Keeping The Motivation

motivation techniquesGetting oneself motivated can be one of the biggest challenges that an internet business owner can face. A natural asset that successful people possess is self-discipline and the ability to motivate oneself and others. It takes discipline to resist distractions, to focus on your business and to keep building your business without losing momentum.

Most of the population is conditioned to be led by others. As a baby, naturally you are taken care of and supervised by your parents. When you start school, you are trained to follow a regimen and a predefined set of rules. This continues on into college and the workplace. Some are born leaders and most are followers. Being a follower is more comfortable. The master doles out the orders and the slave carries them out. The slave is rewarded for good work and is granted the privilege of remaining as a valued slave. But if the slave realizes that he/she wants their freedom and in fact declares their freedom, there are years of programming that need to be undone.

Having your hours dictated as to when you set the alarm clock, how long you will work, what your duties are, when to take a lunch break. It’s all part of the life long programming that has been ingrained from day one to get you groomed as a good student, and eventually, a good employee. Don’t feel that I’m knocking being a good student or a good employee. I’m just saying that this type of programming makes self discipline and self motivation a bigger challenge as opposed to those who think independently and have great problem solving skills.

So what about the Bart Simpsons? The underachievers? If you fall into this category, you are pretty much screwed until you come face to face with your negative and self-defeating beliefs. You must then deal with them head on to replace them with positive ones. Simply saying positive affirmations when you “know” inside that you’re not smart enough or good enough won’t cut it. Thinking that you’re not good enough is simply a belief and not a fact. Our reality is based on our beliefs, so therefore, they are very real factors as to where we are in our lives. Beliefs cannot be masked over with affirmations, they must be dealt with and eliminated. I was given an awesome eBook by its author that delves more deeply on this subject. I will be sharing my thoughts on this in a future post.

Ok for the rest of us. One of the biggest motivation killers that I know of is mentally over filling your task list. Let’s say that you’re not in a J.O.B. and you allocate a full 8 hours a day to your business. You have about 50 things in mind that you want to do. You’re not even sure where to start, so when the phone rings, or an email comes in, you jump at the chance. Now you’re involved in something. It’s not building your business, but you’re busy. You feel a sense of accomplishment because you were busy all day with emails, studying other peoples’ drivel in the forums as to why internet business doesn’t work. You were just a busy guy! (or gal!).

So what was really happening here? You’re mind didn’t want to deal with the mountainous tasks that you assigned your self, so when you were offered an easier, “flatter” road, your mind jumped on it! When you’re schedule is dictated to you by an employer, it is broken down into sequential tasks. Not only are we programed for this, but its also a logical, profitable, and practical way to approach things. Why fight a lifetime of programming when you can use it to your advantage? Set up your own schedule. Write down your goals to accomplish tomorrow every day. Break big goals into smaller sections. Now allocate less hours per day to working. Huh? Yes I said LESS hours to working and stick to it. When your time is up, walk away whether you want to or not. Why? Because with a shorter workday, you will force yourself to focus on building your business. You will eliminate distractions because you know that your time is valuable and limited to this time slot. This is also a great way to build self-discipline. It takes discipline to walk away too.

Take your business seriously. Often times because one is selling on eBay, or just starting out with a single product, or affiliate marketing, its easy to develop the “hobby” mindset. If you really want your freedom, you have to make this your escape vehicle! Take it very seriously. Treat it as the most important thing to you, your family, and your future that there is! What can possibly be more important than financial freedom and having the quality time to spend with your spouse & kids? Do you want your kids to grow up remembering their parents as someone they saw a couple hours a day between rushing to work and then watching TV afterwards before plopping down to bed to repeat the same formula the next day? Or would you prefer that they remember you always being there for them. Having the time to be involved in their lives and free from the stress of everyday “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle, like wondering how to pay the next outrageous gas bill next month? Yes, this is serious biz!

