December 31, 2007
Once you’ve made goals or chosen pain to eliminate, you now need to count the cost.
Read my previous article by clicking the link above to find out why my goals are often simply eliminating things I’m tolerating in my life.
You’ll never accomplish anything in life without paying a cost for it. To build a business will require you to work longer hours in the beginning. You may have to get up early or stay up later. You may have to banish your TV for the next year. If you want to save more money, you may have to quit going out to eat so often. You may have to cut out some of your shopping budget.
If you plan to study and learn new subjects for your personal growth, you may have to turn off the radio station and listen to training CDs on the way to work. Anything you do will cost a price. It may be not as high of a price as you would think, but it will cost you something.
For example, anyone can become an expert in virtually any subject in just one hour a day study over a year to two year period. That is a lot easier than most people would think, but it is still an hour which has to be invested everyday.
Count the cost for your goals or eliminating pain in your life. Make a plan. You should never start a new business without a plan, and you’ll never reach your goals without a plan either.
You may want to weigh 30 pounds less than you do right now, but how do you plan to accomplish this? When will you schedule to exercise and what kind of exercise will you do? How will you change your eating habits to cut your daily calories? How can you get your friends or family to help you on this goal?
You can pick up dozens of books at any bookstore on the subject of losing weight. The hidden little secret is that the majority of them work, because you simply need to exercise more and cut the number and type of calories you eat. So you don’t have to starve yourself or go on any crazy fad diet. Just make a plan that includes both exercise and healthy eating.
Make your plan by breaking down the goal into elements or steps. What kinds of steps will you have to take to reach your goal? The number of steps you use will be based on how complicated of a goal you have.
If you’re starting a new business, you may have dozens of steps to prepare. You need to study the marketplace, visit competitors, do customer research, etc. Then you need to apply for licenses, setup a legal business form such as corporation, and possibly apply for business loans based on a business plan you’ve written.
If your long-term plan is to build your current business to $1,000,000 a year in net profits, then you may have one year goal and plan for $100,000 increase. For that plan, you may make a list of asking customers why they buy from you, writing new ads, testing your ads, and checking around to find joint venture partners who may be able to offer more items to your current customers.
You can break down these plans into many more steps than what I’ve listed here. The planning stage should be broken down into easy to accomplish daily and weekly goals. When I said write a new ad above, that could be broken down into individual steps as well.
You may design 3 ads to test, so you first decide on the “offer” for each one…what will make it unique and exciting to your customers. Then you decide on headlines. Then you write the rough draft of one ad. Then you edit it. Then you test it. Then you see if you can improve on it or test out one of the other possible offers you come up with.
The other important element that comes in while making plans is to make deadlines that are practical. You may want to lose 30 pounds, but doing that in 30 days is not practical. You will not reach that goal and do it in a healthy fashion.
The healthiest way to lose weight is 1 to 2 pounds per week. You hate the extra 30 pounds you’re carrying and want to eliminate it in the next 6 months. You can break that down further and say you would like to lose 5 pounds this month. You didn’t gain 30 pounds in a month, and you won’t be losing it in one month either. So make shorter term goals such as losing 5 pounds per month.
If the most you’ve ever made in your life is $30,000 per year, then having a goal of making one million this year is not a realistic goal.
Making one million a year 5 years from now isn’t that difficult, but you’d be better off setting a goal of $100,000 or so for your business the first year. You then would need to come up with all the steps required for you to reach this.
If it’s a brand new business you’re starting, there will be a lot of steps involved. Pick up several books that talk about starting new businesses to help you write down all the steps you’ll need to take. Then get busy and start taking one step at a time.
One of the key principles here is you want your goals to be something you can really have faith in. You are only limited by what you can believe, but you won’t be able to believe with your heart that you’re worth the one million dollar income if you’ve only been making $30,000. You’re going to have to grow into it. You’ll have to build up to the point where you truly believe you’re worth that much money.
Most people set their one year goals too high and their 5 year goals too low. You can experience multiplied growth every year of your life, so your goals for 5 years out should be a whole lot bigger than your goals for this year alone. You can build the life you dream about, but you have to be willing to put in both the time and energy required to get there. You have a lot of learning and growing to do.
