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A Never-ending Supply of New Ideas

Something I come back to time and again is the importance of generating ideas, having ideas and then putting the best of those ideas to work. Every business you see and every invention you marvel at was at first someone’s idea. Every great blog post, piece of new content, information product, etc., all started as a tiny little seed inside someone’s brain…

A Never-ending Supply of New Ideas

Without the idea, nothing else flows. With the idea, anything is possible.

So how do you get great ideas? By training your brain to find them for you. Every day write down 10 new ideas. If you can’t think of 10, then write 20.

“But if I can’t come up with 10, how am I going to think of 20?”

By relaxing and having fun.

The reason 10 ideas a day is hard is because you think every idea has to be good. No. Even most of the ideas you first think are good won’t actually be… That’s okay. Just train your brain that you want 10 (or 20) new ideas every single day, and your brain will deliver. It’ll be slow at first, but it’s like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Write down your ideas. ALWAYS write down your ideas. Even the hair-brained ones. This teaches your mind to keep finding new ones.

How Do I Know It’s a Good Idea?

Short answer – you don’t. It might sound, look, feel, taste and smell like a good idea, but until you test it out, you just don’t know.

So if you think it might be a winner, take fast action and see what happens. If it fails, you haven’t wasted much time or many resources.

New Projects are Like a Road Trip

You know that ancient saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Imagine this:

You’re starting out on a road trip. Maybe it’s your first road trip, so you’re going to make it easy – 150 miles – or kilometers – it doesn’t matter.

You’re in your car pulling onto the road, headed in the right direction.
Now quick: Tell me every curve of the road ahead, every car or truck you’re going to meet, every stop you’re going to make along the way.

What? You don’t know? You can’t see 50 miles ahead? 100 miles ahead?

Of course not.

Then why is it that when most people start a new project, they think they have to know every step they’ll take before they ever start?

You don’t. You only have to know two things: Your destination, and the first step in the right direction. That’s all you need to get started. And just as the road keeps appearing as you continue to move forward, the next step will become obvious as you complete the present step.

So start exercising your idea generating muscle, implement new ideas quickly and leverage the ones that gain traction to create your next business and life success. Then wash, rinse and repeat…

To Succeed Online, Reverse Your Strategy

Here’s how a typical Internet business works – you pick a niche, create a product and then find the audience to sell that product to. If it doesn’t sell, you do it all over again. If it does sell, you make more products to sell to those same people. Sounds logical, right?…

To Succeed Online, Reverse Your Strategy

Maybe not. Suppose – just suppose – you decide to sell NOTHING for the first two to three months of your business. Not a gosh darn thing.

Instead, what you do is focus on building and nurturing your audience. Once they know you and are confident you know what you’re talking about, then and only then do you sell them something.

“But I need to make money NOW!”

Okay, what if you had started the entire process 3 months ago? They say the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is today. So bear with me for a moment while we plant a tree in your mind right now…

Let’s say you’ve taken up a new hobby. Maybe it’s golf. You’re cruising the Internet when you find this offer for a free golf book for newbies, “10 Ways to Take 10 Points Off Your Game Today.” You enter your email address and get the book.

And next thing you know, this author is sending you golfing offers on a daily basis. “BUY THIS!” “BUY THAT!” And on and on. What do you do? Maybe you buy something, maybe you don’t. But do you lose faith and trust in the person? Yes. This is just some guy who used a bait and switch on you. “Get my free book!” turns out to really mean “Let me sell you a whole lot of stuff so I can make money!”

This is how Internet marketing typically works, and the days of it being a magic bullet are long gone. Sure, the money is in the list, but if you are continually going for the sales before you even establish the relationship, you’re doing it backwards.

I say it’s time to adjust.

Second scenario: You sign up to get the free ebook, and here’s an email introducing the author. The next day, s/he sends you a great golfing tip. And the next day, and the next. Maybe the author throws in some personal golfing stories, a few golfing jokes, some golf news, etc.

Now this author feels more like your email golfing buddy and golf expert than a sales person. In fact, in 2 whole months s/he hasn’t tried to sell you a single thing. But maybe they have sent you a few videos with cool tips, so you can get to ‘know’ and like them even better. In fact, you trust this person and feel they have your best interests at heart.