During your quiet time, like when you’re waking up in the morning, take time to think of new ideas for increasing your business, or new products. Just let your mind wander. Keep a notepad and a pen near your bed so that you can write down the ideas that excite you. Your mind is fresh in the morning giving you greater clarity for creativity. Although, night time is good too as you drift your way to dream land. The only hitch is that it gets more difficult to write your ideas down as you get more tired. It’s a great feeling to see your ideas turn into something real. Not every idea will be a winner either. That’s just life. Your favorite baseball team isn’t going to win every game. Just go for it, even if you’re not sure it will be a winner. Your ideas put into action are long term investments in your business. The winners can pay off for a lifetime.

SEO Tips

Search engine optimization or SEO. Some call it the holy grail of succeeding online. Some view it as full of mystery and secret knowledge that only a few who are “in the know” can actually master. Still others like James Brausch will ask why someone could possibly think that they can optimize a search engine? Search Engine Optimization, optimize a search engine. Good one James. Perhaps WSO or web site optimization would be a more accurate term. Hmmm

Anyway, there are various ranking factors that influence how you will fare in the search engines. A few weeks ago James Brausch released his predictive analysis of the latest Google data. Here is his breakdown for the highest predictability results:

Nemeas (domain name & structure) Factors: 18.2%
RaSof (on page) Factors: 43.8%
Link Factors: 38.1%

What I’d like to cover are some of the on page factors that I have used that have given me significant results. First of all, you should know what keywords that you want to optimize your site for. I like using WordTracker for getting a feel for what terms the most people are searching for. Your stats are also a great resource for finding the keywords that people used to find your site via a search engine. Here are some on-page factors that you can use to crank your rankings:

Title – What you have in your page title is a biggie. You should use highly searched terms relevant to your site here. I’ve read that having your keyword(s) at the beginning or end of your title works best. I don’t have facts to back that up, but I’ve gotten my best results this way.

Anchor Text – This is the text in a hyperlink. For example – Internet Business Blog would be the key phrase that I would use in my anchor text to rank for “internet business blog”. Be sure to take advantage of anchor text. Many people waste perfectly good hyperlinks with totally irrelevant phrases such as “Click Here“. I’ve found many times that if I refer to another website with a good keyword, it boosts my own website for that term. Don’t forget the title text. You can enhance your link power with an extra phrase or word in your title text. This would go after your “href” URL. For example – <a href=”http://somesite.com” title=”great keyword”>

Images & Alt Text – When you add images to your website, be sure to name your image with a decent keyword. You’d be surprised how much extra traffic you could pick up from Google or Yahoo! image searches. Alt text is often ignored too. Use the alt text every time you use images.

Header & Footer – Bold text and <h1, h2> text in your header contribute to your on page factors as well. Even bolded text within the body of your content will make a difference. Be sure to have keyword rich links in your footer as well. The footer is a significant area to your on page ranking.

Obviously you will want to sprinkle your keywords throughout the body of your content as well. Don’t over do it and always write your content for your readers FIRST. If you don’t, your content will lose value by sounding unnatural and keyword stuffed. This will immediately drop your credibility down to the neighborhood of the MFA junk sites.

As shown in James Brausch’s stats above, domain name/structure and back links account for another 56.3% of the factors involved for a top Google rating. Deciding on your domain name and its structure comes before you build your website. On page factors come as you create your site, when you add new content, and when you’re ratcheting your site for better search engine results. Finally, getting back links is something that you always want to work on for the lifetime of your site.

Following these simple steps can boost your website from being off the radar to enjoying a high ranking in the search engines. By combining all of the three major ranking factors, you are bound to nail a top spot in the search engines.

The Demise of Google

Dr. Schmidt, CEO of Google announced that Google is no more as of Friday, February 22nd! The stunning announcement came shortly after noon today. There was a media frenzy when the news broke. Of course the first question was “what the heck happened?” Is this another Enron? It seems that the CEO, along with the entire board of directors have decided to give up all their worldly goods and are now moving into a commune in southern California, which is home to a little known cult who worship the mango root. Google is no more!

OK, as you have probably guessed by now, I made this whole story up. Why would I do that? To get you reading? No, actually to get you thinking. Suppose Google disappeared over night. How would this affect your business? Do you depend on Google for all your PPC advertising? Is a high ranking in Google the sole reason for your traffic? If so, you really need to rethink your business strategy. Putting all your eggs in one basket is pretty risky business.

