Creating Value Instead of Shameless Promotion

As a budding online entrepreneur your primary goal is to draw in and secure customers.  So it stands to reason that your primary focus when posting to your personal and professional social media counts would be to attract customers at all costs right?

content-is-king-1132266_1280

While that does seem like the most logical post – shameless schilling your products or services or constantly spamming your friends and followers with “buy me now” posts isn’t a very effective way to convert.  In fact, whhen you get right down to it – this style of “guerrilla” marketing can damage your reputation with your audience and ultimately do damage to your site’s rank causing you to lose potential leads that you might have picked up organically.

Social media platforms and search engines value quality content over volume of posts – especially when those posts consist of nothing more than a sales pitch.

If you write a killer new blog post that solves a problem of your target audience, by all means share it on your personal and professional profiles – but make sure your feed more consistently delivers value than pitch.  In order to create a trusting following you have to connect with them and show that you’ve got the knowledge and skill to provide help.  This means getting involved in conversations on social media, thoughtfully responding to blog comments and sharing other pieces of valuable content (even when it isn’t yours and even when it won’t directly lead to a sale).

If you make the effort to show your readers, followers and prospects that you have the knowledge to help them solve their problems in your realm you’ll build a strong (and potentially repeat) customer base that will pay dividends much greater than if you had spent all your time focusing solely on self promotion.

Posted in earning money online | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hosting your Business Website

There is more to building an online business than just picking out your business name and purchasing a domain.  Once you’ve got your domain name, you need a safe and secure place to host your website.

http-13365_640

Depending on the hosting package you choose, your hosting company will not only provide you with the online real estate to publish your posts, pages, shopping cart, etc. Your hosting company will also ensure that there is minimal downtime, that your site functions properly whenever fans, followers or customers visit and they provide security to keep your information (and your customers’) safe from viruses and hackers.

Selecting the right hosting company for your website is not only critical for your company’s safety, it is essential to ensure the best possible experience for your customers.  But with so many choices out there, and such a huge array of prices for different service packages, it can be difficult for a new online entrepreneur to narrow down to the best possible selection.

Companies like BlueHost, Hostgator, eHost and SiteBuilder all offer affordable hosting packages with a wide array of features – but many of the companies out there offering “cheap hosting” have mixed reviews.  When trying to find the right hosting company for my first online business I spent hour after hour researching to find a huge mix of positive and negative reviews for nearly all of the companies that provided hosting for the lowest rates.

I saw complaints about extended downtime, about incorrect billing, about lack of customer support and of accounts that were paid up being locked for no reason.  If true, any of these potential grievances could cause serious damage to a brand new online business.

Over the course of the last few years I’ve hosted my websites with a variety of companies.  And though I’ve never had a major issue that did any of my businesses serious harm, I had honestly never had what I would consider to be “great service” from any of the companies that I worked with.

This is another reason I was elated to have stumbled upon the Wealthy Affiliate community.  Wealthy Affiliate not only offer an abundance of outstanding classes and reference materials to help you grow your business – but the Premium Membership package includes hosting for my websites.

Just to put this in perspective, since joining Wealthy Affiliate, I’ve started 3 new websites on different topics.  I was able to purchase the domain names and set up with sites right through the dashboard of my WA account and the hosting is included as part of my monthly membership.  That’s like starting three brand new businesses for the cost of the domain alone!

The website builder inside Wealthy Affiliate is fast and easy to use – and my websites and their e-mail are hosted on WA’s secure and reliable servers.  This means I have the potential to earn A LOT more money, without increasing my monthly expenses at all.  This takes all the guesswork out of selecting a hosting company and puts you in a position (with tons of support from experienced individuals) to grow your online business with confidence.

Posted in earning money online, free website, selling onliine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selecting a Niche – Passion or Potential?

