You don’t have to have any experience to be successful with an online business. Anyone can succeed – even if you’re brand new to working at home because you can learn as you go along.
There are many different avenues you can choose to take to get started. Much of your decision will be based on personal preferences, time available to implement it, and tools you need to launch it.
In this post we are going to cover 1 of the best (and simplest) business models to get started online.
Are you ready? Ok, let’s get started…
A great online business that you can choose is to become a service provider. A service provider is someone who offers his or her services to those who are seeking help.
There are many different types of service providers, and you choose one based on your skills and this is why it is so easy to start as you can build upon the skills you already have.
Some write fiction or non-fiction books for others. As a ghostwriter, unless the contract specifically states otherwise, you don’t get to claim the words that you write. You’re the unseen, unknown writer for someone else unless you have a prior arrangement.
Many celebrities and other public figures hire ghostwriters. You’ll need to have the ability to write in the language you were hired and set a competitive price so people will want to outsource to you.
You might choose to become an affiliate manager. This is a job in which you would oversee the core operations for someone who is selling their own info products. This can be an individual or a business.
The type of tasks that you would do might change day to day. For example, you might be responsible for making sure that the people who wanted to become an affiliate were top quality as well as check out their ability to promote and their promotion site.
You might also have to monitor affiliates to make sure that all the promotions are being handled correctly.
Sometimes affiliate managers are paid a salary, and sometimes they earn a percentage of the money the launch brings in.
Another area for a service provider is a VA. This is a virtual assistant, which means you basically help individuals or businesses remotely. So, you might have a client in California while you live in Wyoming.
The type of work that you do as a VA will be determined by the field that you’re in as well as what the client needs.
Sometimes it’s posting articles on a blog. Other times it’s answering emails in a customer service manner.
You could also become a site builder if you want to be a service provider. This is someone who builds an online site for clients.
The skills that you would need in order to this include knowledge of web design language, some graphic design skills (but this isn’t a requirement because you can outsource this task), and communication skills so that you understand the client’s vision.
You would need to stay abreast of changes within various search engines to see what best practices allow site owners to rise to a page 1 listing on their search engine. It’s more than just knowing keyword phrases.
You’d need to know both onsite and offsite search engine optimization strategies. Learning SEO isn’t difficult. There are courses, both free and paid, video as well as eBooks and other reading material that can teach you.
You might like becoming a service provider because you can choose the type of work that you do and can set your own hours. The amount of income that you can earn is up to you and you can also make money fast as a service provider because the client will often pay upfront or at least half now, half later.
To get started in any service provider area, you would want to make sure that whatever you choose is something that you do enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy it, the work will make you miserable.
You also want to make sure that you either have the skills or can develop the skills that will match the type of work you choose to do. For example, if you’re already good with PhotoShop, you might find that doing graphic design type work is a good fit.
You could create banners, eBooks, images for websites, custom designs for clients and more. If you know that you like to write and you have a good grasp on grammar and punctuation, then you would most likely find copywriting or ghostwriting enjoyable.
What you can do is showcase work that you’ve done for family, friends or for a charity or cause. For example, if you want to get into providing design services, but you don’t have any previous work that you can show potential clients, you can create a flyer for the local animal shelter – or even make something up just to show samples of your abilities.
You can donate some time and skill to a cause that you believe in and use what you’ve created or done in your portfolio. It doesn’t matter whether the work you’re showing was something that you were hired to do or if it was just a freebie because potential clients just want to see how you compare to other providers in terms of quality and value.
You may want to create a website offering your services. This way, potential clients can look you up and have quick access to your online portfolio. You can create a blog using WordPress for around $10 plus hosting. For great, affordable hosting, go here.
For example, “Graphic Designer (or whatever it is that you do) for Hire” because when people are searching for a service provider, they’ll use the keywords describing the service they’re looking for.
If you want to land clients now, you can start on sites like Freelancer and Fiverr, but the pay as a beginner, especially in the beginning, may be pretty low unless you have specialty skills that are highly sought after.
The advantage of using sites like these is that they do have clients already looking for freelancers and you wouldn’t have to build a site of your own. Whenever you land a job, always have a contract to protect yourself and the client.
If you want to learn about 4 other online business models you can try, from affiliate marketing, to FBA/eBay and more, check out the featured resource below for a free report that expands on this post and covers 5 online business models that you can choose from. Pick one and get started today… 😊
Despite the recent growth of various online marketing strategies such as social media, email marketing still remains to be the most effective marketing tool for websites. A mailing list is therefore one of the greatest assets a business can possess.
Building this list however is not an easy task. Some websites have even resorted to buying lists in a desperate attempt to increase their subscribers but in the end this proves useless and even damaging.
The first step in creating a successful opt in page is increasing the traffic to it. Without people visiting the page, you have no chance of building your list. Below are some helpful strategies through which you can boost the number of visitors visiting your opt in page.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To get as many people as possible to visit the opt in page, you need to put your website in front of as many eyes as possible. The best way of doing this is through search engine optimization.
With an increased ranking, more web users will see your website and possibly visit it.
If you are just beginning to build your mailing list, getting the traffic you need naturally can take time. To jumpstart the list, make use of paid advertising. You can advertise using Google, Bing or Facebook ads among others.
Ensure that you have crafted your ads, especially those on Facebook, well enough so as to attract as many people as possible.
Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are some of the best social media websites that you can use to triple the traffic being received on the opt in or squeeze page. Facebook is especially effective at this.
All you need to do is create a fan page and then get people to join it.
Be careful however not to spam your fans. Instead, strive to provide value and make offers that they cannot refuse.