By reading my previous posts, you’ve heard me say in the past how it makes much more sense to have multiple streams of income (products, affiliates, etc) as opposed to just one (J.O.B.). The same applies to your traffic. Traffic to your websites are the life blood of your online business. Just like brick & mortar businesses, if no one knows you’re there, it’s pretty tough to make an income. People with affiliate sites will often depend solely on PPC to monetize their sites. Some will focus on optimizing their websites for one specific search engine.

But suppose that you suddenly lose your ranking for your keyword because of an algorithm change, or your PPC costs triple because the Google mafia decided that they don’t like you anymore? Now what? Go back to working for the man for a living? Or do you have other traffic sources that will continue to keep your business running smoothly?

You will find that if you work into your system other avenues of traffic, then not only will your income increase, but so will your security. Maybe today a lot of people aren’t searching for your blue widgets, but a stumbler (StumbleUpon) happens to be promoting a blue widget convention in Toledo, sending extra traffic your way.

Never underestimate the power of diversity. Promoting yourself using “Web 2.0” methods such as StumbleUpon, Squidoo & the like is one way to gain exposure. Internet business blogging is one of the best. Contributing worthwhile posts to blog carnivals will get you traffic and back links. Building your list! The larger your list, the more valuable it becomes. Forums are another way to promote yourself. But don’t spam, contribute to the community, or you will do more harm than good to your long term business. I’m not a forum fan, but depending on your business, it can be a good thing to work into your own routine or procedure for your interns. Oh, did I mention article marketing? This is probably one of the most effective and will generate traffic and back links very quickly.

The trick to article marketing is how you do it. James Brausch has a product called Artemis. This is an excellent product that allows you to change your article in to a few different variations. Artemis will then randomly shuffle the corresponding versions of each paragraph creating literally thousands of different variations of the same article. This way you will beat any duplicate content issues with Google, plus you will be submitting to real article publishers. I say “real” because most article submission sites are just junk repositories that are only read by other article submitters and scraped by content generator bots for the junk MFA (made for adsense) sites. You can customize your own Ezine and article list in Artemis for thousands of submissions honed for each article subject matter.

Google may not be going anywhere soon, but let the first paragraph be a wake up call. If you are depending on one source to monetize your traffic, you need to be working other techniques into your system as well. Don’t be a victim of a black Monday someday. When others are sinking without a life preserver, you can stay high & dry because your ship has the safety backups to kick in and keep it sailing smoothly.

Cool Blog Alert!

Mohamed Bhimji's blog pic

I’ve been following Mohamed Bhimji’s internet business blog for a few months now and I felt he was overdue for a cool blog alert. I first referenced Mohamed’s blog back in my January 24th post “Do You Firefox?” At the time he was located at online-internet-business-opportunity.com. He since has shortened the name to oibo.org. That’s pretty cool. Short and has a nice ring to it.

Mohamed responded to my last post “A Parallel Reality?” and I was in the middle of replying to his response when I realized that I wanted to share his words and my thoughts on them on a wider scale. Here is part of his response:

For months, I was thinking to myself wouldnt it be nice but in all honesty eventhough I was working towards it, I didnt really believe it.

However about two weeks ago I started to believe in my goals, I started to realize the urgency that is required in order for me to get to where I want to be. My beliefs were embodied in me my heart and mind are now working as one to achieve them.

Take a look at Mohamed’s blog and it will become obvious that thought combined with simple actions can change the course of your life. Desire is the catalyst that propels thought into action and action into reality. One reason that this works is because your desired future is already there for the taking. All you have to do is decide that you really want to go there. Believe, think and do. Your spirit will take you by the hand and lead you there.

Mohamed has made a conscious decision to become one of the 2% that take charge of their lives and he’s going all out to make it a reality. At this momentum, I have no doubt that he’ll achieve his dreams.

How about you? Are you ready to make that leap of faith? It’s really not that broad of a jump once you commit yourself into the air. You’ll land before you know it. It may not be a perfect landing at first, but the important thing is that you jumped! Now keep going. Think that I’m just blowing a lot of fluff around? Check out Mohamed’s blog for yourself. If you haven’t started on your dreams yet, realize that this could be you in a few short months. Where will Mohamed Bhimji be in a few more months? I’ll be sticking around to find out. 🙂

A Parallel Reality?

