I recently Googled my client’s sites and saw this awful message: I didn’t design their site, I was hired for maintenance and marketing consulting. I thought that this must have to be some kind of mistake on Google’s part, but I looked through the site files and found 3 malicious files that were put there by what was indeed a hacker. They even left a calling card. Luckily I found it and removed it before more damage was done, as it appears that whatever they wanted to do hadn’t been executed yet. But this goes to show…your site is NEVER too small to be hacked. This wasn’t some major e-commerce conglomerate, and it wasn’t even a site that handled credit card information…but that doesn’t mean it is too small to be hacked. “Why would someone want to hack my little old site?” To show that they can. To gain access to your saved passwords and the saved passwords of your clients and use them elsewhere on the Internet (bank logins, etc.) To gain access to other, more important and sensitive, parts of your site. To turn your site into a virus, attempting to infect everyone who visits it. To hold your site for ransom…shutting it down and putting their own message up until you pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to have it released. These are serious threats, and no site is too small. Here’s what you should do right now: Be sure to have good STRONG passwords for everything involving your site. It’s also a good idea to not use the same passwords elsewhere online. I know that’s a pain in the butt, but with many browsers saving your passwords for you, it’s a lot easier now than it used to be. Consider installing an SSL certificate which … Read More
This is a bit of an old video, but it will teach you how to put systems and processes into your business so that you can achieve more freedom in your business, and how to do business on YOUR terms.
As someone who creates content just about every day of the week, I know just as well as anyone that figuring out what to write for your blog can sometimes be a challenge. That blank screen is just about the worst! Luckily, I have some strategies for you to use so that you will never be starved for content ideas on your blog again. 1. Answer Your “FAQ” When consulting with medical practices on their Websites, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is just this…how do I come up with topics for the blog? I tell them that there must be questions that their staff hear day in and day out. These are the things that patients are asking aloud and Googling about. If you can answer these questions before anyone else, you’re ahead of the pack. So I tell them to interview their front office staff, their nurses, and their doctors, and get a list of the top 10-20 questions that patients have. Most of these practices are only blogging once a week, so there goes 10-20 weeks of content right there! You can do the same thing as an entrepreneur. This is even easier if you’ve been around for a while, because it’s likely people are already Emailing you and posting comments on social media with questions that you can answer. This is GOLD because it’s what your readers actually want to know about. If you haven’t been around quite as long, you can always do research on other blogs in similar niches to see what people are asking in those comments sections. 2. Never Start with a Blank Page A blank page is the worst. Nothing is more intimidating. So don’t start there. You have two options for filling that page before you start writing. Option A: Start with … Read More
Dan Kennedy has a saying, and it’s that “the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins.” I will admit…when I first heard this from one of my mentors I was pretty discouraged. After all…I was brand new in business. How could I out-spend my competition when I was barely making any money to start with? Visions came to mind of purchasing big billboards or cable TV ads. I would never be able to afford these things, it seemed. If I can’t afford them…and the person who spends the most wins…then I will never win…right? Wrong. The saying requires a bit further explanation, and it has everything to do with the Lifetime Value of one of your customers (LTV). The lifetime value of a customer (or blog visitor, or subscriber, etc.) is determined, simply, by the following: Average Ticket Item x Number of Times a Customer Buys per Year x Number of Years a Customer stays with you on average – any overhead expenses. As an example, a Graphic Designer might have an average ticket price of $300, customers who buy from him twice a year and typically stay with him for 3 years, and let’s say that his overhead expenses are about 20% of his sale. $300 x 2 = $600 -> $600 x 3 = $1800 -> $1800 – 20% = $1,440 So his lifetime value of an average customer is $1,440. Some will be only $300, some will be $2500. But it will always even out to that $1,440. Here is the big secret to outspending your competition every time… Your competition is most likely not even keeping track of their customers’ lifetime value. Even if they are, they are likely only willing to spend a small percentage of that lifetime value to acquire a customer. Maybe $10? Maybe $50? Maybe $500? The trick … Read More
It is tempting when starting out in business to want to discount, discount, discount. After all, that’s what people want, right? Low prices? Wrong. It actually turns out that the more people pay for something, the more perceived value that item has. There is a study (that Dan Kennedy references in one of his talks…I cannot for the life me find it. Let me know if you can.) where to groups of athletes are given pre-workout drinks. One group is told that the shake was a generic brand costing somewhere from $1-$5, while the other group was given the same shake but told that it costed somewhere in the $20-$25 range. The group with the “more expensive” shake performed much better, despite drinking the same stuff as the other group. So when you discount, you are actually making it so your client is less-satisfied. I’ve seen this in my own businesses when I used to give discounts. The more of a discount I gave, the harder that client was to please. The more I charged for my services, the easier the client was to please. It’s a strange thing, the way it works. But there is no arguing that people love a discount. Everyone likes to feel like they are getting a “special deal” or that they are “smart” for saving money. I’m here to tell you that you can have the best of both worlds. Introducing the Value Add A value-add is, simply enough, a way of giving your clients more perceived value than what they are paying for without discounting and de-valuing yourself. I recently did a live-training on positioning and selling, and one of the questions I received from Chandler, a magician, at the end of the call was: “Would it be a good idea or a … Read More