This is another popular method of jumpstarting your list although you will have to pay for it. It involves using someone else’s list to market your website and create your own subscribers.
Of course, you can only use solo ads with other related websites. For those in marketing and business niches, a form of solo ads is Safe Swaps – http://safe-swaps.com
A word of warning though; not all solo ad vendors are made equal and there are a lot of poor providers out there so this is NOT for the novice marketer as you can lose a lot of money quickly. In all honesty, paid advertising via the likes of Google, Bing and Facebook are more reliable.
Many websites owners do not realize the potential that forums hold in getting more people to visit an opt in page and subscribe to emails. You can easily build a list with hundreds of subscribers simply by using forums.
As you build your authority on a forum, more people will be curious to find out what you are offering.
Article marketing has long been said that it no longer works. However, it should still be part of your traffic generation strategy, as you’ll still get traffic from those searching for information around a particular topic.
To increase the number of people who follow the url ensure that the article contains helpful and informative content and use more than one article directory.
Even better, post the articles to directories in a certain niche rather than general directories. Here’s an article directory where you can submit your articles: http://ezinearticles.com
Media releases are particularly effective at getting people to check out what you are offering.
To increase the effectiveness of press releases, create them regularly and submit them to different news websites.
Get in touch with popular bloggers and ask whether you can submit a blog post.
This tactic is all about exposure and you are borrowing the site owners expertise. The more popular the blog, the more traffic you will get.
People love winning things, and a contest of any kind will receive a lot of attention.
YouTube is the most popular video hosting website. Take advantage of the millions of visitors who visit it every day to boost traffic to your opt in page.
Learn how to create a viral video that is both helpful and interesting. In the video and description, provide a link to the opt in page. You can also encourage people to share their video on their websites for more visibility.
After you have attained considerable traffic increases, remember that there is also the work of getting people to actually join your mailing list. But once you have established a steady stream of reliable traffic, you have tackled this major first step in email marketing.
If you want to know more about building your list after they have opted in, check out the featured resource below where you can get a free report about simple list building to expand your knowledge further.
People want to succeed in life. Success is often a result of planning. But what if the items you have on the plan are wrong? This could lead you to a place in your life you didn’t expect and not for the better.
Besides, it means that you have wasted your time. That’s why you need to focus on your priorities in life. These will be a better guide in helping you map out your journey and will influence the kinds of goals you will need to set to reach them.
After you have listed out your important items, use the number scale to rate the items. You can choose how you want the scale to be measured, but suppose it is 1 being the lowest priority to 5 being the highest. You can do this in a spreadsheet so that you can resort after you have done this for all the items.
Sort from highest to lowest. These are going to be the focal points of your goal setting. You can choose to try and include all the items on your list or you can decide to eliminate any that are below a certain number like all the items that have a priority of 1 or 2.
That is up to you. But you do want to make the list as manageable and as meaningful as possible. If they don’t really mean that much to you they won’t motivate you to achieve them or help you to keep going when you hit an obstacle.
For each of the highest priority items, the next step is to figure out what it will take to achieve them. List out high-level mini goals for each item. You can choose to prioritize these in much the same way, but at this stage of the process, it is not completely necessary.
If it’s enough to be defined as a work unit, i.e., a task that you can easily perform, then you probably have gone far enough down. If the item can be broken down into further sub-tasks, then that is the next step.
By using this list-prioritization process, you have a much better chance of containing tasks that are the right ones to meet the objectives of your goals.
Now when you have these goals, it’s time to come up with a plan. And it is really useful to come up with a yearly plan before anything else and we’ll have a look at this in more detail now…
Do You Need a Yearly Plan?
Many people don’t believe they need a yearly plan. They believe they know enough about themselves or their businesses to bypass any planning process. Some people can get away with doing this. But, for most, having a plan and updating one on a yearly basis is essential to keep on track.
The plan lets you see what needs allocation of funding. You can see how your expenses are affecting your bottom line.
If you have employees working for you, a yearly plan can help manage them. You can find out what vacations they are planning, and you can ensure that they are scheduled for training that you may require of them.
You can’t account for everything that they may encounter over the course of the year. But, as long as you have the major events on your plan, you can make alternative plans.
There are going to be changes, and as the year goes on, you may find some initiatives are no longer relevant. But, overall, a plan is a great tool to help your company.
Without a plan, people and companies tend to flounder. They spend more money than they should, and they start projects that they often don’t complete. They have no way of knowing whether those projects are even going to help the company at all.
It’s difficult to work as a cohesive unit when everyone is off doing whatever they feel like doing. Even if you have a manager who delegates the jobs, without a plan, the manager will also create projects as he or she goes.
It is important to get everyone to participate, but once you get an agreement, they need to be held accountable. Business is difficult enough without having some kind of plan or map to guide you in the right direction.
Once you have your yearly plan, it is fine to break this down into smaller, more manageable chunks. In fact, this may be advisable as a yearly plan may seem too big to achieve. By breaking it down into monthly, weekly and even daily goals, you can keep on track and reward yourself along the way and before long you will have reached your yearly goal 🙂
Of course, using goal setting exercises and plans takes a lot of self-discipline which many of us lack, so if you want to learn about how to harness the power of self-discipline, please download the featured resource below, read it and take action 🙂
OK, in the previous posts (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) we talked about the first 3 steps in the process of attracting leads to your business, namely the automation system, so you should’ve picked your autoresponder or CRM of choice and been experimenting with it, creating your lead magnet to entice readers to opt-in and give you their email address and setting up your squeeze page to show readers the free offer.
