13-featured

Confidence When Starting an Online Business

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Getting started in the online was a bit tough for me.

It was 2009 or so, and all of my friends already had nice jobs and paychecks, while I was still sitting in my mom’s apartment, trying to figure things out on my own and find my place among my online mentors.

I carefully analyzed every piece of online business advice I could find and dived into almost every “next big thing” tactic that the gurus were trying to sell.

My results? Few and far between. I was making next to nothing, and if it hadn’t been for my mom who was very understanding, well, life would have been difficult for me.

Obviously and not surprisingly, I wasn’t confident at all about what I was doing.

I started thinking that maybe I don’t have what it takes, that maybe I should abandon the web, put together a CV and send it out to a couple of places, so maybe I could catch up to my friends and secure myself a nice shiny job too.

But for some reason I decided to keep going.

I probably had some internal resistance telling me that “a job” wasn’t the right path for me or something.

Along the way, I stumbled upon Sylvester Stallone’s story. It taught me two things: (1) my situation was, in fact, nowhere near tough yet, and (2)  failure is just a step towards success .

I can’t explain why this particular story resonated so well with me, but it helped me regain my confidence and stop worrying about all the small and big failures I was experiencing. I knew that if I dedicated myself to doing something for long enough, eventually it would pay off.

And it has.

However. Looking back, I can honestly say that I spent way too much time running on willpower alone instead of having the right tools and mindset in place. And although it has worked for me, this can’t be the optimal way of finding your confidence.

Relying on luck is never a good strategy, and you can easily run out of your willpower much sooner than you’ll find any success.

Therefore, what’s a better solution? And is there a road-map to confidence when running an online business?

I believe there is, and that we don’t have to be wandering in the dark endlessly until successful.

So this brings me to the actual topic of this whole blog – finding confidence when running an online business.

I’m aware that I can’t give you a road-map to confidence all on my own. It’s way beyond me. After all, I’m just one guy, and no matter what I say, it will still be just one guy’s perspective.

That’s why I reached out to 13 generous experts from various niches and asked them specific questions on the topic.

Before we start, let me just be honest for a minute and say that I’ve gained an incredible amount of insights on entrepreneurship and finding confidence when going through these answers and preparing them for publication. I am very happy to be able to deliver this resource to you, and I’m also more than certain that you will get just as much value out of it as I did!

Let’s welcome the experts:

Cliff Ravenscraft Cliff Ravenscraft
Bogdan Condurache Bogdan Condurache
Ruben Gamez Ruben Gamez
Demian Farnworth Demian Farnworth
Adam Connell Adam Connell
Mike McDerment Mike McDerment
 
Bamidele Onibalusi Bamidele Onibalusi
 
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The road to becoming a confident online entrepreneur

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SHARES

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Step #1: Finding the right mentors

Some people say that getting business advice from our friends or family isn’t the best of ideas (unless they are entrepreneurs). However, when we’re just starting out building our “thing,” it is rather difficult to find knowledgeable people who would invest some trust in us and share valuable information (on top of the cliche “create quality content”).
How to find people worth paying attention to? People who can give us this much needed confidence boost, who will get us going and motivate us to take action. And what’s probably even more important, how to get them to pay attention to us? Can they really have that much impact on our confidence and therefore our businesses?
Jaime
Jaime Tardy
Finding a mentor has been HUGE in my life.

I was constantly on the lookout for people that were where I wanted to be.

I would do whatever I could to reach out, talk to, seem eager and know how much I valued and appreciated them.

One of the biggest problems mentors have (as told to me by many millionaires!) is that they give advice, but then the person listening doesn’t DO the advice.

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One of the best ways to get them to pay attention to you is to DO what they say!

And then tell them you did it, and how much of an impact it made.

And yes – they can have a HUGE impact on confidence. My first mentor made me cold call 50 people a day. He was like – you’ll get used to it! And I would never have pushed myself that much because it seemed too scary. He changed my life!

john wide
Bamidele Onibalusi
Bamidele Onibalusi

I think the best way to start is by quoting the bible verse that says “By their fruits you will know them.”

I believe this is critical, because I recently ventured into fish farming here in Nigeria and quickly realized that success in the business mainly has to do with who you learn from; various people have various “secrets” to success, and the failure rate is generally high, but why I really followed my teacher was because of the results he is getting; he has the biggest fishes and makes the highest profit of everybody else I know (sometimes his profit is up to 150% in 6 months).

Follow your mentors based on the results they are getting
However, most of the others who are very opinionated about “what works” and what doesn’t are barely getting results; they have really small fishes, profit margin is low if there is any, etc.

Determining who is worth paying attention to is simple; look for someone getting the kind of results you are getting, and follow the person until you are getting your desired results.

Once you’ve determined the leaders you want to follow, the most effective way to get them to pay attention to you is to …

reveal your PASSION to them

If you are really passionate to succeed, you will give it everything it takes and you won’t care how difficult or ineffective it seems. Leaders see that, and they are ready to support those who have that kind of passion; look for tips they share freely online, passionately utilize these tips to get results, and showcase your results to them, letting them know it is thanks to them, and tell them you will like to learn from them in a closer way. This can be very effective!

Getting advice and support from the right people can impact your confidence as well as ability to succeed; sometimes, it is often the no. 1 most important factor.

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Step #2: Making your vision clear

The way I see it, problems with confidence are often connected to our lack of clear vision as for what we want to achieve (and how we want to achieve it). In other words, because we don’t have the right goals set, it’s not clear to us what to do next. This prevents us from getting stuff done and building our confidence along the way.
How to go about setting the right goals? How can someone get over the initial vague idea of “think about what you really want to achieve and make it your goal?” How to be specific and create goals that motivate rather than discourage?
risley
David Risley
The best way to get those goals is to break it down like a hierarchy.

Start out with with the big, grandiose goal that you have.

Then, beneath that, break it down into sub-goals or purposes.

Then you define plans to achieve those purposes.

And the plans are broken down into programs, projects, etc.

When you do it this way, then you can step back and see that the little tasks you’re doing are in alignment with the larger plans, and hence your purpose, and your goals. This allows you to get specific for what you’re shooting for (very important), but also know that everything has a direction to it.
natalie
Natalie Sisson
Note. In her answer, Natalie refers to the concept of “Painted Picture,” which was originally introduced in a book titled Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less, by Cameron Herold. Natalie teaches us why creating our own Painted Picture will help us get our vision cleared and our goals nicely defined.
Enter Natalie:
A Painted Picture is a clear vision of where you want your business to be, three years from now.

He [Cameron Herold] suggests you get out of your office or normal working domain (which for me is never normal) to actually write it.

It’s a really interesting exercise to go through each section of your business (and your life), writing out your vision in the present tense.

It’s powerful too. It’s as if you’re already there and you can visualise what the future looks like…which is the whole point.

It got me all jazzed up reading about what I wanted my business to become. Even though I’m not there yet, seeing it written down on paper, just gets me excited.

It took me about two hours in total and it was challenging, and also fun. I mean you get to let all your inhibitions go and dream up a grandiose vision for what you really want your business and life to look and feel like.

Natalie also shares:

When we ONLY focus on our vision for our business and our life, then it makes it much easier to do everything in our power to make that vision a reality.

Each of our goals we set, and the strategies and objectives that support them, suddenly become so much more doable, because we have the big picture staring us in the face.

We have the WHY we’re doing what we’re doing. Then we do everything in our power to stay true to it.

Bogdan-Condurache
Bogdan Condurache
I believe that it was Benjamin Mays who said:

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

This is perfectly true for me and talks about setting any kind of goals for yourself, be it small or high-sky. Of course, setting the goals high-sky will make it very hard to achieve them and will probably discourage you along the way, so I wouldn’t actually recommend that, but from my personal experience the key is to set intermediate goals or step-by-step goals, which are easier to achieve and will motivate you just enough to keep going.

I can actually share a bit of personal experience from my own career path: after graduating college and getting a major in Financial Banking & Insurance, I decided I don’t really like this field of work and wanted to do something in the graphic design business, which was just of a hobby for me at the time. This was something I have never studied seriously, and I didn’t know a whole lot about the industry, but I felt that this is what I really wanted to do and my long-term goal should be to have my own graphic design studio and be successful at it.

So …

I started splitting this long-term goal in smaller pieces

… knowing that this would take a lot of time and effort to get there, but having an achievable goal in front of me would motivate me just enough to keep going.

This got me to my first goal which was learning the trade, that I have achieved mainly by getting an internship job with a graphic design firm and also studying design tutorials and online classes. After a few months, I have learned the basics and “stolen” a few tips & tricks from my colleagues, so it was time to move on, setting a different goal.