They’ve built a REAL relationship with you.

Now then, what do you think is going to happen when this author starts sending you the occasional offer? Odds are you’re going to take a very serious look at buying it, because your new golfing friend/expert is recommending it. And if they’re recommending it, you know it must be really GOOD!

And as long as this author continues to send you only the best advice and best offers, you’re likely to continue buying, too.

So is it worth it to invest 2-3 months to build relationships that create super high conversions and subscribers that are loyal to you for a long, long time? Is it worth it to build such a tight bond, they never unsubscribe? Do you want to be their go-to person, the one they know and trust for advice, tips and recommendations? Or do you want to be just another sales person pitching the latest product until your subscribers flee your list?

“But 2-3 months before I make a sale??!”

Yes. I know. It takes a real commitment and investment of your time.

But let’s trying putting it into perspective: Let’s say you want to open a business in your town. You scout a location, make the deal to rent the building, get your business licenses, get the equipment you need, order the inventory, hire staff, get insurance, etc. How long would it take? And how much would it cost? And how much would you clear after all of your expenses?

What I’m talking about here is a viable way to build a six figure business in less than 12 months, with almost no out of pocket expense. To begin with, all you need is a good autoresponder. You don’t even have to put up your blog right away, because in the beginning you can do everything via email.

This is a business model you can start today. It helps if you have expertise in your subject – if not, you’ll want to start reading and learning immediately. Your topic should be one you’ve got a measure of passion for, because you’ll be writing and talking about it a great deal. You’ll need 10 or more hours a week to devote to this.

And you’ve got to be ready to sacrifice a small amount of short term income for an abundance of long term income. Long term beginning in about 2-3 months, and the potential to grow fairly large around the 6-8 month mark.

This is all about your audience. It’s all about what they want. And here’s the kicker – you know how experts tell you to research what people want before you create a product? In this case, you’re going to be so in touch with your audience, you will know exactly what they want before you ever offer it.

You’ll have people standing in line to buy your products before you even produce them. Think about that – you’ll know IN ADVANCE that your products will sell and sell well, because your audience trusts you enough to tell you what they want. Maybe it’s not in so many words, like, “Could you sell me a product about this or that,” but rather, “How do I _____?” When you keep getting the same questions, you know there is a market for a product that solves that need.

To sum up – old school method: Spend weeks creating a product nobody buys. Then do it again. Or build a list and then fry it to death.

New school method: Spend 2-3 months building an audience that LOVES you and trusts you, then create products and make recommendations based upon what they want.

Times have changed. If we, as marketers, don’t change with the times, our customers are going to leave us behind.

Make Money from Home with Amazon FBA

In the past if you wanted to sell tangible items, you went to eBay. You listed each item one-by-one, answered questions, printed out labels, packaged items and shipped them. It was a lot of work! But with Fulfillment by Amazon you can get the same results with about 10% of the effort. Here’s how it works…

Make Money from Home with Amazon FBA

You ship your items to Amazon, and then Amazon lists the products, does customer service, handles the payments, ships the products and then pays you.

Your main job is to find great products that have a high profit margin and send those to Amazon. When you sign up to be a FBA seller, you’ll see where you tell Amazon what you’re sending them and how much you want them to charge. You fill out this form each time you make a shipment. Then you let them take care of the rest.

You’re using Amazon’s traffic, their website, their sales process, their sales pages and their shipping. All you need to focus on is finding and shipping the right products.

Remember, Amazon is in the business of selling and shipping items. They’re not in the business of finding small quantities of items to sell. That’s why they need you.

So what kinds of products can you sell? Basically, anything that’s already selling well on Amazon is a possible candidate. Ideally you want to look for products that meet these criteria:

– You can purchase them for one third or less the sales price on Amazon.

– The products don’t weigh a ton – remember, you’re paying for the shipping from you to Amazon.

– Products that are selling well – in the top 100,000 is good.

So where do you find these products? Initially, you can check the discount and dollar stores near you. Take your smart phone and scan the items to bring up their Amazon listing so you can see how much they sell for and how well they’re selling.

Discount stores are places that take excess inventory from other stores and manufacturers and liquidate it to the public. At first it might take you awhile to figure out which products are viable, but guaranteed, they’re out there.