Step Four: Traffic
The three previous steps were pretty easy. Even if you create your own lead magnet from scratch, and you need time to learn how to use your autoresponder or CRM, you can complete the other three steps in a few days at most.
You might think traffic is the hardest part, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think to get traffic! We’re going to take a look at a few of the best strategies for getting traffic, both free and paid.
As far as free traffic goes, there’s only one method that’s quick enough to generate traffic starting today, doesn’t have a hefty learning curve, and provides quality traffic that can convert: social media.
While you can still use other social networks, most of your effort should be focused on those sites that have a higher concentration of your target demographic.
We’re going to look at a few of the most popular social networks, and how you can locate your target demographic on each one in order to find out which one(s) you should concentrate on.
Locating your target demographic on Facebook is relatively simple. Begin by searching for a topic related to your niche and find pages and groups that fit your niche.
For example, if you are offering a dog walking service, you’d want to search for things like groups for pet owners in your city or state.
Find out how many people are in those groups, and how many groups there are. This will give you a rough idea of how many people you can reach on Facebook.
Otherwise, you should be able to pipe in if people happen to ask about dog walking services.
You can also start your own group, which is your best option. This will give you a source of traffic you can turn into leads anytime.
You should also start a Facebook page for your business, and you can even include a link to your squeeze page on your Facebook page.
Pinterest is like an online corkboard. You can have multiple “boards”, and then pin images with links, sort of like bookmarking a page.
You can find out how popular your niche is on Pinterest by performing a search, and then clicking “Boards” to find out how many people have boards related to your niche AND how many followers those boards have.
You can also search pins for the niche and see how many repins each one has. This will let you know how interested people are.
You’ll need to have some interesting content to pin, so it’s a good idea to have a blog or website that you use to post content related to your field.
For example, you could have a dog care blog for your dog walking service and post useful information for pet owners.
One important thing to note is that Pinterest is heavily imaged-based, so you’ll need good images to pin that relate to your article.
For example, if you’ve posted an article called “5 Tips for Housebreaking Your Puppy”, you’d want to include a photo of a dog being trained, or something related to housebreaking a puppy, and have the title of your article on the image.
If you take a look at Pinterest, you’ll see that most images are taller than they are wide. That’s because they take up the most screen real estate since images are constrained by width but have much more space to expand lengthwise. Thus, try to make sure your images follow the same format.
Instagram is a great platform for visual content, and you can get a lot of traffic from it, especially if your business is related to fashion, beauty, art, lifestyle, food and cooking, crafts, or other topics that are popular.
This will show you how many posts are currently on the site using that phrase, as well as lots of related phrases.
For example, when I search for “dogs”, I see millions of posts with such hashtags as #dogsofinstagram, #dogs, #dogstagram, and #dogsitting.
You can also click the “People” tab and click some of the top profiles to see how many followers they have. This is another good indicator of interest in your topic.
There are three important steps to getting traffic from Instagram:
- Fill out your profile and include a link to your website or squeeze page there. Make sure to choose an interesting photo of either yourself or something related to your niche for your profile picture. And include that link because you can’t include links in the descriptions of your individual posts! (Just tell people to check your profile for a link.)
- Post often. Instagram posts scroll by and are gone quickly if someone is following a lot of profiles, so the best way to get seen is to post as often as possible. Don’t spam! Just a few posts a day is fine, but spread them out every few hours. And don’t forget to add at least 5 relevant hashtags to every post!
- Follow people who are related to your niche. Many will follow you back, and others will find and follow you from those people’s profiles. It’s a good idea to follow at least 20 new accounts each day, which you can find easily through the search function and referrals from other people. Stick mostly to following accounts related to your niche, because you want qualified leads, not just a high follower count!
Other Social Networks
There are other social networks that can be effective, too, depending on your market. I suggest giving each of these a try to see how they do for your particular market, but you might want to concentrate your efforts on the other sites we’ve talked about earlier in this chapter.
I don’t recommend using paid ads until you’ve thrown a good amount of free traffic at your squeeze page for a while and tested conversion rates.
Once you’re happy with how your page is converting, you can start sending some paid traffic to it.
Let’s look at some of the most effective paid ad platforms. These are generally the most profitable, but they may not work for all niches equally, so be sure to track your conversions carefully, tweak ads as needed, and kill any ads that aren’t performing.
Facebook is generally considered one of the best advertising platforms, because ads are typically affordable and convert well. This is mainly because of how well they are able to target ads to the appropriate parties.
Remember when we talked about how important it is to get qualified leads? Facebook is brilliant for that, because they have incredibly advanced targeting options.
Sticking with our example of using a local dog walking business, you can target people in your city, or surrounding cities, AND who are dog owners. You can seriously get THAT specific!
When you create your ad, pay attention to the type of ad you’re creating. The regular newsfeed and mobile newsfeed formats are considered the most profitable.
Keep in mind that the price you pay for your ads on Facebook is heavily based on your CTR (click-thru rate), so it’s important to design the most effective ad possible.
Facebook has a great guide to help you get started:
Bing’s ad platform isn’t nearly as competitive as many others, because they have much less traffic than Google, Facebook, and some other platforms.
However, you can still get a lot of traffic at a very low price, because the lower competition means you can actually get more traffic than you could at the more competitive sites because in many instances you could be the only advertiser in a genre.
Bing has a lot of training if you’re not familiar with the platform:
Other Ad Platforms
There are platforms you can explore as well, such as YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google AdWords, and many others.
