And now, just as I head off to bed, I’m proud to present to you guys an interview with Josiah Mackenzie, the 19-year-old owner of Global Syndication, an RSS Technology Business :). This interview went out as an exclusive, hot off the press, first look for those with a subscription website/blog mailing list and now its officially public. A huge thanks to Josiah for his time and I’m excited to be able to share this with you guys. Enjoy!
Q. Alright Josiah, lets get things rolling. How about we start with some information about you? Tell us a bit about your background, some of your interests and hobbies, your education, anything you’d like to share :).
I am a homeschool graduate, and am currently working on a business management degree from Cedarville University. My goal is to graduate debt-free — paying tuition with the money I earn from my businesses. When not working, I enjoy exercising, playing sports, and spending time with friends.
Q. You’ve had a lot of experience in the digital world, what got you started?
Ever since I’ve been on the Internet, I’ve had a fascination for the way websites work. I taught myself to code HTML by looking at the source code of other webpages. Since I loved making websites so much, I was willing to do it for others for free. But then I discovered that others are willing to pay for that skill, and it motivated me all the more!
Q. You have a business, Global Syndication, that deals with RSS. What exactly is RSS and why should we care about it?
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a new way for websites to distribute their content Why would they want to do that? Because it benefits both them = and the subscriber. The publisher of RSS can bypass spam filters and advertise to a responsive audience (they subscribed). Subscribers of RSS can save time by just getting the news headlines for each site. Instead of manually going to each site to check for updates, everything comes right to your desktop in an orderly fashion.
Another group benefiting from RSS feeds is webmasters of other sites. Embedding an RSS newsfeed into your webpage can provide fresh, relevant content — which search engines love. (And the publisher whose feed is embedded also gets all those linkbacks — increasing search engine position — as well as free advertising to visitors of that other site.)
Publishing RSS is a win-win situation for everyone.
Many people associate blogs with RSS. While blogs can publish RSS — blogging is neither the most effective nor efficient method for syndicating your news. Often blogging software will just take the first couple sentences of the blog entry and make a newsfeed out of it. And many times those first couple sentences do not accurately summarize what the entry was about.
You see, the purpose of a blog RSS feed is to notify others when the blog is updated. But for most companies, it is far more profitable to notify customers when your products themselves are updated or when you’re having a sale. It all comes down to the question “What am I promoting: my blog or my products?” Global Syndication’s software publishes RSS to draw visitors to your product pages, rather than to your blog.
Q. Tell me more about Global Syndication, what are your plans for it? Where do it see it going?
Global Syndication is a company that provides software and services for promoting your news through RSS. My goal in starting the company was to make publishing RSS something that anyone can do — not something that is reserved for “techies.” For example, our RSS Hosting service allows people with no knowledge of RSS syndication to get their own custom newsfeed published — with an in-context tutorial to help along the way.
Q. What are some other projects that you’re involved in?
Global Syndication is such a large project that it occupies the majority of my time. However I also work part-time as a customer support technician for Instant Buzz.
Q. How do you balance between all your projects and your life away from the internet. Have you ever found that to be a challenge?
Yes, very much so. When you are working on the internet, it’s easy to get completely immersed. It is very important to remember that work on the Internet is just a job — like any offline job. Try to limit your work to 40 hours a week or so. Take time for exercise and others each day. You’ll find that the 8 hours you work with time off will be more productive than if you spend 15 hours working each day.
Q. What advice would you give to young people who feel the entrepreneur growing inside them? What are some of the things that they need to preparing for? How should they prepare for them?
I would say that the first thing is to become a master of time management. Starting your own business can take a tremendous amount of time, and how you manage yourself is often directly related to how you manage your company. Another thing that will really help you is to find an experienced mentor — preferably one that has worked in the field of business you are entering.
Q. Hmm.. time management :). What have been some of the tips and tricks you’ve learned over the years to help you master your time?
Time management is something that highly interests me. I’m always looking for the perfect way to improve the production/time ratio. While I believe what makes a person more productive varies from person to person, I do know one thing that helps everyone: goal setting. If you take 10 minutes each morning to list the top five things you need to accomplish in the day, you’ll find you will be more focused — and accomplish more — during the day.
Q. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in business and what did you learn from it?
Probably not tracking results from a advertising campaign. I lost a lot of money at first blindly advertising on Google and Yahoo before I setup a performance tracking system. Always test, track, and evaluate every marketing campaign you do!
Q. You’re speaking to a crowd of several hundred young entrepreneurs, you’ve only got 5 minutes to talk.. What do you think would be the most important thing for them to learn from you and your experiences?
Never give up! I know it’s cliché, but it’s very, very true. I would say that for every successful project I’ve done, I’ve made five failures. As long as you learn from your mistakes, failure is not waste. True waste is giving up. If your business venture fails, learn from it, and try again!
And That’s a Wrap! Goodnight World!