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Step Away From the Computer: Online Marketing Is NOT for You

Online Marketing is NOT for everyone.

Whew. I just said it. If you have known me for a while, you are probably really surprised to hear me say that! But, it’s true. I think a lot of people are using online marketing as a distraction from getting on with the real business of getting customers.

Yes, the fantasy is alluring isn’t it? You put up a squeeze page, people subscribe to your list and you have customers. All without leaving the house!

And, wouldn’t it be amazing if that were true. Sometimes the model does work. I would recommend having a basic website and a way for people to get into your e-mail list. A presence on social media is also very useful.

But…

And, this is a big BUT…

You are spending too much time on online marketing and too little time getting out of the house and meeting people. I have a client with a big online business. She doesn’t have clients in her hometown. Still, most of her sales come from face to face speaking engagements and phone calls. People will buy inexpensive (under $500) products online, but selling anything more expensive that that takes a conversation.

And, if you are marketing to people who aren’t online, then you need to be spending time with your clients!

The other day in our Time Traders Club town hall meeting, we were masterminding with one of the members. She is an award-winning trainer who is well known in her local area. She could easily get five figure corporate consulting gigs. Instead of doing that, she is creating a $97 product. Most employees, won’t spend money on work training on their own time. Most companies are suspicious of $97 webinars. Most companies are *really* suspicious of anything that looks “homegrown”.

She would be much better off spending her making lunch dates and have conversations with people who could refer or hire her about what the big problems are that can be solved.

But, how do you know this if you are just starting out? Most of the coaches you’ll find online want you to teach you online marketing? How do you get out from behind the screen?

You need to find some allies who are vested in your success, but who don’t have an agenda. Where do you find them? Time Traders Club. It’s free to join.

Check it out today.

Work from Home Job Scams – And the Truth About Starting a Solo Business from Scratch

“Make $2,000 a month working from home!”.  For most of us, that sort of advertising, when you see it in infomercials, or hear commercials on the radio,  raises alarm bells.   Of course, there is a catch.

I was listening to a story on NPR about how the Federal Trade Commission is clamping down on work from home scams.  They aired an actual recording of one of the conversations.  The salesman builds rapport, subtly finds out the person’s budget (how much money do you have – how can we help you conserve that wealth), finds out their “why” and then sells them a kit to start an online business.  When the business doesn’t pan out because the person knows nothing about starting a business – they offer another kit.  It is easy to get caught in a never ending cycle of “hope and dreams”, buying the advanced classes, the personal coaching, the masterminds until your bank account is empty.

It is easy to look at the “work from home and make thousands” crowd and think – “how can they be so stupid?’ – they deserve to be ripped off.  But, then, if you are reading this e-mail, my guess is that you’ve bought “hope”.  You’ve signed up for classes you didn’t complete or engaged coaches you didn’t really follow through on.  It is easy to do.   So, very tempting.

The hard part is that when you are in business, you DO need mentors, you need information, you need help getting things done in your business.  How do you know where to turn?  How do you make sure that you are spending your money wisely.  (Yes, it does take money to get started).

Here are a few tips for you (some of them based on hard lessons learned in my business):

 

    1. Figure out where the skills gaps are in your business.  Nobody knows everything, and it sometimes really hard to know what to ask at first.  Think about ONE area where if you made improvements, your bottom line would improve.  You want all investments to pay for themselves eventually.

    2. Decide whether you need more knowledge or direct help.  You can find just about all the information you need about anything on Google.  The reason people pay for the info is that paid info is (usually) put together in a way that makes it easier for you to apply the information.  Sometimes, all you need is to be pointed in the right direction.  Sometimes (especially when you already feel overwhelmed), you need someone to work with you, guide you, or just do the task for you.

    3. Find creative ways of getting other people to help you in your business.  A few years ago, Jasper and I hosted a podcast where we interviewed successful entrepreneurs. We asked them “looking back, what would you do differently?”.  The answer was *always*, get help, find a mentor, hire a coach.   That’s all well and good, but how do you find help when you don’t have money to pay them.  Get creative!   

Time Traders Club  is a great place to start finding the help that you need.  We have members who are experts in everything from Accounting to Video making (and a thousand things in between).  You can get the help you need – and spend more time doing what you love for other members.  Check it out!

Can you Really Get Enough Traffic to Your Site Without Buying Ads?