But these can be a little trickier to master than the other three platforms we discussed, as they are either more expensive, more competitive, or harder to master.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this 4-part series on lead generation strategies for your business. Now go and put it into action. If you want the whole series in a handy pdf that you can download and refer to at your convenience, you can do that here.
And don’t forget, if you want to know more about building your list of leads, check out the featured resource below where you can get a free report about simple list building to expand your knowledge further. If you do download it, please read it and take action and good luck 😊
OK, in the previous posts (Part 1 and Part 2) we talked about the first 2 steps in the process of attracting leads to your business, namely the automation system, so you should’ve picked your autoresponder or CRM of choice and been experimenting with it and your lead magnet to entice readers to opt-in and give you their email address.
Step Three: The Squeeze Page
Your squeeze page is your lead generation page. This is a web page created specifically to collect information from people and once they do, your autoresponder will send them an email which will direct them to the page where they can download their freebie.
As you learnt in the previous post, DON’T send them directly to the download page after they sign up because many people will give you a fake email address just to get your gift.
Your squeeze page should be relatively short. It’s not like a long sales letter. People don’t need that much convincing when something is free, but they do need some.
After all, they don’t want to give up their personal contact details unless they really think your lead magnet will benefit them.
For this reason, squeeze pages should have just enough information to entice the reader into taking action. If it’s too long, people will get bored and leave before they opt in!
Generally speaking, a squeeze page should consist of 5 main components:
- Headline – This needs to immediately capture their attention and persuade them to continue reading.
- Sub-headline – This provides a little more information and works as your headline’s supporting agent.
- Bullet points – Quick, digestible highlights about how your prospect benefits by subscribing to your newsletter or entering your funnel.
- A call-to-action – A direct prompt that instructs your prospect how to complete the process of signing up for your free offer.
- Your lead generation form – usually generated by your autoresponder service or lead generation service with various form fields and a button to submit the information.
To create your squeeze page, you are going to need some form of page builder.
Quick Tip: REDUCE YOUR WORKLOAD
Remember that you can use done-for-you content (PLR) to create lead magnets quickly. Here are some high-quality PLR vendors in the Internet Marketing and Coaching and Consulting niches:
If you are in the self-help niche and want some high-quality PLR, then check out Tools For Motivation
Please remember to be careful when using PLR as there is a lot of rubbish out there. If you stick with the vendors above you won’t go wrong. They aren’t the cheapest but they are the best and many of them have some great offers and sales from time to time so sign up for their emails to get notified of any specials they may be doing and grab a bargain 😊
Information To Collect
Most people collect only the name and email address of their leads, but you might need more information than that, depending on your niche market, and whether you wish to further segment your lists and identify potential customers through demographic based data.
The name and email address of potential customers is probably enough information for general marketing purposes, but what if you’re selling a higher-end product or service like real estate or legal services, or something that requires one-on-one contact like coaching, you’ll want to begin collecting as much information as possible to help you better connect with potential customers.
In cases like this, it’s probably a better idea to ask for name, address, telephone number, and email. You might even need additional information, such as date of birth (if you’re selling something for adults only, for example) or even more detailed information, such as the breed of dog they own, or their income.
In other words, what information do you really need to know upfront, and what can you gather later in the selling process?
Once your squeeze page is set up, and you’ve added the lead magnet to your autoresponder service, it’s time to start sending traffic to your squeeze page and we’ll look at that in the final part of this series…
Don’t forget that if you want all 4 posts in this series in a handy pdf that you can download and refer to at your convenience, you can do that here.
And remember, if you want to know more about building your list of leads, check out the featured resource below where you can get a free report about simple list building to expand your knowledge further. If you do download it, please read it and take action and good luck 😊
OK, in the previous post we talked about the first step in the process of attracting leads to your business, namely the automation system, so you should’ve picked your autoresponder or CRM of choice and been experimenting with it.
Step Two: The Offer
Once you have chosen your automation system and set up your initial campaign, it’s time to think about creating your offer, which many people refer to as your “lead magnet”. It’s kind of like fishing, where your leads are the fish, and your lead magnet is the bait that lures them in.
Remember, this offer should appeal directly to your chosen demographic. You can’t expect to catch a catfish with a flashy lure meant for bass. While it’s possible, it’s not likely, and you’d stand a much better chance of catching a catfish with something that is known to appeal to them—such as chicken livers, or earthworms, or stink bait.
Most people create a special report as their lead magnet. It’s usually 10-20 pages, but may be up to 50 or so, depending on how much you want to say. Longer reports are more appropriate when you have a complex subject and aren’t selling information on the topic.
For example, if you’re in real estate and selling houses, you can give away a 50-page guide on how to find the perfect house, including information about stuff like zoning regulations, homeowners’ associations, utilities, road frontage, home inspections, etc.
But if you’re selling a course on SEO, a shorter report, say 20 pages, on a small segment of the topic would be much more appropriate, because you don’t want to give away all your information for free.
If you are in the Internet marketing or B2B (business-to-business) fields, you might be interested in checking out these great PLR providers:
If you are in the self-help niche and want some high-quality PLR, then check out Tools For Motivation
Just be careful when using PLR as there is a lot of rubbish out there. If you stick with the vendors above you won’t go wrong. They aren’t the cheapest but they are the best and many of them have some great offers and sales from time to time so sign up for their emails to get notified of any specials they may be doing and grab a bargain 😊
You might also consider just offering a hefty discount coupon to leads, especially if you have a product that is in demand in your niche. This is especially useful if you have a recurring business model or a sales funnel with upsells that will allow you to use the initial sale as a loss leader and make more money on the back end later.
