essig, an early riser himself, read my newsletter. You may recall my lament last week that “four of the five winning website design companies in Pool and Spa News were called out by name, but MYM Austin wasn’t mentioned at all.” I was attempting to bring a little spotlight attention onto what I considered to be a great marketing accomplishment.

Oops – it worked.

It was only a matter of minutes after I hit “send” when the phone rang. “Hey Brett – Why didn’t you call me before sending your newsletter?” (I had said that Dan didn’t want other pool builders to get what he got from us.) Dan clarified – “I don’t mind if you work with other pool builders; I just don’t want you working with my local competitors right here in Miami.

He was absolutely right on both counts. It’s only the local competition that matters, and yes indeed, I should have called him first. (Mental note #1 – think twice and make a phone call before talking about an important client in my newsletter!)

In fairness to myself, I should point out that I get up at 3 a.m. on Tuesdays to write this newsletter. I start with a blank piece of paper; I’m normally putting the finishing touches on it around 5:30 a.m., which is not exactly the ideal time to start calling people. But nonetheless….

Feeling bad about the entire incident, it was a welcome surprise to receive a phone call later that morning from Erika Taylor, the editor of Pool and Spa News. “Thank goodness,” I thought. “Maybe some good will come of this week’s newsletter afterall!”

Oops – Not so fast. Erika wasn’t too happy either.

It turns out that the little graphical snippets that I “borrowed” from Pool and Spa News and inserted into my newsletter are actually copyrighted material. You can’t just copy that stuff, at least not without permission. And if you do, you darn well better be sure to include a link to their website (

(Mental note #2 – don’t go stealing stuff from other people’s magazines!)

There was another concern, but before I get into that, let me share a comment about this year’s “Top 50 Builders” issue. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but somehow I found this edition to be an easier and more enlightening read than in years past. Quite an accomplishment, considering the awkwardness of discussing “who’s the biggest” at a time when everyone is shrinking.

Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago, I heard a lone, disparaging comment from one of my clients about the top 50 selection process. A long-time top 50 builder themselves, they expressed concern that a local competitor’s presence on the list made them suspicious.

Naturally, I eluded to that comment in my newsletter last week.

Oops. (Mental note #3 – Don’t badmouth the magazine or article you’re bragging about. Especially when the editor of the magazine is on your distribution list.)

Okay – so what can we learn from all this? I think there are several valuable lessons:

  1. Brett’s an idiot. (OK, maybe there’s not a lesson in that….)
  2. Even with the best intentions, we all make mistakes
  3. It can be highly beneficial to spend time with people who are smarter and/or more experienced than we are; We can all learn from others’ experiences.

And while I swear this wasn’t the reason I sat down to write this newsletter today, I’m now thinking (based on my own advice about “learning from smart people”), I should probably give you a quick update on the recently formed “Pool Genius Workshop.”

(You may recall that this is a free weekly seminar/workshop that I put together with another aquatics industry expert, Rex Richard. The workshop occurs every Wednesday at 9 a.m. West Coast time, 12 noon East Coast time; 30 minutes of fast-paced tutorial, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.)

I have a couple surprise last-minute announcements to share with you regarding our Pool Genius Workshop:

  • I’m pleased to announce that we’ve added sales training expert Mario Rossetti to our team. ( Many of you probably know Mario from his years with Caretaker In-floor cleaning, and more recently with A&A Manufacturing.
  • We will be adding some more advanced workshop sessions in the months ahead. These will be a little less “lecture” and a little more “hands-on,” helping you fix specific marketing, sales and business management challenges that you submit to us in advance.
  • The “free” timeframe for the Pool Genius Workshop will be expiring at the end of September. More details to come on how to stay enrolled in the program. (Key point – if you haven’t checked out the free sessions already, you’d better do it quickly.)
  • Rex took ill with the flu yesterday, so I will be substituting for this Wednesday’s session. Instead of covering “Part 3” on “The Law of Compounding Profits,” I will be presenting a couple of proactive referral programs that below the socks off of the traditional “ask for referrals” approach. We will resume with “Compounding Profits” next week.

OK, I hope that clears up any confusion about Dan Essig, Pool and Spa News, and/or the Pool Genius Workshop. And for the record, I’m a huge fan of swimming pools and the aquatics industry. And also Mom and apple pie.

If you have any comments about the Highslide software, or any of the above, I would love to hear them. But please be gentle; my butt is still a little sore….

Till next time,

2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc. May not be used without permission.

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