Along the 7 or 8 years that had taken me to finally achieve my goal, I have set and achieved a lot of different goals, like: “getting a better paid job,” or “trying to be more creative” and “getting more creative responsibilities” and so on, until the skills, confidence and experience had all build-up enough to start on my own. Also, meeting cool creative people with the same drive as me, has finally helped me bite the bullet and co-found ThemeFuse (and PixelKit later on). Of course, this is a goal that I now consider an intermediate one, as I have moved past and set higher expectations, but still taking them one step at a time.

So, in my opinion setting smaller goals is the right way to achieve a bigger, high-sky goal.


Setting smaller goals is the right way to achieve a bigger, high-sky goal.
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Also, it’s very important that you have passion for what you plan to do, because without it, just setting the right goals will never be enough.

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Step #3: Going for a minimal viable product or not?

Nowadays, it seems like we’re witnessing a major product launch every week, or a success story that’s extremely impressive. As a result, we trick ourselves into thinking that whatever we aim to create has to be huge, has to have a ton of features and offer a ton of benefits. But then we lose our confidence when we find out that building something huge also takes huge time and huge resources.
How to overcome this? Should we go for a minimal viable product instead? Is it really that effective? And can we gain confidence by building a very simple solution for just one pain first, and then expand over time?
Demian

Demian Farnworth:

Much better to build the audience first. That way you can learn what they need and then give it to them. Most people and businesses have it backwards. They build the product first and then try to find the audience. Of course, there are exceptions. Regardless, do your market research.

Adam-Connell
Adam Connell
The problem with creating a product with a huge number of features is that sometimes we can overcomplicate our offering.

I’ve seen too many start-ups that roll out a product where it seems like even the founders aren’t exactly clear on how the product can be of value.

I’m talking about the kind of sales pages where you look and end up thinking “Yeah, but how is this going to help me?”

 
Sure, the copy comes into it but when you’re trying to solve too many pains all in one go, you can end up tripping yourself over.

I believe the best way to start off is to:

Step #1

Identify the biggest pain point …
Step #2

… Solve it first.
You will be clearer on who the product is for and that will reflect in how you position the brand.

The bonus here is that creating the product will take up fewer resources and you will accomplish it quicker.

You will be able to get feedback quicker and get early adopters on board.

This makes things easier for you in a personal way and also financially.

You can then shape the rest of your product roadmap around the bigger picture that you have envisioned for your product (as well as customer feedback).


When you’re trying to solve too many pains all in one go, you can end up tripping yourself over.
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Ruben

Ruben Gamez
I like the idea of starting with a smaller goal as a starting point. With Bidsketch, my original goal was to learn how to make money from a product. I went very niche because of this and planned to apply what I learned to the next product. Once I accomplished my initial goal, I realized that I could continue growing the product, so I simply set a new goal. I’ve done this four or five times now.

For me, this approach of smaller quick wins keeps me focused and motivated.

I think too many people aim for huge goals with unrealistic timelines. You obviously should have a goal that motivates you, but keep in mind that your goals (and approach) will change over time.

Mike McDerment

Mike McDerment

The answer to something like this isn’t binary – it’s about philosophy and approach and context, more than hard and fast rules.

It’s also about psychology – let’s start there.

Whenever you encounter something overwhelming – and there are lots of those things in a start up – you need to take a step back, and focus on what you can control.

… you need to take a step back, and focus on what you can control …
You can’t control what other people are going to do. You can’t control the fact that your competitors are massively outgunned in terms of resources, but there are things you can control – like managing to your next milestone. Stay focused there – however seemingly insignificant that milestone may seem because execution is just about everything when you are a startup.

WRT to philosophy, I think there are a bunch of ways to approach this. Philosophically, I think you want to play to your strengths. So when you are small, chances are any users you have are early adopters – people that found you before anyone and take pride in that. This kind of audience is encouraging and supportive as a rule – it doesn’t take as much to convince them like a mainstream audience.

The consequence: you will be celebrated (and you should celebrate progress), whereas the big guys need you to blow their mind or it’s like, “who cares?” and the difference is entirely about audience maturity and the philosophy and approach you apply to assessing your progress as a result.

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Step #4: Get only the essential education that you need

Every online business owner tries to learn and acquire new skills every day. But at the same time, we often lose our confidence when we realize how much there is to master and how seemingly insignificant we feel.
Do we need to be spending hours every day acquiring knowledge in order to become confident? Or is it actually a trap because we will never feel competent enough? How to tackle this and how to seek the truly essential education we need?
danny iny
Danny Iny
cliff

Cliff Ravenscraft

I think that acquiring knowledge is important and helps us bring additional value to those who follow us. However, I don’t see a direct correlation to how much knowledge you have to the amount of confidence that you have.

Many people suffer from what we like to call “Imposter Syndrome.” The fear that we are not competent enough come from the fear that others know more than we do and that we will be judged for where we are in the journey of our area of expertise.

I believe that everyone can confidently step out into this world, no matter where they are in the journey, and avoid the “Imposter Syndrome” by simply focusing all communication in these four areas.

Area 1
Start with what you have experienced so far in this area of expertise. Tell people “your story.”

In many cases, the more mistakes you’ve made, and and you share with your community, the more relatable and likable you will seem to those who are fellow strugglers on the journey.

Of course, you should also share your successful experiences as well. Don’t worry about those who will be offended by your sharing, telling you that you sound boastful. The fact is that sharing your success stories, and giving the details on how you succeeded, will do much to encourage and inspire others.

Share the challenges that you are facing now. Don’t pretend that now that you have a platform in this niche that you no longer face challenges. By sharing them, again, you are being more relatable to those who follow you. Also, there is a great chance that many, who are further along in the journey, may reach out to help you overcome those challenges.
Area 2
Area 3
Share what you are learning right now and how you plan to implement what you are learning.

Obviously, this means that you are actively learning new things. I make it a point to read books that are devoted to my personal and professional development. I listen to podcasts from experts in business, social media, technology, etc. I’m always learning something new. Being a great student of life makes you a great teacher for your community.

Share what you hope to accomplish moving forward. DREAM BIG DREAMS. Know where you want to go. Have a destination in mind. This is the only way that you will get there.

Also, if you don’t know direction that you are heading, why should anyone follow you?

Area 4
By focusing on sharing those four areas of your life, you can lead with great confidence! If you are always true and honest about those things, you can not be considered an imposter. Just be yourself and know, for sure, that many will criticise you for that.

You don’t need to spend hours a day, every day, gaining more knowledge to become competent and confident enough to deliver a message. You just need to grow some thicker skin and then put that skin in the game.

yaro

Yaro Starak
In my life as an entrepreneur true confidence has only come from achievement.

Tangible outcomes are what drive motivation. Of course learning is necessary – and some of the best education comes from the projects that don’t succeed – so you have to find a balance.

The best advice I can offer is:

Always acquire knowledge that is directly correlated to an outcome you are working towards today.

Only study what you need to know to solve today’s problems, and put into action what you learn immediately.

If you are unsure of what path to take, then the problem you have is a decision making one. You must study what you need to know in order to make the decision of what path to take.

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Step #5: Master the craft of planning

Lack of confidence leads to procrastination, and that sometimes leads to complete inaction. Unfortunately, the enormity of the project at hand – building a business – literally paralyzes many entrepreneurs.
How to master the craft of planning? How to create a good plan that breaks down a large project into doable chunks? Are there any quick hacks we can implement to feel confident about executing our plan one step at a time?
Adam-Connell

Adam Connell
I’m a firm believer that anyone can accomplish anything that they put their mind to, whether you lack self-confidence or not.

The key is passion; we have to believe in the product we create.

When planning out your project you need to break it up into smaller tasks and create a complete road map for your project. They need to be manageable otherwise they may start to become tedious.

It’s important that the plan is as thorough as possible, consider everything from creation to marketing and growth while considering the possibility that you may need to react quick to demand in future if your product takes off.

Consider a time frame but keep things realistic and allow yourself some room to manoeuvre.

Try not to let falling behind schedule phase you, you cannot account for everything and sometimes things don’t go to plan.

But, if you can consider potential road blocks before they happen and account for them you will make things a lot easier for yourself.

Prioritize your tasks but be prepared to re-evaluate these as your project progresses.

Most importantly, try to make things as easy as possible, consider what tools are available to make managing the project as easy as possible and think about how you can make your business as process driven as possible. You will love how much more efficient processes can make your business, you need them in place early on.
… try to make things as easy as possible …
Ruben

Ruben Gamez
I like to keep things simple, so my plans aren’t very detailed. I usually start with a goal and then work backwards from there. From a high level, what do I need to accomplish this goal? I end up with a rough idea of what needs to get done, then spend some time prioritizing.

