Do You LOVE Your Business and Life?

September 21, 2006

I did a recent teleconference call with some of my coaching clients about creating a life you love.

It’s something a lot of us don’t think about very often. We talk about having a job, creating a business, or having a career. In most cases we’re simply thinking about it from the standpoint of earning a lot of income. And while earning money is very nice (just as being broke is not all that enjoyable), the question I’m going to present to you is whether you really love your business and life.

And if you don’t, why don’t you? The problem with most of us is we allow ourselves to simply put up with way too much because of fear. We stay stuck in a dead end job because we’re afraid of taking the next step. We’re afraid of starting our own business because we might fail. We’re afraid of hiring another employee to take some of the workload off of us, because what if we can’t afford to pay their salary?

That fear of stepping out is stronger than the pain we feel of our current situation. This factor is what holds people down year after year.

How does this apply to business owners who’ve already stepped out into the unknown of their own business? It applies to us because we often end up creating a life we hate because we try to do all the work of our business. Instead of delegating the work and creating a real business, we simply create another job for ourselves.

The problem for the majority of us is that we get pulled down by allowing ourselves to spend too much time working on things we’re poor at or shouldn’t be doing anyway. Items which aren’t part of your skill set should be immediately delegated to others or outsourced to freelancers. Eventually a “real business” outsources all the work. If it’s about you doing the work, you don’t have a business. You have a job.

What are your gifts? One of the easiest ways to find it is simply by asking the people who know you best…your friends and family. Ask them what seems to come naturally for you. When you’re gifted at something, you can almost do it without even trying.

And the best part is whatever you’re gifted at usually connects directly to things you’re passionate about and that you love. So the real key to creating a life you love is by finding your gifting and concentrating your time and energy in that direction…continually finding additional ways to delegate other parts of your life to give yourself to using your gifts to create value for others.

I’ll definitely be talking more about this in the future, but hopefully I’ve given you something to think about right now.

Upcoming Information Marketing Bootcamp

September 12, 2006

I’ll be speaking at Fred Gleeck’s Information Marketing Bootcamp coming up October 6th and 7th this year (2006).  It’s taking place in New York City and I’d highly recommend that anyone interested in running their own information business attend.

Fred will be covering how to sell books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs, seminars, and coaching programs.  I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Fred’s last information bootcamp earlier on this year in Las Vegas and I had a wonderful time. 

You can find out more about this event by clicking here. 

When you go to his site, you’ll notice that it doesn’t use a lot of hype to sell you on coming.  The site basically is just a large outline of everything which will be systematically taught at the event. 

Remember in addition to the information you’ll learn, you’ll also be given multiple opportunities to network with others at the event.  And in my experience, this is one of the best benefits you’ll receive at any type of conference.  You can make contacts with future joint ventures partners, lower cost vendors, and mastermind group members.  Don’t ever miss out on the networking at any event you attend!

You’ll notice the site mentions two surprise guests.  I’m one of them, but I personally don’t know who the second is.  In my presentation I’ll be talking about generating visitors and leads online along with maximizing the profits from your website.  I don’t want to let out all the details right now, but you will have a good time…

Simply click here to find out more…

I am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

September 11, 2006

It’s interesting. It seems that you’ll find many people talking about God in the business world today. There are even quite a few business consulting services which talk about adding spirituality to your business. In many types of businesses, it’s OK to talk about “being spiritual” or about how your spiritual life relates to your business life.

What isn’t OK in most circles is to talk about Jesus. Just His name is considered offensive. So you’ll allowed to talk about God or being spiritual, but people don’t want you talking about Jesus in the business world.

Well, I’m going to take a note right here from Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

I will talk about Jesus. I’m going to have to admit here that I haven’t always felt this way. In the past, I was ashamed…

No…I wasn’t ashamed of what people might say. If it makes people angry, then so be it. I’ve said a lot of things in my business that have made some people angry. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever sent out a successful email or written any successful articles that haven’t made some people mad.

It’s part and parcel of being online and being personal…you’re going to make some people angry. They won’t like you. So I’ve learned to live with that part.

What has made me ashamed is the fact that most people who claim to be “Christian business people” don’t act Christian at all in their business dealings. It’s so bad that the moment I hear someone mention being a Christian that I start wondering what they might be up to…and just how are they planning to backstab me.

I’ve seen it so many times that it scares me. The moment someone mentions being a Christian in business, it always seems they’re up to something dishonest! For example, there are network marketing companies that constantly talk about how Christian they are, yet the first thing they do to a new member is teach them how to LIE about the company’s name.

A recent poll was done in a Christian business meeting about how many of the members were really running their businesses based on Christian principles. The average was lower than one in ten. Yet they talked about themselves as Christian business people.

Yes, I’ve found it hard to not be ashamed of being a Christian in the business world…simply because so many people have used Christianity or the name of Jesus as an excuse to be a crook.

We’re not perfect and we all make mistakes. We fail. We don’t do everything that we should. But let’s at least make an effort to put Christian principles in place in our business.

Who Cares How Much You Gross?

September 7, 2006

When I first started in business I was always enamoured with the big numbers people would talk about themselves earning in business.  There weren’t a lot of Internet marketers doing it way back in 1996, but there were people in other fields such as network marketers doing it.  They’d show their big $80,000 monthly check from the business they were a part of…and there would be a hush around the audience as people sat in awe.

What they didn’t always tell us was about the large staff they had…all the mailing pieces that were going out…and how they ended up spending $100,000 a month to keep that check at that level. 

Now that I’ve both earned an extremely good income online and the fact that I’ve been on the “inside” of hundreds of business as a coach and consultant, gross numbers simply don’t impress me the least little bit anymore. 

I’ve seen companies selling products telling people about how they earn $8,000,000 a year online…and then they go bankrupt the next year because their expenses exceeded their income.  I wonder how much people would have wanted to emulate that part?

Let’s look at it this way in an example of two fictional companies (not wanting anyone to think I’m picking on them):

Company A has gross earnings of $900,000 per year.  They have five staff members and they spend quite a bit on product costs, their affiliate program, and advertising.  In all, their bills end up costing them $885,000 a year.  So they net $15,000 for the owner.

Company B has gross earnings of $85,000 per year.  That’s extremely low.  Yet they do it while only creating expenses equaling $10,000 per year.  So they net $75,000 per year for the owner.

Which business would you rather own?

Let’s look at it from another point of view.  We’ll take a business grossing $2,000,000 a year…with expenses totalling $1.5 million so they earn $500,000 a year.  Impressive, isn’t it?  What if the owner ends up having to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week to produce that income?

And let’s say they have a tiny little competitor grossing $250,000 with $100,000 in expenses so they earn $150,000 a year.  And they only work 2 hours a day 3 days a week?  Now which business is more successful?  Which one would you personally rather own? 

If they both work 50 weeks a year (to make the math simple), owner A works 4,200 hours and owner B works 300 hours.  Owner A with his $500,000 net income earns $119.05 an hour.  Owner B with only $150,000 net income earns $500 an hour. 

There are always a lot of things going on behind the scenes in every company you look at.  Gross numbers really don’t mean a whole lot.  And this isn’t just true in small companies.   I’ll be the investors of Enron a few years ago wished they knew more of things going on behind the scenes of their big gross numbers.

If you want to show a large gross income some month in your business, run a huge JV promotion with a lot of partners and pay them 100%.  Your gross income will look wonderful and you’ll be able to show your merchant statements to the world to prove how successful you are.  Your bank account might not look all that great next month after you pay your partners and spend all the money on fulfillment, but you don’t care about that part, do you?

Again, this isn’t an attack on anyone specifically.  It’s just me rambling on as usual.  If you want to find people who’ve succeeded using virtually any marketing tactic you’ve learned, I can usually point them out.  I’ve seen people using every tactic under the sun to build profitable businesses online, but the majority of them rarely let you in on the secret of exactly how much they’re earning.  In many cases, they’d prefer you didn’t know. 

Am I saying everybody showing earnings is being dishonest…of course not!  Showing earnings is one way of showing proof for your claims.  It’s good copywriting sense.  I’m just telling you that things aren’t always what they appear…and the best strategies for one business owner may not be the best strategies for your business.

 

What Are you Tolerating in Your Life?

September 6, 2006

I think everyone has filled out a list of goals at some point in time.  Doing your goals is considered “basic self-improvement.”  I have my goal sheets as well, but what I’ve found is that my goals has never been as motivating to me as dealing with things I don’t enjoy in my life.

I did one of my group coaching calls last night with some of my clients and we ended up discussing this subject for quite a while.  There are really only two things that motivate anybody to do anything: pain and/or pleasure.  You either take action to gain some type of pleasure (which could be as simple as the good feeling you have from giving to charity) or you take action to avoid pain (ask any milliionaire how much they’d be willing to pay to remove physcial pain from their body). 

Those are the only two real motivators…pain and pleasure.  If you’ve ever done much copywriting, you’ll know that the motivation of pain is often a much stronger motivator to cause people to take action now.  People want to remove pain from their lives (both physical and emotional)!

This is why I find working on tolerations to be more powerful in many cases than working on goals with myself and with clients.  What problems are you putting up with in your life? What are you tolerating that needs to be fixed? 

You know how to tolerate a lot of problems in your life. You put up with and are dragged down by other people’s behaviors, situations, unmet needs, frustrations, and problems. You even put up
with your own bad behavior at times!

Take a few minutes to write down all the things you’re tolerating in your life.  This includes your business life, your personal life, and even your environment (poor lighting, dirty office, unorganized desk, etc.). Just becoming aware of these tolerations will allow you to begin handling and eliminating them.

After you’ve written down all the things you’re tolerating in your life, now write down an action plan of how you’re going to fix each situation.  What is your deadline for resolving this problem? 

It’s a simple exercise, but I highly recommend it to you.  I’ve found it more effective than simple goal setting for my own life and for the lives of many clients.

Marketing is NOT a Dirty Word

September 5, 2006

Some business owners I work with don’t even want to talk about marketing.  The word immediately brings up a bad taste in their mouth.  Who can blame them.  There are a lot of pretty scummy tactics used in the name of marketing, things such as: false deadlines, bait-and-switch, overhyped sales copy, unbelievable promises, and guarantees people don’t honor.

In a recent book by a very well-known marketer, creating fake stories to sell your products was one of the major themes.  That’s right.  Having a good true story wasn’t enough.  They outright endorsed lying about your product or service in the name of marketing to create some fake sales story. 

Is it any wonder people look at the word, “marketing” and associate it was scammers at times?

Let’s get past the way some people use marketing to drive sales.   I know some of them will do whatever it takes to make the sale.  I know that many marketing consultants look at your conversion numbers and profit percentages as the only jude of doing business.  But this doesn’t mean you have to be that way…

Marketing is simply educating your customers to make a proper buying decision.  Your products or services may not be the right choice for all of them.  Let them know who your products are for and who they’re not for.  Let them know what benefits they’ll obtain from buying what you offer.  If your products really do help your customers, then you owe it to them to provide them with the best presentation and information you can.

Marketing is all about providing this information and education on a mass scale.  Let people know how you can improve their lives.  Tell them the benefits of what you offer…and show them a real picture of what those benefits will look like in their life. 

Use a true story that captures people’s interests.  Businesses who resort to making up false stories are simply taking the lazy approach.  They haven’t delved deep enough into their business to find where the real selling story is.  Look at every aspect of your business to find the story.  Who are you?  Who are your employees?  Where have you come from?  What specific results have your clients received?  How are your products made?  What makes your services different than other offers?  How many steps go into the creation of your products.

A good example of an honest education becoming a marketing message is in a story by Claude Hopkins in “Scientific Advertising.”  This is a very good book with a number of good marketing tactics any business can immediately apply and use.  He talks about a beer company who hired him to recreate their advertising campaign.  It was fascinating to him to see all the steps their beer went through in the manufacturing process.

His recommedation was to create their marketing message educating their customers about all the steps in the production of their product.  Their first response was that every competitor also made their products this way.  The lesson Claude taught them was you’re not marketing to your competition.  You’re marketing to your customers…and they don’t always know everything you know about what you’re offering. 

Marketing is simply educating your customers to a proper buying decision.  Although there are dishonest tactics being used in the name of markeitng, they are not what marketing is all about. 

Are Content Sites Dead?

September 1, 2006

I was spending some time lurking on a few Internet marketing discussion boards, and I noticed quite a few posts discussing whether content sites were dead or not.  The consensus on many of these sites was that content sites were simply not worth the time they took to set-up and run.  So although they didn’t feel they were, “dead,” they felt they weren’t worth the time and effort.

First, let’s mention the irony of this…a discussion board itself is a type of content site.  So we have people who regularly come to a content site to discuss whether content sites have value. 

The only reason a discussion like this even comes up is because many Internet marketing gurus only talk about mini-sites.  These are sites which consist of a sales page and maybe an email capture page (sometimes called a squeeze page).  All things being equal, a sales letter only page will have a higher conversion per visitor value than a content site or any other type of site for that matter. 

The best conversions you will have will be from a sales page offering one product…and one product only (along with possible upsells for that product).

Content sites will not have as high of conversion rates as a mini-site on a visitor by visitor basis.  What they do have is more free traffic…and they build a community atmosphere. 

A blog is a content site.  A discussion board is a content site.  A site full of articles and information is a content site.  Look at the top of the free search engine rankings for any niche subject…and what will you see?  You’ll see content sites.  This is what people are looking for when they begin their online searches.  What are the search engines themselves?  They’re free content.  They all have other items for sale, but the basis of their traffic and their popularity is their free content.

Content sites aren’t dead…and they’re not dying.  They’re growing…they’re expanding…and they’re changing.  While blogging has been around for years, it is only now really being instituted for a lot of corporate campaigns.  Audio and video have been added to the old mix of text only.  Podcasts are being introduced to many niches. 

Content sites will never die…because building relationships with your customers will never die.  What you need to find is a way to combine a content approach along with your sales systems.  Use content to generate visitors.  Bond with those visitors.  Then make them an offer that turns them into a customer. 

Quit trying to find all the “shortcuts” and start practicing good honest business sense…