Although we mentioned special reports earlier, if you want to stand out you can be really creative when developing your lead magnet.
Checklists, cheat sheets and resource guides are popular as they are short and quick to consume.
What about turning that report into a short video or audiobook instead? This will make your lead magnet have a much higher perceived value and in turn this will encourage more readers to part with their valuable email address.
Another good lead magnet idea is a case study if you have access to any or you have any of your own. These are powerful because it shows people that what you are teaching actually works!
This also works if you have written a long blog post or a series like this one, and yes, you can opt-in to get the full series in a handy report here! See, I practice what I preach! 😊
Once you have your lead magnet ready, you will need to upload it to your website so your subscribers can download it. If you are using WordPress as your site builder/CMS (Content Management System) you can simply login and go to ‘Add Media’ and drag and drop files from your PC to your website.
Alternatively, you can host your lead magnets elsewhere with something like Amazon S3 which is super cheap and really quick.
Once you have done this, you will now have your lead magnet live online and a link to access it.
Copy that link and add it to your autoresponder service as a follow-up after people opt-in. You don’t want to have to send all those freebies out manually! This will be the first email that they receive immediately after they have opted in.
Check your autoresponder’s help files to find out how to set up a follow-up email that contains a link to your lead magnet. The process will be slightly different for each service, but it’s not difficult. It’s about as easy as sending an email.
Once you have their genuine email address you can send them regular emails which will educate them, entertain them and offer them value. Doing this will make them trust you and when you do make them offers to buy either your products or an affiliate product they will be much more likely to take a look.
OK, you now have your email automation ready to go and a sexy new lead magnet to entice readers to sign up for it.
Now it’s time to create the squeeze page to promote it and we’ll look at that in part 3…
Remember, if you want to know more about building your list of leads, check out the featured resource below where you can get a free report about simple list building to expand your knowledge further. If you do download it, please read it and take action and good luck 😊
If you have an online business, you’re selling something. It might be a product of your own, a service you provide, an affiliate product (or most likely multiple affiliate products), etc. Whatever it is you’re selling, you need leads.
In fact, in most major industries the average cost of a single lead is $20 or more! They’re THAT valuable. But you won’t have to pay that kind of money, because you’re about to learn exactly how to position yourself so you can easily connect with an unlimited amount of high-quality leads without breaking the bank!
So, what exactly is a lead?
How does one go about generating qualified leads?
You need to entice them to offer their contact information in exchange for something of value. It might be a free report, a training video, a discount or coupon, or something else—but it should be something they would be interested in only if they would also likely be interested in whatever you’re selling.
In other words, offering a discount coupon for a coffee shop is NOT going to get you qualified leads if you’re selling model cars. A guide on how to lose weight is NOT going to get you qualified leads if you’re offering a graphics design service.
Here is a simple example:
If you’re offering dog walking services, you might offer a free report on training your dog, or how to get bargains on pet supplies, or even a coupon for 50% off the customer’s first walking session.
To begin, there are four main elements to generating leads:
- The automation system
- The lead magnet (offer)
- The squeeze page/entry funnel
We are going to devote a post to each of these four elements, so you will learn more about how to start generating leads as you move through this series. By the end of this mini series, you’ll be ready to start connecting with red-hot prospects in your niche market so you can instantly maximize your income and expand your outreach.
So, let’s get started!
Step One: The Automation System
The first thing you absolutely must do if you want to generate leads is to sign up for a service that will allow you to build a database of leads through a web form.
Most people simply use an autoresponder service such as Aweber, GetResponse, but there are also services that will let you collect, store, manage, and search many different types of information if you need more details from your leads.
Here is a list of some of the most popular autoresponder services. Each of these services is widely respected and most have similar features and pricing.
If you’re just getting started Aweber has a free version you can use for a while. My personal favourite is Active Campaign because it has many features associated with much more expensive CRM (customer relationship management) solutions but for a fraction of the price.
Active Campaign: warr.us/ActiveCampaign
If you’re looking to collect more in-depth information, you might want to go with a full CRM solution. This type of software has in-depth information collection and management, allowing you to build a database of customer information that you can use for marketing purposes.
Agile CRM: warr.us/AgileCRM
Agile CRM is one of the most popular and powerful CRM systems out there, and you can start with a FREE account to give it a try. You can have up to 10 users with the trial, and you don’t have to enter any credit card information to get started.
Best of all, Agile CRM has some of the Brest pricing in the industry, with plans starting at just $8.99 per month after the trial.
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft): warr.us/Keap
Keap is one of the most well-known CRM systems out there. They have a hugely powerful suite of features, including syncing with over 200 other services from Gmail to BigCommerce, Shopify to Woocommerce.
The biggest drawback to Infusionsoft is pricing, which starts as $199 and scales upward. It’s a very powerful software, but the price may be a bit high if you’re just getting started.
Salesforce is another very well-known CRM. They have a huge arsenal of tools available, including
They have plans starting at just $25 per month for lead generation alone, so they are affordable for smaller companies who won’t have a lot of users accessing the software. If you don’t need the advanced features, you can make do with the cheapest plan just for generating leads.
Their lead management system lets you keep track of all the stages of customer interaction and transactions.
FreeAgent is a very affordable CRM system that has a wealth of features, including email tracking, outbound call tracking, sales activity tracking, real-time alerts and updates, mass email send, calendar syncing, and more.
Plans start at just $29 per month, making it a great option for new companies and those who aren’t doing enough business to support the price of one of the more expensive options.
