Blogging and critics

How do you feel about people, who criticise you or your work negatively?

Well, if you are thinking of using a blog as a part of your marketing mix, (and you should), you will need to figure out how to deal with them.  This is especially the case, if your blog becomes popular.

The 2 sides of blogging

There are 2 sides to blogging: The side the readers see and the side the blogger sees.  Readers only see the published comments and the blog posts.  The blogger sees everything.  We see the spam and in some cases, the abusive emails too.

I generally just get smartasses telling me about typos – I call them The Typo Police!  These people love passing on negative criticism, but they are harmless.

Naturally, as a blogger’s success increases, so does his or her reach. In reaching more people, you become a target for those who are either envious, bored or usually both.

For instance, when I started this blog, I used to get around 10 emails a week from people, asking me general marketing questions or enquiring about my services. Today that’s around 70/80 emails every day and often over 100!  Just 2 or 3 emails a month are abusive and I hardly ever get any kind of abusive blog comments here.  I’m very fortunate to have attracted the right crowd; people who will debate and critique, but without the abuse.

Compare this to what famous people get!

For example, last year I found myself exchanging emails with the massively talented IT Journalist, broadcaster and American TV personality, Natali Del Conte.  Natali had been mentioned in a post I wrote and received some totally uncalled for criticism via the comments section of that blog.

Some of the comments were really abusive and insulting.  Natali’s only crime was to be both talented and beautiful (how dare she).  Sadly, when you mix the kind of success Natali has earned, with envy and (the supposed) anonymity of the Internet, some people will say things that they would never say to your face.

With increased visibility, comes increased exposure to the good and the bad – the positive and the negative.  I believe you need to develop a broad pair of shoulders, if you want to develop a high profile blog or business.

What’s your thoughts?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Web Success Diva

Look within if you don’t want to be without

If your sales are down or business has gone flat, who or what do you blame?

I hear some people blaming the economy

Even though they have competitors that are doing really well, many people choose to blame the economy for their lack of sales.  If they had zero control over their business and were literally unable to change or adapt anything, that might be a reason – but they can make the changes required.

It’s like them blaming the weather for getting wet, because they decided to go out, in heavy rain, without a coat and umbrella!  When the economy changes, we adapt.

I hear some people blaming the marketplace

I regularly hear from people, who blame their customers and prospective customers for being too price conscious or fee sensitive.  The marketplace is attracted to VALUE not ‘cheap.’

For example, if you needed a heart surgeon, would you hire the cheapest you could find, or the best you could afford? That’s how value works.  It’s not cost cutting, it’s value gathering.

I seldom hear people blaming themselves

Regardless of the economy or what your competitors are doing, you can grow a massively successful business.  However, there’s one important proviso here: 

You have to do the right things correctly.

That’s the part where businesses fail.  They see sales are down or that growth is way too slow and they look for answers OUTSIDE themselves, rather than WITHIN.  When I meet a new client, I am able to help them dramatically improve their sales and income, because they tend to sell and market their services really ineffectively.

I don’t change the economy for my clients and I don’t perform Jedi mind tricks on the marketplace for them either.  All I do is look within their business, find what’s wrong (or missing) and coach them on how to fix it.  As soon as they start doing the right things correctly, their results change and they start growing their business.

Instead of blaming the economy or the marketplace for your business results, take a look inside your business.  That’s the only thing YOU have control over and as soon as you identify and fix what’s wrong, your results will improve.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Mark Hillary

Jims Marketing Blog – Now with added love!

Here’s some good news for those of you, who are kind enough to comment here and share your opinions with my readers and myself.  As from right now, when you leave your comments, you will be able to share YOUR most recent blog post with MY readers!

How come Jim?

The CommentLuv WordPress Plugin

I have just installed the CommentLuv WordPress plugin.  The CommentLuv plugin automatically visits your site when you comment here, as soon as you enter your web address (URL).  Then, as you type your URL in, this little program retrieves a selection of your last blog posts, Tweets or digg submissions. (By the way, I have also added it to the AMAZINGLY BRILLIANT Ideas blog too!)

You can then choose one, which will then be included at the bottom of your comment.  See the example below, and check out the box just under Danny Brown’s comment:

I’m always looking for ways to make the blog genuinely more valuable for you.  This latest addition will hopefully help commenters attract some new readers – as many of the people who comment here have superb sites!  This is just a way for me to say “thanks!”

