Archives for September 2009

What You Need To Know About Online Business Success: Part 2

If you want to read this in a PDF document you can do so here.

Previous Lesson: Part 1

healthyHaving the Right, Healthy Mindset

The success of any business both of the online variety as well as the off line variety require the right mindset from the get-go.

A right and healthy mind set will not guarantee success but a wrong and unhealthy or unrealistic mindset will most assuredly guarantee failure. So the right mind set is the first corner stone that must be laid upon which a successful business can be constructed.

What is a right and healthy mindset?

There are things that it is as well as things that it isn’t.

A right and healthy mindset IS the willingness to work as hard and as long as is necessary to achieve the goals that has been set. A right and healthy mindset ISN’T the belief that success will be easy, quick or painless.

Those who believe that they can make an internet business enterprise thrive without having to actually put in any time or effort are simply doomed to failure from the beginning.

There are schemers and scammers out there in cyberspace that are just waiting eagerly for those to come along who are looking for easy riches.

A right and healthy mindset IS the willingness to take the time to make a good, solid business plan that is based upon sound business principles.

A right and healthy mindset ISN’T just jumping in feet first and hoping for the best. The best that can happen under those circumstances is that you get out with anymore than two cents to your name.

‘Flying by the seat of your pants’ is NOT a plan…it is just plain suicide in the world of internet marketing. If you don’t have a formal education in business, you need to find people who do have that kind of education and seek then follow their advice.

Recognizing and Using Leverage

There are dozens…maybe hundreds….of business models out there. Some are, of course, more successful than others but they all come with their own set of pros and cons.

The idea is to get the most bang for the buck. You need to use all of the power of the Internet to make your e-business successful. You really cannot afford to leave any stone unturned.

If you are a real go-getter, the temptation is to do everything first and that isn’t possible. You need to make a realistic plan and build one thing upon another until you have a good solid base from which to operate.

Once you get a website built, you will need to begin leveraging SEO (search engine optimization) and gaining page rank.

One thing does lead to another, of course, but one of the quickest ways to leverage SEO is to add a blog to your website. This is a way that you can get much more quickly indexed by the search engines.

Leveraging also includes branding yourself, your website and your products.

Remember that reputation and credibility are everything on the internet. Don’t take any shortcuts and never damage or allow others to damage either.

It Is Not What You Know, But Who You Know

That is an old saying. “It is not What you know, but Who you know that counts”. Setting a corner stone of good solid relationships is an important aspect of building a successful e-enterprise.

Working hard at building good solid business relationships is worth every minute of time that you invest in it. Business relationship building should be one of your top priorities.

When you build social relationships, you insert yourself into social situations where you come in contact with people who have interests that are similar to or complimentary to your own interests don’t you?

That is precisely the same way that business relationships are established. You insert yourself into business situations where you will meet others who have businesses that are similar to or complimentary to your own business. You develop relationships over a period of time.

There are several ways in which to accomplish this task. One way is to participate in teleseminars or webinars that are related to your business.

You will learn a lot, of course, but equally important, you will come in contact with those who are already succeeding in the niche market that you are working in.

Of course, attending real brick and mortar world seminars is an even better way to begin to build friendly business relationships with not only your peers but also with those who are in a position to help you….which brings me to the final corner stone that you need to lay.

Find a Capable Mentor

It isn’t likely that there is a more valuable asset that a new e-entrepreneur can have than a good and capable mentor. Someone who has already made all of the mistakes can help you to avoid making all of the mistakes yourself.

They have the wisdom that comes from experience to point out pitfalls and to help direct you toward the better of choices.

Why, you ask, would anyone who has it made want to take their time to help a newbie succeed?

The ones who are the very most successful are the ones, amazingly enough, who are the most likely to mentor an up and coming e-entrepreneur.

Of course, these successful internet marketers are not going to be interested in wasting their time on a person who has not already worked hard to lay those first three corner stones themselves.

These potential mentors are looking for new comers who show that they have a right and healthy mindset, who are working hard at leveraging and who are well aware of how important it is to know all the players and the RIGHT people.

It short, the new comer most likely to get a mentor is one who is already working hard and helping himself and not looking for someone who can just smooth the way for him.

Lastly, I have been in the retail business world for many years and it’s my experience that we DO NOT share our tips with the competition.

That’s why I LOVE the internet, because there’s tons of room for everybody. People often think, “oh too bad I only have 100 visitors a day to my website.” It’s a big rush rush to build your visitors and your traffic.

I could only imagine what my retail store would have looked like if I had 100 visitors per day coming in! everyday! I would have made the most of it and done everything I can to increase my sales. Don’t take for granted the power of the internet, 100 visitors per day is a wonderful start!

What You Need To Know About Online Business Success: Part 1

If you prefer to read it in a PDF you can do so here.

Inside my newsletter I have a message set up asking new people who join about them and their business.  From those questions I’ve been asked on how to be successful online.  Knowing that demand, I’ll be sharing with you a series that I think will help you out. I believe success comes from within, if you’re not in the right mindset, then you will most certainly fail at what you’re doing. Failing is OK, it’s getting back up, dusting yourself off and continuing to success that is key.

Why Do So Many Internet Startups Fail Today?

Everyday out there in the real brick and mortar world, millions and millions of people drag themselves from the warm, warm beds, take a shower, grab a cup of coffee, and head off to their jobs as they are thinking that there has got to be an easier way to make a living.

Every one of those millions and millions of people knows somebody who has quit the ‘get-up-and-go-to-work’ grind and is making a very good living by working on their personal computers from the comfort of their own homes.

Working from home sounds like an ideal solution to them. Many of these dissatisfied souls will quit their jobs and plunge head-first into internet marketing with no preparation, no knowledge of what they are doing, no education, and no hope of success. Failure is their only option and they don’t even suspect.

The fact is that more than 90% (Ninety percent) of all Internet business start-ups end in failure within the first 120 (one hundred twenty) days. Yes, you read that right. NINETY PERCENT!

This failure rate should be a warning to those who are considering trying their hand at making a go of working on the Internet rather than at a job in the brick and mortar world.

Of course, success is possible. There IS that other 10% (ten percent) that do succeed. The thing is success doesn’t happen by accident. And success isn’t just a crap shoot. Success happens because of some very important factors.

Success happens because people have the right ideas about internet marketing and how it works. They do not expect to get rich quick or be able to make a killing over night and retire to a tropical isle.

It is strange but some how the same people who wouldn’t dream of starting a real world business, think they can make a go of an internet business even though they have no business background. Even I had a business for many years in the retail world with 5 locations inside and outside of the mall, had very weird expectations of running an online business.

People will go into an internet business with the idea that they no longer have to get up and go to work. They think they can simply work when the feel like it and still make a good living. They simply do not expect to have to work hard or work long hours.

Wrong Perceptions about the Internet

The 90% failure rate of new Internet businesses really isn’t all that surprising when you stop to think about the people who are starting internet businesses.

For some unknown reason most people think that running a successful internet business is as easy as getting a website built and hanging out an ‘open for business’ sign. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Running a successful internet business of any kind requires self-discipline. People will start an internet business and think that they can party all night, sleep until noon and then make a living in 3 or 4 hours sitting in front of a computer. They some how think that the world is just going to line up on their website and hand over money. It isn’t going to happen.

Internet businesses do not run on auto-pilot. It is true that well established internet businesses do not have to put in long, tedious hours but it is a privilege that that has been earned by putting in a lot of long and tedious hours.

It didn’t happen overnight for them and it won’t happen over night for anybody. Most people are totally unprepared for the time investment that must be made in order for an internet business to become successful.

No Business Background

All businesses have two things in common. They are BUSINESSES and they must be run like businesses! The people who are in charge of a business need to understand the accepted practices of business.

They need to understand simple and basic ideas like acceptable over-head expenses in relation to projected income. Internet entrepreneurs need to understand profit and loss and what constitutes each.

A college degree in business in not essential for an internet business entrepreneur go be successful but it sure wouldn’t hurt. Just some basic business knowledge is absolutely vital.

If you have a hard time balancing your personal check book, you probably should keep your day job and forget about starting an internet business.

It is true that you can hire accounting firms that will tell you WHEN you must make tax deposits, for example, but these firms will not be able to tell you IF you need to make them.

Accounting firms can tell you whether or not you made a profit but not how to make it. If you have no business background you need to, at the very minimum, get some good business advice before you even consider opening an online business.

The fact is that all successful businesses operate on sound business principles. Successful businesses aren’t accidents. The proof is in the numbers….only 10% of new internet businesses are successful or are even still in existence after the first 120 days of operation.

It is not even reasonable to expect to make a profit from a new business enterprise for many, many months.

You must have sufficient resources available to not only launch your business but provide for your own personal needs for an extended period of time. It’s called ‘capital’ and there is no way around the need for enough of it.

The Right Mindset Just Isn’t There!

You have most likely heard the phrase, ‘He has an attitude!” This is usually a derogatory remark made about a person with a disagreeable attitude.

But the word ‘attitude’ is an important one when discussing internet marketing start-ups. A good attitude…a good mind set can’t insure success but a bad attitude and a bad mind set can certainly guarantee failure.

Here are some wrong attitudes that will absolutely guarantee failure:

1. I can work when I want to. Wrong, wrong, wrong! You can’t just work when you feel like it. You have to expect to put in many long and very tedious hours of very hard work to make a new internet enterprise succeed.

2. I can get rich quick! You couldn’t be more wrong and you are not only wrong but you are putting yourself in danger as well. There are bazillions of crooks out there on the internet who are waiting for their next easy mark and if you are looking for a quick way to get rich, you ARE the next mark.
It is possible to make a very comfortable living with internet marketing enterprises but if anybody ever tells you it is quick or easy, they are lying to you.

3. I don’t need a business plan. There you are…wrong yet again. Internet business is still business. All of the same business principles apply to online business as apply to brick and mortar business. It is imperative that you have a plan for success that is based upon these sound business principles.

4. When you have an internet business of your own, you don’t have a boss. Wrong again! YOU are your boss. If you aren’t a good boss who sees to it that work is accomplished on time and in full, you will doom yourself to certain failure. Unless you are a boss who sets up a working schedule and establishes goals that must be met, you will find yourself working at a job under a boss who does do those things and maybe for minimum wage.

How You Can Avoid Joining the Failing Masses

The thing about starting a business…any business…..is that there is no guarantee of success under any circumstances.

Even big international businesses can fail at new business ventures. Failure is always an option but the possibility of success can be optimized.

You can optimize the possibility of success by:

1. Having a good solid business plan in place BEFORE you launch your online business. There is an old saying: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. A detailed set of plans for success needs to be made. You need to have the steps from getting from point A to point B listed in great detail that include realistic cost estimates for accomplishing each step.

2. Expecting to work very hard to accomplish your goals. You must never expect anything to be easy. You will be right most of the time because things are rarely as easy as they look. Each step toward success requires work, time and patience. Sometimes things don’t work out right on the first try. You have to be willing to try again and again until you do succeed.

3. Not falling for ‘get-rich-quick schemes. The internet woods are full of those who prey upon those who are looking for quick and easy ways to become rich. Those ways do not exist. Get over thinking that there is an easy way. There is NOT.

Remember those statistics! Ninety percent of all new internet businesses fail in the first 120 days. You don’t have to be part of that majority. You can become a part of that 10% minority of successful internet business enterprises.  In the next part of this series, we’ll talk about what you need to have a Healthy Mindset.

Online Marketing: It All Comes Back to the Written Word

No matter how you communicate with your online business, to potential and existing customers, words are always the cornerstone and more to the point, the written word.

Today’s online business owners are moving into other forms of media like video and audio to market to their prospects. But, in this arena, it is the words that you pen which will have the greatest impact.

When speaking of the written word, did you know:

  • Your headlines (composed of written words) are what catch the reader’s attention. Multi-media tools use headlines to catch and grab the attention of the audience so they will “tune in.”
  • Written content is just about universal. A large majority of the public can access a piece of written content, even when they can’t audio or video. Think about your mobile users and those in rural areas with slower connections. Words are easily accessible.
  • The written word is the most effective form of communication to keep your customers satisfied. If you provide online customer service (as opposed to telephone support), you’re going to be relying on the written word to decipher your customer’s issue and to resolve them.
  • You can’t send an email without words. No subject line or no explanation means no response. You use words to get your subscribers to open your emails AND to click to view a video, listen to your audio, etc.
  • Social networking needs written words Everyone seems to be connected through some social network. Think of the ever popular Twitter which is a system of short texts. MySpace and Facebook rely on words to communicate information, even with other forms of multi-media tools at their disposal.
  • People surf the Web for information. Giving them an article or review they can read or a step-by-step how-to that they can follow requires you to use words – everywhere.

The truth of the matter is that words will always be big part of marketing your business online – and it’s worth learning how to do it well. The Internet runs on words. Even though some envision a television-type experience sometime in the distant future (personally, I don‘t buy it – we don‘t need another TV…we want the Internet!), words will still play a big role. The Internet is a user-controlled experience and through words, people can easily find what they need and utilize it.

Problogger Turns 5: Plus 50% Off His 31 Days To A Better Blog Workbook!

31I was just checking my email for the night and noticed that it’s Darren Rowse’s 5th Birthday at Problogger and he’s holding a very special pricing for his 30 Days to a Better Blog Series. You Get 50% off the price! It is a PDF that you can download right away.

Go here: http://www.verarecommends.com/workbook
Enter Discount: probloggeris5

Also, if you choose to grab it up, be sure to send me a copy of your receipt and I will send you my personal checklist for the workbook so you can actually get the work done.
I’m grabbing the workbook at the half off pricing myself so it will take me a few days to get the checklist together after going through it myself. But once it’s done, I will send it over to you right away.

I have lovely checklists for my business including one that Yaro uses for his own members for his Blog Mastermind Program, so I know you’ll get good use out of this one.

This is a wonderful way to get your blog on track, I followed parts of his last training live on the blog, and am looking forward to my very own physical copy of the workbook. 🙂

Step 1: Get it here: http://www.verarecommends.com/workbook
Step 2: Enter Discount: probloggeris5

Happy Birthday to Problogger!

Listen To Your Target Market And Reap the Rewards

Do you pump out plenty of content, but sometimes feel unappreciated? Many content site owners and blog owners for that matter, tell me they don’t understand why their content is not appealing to their readers. No matter how hard they try, there seems to be a break in the connection.

It could be that your connection problem is simply traffic. Implementing new strategies like link building and more targeted marketing would be the answer here. When nothing changes after that the problem might just be a disconnect between you and the market. To cure that, simply try LISTENING.

It really seems like listening is a lost art these days. When we listen, we find out what we didn’t know before and that could be the difference between success and failure. To know what your target market wants, listen to what they have to say first and then provide the content that they seek. You’ll develop a deeper understanding of your audience.

Need to learn how to listen just a little better? Here are 8 tips to help you do just that:

1. Keyword Research: Before beginning any new project, it is important to know what words people are using to search for a particular product or service. But, this is only the tip of the target market iceberg. You still need to know WHO is searching for the information. Keywords can only get you so far. To build the all-important relationship with your blog readers you will have to pull a few more tricks out of your hat.

2. Commenting: When your readers leave comments on your posts, read them. Drink in what they are telling you. Use that information to meet their needs.

3. Track your Links: Keep an eye on the links on your website. Who uses them? Track the offers and emails that people are acting on. It could be that what people are saying and what they eventually do are not the same.

4. Submit Questions: This is for your readers and not you. Ask them to offer their suggestions for better, more insightful content on your part. To make it easier, create a form that is easy to use and convenient. What are the most popular requests?

5. Message Boards: Peruse some of the more popular message boards pertaining to your target market. Here you will find out what everyone is talking about. Take the time, but don‘t get so engrossed you forget your purpoase.

6. Facebook and Twitter: These are addictive and easy to get lost in for hours – so use your time strategically. Stick with groups on these social networking sites that represent the target market you are trying to reach. Check in from time to time and you will certainly find the information that you need.

7. Blogs: You are not the only one with a blog – just about EVERYONE has one these days. Check out the blogs that your readers and other target market members own. Configure your blog reader so that you can scan the headlines of these blogs to gain insight into the target market.

8. Competition: Keeping an eye on your competitors is wise. Look at the type of content they post and the feedback they receive from readers. Again, you can create a spot in your RSS reader to scan the headlines on the competitor’s blogs.

Listening is important, but don’t be concerned about the time it takes. Once you have listening skills, It can happen as a natural occurrence throughout the day. And the value it brings back to your business is priceless.

One Word – Widgets

You are now reading Small Business Branding on the brand new blog design.

I chose the Colormatic theme from Unique Blog Designs and went with one of their new themes.  First I must say this theme has been the easiest one I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I’m completely amazed at how easy was to get this theme loaded and going.  The main reason I chose to leave my CUSTOM theme and switch to this easier cheaper theme (it cost me about $70) in one word.. Widgets! And lots of them!

It is so easy for me to change the colors, move the widgets around and countless other things. I know playing with a blog design doesn’t pay the bills but I can tell you it’s made it tons easier for me to develop the site further and feel great about it.  Before the previous theme would go wonky on me and the sidebar would literally end up in the footer and all I was trying to do was add a simple code to the sidebar.

I installed it myself! Ok, so when you get your theme you have the license to install it on ANY site you choose and I chose to put it on my Scrapbooking Site first and it was super easy to customize.  I can’t sing it enough that I’m SO thrilled with this theme!

Now that you get the point…

This will now allow me to work on developing traffic, create a deeper relationship with my readers, and increase my income. Mostly because I’m flat out Happy! It was so darn discouraging previously and now I feel like nothing will stop me.

The biggest thing I learned about this process is that on a Custom design, you can’t use widgets. You either choose one or the other, maybe I’m mistaken but that’s what it looks like. Also, Angela was amazing at walking me through the process. To begin with the site needed an update to the newest version of WordPress, so I shot some cash over to my host (Reliable Webs) and that was done within a few hours.  Then Angela installed the site today and it all happened so quickly.  I know I’ll probably be tweaking the look of the design as we go along but at least now I can feel great about the site and bring the best information to you.

When it comes down to it, when you’re not happy with what you’re doing how could you possibly be as productive as when you are?

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Content & Copy: Bring Those Goals Together for Better Results

Those who believe that content and copy (i.e. “copywriting”, using words to sell) are two separate entities have this to say:

“Providing content on your website is for the purpose of information and not necessarily to sell a product.”

“On the other hand, writing copy is definitely to sell products to potential customers.”

If you think this way, then consider the following points:

When potential customers come to your website, you don’t just want them to look; you want them to do something. Your content is versatile in that it can build a relationship with the prospect and, at the same time, it can call them TO DO something.

If your copy is good, it will not only convince customers to buy but will build a solid relationship as it informs them of what you have to offer and why it is better.

Both copy and content have similar goals. You can use both to inform and to call your customers and potential customers to action. No, it doesn’t mean that you have to turn your content into a sales letter, but you can tweak it a bit so that customers are inspired to buy.

Here Are Some Tips to Bring More Copy (Results) to Your Content:

Don’t neglect your headlines. Here is where you will be grabbing your reader’s attention. You want them to have a hard, almost impossible time looking away.

Know what you want to accomplish with your content and then call the customer to action. What is it you want your words to do? If you want them to sign up for a mailing list for a free product or newsletter, then say that in your article. This is no time for subliminal messages. Including keywords that link to other pages on your site is not good enough to direct them. Use the keywords by all means, but also be specific with your words.

Show your confidence through your writing. When you waver on a point in your article, customers may lose faith. Know what you are talking about and pass your confidence on to the prospect.

Connect with your audience. Let them know that you are speaking directly to each of them with words like “you” and “your.” To many group pronouns like “we” and “they” may lead them to think that they don’t need your product and you are not talking to them. Say something like: “You are probably one of those moms who are too tired in the evening to always cook dinner;” instead of “Many mothers don’t have the energy to cook for their families.” Don’t miss the opportunity to be direct with the audience.

For the best results you can get, craft your content with an end goal in mind. Engage the reader with headlines that hook and invite them to read more. Be confident and direct, telling the audience what action they are to perform after reading your piece. If you don’t, no one will necessarily buy your products even if they are the best in the world.

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