Mick Haensler


“I had to pull over to breathe and stop crying”

“I was getting blood drawn. One of the phlebotomists said “We oughtta bomb Afghanistan until it’s a parking lot.” That anger was the saddest part of the day.”


These are the stories we remember. It’s not an American story, it’s a human story retold at the remembrance of every tragedy and every atrocity the world over since the beginning of the spoken word. Pictures of American flags on Facebook don’t tell the story, our memories do. Yes, it happened to us on that day but today it’s happening to someone else in Syria or Africa or North Korea. So tell your story to someone today. But more importantly, listen to theirs….

Mick Haensler


It’s out there, I can’t take it back. May the gods of the interwebs have mercy on my soul! If you don’t follow social media marketing you’re probably wondering who the hell is Jeff Bullas and why is unfollowing him so important as to write a blog post about it?

Firstly, Jeff Bullas is (from his website)”a consultant, coach, mentor and speaker who works with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company presence and brand with digital marketing and social media through the use of social media channels and other web and mobile technologies.”

Secondly, it’s not important that I unfollowed the guy, because he is irrelevant. What’s important is that he is irrelevant and people still listen to him and he probably makes a really good living being irrelevant. But what makes him so irrelevant?? Glad you asked, here’s my “4 Reasons Why Jeff Bullas Is Irrelevant”(if you follow him you’ll know why that’s funny).

  1. He tweets up to 100 times a day

    Really?? What could you possibly have to say that would require you to tweet like that? Turns out not much. Most tweets are links to blog posts over 2 years old, which, in the fast paced world of social media, makes them pretty much useless. Yes, there are timeless chestnuts that will be applicable today and years to come, but those are the exceptions not the rule.

  2. He hasn’t put a new video on his website since 2009

    I find it highly suspect that a guy who has written numerous blog posts about the power of video in social media has only 4 old, poorly produced videos to show for it. Do it right or take’em down Jeff.

  3. 3. He doesn’t date his blog posts

    This is an important one as I see it as deceptive and possibly misleading. Social Media changes so rapidly that what worked even 6 months ago might not be applicable today.

  4. 4. He is contradictory and pandering

    This is the deal breaker for me but you be the judge. Here’s a blog post from January 2013 titled “How To Get More Likes On Your Facebook Page” and here is one written 2 months ago titled “Why Chasing Facebook Likes Is Not Clever Social Media Marketing“.

I want to be clear, I have absolutely nothing against Jeff personally, I only use him as an example because I am familiar with him on several social networks. He’s probably an interesting guy to have a beer with, good family man, blah blah blah. He’s just a guy trying to make a buck. I get it. A man’s got to do something for a living these days.

Fortunately, people are starting to take notice that maybe guys like Jeff aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and instead are turning to those who have something REAL to say. People like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and Marc Ensign. Hopefully, guys like Jeff are a dying breed and in the words of The Outlaw Josey Wales, “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’ boy”.

Mick Haensler

WHY MLMs DON’T WORK(for 99% of you)

There has been a lot of hype recently in my home town regarding the spread and proliferation of MLM opportunities. I make it no secret that I am not a fan of these organizations. I’ve been to several recruitment meetings(great entertainment value BTW), read a lot of information from outside and inside the companies themselves, talked to IBO’s(independent business owners), Team Leaders, ex IBO’s and business experts and have come to the conclusion that despite the claims(wait a minute, I thought they weren’t allowed to make claims??), the overwhelming majority of people who join an MLM will not be financially successful. Big surprise huh!!!!

What may surprise you is why I think this. It’s not because of their outrageously overstated hype, overpriced services or products, potential market saturation or outdated and irrelevant business model. It’s not even because of the mathematical impossibilities of their compensation structure. It boils down to one thing for me and here it is:

The overwhelming majority of people who get involved in an MLM will not succeed because they do not have what it takes…..it’s that simple.

Being successful in any business venture, just like doing a workaday job, requires a certain set of skills and a certain mindset. If you are not currently running your own business or have not run your own business in the past, chances are you do not have the mindset to succeed at MLM. Additionally, you will more than likely not develop that mindset in a time period conducive to becoming successful at MLM. Think about it. You’ve been working a job your whole life, you’re used to being told what to do, when to do it, and in a lot of cases, how to do it. That is your mindset. You’ve been taught this since Kindergarten. Our educational system is built around it and most parents have encouraged it. In order for you to make MLM work, you will have to shift that mindset dramatically and do it in a short period of time so that you don’t get discouraged and quit.

Shifting a mindset that has been entrenched for years is an extremely difficult thing to accomplish. Not at all impossible, but difficult. MLMs know this and actually bank on it by playing to your desire for change. They also know they are ill equipped to assist you in executing real change in your life. They throw around terms like “personal development” and “the law of attraction”. They quote the likes of Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, and Bob Proctor chapter and verse. They will pump you up with so much positive thinking and Hoo Rah that you will beg them to take your money because you want to be a winner just like them!!! They will convince you that everything you have done or accomplished in life up until now pales in comparison to what you can achieve by signing up. But here’s the thing.