Once you’ve decided which system you’re going to use and you’ve signed up for an account and familiarized yourself with how it works, it’s time to move on to the next step—the offer and we’ll look at that in the next post…
If you want to know more about building your list of leads, check out the featured resource below where you can get a free report about simple list building to expand your knowledge further. If you do download it, please read it and take action and good luck 😊
When we think of goal setting, we usually think of goals that envision a specific outcome. Some examples include:
- Lose 20 pounds.
- Increase income by 10%.
- Buy a larger house/newer vehicle.
- Run a marathon.
- Save money for college.
Of course, these are just a few of the more common goals that people set for themselves.
And this is a big mistake if you really want to achieve the best things in life! Setting goals is critical to your success and can act as a motivator to keep you going and you can also reward yourself for hitting milestones along the way 😊
Ok, as shown above, many goals are oriented around hitting a specific outcome or target.
But what if we based our goals on changing behaviors instead of obtaining a specific outcome? Could we modify or completely change behaviors that would lead us to the desired outcome quicker, healthier, and with less stress? Some experts certainly think so.
Behavior-based goals focus more on the behaviors we want to strengthen rather than the negative actions we want to remove.
The difference may appear to be subtle, but it does make a difference to the way you approach goal setting and the intended result.
In strengthening the positive behaviors, we change the way we act and react in many situations – not just situations surrounding a goal that is outcome-based. The ripple effect of creating more positive behaviors in our lives is wide-reaching, affecting far more than just what we may have had in mind when creating the goal.
Many businesses today are focusing on behavior-based goals rather than outcome-based goals, because of this ripple effect. Smart companies know that when behavior changes for the positive, the employee is happier not only at work but in their personal life and family life as well.
This type of goal setting isn’t seen just in the office, either. Personal trainers, life coaches, psychologists, therapists, and so many other professions are adding behavior-based goal setting to their repertoire of techniques. This helps those in these industries to help their clients reach success, whatever that may mean to them.
Goals that change behaviors can be seen as a kind of intermediate goal that helps one achieve outcome-based goals easier, faster, and with more residual positive effects. A positive behavior that is strengthened in order to reach a goal is going to be strengthened in every situation where that behavior is utilized.
Now, when you are looking at setting some behavior-based goals, it pays to make them “SMART” when doing so.
Not sure what we mean by “SMART” behavior-based goals? Well, let’s take a look at that now…
Setting SMART Behavior-Based Goals
When you’re discussing goal setting, SMART has nothing to do with your intelligence. (But it is smart to use this technique!).
So, let’s get into what SMART really means!
S – Specific
While behavior-based goals can be harder to quantify than outcome-based goals, by focusing on the specific behaviors that need development or strengthening, we can see that clearly defining these behaviors is possible.
For instance, “I will close or turn off all electronic notifications while working on this project”, is basically stating that the habit of becoming distracted will be curbed in order to achieve more productivity.
M – Measurable
To be effective, the road towards achieving a goal must be able to be measured.
In the example in the above paragraph, the measure would be how much more of the project one is able to accomplish by turning off all electronic notifications.
A – Attainable
You want your behavior-based goal to be attainable, i.e. not so overwhelming that you start out feeling as if you can’t do it. That defeats the entire purpose of the exercise.
Build on these small successes and before you know it, you’ll be achieving your big goals, as well!
R – Realistic
Set yourself up for success right from the beginning by setting goals that are realistic to your personality and your lifestyle.
Start with easy behavior changes that are easy for you to accomplish, and fit your lifestyle and personality. Once you’ve mastered those, you can ramp up to changing behaviors that might be more challenging to you.
T – Time-Based
Giving yourself a time limit on achieving a specific behavior change can often spur more action toward that goal. But there’s a fine line between too little and too much time.
Changing behavior patterns often takes time, so make sure that you’ve accounted for this.
So, what are you waiting for? Start setting your SMART behavior based goals today and see what a difference they can make to your life success.
Of course, you will certainly be aware that setting and achieving goals requires a lot of self-discipline, so if you want to learn about growing your own self-discipline then download the featured resource below which is a free report all about the power of self-discipline; download it, read it and take action 😊
Building a business can be an exciting time in your life. It can also be one of the most stressful and frustrating times for you. Any time that you start to do something – to move forward – things will crop up that stand in your way, threatening your success.
The problems overlap between your personal and professional lives. For example, problems at work can cause hostility at home, and vice versa. You need to become a master at handling obstacles with ease.
Being Overwhelmed Can Impact Productivity
There are what seem to be a million tasks to get done every day in a business. You have to keep up with the day-to-day tasks while trying to juggle the new things that pop up.
Trying to grow your business while maintaining what you already have can quickly become overwhelming. This is why you need to have a schedule for when tasks need to be completed.
You need a task list. Every single thing that you have to accomplish each day for your business should be on this list. Whatever impacts your business the most should be at the top of this list.
By doing this, you can prioritize the tasks in order of importance. The first few tasks on your list should be whatever it is that you have to get done in order to keep the business functioning.
You have to keep the doors open or the site operational, keep the sales coming in and the payroll going, and keep the customers happy for positive word of mouth and steady growth.
However, if it’s something that won’t make a difference immediately, you can put that off until a later date and time. Some business owners find it helpful to use one of the “year at a glance” calendars to keep track of the tasks that have to be done in the future for their business.
If you’re dealing with feeling overwhelmed, then it’s highly possible that you’ve taken on too much responsibility. In order to stay on track with productivity, you’ll need to find a way to delegate or outsource what can be passed on for someone else to do.
It can be easy in any business to take on too much. The shiny new object syndrome can make you feel a need to try something different in the hopes of improving your business.
