Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Internet Independence Email Newsletter


Brought to you by Craig Ballantyne
==============================================

In a perfect world, we'd all have websites that sold
every visitor who landed on the page.

This would allow us to go out and buy ads on other
sites, plus TV commercials, radio commercials, and
maybe even a Superbowl ad.

However, this is not the case for 99.9% of the website
business owners I know (I know of just 2 guys who are
master's of buying media for their websites).

So the reality is that we need to think like Napster
and do some peer-to-peer marketing.

We need to get affiliates. And the best way to do that is
by starting with people who are on an even playing field
with us.

Don't shoot too high or start too low, but make sure you
work with someone who is juuuust right...as if you were
Goldilocks looking for a joint venture (JV) partner.

That means partnering with someone who has about the same
number of people on their prospect and customer lists.

You're equal peers and this way you have a fair trade.

You mail for them, they mail for you, and both of your
customer lists get a little bit bigger.

Then you go and find someone else who is a little bit bigger
than your last JV partner, and you work with them.

Etc.

But, let me be blunt:

This should NOT be your only long-term business strategy.

All the time you are doing these JV/affiliate deals and
swaps you should be testing your website and making it
better, so that more and more of those people who land on
your site actually make a purchase.

Never lose focus of traffic and conversion.

But back to our Napster model - because we're using this as
our source of traffic for now.

Here's what you're going to do:

1) Identify other businesses that have customer email lists
that are about the same size as yours (do this by contacting
them, helping them, building a relationship, and asking)

2) Arrange to do email swap deals (you send a promo to your
list and they send one to theirs - then you each get some
new customers into your system)

3) Make sure they are sending to your best offer

4) Test something each time (test both the the emails that
are sent out and the page that the prospects are being sent
to - split testing on the Internet is free, so make sure
you are taking advantage of this)

5) Do more of the stuff that works and less of the stuff
that doesn't

As oddvious as step #5 is, most people overlook it, and keep
doing the same things over and over again that do NOT get
them results. But if you're familiar with the popular cliche,
you know that's the definition of insanity.

Aim to do at least one of these swaps each WEEK.

Yes, each week.

Just imagine how far ahead you will be if you complete 52
deals in 2012...and do 52 different split tests of your offer.

Holy conversions Batman, you'll be well on your way to that
perfect world situation I described earlier.

The more often you can do this, the more data you get...the
more data you get, the better your offer becomes. The better
your offer is, the more sales you make. You get the point.

Test for success.

Make deals for momentum

Internet Independence Email Newsletter


Brought to you by Craig Ballantyne
==============================================

In a perfect world, we'd all have websites that sold
every visitor who landed on the page.

This would allow us to go out and buy ads on other
sites, plus TV commercials, radio commercials, and
maybe even a Superbowl ad.

However, this is not the case for 99.9% of the website
business owners I know (I know of just 2 guys who are
master's of buying media for their websites).

So the reality is that we need to think like Napster
and do some peer-to-peer marketing.

We need to get affiliates. And the best way to do that is
by starting with people who are on an even playing field
with us.

Don't shoot too high or start too low, but make sure you
work with someone who is juuuust right...as if you were
Goldilocks looking for a joint venture (JV) partner.

That means partnering with someone who has about the same
number of people on their prospect and customer lists.

You're equal peers and this way you have a fair trade.

You mail for them, they mail for you, and both of your
customer lists get a little bit bigger.

Then you go and find someone else who is a little bit bigger
than your last JV partner, and you work with them.

Etc.

But, let me be blunt:

This should NOT be your only long-term business strategy.

All the time you are doing these JV/affiliate deals and
swaps you should be testing your website and making it
better, so that more and more of those people who land on
your site actually make a purchase.

Never lose focus of traffic and conversion.

But back to our Napster model - because we're using this as
our source of traffic for now.

Here's what you're going to do:

1) Identify other businesses that have customer email lists
that are about the same size as yours (do this by contacting
them, helping them, building a relationship, and asking)

2) Arrange to do email swap deals (you send a promo to your
list and they send one to theirs - then you each get some
new customers into your system)

3) Make sure they are sending to your best offer

4) Test something each time (test both the the emails that
are sent out and the page that the prospects are being sent
to - split testing on the Internet is free, so make sure
you are taking advantage of this)

5) Do more of the stuff that works and less of the stuff
that doesn't

As oddvious as step #5 is, most people overlook it, and keep
doing the same things over and over again that do NOT get
them results. But if you're familiar with the popular cliche,
you know that's the definition of insanity.

Aim to do at least one of these swaps each WEEK.

Yes, each week.

Just imagine how far ahead you will be if you complete 52
deals in 2012...and do 52 different split tests of your offer.

Holy conversions Batman, you'll be well on your way to that
perfect world situation I described earlier.

The more often you can do this, the more data you get...the
more data you get, the better your offer becomes. The better
your offer is, the more sales you make. You get the point.

Test for success.

Make deals for momentum

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Secret Qualities of Successful Information Products


By Gary Scott
If someone asked you, "What's the biggest chunk of the U.S. economy?" ... you probably wouldn't say "information."
But, expenditures on information and information products account for over half of this country's economy. That's roughly $5 TRILLION!
Why so much? Americans have an unquenchable thirst for information. We crave information to make us healthier ... wealthier ... more beautiful. But most of all, we want information so we can show others how much we know.
I've developed a highly-successful publishing business selling information that people want. You can, too.
The key is developing an information product that people not only want to buy but want to continue to buy (or renew). This isn't hard - if you understand the following 7 Qualities of Successful Information Product Development.
Quality #1: Is the Idea Interesting?
Interesting ideas connect with a genuine fundamental aspect of life. And, the first person they have to interest is you. If you pick ideas that interest you, research and writing will be fun. But, interest goes beyond that. Your idea has to be truly interesting to your reader.
For example, my first retail publishing idea in the early 1970s was for U.S. investors to invest globally. The idea was sound and remained very interesting for a long time.
On the other hand, look at collectables. There will always be a collectables market. Yet, many collectables are attractive only because they are in vogue.
If, for example, you had a publication about Beanie Babies back when they were in vogue, you could have done well. Today, that publication would fall on its face.
Fads offer attractive publishing opportunities, but they don't last. Publications about interesting topics survive.
Quality #2: Is the Idea Legal and Ethical?
I once got a letter about how I could mail First Class letters for only 3 cents! Indeed, the stamp on the envelope was 3 cents.
This seemed interesting, since I spend hundreds of thousands a year on postage. The letter promised that, for $12, I could get details on how to mail First Class letters for 3 cents.
This was too good to be true, but I was interested. A few days later, I got one photocopied page telling me how to do it. The page claimed that, as a business, the Post Office had made an offer to send my mail at the current rate. And it claimed that, as a businessman, I could counteroffer by putting a 3-cent stamp on my letters instead. If the Post Office accepted and mailed my letters, they accepted my offer. The idea was to simply mail all your letters with a 3-cent stamp, because most would get through. And, the idea was neither legal nor ethical.
The Postal Service's Revenue Protection Department operates by spot inspection, true enough. So, yes, many of these 3-cent letters would get through. But, anyone mailing lots of them could expect to be investigated by the U.S. government. So, in the long run, it wouldn't have been profitable. The fines (not to mention prison time) for these kinds of actions are very heavy.
Quality #3: Is the Idea Attractive?
Your idea has to attract first-time buyers. It doesn't have to be pretty or pleasant. But, it must attract.
Attractiveness appeals to emotions in some way. The emotions can be good, bad, or even ugly. For example, one ad that worked well read, "I'm mad as heck at the government for cheating us - here's how to get even." It's not a very pretty idea. But, it's certainly attractive.
A publication must hold your reader's interest to succeed in the long-term. But, attractiveness gets potential readers to drop everything, read a sales story, and buy your publication.
Quality #4: Is the Idea Usable?
Your idea has to fill some need for your reader. This is vital to gaining repeat customers for your publication. The idea has to work for its readers.
A publication can be entertaining. With a golf publication, for instance, the pleasure of reading about golf courses may be enough to make it useful if the main goal is to give the reader satisfaction through description.
On the other hand, the goal might be to help the reader know how to get lower golf scores (pride). Or, show times at various courses when greens fees are reduced (savings).
Quality #5: Is the Idea Understandable?
Some years ago, the book A Brief History of Time was a New York Times bestseller for over a year. It was called one of the most-purchased/least-read books of all time. The author's next books didn't sell well. His books - all of them about quantum science - were just too complicated.
Ask: Is my information understandable for my target market? As A Brief History of Time shows, being interesting can sell a book. But if it's not understandable, you won't build repeat business.
Quality #6: Is the Idea Timely?
A successful publication is tuned to the times. If it's too far ahead of or behind its time, it won't do well in the long run.
I failed to understand this quality in the 1970s when I was first writing about investing internationally. I'd lived abroad for nearly a decade, so this idea seemed obvious. However, it ran contrary to public thought.
Twenty years later, most U.S. investors were ready for this idea. Today, it is so common that local stockbrokers give free talks on the subject, so we've had to adapt. Because I understand this quality, I'm able to change, update, and innovate my publications constantly.
Quality #7: Is the Idea Sellable?
In publishing, marketing is a very important part of success. You can have the timeliest, most usable, interesting, easy-to-apply idea in the world. But if you cannot sell it, you won't make money. Defining your market and deciding how to sell your idea correctly is an integral part of the product creation.
I learned this lesson while pioneering the idea of investing abroad. As I said, my idea was right ... but ahead of its time. Because I was out of sync with most American investors, my original selling failed.
The product wasn't salable until I discovered avenues that led me closer to the small percentage of Americans who were interested. This process of understanding the customer is called "focus," and it's crucial to publishing success. For example, I found that though I marketed across the country to all professions and religions, a large percentage of my original readers were Jewish, Southern, or chiropractors - groups that had less trust in the establishment. Once I understood that all three of these groups perceived that the establishment had been, at one time or another, biased against them, I was able to zero in and focus my sales in those areas