At that point, I add about two weeks worth of tasks to my active list and only research as the need comes up – not weeks before the project has started, but right as I’m working on those specific things. The only exception might be with risky tasks. For online businesses the biggest risk is building something that people don’t want to pay for. So it’s probably a good idea to make your first task testing your assumption that people want to pay for whatever you’ll be providing.

Anyway, going back to planning, the idea is to move as quickly as possible and stay focused. I do this by creating a high level plan, prioritizing things that matter while delaying ones that don’t (like a business account), testing assumptions, and breaking down my work into four hour tasks (maximum one day tasks).

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Bamidele Onibalusi

Bamidele Onibalusi
I would first advise not to become too obsessed with planning, as that alone can deter you from your main goal of getting things done.

I believe the most effective way to go about this is by breaking down each task into the smallest possible task that will take the smallest amount of time necessary. Once this has been done, you should start working on the most rewarding tasks, that will deliver the quickest results.

Seeing these results will motivate you and give you confidence to proceed with your other tasks.

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Bonus round!

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Defeating confidence problems

What were the main confidence problems you experienced in your career and how did you overcome them?
John Lee Dumas
John Lee Dumas
risley
David Risley
Not having promotions work as well as I had hoped. Hey, it happens. The best way to overcome it is to have something pulling you forward so you don’t stop. For me, its my family.
Jaime
Jaime Tardy
I wasn’t confident in my value at first – and I had a hard time asking for what I wanted. Like when I found my mentor, it took all of my strength to send the first email to him!
Demian
Demian Farnworth
Thinking I could compete with the big boys and girls. You cure that insecurity with hard work, training, education, and experience. Everyone starts at the bottom.
Bogdan-Condurache
Bogdan Condurache
During my career as a graphic designer, I have encountered many times what I would call “feedback fright”. What I mean by this is getting a bit uneasy about showing the client a pitch or a design proposal that I have have been working on. Lack of confidence made me doubt my initial feeling of “wow, this is great stuff” and made me start questioning the whole design style, idea, execution, etc. “What if the client will not like this?” or “What if the idea is too bold or not bold enough?” are questions that fuel the “feedback fright” syndrome and can influence your work in a bad way, because what happens is you start changing the proposal without a real reason, making it worse actually.

I have somewhat overcome this (I still experience it from time to time) by making sure the foundation of my work is sound and that I personally like the outcome – because if you don’t like it yourself, there’s a big chance no-one else will like it either. Also, getting better at your job and accumulating experience will increase your confidence, so even if someone doesn’t like your work and gives a bad feedback, you can fight back with good arguments and ideas that come from experience and gut feeling, challenging the client’s feedback. I know this is very specific stuff, from a specific industry, but maybe you can extrapolate it to a more general business model.

cliff
Cliff Ravenscraft
My greatest confidence issue that I’ve faced in my business was pricing. Especially when I’m offering a new product or service that I’ve never offered before. Questions like, am I good enough, will believe believe I’m worth this price, etc?

I overcame these fears by putting my new products out there with a price that was just beyond my comfort zone and allowing my clients to tell me that I should be charging much more than I charged them. In every product or service I’ve ever offered, I’ve ended up more than doubling the price of what I originally charged. It was putting myself out there and not failing that gave me the confidence to grow in this area.

yaro
Yaro Starak
My main confidence issues originally stemmed from being so different to everyone else around me. All my peers went on from school to university to jobs. I had no desire to get a job, and I knew I wanted to be my own boss, but without any local role models it was difficult to believe I could pay my bills with my own business one day.

I have to admit during the first few years out of university I was very lost and had little confidence. However as I started to get results and slowly generated enough money to live independently I realised what I was doing was so much better than anyone else around me. Eventually I became proud of being an entrepreneur, and people came to me asking how I did it.

I learned an important concept I call the “success ladder,” which is one tool that can give you confidence, step-by-step, as you strive towards full independence as an entrepreneur.

The success ladder is a simple idea – you celebrate each step forward and use it as the building block for the next step. When you apply this principle every day, you see how the small tasks you complete lead to bigger results. It becomes stronger and stronger as more results come your way, until you reach a point where you feel as if your results are inevitable – a very powerful form of inner confidence.

Danny Iny
Danny Iny
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Getting instant confidence

What would be the one thing to do right now to gain some instant confidence in your business?
Demian
Demian Farnworth
Shoot low. Set some easy to achieve goal. Knock it out, and do it again. Those small success will build your confidence.
Jaime
Jaime Tardy
One thing I LOVED to do, was to have all of the kudos, testimonials, etc in one place. When I wasn’t feeling confident I would go back and read those. They were amazing people singing my praises, and while I was hard on myself – it was easy to see how much value those people got out of working together.
Bogdan-Condurache
Bogdan Condurache
The one thing i did was to make sure we built a product that people need and want. If you have something that people want, in our case great looking and perfectly working websites, you build a client base that appreciates your work and buys your stuff. And with this appreciation comes confidence, you start feeling more secure, more sure of your decisions and ultimately more successful. As i said earlier, having great foundations, like passion and skills for what you do, is the key to being confident and having a successful business.
yaro
Yaro Starak
Do something. I learned a long time ago that you must focus on output – on creation, not just consumption. Consuming things, whether education, or entertainment, will not lead to an outcome. Only creating things for the consumption of other people leads to the results you want, so get out there and create something for other people.
risley
David Risley
Generate your first dollar. From there, it gets easier.
Mike McDerment
Mike McDerment
This is a tough one – it really is a question that varies company by company, person by person, day by day. The answers for me have evolved over the years because the measures of progress have. To begin, it was customer validation in the form of feedback. Then it evolved into watching product usage, and eventually in time it was revenue added. But normally what gives me confidence are subjective things. For example, I get fired up when we hire someone awesome and see them getting ramped up on our business. That gives me confidence, because I know a super capable performer is going to be applying themselves to making FreshBooks a great company for other FreshBookers and our customers.
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Being a successful entrepreneur

Is it possible to be a successful entrepreneur without being confident?
John Lee Dumas
John Lee Dumas
Mike McDerment
Mike McDerment
One of the best things I ever read – sadly I can’t remember where – is that every “successful” person has had moments where they have doubted themselves and felt like a failure at the very moment the world is exalting their “success.” I know I’ve had moments where everyone around me thinks “this is a big success” and is patting me on the back, but for me it’s not like that – all I can see is the work ahead and it’s daunting.

So I guess what I take from this is, successful or not, we are all human – we have moments of doubt and fear. I think there is a tendency to believe this is not true of “successful” people. What I’d say to those who aren’t feeling confident is, that those internal demons are a source of motivation. Control them. Channel them. But don’t for a second think you are the only one. You are not the only explorer of the terrain you are on, and as lonely as the path of building a company can be, you have to keep that in mind and just focus on what delivering on the things under your control.

Adam-Connell
Adam Connell
I believe it is.

In some cases I’ve known people to turn their lack of confidence into a positive attribute and go on to do great things purely by striving to do better.

And for others, the confidence comes along when achieving success.

Wow, that was a lot of information to take in all at once! I’ll let you process this in peace, but remember to take action on what you’ve learned here as soon as possible.

Also, are there any confidence issues you’re experiencing right now? What one thing are you planning to do ASAP to solve this issue?

 In the meantime, don’t forget to share this with whoever might consider the information inspiring. 

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13 Successful Entrepreneurs Share How to Gain Confidence When Starting an Online Business | NewInternetOrder.com

spam-words

spam-words

There’s much information online on starting an email list and then growing it as one of the main parts of your online business.

This isn’t one of those articles.

The harsh truth is that no matter how good your marketing is, and your individual tactics are, a big portion of your email messages will still get filtered out into spam folders.

People won’t even see them in their inboxes.

“So I spend all this time trying to get subscribers and then my email tool fails to deliver? Really?!”

Well, yeah.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly the case.

MailChimp actually reports that on average, 10-20 percent of email gets killed off by spam filters.

And this concerns legitimate businesses, not spammers. Heck, if you’re a genuine spammer then the numbers are probably more like 95 percent, but I digress.

So why after learning all those great list-growing-techniques we still end up defeated by a script that calls itself the spam filter?

The answer:

You’re using the wrong words

There are two sides to writing proper email copy:

  1. Writing copy that converts and convinces your people to take action on what you’re saying. This is something guys like Derek Halpern and Neil Patel will teach you.
  2. Writing copy that doesn’t get flagged as spam by an automated piece of software – a spam filter. This is what I will be talking about here.

We can argue which of these aspects email copywriting is more important, but frankly you can’t have one without the other.

That being said, if your copy doesn’t check out with spam filters then the fact how good it is conversion-wise won’t even matter.

Let’s try to understand how spam filters work and how we can defeat them.


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What’s a spam filter?

A spam filter is a small piece of software that’s installed on every email server.

The only task it has is to read (yes, read) all email coming in and decide whether it’s spam or not.

Spam filters use complex math to make that decision.

At the core of this math, there’s a database of phrases, expressions, and the relationships between them, along with specific point values for each entry.

Having this data, the spam filter calculates the individual message’s spam score and checks if it exceeds a given threshold. If it does, off to the spam folder the message goes.

The difficult part is that there’s no single internet-wide threshold. Every server has its own, so you can never know what’s a safe spam score.

How to defeat the spam filter?

Since we do know what’s the spam filter’s game, we can adjust our copy to get thee lowest score possible.

Now, spam filter algorithms are not secret (like Google’s). If you go to http://spamassassin.apache.org/tests_3_0_x.html you will get the complete list of factors with their exact spam values.

The list is long and complicated, though, so what I’ve done here is I’ve taken the most crucial expressions and put them on the following typography chart.

How to read this thing? Generally, the higher up the list the expression is, the more you should avoid using it.

Note. I’m excluding a big part of Viagra, porn, dating, and pharmacy -related stuff. Those are the biggest spam factors, but I figured no one here is in this business anyway. If you do want the full list, however, feel free to contact me through the contact form.


95 most spam-filter-visible things to avoid in your newsletter emails

 

Tier 1 (spam factors of 2.5-2.0) “the high risk list”

Message body mentions many internet domains · Subject starts with dollar amount · Offers an alert about a stock · Contains a URL with an affiliate ID code · “University Diplomas” · “What are you waiting for” · Subject contains lots of white space · Contains a URL in the BIZ top-level domain · Tiny font size (HTML) · Talks about a million North American dollars · Claims to honor removal requests · “Money back guarantee” · Claims you registered with a partner

Tier 2 (spam factors of 1.9-1.6) “the avoid if possible list”

“Confidentiality on all orders” · HTML includes a form which sends mail · Claims you have provided permission · Stock Disclaimer Statement · Subject includes “life insurance” · Incorporates a tracking ID number · HTML font size is huge · Describes body fat loss · Subject contains “Your Bills” or similar · Subject “GUARANTEED” · HTML has a low ratio of text to image area · Contains a URL in the INFO top-level domain · Talks about quotes with an exclamation! · Message body has 70-80% blank lines · Subject contains “Your Family” · HTML link text says “push here” or similar · “No Claim Forms” · “Free Preview” · “Home refinancing” · “Compete for your business”

Tier 3 (spam factors of 1.5-1.1) “the better not do list”

Talks about millions of dollars · Send real mail to be unsubscribed · Claims compliance with spam regulations · Prestigious Non-Accredited Universities · “Be your own boss” · Domain name containing a “4u” variant · “Buy Direct” · Message body has 90-100% blank lines · They have selected you for something · Talks about exercise with an exclamation! · Claims you can be removed from the list · Claims you wanted this ad · Contains mail-in order form · Subject starts with “Hello” · “Get Paid” · HTML font size is large · “You can search for anyone” · “Freedom of a financial nature” · Subject: contains G.a.p.p.y-T.e.x.t · Contains “earn (dollar) something per week” · Weird repeated double-quotation marks · “Have you been turned down?” · “Home refinancing” · Talks about free mobile phones · Talks about “starting now” with capitals · “People just leave money laying around” · “Why Pay More?” · “Eliminate Bad Credit” · Claims you can be removed from the list · “Receive a special offer”

Tier 4 (spam factors of 1.0-0.3) “the quiet killers list”

Contains “Dear (something)” · HTML has a low ratio of text to image area · HTML font color similar to background · List removal information · Subject contains “As Seen” · Possible mention of bill 1618 (anti-spam bill) · “Amazing Stuff” · Information on mortgages · “Save big money” · “There is no obligation” · “Consolidate debt, credit, or bills” · “Lowest Price” · Mail guarantees satisfaction · Subject contains “Your Own” · “While you Sleep” · Offers a full refund · Subject is all capitals · Doing something with my income · Talks about Oprah with an exclamation! · Subject contains “For Only” · “One hundred percent guaranteed” · HTML is extremely short · Subject line starts with Buy or Buying · Describes weight loss · “See for yourself” · “Dear Friend?” That’s not very dear! · “Free Membership” · HTML has very strong “shouting” markup · “Requires Initial Investment” · “As seen on national TV!” · “Accepting credit cards” · Mentions millions of dollars

Quick fixes

Okay, so the obvious path would be to not do any of the above, but that will rarely be possible. So here are some quick fixes that you should look into.

First of all, there’s one fix (to rule them all) that allows you to never worry about ending up in the spam folder ever again. That fix is convincing your subscribers to add you to their white lists.

The value of this fix, according to Spam Assassin, is -100 (negative 100). This basically makes you invisible to spam filters even if you’re selling Viagra.

Other things worth doing:

  • If possible, mention only one URL in your message.
  • If you can set up your email service provider to not say anything along the lines of “you’re receiving this message because you opted in yada yada” then do so.
  • Don’t say anything about spam in the email.
  • Don’t say anything about actions required for unsubscribing.
  • Don’t start the subject line with “Hi”
  • Don’t start your email with “Dear [someone]”
  • Don’t claim compliance with any spam regulations.

Compiling this list gave me a lot of insight into what I should be doing with my own emails, so I hope you will get similar value as well.

For convenience, if you’d like a more printer-friendly version of this chart then it’s on the “thank you” page of my email newsletter signup (hint!).

Get the thing here:

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[Downloadable] The Words to Avoid if You Don’t Want Your Emails Flagged as Spam | NewInternetOrder.com

scared-of-wordpress

scared-of-wordpress

Let’s not fool ourselves here … WordPress is a complicated thing.

And no matter what most tutorials on the web try to say, getting a good grasp on it does take some time indeed.

Besides, if it hadn’t been complicated, I wouldn’t have been asked to write a whole book on how to work with it.

So what I want to show you today is a slightly different approach to WordPress.

Instead of being all technical, I will focus just on the part that an actual online business owner would care about.

My guess is that you don’t care that much about code, or streamlined processes, or CSS, or HTML5, or any of that stuff.

What you do care about, however, is how you can use WordPress to make running your website as easy and straightforward as possible, so you can focus on what’s really important – your actual business goals.

So this resource is a type of roadmap. You can go from station to station and take care of all the steps one by one. Also, if you have something already figured out then you can skip a given station and move on to the next one.


Things you must do

Every new WordPress site starts just about the same. Although there are tons of things you can do when setting everything up, from my point of view, there are actually only two essential elements:

  • Mastering the 5 minute install. You don’t have to hire a developer just to get your site up and running. Doing this yourself takes 5 minutes.
  • Setting proper user roles. This is something that 90 percent of people overlook when it comes to new WordPress sites. Something worth keeping in mind is that setting the correct user roles is the first thing you should do to secure your site and make your data safe.
 
 
 
start-map
 
Design

When we’re talking WordPress, design = themes.

Nowadays, it’s really ineffective to hire a designer and tell them to build you a site from the ground up. This will be awfully expensive and you get no guarantee that the results will be any good.

A much better solution is to just get a theme. However, two rules:

Two major theme stores that I can recommend are ThemeFuse (worked with them on a number of projects) and StudioPress (this site runs on a StudioPress’ theme).

Okay, but how do I choose the perfect theme and then have it installed?

Glad you’re asking!

I wrote two guest posts on ProBlogger on this very topic:

map1

Extra features

Again, when we’re talking WordPress, extra features = plugins.

Currently, there are more than 30,000 different plugins available in the official directory at wordpress.org. What this means in plain English is:

There’s surely a plugin for that.

– is how you should be thinking of extra features for your site.

Now, as much as people like to publish those “top 10 essential plugins you must get” lists, the fact is that very few of them are truly essential. And the list changes every year.

For me, there are only seven plugins that I use on every site I run, and this is something I mentioned in my book too (shoot me a message if you’d like a free chapter, by the way).

They are:

 
map4
 
 
SEO

SEO, as in Search Engine Optimization, as in “how to lose a lot of money with no results to show for.”

Okay, just joking, but the fact is that I’m not the top expert on SEO out there. That’s why I wrote this: How to learn SEO online if you’re a beginner.

map5

Running a business

This point right here is why we’re actually using WordPress on our sites – to run a business.

Quite frankly, this whole website is about this very topic, so I won’t even attempt to give you any in-the-nutshell solution. There isn’t one.

Instead, start here and dominate!

dominate

Over to you

I’m curious; do you have WordPress figured out when it comes to running your business website? Or is there anything you’re absolutely clueless about and would like to learn? Hit me up.

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Head photo by freevintageposters, fireworks by bayasaa / CC BY 2.0

Here’s a Handy Roadmap for Anyone Scared of WordPress | NewInternetOrder.com

manifesto3

Something got me thinking the other day.

The thing is, have you noticed how difficult it is to find simple and short advice on the web these days?

I mean, wherever you look, all you see are “ultimate guides” for this or that. And although I love in-depth advice as much as the next guy, it’s becoming really hard to keep up with the online world.
 

For instance, here’s the most recent guide by Neil Patel – the guide to building your blog audience.

guide

Want to take a guess at how many words it is?

arrow-down2

30,000

You know … the casual number of 30,000 words. I bet this is a nice afternoon read, provided that you don’t have a life to live and stuff to do.

But I’m not hating. Not at all. I’ve actually had a quick look at some random chapters in the guide and they do seem to provide top-notch advice and insights from the man himself.

In other words, if you have 30,000-words-worth-of-time to spare then go on, read it and then apply the advice to your blog. It will most certainly help you make it awesome.

 

(By the way, just to give you a general idea about the scale, “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding is almost exactly 60,000 words. I leave the math to you.)

 

But what if you don’t have the 30,000-words-worth-of-time? What then? Are you effectively outed from getting quality insights?

Quite frankly, you are.

At least in part.

Feel free to correct me, but most of the content I see being published on the web these days (meaning 2014) falls into one of these categories:
 

  • Ultimate guides – great for in-depth advice on a complex problem; upwards of 25,000 words.
  • Infographics – there are better and worse, but the good ones achieve the goal of showcasing data-heavy information in an understandable manner.
  • Short posts – explaining one idea in a simple manner; and not being connected to any specific big picture of things.
  • Long posts – explaining one idea that’s a bit more complex; this type of post isn’t connected to any specific big picture either.
  • Link bait – usually a gathering post where a number of experts chip in on some problem and share their advice; the idea is to then get those experts to link back to you.
  • Filler content – content created for marketing/SEO/fill-in-the-blank purpose.

 

And out of all of the above, I would say that the only type of information that’s usable in the long run is indeed the ultimate guide. The rest is just entertainment.

If you don’t believe me then just try to pay attention to your own attitude towards the next blog post you read. Ask yourself this:

  • Did I take action on it?
  • Did I make any notes and included anything new into my business?

Probably not. But that’s okay … me neither.

Ultimate guides, however, are a bit different. Whenever you’re going through one, the time investment is so significant that it simply feels bad not to do anything about it later on. Even if you end up not applying 100% of the advice, you will surely do something.

Going back to my initial question, yes, you are outing yourself if you can’t devote significant time to ultimate guides.

And this bothers me, personally.

It bothers me because I’m one of those people (also known as normal people) who don’t have time for a new 30,000-word guide every week. So whenever something new comes out, I’m like “Damn it! One more thing I have to go through!”

That’s why I’m aiming at leveling the playing field a bit. And I’m going to do it with the new series of posts coming out soon.

Instead of being just yet another online business blog, I will focus on the essential, the actionable, and the easy to grasp advice.

You can see a sample of this in my previous post – the comparison of the 5 top to-do list tools. Feel free to tell me if I achieved the goal or not, but the idea was to make that post usable even if you just have a quick glance at it and don’t actually read it.

So to make this mission clearer, I’ve just published a manifesto. The Normal People Manifesto – I call it.

In it, I explain what online business for normal people means, and what’s the first step to fight the information noise of the 21st century.

I’m also making the manifesto my new About page. I actually think that it’s one of the more important things I’ve ever published here. Jump in:

 
arrov-curve-1

manifesto2

Have You Seen the Manifesto? & Here’s Why “Online Business Advice for Normal People” Is So Scarce on the Web | NewInternetOrder.com

deadly-indicators

One beautiful day, I sent out an article to be published on a given website. I got a no. A fairly common thing. Not all posts find their home at first try, so I just decided to broaden my research and look for other sites that could be a good host for that article.

I found one and submitted it.

How surprised I was when the editor got back to me and told me that the article didn’t pass Copyscape (the plagiarism checker). What it basically meant was that someone else had previously published the article.

After connecting the dots quickly, I found that the article was indeed published by the first person I sent it to. They published it on a different site, with no attribution.

Contacting them didn’t produce much of an effect. So I’ve decided to give it a rest and share the article with you here instead. Fighting those kinds of people is never a productive habit. If you can afford it, leave such things behind you and move on with your projects (a general advice).

Having this lengthy introduction behind us, let’s focus on the topic at hand. We all desire some recognition, don’t we? Some online popularity, preferably profits, and overall stardom…things like that.

However, the road to success can be long and difficult, and at some point, we can stumble upon some disturbing signs that we might not be going in the best of directions. I’ve had a number of sites failing in the past, so I know what I’m talking about.

But you know what, I don’t mind. Failure is just a step towards success.

So what to do and what are the indicators of our website going south? Here’s my list and some advice on how to deal with them:

1. Content published irregularly

Every website (this also goes for business sites) should publish content as regularly as possible. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re publishing twice a day or once a week as long as you stick to your schedule.

Of course, you can change things up a bit over time, but don’t do it for no apparent reason every two months or so.

For example, publishing 4 posts one week, then nothing for the next month, and then switching back to 4 a week is NEVER a good idea. Your readers won’t be able to follow your blog because they won’t know what to expect.

In essence, predictability is nothing negative when it comes to publishing schedules.

2. No emails or other forms of contact

If you’re doing something good, chances are that other people will want to reach out to you and either congratulate you, or propose some form of a joint project that can present a completely new opportunity on its own. I, for example, was surprised when I was offered a paid freelance writing deal just because someone enjoyed my style of writing.

More than that, you will probably also start receiving some hate mail. I’m not saying that hate mail is something I enjoy seeing in my inbox, but it’s surely an indication that your content touches people personally, which, in essence, is a good thing.

Anyway, if there are no emails or other messages in your inbox at all, then there’s a lot of room for improvement.

3. No user feedback

A website exists as long as it’s alive, so to speak. A website lives when people read its content and interact with it in one way or the other.

This all depends on your niche, style of writing, and other things, but there should always be some form of reader activity. Some topics attract a lot of comments naturally. Others are more social-media-friendly (a lot of re-tweets). Others are more prone to bringing you a lot of direct emails (sometimes angry ones, like I said). No matter what it is, there has to be something.

If there’s no user activity at all, you’re probably in trouble.

4. Low-quality design

You really don’t have to be a designer to be able to tell whether a site is of good quality or not… However, when it comes to our own websites, we tend to NOT notice bad things about them, and we do it on purpose.

The best way of protecting ourselves against such problems is to start with a quality premium WordPress theme in the first place. Yes, you do have to spend some money if you want a quality design. Thankfully, spending it on a premium theme by ThemeFuse or Studio Press is a lot better investment than hiring a designer directly.

The truth is that visitors will evaluate your site just by looking at the design. If the design doesn’t seem professional, they will reach a conclusion that you’re not professional either.

5. Using only the “new” SEO techniques

In all seriousness, SEO indeed is the most powerful method of promotion online, especially if you’re working on making your business profitable directly because of its presence on the web. That being said, SEO doesn’t always work, and sometimes it can even hurt your site altogether.

Most problems happen when we try to do many things at the same time and make it our effort to test every new technique out there. The thing with new SEO techniques is that Google always needs a while to decide whether something is “cool” or “not cool at all.” Therefore, whenever you try something new, and then Google decides that the technique is not in tune with their guidelines, you’re cooked.

If you don’t want to lose your search engine presence, always make sure to focus on well-tested SEO techniques.

6. Poor rankings and low traffic

This is probably the simplest indicator of them all and it somewhat connects with the previous point. Google’s goal is to promote quality sites that are valuable to their readers, and to bury the weak sites at the same time.

If your site is not quality enough, Google won’t give it a good spot in the rankings, which will have a huge impact on the traffic.

If you’re not receiving the traffic you think you should be receiving (check via Google Analytics, or better yet, Clicky) it’s probably a good time to take care of some SEO and also to step up your game when it comes to publishing quality articles.

You can check your rankings through a tool like Moz or Raven Tools, or a number of free services available on the internet.

7. You have no real business plan

I know that business plans are not fun. To be honest, I hate working on anything that resembles a business plan in any shape or form. But sometimes there’s just no escape…

Generally, I advise you to treat business plans as guidance for yourself, rather then for some third-party entity that might be interested in your business. Your business plan must make your goal clear to YOU. That’s the only rule.

But what does it have to do with your website, right? Well, if you don’t have a thought through business plan then your website likely doesn’t have any action or promotion plan either. In short, your business plan is what is going to guide your actions regarding your website.

Once you have the plan ready, you can, for example, tell whether paid advertising is a good method of promotion for your site or not, and make many other similar decisions. Crafting a business plan is hard…but it pays off.

That’s it for my list of these 7 deadly indicators, but I just have one last question: What are you doing to keep your site on the quality side of the web and make your business profitable?

7 Quite Deadly Indicators That Your Online Business Website Is In Bad Shape | newInternetOrder.com

control

So you’ve been working on your online business, testing different things, playing with new methods…overall, just trying to make things go a little better.

Inevitably, however, comes the day when you will start having doubts.

 

Don’t deny it.

YES, YOU WILL EXPERIENCE THIS.

It happens to everyone.

 

Pat Flynn’s recent hit – Let Go – is basically about the path from panic to profits and purpose (his own words).

let-go

Corbett Barr – the creator of Fizzle (and the killer of Think Traffic) – has his own two cents to share about overcome self-doubt too.

fizzle

Almost every big name out there faces this. If it didn’t hit you yet, it will. Sorry for being the bearer of bad news.

I did go through this too, by the way. A number of times. Probably a lot more times I’m comfortable admitting.

 

The thing with doubts is that they are not always that relevant to the reality we’re in. Sometimes, we’re simply worried about things that don’t make sense.

Other times, we’re worried because we don’t feel like we’re in control. We’re worried that we’re only a victim of circumstances and everything we do is kind of reactive or even accidental in nature.

not all worries are real
For example, why are you trying to utilize a certain promotional method in your business at the moment? Is it because it’s part of your overall yearly plan of action or something? Or did you just see it somewhere on the internet and decided to give it a shot? If it’s the former, then cool, you rock! If it’s the latter, then welcome to the party, you’re just like the rest of us…

 
 

The goal: re-gaining control

 
 

Re-gaining control is by far the most important thing on my list for 2014, and I think it should play a role just as strong on yours.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve been doing okay, but I feel that taking this to the mysterious next level won’t happen if I’m not in control of my projects and my actions entirely.

So here’s my plan and the approach I’m taking to make it happen. A big part of this is mindset-related, so proceed with caution if you’re more about the direct go-do advice.

 

clock

Taming time

 

Working in the computer era is very confusing and very difficult, even though we don’t have to deal with hard physical labor all day. But maybe that’s exactly the problem…

 

Here’s the deal. If you’re a construction worker then your work and relaxation environments are very separate and distinguishable. Basically, if you’re at a construction site, you’re at work. If you’re sitting in your chair at home, you’re relaxing.

I know this sounds drop-dead basic so far, but bear with me.

Now, when you’re working on a computer, or even worse, the internet is your main work tool then you’re pretty screwed. That’s because distinguishing work from relaxation is virtually impossible.

construction
For example, picture the following two scenarios:

  1. Work. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing through the admin panel of yourdomain.com and typing a message.
  2. Relaxation. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your screen, browsing though someone’s profile at facebook.com and typing a message.

These are essentially the same environments. I mean, the difference for your conscious brain is obvious, but for your primal brain, it’s not obvious at all. This small change – the specific website you’re on, makes it really confusing for your brain to determine if you’re at work or trying to relax.

For ages, we’ve only been doing physical work, and our brains got used to that concept. That’s why physical workers have no problems at all relaxing after a day’s worth of hard work. They can switch in a matter of seconds due to the environment change. We cannot.

 

This whole probably a bit boring story brings me to one conclusion. And it’s this:

If we want to tame our work time entirely, which is the first step to re-gaining control, we need to start using our main work tool (our PC or Mac) for work only.
 

This means no relaxation time by your computer. No YouTube, no Facebook, no video games, etc.

And I don’t only mean the obvious, which is avoiding distraction during your work time. I actually mean not using them at all for relaxation purposes.

Once this habit is set for good, our brains will learn, adapt, and eventually let us be in control when we’re working.

So, the big question is what to do when you want to relax with some internet entertainment by your side? Considering my strict rules regarding your work-PC, the only solution I can see is using an entirely different device for relaxation.

For example, if you want to relax, you can take your iPad, or your spouse’s tablet and sit in this nice chair by the window, instead of remaining at your desk.

 

plan

Planning long term

 

The other building block to re-gain control in your online business is getting into the habit of long term planning.

We all know the basics of constructing a plan. What you do is pick a goal, write an outline on how you’re going to achieve it, and then start executing it. But short term planning doesn’t protect you from falling victim to those one-off techniques and methods that you’ll stumble upon on the web almost every day.

 

It’s just that even despite having a good plan, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where you’re chasing after the new cool method that someone has described on a blog somewhere. So the solution I advise for this is practicing the art of long term planning.
Here’s what you do:

  • Focus on handling the tasks that you’ve planned for first, before going after anything new and exciting.
  • Whenever you do come across something interesting, ask yourself if it has the potential to make the execution of your main plan better or faster. If not, then don’t even bother testing the thing out.
  • In general, focus 80% of your time on executing your core plan and handling the tasks specified in it, and only 20% of your time testing new things.

Being on the top of the mountain and knowing every new technique out there is very trendy these days, but try looking at it from an old-school perspective… Let’s take Nike as our example. Do you think that the overall man-hours spent in that huge company is on new technique and idea development, or on simple sneakers-assembly? Since we do have Nike sneakers in the stores all over the world, I guess it’s the latter.

So there you have it. These are my two main methods for re-gaining control. And I really do intend to implement them as soon as possible.

The benefits can be huge. I’m sure of it. No one has ever gotten to the next level by just going through the motions and dealing with their business on a day-to-day reactive basis. The real success is about being in control of your business and your career as a whole.

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Hey You! You’ve Lost Control in Your Business. Here’s Why, and What to Do About It | newInternetOrder.com

Over the last couple of months I’ve been working on my new book. I haven’t talked much about it until today, purely because it’s a project that’s not wholly related to online business.

The title of the book is “WordPress 3.7 Complete,” and it’s been released with Packt Publishing just a couple of days ago (available on Amazon and in all major bookstores).

In short, it teaches how to build a site on WordPress and get it online in minutes (without losing your shirt along the way). Suitable for both beginners to site building, as well as folks with some experience under their belts already.

wp

Now, the reason I’m mentioning the book today is because I do believe that you can still benefit from it a lot if you’re using or planning to use WordPress as the platform running your online business sites (something I’ve been advising for years).

More details about the book

The book goes step-by-step through things such as:

  • how to install WordPress in minutes,
  • how to create content that’s optimized for the web and then publish it,
  • picking the best plugins that your site really needs,
  • picking the ideal theme,
  • how to build your own plugins and themes,
  • how podcasting with WordPress works,
  • how to launch non-blog websites with WordPress.

I really did my best to make it as comprehensive as possible, with tons of illustrations and examples.

Available in all major bookstores, and on Amazon (both print and Kindle).

title-tag

Moving on to the good stuff…

The Holiday Giveaway

UPDATE: Sorry, this giveaway isn’t available any more. But I can still offer you one chapter – chapter 2 – on basically the same rules as described below.

I am not one of those people who would pitch you on a product just for the sake of it, so instead, I will give you a big part of the book free of charge. This way you can get familiar with the message of the book, get some value right upfront and then maybe decide to buy the complete version if you think it’s worth your dollar.

In short, here’s the deal:

I am willing to give away 1/3 of the whole book – 4 full chapters out of 12 – for free.

The only thing I’m asking in return is for you to kindly submit a customer review on the book’s Amazon page (link). The review can be as short or as long as you wish. Amazon doesn’t have any regulations about this as far as I know.

And I’m going to be right up front with you on this one. Amazon reviews help to spread the word out. They help a lot. The more reviews there are, the more Amazon will do to promote my book to people browsing through various related categories. But above all, I do appreciate your honest opinion about the parts of the book you’ll read. If you don’t think that it’s worth 5 stars, or 4 stars, that’s completely okay. As long as you’re honest when writing your short review.

The chapters that are part of the giveaway:

  • Chapter 2, Getting Started, explains how to install WordPress on a remote server, change the basic default settings of your blog, write posts, and comment on those posts. It also shows how to work with sites hosted on WordPress.com, which is one of the branches of the WordPress world.
  • Chapter 5, Plugins and Widgets, discusses everything there is to know about finding the best plugins for WordPress and then using them effectively. Plugins are an integral part of every WordPress site’s lifespan, so it’s more than hard to imagine a successful site that isn’t using any of them.
  • Chapter 6, Choosing and Installing Themes, describes how to manage the basic look of your WordPress website. You also learn where to find themes, why they are useful, and how to implement new themes on your WordPress website.
  • Chapter 12, Creating a Non-Blog Website Part Two – Community Websites and Custom Content Elements, explores the endless possibilities of WordPress when it comes to using it to launch various types of websites. The chapter presents the second batch of our non-blog websites and explains in detail how to build them on top of a standard WordPress installation.