Look at potential roadblocks which may come up in the pursuit of your goal. What kind of obstacles are likely to come against you? This is part of counting the cost. You may have friends who won’t want to be around you anymore. People who are set in their ways and satisfied with mediocre life don’t usually accept those who want to strive for excellence. If you want to soar with the eagles, you might not be close friends with the turkeys anymore. You may have opposition from your family.
The Bible says…
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.”
December 28, 2007
It’s funny. I used to have a lot of trouble writing out goals. It wasn’t that I was such a slacker that I didn’t want to accomplish anything, it’s just that I’ve always found myself easier to motivate by pain than by pleasure.
As you already know, people only have two motivations for doing anything: pleasure or pain. They either do it because of the pleasure they’ll receive or they do it to avoid pain. If you’ve done any copywriting, you know pain is usually the much stronger motivator of the two. If someone is in pain right now, they will do whatever it takes to get rid of that pain.
Prevention is a very tough sale, but people will beat a path to your door if you can cure them of pain.
I originally started my online business because the situation I was in was so painful. Having creditors calling you all the time is painful. Barely paying the rent on a $340 a month rental house with leaks in the ceiling is painful. Not being able to even take your wife out to eat is painful.
I hated where I was at and I was motivated to change my situation. This meant I was willing to do what it took to succeed online. I studied. I tested. I refused to quit no matter what, because the pain of where I was motivating me and pushing me forward.
It’s quite interesting when you look around sometimes and see just how many people who are successful in business were at the bottom of the barrel before. And you’ll find many achieved success to stick it in someone else’s face who doubted them (no that one does not apply to me).
It seems those who just want to earn a little extra money online or those that like the idea of running their own business don’t have nearly the success rate of those who have some pain motivating them to take massive action online.
Yet, once I was successful, I found it much harder to set goals. They simply didn’t motivate me, at least not as well as pain. You may have a similar experience. You find it easy to do whatever it takes to get out of pain, but taking action to achieve greater pleasure just isn’t all that easy to focus on.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions, but how many really follow through on them? They set goals, but they don’t reach them.
It’s likely they’re similar to me in that they’re motivated much stronger by pain than by pleasure.
Setting goals comes under the pleasure motivation. You’re looking to improve your life by the goals you reach…whether it’s to make more money, lose weight, or increase your time off. Those are all pleasure motivations.
So I went looking for way to turn the tables. One method you can use is to announce to others your goals. This is to set yourself up for pain if you don’t reach those goals. You’ll look stupid in front of everyone you told about your goals.
Another one is to turn it around and focus on removing the “tolerations” and “problems” in your life instead of just focusing on goals. Write down everything that’s causing you pain in your life. How can you eliminate it or change how it affects you? What actions will you take immediately to change each situation?
Below is a worksheet I’ve used with coaching clients in the past to help them identify areas they can work on.
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.
Just becoming aware of these tolerations will allow you to begin handling and eliminating them. There is room to write down each item you’re tolerating and the action you can take to eliminate this toleration. On the second page are a few ideas you can look over to help you with your list.
December 26, 2007
You can increase the profits in your business TODAY without improving your conversion rates, raising prices, or adding a single new customer to your business. All you need to do is get your current customers to buy more. And the process of doing this is so easy it’s almost scary.
All you have to do is ASK your customers to buy more. You have not because you ask not.
Ask #1: Upsell on Order Form
You can run an upsell on your order form. For example, in Netofficetoolbox.com which I use for some of my products, you can set up bundled offers – which is a discount price for multiple products together.
If you’re not able to do an upsell on the order form itself, then you can offer a deluxe version on your main sales page or do an upsell on a “pre-order form” (this is a page you take customers to before they input their ordering information) where they can choose a larger package. For example on Clickbank.com or Paypal systems, simply put one additional page after the sales page where you offer them a larger package. It would have two order links on this page – one for your regular offer and one for the upgraded version.