What do you think?

I would love to know what you think.  Leave a comment and show your fellow readers your most recent post, Tweet or digg in the process.

As always, it would be great to hear from you.

(UPDATE: I found this plugin attracted a huge amount of spam, so have removed it.)

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Pay to enter? I don’t think so!

Have you ever thought about offering a paid version of your website or blog?  Ever wondered what the advantages or challenges might be?  If so, then you may find this brief post interesting!

I asked a question on Twitter yesterday. I wanted to know if people had paid to access a blog or site, for so-called ‘premium content’.

Resoundingly, the answer was “No!”

Typically, people said that there was so much free content out there, that there was no need for them to pay for it.

The assumption, was that the paid content would be of no more value than the free content.  This, of course, may well be true.  It’s hard to tell, when sites that offer paid content don’t usually let you see the good stuff until you have paid.  It’s quite a leap of faith to pay someone, without knowing exactly what you are going to get for your hard earned money!  Those that do give a limited peek at the premium content, still give us no idea as to the consistency of the quality of that information.

In addition, that paid content business model has another issue associated with it, which I think is worth considering.  If the paid stuff is so-called “premium content” then it suggests that the non-paid content is at best average and at worst, worthless (by default, as they gave it away rather than putting it in the paid area of the site.)

An alternative income for new bloggers?

There is another income model for bloggers and content providers who offer consistently high quality content, which is based on a donation or tip option.

For example, I pay for the brilliant twit.tv and I do so voluntarily.  Leo Laporte creates hours and hours of video and audio content every day, and I get so much value and enjoyment from it that I actually WANT to repay Leo in some way.  In other words, the value of his work is such, that people like myself feel it’s only right to show our appreciation, with a donation.

The difference with the donation model, is that people get to experience the quality first.  There’s no barrier to entry – it’s open to all.

I get comments on the blog and emails all the time, from people that say a version of “I can’t thank you enough!”  I believe that a percentage of these people would actually want to use a donate button, if I had one here.

Summing up

I’m very reliably informed that even the most popular business blogs / sites with paid areas make surprisingly little – Even though they are often fronted by well-known business blogging personalities.

In my experience, people are generally a lot more generous and giving than is commonly believed.  If you are seeking to make an income from a business to business site (like this one), and your site offers great content on a consistent basis, I would definitely go with a donation-based system rather than a pay to enter option.  If the content’s genuinely good enough and you have a business audience, I believe people would pay.

It also means that those people who NEED the help but can’t afford it are not excluded.  For me, that’s EXTREMELY important!

Would they pay enough for you to be able to rely on it as a single, full-time income? I doubt it – but it may be a useful additional income stream.  In my opinion, it depends on the number of readers you have, the subject of your blog, it’s value to your readers (and just as importantly), your reader’s relationship with you.

If I used the donate model here?  I would also list my donors; so that the thousands of people who get the content for free each day can see who’s paying for the servers I use etc.  This would also give the donors a tangible reward, as their links drove traffic to their sites from an intelligent, business audience. I would also allow people to donate any amount – many donation buttons have set amounts.

What do you think about the pay to enter model or the donate model?

Do you have experience of either?

Please take a moment to share your feedback.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Profits are better than wages!

This is possibly the most valuable information I have given you via this blog!

That’s quite a statement, but I’m about to show you a business model, which you can use in order to secure your financial future.  It’s based on how I earn the vast majority of my income and how every wealthy person I know has secured their future.

My life changed when I heard my mentor, Jim Rohn say;
“Profits are better than wages!”

You see, I thought I owned a business, but I didn’t.  The reality was (and this might sound familiar), that I simply employed myself.  I worked really hard and was making a lot of money – but when I stopped working, the money stopped too.  That’s because I was essentially earning a wage.  It was more like a job than a business!

When I explain this idea to young entrepreneurs, I put it like this:

If Bob relies on wages for his income, his income will stop when he’s not working.  Bob’s income will drop or stop when he’s ill.  When Bob retires, his income drops too – even though he needs more money when he’s retired, because of all that time he has to fill and those additional bills (such as medical bills etc.)

However, if Bob relies on profits rather than wages, he will generate money when he’s asleep or at the gym or taking his dog for a walk.  If Bob becomes ill, he makes just as much money.  When Bob retires, his income continues just like before.

This approach is sometimes called passive income.