I got an interesting question today from Jennifer, she wanted to know if she could generate enough traffic to her website to fill her event without paying for traffic.

Well, the answer is yes, you can. Paid ads will get you there faster with less work. Especially if they are well targeted and you are really tapping into what your audience wants.

But, when you are just starting out, you have more time than money. The long way might be the best way.

Over the past month or so, we have doubled traffic to both our Time Traders Club and Solo Biz Hack sites by creating our own mini syndication network.

Once we set this up, we found that we were getting over 5 times as many views on every piece of content we created.

This isn’t an easy strategy (though a lot of the time is in the initial set up), and it takes time to work, but it does work. (So, obviously, you need to start this a month or two before your event).

Want a step by step guide on how we put it together? We made a solo-biz hack for you. You can grab it for just $7 (or subscribe and get a new hack each week for $7 a month).

As always, grab this quickly if you want it. I’m rotating the hacks that are available for individual purchase each month. So, why not grab this now while you are thinking about it.

The Trouble with Telesummits (or why I hate the number 5,000)

I was talking to a Time Traders Club member recently about telesummits. She is a really talented virtual assistant who wanted to participate in a telesummit not only to grow her list, but to learn the ropes so that she could help her clients with that type of event in the future.

Smart cookie!

And, she had people e-mailing her every day. The typical scenario, would go something like this.

Original E-mail: “We would LOVE to have you on our telesummit”
She would e-mail back: Yes, of course.

Response: Let’s have a phone conversation to discuss logistics.

So then on the phone. The person describes the event (sounds great!), the promotional requirement (do-able) and then asks the BIG question. So, how big is your list?

Her response: Ummm…. 1,150

Their response: I’m sorry, I love what you are doing, but my coach says I can only take people with at least 5,000 on their list.

The conversation ends and both parties feel bad. What a waste of time!

I could argue that smaller lists are more responsive (they are!) or that my smaller list out-performs big lists all the time as far as numbers of sign ups…

But instead, I’m going to tell you how to start getting those telesummit and speaking gigs even if your list is tiny.

One of my favorite clients is Michele Scism. Michele now has a list in the tens of thousands, but it wasn’t always that way. She started, like we all do, with zero. When I started working with her she had a few thousand. Yet, she built half million dollar a year business almost completely on speaking, right from the start.

She agreed to write a solo biz hack for us on exactly how she got those first speaking gigs, when her list was small, just like yours. You can grab the hack with all 5 hints here.

Here’s one hint to get you started. Think about podcasts. Podcast owners owners are always looking for guests, and they generally don’t ask about your list size. They are more interested in the story you have to tell. You can grow your list by appearing on podcasts and offering an interesting freebie.

Here’s what to type into google to find podcasts in your niche:

[Your-Topic] inurl:/podcast/
[Your-Topic] inurl:category/podcast/
[Your-Topic] inurl:/podcasts/
[Your-Topic] inurl:category/podcasts/
[Your-Topic] intitle:podcast
[Your-Topic] intitle:podcasts

You’ll end up with a nice list of podcasts to contact. Make a point of reaching out to a few a day and before long, your calendar will be full and your list will be growing.

Michele gave some other great hints in the solo biz hack. You can grab the hack with all 5 hints here.

Let’ me know how this goes for you and when you get your first bookings. I love listening to podcasts!

This New Tool is a Game Changer for Social Media Managers

If you share links to other people’s websites as part of your overall content plan, you need to check out Start a Fire. Start a Fire allows you to bring the traffic back to your site by creating a little pop up box with recommended content from your blog.

Click this link to see how it works 🙂

No affiliate commissions here – the service is brand new and is free to use. It hooks up with Buffer and Hootsuite to automatically create links that will add your badge and related content to the pages you recommend.

Are You Making These Three Facebook Marketing Mistakes

Let’s get serious for a minute.  Are you spending ALL your time on Facebook – but just not seeing any returns?  Facebook is a great way to reach your audience.  After all, according to Needham.com, 1.44 billion people are spending 20+ minutes a day liking, commenting, taking random “true personality” quizzes”.  Your audience is likely there too!

But wait a second…

Facebook is a little different than many of the other communication channels you use. And that means a whole lot of marketers make the following three mistakes once they start engaging their marketing on social media.

Check it out – are you making these mistakes too?