Back in my TV days I used to enjoy a show called “Sliders”. The main character Quinn developed a device that would open a portal between parallel Earths. Quinn, Professor Arturo (his teacher) and a couple others took a trip through one of these portals to a parallel existence. Unfortunately, they couldn’t seem to figure out how to get back to their original reality. There were millions of parallel existences. Probably (and theoretically) because every time you make a decision, you create another quantum path into what is perceived as time. BTW – “Layer” is actually more accurate than “path” since all past & future are really the present. Do I really have you confused now?

The reason that I’m bringing all this up is because I’d like you to do a mental exercise which I believe can help you pull your desired future into reality. If you’re already in the reality that you desire, then this can help you stay here.

Let’s say that you’re currently stuck in a 9 to 5 J.O.B. , you have an overbearing boss with an ego the size of Texas who makes you feel worthless even though all you do all day is work your tail off for half of what you should be paid. It’s theoretically possible that there could be countless parallel realities that you are existing in at this very moment based on all the possible decisions that you have made throughout each day. This is a multidimensional concept so don’t boggle your 3-D mind too much over it.

Ok, so you’re stuck in this J.O.B. that you hate and somewhere along side your present life is a you that is enjoying the success of a thriving internet business. This is the “you” that decided to take action last year when you were first contemplating the idea. This is the “you” that stopped wasting time surfing the forums, watching TV and checking email every 10 minutes. This version of you went down a different path. Where did this path come from? It was formed out of a simple decision. A decision to take action and break out of the cycle that you have come to dislike so much.

Now take a moment and look back to the time that you first started contemplating starting your own internet business. Now start moving forward to around the time that you can remember not taking the action that you would have. Maybe you sat down to create an internet business blog and got distracted by a phone call, email, or meteor strike. Now picture yourself not going off course at that point in time. This time, in your mind’s eye, you cut your call short so that you could get back to work. In fact, you unplugged the phone afterwards. Now think about the result that came out of that. Think about what your parallel self did the next day. Step yourself through each day seeing one build upon another. Picture the results from the previous days as you progress forward to the present. Chances are that your are “remembering” your parallel past. Take notes. Now that you’ve retraced your steps, go ahead and follow them again in this reality. It worked before, why not again? Your mind is a profoundly powerful thing. Remember, because of this wonderful gift that’s a part of all of us, entire futures can be carved out with a single thought to create it, followed by action to make it reality.

Writing Killer Headlines

OK, so you finally got off the sofa and created your first product. Perhaps its an information video on how to use Adobe Flash, or that recipe book that you finally decided to write, betraying generations of secret family recipes. Now that you’ve got your great aunt Emma flipping over in her grave, you need to start promoting your product. The next logical step is to create a sales page. What? You don’t need one because you’re starting with eBay? A well done sales page will skyrocket your eBay sales just as it would on your own website. Now that I’ve eliminated that excuse, let get down to business.

The first thing that your visitor sees and the most vital to keeping your visitor from clicking the back button is the headline. Obviously, the headline occupies the space above the fold on your web page. For you newbies “above the fold” refers to the area on the webpage that is visible when you first arrive, before you scroll down to read the rest. Typically, what visitors see within the first 5 seconds will determine whether they stay and read on or hit the back button and continue elsewhere.

This is what makes the headline so important. The first thing you want to avoid is to let your headline sound like an ad. Something like “Buy Aunt Emma’s Secret Recipies Now For Only $29.95” is a sure fire back button trigger. Creating a captivating headline can increase your conversions by at least a ten fold.

There’s many ways that you can approach your headlines. Depending on your product, you can phrase it by offering a compelling promise of how this will benefit them. Remember the “What’s in it for me” mindset of your visitor. Something like “Become an Instant Master of Traditional Pasta Dishes. 7 Generations of Closely Guarded Family Secrets Revealed!” Right away the visitor is offered the opportunity to impress their family and friends with some original pasta dishes that they never could have come up with on their own. Who can fight 7 generations of experience, right?