How to Participate

Just go to the contact page on this site and shoot me a message saying something like “Hey, I want the book now!” … or you can be more descriptive if that’s your thing. I will send you the chapters via email.

Oh, and please tweet about this if you think some of your followers could benefit from this giveaway too. Many thanks.

My New WordPress Book Available | newInternetOrder.com

tools

Productivity was always my topic. I enjoyed the fact that you could take a man who once wasn’t able to get crap done in a day – me – and turn him into someone who’s pretty organized and knows exactly what is there to do, when it needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and how to do it.

Studying productivity has done a lot for me. Without it, I would achieve nothing. Fact.

So today, I wanted to publish a post that would be a way of saying thanks to all the great publishers around the web who share their productivity advice on a regular basis. Here, you’ll find 35 great resources that are sure to make you more productive and thus more effective as an online business owner.

(Okay, I did include some links of my own here too.)

There are 7 chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Getting Started
  • Chapter 2 – Work Environment
  • Chapter 3 – Creating Habits
  • Chapter 4 – Time Management
  • Chapter 5 – Projects and To-Do Lists
  • Chapter 6 – Productivity Methodologies and Systems
  • Chapter 7 – Tools

Chapter 1 – Getting Started

This chapter is all about starting your journey to being productive as an online business owner. It will give you insights on how to start from scratch, what you need to know, what factors to consider, and what you should expect as your final result.

  1. Productivity Improvement for Online Entrepreneurs – The All-You-Need-to-Know Resource
  2. 9 Wonderful Ways to Get Started in the World of Personal Productivity
  3. How to Get Started with (and Stick with) a New Productivity Tool
  4. The 1-Step Plan for Super-Productivity

 

Chapter 2 – Work Environment

This chapter talks about how you can setup your work environment towards productivity. The setup of your workplace is an important factor in achieving maximum productivity. Know how you should set up your computer, workspace, desk, getting the right furniture and everything else that can help you become more productive with your work environment.

  1. Top 10 Ways to Create A More Focused and Productive Work Environment
  2. Set Up Your Work Space to Increase Productivity
  3. Setting Up a Home Office that Fuels Productivity
  4. 12 Ways to Improve Productivity at the Workplace
  5. Creating a Workspace that Promotes Your Productivity
  6. How to Improve Productivity When Working from Home

 

Chapter 3 – Creating Habits

To become productive, first, you need to create some habits and introduce them into your life. Here’s where I’d start.

  1. Productivity Secrets for Savvy Small Business Owners
  2. Living in an i-world: a new way to think about work-life conflict
  3. Ten Steps to Achieving Work Life Balance-Small Business Edition
  4. How to Destroy Your Productivity by Answering Emails

 

Chapter 4 – Time Management

This chapter teaches you how to manage your time properly. Good time management helps you achieve work-life balance, which in turn will make you a more productive and successful business owner. Learn how to dedicate time for work, family, social life, hobbies, relaxation and other areas of your life. Time management takes practice though.

  1. 10 Time Management Tips that Work
  2. 13 Time Management Tips You Ought to Know
  3. The Top 10 Life Benefits of Time Management
  4. Top 15 Time Management Tools and Apps
  5. Time Management Tools and Techniques

 

Chapter 5 – Projects and To-Do Lists

This chapter talks about how you can organize, monitor and keep track of your projects and to-do lists. As a business owner, things to do will keep stacking and you might lose sight of what you need to accomplish first. It is necessary that you know how to manage projects properly to make sure everything gets done in time.

  1. Effective Project Management in the Small Business Organization
  2. 3 Project Management Tools All Small Businesses Need
  3. Project Management for Small Businesses-An Introduction
  4. The 10 Benefits of Project Management
  5. Project Management Methodology Explained
  6. How to Handle the Top 5 Challenges in Managing Your Projects
  7. Productivity Made Simple: How to Keep Your Projects from Killing You

 

Chapter 6 – Productivity Methodologies and Systems

This chapter will talk about how you can use productivity methodologies and systems to make you a more productive business owner. Know what you should focus on every day and know the best methodologies to use.

  1. Five Best Productivity Methods
  2. How to be Productive? The Simplest Possible Productivity System
  3. Get Out of Your Head and Get Things Done- How to Create A Basic Productivity System
  4. Do I Really Need to Learn a Productivity Method?
  5. Productivity Made Simple: The Key to GTD – Your Daily Graph of Activity

 

Chapter 7 – Tools

Everyone needs some tools. Here are the ones you can look into first.

  1. Getting These 6 Apps … All it Takes to Improve Your Productivity
  2. Best Productivity Tools for People-On-the-Go
  3. 5 Online Tools to Improve Small Business Productivity
  4. 8 Best Apps to Make Your Small Business More Productive

 

I hope this list will inspire you to take action and make some improvements in the way you’re going about your day.


35 Great Resources on Becoming Productive as an Online Business Owner | newInternetOrder.com

Big title, right? How can I possibly deliver on such a statement?Well today, I bring you Rocky. Or Sylvester Stallone if you prefer to use his real name.

Sly is one of THE action film heroes. He seems to have been around since forever. My entire childhood was filled with his movies. I saw all the Rocky movies, all the Rambo movies, and now I’m enjoying the new Expendables movies probably more than I should.

Sylvester-Stallone

But Sly’s career, like everyone else’s career, had to start somewhere, right? By the time I was old enough to be able to watch movies and have fun doing so, Sly was already a huge star, so I couldn’t experience his story firsthand as it unfolded.Little did I know that Sly is the person with the most inspiring success story in the history of ever.

In short, if you’re a person chasing your dreams…be it online business, music, writing, or any other personal development or professional development project, Sly’s story is something you can relate to – something that will fuel you for months if not years to come.

More than that, it will also keep you going in the time of doubt, regret, and even questioning your purpose in this world.


Here’s my version of the story as told by Tony Robbins during one of his somethings (the original video is around 9 minutes long, hence the title of this post):

Sly and his story

His whole life, Sly knew what he wanted to do. Since he was very very young he wanted to be in the movie business, period.

Not just TV, movies.

His goal was to inspire people and show then what they’re capable of and how to overcome unbelievable obstacles because in his own life, he felt like he did just that.

When he was born, he was pulled out by the forceps, that’s why he looked the way he did, why he talked the way he did.

Sylvester-Stallone-2
I knew why I wanted to do that and I wasn’t gonna settle for anything else. [...] I was trying to get jobs, it didn’t work out really well. They looked at me and said ‘Hey, you’re stupid looking, do something else. There’s no place for you in that stuff, you’re never gonna be a star in the movies. You’re insane, no one’s gonna want someone who looks dopey and talks out the side of their mouth.’

He got “no”
…after “no”
…after “no”
…after “no”

 

Sylvester-Stallone-2
I was thrown out more than fifteen hundred times of agents offices in New York.

There aren’t fifteen hundred agent offices in New York.

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
I know, but I’ve been there, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 times.

 

One time he visited an office and stayed there until successful. He would not leave. He stayed overnight. The guy came back the next morning and Sly was still sitting there.

The guy said “Fine, come in here” and he sat down and gave Sly his first movie.

 

Well, what character are you playing?

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
I was in it for about 20 seconds, I was a thug that somebody beat up.

 

He did like three movies like that. Never got anything. Kept going out.

Rejection, rejection, rejection.

He finally realized it wasn’t working. So he changed his approach.

 

Sylvester-Stallone-2
I was starving by the way. I couldn’t pay to even have heat in my apartment. My wife was screaming at me every day to get a job.

Why didn’t you?

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
Cause I knew that if I got a job, I’d get seduced back and I’d lose my hunger. I knew that the only way I could do this if it was the only choice, as if I’ve burned all other bridges, cause if I got a normal job I’d be caught up in that rhythm and I’d feel okay with my life, so my dream would just gradually disappear. I wanted to keep that hunger, that hunger that I thought was my only advantage.

My wife didn’t understand that at all. We’d have these vicious fights. It was freezing, I was broke, we had no money. So I finally went to the public library one day cause it was warm. I didn’t want to read anything. So I went in, New York Public Library. I was hanging out there and I sat down in this chair and somebody left a book there. I looked at this book and there were poems, Edgar Allan Poe.

I started reading it and I got totally into Edgar Allan Poe so I know everything about him.

poe

He goes on for another 20 minutes telling about Edgar Allan Poe, he knows everything…how he died, what it was about, what really happened, and so on.

 

What did Poe do for you?

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
Poe got me out of myself. He got me to think about how I can touch other people, not worry about myself so much… Maybe decide I become a writer.

So I tried to write a bunch of screenplays, nothing worked, nothing worked.

I was totally broke. I didn’t even have 50 bucks.

Finally, I sold a script. It was called Paradise Alley. It was a movie I made many years later but I sold it and I sold it for a hundred bucks. But a hundred bucks is a ton of money, and I was so thrilled. I thought I’m on my way, but it never led me to anything.

I kept going and going and going and so finally, we were so broke… I hocked my wife’s jewelry. That was basically the end of our relationship. She hated my guts so much.

But the story doesn’t end there as Sly continues…

 

Sylvester-Stallone-2
The one thing I loved most in the world was my dog. I loved my dog because he gave me unconditional love, unlike my wife.

So, what happened was, we’re so broke that to survive, I couldn’t even feed my dog.

So I went to a liquor store, it was the lowest day of my life, I stood outside the liquor store trying to sell my dog to strangers. I was trying to sell my dog for 50 bucks.

Finally, this one guy negotiated with me and bought my dog from me, my best friend on Earth for 25 dollars. I walked away from there and I cried.

“It was the worst thing that ever happened in my life.”

Sylvester-Stallone-2
Two weeks later, I’m watching a fight between Muhammad Ali and Wepner, this white guy that’s getting bludgeoned, but keeps on coming.

I got an idea.

I…as soon as the fight ended…I started writing. I wrote for 20 straight hours, I did not sleep. I wrote the entire movie in 20 hours straight. Right then, saw the fight, wrote the movie, the whole thing, done. I was shaking at the end, I was so excited, so I really knew, I knew what I wanted, I knew why I wanted it.

So I went out and started to sell it to agents, they all would read it and say ‘You know, this is predictable, this is stupid.’ So I wrote down all the things they said, and I read them the night of the Oscars when we won.

 

The greatest revenge is massive success.

 

Sylvester-Stallone-2
I kept going, trying to sell it, trying to sell it, I’m going broke, I’m starving. Finally, I meet these guys, they read it, they believed in the script and loved it. They offered me 125,000 dollars for my script.

Oh my god! You must been out of your mind.

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
I was. I said just one thing though,
“Guys, you got the deal based on one thing.”
“What’s that?” They said
“I gotta star in it.” I told them
And they went “bffft.” They said “What are you talking about? You’re a writer.”
“No, I’m an actor.” I said
“No no no, you’re a writer.” They said
“No no no, I’m an actor, that’s my story and I’m Rocky. I gotta play it, you know, I gotta be the head person, I gotta be the starring role.”
“There’s no way we’re going o pay 125,000 dollars, take some no-name, stick you in that, throw our money away. We need a star.” They said

ryan

They wanted to have Ryan O’Neal play Rocky.

Sylvester-Stallone-2
“No way, Ryan doesn’t know Rocky, I’m Rocky. We do this whole thing, right.” They said “Well take it or leave it.” I left the room. I said “If that’s what you believe, you don’t get my script.”

 

Here’s a guy with no money, none, totally broke, offered a hundred twenty-five thousand dollars, more money he’s seen in his lifetime and he walked away.

And he said they called him a few weeks later, even brought him back and offered him a quarter of a million dollars not to star in his own movie. He turned them down, 250,000 dollars. They came back and their final offer was 325,000 dollars. He said “Not without me.”

They finally compromised and they gave him 35,000 dollars and points of the movie. Cause they said “If this is gonna happen, then you’re going to take the risk with us and the bottom line is we don’t think it will work, but at least we won’t spend as much money on you.”

 

What did you do with 35,000? It’s not a quarter of a million, but that’s a lot of money when you don’t have 25 bucks.

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
I went to that liquor store for three straight days and hoped the man with my dog frequented the store cause I wanna buy back my dog.

What happened?

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
Third day I was there, this guy walks by and I see him and I can’t believe it, there’s my dog. And I looked at him and said “Sir, remember me?” The guy was looking at dog and said “Yeah yeah, I love the dog.” And I said “Look, I was so broke, I was starving, he’s my best friend, I’m sure you love him too but I gotta have him back, please. I beg of you, I’ll pay you a hundred dollars for the dog, I know you gave me 25 but I’ll give you a hundred.”

The man said “Absolutely not, no way, it’s my dog now you can’t buy him back.” I kept pushing. He went 500 dollars for the dog. “-No.” I said “1000 for the dog,” the guy said “No amount of money on Earth is ever gonna get this dog for you.”

What did you do?

Tony
Sylvester-Stallone-2
I knew my outcome, I take massive action and got my dog! I just kept changing my approach until I got him.

What did it cost you?

Tony

 

Sylvester-Stallone-2
“Fifteen thousand dollars and a part in Rocky.”

 

And you know the dog in Rocky, Butkus? That’s Sly’s real dog. So he puts his dog in the movie, and he puts the guy in the movie.

The production of the movie was a million dollars.

 

It ended up grossing 200 million dollars when it was launched.

 

What happens next we all somewhat know. Sly rises to huge international stardom…he becomes the man we know today.

We can do whatever we want, guys.


Looking for some online business advice for normal people
and more resources just like this one? Jump in.



9 Minutes of Inspiration That Will Change Your Life | newInternetOrder.com

At first, the topic of how to learn SEO online seems like something that’s been fairly well-covered on the web.

I mean, there are sites like Moz.com, Search Engine Journal and so on. But as it turns out, they are more about the in-the-trenches practices and advice for people who are already deep into SEO.

But what if you’re just starting out? There surely has to be something for the beginner on a site like Moz, right? Well, not really.

Here’s why. Granted, Moz has their beginner’s guide to SEO (link), but that thing is 10 friggin’ chapters. Again, 10 chapters. In total, that’s probably in the 30,000+ word range. And 30,000 words is a mid-sized book.

What’s wrong with it? Let me quote the classic:

Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!


How to Learn SEO Online

So…Moz isn’t really a good place for a beginner to learn SEO online. In fact, there are very few places where a beginner can actually get some useful advice; advice that they can implement right away without having to go through a whole book worth of content.

And I know I speak the truth because I still consider myself somewhat a beginner. I too have difficulties picking the right tactics and staying confident that what I’m doing will actually work, especially with things changing so fast.

So, long story short, I’ve been doing a lot of researching on this, and by the looks of things, I can only recommend three ways of obtaining good SEO advice for a beginner (that is if you’re a person who wants to grow your business’ online visibility by ranking it high on Google).

1. Relevant and updated gathering posts

Every once in a while, a blogger goes the extra mile, contacts a number of top players in the SEO market and asks them about their most current advice that could help a true beginner succeed.

This time, it’s Ayodeji of Effective Inbound Marketing who’s done this. He took the time to interview 19 SEO experts and published the results in one large gathering post.

Posts like that are great places to go for relevant information. The experts featured are people practicing SEO every day. So whenever they get asked about what they’d do if they were just starting out, they always share the most current and updated advice.

Furthermore, I actually encourage you to look for similar “how to learn SEO online” posts in the future. If not Ayodeji then someone else will surely repeat this group interview thing in a couple of months or so.

2. Link building strategies at Point Blank SEO

Point Blank SEO is one of the coolest SEO blogs in the last few years. The advice is clear, understandable, and actionable.

For instance, link building is known to be the core of SEO. In plain English, if you want to do SEO actively, you’re going to be link building a lot.

So a while ago, Jon – the founder of Point Blank SEO, published this link building strategies page.

What’s great about it is that it features quite a lot of tactics, but each one comes with a short description, so depending on how much time and dedication you have for this, you can pick something that suits you in one way or the other.

3. Fizzle and their website traffic course

Fizzle is a training site created by Corbett Barr. It provides quality, real-talk business training with no BS. It’s a paid program ($35 a month), but there’s also a $1 trial.

One of the courses available (and the library is quite big) is about website traffic. Ultimately, the reason why we’re doing SEO is to get traffic. Good search engine rankings on their own are pointless if they don’t bring traffic, right? And it just so happens that Corbett knows a thing or two about traffic. After all, he’s the guy behind Think Traffic.

The website traffic course at Fizzle is video-based and consists of 16 lessons. Everything is laid out nicely and easy to follow, just what a beginner needs.

Feel free to take advantage of the $1 one-month trial and check it out.

Action and learning

I guess that’s it for the places to go, but I’d like to take one more moment to encourage you to do some sniffing around of your own. Good SEO advice is only as strong as it is up-to-date. So, unfortunately, you need to be on a constant lookout if you want to build and retain good search engine visibility.

Oh yes, one more thing. For some additional info on how to learn SEO online and apply it to your online business, make sure to also check out these two posts: the SEO glossary – to get to know the terminology, and my guest post on ProBlogger talking about the essential SEO settings for sites running on WordPress.

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where you’ll get more resources just like this one.




How to Learn SEO Online If You’re a Beginner (and an Online Business Owner)? | newInternetOrder.com