2. Upsell on Thank you page
When is the absolute best time to make the second sale to a customer? One week later? Nope. It’s immediately after they purchase while they still have their credit card in their hand. Everyone of your thank you pages should have another offer OR links to your other products offers. The thank you page is one place where it makes sense to have a “catalog” style page of other related offers.
You can even do a “one-time” offer on the thank you page. This is an offer where you’re giving people a discount or a special deal for purchasing that they can only see this once. If they come back to it later, it will not be available at this price or with this special. Great way to convince people to buy something else right after their initial purchase.
3. Links Inside Product
Run links to your other offers inside the product itself. If this is your very first product and you don’t have anything else to offer, link to affiliate programs or other related offers you can earn an income from. This applies to the other profit boosting options as well. If you don’t have something to offer, find someone else who does.
You could even create a low cost item that’s primary purpose is to provide good content while selling a backend item (this is called a self-liquidating lead by Dan Kennedy and others). This simply means you’re not trying to make a profit at all from the product. It is just there to provide you with free leads for your backend item.
4. Email Follow-up Series on Customers
You should have an email follow-up series for customers after they buy from you. The first few messages need to resell them on the product they already purchased. Do this by pointing to specific areas of the content or by explaining how to get maximum value out of the product. You can even send them an extra surprise bonus in the series. Then begin promoting other related products along with providing additional content.
If you’re not following up, you’re not earning maximum income from your product.
5. Customer Thank You Call
This isn’t something I do all the time, but it’s a strategy that definitely improves your sales on higher ticket items. It would be a little expensive for very low cost items, but it’s a great way to boost profits from items over $100. When a customer orders, simply call them up and thank them for their order. While you’re on the phone with them, mention a special you’re having where they can get a discount on another related product if they order it now.
Do the first few calls like this yourself until you have the process down. Then have your virtual assistant doing it for you. It’s really easy to close 30%+ of the people you have called. The key is not to do a hard pitch sales call. It’s to simply thank the customer, let them know when their order will ship, and do a service by telling them about the special.
December 24, 2007
Just a quick post today wishing you a merry Christmas!
Right now I’m enjoying Christmas with my family. Take some time off. Relax.
I’m off this week having fun: opening presents, playing games, watching movies.
It’s always so amazing whenever you take a break. Right before your vacation you get so much accomplished quickly…and the same thing occurs when you get back. Ideas are flowing like a river. New products are created. You receive an instant revelation of how to improve your business processes. And you feel so much more excited about your business.
Here’s are a few pictures of my golden retriever Rocky enjoying himself in the snow this past week:
December 21, 2007
Research Site #1: http://pulse.ebay.com/
Search different categories to find out exactly what people are looking for on eBay. Here’s a powerful principle to remember. On Google, many people are simply looking for free information. On eBay, they’re looking to BUY something.
Research Site #2: http://buzz.yahoo.com/
What are people searching for this week online? Find out what they’re looking for information on now.
Research Site #3: http://www.viralvideochart.com
What are the top 20 most popular videos online? The majority of these are celebrity videos, but sometimes you’ll find a marketer just like you get something through to the top.
Research Site #4: http://youtube.com/browse?s=mp
Which videos do best on Youtube? Find out with the above link. The beauty is you can also search by category on the left side of the page.
Research Site #5: http://popurls.com
Find the most popular buzz going on right now on Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Newsvine, Google, and more. This site combines more than a dozen of the top sites to see which articles get the most attention.
Research Site #6: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/new-for-you/bestsellers/-/books/
Find the hottest selling books on Amazon. Use the categories along the left to search for books related to the subjects you’re interested in producing information products on.
Research Site #7: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
Over 20,000 digital ebooks ready for free download. Many of these ebooks are even in the public domain (not all of them – so check the licensing information). You can even check the Top 100 Books and Authors section to see what’s most popular.
Research Site #8: http://www.download.com/3101-2001-0-1.html
Find the most popular software downloads.
Research Site #9: http://findarticles.com
Over 10 million articles available online. Great resource whenever you’re doing any type of research for your own articles.
Research Site #10: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/dvd/554048/ref=pd_ts_d_nav
Find the most popular instructional DVDs selling on Amazon. This continues with the principle to sell things people are ALREADY buying.