Items you might focus on initially:

– “As seen on TV” items
– lighters and fire starters
– kitchen items and cooking tools
– popular toys
– phone cases
– wallets
– water bottles
– novelties

Also, anything with a recognized brand. For example, a generic hat might not be in demand. But a Walt Disney or a Boston Red Sox hat probably is.

Each time an item sells, Amazon will send you an email letting you know. You don’t have to do anything; they’ll do the shipping and you’ll get paid. If you find an item of yours selling really well, go buy some more and send them in.

The downside? For one thing, there’s a lag time between buying and shipping a product and getting paid. And of course this lag time will depend a good deal on how fast or slow your products sell. That’s why you might want to start small and use your profits to build the business.

One more reason to start small: You eliminate the possibility of making a large mistake. New sellers on FBA sometimes purchase what seems like a bargain – such as 1,000 units of a product at $2 each – only to discover it doesn’t sell well. By keeping your inventory low at first, you can get a real feel for what works and what to avoid.

Sometimes someone will undercut you on price. For example, you have an item selling like hotcakes for $19.99, and they send a box full to Amazon and tell Amazon to sell them for $7.99. Their items will then be sold first, but when their inventory runs out the price will go back up and your items will begin selling again.

Advanced model: There are tons of items that cost almost nothing to manufacture that are then sold for $10 or more. For example, as-seen-on-TV hair gizmos or kitchen gizmos can often be manufactured for a few cents, yet they sell for $8 to $20 or more. A water bottle that costs $1 to make can be sold for $11.95. A flashlight might cost 50 cents and sell for $10, and so forth.

When you find one of these hot sellers, you can actually contact a manufacturer and have them start making them for you and shipping them directly to Amazon.

While there are marketers selling courses on how to use Amazon FBA, you can also research everything you need to know.

Here’s a link to some of the benefits of Amazon FB:

https://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/benefits.htm

Here’s a link where you can get started selling on Amazon:

https://services.amazon.com

Here’s where you can find seller forums on Amazon:

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/

Once you get the hang of it (which shouldn’t take long) you can earn yourself a nice little side income. And you can even get the whole family involved, finding products to sell on Amazon.

Why Introverts Make the Best Marketers

First of all, let me clarify that introverts aren’t necessarily shy. They are, however, quieter than extroverts. Introverts talk plenty when they have something important to say, but they tend to stay quiet when the topic is small talk. Why? Because small talk isn’t important to them. Now, let’s say you have 2 salespeople – an extrovert and an introvert.

Why Introverts Make the Best Marketers

The extrovert is likely to talk – and talk – and talk – which is exactly what you expect from a sales person. And in the midst of all this talking, the extrovert will make sales.

But the introvert will do something the extrovert commonly fails to do – the introvert will ask questions and LISTEN to the answers.

I don’t mean they wait for the prospect to stop talking so they can begin extolling all the many benefits of the product. I mean they LISTEN. They want to know what’s keeping the prospect awake at night in relation to the problem the product solves. They want to know the prospect’s fears, desires, dreams, etc. They want to know what’s worked for the prospect, what’s failed for the prospect, and what that prospect really, truly wants so they can help this prospect get it.

And this same sales person will continue to use questions as they present their product or service, questions that direct the prospect to the desired conclusion – that this product is what they want and need.

Everything else being equal, 9 times out of 10 the introvert salesperson will outsell the extrovert – all because they asked questions and listened closely to the answers.

Introverted marketers have the same advantage as introverted sales people. They dig to discover what it is their prospects truly want. They ask questions, be it in person, over Skype, in forums, via email, etc. And they pay close attention to the answers.

These same marketers spend time researching what successful marketers are doing. They don’t assume they already have the answers – instead, they look to those who’ve succeeded and they ask how it was done and how it can be duplicated.

Now mind you, extroverts can master the skills of asking questions and listening to the answers as well as any introvert, if they try. It doesn’t come as naturally for them, but it will come with practice.

And if you look at the most successful people in the world, what you will find is they stand on the shoulders of those who came before. They asked questions, got the answers and used this knowledge to carve their place in the world.

Try it. Next time someone asks you for advice, ask them questions first. Next time someone asks about your product, ask them about their needs first. Next time someone is on a forum looking for help, ask them for more information. And then pay close attention to what they say before you make your reply.

It’s an almost unknown fact that asking the right questions and listening to the answers can be one of the highest paying skills in the world.

2 Ways to Enter the Conversation that’s Already Going On in Your Prospect’s Head

You’ve heard that adage before, haven’t you? It’s akin to walking over to someone, standing beside them, making them feel very comfortable with you, and then gently, subtly, asking them to walk with you.

2 Ways to Enter the Conversation that's Already Going On in Your Prospect's Head

They’ll go along with you quietly and in agreement almost every time.

Contrast that with standing far away from someone and shouting to them that they need to come stand where you’re standing or else… Or else they’re stupid, or else they’re missing out, or else they’re making a mistake, etc.

This is the point where most prospects dig their heels in and say, “Oh yeah? I don’t think so!”

Can you blame them?

This is why you want to start where they are. What do they already think or know about your niche, about your product or service, or about you?

If prospects routinely believe your offer is too good to be true, lead with that. “I know what you’re thinking… this is simply too good to be true. I thought the exact same thing myself, but then I discovered that…”

They might think this isn’t the right solution to their particular problem. “You might feel that in your case, our product won’t make the difference you need and want. I felt the exact same way when I had this problem, but what I found was this product not only ____ and ____, it also ___…”

You might start with the problem itself. Your prospect is in financial difficulty, so talk about what that feels like, how it affects them, how it makes life difficult, etc.

And here’s an entirely different way to start where they are in their minds, and that’s to begin with whatever it is that everyone is talking about right now.

For example, let’s say you’re sending out an email and the big story today is the revolution in another country, or new photos from space, or some crazy thing the government is doing. Whatever it is, the story is plastered all over the news. You can lead with that and gracefully tie it in with your marketing message.

Celebrities are fantastic for this. People love celebrities: Movie stars, rock stars, sports stars, etc. Start out talking about the latest celebrity news and tie it into what you want to say.

For some inexplicable reason, celebrity is frequently confused with credibility. Thus when you tie a celebrity in with your product, even when it’s perfectly clear that they are not actually related in any way, it elevates the status of your product in the customers’ eyes. Strange but true.

Using the news or celebrities necessitates creativity on your part. Make sure it’s in good taste, and that it makes sense. Also, when possible, make it entertaining. In fact, always strive to be interesting and entertaining – your customers will love you for it.

One last thing – if you don’t know what’s going on in your prospect’s minds, it’s time to find out. Hit up social media to find out what’s being talked about, or go to the forums to see what problems people are having. You’ll discover enough in 15 minutes of research to craft a half dozen marketing messages that all begin with you entering the conversation in your prospect’s head.

Are You Repelling Prospects? Good!

A hundred years ago a shop might have tried to be many things to most people. In fact, big box stores still do that today, with good success. Walmart is everything and all things to those looking for the cheapest price. But even they repel customers – namely those people who value service and quality over price.

Are You Repelling Prospects? Good!

These days it pays to specialize. Rather than trying to be most things to most people, you want to do one thing and do it really, really well. If you teach gardening techniques, rather than teaching everything to every gardener, pick a focus such as organic vegetable gardening. If you teach marketing, teach it to a very specific audiences, such as chiropractors or coffee shops or contractors.

Yes, you’ll be repelling the vast majority of customers, but you’ll also be attracting the exact prospects you can help the most. And in so doing, you can also charge accordingly.

After all, who commands the highest price – the person who teaches generic marketing techniques to anyone and everyone? Or the specialist who teaches plumbers to build their businesses to seven figures? Every time, it will be the specialist. If you don’t believe it, look at the health care industry, one of the biggest businesses of all. Who makes more – a general practitioner or a heart surgeon? Specializing pays, and it pays big.

One more benefit of specializing and perhaps the most important of all is this: You become the ONLY choice. When a dentist wants advice on building his practice and he’s faced with 10 choices – 9 of whom do marketing for any kind of business and 1 who works exclusively with dentists, there simply is no competition. Even if your prices are double or triple of your so called competitors, because you are the specialist you will win the business nearly every time.

Bottom line: Know exactly who your target audience is, become their ONLY choice, and repel everyone else who is not a good fit. You’ll attract better customers who appreciate you more and are happy to pay for your specialized service and products.

Why “In Person” Interviews are Better than Skype

As you already know, a popular business model for breaking into any niche is to conduct interviews with the movers and shakers of your niche. In this manner you are creating great content, making potentially profitable connections and making yourself an expert by association. But do you know what’s even better than conducting an interview by phone or Skype? Doing it in PERSON. Here’s why:

Why In Person Interviews are Better than Skype

First, the vast majority of communication isn’t what a person says, but rather the person’s facial expressions, gestures, body language and so forth. For this reason your interviews are going to be better when you can do them in person. By watching your subject, you’ll be able to draw out more information and revelations than you possibly could over the phone.

Second, you can develop a much stronger connection with your subject in person. No matter how much time you spend on the phone or even on Skype, you’re still miles apart and have never actually met the person. You’re much easier to forget this way. But in person, you can make a much stronger impression and create a deeper connection with your subject that allows you to become much closer.

Third, you can prolong the initial connection by inviting them out to coffee or lunch before or after the interview. This makes for a great bonding experience and again increases the odds of your relationship building beyond simply the interviewer and interviewee.

Fourth, you’ve got a great photo opportunity in person. Get your photo taken with this expert – who is probably something of a minor celebrity in your niche – and then use that photo for marketing purposes.

For example, you can add the photo to your website. Use ALT tags to describe the image with something like, “Joe Smith of the podcast Super Abundance with renowned financial expert Warren Buffet.” When people search for Warren Buffet, they could find your photo.

Use the photo on social media. Again, it makes you an authority by association in your niche.

Use the photo in promotions you might be doing, both online and offline. This increases your credibility and elevates you in the eyes of your readers and potential customers.

Naturally there will be many times when an in person interview simply isn’t possible. But when you’re going to another city, check to see who you might set up interviews with while you are there. Watch to see who comes to your city. And when you go to events, set up interviews in advance whenever possible. Also, be ready to do interviews on the fly at conferences – you never know who you might get your next interview and photo with.

Why Should I Bother Publishing Content?

If you’re currently working at something other than publishing – affiliate or CPA marketing, perhaps – then you might wonder why you would want to bother publishing your own content. Publishing isn’t for everyone, but there are several very good reasons why you might want to consider it.

Why Should I Bother Publishing Content?

You can be the good guy. People are looking for answers, for help and for solutions to their problems. You and your content can make a real difference in their lives. And by making that difference, you become….

The expert. The go-to person. The Big Kahuna that people respect. You’re the trusted authority and now opportunities are coming to you in the form of free advertising on social media, affiliates, joint venture proposals and so forth. Which brings us to…

A greater income and additional income sources. You’re now monetizing your expertise by selling products and courses.

So what kinds of content can you create and publish?

Blog Posts
Websites
Short Reports
eCourses
eBooks
eMails
Kindle Books
Actual Books
Workbooks
Resources Lists
Infographics
eNewsletters
Print Newsletters
Magazines
Interviews
Frequently Asked Questions
Webinars
Podcasts
Slide Shows
Video Courses
Audio Courses
Home Study Courses
Step-by-step Tutorials
Templates
Presentations
Screencasts
Cheat Sheets
Buyers Guides
Membership Sites
Member Forums
Top Lists
Stories
Mindmaps
Live Events
Apps
Software

More ideas

You can publish content everywhere – your site, your blog, your member’s area, your newsletter, etc.

You can give away content – such as an ebook or ecourse – to build your email list.

You can record audio and/or video versions of your book and sell it.

You can hold live webinars or in person workshops, then sell the recordings.

You can build traffic by sharing great content such as infographics and top lists on social media.

You can create video courses to sell and promote your video courses by giving away snippets of the course, or a ‘lighter’ version.

You can interview experts and use the interviews and the transcripts as products or giveaways or as content on a paid membership site.

You can combine your articles and blog posts into eBooks and print books!

If you’re not yet creating and publishing content, you might be missing out on a world of opportunities. And if you are, you might want to consider adding new types of content to further expand your reach, your business and your bottom line.

Site Seals: Should You Use Them?

Site Seals are those graphics you see on places like shopping carts that try to convey your information is safe. For example, the yellow circle with a black check mark that says, “Norton SECURED, powered by VeriSign.” The purpose of the seals is naturally to increase conversions, but not all seals are alike. And some placements can actually hurt your conversions rather than help.

Site Seals: Should You Use Them?

Baymard conducted a study to see which seals people trusted the most, and you can see the results here:

http://baymard.com/blog/site-seal-trust

The Norton Secured and McAfee Secure were the clear winners.

You might think that using as many seals as possible would make the prospect feel the most secure, and thus increase conversions. But it’s also possible that populating your page with trust seals will only add to their anxiety and in the end, hurt your conversions.

Be careful to avoid using trust seals on your squeeze pages, as this telegraphs you’re going to be looking for a monetary transaction. When all you want is their email address, it’s generally best to avoid trust seals and save them for the payment page.

Two out-of-the-ordinary places to test placing trust seals is in your header and your footer. When Petco added McAfee’s security seal to their footer, conversions increased 1.76%. And when they placed the same seal in the top left area of the header, conversions increased a surprising 8.83%.

Bottom line, test everything. You never know for sure until you run an AB test.

Hack Your Focus and Get More Stuff Done

Staying focused is quickly becoming one of the greatest challenges online marketers face today. For example, you sit down to write an article and end up surfing the net for the rest of the morning… Or you’ve got an information product that you need to finish, but you check your email which leads to a news site, a sports site, a few entertainment sites, some social media sites and before you know it, it’s already 3 hours later and you’ve accomplished nothing except making yourself feel guilty. Does this sound familiar?

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According to Dr. B. J. Fogg, Director of Stanford Persuasive Lab, “There’s just one way to radically change your behavior, and that’s to radically change your environment.”

Students who transfer to a new university are much more likely to change their habits than students who remain at the same university. This is true for workers as well. People who change jobs or change job locations are much more likely to also change their habits.

It makes sense. Let’s say that at your previous job you were in the habit of going to a fast food restaurant with your coworkers for lunch. At your new job, your coworkers eat lunch at a healthy restaurant and invite you along. Soon you are eating healthy lunches every day, even on those days when you don’t go to that restaurant, because you’re now in the habit of eating healthful lunches. Enough time goes by, and fast food can even become repulsive to you.

So what happened? Your environment changed and so did the triggers. This made it easy to effect a change.

People who have trouble falling asleep are told to only use their bed for sleeping and for nothing else. If they lay down but they can’t fall asleep, they’re supposed to get up and go to another room. After treating their bed as only a sleep location (and not a reading location, a daydreaming location, etc.) for several weeks, they are generally able to fall asleep within minutes of their head hitting the pillow.

The bed is now a trigger for just one thing – sleeping.

This is why having one location to just work and another location to play is important. If you are mixing your ‘play’ time with your work time in the same home office, you’re asking to get constantly distracted.

If you use a laptop or a tablet for work, this is easily remedied. Simply designate one place in your home where you will do nothing but work – no exceptions.

If you work on a desktop computer, you might consider getting a laptop or tablet for your Internet ‘play’ time.

Another technique is to designate certain times of the day when you are working, no exceptions. This will get you in the habit of always doing work during those times, and it will make it much more difficult to get distracted. Your work times then become routine, eliminating the need to decide each time if you’re going to work. And when you automatically go to work instead of ‘deciding’ to go to work, you eliminate the possibility that you will decide NOT to work.

A third technique is to use triggers. For example, if you always start work right after finishing breakfast, it will become a habit to eat and go to work. You don’t have to think about it, you just do it.

In one study, knowing exactly when and where participants were going to exercise caused them to follow through a whopping 91% of the time. Those who simply exercised when they felt motivated to do so exercised 35% of the time.

Bottom line: If you’re having trouble staying focused, designate an area where you will do nothing but work, combine it with a strict schedule, and you should experience a dramatic increase in your productivity.

When you get more done with less distractions, you’ll not only accomplish your goals faster – researchers tell us you’ll also enjoy increased self-esteem, greater happiness and larger over-all satisfaction with your life.

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