So you have been determined to dump your 9-5 in favor of earning a full time living online – and you are finally ready to take the leap!

ball-563973_1920

Now comes the biggest question you’ll face as a budding online entrepreneur – who is your target customer, or what is your niche?

Selecting the right niche can literally be the difference between massive success. moderate success or potential complete failure.  Pick a niche that is too narrow and you won’t have the necessary customer base to sustain long term sales; pick a niche that is too broad and you’ll struggle to get your brand noticed by the right customers.

While fitness is a booming business (and has been for decades), the category is far too broad to make for the perfect niche.  In order to actually be able to capitalize in the arena of health and fitness, you’ve got to be able to stand out – you’ve got to narrow down your niche to target a specific audience and create valuable content specifically for them.  Narrowing the category of fitness down to something like “fast fat loss after 40”, “lean muscle building diet” or “top post pregnancy workouts for weight loss” gives you a much better opportunity to get noticed by the people who are most likely to buy your products or services.

There are marketers out there that will tell you that your deepest passions make the ideal niches – and while I agree to a certain extent, I don’t think this is always 100% accurate.

Focusing on a deep long term passion can give you a great advantage over much of the competition because you have a deep knowledge on the product or service that you are promoting.  If you are able to position yourself as an expert to those seeking help, your odds of conversion go up.

In order to find out if your specific passion will make for the perfect niche for your business, you do have to go a little deeper though – if you’ll be promoting a product, how much does it cost and what would be your “cut” as an affiliate? Who, if anyone, is your competition? How many people are actively searching for products linked to your passion on a daily basis?…

If you hobby or passion is completely centered around a $10 item, that you stand to make 10% commission on, with little to no opportunity to upsell, you’ll have your work cut out for you to scrape out any kind of living – even if there is next to no competition in the market.  This is precisely why you’ve got to do some research before you purchase your domain name and dive headlong into creating content.

Your passion may not serve as the best online business opportunity – but exploring your passion and your favorite hobbies can often lead to discovering an outstanding niche opportunity for earning a great living online.

Dig a little deeper into the process of unearthing your ideal niche for your online business in this video.  Fully preparing yourself for this first, critical step will greatly improve your chances of success without having to start over again and again due to short sited niche selection.

Posted in affiliate marketing, blogging, selecting a niche, selling onliine, success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Fall For It – Online Business 101

Did you ever hear the phrase “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”?

road-sign-464641_1920

If someone is promising you “$4K per day” or “100,000 visitors in your first week”  with their system – odds are they are looking to prey on you and get into your wallet.  These types of folks know that you desperately want to succeed online – and they also know that you likely want to make that success happen as quickly as possible.

They use their enormous promise taglines to draw you into their free webinar that promises to reveal all their secrets.  And while their webinar might contain some valuable info, it is only the beginning of your time in their sales cycle.

After more big promises inside the webinar, you’ll get a “super discounted, one time offer” on this particular guru’s online earning system.  You’ll have to shell out several hundred, or possibly even several thousand, dollars in order to gain access to the training, the group or to individual sessions – but he or she assures you that it will turn into a massive success in no time flat.  These pitches sound great – I mean who doesn’t want to be earning 6 figures by the end of the month, but… go back and read the first line of this post again.

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but success (business, athletic, intellectual, personal…) simply doesn’t happen overnight.  If you want to be successful in your online business endeavors, it’s going to take hard work, time and support (both personal and professional).

Even those of us who have been at it for years and who have had success still need to put time and effort into new endeavors – and we can all benefit from the right type of support.  I belong to Wealthy Affiliate because there are entrepreneurs there who are just taking their first steps, who I can help; and there are folks there who been producing powerful results for year, who I can learn from.

I trust this style of online professional community much more than I do so fly by night guru who promises me riches overnight if I send him a bunch of cash.  Work hard on your dreams every day, put in the time and the effort, and get the right kind of support and the successes will come in time.

Posted in earning money online, selling onliine, success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Steps Everyday To Grow Your Business

It’s the start of a brand new year (Happy 2017!), which can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to growing your business (or taking on any project). Whether 2017 is a blessing or curse is completely dependent on what actions you take as a small business owner and a leader.

fireworks-535198_1920

For some entrepreneurs, a fresh start, with a new perspective and renewed vigor can really help get things going where they were lagging.  Resolutions offer a chance to set new schedules, to properly plan for new goals and to attack areas of the business that were lacking in 2016.

Others will fall into a trap of staring backward, dwelling on failures and rough patches that littered the landscape of 2016.  These folks will have a really difficult time making progress, they will start to listen to and believe the nay-sayers and their heads will begin to fill with doubt.

You cant be successful in business when you dwell on the past, because dwelling on the past doesn’t allow you to focus on taking the positive steps you need to take every single day in order for your business to flourish.

On a positive note though – which direction your business will go isn’t left to chance.  You are in the drivers seat and you have the power to take your business to the next level.  Even if 2016 delivered challenge after challenge with little in the way of positives – continuing to work hard and with consistency will ultimately lead to successes in 2017.

One of the biggest factors in success is showing up, day in and day out, and putting in the work without waning.  If you don’t let the negative thoughts of others invade your mind and you are willing to put in the work, you will see success in 2017.

Even if you are brand new to online business and don’t know what the proper first steps to take are, 2017 can still be a big year for you.  Check out this post on Wealthy Affiliate, where you can get access to a solid road map from day one that will help you build your online business from the ground up.  The community and educational tools available from Wealthy Affiliate are like having your very own high priced mentor to guide you through the landscape of online earning!

Posted in earning money online, selling onliine, success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Use Focus and Follow Through for Online Earning Success

When you are working from home, in front of a screen all day, it can be easy to succumb to the temptation of socializing on social media.  This is especially true for those of us who use our preferred social media platform to advertise our products or services.

We spend a few minutes sharing posts or creating and scheduling an ad – the we think “one minute of scrolling through the timeline won’t do any harm…” That is, until 45 minutes have gone by and not a single bit of “work” has been accomplished.

social-media-1845986_1920

It’s easy to think that, because you are “always on” with your business, that a little “off time” on Facebook or Twitter won’t do any harm.  In reality though, this type of behavior can really have a negative impact on the tasks that need to be done in a timely manner and can ultimately hurt the rate at which your business will grow.

This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy a fifteen minute break a few times per day or that you can’t spend 45 minutes unwinding during a lunch break – but you’ve got to treat your home business just like a brick and mortar if you want to see real success.  You can’t go about your tasks in a nonchalant manner, casually splitting your time between work duties and completely social shares and comments and hope that you’ll get the same results as those entrepreneurs who keep their noses to the grindstone during work hours.

You are building a business that will allow you a multitude of freedoms that you can’t get with a regular 9-5 , but you’ve got to put in the work when it needs to be done in order to get there.

One of my favorite quotes regarding entrepreneurship is “live for a few years like others won’t, so you can live the rest of your life like others can’t.” With plenty of hard work and determination, you’ll get to a point where you are making money in your sleep and enjoying the perks of your lifestyle business – but that hard work has to come now, while you build the foundation and reputation.

If you don’t have one already, build yourself a daily/weekly calendar of work duties.  Take the time to actually schedule them into your phone calendar, complete with alerts, so you know what you need to be focusing on at any given time during the hours you are working to build your business.  If you have the time to devote several hours per day on building your business, schedule break times in too (no one is expecting you to work for ten hours straight per day without some respite).

Once you’ve got the schedule set, adhere to it.  No personal tweets, pins or Facebook posts during “business hours” – in fact, if you aren’t “on break” or scheduling business related posts, keep the social media windows on your phone and PC closed to avoid the temptation of checking in.

If you want your personal brand and business to grow exponentially in 2017, you’ve got to devote the time and effort to make it happen.  Your social media feeds will all still be there if you ignore them for a while – you can’t say the same about the success of your business.

Need more direction and/or accountability?  Sign up for a free Wealthy Affiliate account here and get access to a ton of valuable information that will really help kick start your online earning!

Posted in earning money online, selling onliine, success | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Can’t Rush Success

There is no such thing as an overnight success… That might be the most critical piece of information you can learn as a new entrepreneur.

94791b2c316d5d37c55ccb74de32ddce

If there is anyone out there who tells you any different, they aren’t being honest – plain and simple.  Real, sustainable success is brought about by consistently doing the right things over time – by earning a good reputation and provided an excellent product or service.

I’m not telling you this to dissuade you from following your dream of earning a good living online – I’m telling you to protect you from scammers and to motivate you to keep plugging away despite the rough patches, hiccups and disappointments that will occur along the way.

There are plenty of people out there who offer you a “magic potion” for success at a price, the “follow this weird trick to get rich overnight” crowd.  These folks offer unbelievable results at the low, low price of (insert outlandish price here) for their book, workshop or live training.  Truth be told – it doesn’t matter how good their information is – you can’t create sustainable, long term success overnight.

Even if you do things properly, populate your site with incredibly valuable content, connect with social influencers and focus 100% of your energy on building a reputable and trusted brand – riches aren’t going to pour in over the course of hours, days or even weeks.  In fact, it might take you months to land your first client or to secure your first sales (and maybe months to land the second).

If you are consistent in your efforts though – if you work hard to give value and to properly develop your reputation as the “go to” expert in your niche, the results will begin to come over time.  Once you’ve satisfied one client or customer, then the next and the one after – without giving up or giving in during the foundation building process – your results will begin to multiply and your earnings will begin to multiply with them.

Don’t fall for the flashy advertisements of the snake oil salesmen – connect with people who can actually help you, join a community that can provide you with the tools you need to succeed over the long haul, and keep working to build a rock solid reputation of delivering value and quality and you’ll ensure a lifestyle that others can only dream of.

Posted in earning money online | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Time for Yourself

This time of year is hectic – even when you aren’t working toward building your personal brand.  Many of you have been working 40+ hours per week at your day job, another 10-15+ hours per week on your freelancing or business development and still trying to manage your family and social life all while trying to get ready for the holidays…

adult-1850268_1920

Depending on your day job, odds are that you have at least a few days off with Christmas and New Year on the horizon – and while that might seem like a golden opportunity to pump and extra 10-15 hours per week into your business, your time might be better spent in other ways.

Instead of spending every hour freed up from having off at your day job toiling away at your business, take some time for yourself and take some time to enjoy your family.  While getting those extra blogs posts done, adding some new graphics or setting up and populating a new social media account might all bring in some new prospects – taking that time to unwind and enjoy your family and friends will bring joy.

I’m not suggesting that you abandon all efforts for growing your business over the course of the next ten days.  What I am suggesting is that you close the laptop for a few hours on Christmas eve and Christmas Day – eat dinner with your family without checking emails or replying to comments, watch your significant other and your kids open their presents and take the time to put together those toys and get involved in the excitement and fun that this time of year can bring.

Working toward your goal of earning a steady income online will bring you great satisfaction in the long term, but don’t lose sight of why you are doing it in the first place.  Spend a few precious hours immersed in family, friends and fun – unwind, de-stress and laugh – then get back to kicking ass developing your dream business with new vigor once the new year begins.

Posted in earning money online | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When, How and What to Outsource

Running your own business can feel pretty overwhelming, even if you are starting out in a part time fashion. You need consistency and quality in order to attract prospects and to hold their attention long enough that they become customers.

outsource-1345109_1280

As your business is developing there are a number of tasks that require attention – some you’ll be able to easily manage, while others might give you quite a bit of grief.

You might be an outstanding writer, but may have very little knowledge about creating a logo, editing a picture or properly laying out your website or installing essential software or plug-ins.  You might be able to turn out high quality, compelling blog posts in no time at all, but struggle mightily with a simple Photoshop edit.

The good news is, you don’t have to wrestle with these unfamiliar tasks and suffer headaches and set backs that keep your website from functioning properly or that keep your business from growing.  In fact, for a minimal investment, you can get knowledgeable people to take the reigns on just about any project that needs to be done but that you don’t have the time or know how to complete.

Sites like FivverUpwork and Freelancer give you access to literally thousands of freelancers for hire, with all types of different skill sets.  Depending on experience and the task(s) you need completed, pricing could vary dramatically – but some tasks can be sourced to freelancers on Fivver for as little as $5.

Personally, I’ve done most of the building of each of my businesses on my own (and during some of those efforts even advertised my own services on Fivver and Upwork (though it was known as Elance back then) – but looking back, I’d have very likely grown at a much faster and more efficient pace had I chosen to outsource some of the areas that I wasn’t comfortable completing on my own.

So – how do you go about deciding what should be outsourced?  If you are an “expert” in your niche, I probably wouldn’t suggest outsourcing important pieces of content to a general freelancer.  Beyond that, you need to figure out what tasks are essential and then, which of those tasks you’ve got time to complete.

If you’ve got content and images covered, but can’t handle social media – you can find plenty of talented folks who will post per your instructions to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or wherever your prospects choose to spend their time online.  You can also outsource the duties of scheduling/publishing posts to your site, creation of landing pages, blog commenting and other avenues of driving traffic to freelancers for very reasonable sums.

Getting a business from ground zero to the point of profitability takes a lot of time and a lot of work – but it doesn’t have to be completely all encompassing.  If you focus on creating the critical pieces of content – content that provides exceptional value – and then outsource the tasks that are more easily and more capably handled by others, you can begin to grow your following quickly, without toiling away day and night on the minutia or struggling with things that are more challenging and time consuming than they should be.

Posted in Outsourcing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Need a Mentor?

There are a lot folks out there that will tell you that you can’t succeed in business without the assistance of someone who has “walked the walk.”

board-784349_1920

While I agree that learning from other successful individuals is critical to your success in online business – the idea that you can’t succeed without hiring a one on one mentor (often at a very steep price) is troubling to me.

The explosion of online “expert coaches” has created a big opportunity for people (scammers) who want to bilk out of their hard earned money with a promise of instant success.  I’m not saying that all coaches, mentors and trainers are scam artists – quite the contrary in fact, but it can be incredibly difficult for someone who is new to the game to differentiate between someone who is a legitimate expert and someone who is propagating a scam.

Many of the unscrupulous “gurus” out there have worked hard on their presentations – they have done their research on their target market and they say all the right things to get you to click through to their offer.  They show screenshots of big earnings, show you a bunch of pretty graphs and charts that seem to show an explosion in traffic and conversions for their other “students” – and they offer their “secret recipe” for a low, low price (according to them – that price could be $5,000 – $10,000 or more for you to get into their inner circle).

Look, if you can find a real life expert, that has a verifiable skill set and track record of success – and the cost of getting involved doesn’t put you in the poor house, then do it.  Having a coach that is willing to invest their time and energy into helping you succeed can be incredibly valuable.

If you don’t have $10K laying around to invest, you can still get the help, guidance and direction you need to get your online business going.  Take a look at this review of Wealthy Affiliate  to see how you can join a community of real people who have been in your shoes, who are all willing to help you on your journey, and get access to valuable training that will kick.start the growth of your online business.  Wealthy Affiliate gives you instant access to the info you need to grow your online business for a fraction of what it would cost you to enlist the help of a “coach” – and you get to spend time and ask question of hundreds of people who have experienced great success in the very endeavor you are entering into.

Posted in earning money online, Reviews, selling onliine, success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments