Time Enough At Last

making time for internet businessTime.  It is without a doubt our most precious commodity.  Time is something that we are all given at birth.  If you are alive and reading this post, you are one of the over 6 billion inhabitants of this planet who has been given 86,400 seconds each day to use.  Whether you're super rich or desperately poor, we all have the same number of seconds in the day.  86,400.

What we do with these seconds is another thing.  Let's go with another number for a second.  Let's say that you are working a J.O.B. and you get paid 500 bucks a week.   That's equals to 50,000 pennies.  It's not hard to spend 50,000 pennies in a week.  Of course I'm equating the pennies to the seconds in my time example.    How do you spend your money each week?  Most of it probably goes to bills, mortgage, food and other necessities.  In terms of time, this would be equivalent to spending some of your 86,400 seconds on other "necessities" such as sleeping, showering, eating, commuting to and working your J.O.B. if you're employed.  So how do you spend your left over money at the end of the week?  Go out to the local pub and blow it all?  Save it for the future?  Maybe you spoil yourself with a new gadget.

It works the same way with time, only there is one difference.  If you lose money, you can always get it back.  If you waste your money, you can always get more.  If you lose time, it's gone forever.  If you waste time, its gone forever.  This is what makes time even more precious than money.  Time can never, ever be recovered, yet we are all paid the same each day that we are alive in terms of seconds. Every wasted hour, every wasted day accumulates in a sort of time debt.  The more time that is blown, the more regret that will build as you become closer to your final day.  When you reach your final day, will you be happy with the way you spent your time.  Was watching TV and playing Poingo on some spyware infested website for years on end worth having a negative net worth as you cash in your chips from the physical realm?

If you're starting to feel the weight of time debt (regret for a wasted life), I have good news.  It's not too late!  Start freeing up your time now and get started on your path to freedom.  Start building that Internet Business that you've always wanted to do.  Don't spend weeks and months on planning how you're going to do it.  Just start with a basic goal.  Now get your website, start a blog, make a product!  Just take action!  Form the more complex parts of the business plan as you go.  If you don't go in this order, you will find yourself planning your internet venture right into the ground.  It's extremely easy to get caught in that perpetual learning cycle.  Avoid this one pitfall and you're already ahead of 98% of the rest.  

Now, to free up your time.  Eliminate distractions!  I was reading a post by Keith Goodrum on one very effective way to eliminate distractions.  In fact, it was his post that inspired me to expand upon the importance of time.  His suggestion is to unsubscribe from all of the time wasting emails from other people's lists that have accumulated over time.  Just looking at these emails can tempt you to take your eye off the ball, and before you know it, the day is blown.  I've been guilty of this myself.  I've thinned out my own inbox to only the blog announcements of the blogs I enjoy, and a couple of the big name "gurus" just so that I can study their email strategies, headlines and copywriting styles. Secondly, stop watching the TV!!!  The TV set is the single most dangerous time vampire you could ever face.  Getting lulled into that mindless trance will steal hours away from your quality business building time.  You already sleep at night.  Why sleep your day away too?  Watching TV is no different, only that your eyes are open and that you are vaguely conscious of your surroundings.

I've been following Keith's blog for a couple of weeks now, and I can tell that Keith has already developed a pretty cool blog.  He has even started a TGIF Book Review, a video review of a selected book from his library to share with his readers. Go check him out and see if you won't add him to your "quality list" as well! 

A Sneak Peek

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't made a blog posting in a couple of days.  That's because I've been hard at work revamping the AmazingCloaker.  The new release will be AmazingCloaker 4.  I have rebuilt this application from the ground up.  Some of the new features that I have added include the ability to save your cloaking sessions and improved FTP capabilities.

AC4 was inspired from customer feedback and from simply using the tool myself.  I don't outsource this.  This is my own baby & I enjoy creating this kind of stuff.  One feature that I added was the ability to browse the folders via FTP of your website.  This is a convenience feature that I included because many newbies that purchase the cloaker don't have any idea where their home page is stored.  If you're using shared hosting, your website is normally stored in a public folder such as "public_html" or "httpdocs".   A majority of my support requests come as result of newbies not knowing this.  It isn't my responsibly to to show them where it is.  That's information they need to get from their web host themselves.  However, with that said, you can now connect to your FTP and see a list of your folders to easily determine where your home page is actually located.  This should be more convenient for the technically challenged as well as cutting down on frivolous support requests made outside the scope of this product. 

Another thing that I have added is the ability to save your sessions!  Now if you want to load a cloaking session back in to modify something, you can simply select a previous saved session and get back your session without having to enter all the info again from scratch.

I've also improved link handling.  For some reason, newbies tend to paste an entire block an affiliate code including the reference tags (<a xhref="bla-bla..">).  This link won't cloak, of course because the actual link begins with "http://" (without the quotes).  The user then wonders why his cloaked link doesn't work.  The link fields in the cloaker now detects these things and will trigger an error message stating the proper correction to make.    If you forget the "http://" part of your link, the cloaker will fill it in for you automatically.

There are other improvements made under the hood as well.  My current customers will be getting a free upgrade via the auto-update feature.  This will only work for current customers.  Past refunders of the product will be unable to receive the update to version 4. 

As soon as my tests show that AC4 is 100% I will be releasing it.  I estimate it to be ready this week.  I'll be creating a new sales page and videos as well.  OK, back to my programming!  How about you?  Making a product yet?  If not, why not start today? Cool

Protecting Your Products

Do you have a digital product such as an ebook, video or audio product?  Maybe a software product of some type.  One of the biggest benefits of having digital products in my opinion is that you spend time at the beginning to develop your products, then you get paid forever.  It's kind of like having an "internet vending machine" for each product that you have.  That is, if its a download-able product.  The down side of downloadable products is that there are some pretty sharp crooks out there that will dedicate a lot of time to figuring out your download folder.  Experienced product hackers have lots of tricks up their sleeve which they can use to figure it out.  Fortunately, a vast majority of your visitors are pretty honest, but it only takes one.  Now maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they just kept it to themselves, but that's not normally the case.  These kind of people like to show off their talents by sharing your products with pirate forums, warez sites or even illegally selling your product somewhere like eBay!

So what's a product owner to do?  Well, you can give your download folder a really funky name with lots of numbers mixed in to slow down the hackers. You can hope that your download folder won't be shared with the world by some shady customer, or you can use a security product like Download Guard.  Download Guard was created by Sam Stephens and protects your download links like a fortress.  This is a full blown security suite written in PHP and has an easy to manage admin area to setup your download links.  I use Download Guard with both my Clickbank and Paypal products.  DownloadGuard handles it all.  DownloadGuard even handles your thank you email automatically, so that everything happens without the need for any intervention on your part.  You just setup your product, plug in the info to Download Guard, generate a payment link, and that's it.  When you make a sale, an email is automatically sent to your customer with the protected download link.  The customer clicks the link and is taken to a professional download page where they can click the download button to retrieve their product.  The link is dynamically generated and encrypted so the recipient never knows the true location of the download folder.  You can also add bonus products to your download page.  Also set the links to expire after a set number of hours.  I usually set mine for 48 hours.  If your customer misses their window for some reason, you can simply reset their link for them.  

I've been using Download Guard now since the very beginning.  I released my first product in 2005 and purchased Download Guard within a couple of weeks afterwards.  In the beginning, I had an issue with my web host and DLG.  I contacted Sam Stephens via his support forum and he went well above and beyond the call of duty to get me up and running.  It turned out to be my host, but he actually created a fix into his product just to address it.  He even tied into my FTP account to set everything up.  It was incredible and he set an example for me right from the start.  Over deliver on making your customer happy and you'll have them for life.  Download Guard was without a doubt the best investment I've ever made for protecting my digital assets. I don't just recommend things lightly.  This one gets my 100% endorsement. 
Check it out
!

Do You Firefox?

Internet Business Blog PicI was reading through Mohamed Bhimji's internet business blog today where he did a short post about Firefox.  He noted that webpages load much quicker in Firefox than IE, which is true.  In fact, Firefox starts much quicker than IE as well.  I've been a Firefox user since way back in its beginnings.  Mohamed also had a great point about memory leaks, which was a downside of Firefox for a long time.  Considering the huge advantages over Internet Explorer, I always lived with the memory leaks by simply not leaving Firefox open for more than a day.  The latest version of Firefox doesn't have the memory leak problems of the past.  

I'd like to expand on Mohamed's post with other reasons that Firefox is a great choice of web browser.  Firstly, it is FREE and open source, which means that you have a world community of developers supporting it.  If there is some type of security vulnerability that crops up, it is likely to be addressed right away.  IE on the other hand is closed source (privately owned by Microsoft and part of the Windows OS) and security issues are only resolved by a dedicated core team of people that may not catch wind of it until the problem is wide spread.  It could be several months before it is actually addressed. 

Firefox has had tabbed browsing for years.  Internet Explorer just caught on in version 7.  Firefox remains an intuitive and easily navigable browser, while IE7 has gotten less intuitive and more confusing for the average end-user.  If you do a lot of surfing around the net, you're much more likely to pick up spyware infections with IE as opposed to Firefox. 

The other things that I like about Firefox is the cool add-ons that you can integrate into your browser.  I'm not talking clunky and intrusive toolbars, but useful, non-intrusive add-ons to enhance your internet experience.   New add-ons can easily be acquired online through the "tools", "Add-ons" menu and clicking "Get Extensions".

Here are some of the extensions that I like:

Search Status by Craig Raw – This is an "SEO" extension which allows you to monitor Google Page Rank, Alexa, and Compete ratings.  It resides down in the browser status bar (bottom) so it is out of the way and doesn't intrude into the space of your browsing window.  This add-on also allows you to to check keyword density, highlight keywords, check your google & yahoo back links and indexed pages.  There are other great features as well.  This is a must have plug-in if you are into internet business.

ColorZilla by Alex Sirota  – This is a color picker add-on which resides in the bottom left corner of your browser status bar.  You can use the color picker and click on any color in your browser window and it will instantly capture the color that you are looking for.  Now you will have the RGB and #Hex color values that you need to get that color scheme just right when tweaking your web pages.  This is a very handy tool that I use all the time.

Forcastfox by Jon Stritar & Richard Klein – Totally unrelated to web development, but I really like having a weather forecaster in my status bar showing the current temps as well as local radar.  The local radar is displayed as a small green icon which expands into a local doppler radar image when moused over.  The temperature readings include current and predicted temps into the next day.  Double click on any of these to open a webpage with more in-depth weather details.  It also has "weather alerts" which pop up when the National Weather Service issues a local weather watch or warning. 

Another cool thing I like about Firefox is its recovery capabilities.  If your computer happens to lock up or crash, and you had several tabs opened up in your browser, you will automatically be prompted to restore your session!  By clicking "Yes", you will get all your web pages back!  How cool is that?  Security, stability, better looking web pages, tons of features, I could go on and on why Firefox is my browser of choice.   If you haven't already added Firefox into your browsing experience, get it now.  It will automatically import all your IE Favorites, if you allow it to during the install.  Once you start using this, it's likely that you'll never go back to the blue "e" again!

Are You Ready For The Crash?

As we use our computers or laptops from day to day, it's easy to become complacent with our security.  Technology is an amazing power when its working.  When something goes wrong, however, then your whole world  gets turned upside down.  "If only I would have backed up my ____ files", is usually the first thing that runs through most people's minds.  What would happen if 15 seconds from now your hard drive went into total meltdown?  

Most people don't realize this, but hard drives are a consumable item.  That means that they wear out after a certain number of hours!  A lot of hours, of course.  I think the average rating is around 100,000 hours mean time.  That's about 11 years!  Those are healthy ratings, but often times they fail long before that.  The point is, don't assume that your data is perfectly safe.  If you have critical data on your computer, you should get it moved (or at least copied) to an external storage media such as a USB drive.  Offline options are great too.  For example, xdrive.com offers 5 GB of free storage of your data files.  All you need to do is sign up for an AOL screen name.  You don't have to have any of the AOL junk including their internet service to use xdrive.  Just a screen name so that you can log into the service.  For $9.95 a month you can store 50 GB of stuff.  Using an offline solution will give you another way to access your files in case you are traveling somewhere and forgot your thumb drive.  You can simply log into xdrive from anywhere with an internet connection, such as an internet cafe.  When I was in China, I used the internet cafes nearly every day.

So how about avoiding down time on your computer?  I recommend Deep Freeze Standard. With Deep Freeze, you never have to worry about getting viruses, spyware, driver issues, and all the other horse crap that goes with the joys of everyday computer use.   Deep Freeze runs in the background on a parallel network on your computer.  The original configuration is never touched in any way, no matter what you do.  Surf the internet & pick up a virus?  Accidentally deleted a system file, or changed a driver setting?  No problem, just reboot your computer and everything is exactly the way it was.  You never have to worry about dealing with anti-virus, anti-spyware and all that other security software.  No need to worry about someone else using your computer and screwing it up with spyware infected games.   If you want to add new software, you can try it out first by installing it.  If it hoses your system, simply reboot.  Problem solved. If everything works ok, no meltdowns, etc, you can do a permanent install by pausing Deep Freeze and installing the application permanently.  Then re-activate Deep Freeze to keep everything protected.  Deep Freeze will even work across multiple drives & partitions if desired.

Having worked in an educational environment for the past 7 years, I've used a number of solutions to keep the number of problems to a minimum.  I've used other solutions such as Clean Slate which also works quite well.  Personally, I have found Deep Freeze to be easier to manage, plus Deep Freeze only runs around $45.  This is much less than you would shell out for Anti-Virus suites, Firewalls, and the myriad of other protection softwares out there. You can simply keep all your headaches away with one simple solution.  

I'm sure that you can easily think back at all the wasted hours that you had to spend at one time or another because some application or device stopped working.  Or because the computer became extremely slow and started locking up all the time.  Maybe you had to have it serviced and paid over $100 to have all the spyware garbage cleaned off.  Between time and money alone, this solution should be a no-brainer.

If your hard drive fails completely, all you have to do is get a new computer or have the hard drive replaced with a new Windows install.  Since all your data is on a separate media, all you have to do is reinstall the applications that you use including Deep Freeze.  You're instantly back in business.  Your "C" drive should never require anything more than these.

Put these solutions into action now and you will have much greater peace of mind and lots more time do invest into your internet business and family! 

No Regrets

As I was driving through town today, I passed by the local cemetery as I do many times during the week.  At the same time, I was listening to the radio in which the announcer had been talking about Martin Luther King day and some of the accomplishments that were made by this great man in his short life.   I couldn't help but to wonder about those of whom were lying under the headstones as they were passing by my passenger window.  Each stone in that cemetery represents an entire lifetime of experiences.  Some very long while others were cut much too short.  Dr. King was one such example.  He achieved a level of greatness, and brought about huge strides in civil rights through peaceful means.  Triumphing over racial bigotry and oppression in even the most ignorant regions of the south.   He had a lot more to accomplish, but instead was struck down in his prime.  Even being cut down at an early time, his accomplishments in changing the collective mindset were astounding.

Suppose that this was your last day on the planet?  Any regrets other than the obvious one of leaving too soon?  Everybody wants to see their children grow up, have a long life with their spouse or get married if they're still single, etc.  But let's set all that aside, and just focus on your accomplishments.  As you're drifting up towards the clouds and looking down upon the earth, can you say that what you did accomplish was worth while?  Was it on the track with your goals?  Maybe you worked 60 hour weeks at a J.O.B. and only saw your wife in passing as you headed towards the bedroom for a nights sleep while she was on her way out to work the night shift at some convenience store, plant, or hospital.  No regrets?  Could you have worked on some plan to make your lives better?  A situation like this can suck the life and creativity right out of you, which is all the more reason to take action and change it.

Don't get caught up in the "comfort" of the hypnotic state of TV watching, or spending hours on end playing the free games on the internet.  Let's say you make it to the ripe old age of 90 something and you're laying on your deathbed reflecting back on your life.  Are you going to wish that you spent more time with your family?  That you watched less TV?  Will you wish that you could have done something different with all those years that you were playing Warcraft online?  Are you going to wonder what would have happened if only you would have stayed focused on building your business?  Or will you look back thinking "no regrets!"?

The Pseudo Success Bound

I just read an interesting article by James Brausch that got me fired up enough to drop what I was doing and write this post.  I normally don't post until the evenings, but here we go.  According to Jame's posting, he had apparently given a gift, an instructional DVD on creating your own blog or product, I think, to a "friend" / acquaintance.  When this person came to see James, he apparently gave James a hard time about how he wasn't succeeding, and laying out excuses about why he didn't and wouldn't do the key points in the DVD.  The details can be read in James' Post.  what I want to touch upon, is what makes this type of individual tick.

I was floored to read that still another person, Robert, had taken the initiative to come all the way out to Costa Rica for a day with James, get treated to dinner, plus a day to all the attractions, receive a free valuable gift from him, and not even find it in his heart to return at the very least, a little appreciation!  In the beginning, and on the surface, you initially see the qualities of an up & coming 2%er.  He took action, he met with James and listened.  Then later, he created a product from his conversations.  Apparently, he even has a blog somewhere that he has promoted his new product through.  Ooops! It looks like he then started re-selling or including pirated copies of one of James' own products too!  Wow!  Now granted, I'm hearing just one side of the story, but James Brausch has a solid reputation for integrity, honesty and pulling no punches.  Personally, I like those qualities.  

Success seeking individuals usually fall into one of two categories.  Those who are looking to build a solid foundation of honesty, integrity and service to their customers, and those who are looking for the quick buck.  The opportunity chasers.  Those in the first category will enjoy long lasting success and accomplish great things as they cross off them off their bucket list one by one.

Those in the second category are simply the "pseudo successful".  They have the appearance of one who is on the road to success.  They talk a good game, and may even rake in a lot of income.  For a while, that is.  The problem is that their business is built on a foundation of sand,  as the story goes in the Bible.  Sooner or later, it comes crashing down as the next opportunity is pursued.  A 98%er will likely never recognize the difference between the truly successful and the pseudo successful from outward appearances.   These pseudo doers are almost impossible to detect by anyone at the beginning.  When they are detected, the response is usually very defensive.  They will bully you and then accuse you of being the bully to cover up their own personality flaws.

One way to detect a pseudo 2%er acquaintance, (if you were even remotely interested, that is) is to go visit them and see how they're faring.  When you spot them inside their trailer propped up in front of the TV with a beer, sitting in their favorite chair right under the velvet "dogs playing poker" painting, you'll have a clue!  Watch out for that killer chihuahua!

But seriously, this leads to my final rambling.  It all goes back to that one character flaw that was likely produced back in the world of TV-J.O.B.-Life of the 98% world brainwashing program.   Everybody owes you something.   The losers will always believe that anyone who is "better off" than they are owes them.  They owe you their money.  They owe you their gifts.  They owe you to hold their hand and make your business and money for them.  This "everyone owes me something" mindset is exactly why you have opportunity chasers.  Why does one jump from opportunity to opportunity?  Because they're looking for something that will do everything for them of course!  Lack of focus & lofty goals.  Perhaps in their mind, you, the creator of the info product also owe them a lifetime of hand holding and personal attention until their entire business can be built for them. Then you will have to run it for them as well to keep it going, naturally.

One of the best things that you can do for yourself and for your business is to stay focused on real pursuits, be honest, and be appreciative of what others may offer along the way.  Remember them as you grow and return the favor when you can.  It's not too much to ask, just common decency. 

I've made my share of mistakes along the way and I haven't yet reached the "James Brausch level" in my internet business.  I'm still climbing my way up the ranks, so to speak, but I  consider myself a rising force, who has the desire to help as many as I can along the way by providing useful information and products.  Always be willing to listen and learn from those who have trodden down the proven path.  Ego trips are for losers.  Now as for the fakes – when the wrapping finally comes off, and it always does, the pseudo 2%er will always be exposed in the end. 

Note to James Brausch – I recently purchased a pre-release copy of James Brausch's internet business book, vol. 2.   James, if you happen to read this, I will be sending the grammer & spelling corrections this weekend.

What’s In A Domain Name?

nemeas ranking softwareWanting to create a product and start a website?  Maybe you already have a website, or several websites.  When you purchase your piece of real estate on the world wide web, have you given any thought to your domain name?  No, I mean serious thought.  It's a common misconception that all the "good" names are taken.  So what makes up a good name?  Is it something that contains a short name and ends with a .com?  Maybe a 256 character string containing all your favorite keywords ending in a dot something?  Ok, that's a little outrageous, but just what does constitute a good domain name?  

One trick I like is to look over my web stats and see how people are getting to my websites.  My stats will show what keywords people are using in the search engines to get to my sites.  If I'm going to create another similar site, I could take a popular phrase such as "cloak my url" and see if "cloakmyurl.com" is available.  It isn't available, by the way.  But you get the picture.  A variation of this opens up possibilities.  Cloak-my-url.com, cloakmy-url.com, myurlcloak.com, etc.  If you're a techno-dounce, you may not have noticed that many of your top search results have your keywords in the domain name and /or, webpage name and subfolders.   

It's smart to have your domain reflect a popular search phrase.  Sure, this is only a part of the big ranking factor picture, but it can be significant to 15 – 20% and shouldn't be overlooked.  There's a great utility called Nemeas, created by James Brausch that works based on statistical data to help you create optimal domain names and link combinations.  An optimized link combined with an optimized folder / file naming convention can give you the edge that just may get you over the top.

Nemeas isn't for the casual dabbler in internet business.  The price is $135. The "doers" will see the value and potential returns from this powerful software right away.  If you're serious, and in the process of stepping up your game, this is "the" tool for a healthy foundation! 

Now you can promote your new website and product(s) by putting together a blog and optimizing it for business.  Not sure how to do that?  You can find out more by clicking on the link below:

http://www.ribitus.com/blogging-course

The Missing Ingredient

galaxyA couple years ago a movie/documentary came out that was quite popular called "The Secret".  It was quite popular and controversial at the same time.  Some thought it was life transforming while others thought was a complete crock.  The Secret dealt with the law of attraction and how you can use it to achieve anything you wish in life.  I'm referring to "The Secret" in this post because there are many people who equate (either negatively or positively) the law of attraction with what they picked up in the movie.  This was an introduction to the concept for many.  I first studied this waaaaayyyy back in the 1980's!  Ok, now I'm dating myself.  

In fact, so many have been introduced to the law of attraction via "The Secret", its the very reason that I'm writing this post.  I would like to address one important thing about the movie.  In my opinion, unless I missed something along the way, the movie seemed to cover everything except the actual secret itself!  You couldn't help but to walk away feeling inspired and having a sense that anything was now possible, but that's about all.

Visualizing your desires, programming your mindset to "live" in the reality that you want to create is only half of the picture.  Taking action is a most essential ingredient and was barely touched upon, if at all, in the movie.  I can just imagine thousands of people getting inspired and then beginning a routine of visualizing new beginnings in their lives, then, after nothing much happening for results, going back to the same old thing.  Action is what gets results! 

 Here's the Key:

The visualization and reality shifting side of it is what gets the energies in motion.  Everything is created in a non-physical form BEFORE it ever reaches the physical realm (including us, but that's another story).  This is where the visualization and reality shifting comes into play.  Once you create this in the non physical realm, then various signs, opportunities, etc., will begin to manifest themselves.  This is the point where you must recognize these things and seize the opportunity, or pursue the new friend who has stumbled into your life.  Whatever the manifestation, this is the result of what you created and it is trying to materialize into physical reality.  Now, by taking action, you are pulling your creation into your physical reality.  If you ignore it, some other signs will appear for awhile until you either act, or continue to ignore it.  If you simply ignore these things which are now coming your way in everyday life, then eventually your creation will dissipate and stay in the non-physical until you bring it back to life again and act.

If you follow these steps, you can't fail.  Really huge shifts sometimes take multiple actions to pull every component into reality.  This is most easily done by goal setting.  For example, if you're living in your car (like I did back in 1986) and you want to become a millionaire, then most likely its going to take multiple steps to make your reality.  Build smaller components into your reality that lead up to your ultimate goal, which is always visualized, even while visualizing your "stepping stones".   Each component should build upon the other.  Pull them into reality one by one and you will arrive.  Its the law of the universe and it is just as real as the invisible electricity that you feel when you stick your finger in the light socket (P.S. – Don't stick your finger in the light socket!).   Sure, you can visualize winning the lottery, but is it in your best interest to develop your spirit?  Probably not.  Life is about growing through challenge and experience.  A winning lotto ticket, although not impossible, probably won't cut it.  

Now that you have the keys, take it out for a spin and see where it takes you!