Passive income

No matter what line of business you are in, I STRONGLY recommend you develop some passive income streams.  Today, I have over 20 passive income streams, which means I earn money on a daily basis, without having to exchange my time.

For example, I sell a massively popular audio program which I recorded for businesspeople and entrepreneurs like yourself.  It sells all over the world, 24 hours a day.  I get up each morning, check my paypal account and see how much money I’ve made while I was asleep.  That’s passive income in action.

No matter what line of business you are in, there are many opportunities to develop sources of income that will work for you, while you are doing other things.

Financial freedom

My passive income streams are what allow me to spend so much time doing what I love (like writing this blog post for you.)  I also get to pick and choose how many hours I work, who I work with and where I want to live; (here in the relaxing Yorkshire countryside rather than a crowded city.)

It also allows me to pursue my passion, as a marketing coach helping small businesses, that would never have been able to afford my services if I relied on that income for my livelihood.  I’m able to work with people and help them do the same as me, and I can do it for peanuts – because I subsidise my time, to pursue what I love!

In stark contrast, exchanging your time for money has a number of non-financial pitfalls.  For example, just look at the experts we see online, who seem to spend half their life away from their families; travelling to their next speaking gig.  Many of these hard working men and women have young children and I’m sure would rather be with them, than getting on the next plane or giving their ‘talk’ to the next group, miles away from home.

My income streams

For the best financial security and quality of life, I believe it’s important to move away from that form of time-based income and exchange it for passive income.

Here are a few examples of passive income that I use:

  • Licenses: Companies pay me annual license fees, to use marketing and sales material, which I produced for them.  This is my single largest passive income stream.
  • Audio product: People buy my Motivation Master Class mp3, then download it in seconds onto their computer. I have no stock or dispatch issues to deal with, so there are no limits on how many I can sell.  By the way, it’s brilliant!!
  • Affiliates: I have a number of affiliate products that are linked to me, via various websites and blogs, like the Headway theme I use to build / develop this blog.
  • Investments: I have certain investments, which pay me an income.
  • Land: I receive income from renting land that I own, which pays me a recurring income.

There are stacks of other ways to attract passive income, such as; referral fees, software licenses, advertising, ebook sales, MLM residuals and book royalties etc.  The key is to find one to begin with, which suits you and then to develop it and add to it.

Is it easy?

No, I don’t think it is easy – otherwise everyone would be doing it, right?  I spent years mastering the skills required to develop and then market my products.  There are people that sell books on the subject, that make it sound like all you have to do is spend 20 minutes developing a product or filling a website with ads and links and BOOM – magic money.

That’s BULLSHIT!

But it sells get rich quick books, often written and read by people who work 16 hours a day, so they can “make money while they sleep!”

Most passive income requires 3 key elements:

  1. Courage
  2. Research
  3. Marketing

I believe people (especially those that read this blog) have the courage required.  However, very few people take time to fully research what passive income streams to use and even fewer bother to learn how to market them effectively.

If this is a subject you would like to know more about, email me.  If I get enough interest I will write a follow-up post or write a free passive income report for you.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Image: Panda Cat

Those income streams are also why I don’t to spend half my life away from my family speaking at events, like many business bloggers!  That’s because the vast majority of my income is based on profits and not fees.

Funny: What is a social media expert?

Someone studying marketing at university, recently asked me what I thought a social media expert was.

I told her that I see social media experts as people, who understand how to make social media platforms deliver results for organizations and individuals.

However, she had a better answer, which I ‘think’ she intended as a joke.  I just had to share it with you, because of you follow any of these people it might sound familiar.

“A social media expert is someone that talks about community, follows tens of thousands of people, then uses software, so they never have to listen to what the people they follow are saying!”

That made me smile!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Disco Stu

The leadership question – Your feedback please!

If you checked out the social media activity of 100 businesspeople, do you think you would find many leaders?

Leaders lead: They have the courage to offer their own unique opinions and views.  They act like leaders, from the front.

Followers follow: They copy what others do and share what their leaders have the courage to say and do.  They act like followers, hidden within a crowd.

Personally, I see VERY, very few businesspeople in social media with leader profiles.  However, I see a LOT of businesspeople, who seem to follow the crowd and just say / do what’s safe – especially on Twitter. They tend to retweet whatever people such as; Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin etc have to say – But are less inclined to offer their own individual opinion.

The reason for this post

I’m curious what type of message it sends out to prospective clients or customers, when businesspeople sit back and play follow the leader, rather than displaying leadership themselves.

Would that kind of profile impact YOUR decision to hire a consultant or coach? If so, would that impact be positive or negative? I would REALLY value your opinion, so what do you think?

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Sheffield Tiger

The Dragons Den?

The reality TV show Dragon’s Den is very popular. However, like almost all reality TV, it’s not very ‘real.’

The second you point a camera at people, they start to perform.  In my experience, the format of the show is not that ‘real’ either.  I have attended VC meetings for over a decade, where sums from hundreds of thousands to millions have been discussed, and it’s never been anything like the Dragon’s Den TV show.

That’s EXACTLY as it should be though! The TV show is designed to entertain, which it does very successfully.  Typical meetings with  angel investors are a little dry for mainstream TV.  Those that are not, are far too animated for prime-time viewing.

I was talking with an angel investor last week and he told me that since the TV show, some people seeking investment funds are expecting the real process to be like the TV show.  He said that when they do, he calmly explains that the format of the Dragon’s Den show is about as accurate as the show’s title:

“Dragons don’t live in dens.  Dragons lived in lairs.  LIONS live in dens!”

I then wondered why I had never thought of that!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Wili Hybrid

Make this YOUR moment!

Here’s a question for you:

Have you ever wondered how far you can go with your business?

I mean, if you REALLY applied yourself fully; did the hard stuff, made the tough decisions, used all those great ideas you have picked up over the years – how far could you go?

I believe you are capable of truly amazing things.

Here’s why I am sharing this with you today: By cranking things up a gear or two, you can achieve literally life-changing results.

Make this YOUR moment

My mentor Jim Rohn used to say that whilst a ship can’t turn around in an instant, it can change its course instantly.  Right now, you have the power to make this your moment; the moment where you decided to move things up to the next level and change the course of your business (and life) forever.

I will give you all the help I can here on the blog and via Twitter.

Come on, let’s do this!

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!

Photo: Zhurnaly

The secret of a top 10 blog

I’ve had a few emails this week, after technorati.com ranked this blog inside the world’s top 10 small business blogs for the first time.

technorati, small business, blogsWhilst this ranking will go up and down all the time, to have actually reached that spot is quite an achievement, for a marketing blog that’s little over a year old.

People wrote to me wanting to know how I did it, so here’s my secret!

I write exclusively for people – NOT Google!

Ask any top marketing writer (or copy writer) and they will tell you that it’s a challenge to produce material, which inspires people to take action, to; buy from you, visit you, call you, share your work, click links or email you etc.  That’s because people are complex.

As a marketer, people need to find your message both interesting and motivating and that’s no easy task – Especially if you are simultaneously trying to write that same message so that Google’s search engine software likes it!

So, here’s my secret sauce for a top 10 blog

This blog is read by people, enjoyed by people and designed to help people.  If I get enough genuinely useful content onto this blog, people will share my work and people will link to this blog, allowing me to reach more people.  By repeating that process, people have increased the profile of this blog and it’s readership.

Notice a common thread there?

Yep – it’s all about writing for people!

I love SEO – But I write exclusively for YOU

I don’t try and get certain keywords or phrases into my posts, to score highly with search engines.  If I did, it would change the way I write and dilute the effectiveness of what I share with you.  As a result, 100% of what you read here is written exclusively for people.

I love SEO.  It’s one of the reasons I use the Headway WordPress theme on this blog (affiliate), which is extremely SEO friendly.  I also use tags for my posts to help with my SEO too.  However, I do not deliberately write anything to keep Google happy.

Ironically, by writing exclusively for people, I have attracted around 16,000 links to this blog, which has gifted me a pretty good search engine ranking for many key marketing terms.  For instance, people going to Google searching for marketing blogs will have been able to find this blog on page 1 for the search term; “marketing blogs” for the past 6 months.

In my experience, many bloggers spend way too much time ‘optimizing’ their material for search engines and looking for that one killer trick that will magically send their website / blog to the top of the pile.

While they are waiting for that quick fix, you and I can focus on delivering the best content we can, to people.

Thank YOU!

I would like to personally thank EVERYONE who reads this blog, links to it and shares it with their friends.  As you can see, without your support, this blog is nothing.

Let’s work together and grow your business. To find out more click here!