The Basics of Blogging

by Cheval John

I want to tell everyone that I will be accepting guest post to be featured here for the first Saturday of every month starting today.

So if you are interested in guest posting, you can send an e-mail to cheval@vallanomedia.com.

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Smith, who is a blogger and is the promoter for Karen Evans of startbloggingonline.com.

Sarah put together this infographic about the basics of blogging

You can follow them on Twitter @startblog101.

Without further ado, here is Sarah

No matter how easy blogging seems to be for many, the journey to coming up with your own can actually be a challenge.  In fact, you will realize the demands and blockades arise when you actually begin doing your blog.  In short, blogging surely has its own birth pains and every blogger learns from his or her mistakes.

As you learn along the way you will realize that it is also important to minimize the mistakes you commit as much as you can.  Hence, it can be helpful to know the most common mistakes that beginning bloggers are prone to commit.  Besides it can be so helpful and time-saving to take advice from those who have gone through the same beginner path as you plan to do.

Some of these mistakes you can avoid ahead of time as you start your blogging journey include trying to be perfect and failing to promote your site.  Others also commit the misstep of wanting to save money by getting a free website without realizing that you would still end up getting a domain and host account in the near future.

It is about time to show the world what you are capable of writing and sharing through a blog.  Besides, if you are not going to start now, then when? Decide to be consistent with your own comfortable blog work schedule and begin today.

Check out this practically made infographic that will help you get started as a blogger without getting to commit the most common mistakes you are most likely to encounter along the way:

The Basics of Using Twitter

By Cheval John

The world of social media has changed over the last few years.

What remained are the dominant players: Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn is still an important platform for many entrepreneurs, business professionals and college graduates who are looking to get hired at a new company.

However, LinkedIn is now part of Microsoft due to the purchase earlier this year according to the Wall Street Journal

With rumors earlier this year of executives trying to sell Twitter, one could wonder if the social media platform is still viable for people trying to build a business or a personal brand?

Heck Yes

Though Twitter have about 320 million active users according to Adweek, you can still interact with people you admire in “real time”

The problem is many businesses see these social media platforms as a place to promote themselves for free and not interact with their customers.

On the flip side, small businesses understand the importance of social media and are being profitable in the process

I created a video below that explains the basics of using Twitter as my free gift to you for #smallbusinesssaturday.

The advice I share can apply to Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn because all of these platforms should be used to build trust with your audience.

Below this video are the twitter chats (conversations around a hashtag like #bizheroes of Paper.Li) I mentioned in the video:

Madalyn Sklar’s #twittersmarter Thursdays at 1 p.m. eastern, noon central: www.madalynsklar.com

Hootsuite’s #hootchat Thursdays at 3 p.m. eastern, 2 p.m. central : www.hootsuite.com

Chelsea Krost’s #millennialtalk Tuesdays at 8 p.m. eastern, 7 p.m. central: www.chelseakrost.com

Bonus: Applebee’s #livelunch Fridays 1 p.m. eastern, noon central: www.applebees.com

What are your favorite Twitter chats and how are you celebrating #smallbusinesssaturday?

Creating A Winning Culture In Your Company

By Cheval John

November 19th, 2016

The #HTownTakeOver reignited after the University of Houston (UH) football team defeated then No.5 Louisville 36-10 in front of a record 42,822 fans at TDECU Stadium on Thursday night.

The football matchup was broadcast in front of a national television audience on ESPN and a national radio audience on ESPN Radio.

This Tweet by KPRC 2 sports reporter, Lainie Fritz, who captured the storming of the field after UH’s victory.

And ESPN had one of the best live streaming thursday night viewership this season due to this matchup

The campus has been a scene of a winning culture since Houston’s coach Tom Herman took over the team in December of 2014.

Since Herman’s arrival, UH has a record of 22-3 with an American Athletic Conference championship and a Peach Bowl win over Florida State University.

What is more impressive is that UH’s success has taken over the city of Houston

City Hall is lit in Cougar red to celebrate the @universityofhouston's win over Louisville! #HTownTakeover #GoCoogs

A photo posted by ABC13 Eyewitness News Houston (@abc13houston) on

In a city that has plenty of professional sports teams, UH has found a way to get their football team into the spotlight.

UH has had success under previous football coaches like Kevin Sumlin and their softball team have been extremely successful since they began in 2001.

However, the recent success of UH’s football team seems to be in another level.

One could argue that UH’s recent rise to prominence started when they achieved the Tier One Status in 2011 by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education under the leadership of Chancellor Renu Khator.

With the Tier One status, UH were able to bring in world class professors and recruit future college students who were elite in their respective high schools from around the world.

From there, they were able to secure the funds to build the 40,000 seat TDECU stadium over the same grounds of the demolished Robertson Stadium in time for the 2014 football season.