Mistake 1: Talking “At” Your Fans

Social media is, as the name suggests, an interactive social platform. So if you sit on your Page with a bullhorn and just blast out ads, your audience is going to be turned off in big way.

So what should you do instead?

Interact. Engage. Create dialogue (rather than monologues).

A good way to do this is to start posting content where you specifically ask your readers for feedback. For example:

  • “What’s your opinion on this idea? Let me know below…”

  • “How would you do this differently? Share your ideas below…”

  • “What is your favorite weight-loss trick? Leave a comment below…”

  • “Are you as mad about this as I am? Comment below…”

Next up…

Mistake 2: Not Capturing Emails

Here’s the problem with Facebook: they only show your content to a small part of your audience, unless you pay to boost your post. So if you’re relying on this platform to communicate with your entire audience, you’re going to be pretty disappointed.

The solution? Capture emails. Create a “sticky” post at the top of your Page that offers your audience something really desirable and valuable for free if they join your list.  Check with your e-mail service (i.e. Active Campaign, Infusionsoft), You might even be able to create a tab on your page just to capture emails. Then you can market to them via email.

Here’s another common mistake…

Mistake 3: Posting Non-Viral Content

Facebook is built in a way to make content easy to share with others. That’s the whole point of Facebook. But if you’re not creating share-worthy content, then you’re not going to get any traction.

If you want a good example of someone who has a rocking Facebook page and gets thousands of likes and shares with everything he posts, check out George Takei’s Page at: https://www.facebook.com/georgehtakei

He posts a ton of funny stuff. The vast majority of it isn’t even his own. But every time he posts something funny, it goes viral – and he gets even more fans.

His audience is super-engaged because he’s sharing stuff he knows they’ll love. So when he shares an affiliate link to Amazon or a link to one of his sites, you can bet this engaged audience clicks and buys like crazy.

So the point is, create content worth sharing. This might be something novel, something funny, something really useful, or even something controversial. This engages your audience, which gets your content in front of even more people (which sends more traffic your way).

Want more tips on how to create shaerable Facebook posts?  Join Solo Biz Hacker. We are putting the finishing touches on an audio class that will show you how to create Facebook posts that are shared and get seen. The class will be released as next week’s solo biz hack. Grab it now.

What “Joy” Gets Wrong About Entrepreneurship

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Last week, I went to go see “Joy” with my 12 year old daughter. It was a great movie to see with her and a nice break from the Marvel multiverse we normally inhabit when we go to the movies.

Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, is all about an inventor who overcomes her circumstances to become a QVC queen worth millions. It is a story of family, triumph, and most importantly about mothers and daughters. I loved the movie – I cried. But… it gets entrepreneurship ALL wrong.

The movie starts out with Joy’s grandmother waxing poetic about how Joy has special talent and that she knew that Joy would be the one to bring the family to success. Joy is spending time making elaborate paper cuttings. She doesn’t need a prince – she has art!

The theme of the movie is that Joy was a special snowflake destined to succeed. Yes, she was an inventor with good ideas – but as anyone who has been in business for more than a week knows, ideas are a dime a dozen.

The reason why Joy succeeded is that she was a very hard worker and she didn’t give up. She quickly learned the skills that she needed to learn. But, she also spent a lot of time being overwhelmed. Her business would have grown a lot faster with a team both to help her with legwork, but also to give her the information she was missing.

What if you could gather that team to launch your dream quickly and easily? Would it make a difference? Yep, you bet!

Well, luckily, you can.. We created the Time Traders Club to help entrepreneurs, like you, to quickly build your team, so you can spend time working in your “zone of brilliance”.  It’s free to join – learn more here.

The Strange Solution to Your Facebook Ad Audience Targeting Problem

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Just like you, I used to always feel just a touch of fear and trepidation when I pushed the “go” button on my Facebook ads.

After all, sometimes the ads worked REALLY well for me… and other time, well…it seems like I was just giving my money to Facebook for no reason at all.

And, I really feel bad for solopreneurs who are wasting money on ads that don’t work. Money that could be going toward improving your skills or growing your team.

But, you know what? Audience targeting doesn’t have to be that hard.

One day when I was getting ready to place another ad, I was talking with Jasper about your YouTube videos and how he uses YouTube title searches to get an instant read on what people are looking for.

So I used the Google keywords tool the next time I ran ads. And, you know what? My click through rate and relevancy (how well Facebook thinks the ad matches the target audience) jumped. And, my lead cost went down. Yay!

Hmmm…. I see why this process would work – did I just get lucky? So, I tried again. And, got some good results again.

Since then, I’ve been tweaking this process and have come up with a way to really effectively use Google and Facebook together.

I outline it in one of my Solo Biz Hacks. You can grab it here for just $7 (or you can pick up a subscription for $7 a month and get a new hack every week).

If you are interested, I would pick this up soon. I’m rotating the hacks I’m offering as single hacks each week. If you wait I don’t know if this will be available or not.

MythBusters and Your Latest Business Idea

One of my favorite TV shows is MythBusters.  In each episode, two teams of nerdy stunt scientists create “experiments” to prove or disprove urban legends, things that happened in movies, etc.

I love to watch Adam, Jamie and the team as they creatively devise ways of testing their theories.  Over the past 15 seasons, they have done over 2,500 experiments.  The experiments generally have two parts.

The first part is trying to directly replicate the myth.  Then, the team tweaks the experiment to make it work if it didn’t work the first time. Really good stuff.

What if you took a MythBusters approach to your marketing?   If your inbox is like mine, it is full of new ideas and new tactics to try.  And, often my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to trying them all out. Sound familiar?

What if instead of just going after every single shiny object, you took some time to experiment and determine if the strategy would be a good fit? What if, instead of giving up when the strategy didn’t work at first, you tweak the experiment to make it work?  What if, instead of carrying on after it is clear that the experiment failed, you moved on to the next thing.

It would be very powerful, wouldn’t it?   Need help?  I am doing some market research for the development of future Solo Biz Hacks and would love to talk with you about your idea (for a business, for a new project, for a new class). I can help line you up with the resources you need to test your idea out. I call it an Idea Spark session.
I also still have a  few extra copies of Pat Flynn’s book “Will It Fly?” to give away to the next few people who schedule their idea spark session with me. Sign up here.

Going From Zero To One

Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about getting started in a service based business. They’ve been asking a lot of really great questions about how to get started, I thought I would share them with you today.

First question…

I just moved to a new city, and don’t have a network yet.  I’m having a hard time finding my first client because I don’t have any references for my new business.  How do I get my first client?

SOLO BIZ HACKER:  Congratulations on the new biz!   The first client is always the hardest to get.  You are unproven at this point.  There are two good ways I know to get that first client…

The first is to offer to work for someone who already knows you.  When I started out, I actually worked for my old company as a virtual employee for six months while I was getting my business off the ground.

The second is to barter.  The thing you need to be careful of with bartering is in making sure the person you are trading with values your services.  I’ve seen too many people with lower rates (virtual assistants, beginning graphic designers) get into terrible situations with people who charge higher rates (coaches, high end marketing consultants) where the trade value is 10 to 1.  I’ve also seen people work in trades for things they don’t really need because they are being “nice”.  It ends up causing some resentment for both parties.  Time Traders Club is a better way to barter. You trade an hour for an hour and you can use your credits with anyone else in the network – everyone’s HOUR is worth the same.  It’s free to join, check it out here.

And that leads nicely into our second question…

How do you get non-local clients?

SOLO BIZ HACKER:  That’s a funny question for me.  I live in Albuquerque and in the past 8 years, have had exactly 2 local clients. This is mostly because I’m a bit of a home body.  I have been working with one of my favorite clients for almost 7 years and we have never met in person!

The key to getting out of state clients is to build trust.  You can do that through having strong testimonials and a network of people to give you good “references”.  Social proof (testimonials) is critical – because that is one of the few ways potential clients can learn to trust you.  There are three keys to creating strong social proof for your business.

  1. Do good work.  Need to find work?  Time Trader’s Club is a great place to start.

  2. Ask for the testimonial. It is amazing to me how many people don’t ask for testimonials. As soon as you’ve finished doing a good job – ask for the recommendation.

  3. Make it easy for people to leave a testimonial for you. Don’t just ask them to write something, give them questions. Ask them what their business was like before you worked together. Ask them how you have made a difference for them.

Results-based testimonials are your key to developing the social proof needed to attract the perfect clients to your business even if they don’t live in your hometown.

Time Traders Club is the easiest way to go from zero to one quickly. Check it out here – membership is free.