You could also phrase it as a question. “Is it Worth 5 Minutes to Learn 200 Years of Family Secrets?” Whenever a visitor is faced with a question in what they read, the natural response of the mind to to answer the question. Most typically, one would respond with “sure, why not?” and read on. Arousing the visitor’s curiosity is another fantastic way to keep your page “sticky”. Something like “I Have Been Branded by My Family as a Traitor!” The reader will think “huh?… why?” and read on.

There are many approaches that you can take on a headline to make it interesting. Never make your visitor feel like that you’re the shark and they’re your chum. 😛 Sounding “hypie” and wreaking of the honest john used car sales pitch isn’t going to cut it. This is a common mistake that many people starting out make. If you can avoid this, you will have a huge advantage.

Studying other successful product sales pages and making a swipe file of the best ones is a great way to hone your own skills. You can find the most popular products on Clickbank’s product search and check out the headlines of the big sellers. How did they grab your attention? How large were the fonts? What colors were used?

You’ll soon discover that headlines are actually fun to come up with. They can set the tone for inspiration as you write the rest of your sales letter. We’ll cover more in future posts. This should get you off to a good start in your quest for writing great sales letters. A tool I would highly recommend is Glyphius. This is one of the best tools on the market for crafting the most effective phrases for your headlines and sales copy. Check out James Brausch’s website to find a reseller.

Now go check out some popular product sales pages and get familiar with their headline styles. Try to improve their headline by writing your own, as if it was your own product. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Who knows, you might even impress yourself, and after that, impress others!

Some Ramblings About My Recent History

I was thinking back on some of the things that first inspired me to start an internet business back in late 2005.  One of my motivating factors besides freedom was getting rid of my various forms of debt.  At the time I had two credit cards totaling around $10,000.  My student loans were another major source of debt that was draining my account every month.  I’ve never been a real fan of having debts lying around and it really irritated me that I allowed myself to build up this debt.  Sure, it was relatively small compared to many people, but when you’re living paycheck to paycheck with little to nothing (sometimes a negative balance) at the end of the week, even the "smaller" debt load is a biggie. 

Here’s what my first strategy was in my quest for getting into the internet business game.  I created little mini sites made just for zapping certain areas of my debt.  Initially, I created PlayKillerGuitar.com as my credit card zapper.  My monthly payments totaled around $350 a month.  So if I could generate a minimum of $350 a month, then I would have the credit cards covered.  The AmazingCloaker was designated as my "student loan zapper".  If I could generate a modest $300 a month, I would have them covered.  For other miscellaneous debts I created landing pages for CPA advertisements via AdValiant.  I combined that with some PPC campagins and generated some profits that way.   I also paid dearly while figuring out Google Adwords.

Probably the website that boosted our finances the quickest and most dramatically was 1stClassReplicas.com.  This was a tangible items website where we sold replica designer handbags and had them drop-shipped from China.  Unfortunately we were compelled to quit after only a few months because we discovered that selling knock-offs was a no-no.  Call me naive, but I thought that you could sell knock-off items as long as they were clearly advertised as such.  I was wrong.   Mistakes are going to happen along the way when you get into marketing, and that was one of them.  The income was great though.

I’d like to clarify that I haven’t been making a tangible income via the internet all the way back to the fall of 2005.  I started with affiliate marketing, then added PlayKillerGuitar.com in May, 2006 while spending most of that year surfing the internet for information on how to get started.  This included researching and learning all that I could about marketing and ecommerce, but never taking any "real" action on promoting my tutorials beyond eBay or building a real business. 

I bought into all the guru hype, the latest and greatest opportunities, and hung out on those cheesy forums where everybody is an "expert" at nothing.   It wasn’t until early 2007 that I really began to get serious and start getting my game on.  I discovered James Brausch’s Internet Business Blog back in late 2006 while searching for copywriting "how to" info.  There was a reference on some forum to a 24 hour special for Glyphius (that was long expired), but that was the day that changed my future.  It was James who showed me the light and help to shape my future as a real internet entrepreneur.   I haven’t attained James’ level of freedom yet.  I am still on the path to it. 