December 20, 2007
Was a week before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for the louse.
Note: Slang definition of Louse = A mean or despicable person
My wife and I were out for a little shopping and our date night. When we come home, the back door is wide open. I walk into the living room, and see a huge gaping hole in the wall where our plasma TV was.
Being “smart” criminals, they stole the TV but left the external electronics box that runs the TV. The plasma we had was an older 2003 version that used an separate box for the tuner and electronics. So all they really have a monitor screen without the electronics that hook it up. I thought about putting it on the back deck with a video camera on it to see if someone comes by to pick it up.
Note that there were much more valuable items just sitting on the table they walked right by to get this TV that now will not work for them (we had recently been shopping for Christmas presents). Yet, they wanted a TV. Figures. What is it about a TV that drives people to insanity?
We called the police and they “rushed” right over. After telling them what happened, we came up with a likely suspect. With the style of the crime and since it was done one week before Christmas, we have a pretty good idea. See enclosed sketch of the most likely suspect.
Additional information about the suspect includes that he drives a sleigh pulled by a small dog and has a heart 2 sizes too small. If you have any information that leads to the capture of this criminal, fill out the comment form below.
In addition to the TV, they stole my wife’s jewelry box. Fortunately, she was wearing her favorite jewelry at the time, so our homeowners insurance covers the cost of what they stole. She is still quite upset about a few pieces they stole because of the sentimental value, including her class ring, a necklace from her mother, and several other gifts she received.
They hit our dog with a broom they took from the porch (it was laying in the living room when we got home). He is OK although he is acting quite nervous. Makes sense. He is a protective dog although he is getting old so I hope someone at least got a nasty bite out of the experience.
My wife feels violated by the burglary. Besides getting an alarm and another guard dog (I love dogs), what should I do to help comfort her?
And by the way, please bookmark and stumble this post using the “Share This” button.
December 19, 2007
You’ve probably heard me say it before, “Just do it.” Get started today. Take action. Do something!
You may be wondering what in the world should you start doing! Start a blog. Write an article. Generate some traffic.
But even more important, create your first product. Get it out there and get some experience with marketing online.
You’re not planning for a home run project on your first time up to bat. Just go for that single base hit. I’ve made the mistake in the past of trying to put together encyclopedia type projects which cover every aspect of a topic. That’s not what customers want. They want a simple solution and step-by-step system to reach their goals in the shortest time possible. They don’t even want a full book on the topic. The quicker and easier you can provide the information, the better it is.
You’ve seen me talk about selling high ticket items. They’re key to taking your business to the next level of profits, but they are not where most people start on their very first project. For your very first project, the primary goal is to do something simple that you can get done quickly.
Below are 3 types of projects that make sense for your first time:
1. Write a short report.
Publishing a book is a long time consuming process. I have two published books available at Amazon.com. They both took a lot longer to write and a lot longer to publish than any beginner needs to follow for their first product. Don’t write a book for your first product! Don’t even write a “full ebook” for your first product.
Write a short 10 to 30 page report about the subject instead of a longer work. Give it a low lead generating price (such as $9.95, $10, or $19.95). Sell it on Clickbank.com or through Paypal.com (you don’t need a merchant account). You can also run it on eBay or Amazon’s new Kindle program.
You can write this length of report in a day…or at most 2 days. Then you can pull out an article or two as excerpts from the report for promotional purposes. Are you going to make a fortune from this product? Nope. That’s not it’s goal. The goal is to get you started in a market and start building a customer list.
2. Record an Interview
Can’t write a 10 to 30 page report that gives people a step-by-step system? Maybe you’re not the expert on the subject. In that case, simply find the expert to interview.
If you’ve never done an interview before, you’ll likely be shocked at just how willing many experts are to taking you up on your request. As long as you allow them to promote their new book or their product, they’re ready and willing to do the interview with you.
Here are a few simple tools to do your interview. Use Skype to make the phone call. Then record using Powergramo. The paid version of this software even allows you to record on two different channels so you can fix the volume levels. To edit the interview, you can use the free Audacity software.
Once you’ve produced your interview, you could sell it digitally just like the report above, or you can turn it into a CD using Kunaki. For $1.60 per copy they will duplicate your CD and they even have template designs to get your first product up quickly.
3. Produce a DVD
This is more complicated than writing a report or producing an audio, but it’s not that much more complicated when you use the right tools. If the product you want to create is on anything computer related (online marketing, software program tutorials, ebay, etc.), you can use Camtasia Studio to produce the product. You can download their 30 day trial here.
Once you’ve produced the videos, I recommend Sony DVD Architect which is part of Vegas Movie Studio. It allows you to put together a DVD with menus that you can then upload to Kunaki for duplication (only $1.60 per copy).
There you have it…3 ways to create your first product quickly. If you’d like to go into deeper detail about how to profit from your own information business, check out my Information Marketing Mastery product here…
December 17, 2007
Choosing the right business niche can be worth millions. One online marketer makes a fortune while another struggles just to pay the rent…even though they’re using the exact same types of advertising. The difference is their market idea…and how they approach it.
A lot of marketers expend their energy and their money to promote a product nobody wants. Or they choose to build a business inside a niche that’s too small. Or they pick a large marketplace and find it too difficult to separate themselves from the pack.
Principle #1 for choosing a profitable niche is to find products and subjects that are already proven to be successful. You don’t want to be a brand new pioneer in a new marketplace. Let someone else waste their time and money testing a new market for you!
Here are 5 ideas generators for markets (all based on making sure someone else is selling into the marketplace first)
Idea Generator #1: Paypal Shops
You can search through the different categories of shops. When you visit different companies accepting Paypal, they’ll even share the number of Paypal transactions that shop has had. You don’t have to guess where the money is at or where it is flowing. Look for products or services that are selling with with a lot of transactions.
Idea Generator #2: Lulu
Lulu is a site for self-publishers essentially that allow book authors and information product developers to upload their material and they will print out a book on demand. They keep statistics about what titles are selling in what categories. You can get a sense of what’s selling there for small publishers.
Idea Generator #3: Shopping
Shopping.com has a Consumer Demand Index showing the hottest searches for what people are actually looking at buying. Consider this. People who search on Google are often looking for free information. You can translate some of those searchers into buyers. The research we’re doing is showing what people are actually buying!
Idea Generator #4: eBay
Choose any category in eBay and find out the most popular searches and the biggest eBay stores. What are customers looking for to buy online? eBay (the biggest online shopping destination) shares their stats with you!
Idea Generator #5: Magazines
If a magazine can be supported and has been in business for a while, that means that people are paying for the magazines and advertisers are making money. The magazines are supported by advertisers. If there aren’t enough advertisers in a marketplace to support a magazine, I’d be very nervous about entering that market.
You’re notice the whole principle behind all these ideas generator is that we’re following the money trail. If others are making money in the marketplace, then it’s passed step one of the marketing process. If there aren’t proven winners already, I’ll pass on the market. And I recommend you do the same.
If you’d like to go further in depth on how to pick your million dollar market, see my low cost online course, “Virtually Foolproof Method for Choosing Slam Dunk Markets.” Picking the right market is the first step, and it’s vital if you want to make profits online while making your life simple. Find out how one of my coaching clients has successfully entered 17 wildly different markets successfully.
December 14, 2007
Here are some of my favorite blog posts from around the web this week.
This is part of Copyblogger’s 58 Killer Offers series. The whole series is definitely a resource you can use when you’re putting together your product or service offers. Use it as a brainstorming tool to come up with the right unique offer in your market.
Fred Black shares that many people have been so hyped up by the salesletters about instant internet riches that they get frustrated by the work it takes to succeed online. Then he shares 20 points to help you consistently be successful with your internet business.
John Carlton shares why from time to time you may want to reach out with the phone and call some of your best customers. Nope…not to “sell” them your great new item. Just do it to stay in touch and and build your relationship with them. While you’re at it, you’ll find the selling process is made so much easier.
I quote, “Most people don’t learn until late in life that NO amount of money will be enough or bring satisfaction when you are not a person who has learned true contentment.” Very good article to think about as money alone doesn’t bring contentment in your life.
Lee Mcintyre shares a video of how he posted a content rich post on one of the popular marketing forums – and how it generated many new visitors, subscribers, and customers for his business. You really can share…and profit from it.
Michel Fortin tells how his blog was hacked by a malicious code which caused him to be blocked by Google. Google not only blocked his site but also displayed a warning that his site was malicious. You definitely don’t want to use the plugin he talked about here.
Sometimes we try to make marketing just too difficult. This post shares just how easy it is to get the media contacts for major publishing outlets. It takes time, but it is easy.
Controversy sells…and generates traffic. John Chow shares how bad press can be good for business. I can’t agree that this is true 100% of the time, but it is often true.
December 12, 2007
The greatest obstacle to creating the life you want is fear.
It affects every single area of our lives. You’re afraid of what happens if you take that next step. People spend their whole lives in their “comfort zone” because they’re afraid to step out and do something different. It could be that they’re afraid of going back to school. They’re afraid of starting their own business. They’re afraid of creating their first product.
How many years have you allowed fear to hold you back from your dreams?
I often talk about creating your perfect lifestyle.
What is it you want in life?
How do you want to spend time with your family?
What kind of home do you want to own?
Where do you want to live?
What hours do you want to work?
What do you want to do while you’re working?
Where do you want to vacation?
What is your perfect day?
Answering those questions is the first part of designing your life. The next step will be coming up with an action plan to take you from where you are now to where you want to go.
And I promise you…that enemy of your life FEAR will show it’s ugly head. Whatever action steps you must take will require you to overcome fear.
The biggest obstacle you will face is the FEAR. No one else can stop you from success in your goals. No one else can hold you back. You’re the only one who holds yourself back…and most of the time it’s simply because of fear.
You’re afraid of what will happen. What will happen if you step out and start a business? What if it doesn’t work? What if people don’t buy? What if it loses money? The “What If” monster bombards you with all the negative possibilities.
For example, public speaking is one of the greatest fears. What if you freeze when you get up to speak? What if you say something stupid? What if you look like an idiot?
My answer is “So what?” So what if you say something stupid. You’ve probably done it before, and you’ll do it again. And I’m thoroughly convinced someone will think you look like an idiot. The majority won’t. They’re respect you for even getting up there, but someone will think you look like an idiot. So what? That same person who thinks you look like an idiot really is an idiot. So why would you care what they think?
I’ve faced fears in every step of my business. I created my first product full of fear about whether anyone would like it…and especially if anyone would pay for it. What’s the worst that could of happened? Well, I guess the worst would be for nobody to buy it. Or for a lot of people to buy it and 100% of them return it (that one isn’t possible as most people would be too lazy to return it). I’d then have to figure out why they weren’t buying…and I’d learn to do better.
What if no one likes the article I write…and they all unsubscribe from my list? So what? If you don’t write the article, then it doesn’t matter how many people are on your list anyway since you’re not contacting them. If you don’t write the article, how will people find your website?
Sometimes you just have to say, “So what if the worst happens…this is my dream anyway.”
I couldn’t imagine a worse life than toiling away at a job you hate for 40 years waiting for a day you can retire. You don’t want to be at the end of your life wishing you took the chance…wishing you did something else. Take the chance today. Take the small baby step.
For business, that baby step may be to buy a domain name and get your blog setup. It may be to create your first low cost product. It may be to write that article or produce that online video.
It may be to send out that interview request to 10 experts in a market. What if nine of them don’t respond? So what? You still have 1 more expert than you did yesterday. What did you lose? Not much.
Don’t allow FEAR to control your life and hold you back. Every breakthrough you’ll ever have in your life and business will require you to overcome FEAR. It’s the enemy. It’s hiding in your mind right now making up excuses for why you can’t go forward. It’s telling you why it won’t work for you. It’s creating excuse after excuse of why you have to stay where you’re at instead of stepping out toward your dreams.
Eventually you have to say no more. Take the small first step. Do something. Write that article. Start that blog. Create that product. Just do it!