There is nothing wrong with you. Sure, you’ve got your issues, who doesn’t. You’re tired of working so hard, who isn’t. You would love to have more money, who wouldn’t. Welcome to the human race my friend!! And here’s another thing they won’t tell you…..are you ready? There is nothing wrong with having a job. That’s right!! We need people who go to work every day and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if that’s what you do! You may have a lot of other problems but that a’int one of them. And guess what else….you’ll love this.

Plunking down $500 or $300 or whatever does NOT buy you a business, will not make you an owner of anything and certainly will not give you independence. The IBO(Independent Business Owner) is pure, unadulterated fiction. You will become part of a team whose leaders will tell you how to do it, where to do it, and who to do it with. They will encourage you to distance yourself from those who don’t support your new “business”. Most will not allow you to set up your own website without written consent(which they won’t give), produce your own marketing materials, or post on social media on behalf of your new “company”. Some will tell you what you can and cannot name your new company and who you can and cannot call on to solicit business. In other words, you just handed over your hard earned cash to buy……………………a job. So maybe you do have what it takes after all!!!

Disclaimer: While the vast majority of MLMs operate in the manner discussed in this post, not all do. As with anything, do your homework. Read every word in their Policies and Procedures. Scrutinize the Compensation Plan. Ask hard questions at recruitment meetings. And always remember. No one, and I mean no one, has ever made a sustainable living selling products or services through an MLM. The ONLY way to succeed is to recruit a downline. If you have been approached to join an MLM and are considering the opportunity, might I suggest a bit of light reading for you.    


Mick Haensler

If I Had A Hammer

Let’s say one day you find yourself in need of a hammer. Problem is you’ve never owned a hammer much less used one. So you go to the hammer store and there before you is a plethora of hammers. Big hammers, little hammers, metal ones, fiberglass ones….you get the picture. As you stand before this magnificent display the hammer guy comes up and says”

HAMMERGUY: “May I help you sir/ma’am

YOU: Yes, I need a hammer

HAMMERGUY: Well you’ve come to the right place! As you can see, we have a LOT of hammers. What will you be doing with your hammer??

YOU: Hammer stuff

HAMMERGUY: I see, then you probably need this all purpose, very expensive hammer right here. Perfect for a variety of hammering!

YOU: Yeah, that sounds like exactly what I need

HAMMERGUY: Cash or charge?

Much like the hammer guy, most companies just want to sell you a hammer and be done with you. They really don’t care if it’s the right hammer or if you even know how to use it. They want to sell you a hammer….period. Now let’s look at a different experience. One your grandparents are familiar with. This time, let’s take your hammer needs to the local hardware store.

HARDWARE STORE GUY: Hey John what can I do you for today

YOU: I need a hammer

HARDWARE STORE GUY: What are you going to be hammering?

YOU: Nails

HARDWARE STORE GUY: What kind of nails and into what?

YOU: Little nails, to hang pictures on, HEY!! This one looks awesome!!

HARDWARE STORE GUY: Whoa there cowboy, if all you’re doing is hanging some pictures, that’s gonna be a bit overkill. This one over here will get the job done nicely. Have you ever done this before??

YOU: Nope!

HARDWARE STORE GUY: You’re in luck, tomorrow night we have a free picture hanging class, if you can’t make it, we’ll be posting it on our website as well. If you have any questions afterward, feel free to give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.

Local hardware stores are thriving despite the big box home improvement stores and for good reason. They offer something the others can’t and won’t. Once they tackled the price issue by forming coops under a trusted national header like Ace Hardware, They could return to focusing on what they do best, helping their neighbors.

Mick Haensler


We don’t plan our mistakes any more than we plan a car crash. They happen fast and  without much if any warning. Some new research from Princeton suggests we make mistakes more so from flawed information going into the brain than from a malfunction of the brain itself. A friend of mine on a recent vacation in Colorado made a life threatening mistake, he was on an ATV excursion in the mountains when his vehicle flipped. This guy’s a real man’s man(urr urr urr) and no novice to the sport but is used to our native flatland, not mountainous terrain.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet(big no no,invincibility complex) and his face, as well as the rest of his body got pretty banged up. He’s a fortunate guy, he lived to tell the tale. Some 700 people die and another 136,000 are sent to the emergency room every year from ATV accidents.

So, was his mistake due to a brain malfunction or crappy input?? As in most cases, probably a bit of both but I do believe the former influenced the latter more than vice versa. In the words of Dr. Phil…”What were you thinkin’!!!!”

Mistakes are a fickle topic. On the one hand, they can cause injury and death, on the other, they can lead to some of the greatest inventions in the world. Penicillin, The Pacemaker, X-Rays, Potato Chips and Chocolate Chip Cookies all came about because someone dared to make a mistake. We live in a world ever increasingly regulated to “help” us avoid making nasty boo boos. A leisurely drive down an otherwise pastoral country road is constantly interrupted by unnecessary and sometimes idiotic road signs put there in the interest of public safety. From our school system to corporate culture, we are bombarded with the message to Play It Safe.

I’m not advocating being a fool, nor am I justifying breaking the law or knowingly putting yourself in unnecessary danger, but we are made for adventure! We are a resilient bunch and handle adversity surprisingly well when we crawl kicking and screaming out of our beige walled, climate controlled, life sucking comfort zones.  A famous quote attributed to everyone from Albert Einstein to theologian William Shedd purports “ A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is for”. So go ahead, start that blog that’s been in the planning stages for the last year. You might have something to say worth listening to and if you’re lucky, you might just piss somebody off! Dreaming of starting your own business? It ain’t gettin‘ done reading this!  And by all means, climb that mountain on an ATV, but wear a helmet for cryin, out loud. You still might die but at least we’ll be able to keep the coffin open at your funeral.




Mick Haensler


Having a remarkable product or service does not, in and of itself, guarantee you success because being remarkable is not just about the product/service. Furthermore, claiming your product or service as remarkable, does not make it so, in a business sense that is. For a product/service to be truly remarkable, by it’s very definition it must be “noticed as being uncommon or extraordinary”. That part is what usually spells the demise of what should have been….remarkable.

The getting noticed part needs to be as remarkable as the product/service. The two go hand in hand. Without getting noticed, there can be no remarkable.

Mick Haensler


RoFo!!! If you don’t know what that means you probably aren’t a fried chicken fan living in the Mid Atlantic. RoFo is the new acronym/hashtag/hipster moniker for Royal Farms Stores, a Baltimore based convenience store chain. A few years back Royal Farms was dying on the vine. Their stores were rundown, product selection was poor, lackadaisical staff and their deli was, well, just plain nasty. They were also being squeezed out of the market by Pennsylvania interloper Wawa. Wawa had shiny new stores, a Subway style deli, well trained, friendly staff and most of all, a damn good cup of joe. Wawa knew what Royal Farms did not, we are a coffee fueled society and “if you own the morning, you own the day”.

In the face of this, Royal Farms did something dangerous. They completely rebranded themselves. Old stores were torn down and replaced with new modern, green(LEED certified) stores complete with a full service touchscreen deli(awesome fried chicken), better selection, and a gourmet coffee bar. Staffing improved dramatically, billboards touting “we take coffee seriously” and “world famous fried chicken” were popping up everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Royal Farms underwent a massive and very expensive rebranding in the middle of the worst economic downturn since The Depression. They took the road less traveled and it is paying off big. Then along came RoFo.

WHAT??? That don’t make no sense!! Shouldn’t it be RoFa??? Did marketing just go off the deep end? It appeared in all the flurry someone had just made a laughable mistake. But no one was laughing. In fact they were spreading RoFo like wildfire. Turns out RoFo is not the brainchild of some hipster marketing firm but a grass roots movement started by the customers themselves. Royal Farms acted quickly. Pretty soon there was RoFo pop, RoFo started appearing on the entrance signs to new stores and everyone from inner city kids to soccer moms was saying RoFo.

Royal Farms listened, and it paid off. It’s that simple.

Mick Haensler


Didja miss us?? Some of you may have noticed a few months ago we went silent on social media. It was not an easy decision, especially for a company that consults with and implements social media for other companies. We had a few uncomfortable conversations with clients but in the end, we were able to convey clearly why we were doing this, and now it’s time to share that reason.

Simply put, we hadn’t found our voice. Instead of producing original content that we were passionate about, we had become social parrots reposting other people’s original content which, for the most part, was rewritten garble from someone else’s original content that didn’t really say much in the first place! We had become the exact thing that we try to steer clients away from. We had found the enemy, and, sadly, he was us. So we shut it down, packed up our toys and went home.

Some people advised “but you’re a social media company you can’t just NOT post….it’s not right”!! Why not? If you haven’t figured out what you want to say and how you want to say it, why add to the clutter and static? One of the biggest problems in social media today is this incessant need to be heard, even when you have nothing to say and we will not be a part of it. It would be a disservice to you who read this, and to our clients who pay us.

So here we are, a new website, a new logo, and a new voice that is all our own. We’ve also brought in some people to help with the onslaught of clients we’re sure to garner with all this hubbub!! Mary Anne Benzin will be handling the office, business development, and sales. Her email is maryanne@highergroundmediainc.com. And Adora Bowman will be helping with graphic design and branding.

This blog is the focal point and the voice for our online presence and hopefully will be a shining example of how original content is done right. We write about digital marketing(big surprise huh?) and branding but aren’t opposed to the occasional esoteric meandering. All brought to you in our signature snarky style!!! We hope you like it, we hope you come back and most of all, we hope you give us a call to discuss what we can do for you!