That first year in the new stadium, Houston finished with an 8-5 record.

However, the season was considered disastrous due to the inaugural home opening loss to UTSA resulting in the firing of Tony Levine.

UH administration understood that if they wanted to take their football program to the next level in their new stadium, they had to bring in leadership who would bring in a culture of winning.

That was why they hired coach Herman to lead their football program because he played a role in helping Ohio State win a national championship under the new College Football Playoff format as an offensive coordinator for coach Urban Meyer.

Coach Herman instilled a winning culture at UH and the entire university community was onboard with the #htowntakeover movement.

The average home attendance at TDECU stadium have increase from 33,980 in 2015 to 38,953 this year.

UH administrators are trying to keep their coach from leaving the football team as major collegiate football teams are trying to hire him away from their school.

University of Texas seems to be the front runner to poach coach Herman away according to this ESPN report that the Longhorn’s most powerful boosters are trying to get Charlie Strong fired

Though UH have already increased coach Herman’s salary to $3 million a year, it seems like the money will not be enough.

The UH fans can hope that coach Herman will stay due to the stability of the UH administration who only want the best for their faculty and staff.

The above story showcases that as a business owner, you must:

1. Create a winning culture in your company

2. Allow your employees to shine in their respective roles

3. Avoid a power struggle (like the University of Texas boosters) that could tear your company apart

When you create a culture that allows your employees to shine in their roles, you will end up winning in the long term because they will go out of their way to promote you.

In the same manner as UH, customers will see your company as a place where people can grow their skills and positive recognition from outside sources will find you.

Have you created a winning culture like UH? You can leave your comments below.

The Win That Shook The Baseball World

By Cheval John

Just for today, I am taking a break from the National Non-fiction Writing Challenge month because I am in a different world right now.

The reason being is because the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night in a crazy Game 7 against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland, Ohio.

Many might not know that I am a lifelong Cubs fan and I have never been to the city of Chicago.

I was close to visiting the Windy City earlier this year, but thing just fell through.

Now you might wondering how a person from St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands who have never been to Chicago, be a life-long Cubs fan?

I will explain.

Though St. Croix does not have a professional sports team like cities here in the states, growing up we had sports teams to choose from.

What I mean is that on our cable television channels, we had Turner Broadcasting Station, which was the home of the Atlanta Braves, a station which broadcast the New York Mets and of course, WGN TV-Chicago which broadcast the Cubs and at times, the White Sox and the Bulls.

For some reason, I choose to follow the Cubs because watching the baseball home matchups at Wrigley Field felt like I were in a backyard neighborhood where people gathered to hang out with friends.

And seeing some of the great baseball players like Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, Andre Dawson, etc. putting in their best effort to win a matchup for the Chicago Cubs nation.

And of course, the late great Haray Caray, who brought excitement to the baseball game with his calls of “It Could Be, It Is” on homerun calls and “Cubs Win, Cubs Win” after they defeated an opponent in the matchup.


To add, the famous “Seventh Inning Stretch” which Caray led the fans and viewers to “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”

I grew accustomed to the Cubs losing because it was as if you expected something wrong was going to happen and they all of a sudden break your heart.

But no matter what, I stayed loyal to the Cubs despite the long suffering while watching other teams compete for the chance to win the World Series.

When I moved to Texas 17 years ago and seen the evolution of a great city like Houston, I stayed loyal to the Cubs because that was the right thing to do.

I honestly was wondering what would it be like when the Chicago Cubs would finally win the ultimate prize in baseball since 1908.

It seemed like everyone of us would have seen the Cubs win back in 2003 when they where 6 outs away from advancing to the World Series and finally seen them win the championship.

However, the Cubs collapsed and lost to the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship where many fans like myself blamed Steve Bartman for the loss.

I want to tell Mr. Bartman that I am sorry for blaming him for the Cubs loss in 2003 and that he is a true Cubs fan despite the vitriol that he had to deal with for a long time.

Seeing the Boston Red Sox breaking their own curse by winning the World Series in 2004 and then the White Sox winning in 2005 against the Houston Astros give us hope that we can break the drought of achieving the ultimate prize.

When the Tribune Company sold the team to the Ricketts in 2009, you had a sense that a championship was around the corner.

Then the hiring of Theo Epstein, the architect of the Red Sox team who won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, and Joe Maddon, who took a losing Tampa Rays team and made them contenders for World Series championships, solidified that a winning culture was about to be established.

Slowly, but surely, the Cubs made it back to the post-season in 2015 and made some strides including defeating the Pittsburg Pirates in the Wild Card matchup and beating the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals to advance to the NLCS, where they fell short to the eventual WS running up, Mets.

This year, they were the favorites and won 103 matchups and the central division title.