Friday, November 4, 2011

The List You Need In Your Life

By Craig Ballantyne

In the spring of 1999, when I was halfway through my Master's degree, I started sending out my resume in an attempt to land my dream job. At that time in my life, it meant writing to the General Manager of every single team in the National Hockey League (NHL) because my number one career goal was to become an NHL Strength and Conditioning Coach.
I scoured the Internet for their mailing addresses, made a list of the GM's I had contacted, and sent out twenty-eight resumes along with a follow-up letter four weeks later. Months went by and, miraculously, some of the GM's even replied. Each time they did I would mark off the communication in a spreadsheet. That was my first experience with building a contact list and while I never did get a shot at working in the big leagues, I discovered the value of having this simple little networking tool.
This is the list you need in your life. It's almost as important as your to-do list. In fact, we'll call it your, "To contact list", and you're going to discover how to build and nurture it by giving value to the people on this list.
The premise of the list is simple. You'll identify the people you want to contact and you'll do so methodically and relentlessly. Keep track of when you last contacted them and identify areas where you can help them. This short set of networking rules has served me well as I've built my online business.
After deciding to focus my ambition on a web-based health and fitness business, I began contacting other experts in my industry. They had great information to share and I had built up a small, but passionate list of online readers. It was the perfect match. I could help these experts by providing them a forum to new readers and potential clients, and the experts would be able to help me by providing content. Voila. We built a working relationship based on adding value to each other.
At the time I had no idea this act of networking would turn out to be a huge component of my online success. I just had a natural inclination to contact and connect with as many experts in my industry as possible. There might even have been a genetic component to it, as my father was fond of making several phone calls to other farmers everyday at lunchtime. He did his power networking by phone, and I've gone on to do mine by email. Perhaps my kids will do theirs by text, and my grandchildren by hologram. Who knows what the future will bring to the Ballantyne Networking system?
What I do know is that the email interview connection process had two big impacts in my business. First, a relationship was built with the 'movers and shakers' of my industry. These experts now knew me, liked me, and trusted me, and therefore were willing to recommend my email newsletter to their readers. As a result, my email list grew and more readers began contacting me for workouts.
Second, by being associated with these other experts, some of their credibility rubbed off on me. My readers now elevated my status in their opinion because I knew all these other great experts. This increased the level of trust that my readers had in my work and therefore became more likely to purchase my products.
All the time I was doing this I began building up an epic contact spreadsheet. In one column was the expert's name, in a second column was the date they were last contacted, and in a third column was information I wanted to share with them. This third column is important and featured content that would add value to the expert. It wasn't about helping me. It was about helping them.
Read those three steps again. Step three contains a big lesson because today most experts almost exclusively receive requests for help, such as an appeal to promote a product they aren't familiar with. Rarely does an expert receive any offers of help, and so when you contact someone with information that adds value to their life without trying to extract value, your communication will be appreciated and it is much easier to build a relationship.
Start building your contact list today. Write the names of all the important people in your life in one column. In the second column, note the last time you contacted them. And in that third column, build a list of tips and information that will add value to their lives. Try not to let a month go by without adding value to the people who are important in your life and business. Of course, if you find something time-sensitive that can help someone immediately, then contact that person as soon as you can.
In fact, by using this system, you can double your income. That's what happened for Vince Palko, copywriter and ad toon artist, when he implemented a similar system. At one point, Vince was struggling to get business, but after reading Brian Tracy's book called "Goals", he came across this simple piece of advice, "If you want to double your income, then double the amount of people that you're either on the phone with or in front of every day."
Vince realized he had only been contacting one person each day, so he immediately doubled his efforts. He also started tracking his contacts by printing out the calendar on his computer and writing down everything he did. If he called a prospect named Joe that day, he would write that down. Vince also added a unique third step to his system where he rewarded himself for implementation. It's something so simple you might even want to dismiss it. But I warn you not to. It could be the missing step in your networking plan.
What Vince did was put a little sticker beside every contact that led to a business deal. As he continued his increased networking, he noticed that more and more stickers started getting added to his calendar. As Vince said, "There was something magical about these stickers. It was a great way to track my progress. At the end of the month I could look back and see where I had success and it was a great momentum builder and motivation to keep going."
That's the power of keeping track of your contact list and connecting action with accomplishment.
This system also works for connecting with people you don't know. Simply make a list of the people you want to meet, identify something of value that you can add to their lives, and then find out how to contact them. Don't be afraid of using this thing called "regular mail" or even Fed-Ex. Sometimes that's the only to breakthrough and contact people who don't know you yet. But always remember to provide value. The best way to start a relationship with someone is by showing up with a helping hand, not looking for a hand out.
My little spreadsheet has served me well over time. Of course, I can only imagine there's an 'app' for this today, but I'll stick to my million dollar excel Rolodex. No matter how you keep your list, I guarantee that if you start this habit today and add value to the people in your network, this will get you on the fast track to living the life of your dreams.

To get something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to Get the Money to Come To You


Whenever I hear and read about the Occupy Wall Street protests, I think, "Just imagine what those people could accomplish if they put the same amount of energy into creating value for the world as they do into these protests."
Now that would be something newsworthy.
After all, that's how small businesses make money – by creating something of value that solves people's problems. That's the biggest virtue of entrepreneurship – creating value.
Today, Joe Polish will explain why money flows to those who create value, and he'll walk you through a series of steps that will help you act in a way so that money starts flowing to you.
Craig Ballantyne
"Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." – Albert Einstein

Why The Money Will Come Once You Create Value

By Joe Polish
You're about to discover one of the best 'obvious secrets' I've ever learned about 'Getting Money' and 'Creating Value'. When my good friend Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, first shared it with me, it really hit me like a ton of bricks.
What Dan shared with me is this...
"All Money Earned Ethically Is A Byproduct Of Value Creation"
Now, there's 'real' value in the world, and there's 'perceived' value. And the important point about this is the following: To the consumer, whatever their perception of value is, that is their reality.
Let me repeat: To the consumer, whatever their perception of value is, that is their reality.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they think they are valuable, but they don't communicate that value. If you don't communicate that value through the use of effective and compelling direct response marketing here's what will happen: You'll think that what you have is valuable, but your prospects, or customers, or clients, or patients will not know the value, or understand the value, or interpret the value you're offering them.
Here's the point:
Money will only come to you once you create value – not just in the creation of your products or services – but also in the creation of powerful and effective communications.
You see there are three things you need in order to sell something...
1. You need a product or service, and that product or service needs to deliver everything (and more!) than what you say it will or promise it will. That's just a given. You can't have a long-term relationship by selling crappy products and services.
Now, let's assume that the product or service you're selling and providing is valuable and it's everything you say it is. That's only step one.
2. The second thing you need is a sales pitch or a marketing message. This is a huge focus on ILoveMarketing.com, and this is where you really need to communicate value. This is not just offering value that you think in the form of a product and service that is valuable, but actually creating value by entering a conversation that's already existing in your prospect's mind. (This was famously stated in 1937 by Robert Collier in one of the best classic marketing books available: 'The Robert Collier Letter Book'.)
Now, assuming you have a marketing method or a sales pitch, that's step two.
3. The third thing you need is a delivery system. Think of all the different ways you can deliver a message: Social media, offline advertising, blogging, online advertising, television, radio...and many more. And think of all the 'old-school' forms you can use to deliver a message: Direct mail, postcards, pre-recorded messages... and many more. That's the way to deliver it.
Now that you know the three things you need in order to sell something, ask yourself this:
1. How can I create (or re-purpose) my product or service so that it OVER delivers on what I promise?
2. How can I craft a marketing message that enters the conversation already existing in the prospects mind? How can I create valuable communications?
(HINT: Understanding your prospects' motivations is one of the first steps to creating compelling communications that cause people to want to buy your products and services.)
3. What delivery systems should I use to reach my prospects and customers most effectively?
(HINT: The more media you can use to reach your prospects and customers, the better. Some people get concerned about the cost of using more delivery systems. But remember: If you make more money on the backend, you can afford to spend more to acquire a customer than your competitors can. PLUS, you can use pre-recorded messages, postcards, direct mail, and many more delivery systems to deliver more value – and thus get more sales – from EXISTING customers. So don't just think of a delivery system as something used for new customers and prospects. They can, and should, be used to deliver value to your current clients as well.)
So, in order to have money flow to you, you need to create value. If you spend enough time focusing on not only delivering great products and services, but more importantly, communicating the value of those products or services, and you start getting them in the hands of other people... then something kicks in where people start referring you and telling other people about you. Money will come once you create value.
Remember what Walt Disney said...
"Do What You Do So Well That They Will Want To See It Again And Bring Their Friends."
Money comes when you create value. And the more value you create in the world, the more money you can make. Be a value creator.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Have More Daily Wealth


By Steve Sjuggerud
Greetings from the Oregon coast where I’m living my dream.
I’m living well. The great thing is, “living well” by my definition doesn’t cost much money at all. That’s because my definition of living well isn’t about, well, “stuff.” Let me explain…
Yesterday, I windsurfed perfect head-high waves alongside 2004 World Champion Scott McKercher. The day before, I went surfing with champion paddle surfer Ekolu Kalama and his wife. No crowd, just us. For comparison, if you’re a golfer, it’s like hanging out with Tiger Woods for the day, just the two of you.
I feel fortunate to be here with these guys… and it reminds me of what’s important in life:
It’s about EXPERIENCE, not STUFF.
My wife and I try to live this idea – that “experience” is more important than “stuff.”
For example, our kids (ages seven and five) are probably the only kids they know that don’t have a PlayStation or an Xbox or a Nintendo Wii. They don’t have a ton of stuff. But they’ve got tons of life experience…
Our kids have seen the world… They’ve been as far north as Iceland. And they’ve been as far south as New Zealand. Yet we don’t have big flat-screen TVs in our living room or den. (Are we the last Americans to actually have regular TVs?)
The great thing is, life experiences don’t have to cost much at all. Waves are free. Wind is free. Spending time with your friends and family is free.
Before I came out to Oregon, we spent time with my family in Orlando. Over the weekend, the kids shot waterguns at their granddad in the pool, and my mom fixed unbeatable home-cooked breakfasts. Everyone had a great time. It was a great family experience. And it sure didn’t cost much. It’s not what it costs that makes it valuable.
It wasn’t about buying “stuff.” And this trip to the Oregon coast isn't about “stuff” either.
I define living well as
1) having time with friends and family,
2) pursuing my passions, and
3) well, not worrying about money.
The nice thing is that you don’t need a fortune to live well by that definition.
Living well to me isn’t about monster flat-screen TVs, driving a BMW, or wearing diamond-encrusted watches. How about you?
You only have so much money… so what do you put a premium on?
It’s so easy in America to be sucked into “stuff” – from the pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” to the constant barrage of advertising from every angle.
But you can’t take stuff with you. I’ve heard investor Doug Casey say, “I've never seen a hearse with luggage racks.” And if stuff is what you choose, just remember, you’ll be busy working for the rest of your life to pay for your stuff.
If you follow my definition of living well, then the goal becomes living life to the fullest instead of buying stuff… and saving instead of buying so you don’t have to worry about money.
People want to invest successfully so they don’t have to worry about money. If you change your definition of living well, then you can get to the point of not worrying about money a lot faster.
Again, my idea of living well is:
1) Having time with friends and family.
2) Pursuing my passions (which I’m doing on the Oregon coast now).
3) Not having to worry about money.
What’s your idea of living well? Is it about the experience, or the stuff?

5 Ways to Buy Happiness


Ah, the elusive pursuit of happiness. According to an article in the July 2011 issue of Entrepreneur magazine, researchers believe 40% of happiness is genetic, 40% is derived from things we choose to do, and the remainder results from circumstances in our lives – such as our age, gender, and yes, our wealth.
Wealth may make you happy. It may make you unhappy. But more importantly, a second group of researchers suggest it’s how you spend your wealth that will really influence how happy you are. Here are their 5 principles for increasing your happiness through monetary means.
1) Buy more experiences and fewer things
Earlier this summer I was in Vienna, Austria, spending a few hours window-shopping in an outdoor promenade. The setting was idyllic, cobblestone streets lined by old churches and beautiful concert halls.
In one window I came across a fancy watch with a relatively substantial price tag. For the next 36 hours I thought about buying the watch, but ultimately decided to pass, because I knew my buyer’s remorse would outweigh any pleasure the watch would give me.
Days later I knew I made the right decision.
What really mattered to me was simply BEING in Vienna and enjoying the city, having breakfast outside at a cafĂ© watching the tourists – and beautiful European girls – go by. The trip itself brought me the lifelong memory while my interest in that watch has rapidly faded with time.
2) Use your money to help others.
My charity of choice, if you can call it that, is http://www.kiva.org/. Kiva allows me to loan money to entrepreneurs all over the world. The loan is paid back over time and then I re-loan the money to another entrepreneur. This gives me a great deal of satisfaction. May your charity of choice do the same for you.
3) Buy many small pleasures instead of a handful of large ones.
I once dated a beautiful girl and often bought her clothes and jewelry. One day, as a surprise, I bought her a simple $10 hairband. Out of all of the gifts I ever gave her, nothing made her happier than this small item. It’s the small things in life that matter. I’m willing to bet you can make your someone special very happy for $10 or less tonight.
4) Pay now but consume later.
According to JD Roth, the author of the original article in Entrepreneur magazine, in addition to helping you stay out of debt, this method makes us happier because it builds anticipation (which the researchers say is pleasurable in and of itself). We also tend to make smarter choices when we pay now and consume later.
5) Beware of comparison shopping.
One of the reasons I didn’t buy that watch in Vienna was the sheer number of other watches in the same window and among all of the other jewelry store windows on that street. I knew that after I bought the watch I’d find another that I liked even more. The solution to avoiding this comparison shopping syndrome is simple. “Find a good option, go with it and don’t look back,” says Roth.
Today we’re publishing a time-tested article (written in 2008) from Steve Sjuggerud on how to have more daily wealth. This isn’t about investing or stock-picking, but rather about the small things we can value immediately that give us greater daily wealth, gratitude, happiness, or whatever you would like to call it.
Craig Ballantyne
“Cherish time, your most valuable resource. You can never make up the time you lose. It’s the most important value for any productive happy individual and is the only limitation to all accomplishment. To waste time is to waste your life. The most important choices you’ll ever make are how you use your time.”

The Entrepreneur and the American Dream



By Robert Ringer
With the word entrepreneur becoming increasingly popular with media pundits on both the right and the left, more and more people are coming to realize that entrepreneurship was the driving force behind America's widespread prosperity – prosperity that few Americans could have imagined as recent as the mid-20th century.
Entrepreneurship, in fact, embodies the spirit of the American Dream. After all, many of the Founding Fathers were entrepreneurs, and perhaps the two most famous in that regard are George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They also are good examples of just how far apart the results of individual entrepreneurs can be. Though they were both farmers, Washington was one of the richest men in America, while Jefferson struggled financially throughout his life and died broke.
Jefferson's financial difficulties are a reminder that there are no guarantees for the entrepreneur, who labors away without the luxury of a safety net. In fact, perhaps the single greatest attribute of an entrepreneur is his willingness to take risks – including the risk of losing everything if he fails. By everything, I'm not just referring to savings, stocks, bonds, and collectibles. I'm talking about his house, his furniture, his cars – everything he owns – not to mention his credit and his self-esteem.
In this vein, Barbara Walters did an excellent special last week on self-made billionaires. The slant of the show belied the rhetoric of politicians who pander to voters by implying that being rich, of and by itself, is evil. They would have people believe that rich people somehow prevent others from getting ahead financially. The truth, of course, is that most wealthy people achieved their success by creating products and services that others want.
Barbara Walters' first guest was Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil. Laliberte, who has a net worth of $2.5 billion, struggled early in his career as a street performer in Montreal before venturing out as an entrepreneur. Today, his multibillion-dollar business showcases in 271 cities worldwide, employing tens of thousands of people in the process.
When Walters asked Laliberte if he still takes risks, he quickly responded, "Every day." Wall Street Journal Wealth Reporter Robert Frank, who added his insights throughout the show, then explained, "Part of the risk-taking personality is the ability to overcome failure. ...One of the things that makes billionaires successful is their reaction to failure."
Unfortunately, those who spew out class-warfare rhetoric are clueless about the risks the entrepreneur takes in his quest to achieve the American Dream. Or about the self-evident principle: The greater the risk, the greater the potential reward.
As a result, politicians have a stubborn habit of stepping in and trying to curb the natural rewards of the marketplace, insisting that "it's unfair" for the super rich to make so much more than the average working person. That's right, no other explanation other than "it's unfair."
It goes without saying that from a moral point of view, their position is indefensible. If people are truly free, they should be free to become as wealthy as their talent, creativity, and hard work can take them, so long as they do not use force or fraud against anyone else. The American Dream is about opportunity, not guarantees.
And from an economic viewpoint, it's a no-brainer. Contrary to what some politicians would like us to believe, it's impossible for anyone to become rich without creating jobs. Wealthy folks start and expand businesses and, in the process, employ others – not just by hiring people, but through the jobs that are created indirectly by those who furnish the raw materials, parts, transportation, etc. that their businesses require.
But what about someone who spends hundreds of millions of dollars indulging himself in such luxuries as mansions, private jets, and yachts? It doesn't take a Ludwig von Mises to explain that workers are needed to build those mansions, private jets, and yachts, not to mention to produce the materials and thousands of parts and accessories that go into them. Then, once built, it takes people to operate and service those mansions, private jets, and yachts – which means long-term employment.
Thus, economic reality makes it clear that the entrepreneur is not the villain some politicians make him out to be. On the contrary, he is a bona fide hero who creates jobs and wealth for everyone who is willing to work, thus giving others a leg up in achieving the American Dream.
As such, entrepreneurs who accumulate great fortunes should be admired rather than scorned. To vilify someone for having "too much" is the height of asininity and self-destructiveness. The American Dream is not about envy; it's about getting what you want in life by creating products and services that are valued in the free market.
The single most important fact about entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and the recently deceased Steve Jobs is that their great wealth not only does not prevent others from becoming successful, it actually gives their customers the tools to become wealthy themselves. Think computers, hand-held electronic devices, and cell phones, to name but a few of the more obvious of such tools, all of which are easily available to even the most financially challenged among us.
The optimistic side of me wants to believe that truth may be on a roll here. If so, it needs all the help it can get. As angry redistribution-of-wealth advocates preach about lame abstracts such as social justice and fairness, those of us who know the truth about the American Dream need to spread the word.
We need to explain to all who will listen that the individual who aspires to great wealth by creating products and services people want is not the cause of America's problems, but, rather, the solution to its problems.
When an individual focuses on hard work, resourcefulness, and wealth creation – and is willing to take risks – it puts him in a position to achieve the same American Dream that millions of wealthy people have experienced through their own efforts.

The Power of the Irresistible Offer


By Joe Polish
Two of the most important elements in marketing are the OFFER and the LIST.
Now, assuming you have a great LIST of people that have identified themselves as wanting something, or that are interested in a particular subject matter, then you need a way to give them what they want.
So, what’s the mechanism or means that gives people what they want? An irresistible offer.
But the question is: How do you create and set up an irresistible offer that delivers to the other person something they already want (and preferably something they’ve been looking for)? How do you deliver a solution to a problem someone has that you can solve with your product or service (even if the other person is unaware that you can solve it)?
Well, the simple way you do it is by setting up the irresistible offer in a way that makes it easy to get the solution you have into their hands and compels them to want to BUY IT.
One thing you need to remember is this: The number one question in a consumer’s minds is, “WHO can I trust?”
That’s the question everybody has. You have it. I have it. Everyone has it. For example, I’m not going to eat a restaurant if I think that eating there is going to give me food poisoning! So, if you have a product or service that will truly help people, then what you need to do is remove the fear and then the other person will buy.
The job of the marketer is to establish trust and rapport, and simultaneously make the other person feel comfortable doing business with you. And one of the best ways to do this while eliminating virtually all the risk is through a powerful and irresistible offer!
Let me give you an example: When I was a dead broke carpet cleaner, I had to think of all the things that people didn’t know that they did not know about choosing a carpet cleaner. How did I do this?
I used education-based marketing to educate them on why they should do business with me and to get them off the issue of price. I would use headlines like, “The Most Thorough Cleaning Ever Or It’s Free.” I would offer a free room of carpet cleaning up to 200 square feet without any cost or obligation of any kind. I would also provide them with a free carpet audit, where I would go into their home and evaluate the condition of their carpets.
Now, to this day, 20 years later, since I came up with that offer, it’s still the most powerful way for a carpet cleaner to sell a service that, frankly, nobody wants to buy. And the reason is that we offer to give people a demonstration so that they can try it for free, and then we give them an education on evaluating the condition of their carpet. It’s an example of an irresistible offer.
So that would be an example of making an irresistible offer that gives people something valuable AND educates them about how your product or service solves their problem. And this works for ANYTHING from carpet cleaning to the human brain!
One more important point: You can make your offers even more irresistible by adding a GUARANTEE. In addition to giving the other person a sample or letting them try your product or service, you can say, “and if you decide to hire us (or use our product), we even back it up with a 100% money back guarantee. There’s no risk or obligation of any kind and if you’re not totally satisfied, you get 100% of your money back.”
So here’s what you should do now:
Get out a yellow pad (or a piece of paper, or a word document) and think of whatever business you’re in, and try to come up with an offer where you can eliminate 100% of the risk, let them try your services as best you can, and educate them along the way.
Ask yourself:
1. How can I eliminate 100% of the risk?
2. How can I let the other person try my product or service?
3. How can I educate the other person along the way?
Remember: The best offer is an irresistible offer and one that’s totally risk free and educates the other person so that they can make an intelligent, informed decision.
If people can feel like they are confident in making an intelligent, informed decision AND you offer a 100% no risk guarantee. That is even more powerful. And then when you can back all of this up by identifying and showcasing people just like them through the use of testimonials or case studies that have used your product or service, that is one of the closest ways you are ever going to get to making an irresistible offer.

A Silver Lining in the Great Recession


By Jason Holland
In the current economic crisis, there is a business that is booming. In fact, there has never been a better time to get in on this opportunity.
Due to demand, there are plenty of customers to go around - and there will be for years to come. And the Internet makes it easy to run this business on your schedule and from anywhere in the world.
Think of all the people looking for jobs. What if you could help them land their dream job... and get paid to do it? I'm talking $1,000 to $3,000 per week for just part-time work.
The unemployed are looking for an edge. They're increasingly turning to consultants to help them craft resumes that will help them stand out from the crowd.
You could offer this resume consulting service to this huge, hungry market. It's a great way to make a side income while you're working on your online Carefree Business. Or if you like it, you could make it your primary business - the income potential is there.
No previous experience in human resources is necessary. And you don't have to already know how to write a great resume. It's a science. You just need proven outlines and strategies for what details you should include on a resume to make them irresistible to employers. And you can run this business completely online (and maybe a few phone calls), from marketing your services to consulting with clients.

The market is huge for resumes. There are 14 million unemployed Americans right now.
Everyone from college kids looking for their first job to executives laid off due to budget cuts needs help. And there are also the underemployed and those who just plain want a new job. Says Julien Sharp, who got her start as a freelance resume consultant after years in the corporate world:
"Many realize their current careers are not going to grow, so they decide to start a completely new career. They need a resume that reflects how their past experience can support the new type of job they are seeking."
Even in the best of economic times, there are 50 million Americans out there looking for another job with higher pay. So there is always a high demand for this service.
What makes it work is that most job hunters would prefer not to write their own resumes - 79 percent, according to a recent survey. They feel more confident when a pro does it for them.
"Ninety-nine percent of people out of work for the first time in years do not have a current resume," says Julien.
Many of Julien's clients realize a bad resume has been holding them back. And they don't know how to fix it.
"Tom" is a recent client of Julien's. As a financial analyst who had been steadily climbing up to the executive level in his company, he was laid off shortly after the economy started crumbling. Like so many people today, he had trouble finding work. And with four kids (from 5 years old to 16) to support, he was getting majorly stressed.
Turns out, Tom had everything he needed to get a great new job, except for one vital component.
Sure, he had plenty of experience and expertise. But prospective employers couldn't see that because his resume was done so poorly.
Julien sees this type of thing all the time. And it's a major part of her business. She calls helping clients whose resumes aren't getting them interviews her "sweet spot."
It boils down to one thing, says Julien: unsuccessful resumes just show what the candidate did in past positions ...but they don't show how well they did them. Julien made that simple change for Tom after she took him on as a client. And within hours of posting the revised version to Monster.com, he had received eight calls and three emails from employers. Eleven days later, the client had received a job offer.
To rewrite this resume, Julien was able to charge $225 an hour.
You can charge upwards of $150 an hour for quick resume tweaks - something you can do right after you start offering this service. Tackle total resume overhauls, writing resumes from scratch, putting together cover letters... and you could multiply that amount by three or four times. With extra services, like interview coaching and helping people get their resume in front of the right eyes with promotional pieces, you can charge even more.
The more experienced your client, says a long-time corporate manager, the more you can charge. Their resumes will be more in-depth and filled with their experience.
Charles Bryant is one of Julien's fellow freelance resume writers. Before he got into the business, he had no experience at all in resume writing. But he quickly picked up the simple techniques and strategies that anybody can use to craft quality resumes - the same techniques Julien knows.
These days, he makes between $500 - $3,000 writing resumes. And he maintains that anybody can learn what he does and have similar success.
As I said, no previous experience is necessary. You just have to learn how to ask your client the right questions to make sure the right details make it into the resume. Armed with a proven client questionnaire - this is Julien's "secret weapon" - for getting the most important information, and you can craft a great resume that will get your clients interviews and jobs.
You can make great money in the resume business - up to $150,000 per year - and help people find jobs and get back on their feet at the same time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to Compete with Apple

By Craig Ballantyne


In today’s retail world we are being treated to one of the greatest exhibits in market domination since Henry Ford conquered the automotive marketplace. I’m talking about Apple’s control of the tablet wars.

Every day it seems the news is reporting on another company dropping out of the market. Recently, Dell and Hewlett-Packard have killed off some of their tablets, folded their tents, and gotten out of Apple’s way before they lost any more money or pride.

Research In Motion (RIM), the maker of the ubiquitous Blackberry, might soon be going the way of the dinosaur too. Having sold only 200,000 of the expected 500,000 units of their Playbook for the quarter, RIM is being advised to pull the plug on their tablet. Only Samsung appears to be holding their own in the battle against Apple. But even then, almost seven out of every ten tablets sold around the world is an iPad.

Why are all these companies getting beaten? It’s simple.

“Every single vendor in the tablet space made the same mistake. Not a single one of them did anything different than the iPad,” said Maribel Lopez, principal analyst at Lopez Research.

There’s a reason why the book, “Differentiate or Die”, has remained so popular over the years. It’s simply because the message is one you can’t ignore, no matter what business you’re in. As the author, Jack Trout, says, “Consumers today have an endless number of choices among products that are virtually identical. Short of slashing your prices and wrecking your margins, differentiating is the only way to gain market share and win.”

Unfortunately, many businesses default to slashing prices as the only way to stand out in their marketplace. But when asked, “What’s the secret of selling against fierce competition?”, Jeffrey Gitomer, the author of “The Little Black Book of Networking”, said, “Differentiate with value, or die with price.”

If you simply try to be the lowest priced option in your market, eventually your business will die. Someone will always be able to come along and be cheaper than you, cutting out your profit margins and killing your business.

You need to differentiate the products and services you sell based on a unique selling proposition. What can you bring to the marketplace that hasn’t already been done – or at least done well enough?

The problem of differentiation extends to all industries, and a great one to watch is the battle among the big pizza chains. Domino’s gets credit for one of the greatest differentiating marketing strategies in history, for their promise of delivering fresh, hot pizza to your door in 30 minutes or less. However, most differences will only last so long.

Today, Pizza Hut is experiencing tremendous success by offering not just pizza, but pasta. This has allowed America’s biggest pizza company to hold off Domino’s. Incidentally, Domino’s is now trying to differentiate their business by specializing in adding chicken to their menu.

You can never stop being different. You must always be looking for a new way to differentiate yourself from the competition. After all, Apple didn’t just stop with the iPad. They improved the iPad2, and rumor has it the iPad3 is not far away. Surely, they’ll continue their market domination if they keep making their product better and different from all the copycats.

Today’s homework for you is to identify your area of expertise that allows you to be different in your market. This might apply to your online business or simply to your workplace where you’re competing for a promotion with several other candidates. You must identify what makes you different and better. Once you do, make sure everyone knows about it.

One of the first authors who taught me about differentiation was Bob Serling. I bought his $97 manual, “Info Millions” back in 2003 when I was running my fitness information business out of my bedroom – while working full-time as a personal trainer.

I read that manual from cover-to-cover four times that summer, and each time it showed me a new way to make a few thousand dollars. I credit Bob’s manual with helping me build the foundation of the business that allows me to live the American Dream lifestyle today.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How to Manage Different Generations


Managers are increasingly grappling with generational differences in their work forces. Problems can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. The frictions may be aggravated by new technology and work patterns that mix workers of different ages in ever-changing teams.
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are competitive and think workers should pay their dues, workplace consultants say. Gen Xers, born between 1965 and 1977, are more likely to be skeptical and independent-minded. Gen Ys—also known as Millennials—were born in 1978 or later and like teamwork, feedback and technology.
The key is to be able to effectively address and take advantage of the differences in values and expectations of each generation. But experts say managers must be careful not to follow blanket stereotypes. Managers must also take care not to disadvantage older workers, even inadvertently, or risk retention problems and legal headaches.
Here are some strategies:
Send your managers to class so they can learn to recognize generational differences and adapt. It’s important that managers change rather than trying to change the staff.
Facilitate mentoring between different aged employees to encourage more cross-generational interaction. Younger employees should learn to seek the experience and wisdom offered by senior employees. Older employees should learn to be open to the fresh perspectives offered by younger employees.
Offer different working options like telecommuting and working offsite. Focus on the results employees produce rather than on how they get it done. This will give employees some flexibility on how they want to work and put everybody, regardless of where they spent most of their time working, on the same scale to measure success. Telecommuting can also encourage Boomers nearing retirement to stay on staff longer since the option allows them to ‘gear down’ their workloads.
Accommodate different learning styles. Baby Boomers may favor more traditional and static training methods like Power Point presentations and handbooks, while younger workers may gravitate towards more interactive, technology-based forms of learning.
Keep employees engaged. Provide regular educational and training opportunities as well as career advice to keep all workers interested in the company. Fuel the high expectations of ambitious Millennials with special assignments that are outside of their job descriptions. Consider putting them on a task force to solve a problem or establishing a regular presence on social networking sites for the company.
Open up the office. Millennials generally don’t work well under rigid management structure. They prefer open collaborations that allow employees to share information and for everybody to contribute to decision-making. Assign work to teams of employees and have them present finished product to the entire department. The idea is to take advantage of the Millennials’ preference for teamwork and to encourage more solidarity throughout the workplace.
Toss the routines. Experts say Millennials and Gen Xers dislike the formality of regular meetings, especially when there’s nothing to discuss. Limit meetings to when there’s a real need.
Create recognition programs. Even simple gestures like a pat on the back or positive email congratulations can help boost productivity with Gen Xers. Boomers may seek status so may respond best to an office-wide memo that announces that they are meeting or exceeding their goals. Millennials may seek validation and approval so will appreciate increased responsibility and additional training opportunities. To this end, Millennials may also prefer more frequent employee reviews.
Accommodate personal employee needs. Different generations of employees will be in different stages of life and may require that employers offer some scheduling flexibility to manage their personal time. But maintain parity so other employees don’t feel alienated. Boomers who are thinking of retirement, for example, may want to cut the number of hours they work in exchange for reduced pay. Gen Xers who need to leave work early to attend a parent/teacher function can agree to make up lost time at another date. Support Millennials who may want to pursue another degree part time and extend the same educational opportunities to other employees.
Give all employees a voice. Regardless of age and tenure, give all employees a forum in which to present ideas, concerns and complaints. Department heads should facilitate open communication throughout the office and set aside time to provide honest feedback.
Don’t apply a blanket communication-method policy. Boomers may prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Millennials grew up being in constant communication with peers and coworkers so are accustomed to emailing, texting or sending instant messages.
Don’t confuse character issues like immaturity, laziness or intractability with generational traits. Whereas Boomers may see a 60-hour work week as a prerequisite to achieving success, many hard-working Millennials may prefer a more balanced life that includes reasonable working hours–with occasional bouts of overtime–and weekends off. The latter may also voluntarily choose to make up the time in unstructured settings like working at a Starbucks on weekends.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What You Can Learn About Entrepreneurship From World-Class Bikers

Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey."

By Dwain Deville
Ever since writing The Biker's Guide to Business, I get one question more than any other: "Dwain, what the heck do biking and business have in common?"
To me the answer is obvious in that bikers and entrepreneurs are a similarly bold lot. We're independent, strong willed, adventurous, and intolerant of fences. We go for it by harnessing our passion in order to excel.
Both biking and entrepreneurship have inherent risk attached to them. But riding a motorcycle scared is a fast ticket to the hospital - and you darn sure can't run a company scared. Those who know this, the champions, get that it's not about overcoming fear. Instead, it's aboutunderstanding and embracing reasonable and controllable risk.
As an entrepreneur, it is not a question of if you're going to face hard times and challenges, it's a question of when. This article is about how to prepare yourself for the inevitable - five ways to tap into your "inner biker" that will get you through whatever obstacles come your way.
1. Yield
When faced with a business problem, our first inclination is to push harder... to fight back. In my experience, that's the wrong reaction. The first thing you have to do is fully understand whyyou're in that position.
You need to find a way to clear your head of the background noise, including all the advice coming at you from well-intentioned friends and colleagues. You have to take the time to get off the merry-go-round that is business. That may mean finding a quiet place to just sit and think. It may mean hiking, riding a bike or a motorcycle, going boating, or gardening. Whatever works for you.
It is easy to blame a problem on a recent decision. But use this time to dig deeper. Was the problem based on a bad decision made earlier? Did you take your eye off your company's core values? Did you move away from what got you passionate about your business in the first place?
2. Focus
Once you have figured out the source of your problem, it's time to get back in the game. And you must have total focus. You are either all in or you're not. There is no half-steppin' in business.
You must focus on more than just your business goals. You must focus on what you want out of life. Reason being that, in the beginning, your main business goal is simply to survive, often pushing your life goals aside. Over time, you grow and prosper, and your life and business come together to form one long road trip with many exits along the way.
The key is to figure out which exits are the right ones for you to take in order to achieve success. Don't make the mistake of chasing one opportunity after another, simply because they look good. Just because you have a clear and open road doesn't mean it's the right one.

3. Sweat the Small Stuff
Any businessperson can tell you where they are today, and most can paint a rosy picture of where they want to be. But only the winners can also describe the in-between.
When you're on a motorcycle, that's the part of the ride that fills your senses with sights and smells. BUT it is also extremely dangerous if you fail to pay attention to where you're going. Getting to your destination safely depends on your ability to watch out for the potholes between here and there.
In business, it's also about watching out for little things that can get in your way. Successful entrepreneurs know that when navigating the in-between, there should be few if any "Aha!" moments. They take the time to map out their road to success. And they pay particular attention to the small stuff, the little things they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
4. Plan Ahead
Entrepreneurs hate to plan. We've all been through at least one 2- or 3-day strategic planning session that produced a "detailed plan" - only to have it end up on the shelf in a month or two.
But we have to do it. And the process doesn't have to be painful. It doesn't have to take days or weeks. And it doesn't have to result in a huge binder of information sitting there collecting dust.
Instead of trying to plan for months or even years down the road, you need to focus on your immediate strategy - The Tactical Plan. Begin by setting a one-year goal for your company. Then identify the day-to-day, week-to-week, and monthly tactics to get you there.
5. Sharpen Your Skills
In business, you are here but need to be there. And in order to get there, your business has to grow. The only way that this will happen is for you - and your employees - to grow along with it.
There are many ways to promote advanced business skills throughout your company. Consider the fundamental areas of:
  • Professional Development
  • Mentors
  • Workshops/Seminars
Remember that achieving excellence in anything requires passion - and passion can thrive only in an environment where things are accomplished. When you've figured out what it is that drives you, everything else will begin to fall into place. Any and all obstacles you face along the way will be merely learning opportunities on your way to your goal.
Just keep the rubber side down... and enjoy the ride

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Steps Have You Taken Today Toward Reinventing Your Career?


"Action expresses priorities."
Mohandas Gandhi
I don't know how to say this any clearer: Most people are lazy. (Not you, of course. I am talking about other people.) Being lazy is part of human nature. A body at rest, stays at rest... A body in motion, yada, yada, yada...
Anyway, the reason I am bringing this up is that I want to know what you are doing today toward reinventing your career.
I know, you have family commitments... work commitments... people tugging at you. And sometimes you think you don't have enough time to work on your personal goals.
But you know what? It's not true. It's just a matter of making better use of your time.
First off, you have to be clear about what you really want. Are you thinking of venturing out into a completely new career? Or are you thinking of reinventing yourself at your present job and getting more out of what you do?
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can determine the actions you need to take to make it happen. Nothing will happen unless you take ACTION. But, of course, you have to prioritize those actions. What has to be done immediately... tomorrow... the day after?
Today, for instance, I have to finish work for a client and then work on promotional materials for my new book. The weather is gorgeous. And I'd love to go to the beach. But nnnnnnnnnnnnnno. I will NOT. Going to the beach is not a priority. Getting the work done is.
Prioritizing allows you to get the biggest ROI from your time and resources. In marketing, for example, if I do X and it does not bring me Y or Z (leads or income), I have to change X.
The same applies to your reinvention. If an action you take doesn't pay off the way you expect it to, you have to redirect your efforts to get the results you want.
Whether you are reinventing yourself into a brand-new career or at your present job, the main thing to keep in mind is that you are in charge of your own time and resources. If your reinvention isn't working, you have to re-examine your priorities.
Yes, you will have to make sacrifices in order to move forward with your reinvention. Reinvention takes time. There are steps you have to take. You will have to retool, repackage yourself, and perhaps learn new skills. But if you take small steps each day, you will not get overwhelmed. And you will soon see measurable results.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Turn Any Hobby Into a Saleable Photograph
By Lori Allen
During his time off from grad school, Danny Warren takes trips with his wife and friends to hike, camp, and climb in the woods and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. It's one of his favorite things to do.
Plus, it pays for his camera gear.
While he's hiking and camping, Danny takes photos along the way and sells them on the stock photo website iStock.com. By doing this, he makes a nice side income... and helps fund his next adventure.
Like Danny, indulging in your favorite hobbies can really pay off - literally.
Here's a tip for getting started:
Don't just photograph your hobby. Photograph everything surrounding it.
For example, if you love keeping a flower garden, don't just take pictures of flowers. Flowers are an overdone subject. And to take saleable flower photos, you've got to be one of the best.
But you can easily take marketable shots of flower gardening by focusing on everything AROUND the flowers, or by photographing them in a unique way.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Language Perfectionist: Mixed and Mashed Metaphors


It's been a while since I wrote about mixed metaphors in this column. So let's review.
A mixed metaphor is a combination of figures of speech that unintentionally results in an incongruous or impossible image. This anecdote supplies a perfect example of the error:
A sportswriter interviewing a basketball player asked how his team was doing. "The ship be sinking," he replied. How far could it sink? "Sky's the limit."
Here are a few other mixed metaphors, culled from my routine reading:
  • "I'm going to milk the gold rush as long as I can."
  • "This will take the edge off the nail biting."
  • "Flying under the radar, we don't do everything with a splash."
  • "By 2011, Mr. Robinov plans for DC Comics to supply the material for up to two of the six or eight tent-pole films he hopes Warner Bros. will have in the pipeline by then."
Another sort of mistake is equally common, although it can't literally be described as a mixed metaphor. Consider these quotations:
  • "I'm the last of the Mohicans and I'm hanging on by a thread."
  • "We saved for a rainy day, but... the depth of this emergency means there are no longer any sacred cows."
  • "I had issues with the DNA of the project... there were so many chefs in the kitchen."
  • "Just before the ax fell, lightning struck and my life changed...."
See the difference? The specimens in the latter group don't display blatant incongruities. But they're still problematic. They sound awkward; they use cliches that collide; they create ludicrous mental images. So perhaps examples in this genre should be dubbed clashing metaphors - or, to preserve the alliteration, mashed metaphors.
In your writing and speaking, be sure to avoid mixing or mashing your metaphors, lest you produce embarrassing results like those above. Aside from that caution, feel free to "push the envelope out of the box"!

What's Your Constraint?


"There are powers inside of you which, if you could discover and use, would make of you everything you ever dreamed or imagined you could become."
Orison Swett Marsden
The starting point of great success has always been the same. It is to dream big dreams. There is nothing more important than to begin by fantasizing about what you can become, have, and do.
But there are obstacles along the way to achieving those dreams.
Business management expert Elihu Goldratt explains this with what he calls the "Theory of Constraints." In accomplishing any goal, he says, there is a bottleneck that serves as a constraint on the process. This constraint sets the speed at which you achieve the goal. But he has found that if you concentrate on eliminating that limitation, you can speed up the process.
Let's say you want to double your income. What is the limiting factor that's holding you back and slowing you down?
Well, you know that your income is a direct reward for the quality and quantity of the services you render to the world. This tells you that if you want to double your income, you have to double the quality and quantity of what you do for that income. Or you have to make a change so that your time is worth twice as much.
Let me give you an example...
A friend of mine is one of the highest-paid commission-based professionals in the United States. One of his goals was to double his income in three to five years. When he analyzed his client base, he discovered that only a fraction of them contributed the majority of his profits. He also found that the amount of time he spent on a high-profit client was pretty much the same as the amount of time he spent on a low-profit client.
So he very carefully, politely, and strategically handed off the low-profit clients to other professionals in his industry.
He then put together a profile of his top clients and began looking exclusively for new clients who fit that profile. And by taking on only clients who could become major contributors to his profits, instead of doubling his income in three to five years, he doubled it the first year!
Find Out Why This Mystery Man Has the Major Networks Worried
He came over to the US from England just a few years ago, with nothing but a suitcase. No contacts. No established business. Nothing.
This "online wealth activator" put him on his feet. Today, he earns over $12,000 per month as a direct result.
Even major television networks are worried that this "online wealth activator" could spell disaster for them in the not-too-distant future.
To learn more about this "mystery man" and why he has major networks worried, click here.
Three Keys to Living Without Limits
So what is holding you back? Is it your level of education or skill? Is it your current occupation or job? Is it your environment or health? What is setting the speed for achieving your goals?
Remember, whatever you have learned, you can unlearn. Whatever situation you have gotten yourself into, you can probably get yourself out of.
To live without limiting what you can achieve, you must recognize your constraints and then act to expunge them. To do that, you need clarity, competence, and concentration.
#1. Clarity
Clarity means that you are absolutely clear about who you are, what you want, and where you're going. You write down your goals and make plans to accomplish them. You set priorities and do something every day to move yourself forward.
The more progress you make toward accomplishing what's important to you, the more self-confidence you have and the more convinced you become that you have no limits.
# 2. Competence
Competence means that you begin to become very good in your chosen field. You dedicate yourself to continuous learning. You never stop growing. You realize that excellence is a moving target. And you make a commitment to do something every day that enables you to become better and better.
# 3. Concentration
Concentration means having the discipline to focus on one thing, the most important thing, and stay with it until it's complete.
It's knowing exactly what you want to be, have, and do. It's persevering, without diversion or distraction, in a straight line toward the things that can make a real difference in your life.
When you allow yourself to dream big dreams, abandon the activities that are taking up too much of your time, and focus your energies on alleviating your constraints, you start to feel an incredible sense of power. As you focus on doing what you love to do and becoming excellent in a few areas, you begin to think in terms of possibilities rather than impossibilities. And you move ever closer to the realization of your full potential.

Are You Still Stuck on Affirmations?


"If you ask the wrong question, of course, you get the wrong answer."

Traditional success coaches are big advocates of "affirmations" - repeating statements that you'd like to be true. For example, a classic "affirmation" is: "I am rich."
Okay. Try it. Say "I am rich."
What just happened? Did you hear a voice in your head that said: "Yeah, right!"?
The problem with "affirmations" is that they don't work for most people. Why? Because you're trying to convince yourself of something you don't really believe.
Have you ever been persuaded to try "affirmations"... and then had... absolutely nothing happen?
Me too. And about a billion other people.
Well, one morning in April 1997, I was taking a shower and thinking about how the human mind is always in the process of asking and seeking the answers to questions. For example, if I were to ask you "Why is the sky blue?" your mind would start searching for the answer.
So I asked myself a logical question: "If the human mind is always asking and searching for the answers to questions, why are we told to repeat positive statements we don't believe? Instead, why don't we ask ourselves empowering questions - questions that will force us to change our thought patterns from negative to positive in order to answer them?"
Take a statement like "I am rich" - to which the brain replies "Yeah, right!" What's the empowering question you should be asking instead?
That question might look something like this: "Why am I so rich?"
Try it. Ask yourself "Why am I so rich?"
Do you know what your brain is doing right now? Searching for a positive answer to that question!
The staggering realization I made that morning in April 1997 was that you create your reality in two ways: by the statements you say to yourself and others, and by the questions you ask yourself and others. Until then, no one had fully realized, or shown how to harness, the awesome power of what happens when you ask the right questions.
I named my discovery The Afformations Method.
The 4 Steps to Creating Afformations That Change Your Life
Step 1: Ask yourself what you want.
You can use a goal you've previously written down or start from scratch. You decide.
Please note that traditional success coaches stop right here. They tell you to "set your goals" and then say "affirmations" in an attempt to convince your brain that you will have what you want... sometime, somehow, somewhere.
Let's use Brandon from Utah as an example. He wanted to make more money by doing something he loved. He was an insurance salesman who'd spent $30,000 on every "how to succeed" program out there, with no results. So for his goal, he wrote: "I want to be all I can be in life."
Now, the breakthrough step...Step 2: Form a QUESTION which assumes that what you want is already true.
Forming a question which assumes that what you want is already true is the key to creating Afformations that change your life.
Your life is a reflection of the subconscious assumptions you make. That's why Step 2 of The Afformations Method is to change your communication with the world inside yourself. Afformations are the fastest, most effective way I've ever seen to immediately change your communication with the world inside of you AND the world outside of you.
So Brandon began afforming: "Why am I allowed to be, do, and have all that I want in life?"
Step 3: Give yourself to the question.
The point of Afformations is not to find "the answer" but to ask better questions. When you ask better questions, your mind automatically begins to focus on what you have as opposed to what you don't have.
Once Brandon began to afform what he wanted, his mind automatically began to search for the answer. He started doing things a little differently and talking to people with new confidence.
Which brings us to Step 4 of The Afformations Method - the one you MUST do to get optimum results...
Step 4: Take new ACTIONS based on your new assumptions about yourself.
Even though Brandon had spent thousands of dollars on every "how to succeed" program out there, he subconsciously assumed they wouldn't work for him. So they didn't.
After reading my book, he realized that this was what was keeping him from what he wanted. So he began to take new action on the very programs that had not worked for him.
He began calling more people. He followed up with more confidence. By focusing on what he had instead of what he lacked, positive results naturally followed.
Once Brandon followed the four steps of The Afformations Method, his sales tripled in 30 days. In less than nine months, his income increased 560% and he was named Agent of the Year.
The point of Afformations is not to find "the answer" but to change your questions. When you follow The Afformations Method, you will form empowering questions that immediately change your subconscious assumptions.
For example, Andrea had been trying to get pregnant for more than a year but had a huge mental block. She thought she didn't deserve it, her body couldn't do it, and so on. After her psychologist told her about Afformations, Andrea began asking herself "Why do I conceive so easily?" and "Why am I so fertile?" Within a month, she was pregnant. Now she's asking herself, "Why do I carry my babies full term?"... "Why am I free from morning sickness?"... and all kinds of other questions that are making her feel great.
Omar, a car salesman, was selling one or two cars a month and making less than $600 in commissions. Then he started afforming "Why am I so successful at selling cars?" And in just two days, he sold four new cars, three used ones, and made more than $1,800.
Judy, a 55-year-old grandmother from Texas, wanted to lose weight but told herself she was too old. In November 2008, she joined my Platinum Weight Loss Club. I recommended that she start asking questions like "Why do I lose weight so easily?" and "Why do I love eating healthy foods?" During the holidays, while most of America was gaining weight, Judy lost 24 pounds. And by February 2009, she was down over 30 pounds and feeling fantastic.
Can you see how this process must, by definition, change your life? Using Afformations, you can take conscious control of your subconscious thoughts . Change the questions, change your results, and change your life!

Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving."




A 50-year-old comedy and improv school/theater in Chicago called The Second City has produced an alumni list consisting of many of the world's most talented and successful comics.
A short list would include Tina Fey, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Amy Poehler, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Joan Rivers, Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis, and Dan Castellaneta. Doh!
The Second City: Testing Ground and Launch Pad
Tina Fey wrote about her experiences with The Second City in her book Bossypants:
"[Second City] was like a cult. People ate, slept, and definitely drank improv. They worked at crappy jobs just to hand over their money for improv classes.... In the touring company we were paid seventy-five dollars per show plus twenty-five dollars per diem...."
The touring companies play for post-high-school prom shows, drunken college audiences, charity auctions, corporate meetings devoted to telling employees that their health benefits have just been slashed, and lots of other rough crowds. After months of this, the best performers are invited to join one of the main companies and earn a living wage and get noticed.
From there, the best writers, directors, and actors get snatched up by Saturday Night LiveThe Daily ShowConan, or they go to Hollywood to make funny movies. It's understood that anyone who survives The Second City gauntlet is just THAT GOOD.
So what can The Second City teach us about Google AdWords?
Three things:
1. Just as The Second City touring gigs were the hardest places to get laughs, AdWords is one of the hardest places to compete for customers.
2. The Second City and AdWords are both the best places to develop your A game.
3. Once you've made it with The Second City or AdWords, your success is virtually guaranteed in every other relevant medium.
The Second City, like AdWords, is a testing ground and launch pad. Nobody aspired to a career whose pinnacle was Second City's Mainstage Company. For that matter, Saturday Night Livewas itself considered a launching pad for movie careers and not an end in itself.
AdWords is also a testing ground and launch pad.But here's the crazy thing: Most people treat AdWords as if that's all there is. People ask me all the time, "How can I make enough money with AdWords to make a million dollars a year?" Or whatever number fits their vision of having "made it."
Yes, it's possible to make a lot of money using AdWords. But two things are true for every business that does that successfully:
  • They use AdWords traffic to systematically and obsessively test, refine, and improve their marketing.
  • They can multiple their AdWords profits by 1,000-100,000% by leveraging their AdWords experience into other media.
And those two things are true of many successful businesses that make their fortunes by leveraging their AdWords tests into a marketing machine everywhere else.
In marketing and in comedy, creative improv plus rigorous testing is an unstoppable formula.