Comfortable?  Relatively, but not really free yet.  I promised my wife that I would remain at least partially enslaved until my internet income was consistently double my District income.  Free, yes in another sense of the word.  I can now drive to my office everyday knowing that I can walk away anytime I choose and still be fine with my income.  It’s a good feeling to know that one person can’t take away my entire income just by uttering two words… "you’re fired!" 

If I want to travel back to China for a visit, I can buy a ticket, update my travel visa and go.  My wife, Tingting is Chinese so her values of going to college and getting a J.O.B. and keeping it for life are strongly ingrained into her mindset.  This is the way that you maintain respectability among your peers and family in China.  She has been in the U.S. for almost 2 years and is only now beginning to see the light.  I have a feeling that she will be releasing me from my promise before we hit the "double" mark. 

Once you hit that level of "critical mass", it becomes more expensive to trade your valuable time for money at a J.O.B..  In reality, it’s more expensive to keep your J.O.B. long before critical mass is reached.  This is much easier to "see" once your over the fence, so if you’re still employed, have debts, and not prospering on your own yet, then this is a very difficult concept to grasp or even believe.

Internet business is a fun and exciting journey.  If you are still stuck in "learning mode", caught in the TV vortex, or a terminal forum and info junkie, you have to bust out of it before you can even consider starting!   Take it from someone who has been there.   These habits and traits are only self-defeating excuses that your old (or present) self is using to keep you from succeeding.  These habits are comfortable. 

As a continuous researcher, or forum junkie, you can justify to yourself why your business isn’t running yet.  You are still "learning", and market researching, and making sure everything is perfect first.  What you’re really saying is that you don’t believe that you are good or worthy enough to do this.  You don’t want to fail or screw up at it.  Well here’s a reality check… you WILL screw some things up and make some bad decisions.  You WILL make mistakes!!!  Get over it.  Did the Olympic figure skaters never fall down while perfecting their art?  You only see the end result, not all the times that they face planted themselves into the ice.  Throw away those excuses.  Start today…no, I didn’t say tomorrow, start right now!

From Under The Rock Crawl I

The AmazingCloaker 4 is finally fully rolled.  As a result of all the time I’ve put into getting this product upgraded, I’ve neglected my writing a bit.  Even my queued postings ran out.   This was way more work than I expected, but no regrets because I know that the AmazingCloaker is well worth the effort.

I have already picked up a review from Richard Lee on the first official day of AC4’s release.  Thanks Richard!  Check out his blog and see for yourself what Richard has to say about the AmazingCloaker4.  This guy knows his stuff and has great products!

Now that bulk of the work is complete, I can finally kick back and get back to regular blog postings again.  I say "bulk" because I still need to complete a few remaining videos, but that’s a piece of cake compared to the challenges of coding.   Nonetheless, I am now officially out from under the rock and back into the land of the living.

Don’t let the time that I put into this give you the wrong impression about product creation.  Information products are much easier to create and you don’t have to be a wirehead to do it.  If you haven’t yet created a product or are thinking about it, I would strongly recommend that you take action today and get yourself into the game of internet business.

Zulu Hour Begins on Monday!

The AmazingCloaker 4 is scheduled to be released on Monday. I have the final version of the AmazingCloaker ready today and I will be finishing up the project with new videos and an updated help file. Here is a preview video. This video is different from the one from last week because my changes were fairly significant. I decided to create a separate FTP & web browser. From there, I was cleaning up the code and doing some major testing.

The Camtasia Studio video content presented here requires JavaScript to be enabled and the latest version of the Macromedia Flash Player. If you are you using a browser with JavaScript disabled please enable it now. Otherwise, please update your version of the free Flash Player by downloading here.

Finally

Well, AmazingCloaker 4 coding is finally complete.  Whew, a much bigger project than I planned!  I had some stubborn database issues that kept creeping back to haunt me.  Better to catch them now than later.  

I decided to take the internal web browser and move it to a third tab.  This way you can have a larger view of the web content. Also, if you wish to view the video tutorials, you can watch them from inside the AmazingCloaker application, making it easier to refer to.

Here are a few screen shots: