The topic of doing this or that while on vacation is quite popular among online business people of today, otherwise known as online entrepreneurs. I guess the main reason is that many people find it hard to detach completely during their vacation time and to forget about all forms of work altogether. And, to be honest, I’m somewhat that type of a person too.


I mean, it’s not that I will do consistent work on a daily basis no matter what, just because I’m a workaholic or something. On the contrary, workaholism is probably the last thing that could ever hit me… Right after vegetarianism.

That being said, I still like to keep my finger on the pulse and just be able to check things up every couple of days and make sure that business is going well. After all, even when we are on vacation, our businesses aren’t. And our ability to keep them profitable even for a week or two of our inactivity is crucial.

Therefore, here’s what I do (to some extent) and what I also encourage you to look into if you want to have a peaceful vacation time, during which, you can be sure that your business is going just like you’ve never left your desk.

1. Be on it, not in it

Let’s start by setting one thing straight, and that is the fact that vacation is not meant for worrying about how things are going with the thing we call our business. We really deserve better than this.

Actually, in my opinion, if we can’t be comfortable about not working for a while then it’s probably a good moment to re-evaluate our life goals and such. I know that for many people their businesses mean everything, but missing out on important parts of life because of work isn’t healthy at all.

So the main guideline is just like the heading suggests – be on top of things, and don’t worry about every single detail that’s going on while you are absent.

It really is okay to let some things slide…

2. Have access to the most important tools

Even though you won’t be actually using any of these tools in 99% of the cases, it’s still good to have access in case anything happens that really really requires your input.

The tools I’m talking about here are the ones that are the core of your business. Maybe it’s the admin account on your WordPress site, maybe it’s your AdWords account, your Teambox or Basecamp, etc.

I don’t want to tell you that tool A is more important than tool B specifically, and that’s because the situation’s different for every entrepreneur out there. So, it’s up to you to compile your own list of such tools.

When you have them, gather your usernames and passwords for those tools and put them in either KeePass or LastPass (whichever fits you best). They will keep your passwords secured and give you access to them whenever you wish through one “master password.”

3. Have access to your data


Data is by far the most important asset of an existing online business. In fact, whatever we do on our computers is some form of operation on data. Maintaining access to our data while on vacation is therefore crucial. (Again, not to actually be able to continue working, but as a “just in case” thing.)

Now, the problem here is that you won’t have your data “with you” if it’s sitting only on your local computer in your home office. The only possible answer is cloud-based backup or data synchronization services.

Long story short, when it comes to syncing, I recommend SugarSync. It will take care of your files and directories, store them securely in the cloud and synchronize them across all your devices and computers.

Also, there are various mobile apps available for SugarSync so you’ll be able to have a look into your hard drive from anywhere.

The simplest 5GB plan is available for free.

4. Have access to your email

Yeah, I know, it does sound basic, but hear me out. What I mean is placing your email in the cloud too (just like your data) instead of tying it with just one computer.

If you’ve been using Gmail since forever then you can simply skip this point because you have this taken care of. If not, then I highly encourage you to start using it.

For me, the best thing about Gmail is that you don’t have to settle for a stupid email address. You can just take your existing email that’s hooked up to your custom domain and link it with Gmail.

Once you do that, Gmail will take over the management of your account and display your emails inside a clear Gmail interface. Personally speaking, the day when I switched to Gmail was the day I enabled myself to be on top of things no matter where I am.

5. Powerful devices

The only sad (or maybe not even sad) fact about all of the above is that you can’t enjoy any of this if you don’t have access to a powerful device, i.e. if you don’t have such a device with you on vacation.

These days this is pretty much taken care of by any smartphone or tablet you can put your hands on. And for some tasks, there are way better mobile apps available than their desktop alternatives.

I guess the only reason I’m mentioning this here is just to ensure you that you don’t need a fully functioning computer (like a laptop) to take care of your business when you’re abroad. So just relax, grab your phone and you’re going to be okay.

6. Working with a virtual assistant

Finally, there’s one more thing that can be helpful and make your vacation more enjoyable, but is not mandatory, so no sweat.

If you’re working with a virtual assistant then put them in charge of the standard stuff that goes on in your business when you are absent. And most important of all, make them the gatekeeper against everything that tries to reach you.

In other words, if someone sends you an email, it should go to your VA. And if the thing is important enough to bother you, it is only then that it should be sent to you personally.

Also, giving your VA some decision power is a great way to test how well they can manage to handle those tasks without you. Then, in the future, you can decide to delegate these tasks to them altogether.

Vacation time!

Okay, I guess that’s it. Points 1-5 is what I’ve been doing for a while now and I’ve never had to face any problems that were beyond anything I could handle. Of course, in the end, some things didn’t get done, but it was only because of my conscious decision not to bother with them and just go to the beach instead.

Online Entrepreneur on Vacation? What to Do to Keep Your Finger on the Pulse |

[Last update: 2013/08/12]

I can see two possible reasons why you’re here on this page. You are either a regular reader, in which case, thanks! You rock! Or you’re having a nasty case of writer’s block right now and this is the solution you’ve found on Google. Either way, I’m here to help.

I personally love templates. I’ve always been a fan of finding some structured solutions for common problems or challenges that appear frequently in our lives.


For example, why would you try to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, with every headline you write, when you can just use a tested template, something that others have been using for years.

Of course, some of you might think that nothing innovative has ever been conceived on top of a standard template, but is that really the case?

When we really think about it, everything we do is based on some kind of template. All websites are built following basically the same structure (they have sidebars and content blocks). All articles have an introduction, the main part, and a conclusion. All good sales messages follow the AIDA principle. There are thousands of examples out there just like these.

So maybe headline templates can work after all?

…yes, they can. Or another way to put it; templates are the new black.

That’s exactly why I’ve decided to publish the following list of headline templates. I truly believe they will make your writing easier and way quicker, especially in tough times when you’re forced to fight writer’s block.

Also, the set is not accidental. I’ve actually been using these templates for many of my own articles.

Without further delay, here’s the list of fill-in-the-blank headline templates. You can use them to get out of writer’s block and get a new and unique idea for a blog post (well, headline templates are headline templates but writing the post itself is where the creative you comes into play).

(You can copy and paste these headlines straight into WordPress or other text processing software.)


The “worst in the world” -themed

- 1. -

X Steps to Being the Worst ______ on the Planet

E.g. 10 Steps to Being the Worst Guitar Teacher on the Planet

- 2. -

X Habits of Highly NOT Effective ______

E.g. 10 Habits of Highly NOT Effective Guitar Teachers

- 3. -

How to Totally Suck at ______

E.g. How to Totally Suck at Guitar Playing

- 4. -

X Unacceptable ______ing Behaviors

E.g. 10 Unacceptable Parenting Behaviors

- 5. -

Have a ______ Business? Here’s How to Mess Up Your Website in X Simple Steps

E.g. Have a Guitar Teaching Business? Here’s How to Mess Up Your Website in 10 Simple Steps

- 6. -

X Reasons NOT to Launch/Do/Go/… ______

E.g. 10 Reasons NOT to Launch a Website Now


Outrageous headlines (the provocative)

- 7. -

Here’s My Blog/Business/Site, So Buy My Stuff/Read Me Maybe

E.g. Here’s My Business, So Buy My Stuff Maybe

- 8. -

Everything I Know About ______ I Learned Inside a Nightclub

E.g. Everything I Know About Guitar Playing I Learned Inside a Nightclub

- 9. -

X ______ So Great/Ridiculous They’ll Make You Wanna Slap Your Momma!

E.g. 10 Guitars So Ridiculous They’ll Make You Wanna Slap Your Momma!

- 10. -

Double Your ______ in X Days/Weeks or I’ll Pay You $X Cash!

E.g. Double Your Salary in 8 Weeks or I’ll Pay You $500 Cash!

- 11. -

______ Technique That’s Ugly Yet Beautiful

E.g. Guitar Playing Technique That’s Ugly Yet Beautiful

- 12. -

X Idiot-Proof Ways to ______!

E.g. 10 Idiot-Proof Ways to Get Your First Gig!

- 13. -

Good News, Everybody! ______

E.g. Good News, Everybody! I’ve Just Mastered This Making-Money-Through-Blogging Thing

- 14. -

It’s Time to Break Up With Your ______

E.g. It’s Time to Break Up With Your Work Habits

- 15. -

Give Me One Evening and I’ll Give You ______

E.g. Give Me One Evening and I’ll Give You a Better Work-Time Balance


“Secrets Revealed”

- 16. -

X Things I Wish I Knew When I Started ______

E.g. 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Guitar Playing

- 17. -

X Surprisingly Simple Ways to Simplify Your ______

E.g. 10 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Simplify Your Lifestyle

- 18. -

A Shocking Thing X% of Guys/Chicks/Marketers/Bloggers Do ______

E.g. A Shocking Thing 60% of Guys Do in Bed

- 19. -

What ______/[someone] Don’t Tell You

E.g. What Your Real Estate Agents Don’t Tell You

- 20. -

The X Little-Known Secrets to ______

E.g. The 10 Little-Known Secrets to Becoming a Better Guitarist

- 21. -

______ Tricks, so Powerful They Can Change Your Life!

E.g. Guitar Playing Tricks, so Powerful They Can Change Your Life!

- 22. -

X Things Your ______ Needs That You’ve Never Thought Of

E.g. 10 Things Your Home Needs That You’ve Never Thought Of

- 23. -

X Most Overused ______ in ______

E.g. 10 Most Overused Methods in Marketing

- 24. -

X Crucial Components for Effective ______

E.g. 10 Crucial Components for Effective Job Hunting

- 25. -

The 10 ______ Commandments

E.g. The 10 Guitar Playing Commandments

- 26. -

The Still-Not-Forgotten Art of ______

E.g. The Still-Not-Forgotten Art of Complaining About Your Job

- 27. -

To People Who Want to ______ – but Can’t Get Started

E.g. To People Who Want to Learn Guitar Playing – but Can’t Get Started


Arousing curiosity and desire

- 28. -

Who Else Wants a ______?

E.g. Who Else Wants a Cheaper Mortgage?

- 29. -

30 Days to a ______!

E.g. 30 Days to a Fitter Body!

- 30. -

The X Best ______ Tips Ever

E.g. The 10 Best Guitar Playing Tips Ever

- 31. -

Strike the Perfect Work and Relaxation Balance as a [profession]

E.g. Strike the Perfect Work and Relaxation Balance as a Personal Trainer

- 32. -

If You Had Just $100 to ______ … What Should You Do?

E.g. If You Had Just $100 to Start a Business … What Should You Do?

- 33. -

Are You Tired of ______?

E.g. Are You Tired of Other Guitarists Stealing Your Picks?

- 34. -

Suppose This Happened to Your ______…

E.g. Suppose This Happened to Your Dog…


Useful how-to guides

- 35. -

How to Get Through Your First Day Of/as ______

E.g. How to Get Through Your First Day as a Father

- 36. -

How to Diversify Your ______ as a ______

E.g. How to Diversify Your Income as a Personal Trainer

- 37. -

A Beginner’s Guide to ______

E.g. A Beginner’s Guide to Guitar Playing

- 38. -

Your First Week as ______? Here’s What to Do

E.g. Your First Week as Personal Trainer? Here’s What to Do

- 39. -

Popular ______ and Their BETTER Alternatives

E.g. Popular Guitar Tools and Their BETTER Alternatives

- 40. -

If You Could Do Just One Thing to Promote Your ______ Services; What Would It Be?

E.g. If You Could Do Just One Thing to Promote Your SEO Services; What Would It Be?

- 41. -

How to Recruit ______

E.g. How to Recruit the Perfect Personal Assistant

- 42. -

X Ways an Excel Spreadsheet Can Help Your ______

E.g. 10 Ways an Excel Spreadsheet Can Help Your Blogging Business

42 Fill-in-the-Blank Blog Post Headline Templates |

email-marketing-statsEmail marketing is a fairly well-known promotion practice in the modern world. Where by the modern world, I actually mean the online world. In fact, many people tend to see it as the holy grail of any form of online promotion. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “the money is in the list” once or twice…

But setting all the hype aside, what actual promotional power is still left in email marketing in 2013? Well, since I couldn’t answer this question myself without doing a massive amount of guessing work, I’ve decided to do some research and find the latest stats published on the topic (email marketing stats 2013; sources at the bottom of the post). This post gathers the things I came across.

People are still pretty protective

This is the first quite interesting fact on the list. Even though people prefer email promotion over other online channels, they are still quite click-happy with the “spam” button in their email software (like Gmail).

To be exact, ExactTarget says this:

A staggering 77% of consumers told us that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.

While various other email marketing stats point out the following reasons for clicking the “spam” button:

  • 43% of email recipients mark as spam based on the email “from” name or email address,
  • 69% of email recipients mark as spam based solely on the subject line, and
  • 21% of email recipients mark as spam, even if they know it isn’t.

The conclusion here is that for some people, marking as spam is easier than unsubscribing from a newsletter or taking any other action.

Moreover, a sizable 30% of subscribers change email addresses annually, while 17% of Americans do it every 6 months. Well, if you ask me, it’s hard to point out any other reason for changing email addresses than the desire to start over with a blank inbox. In other words, it mostly happens because of spam.

People buy because of email


Despite the protective behaviors, it turns out that email marketing still produces great results for people and brands that use it actively. For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.

A study shows that 82% of consumers open emails from companies. And to be clear about it, these customers know that the email actually comes from a company; they are not tricked in any way.

And this is not only about open rates. It’s estimated that 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. Even if the purchase wasn’t immediate, it was possible to trace it back to an email message.

What’s even better in this whole picture is that people who buy products marketed through email tend to spend 138% more than people who do not receive email offers.

This effectiveness of email is still more or less unknown. I mean, there are some theories, but it’s mostly guessing game. For instance, one of the possible reasons pointed out by ExactTarget is:

Email is thriving thanks in large part to the channel’s familiarity, flexibility, and universality.

Now, since we know that email does work, let’s get to the good stuff, which is how to compose an email that wins:

Subject line is be all end all of email marketing

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but subject lines still rule email, so to speak. In other words, if you want your campaign to be successful, you absolutely must spend a sizable amount of time on crafting the subject line alone.

But this is something we’ve known for a long time. However, the scope of the subject line’s importance in 2013 is … impressive, to say the least. The email marketing stats don’t leave much room for speculation:

Different sources indicate that anything from 33% to even 64% of people open email based on the subject line alone. Without taking into account things like the sender, the presence of attachments, or anything else.

So how to craft the perfect subject line? Two methods tend to sprout up among the others: (1) focusing on personalizing the subject line, and (2) making the subject line ultra short.

For instance, personalized subject lines are reported to be 22.2% more likely opened than standard ones.

As for short subject lines, the stats show us that subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58% (which is great, by the way; the standard across industries is 15% to 24%).

There’s no data on combining the two approaches together though – making the subject line both short and personalized.

Mobile in unknown


Well, when I say unknown, the actual fact is that a great number of people use mobile devices to access their email and they absolutely love this way of dealing with it.


It turns out that 39% of marketers have no strategy for mobile email other than just sending out a standard newsletter to everybody.

I personally believe that making email mobile friendly is where the next big leap in email marketing will take place.

What about social-media-friendly email?

Social media has been with us for a while, but it’s only recently that various marketers decided to integrate some social capabilities into their newsletters.

This seems to be bringing great effects as emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate.

Although the numbers are impressive, they might be a result of an early-on craze. This means that after a while, things will likely ease out. Anyway, capitalizing on this trend now when it’s still hot, is a great idea.

Sticking to the topic of social media vs. email, it’s reported that:

Consumers’ preference for email as a personal communications channel has dropped 21% since 2008 while their preference for text messaging and social media have grown 20% and 10%, respectively.

From my point of view, this is only the email marketing stats catching up on the real world. It’s been apparent for more than 2-3 years now that people love social media for all quick human-to-human interactions.

Be careful though

Although all of the stats are cool and they can be a great source of information, it’s actually easy to misread things. For instance, one of the common problems is that what people say they would do is not always the same as the thing they will actually do.

For instance, the already quoted research by ExactTarget stated that:

A staggering 77% of consumers told us that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email.

But this doesn’t mean that people will actually prefer email…

If you want to check this principle by yourself then just prepare a fake pitch for a nonexistent product and try it out on your friends. Ask them something like “would you buy something that would do X for you?” And when they say yes, which some of them will, immediately follow up with “hey, it just so happens that I have it in the trunk of my car, would you want me to get you one now?” then see what happens… You’ll most likely hear a sea of excuses. Anyway, I digress.

What I wanted to say is, again, that stats are stats, and they are never an oracle of the things you should do with your marketing.

Sources: link, link, link.

Is Email Marketing Just a Bunch of Hype? Email Marketing Stats 2013 Reveal the Truth |

Here’s an interesting comic strip:

Where Are All The People

So the question is: Are you in the same situation as Richard? Waiting for an audience that isn’t there? Or providing a product that’s simply not attractive to an existing audience?

3 seconds to answer

This is actually a trick question because even if that is the situation you’re in, you’re almost certainly not aware of it.

Unfortunately, only time can tell if that’s the case or not. And I regret to admit that I’m speaking from experience here. I have a track record of releasing things that were nowhere near what the market needed. There was either no market at all or the market that was there wasn’t interested in the products. (This goes back to my web design business -related career.)

The cause of “boiled potatoes” -like failure

(“Boiled potatoes” -like failure … That’s a thing now, by the way.)

In my case, the cause of failures was the initial excitement about the projects. In other words, be very cautious of any situation where you start thinking something along the lines of:

“Wow this thing has to work, I mean, it’s the most brilliant thing ever!”


“Why isn’t anyone doing this?! If I get started now, I can take over the whole market!”

…or any other similar excitement-driven thoughts just like these.

Although excitement around anything you’re planning to do is a helpful success factor, oftentimes, it can blind our ability to have an objective opinion. Also, it can exaggerate our expectations and even make an average idea look like a winning lottery ticket.

So, here’s what you can do to avoid the aforementioned “boiled potatoes” -like failure. The following list is a result of some of my soul-searching, research, and current practices. Even though the sub-headlines might look fairly general, I urge you to bear with me and read on as some of the info inside might surprise you.

The power of research

Nothing, I repeat nothing is a more powerful tool/principle when building your online business than the habit of researching before anything else.

When you look at it, the whole thing is actually really simple. Here’s a cheat sheet:

So you have a brilliant new idea? Research if there’s any audience that could be potentially interested in it.

So you think you have a solution to a common problem? Research if there’s anyone who has already solved it.

So you think you know how to write articles with an interesting spin? Research if the crowd is right for this kind of content (something described by Greg in his post on freelance marketing).

So there’s no one doing what you are planning to start doing? Research if there was anyone doing it in the past, and if so, research why they stopped.

So you think you can do a given task better than someone? Research if there’s any actual need for doing the thing better.

Etc. Etc.

In a nutshell, don’t ever base your product/business decisions on your own impression or belief. Research is the tool that will answer every question with raw data.

Stealing ideas and executing them better


I’m one of the few men who believe in stealing ideas and even openly admitting it. And no, this isn’t a clever intro that I’m just about to flip into a pretty standard advice. I really mean it. Steal ideas. Execute them better.

The reason why I don’t feel bad about my attitude is because the ideas themselves don’t matter. It really is the execution that turns an average project into a success.

And we don’t have to look far for examples. The most popular operating system out there – Windows – has been designed with an idea-stealing principle. Almost everything you see in Windows has been initially dreamed by another company/individual. What Microsoft did is took that thing and made it better.

And better is the real keyword here. Simply stealing an idea and executing it in the same manner, or even making it poorer will get you nowhere.

Stealing ideas that already proved to be good (ones that aroused some interest and so on) makes your research much easier. You can look into the current audience, find out what they really need, what they struggle with, and then design your improved solution.

Getting expert advice

Although an idea might seem great after the initial research, it can still turn to be very difficult to execute due to some technological limitations or budget-related ones.

If you just want to start your online business with a good yet cheap to develop product, you really have to get some expert advice on it.

Now, since you’ve done your research at this point, listing some experts by name shouldn’t be a problem. What you should do now is contact them and ask for advice.

Some common worries:

  • Why would anyone pay attention to me? Well, most people, even the brightest and most noble ones, still like to be referred to as experts in a given field. Most of the time you will get an answer if you ask a question from an apprentice-to-expert standpoint.
  • What if they steal my idea? No one will even think about stealing your idea, really. And even if they do, remember that it’s the execution that matters, so they won’t be able to do anything with it anyway.

Sniffing around

This step is about reaching out to influencers and your prospective high-volume users.

In short, what you have to do is some more researching and coming up with a set of contacts that are likely to enjoy the thing you’ll possibly be developing and then ask them some questions.

Mainly, ask them if they’d be interested in a tool/service/______ that would do ______ and help them with _______ for $X/free.

The exact tone of the message is up to you. But, the idea is to get a yes or no and preferably some feedback regarding the possible improvements or the things that those users would really need in relation to your product.

This phase – sniffing around – lets you arrive at the basic structure of your minimum viable product.

Developing a minimum viable product


Basically, a minimum viable product is something that takes care of the main need of your average user. Just one need or problem. At this stage, it’s really not about developing something that will be all things to all people.

Personally speaking, not having a minimum viable product was the cause of my early failures.

Therefore, one important thing I want to emphasize here is the following. The minimum viable product is not about something that does one simple thing just for the heck of it. It’s about something that does one simple thing that is essential to your user base. Finding and solving this thing is where success happens.

Once you have this covered, you can build on top of it and end up with something that’s massively valuable to your audience.

There’s quite a lot of info on minimum viable products and their creation on the web already, but I promise to publish something of my own too. This will be a kind of a case study as I’m in the middle of building such a thing myself. I hope we can all learn during the process.

In the meantime, that’s all for now. Feel free to let me know if you ever found yourself in a “boiled potatoes” -like situation.

So … Where Are All The People At? |

The latest and greatest WordPress, version 3.6, is now live to the world and includes a beautiful new blog-centric theme, bullet-proof autosave and post locking, a revamped revision browser, native support for audio and video embeds, and improved integrations with Spotify, Rdio, and SoundCloud. Here’s a video that shows off some of the features using our cast of professional actors:

We’re calling this release “Oscar” in honor of the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. Here’s a bit more about some of the new features, which you can also find on the about page in your dashboard after you upgrade.

User Features

  • The new Twenty Thirteen theme inspired by modern art puts focus on your content with a colorful, single-column design made for media-rich blogging.
  • Revamped Revisions save every change and the new interface allows you to scroll easily through changes to see line-by-line who changed what and when.
  • Post Locking and Augmented Autosave will especially be a boon to sites where more than a single author is working on a post. Each author now has their own autosave stream, which stores things locally as well as on the server (so much harder to lose something) and there’s an interface for taking over editing of a post, as demonstrated beautifully by our bearded buddies in the video above.
  • Built-in HTML5 media player for native audio and video embeds with no reliance on external services.
  • The Menu Editor is now much easier to understand and use.

Developer features

  • A new audio/video API gives you access to metadata like ID3 tags.
  • You can now choose HTML5 markup for things like comment and search forms, and comment lists.
  • Better filters for how revisions work, so you can store a different amount of history for different post types.
  • Tons more listed on the Codex, and of course you can always browse the over 700 closed tickets.

The Band

This release was led by Mark Jaquith and Aaron Campbell, and included contributions from the following fine folks. Pull up some Oscar Peterson on your music service of choice, or vinyl if you have it, and check out some of their profiles:

Aaron Brazell, Aaron D. Campbell, Aaron Holbrook, Aaron Jorbin, Adam Harley, adamsilverstein, AK Ted, Alex Concha, Alex King, Alex Mills (Viper007Bond), Amaury Balmer, Amy Hendrix (sabreuse), Anatol Broder, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, Andrew Ryno, Andy Skelton, Antonio, apimlott, awellis13, Barry, Beau Lebens, BelloSwan, bilalcoder, Billy (bananastalktome), bobbingwide, Bob Gregor, bradparbs, Brady Vercher, Brandon Kraft, Brian Layman, Brian Zeligson, Bryan Petty, Callum Macdonald, Carl Danley, Caspie, Charleston Software Associates, cheeserolls, Chip Bennett, Chris Olbekson, Christopher Cochran, Christopher Finke, Chris Wallace, Cor van Noorloos, crazycoders, Daniel Bachhuber, Daniel Dvorkin (MZAWeb), Daniel Jalkut (Red Sweater), daniloercoli, Danny de Haan, Dave Ross, David Favor, David Trower, David Williamson, Dion Hulse, dllh, Dominik Schilling (ocean90), dovyp, Drew Jaynes (DrewAPicture), dvarga, Edward Caissie, elfin, Empireoflight, Eric Andrew Lewis, Erick Hitter, Eric Mann, Evan Solomon, faishal, feedmeastraycat, Frank Klein, Franz Josef Kaiser, FStop, Gabriel Koen, Gary Cao, Gary Jones, gcorne, GeertDD, Gennady Kovshenin, George Stephanis, gish, Gregory Karpinsky, hakre, hbanken, hebbet, Helen Hou-Sandi, helgatheviking, hirozed, hurtige, hypertextranch, Ian Dunn, Ipstenu (Mika Epstein), jakub, James Michael DuPont, jbutkus, Jeremy Felt, Jerry Bates (JerrySarcastic), Jesper Johansen (Jayjdk), Joe Hoyle, Joen Asmussen, Joey Kudish, John Blackbourn (johnbillion), John James Jacoby, Jonas Bolinder (jond3r), Jonathan Desrosiers, Jon Bishop, Jon Cave, Jose Castaneda, Joseph Scott, Josh Visick, jrbeilke, jrf, Justin de Vesine, Justin Sainton, kadamwhite, Kailey (trepmal), karmatosed, Kelly Dwan, keoshi, Konstantin Kovshenin, Konstantin Obenland, ktdreyer, Kurt Payne, kwight, Lance Willett, Lee Willis (leewillis77), lessbloat, Mantas Malcius, Maor Chasen, Marcel Brinkkemper, MarcusPope, Mark-k, Mark Jaquith, Mark McWilliams, Marko Heijnen, Matt Banks, Matthew Boynes, MatthewRuddy, Matt Wiebe, Max Cutler, Mel Choyce, mgibbs189, Michael, Michael Adams (mdawaffe), Michael Beckwith, Michael Fields, Mike Hansen, Mike Schroder, Milan Dinic, mitcho (Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine), Mohammad Jangda, najamelan, Naoko Takano, Nashwan Doaqan, Niall Kennedy, Nick Daugherty, Nick Halsey, ninnypants, norcross, ParadisePorridge, Paul, Paul Clark, pavelevap, Pete Mall, Peter Westwood, Phill Brown, Pippin Williamson, Pollett, Prasath Nadarajah, programmin, rachelbaker, Rami Yushuvaev, redpixelstudios, reidburke, retlehs, Reuben Gunday, rlerdorf, Rodrigo Primo, roulandf, rovo89, Ryan Duff, Ryan Hellyer, Ryan McCue, Safirul Alredha, sara cannon, scholesmafia, Scott Kingsley Clark, Scott Reilly, Scott Taylor, scribu, Seisuke Kuraishi (tenpura), Sergej, Sergey Biryukov, Simon Hampel, Simon Wheatley, Siobhan, sirzooro, slene, solarissmoke, SriniG, Stephen Harris, storkontheroof, Sunny Ratilal, sweetie089, Tar, Taylor Lovett, Thomas van der Beek, Tim Carr, tjsingleton, TobiasBg, toscho, Tracy Rotton, TravisHoffman, uuf6429, Vitor Carvalho, wojtek, wpewill, WraithKenny, wycks, Xavier Borderie, Yoav Farhi, Zachary Brown, Zack Tollman, zekeweeks, ziegenberg, and viniciusmassuchetto.

Time to upgrade!

Productivity is the Achilles heel for many online entrepreneurs, and especially if you’ve worked a standard 9-5 job before going on your business journey.

To be honest, productivity was a tough thing for me too. In short, I wasn’t always a productive being, to say the least. Just a couple of years ago (or so), I had my lowest-performance period. I was lucky to have done 2 hours of work a day, and the work I was able to accomplish didn’t get me anywhere anyway. Not cool.


Anyway, I got better, thanks. But this is not due to any magic-bullet solution or a wonder product I bought. No, nothing fancy about my story. I just changed my mindset, learned a few things, and devoted myself to staying productive by using various techniques and setting new habits in my workday.

Although I’m still no guru on productivity, I think I can show you a couple of my tricks and explain how and why they work. I do believe that everyone can learn how to be productive, regardless of how incapable they might feel at times.

The hub

Long story short, today marks the launch of my new hub page on how to get and stay productive.

The hub takes you through the whole process by linking to other posts on this blog and on other blogs where I had the privilege to guest post.

I wanted to make this hub ultra-friendly and easy to grasp by using various images and visual representations, so I hope you’ll have great experience with it (feedback more than welcome).

What’s your story?

Yeah…what’s your story? I mean, how would you describe your productivity? Do you feel productive during your everyday work?

Revealed: Why Being Productive is Only as Difficult as You Make It – New Hub Page Launches |

The second release candidate for WordPress 3.6 is now available for download and testing.

We’re down to only a few remaining issues, and the final release should be available in a matter of days. In RC2, we’ve tightened up some aspects of revisions, autosave, and the media player, and fixed some bugs that were spotted in RC1. Please test this release candidate as much as you can, so we can deliver a smooth final release!

Think you’ve found a bug? Please post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums.

Developers, please continue to test your plugins and themes, so that if there is a compatibility issue, we can figure it out before the final release. You can find our list of known issues here.

To test WordPress 3.6, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

Revisions so smooth
We autosave your changes
Data loss begone!

I actually like learning from all the top online salesman gurus out there. And I don’t mean buying their crappy educational products that only educate you on damage control when you’re forced to fight for your refund. No, I like to learn by looking at what they’re really doing, not what they say they’re doing.

So today let’s focus on some of the cool Jedi mind tricks used in sales copy, sales videos, ads and so on.


Disclaimer. This post has been written for entertainment purposes only. I don’t advise using any of the techniques mentioned here. Actually, you’re a thinking human being so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth it or not.

Constant repetition

This is the first thing that always raised my eyebrow when examining some selling materials in the guru space. I’ve noticed that in every 300 words or so, or every 2-3 minutes of a sales video, the person repeats the benefits of their product, or even repeats the core sales call to action (“call us,” “click the button,” or so on).

Then I stumbled upon this text on the repetition principle. As it turns out, if you say something often enough, after a while, the visitor will not only be familiarized with the message, but will also treat it as being true.

In other words, the best way of making people believe your product’s benefits is to mention them whenever you have the chance…over and over again.

Swear a little

Swearing makes every message more personal, more emotion-driven, and more interesting in general. Damn straight, right?!

This all has to do with the fact that we don’t consider swearing as part of the traditional marketing/business talk. So whenever someone uses a little profanity, our guard goes down a bit because their message sounds less business-y. And therefore, we are more prone to the actual marketing contents that are still in it.

Swearing makes people seem more real and more natural. And being regarded as someone natural (and therefore truthful) is among the main goals of every salesperson.

Drive a car

This is a real, genuine mind trick.

It’s used in all kinds of sales videos. The idea is that the person speaking is driving a car while recording the video. Some of the reasons why this works involve the fact that the video seems more natural (like it’s being shot as a “by the way” thing), and the fact that it’s easier for the person talking to stay natural because they still have to focus on driving the car itself, so it does take some camera-stress away.

But the absolute main reason why this works is a subconscious message of going from point A to B, and arriving at a destination (the videos always end when the person talking reaches the place where they were driving to).

To break it down, here’s what happens. You see the person driving (moving from A to B) and talking about a product/solution at the same time. The product too promises some kind of destination. At the end, the fact that the person talking reaches their destination creates a good impression about the product’s credibility itself, by association.

I saw this explanation somewhere a while ago. I’m sorry but I can’t find the original source. This is not my own original interpretation.

The beach

This is a pretty simple trick but people still continue to use it. It’s most popular for all kinds of biz-op or internet money products.

The idea is that the person talking is at the beach while recording the video. They don’t have to mention the beach in any way, the sole fact of them being there has its effects.

The message is simple: “Hey, this is my lifestyle. Buy my crap and you’ll join me.”

Exact sums of money

I’m sure you’ve seen this hundreds of times…

“Here’s how I made $142,300.56 in a month with [technique x]“

“Here’s how you can make $53,987.34 in just a week with this simple [product x]“

…and myriads other promises just like the above.

I mean, come on! Quoting an exact sum of money is just so 2006. Nevertheless, I guess it still works since people are doing it.

Presenting fake flaws

Every product has its pros and cons. Good products have a lot more of the former than they have of the latter, though. But in the end, there is quite a bit of both.

And we don’t have to look far for examples. Everything Apple does have a number of flaws. Real flaws that are quite frustrating during everyday use.

Yet…some online marketers tend to take a different approach and list a number of fake flaws that are not actually that serious at all, or are obvious as hell.

The idea is that since people know very well that everything has flaws, a marketing message should point out at least a couple of them or the product doesn’t look real. In other words, it’s shown as too good to be true.

Verbally opting out of the guru camp

What’s the easiest way of not being affiliated with other internet gurus? Just say that “they” are bad but you are just fine and dandy.

Here’s a nice phrase that gurus like to use:

“If you’ve ever been scammed by an internet guru then you know how deceptive those products can be. This is why I will show you exactly why this thing is different … blah blah etc.”

This is all it takes. What this means in plain English is indeed: “they are bad, I am not.”

Talk/write with confidence

Confidence tends to win over facts and other traditional values.

As it turns out, humans prefer cockiness to expertise. In other words, people who can convey their message in a confident and energetic tone win over audiences and get sales.

It’s our lizard brain that’s to blame here. Our most primal subconscious instinct tells us to listen to the most confident specimen in the pack. No matter if it’s at the office, at the church, or during a sales webinar for a crappy online biz product.

Getting people to agree with you

Every professional salesman working in the traditional manner (door to door or direct marketing) will tell you that getting any kind of “yes” means the world in the sales process.

And the best thing about it is that the “yes” doesn’t even have to be directly related to the thing on sale. All expressions beginning with “have you ever” follow this exact principle – to get people to agree with you early on so you can sell to them afterwards.


This closes my list but I’m sure there are way more examples just like the above that I failed to notice. Feel free to let me know in the comments or even shoot me an email.

And finally, let me disclose this again that I’m not encouraging anyone to use these techniques in their sales materials. I’m just reporting on what’s out there. It’s up to you to decide what to do with it.

How Gurus Use Mind Tricks to Sell Their Crap |


Okay, I don’t intend to pretend that I’m some kind of a blogging guru who’s just gracefully provided the only proper blog post blueprint along with his fail-proof advice on how to write a blog post. Not at all.

This blueprint is just one of the possible approaches for writing blog posts, but it is my favorite one. The reason why I’m sharing it is because I believe it can be helpful to other bloggers too; especially when faced with a writer’s block of any kind.

The one thing the blueprint is not going to help you with, though, is finding a specific idea for your post, this is still on you, sorry. Anyway, without further delay, here’s the blueprint. It’s available in 5 main formats:

mm an infographic,
doc DOC,
odt ODT,
mm MM (FreeMind mind map file),
html WordPress HTML (you can copy it straight into a new post on your blog and take it from there; Text editor, not Visual).


Here’s the screenshot of what the whole thing looks like as an infographic:

Blog Post Blueprint

How to use it

Of course, this is up to you, but here are my three favorite ways of using the blueprint:

  • printing out the infographic version and keeping it somewhere next to you for a quick glance when working on a new blog post, or
  • grabbing the WordPress HTML version and importing it into the New Post screen when working on a new blog post, or
  • getting the mind map version, planning a new post there, and then writing it inside WordPress.

When it comes to the writing process itself, start by finding the main idea for the post and take care of the remaining core details:


Keep the guidelines in mind when coming up with those. They will help you to craft a nice reader-friendly post in the end.


Next, it’s time to brainstorm over a headline and create a rough outline of the post:


When you have this taken care of, it’s time to settle on the introduction for your post. I put that much emphasis on introductions because apart from the headline, the first few paragraphs of the post are crucial for its success, so they should always be your primary focus when learning how to write a blog post.

The tested introductions I encourage you to use are based on the following frameworks:


Next, it’s your writing time. Keep the aforementioned guidelines in mind when going through the writing process.


When you’re done writing, have a look at the set of finishing touch questions. There are no “correct” answers to those questions, but the sole habit of even asking them and then making “some” changes to your post afterwards will make your work noticeably better.

The last step is about preparing your post for publication. First up – optimization:


This is where you should include some links to your other articles, as well as to other sites on the web. Finally, wherever it makes sense, try to use your main keyword in various places inside the post (in subheadings, ALT tags for images, the text itself, etc.).


Next step – editing. In other words, making your post properly laid out, with good flow and clear transitions between paragraphs. It’s also a good moment to add some images to the post, “youify” it (use the word “you” more), and substitute every “he” or “she” with “they.” This is a trick I use to not make any assumptions about the reader’s gender where it’s not necessary.


Lastly, proofread. Check your spelling and make sure that you don’t have any silly errors like the wrong use of their/they’re/there. Basically, this is where you make the post readable.

Okay, that’s pretty much it for my advice on how to write a blog post. I hope this blueprint will come handy to you next time you sit in front of a blank screen with your creative hat on and some post writing intent.

By the way, feel free to share this template with your blogging friends or anyone who could benefit from it (this is all under the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license). Every tweet counts! :)

If you like the stuff, just enter your name and email below to sign up to my newsletter,
where you’ll get more resources just like this one.

How to Write a Blog Post – From Start to Finish, as Shown on This Cut-Out-’N-Keep Blog Post Blueprint |

The first release candidate for WordPress 3.6 is now available.

We hope to ship WordPress 3.6 in a couple weeks. But to do that, we really need your help! If you haven’t tested 3.6 yet, there’s no time like the present. (But please: not on a live production site, unless you’re feeling especially adventurous.)

Think you’ve found a bug? Please post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If any known issues come up, you’ll be able to find them here. Developers, please test your plugins and themes, so that if there is a compatibility issue, we can sort it out before the final release.

To test WordPress 3.6, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

As you may have heard, we backed the Post Format UI feature out of the release. On the other hand, our slick new revisions browser had some extra time to develop. You should see it with 200+ revisions loaded — scrubbing back and forth at lightning speed is a thing of beauty.

Delayed, but still loved
The release will be out soon
Test it, por favor