Then before you know it, you have twenty different things going on that, instead of helping your business, is slowly grinding it to a halt. If any task manager or any organizational tool takes you longer to actually use it than the benefit it offers, get rid of it.
This could be contributing to the obstacle of being overwhelmed. Simplify anything you can to keep productivity moving along when you’re struggling. That means if you spent money on a software tool that is too confusing to use and has a steep learning, stop using it.
Chalk it up to a lesson learned. If you have to simplify things by turning to a spiral notebook and a pen or pencil, then do that – if you find that you make more progress that way.
One of the biggest issues in a business that can trigger being overwhelmed to the point that it slows productivity is clutter. If you have a cluttered office or a cluttered system online, it can make it difficult for you to find what you need when you need it.
Keep everything organized as you go along to prevent this from being an obstacle. Sometimes that means letting go of projects you once thought were viable, but never have time for.
The Obstacle Of Time Management
Taking on too much at once can lead to a time crunch. So can procrastination. The problem in a lot of businesses is a lack of planning for every step of a project – especially if the project isn’t due right away.
It can be too easy to think that you have plenty of time, so you do other projects first (or, if we’re honest, waste time on social networking site). Then before you know it, you’re suddenly faced with this deadline or launch date – and you’re not sure that you’ll have enough time to get it done.
A simple way around the obstacle of time management issues that slow your productivity is to make sure that each project you have going on has a detailed list of action steps.
You don’t want to tackle a big project all at once. It can lead to you feeling overwhelmed. The best way to handle this is to break down the project into mini tasks.
Use a calendar or other means to divide the project up into chunks. If you have a project that you know is going to take three months to complete, then do a little bit of work on it each week.
This way, when the due date arrives, you can be finished up with plenty of time to have done the job thoroughly and professionally. Rushed jobs can often affect the quality of the finished product and you don’t want to present work that’s less than your best effort.
You can still get the work done, but free yourself up to do other tasks. If you’re in the business of supplying information products and you handle everything from the writing to the graphics to the formatting, you can easily hire someone else to run this area of your business.
If you put out a lot of information products, it might be worth your money to hire someone who keeps up with making sure the product is completed the way that it should be.
This way, you remove several tasks from your own to-do list. That would include sourcing freelance ghostwriters and graphics providers, evaluating deliverables, and getting the end product launched with JV and affiliate partners.
This saves them time and money and allows them to be more productive. Focus on the skills you excel at and enjoy most – and find others to take over the tasks you least enjoy.
Other businesses allow an outside phone service to take care of their incoming calls. This way, they can focus on running the business and still have good customer service.
You might hire a virtual assistant to handle your customer service issues online. It’s all about freeing you up for the most important money-making and personally gratifying tasks.
Cash Flow Problems
This obstacle is one that hits a lot of business at some point during their operation. Having financial struggles can be detrimental to the business itself and it can affect morale negatively, too.
It can be difficult to want to keep on going when you’re facing cash flow obstacles. But what you have to do at this point is to remember what your dream was in the beginning.
Don’t lose focus during the hard times. So often, a business will go through a rough patch financially – only to turn around in the blink of an eye. Yet too many business owners get so discouraged when the cash isn’t flowing, that they slow productivity.
This slowed productivity then affects the overall business, which contributes to the cash flow problem. There are short-term and then there are long-term cash flow problems.
So just like that, your profit is slashed. If the obstacle is a short-term cash flow, you can turn this around in a short amount of time by picking up some easy jobs that your company can do to bring in money.
The faster you can bring in the money, the quicker you’ll solve your cash flow problems. If you’re used to making $300 an hour consulting for businesses, cut your price by a percentage.
You could bring in several smaller companies or individuals who couldn’t afford your services at the higher rate. Running a special to give our business an injection of cash helps you survive during the next planning phase.
Long-term cash flow problems are a bigger obstacle to keep your productivity on track with. When you have this kind of financial issue, it can lead to a lack of supplies, not having enough to pay yourself or your employees and struggles to pay your typical overhead expenses.
If you allow other companies or individuals to pay you in arrears, several slow payers could hurt your business. If this is the case, then you would need to cut off the company having access to your services until the debt was settled.
Never risk your business’s viability over someone else’s lack of responsibility. Take care of the matter and if necessary, replace a slow or non-paying client with someone who is reliable.
Every business will always have an area where there’s a money drain. Go over every section carefully to see where you can cut costs. If necessary, have a mentor look over your day-to-day business operations and make suggestions.
If you’re a start up business and cash flow is an obstacle because you don’t have any at all, then barter what services you do have to get what you need. It’s also a good idea to consider working on other cash-generating ideas like freelancing or an offline job if you need money to pursue your dreams.
Other Influences Can Be Productivity Obstacles
Your friends and family can be your biggest supporters when you own a business. But they can also be obstacles. People who care about you can fail to understand and not respect your work schedule.
They can drop by to hang out at the office when you know you should be working. Or if your office is at home, they can interrupt you several times during the day.
You must treat your business like a business and respect it – or others won’t either. Sometimes people who work in a similar field will show up unexpectedly to talk, and this can temporarily slow you down.
Other times, they come by so often that it becomes an issue. If this is a problem, you’ll have to take control – and it can be as simple as saying, “I’d love to chat, but I have a deadline, so I have to get back to work.”
Employees can create productivity problems when they don’t do their job. When one person fails to do what he’s supposed to do, it can have a trickle down effect. The project could slow down until someone goes back to complete the original task.
Things get missed during a workday or a workweek. Mistakes are inevitable. Repeat mistakes and repeated issues of not completing assignments on time affect your business negatively, slow productivity and cost you in long-term profit.
Sometimes, it’s vendors that can slow your productivity. They don’t deliver a product when they’re supposed to, so that can slow down the time a shipment needs to go out or a launch needs to take place.
You can work through this by finding a replacement vendor. If someone makes a commitment to you to have something to you on a certain day by a certain time, that commitment should be kept – otherwise, your business is the one most affected.
Sometimes, in an effort to save money and offer goodwill, business owners hire family members or friends. Working with people that mean a lot to you can be a great opportunity.
In order to protect the family or friendship, you might not want to give that person a boot from the business. If that’s the case, move that person to an area where what they’re doing won’t impact the productivity.
Let them answer phones or handle email or do other tasks that help. But don’t be afraid to put your foot down if there’s nowhere else to put them. You’re in charge of turning your business into a success, and you need to adhere to your own responsibilities.
Overcoming A Mindset That Affects Your Business Productivity
How you feel impacts how your business runs. If you’re experiencing something in your personal life, it can slow productivity. For example, if you’re dealing with a family situation that causes you to lose sleep at night, it can be hard to keep your mind on the tasks at hand the next day at work.
If you have to deal with something out of the office that impacts your productivity, you need to take a step back and let someone else handle what you normally take care of in the business.
It can be a problem if you don’t have a second in command who can run things for you. If that’s the case, then you have to find a way to clear your head and push through.
Having the mindset that you’ve learned all there is to know can be a productivity obstacle. In this case, people will continue to do what they’ve always done – even if there’s a faster and less expensive way.
Not being teachable can easily cost you in terms of less productivity. Companies who produce tangible items or even strategies for you to learn from are counting on your ability to be open to growth through learning.
You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you turn a blind eye to opportunities that can help you be more productive just because you’re comfortable with the status quo.
Obstacles are a given in life. You have to strengthen your ability to handle them without panic. Once you learn the right way to navigate toward your goal, you’ll find that the once intimidating obstacles put in your path look less frightening over time.
Want to learn more about productivity? Then, download the featured free report below, read it and take action 🙂
Are you feeling a bit confused by strategic thinking? How is it different to tactical thinking because both are important for your success in life/career/business?
To sum up the key differences between a strategy and a tactic is simple: A strategy is your overall plan to achieve your goals, while a tactic is a method used to implement the intended strategy.
As you can see strategic thinking skills are essential for your career and your business, but how do you actually do it?
Here are five questions you should ask yourself to really sharpen your strategic thinking. Ask them to gain clarity on the strategies you want to develop to move you forward in your life/career/business.
What Do You Want?
The most important thing to work out is where you want to be. Everything—goals, strategies, steps, should all be pointing to your desired destination.
Do you want to be CEO, or be running your own company?
Get it all down on paper and think big!
Where Are You Starting From?
Do a survey of exactly where you are right now.
What skills, resources, and assets do you have? What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks in your current job or business?
Map out your network and what value you provide to them, and what they offer you. Write up your self-inventory.
What Do You Have The Power To Change?
Think about what is in your control at the present moment; you don’t need to worry about anything that isn’t directly under your control which can be kind of liberating!
What can you streamline or eliminate?
This can include anything from training, networking opportunities, to investment advice or strategic career planning.
What Do You Need To Move Ahead?
Take another look at your self-inventory.
If this is difficult or overwhelming, consider finding a mentor or life coach who can help you find your way.
How Can I Reach My Goals And Still Enjoy Life?
Really going for success shouldn’t make for a joyless life, totally focused on getting ahead. Make sure you take time to have fun and do the things that give you pleasure. Think of what Future Successful You enjoys doing. What makes your future worth striving for?
Write down all the fun things you will do, whether it’s staying in 5-star hotels or being able to work for only half the year. Imagine driving your dream car. See yourself in your future executive suite.
Now, one of the biggest issues that stops you from planning and building for the future is by staying in the past.
Remember: the past doesn’t equal the future!
If you keep looking back, you will never move forward, so let’s look at how you can let go of the past and build a fantastic future!
How To Let Go Of The Past
You read much about why you should let go of the past. However, it’s more important to know how to do it. Most people will eventually come to grips with why they should do it. They get stuck on actually taking steps to make it happen.
Learn from your past experiences. There are learning nuggets contained within your past. Anything you have done or tried before is up for grabs in the University of your past. It’s up to you to recognize what those lessons are and how to use them effectively. The way to use them is to determine why they happened and how to avoid them in the future.
Consider learning meditation. When you are relaxed, you will have an easier time of purging your past. One of the best forms of relaxation is meditation. It takes several sessions to get your body and mind in tune with the techniques. Don’t expect fast solutions with this. The key is to keep doing it until you feel the effects.
Don’t hide from your past. People try to pretend certain aspects of their past did not happen, especially the more embarrassing moments. However, this may cause them to come back to you with a vengeance since they are bottling up within you. Acknowledge everything about your past but commit to pushing forward.
Don’t expect all changes to occur immediately. Your past habits may be difficult to break. Therefore, don’t try to change everything in one shot. Give it time. It took a long time to develop those bad habits.
If you are too hard on yourself about your past, stop. It’s okay to acknowledge that you made some mistakes but don’t get overly critical of them.
Concentrate on the good aspects of your past. Sometimes, you may focus on your mistakes and mask the fact that you had some wonderful experiences in the past as well. These are equally important.
Of course, using strategic thinking exercises takes a lot of self-discipline which many of us lack, so if you want to learn about how to harness the power of self-discipline, please download the featured resource below, read it and take action 🙂