The pressure was on for the Cubs to make history and break a 108 year drought as they had to go through a San Francisco Giant team, who won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

When the Cubs, who had a 2-1 lead in the National League Division Series (NLDS), were trailing the Giants 5-2 leading up to the ninth inning in Game 4, I honestly thought that they were going to lose and then were probably collapse again.

But when Anthony Rizzo started the inning with a single, hope started to replace doubt.

Then they continued to put runners on base and optimism of a comeback against the Giants was a strong possibility.

All of a sudden, they scored 4 runs and defeated the Giants 6-5 to win the NLDS and break their chance of winning the title this year.

You knew that it was not going to be easy to beat the Dodgers because they had that fighting spirit due to the leadership of Dave Roberts, who was part of the 2004 Red Sox team.

However, they made it through and made it back to the World Series for the first time since 1945 to face the Indians.

It was awesome to see the Cubs in the World Series and break that so-called “Billy Goat” curse.

Though it was cool to see them in the ultimate championship series, I wanted them to win it all.

The Indians were looking to win their first World Series themselves since 1948 and it was an epic matchup.

I honestly felt it was our turn to win the championship because the city of Cleveland broke their 52 year championship drought due to the Cavaliers coming back from 3-1 to defeat the Golden State Warriors.

It seemed like the Indians had the Cubs number as they were leading 3-1.

But I had a strong intuition that if the Cubs won Game 5 at Wrigley Field, that they were going to win the championship.

Once the Cubs won Game 5, it was new life.

And the Cubs went on to tie the World Series at 3 matchups a piece, setting up the crazy Game 7 that probably made me age to 86.

When the Cubs had a 6-3 lead, it was like everything was falling into place for a win.

Then the Indians tied the matchup at 6 due to an RBI single and a two-run line drive home run by Rajai Davis and I was speechless and numb.

But for some reason, I was just more hopeful than ever and that 17-minute rain delay was very pivotal.

The Cubs scored two pivotal runs due to RBI hits by World Series MVP Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero for an 8-6 lead.

And with two outs and the Indians trailing 8-7, the batter hit a ground ball to where Kris Bryant got the baseball and threw it to Rizzo for the World Series Clinching out that sent the city of Chicago into a celebration frenzy.

At long last, we as Chicago Cubs fans don’t have to hear anymore about the last time they won a World Series again.

At the same time, we remember the long time fans, former Cubs baseball players who passed on without seeing their team capturing the World Series.

Now that this part of the story is complete, here are a few lessons that many of us business owners and professionals can learn from the 2016 Chicago Cubs team.

1. Ownership Have To Invest In Their Company

The Tribune Company, who in their brilliance made the Cubs a national team, did not fully invest the money into the iconic Wrigley Field. When Ricketts bought the team, he and his family fully invested in the team and made the organization a great place to work.

2. Find The Right People

Ricketts knew he had to bring in an executive who had fresh ideas to invigorate the Chicago Cubs organization and that is why Epstein was the perfect choice due to his previous track record of turning around the Red Sox. From there, Epstein hired Maddon as the manager and the rest is history.

3. Have A Winning Attitude

Epstein brought in the correct baseball players who had a strong winning attitude and providing them with the resources to compete against the best teams in Major League Baseball.

To conclude, a business must have leaders who care about the well-being of their business and the people who work for them.

If they don’t treat their employees correctly and allow their environment to be toxic, their business will end up failing overtime because their employees will not want to work for people who don’t give a flying leap.

When leadership actually cares about their employees, a winning attitude will occur and in the same manner, that company will break through to victory and be like the 2016 Chicago Cubs.

“Go Cubs Go”

I Decided To Participate In #NaNoWriMo2016

By Cheval John

For the entire month of November, I will be blogging everyday as part of Nina Amir’s National NonFiction Writing Month also known as #nanowrimo2016.

#NaNoWriMo2016 is an annual challenge for aspiring authors to blog a book in 30 days during the month of November.

About two years ago, I participated in the #nanowrimo challenge and blog my second book, “8 Lessons Every Podcaster Needs To Learn,*” which became an Amazon Best-Seller.

I decided that since the Super Bowl 51 will be occurring here in Houston next year, I wanted to write a book that will be beneficial for an estimated 1 million people who will be visited the fourth largest city in the USA.

Since many will be going out to eat during the Super Bowl, I decided to blog about the top food and coffee restaurants that are locally based in Houston that most people don’t know about.

I know that once people check out these local restaurants, they will truly fall in love with the hidden food and hospitality scene that Houston has to offer.

So to keep up with this challenge, you can subscribe to this website to see the preview about the restaurants of houston and even help me decide the name of this book.

Happy blogging.

*That is my second book connected to Amazon