The following was posted on 2016-02-23 on my now discontinued blog, The 20 Something Entrepreneur….but its lessons still very much apply. Most people exaggerate when they use the word “overnight” to describe success, but in this case, I’m not exaggerating. On Monday I made a decision and sent an Email. On Tuesday, I had 25 qualified leads. The decision was to offer my book (writing the book is the part that takes a bit longer), The Dos and Don’ts of Web Design for Small Business: 27 Tips for Finding Customers and Building Trust on the Web, for free, to my list as well as anyone else they wanted to “gift” the book to. The Email: Here was the Email I sent: Hey (NAME)! I have some AWESOME news! I recently wrote a new book titled The Dos and Don’ts of Web Design for Small Business. I have two questions for you below, but here’s what the book is about… How the different generations, from millennials to Gen X’s, prefer to interact with your business, and what they will do if they don’t find what they’re looking for. Step by Step, the path you need to take to maximize the effectiveness of your website planning process (choosing a name, brainstorming, etc.) The one little trick that professional Web designers use so that 80% of their work is done for them already before they do a single thing. The language less-than-scrupulous Web designers use to cheat you out of your money. How to use – and how to waste time and money on – Internet marketing and “Search Engine Optimization” The 5 pages you NEED on your website (and the ones that will kill your site) I’m selling the Book on Amazon, however I have two questions for you: Question 1: I am offering to send a … Read More
Being an entrepreneur is not easy. When we’re not out on our fancy private jets, sailing around the world, and playing golf in exotic places, there is a lot of real work that has to get done. If you’ve been an entrepreneur or small business owner for any amount of time, you know that this world ain’t all sunshines, rainbows, and unicorns. It can be mundane, and when it isn’t mundane, it’s usually incredibly scary and stressful. For these moments, there are two quotes that have helped “calm me down” time and time again. Unfortunately, I do not know the origins of either. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. Nothing Is Ever as Good or As Bad As it Seems. Oh man. I must say this one at least once a day. You’ve gotta take the good with the bad as an entrepreneur, but nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems at first. That new project idea that you’re really excited about? It’s gonna be awesome, I’m sure, but I bet it won’t live up to your high expectations. That computer Hard Drive failing? That really sucks…but I bet the ripple-effect that you first imagined (leading to your kids and their future kids living on the street, perhaps) is probably not going to come out of it. Here is the second quote: An Entrepreneur Is Paid Not For What He Does, But For His Amazing Ability To Withstand Insane Amounts of Pressure Interchange he/she. This is so true. Most of the entrepreneurs I have met do not do incredibly interesting or challenging things. Most of what they do is rather boring. But it takes real guts to go it alone and risk being poor and hungry so that you can be a creator. When you’re feeling stressed out and under pressure, … Read More
Over the past 6 months, I have logged over 500 hours in a single video game, and it has been surprisingly helpful for my business. They’re called MMORPG’s (Massively-Mulltiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) which is a fancy way of describing a game where you create a character and progress along with millions of other players from around the world via the Internet. The draw of these games is that there is so much that you can do and explore, evidenced by the fact that I have played (along with my girlfriend…which I feel it necessary to include so you don’t really think I’m a loser) for around 20 hours a week for 6 months and have still not even made a dent in everything there is to accomplish. I didn’t originally think of myself as the type of person to get wrapped up in an entirely virtual world, but yet here I am, and it has had profound effects on my entrepreneurial pursuits, but not in the way one might assume: it’s actually been helpful. So, how has it helped my business? This is the topic of a guest post I did for Erin Blaskie. Erin is a brilliant marketer and fellow video gamer, and I am really honored to be featured on her blog. Check it out!
Short post today… One of the most common things I hear from people who are in business is, quite simply, “What is an expert, and how I could I possibly be considered one?” The answer is simple: an expert is anyone who knows just a little bit more than the audience they are teaching. Think about it…if you have owned cats all your life, you are actually a cat expert to people who have never owned a cat. You know so much more than them, and are able to teach them. Many would even be willing to pay you for that. If you’ve owned a couple businesses so far, even if none have been out-of-this-world successful, you are an expert to someone who has never started a business before. You know things that they haven’t even thought about. You could write a book on that, market it specifically to those who have never owned a business, and make a whole new business out of that. You see…it doesn’t matter if you aren’t an “expert to the experts.” You don’t need to impress Dave Ramsey in order to teach personal finance. You don’t need to impress Derek Jeter when it comes to hitting a baseball. The only person that matters is that person who is actually going to be learning from you. That’s who you should focus on. I challenge you to think about…what are 3 things that you know more than the general population about? Comment below to let me know! Image Designed by Freepik
When you’re a solo entrepreneur — especially one selling creative services — pricing is something that can be somewhat etherial. What is it? Who sets it? Why is one price acceptable, and another isn’t? Is it the same for every client, or do you give some clients discounts This leads most people to just picking a price based on what the competition is doing or what their magic 8-ball tells them. Then they maybe “get around” to raising their prices every year or two. Coming from someone whose prices started low and quickly increased to 500% of the original price, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for that say you are ready to raise your prices. They are… Sign #1: Demand Goes Up The age-old rule of economics: supply and demand. When demand of something with a limited supply goes up, the value of said object is also supposed to go up. As a creative solo entrepreneur, you do have a limited supply. There’s only one of you. And you only have the same 8,760 hours in a year (without sleep) that the rest of us have. If you get to the point where you feel overwhelmed — like you have more work than you are able to handle, it’s time to raise your prices until the amount of work coming in gets down to a manageable level (or hire someone). Sign #2: You No Longer Need the Money This is a great position to be in, but rare for those in their 20s. If you are in a position where you have the money you need and are set for life, then you can essentially price yourself at whatever you like. You don’t need the money, so it doesn’t matter if you get 20 “no”s before getting a single “yes”. Sign #3: Not Enough “No”s Most people love hearing the word … Read More