How to Better communicate In Life And In Business

Hey Guys and gals, this week’s Vlog is up and it’s titled “Vlog #2 – How to Better communicate In Life And In Business”.

Just some ideas that I had to share about business and communication that I learned from the workshop I went to this past weekend and an update on what i’m up to.

5 Hidden Costs To Website Ownership

So how much does it cost to start a website or a blog as some like to call them? Having a website is much like have a physical business, you either buy or lease your location, you pay people to work in it, you have tools and assets you must maintain, and so on.

I used to think that running an online business would be free, well it’s not, but at the same time it doesn’t cost nearly as much as running a physical brick and mortar business and I’m going to show you how those costs break down in this article.

Currently there are approximately 644 Million (1) website(s) and another 51 million a year or  140,000 starting up every day (2).

To be relevant you will need to know how to make your website visible on the web, and what most bloggers won’t tell you, is that websites actually do cost money to run and maintain, and it’s not as simple as clicking a button and money pops out…

But whether you are just getting started, or you’ve been in business for a while and are looking to add online to the mix, understand that you will need to pay something to do it. Time, money or energy.

Yes, I said it, you will pay to setup a website even if you get started with a free service like blogger or tumblr.

Remember, these sites own you, and if they ever crashed or just decided to turn off the power you are left helpless wondering what happened to your website, and for a lot of folks a good chunk of their business.

So what are the costs of site ownership? They are as follows:

1. Picking A Hosting Provider

This cost refers to where you website, or blog as some like to call them, is physically housed. This means that if you were to travel to the hosting providers site, you could actually walk up and touch the server that holds the data that is your website or blog.

If you were to go to a file on your computer desktop and open it you are essentially accessing information the same way your website is accessed only the website, in most cases, is held on a remote computer by a company that pays high level technicians to maintain their computer and keep it up and running 24/7. 

A great hosting provider will have very little to 0 downtime and will have some level of support included in even the most basic package hosting plan.

The less you pay, the less margin they have to pay to good support staff, so don’t be surprised when you have to DYI everything on your free WordPress blog or blogger website…

What should a Website Cost?

Roughly $49 – $500 a month ( the bigger your site, the more sophisticate the hosting and security plan).

Yes you can get started with free services like Blogger, Tumblr, wordpress.com and so on, but keep in mind you will have some limitations in terms of functionality and how you can design the website to look, unless you are quite familiar with HTML.

When I was hosting my WordPress site on wordpress.com,  I had the basic package which is about $4 bucks a month. The sucky thing was that it barely let me customize the site…

I still had “blog at wordpress.com” on the page and I didn’t have access to google’s FREE analytics tools which tells you how many people are coming to your site, from where, and how long they stay on each page, which can really help you make your site better.

$4 a month doesn’t seem like much until you realize that you don’t even own the site, you have free range of the content but not the plugins or the design, and really that’s half the site…

The only plus side to having the personal plan and above on WordPress.com is the chat support with a person who knows more about WordPress than you do… unless you know more about WordPress then they do… then it just doesn’t make sense unless you are paying for the “business plan”. 

If you are someone who has been using WordPress since 2009, like me, then you really know more than the basic site support staff has to offer and you can install an instance of WordPress on your own hosting plan like in this free WordPress setup guide I wrote, and get up and running with ease.

This DYI option offers greater flexibility and control of your site, and if you use a theme like thrive themes then you can setup your entire site without needing to know HTML Code at all!

For anyone who is planning on setting up a niche website, or “blogging as a business”, I suggest that you register your website with your own hosting provider like namecheap.com, Siteground, Bluehost.com, or hostgator.com.

I wouldn’t use Godaddy because they just charge too much and they try and up-sell you on everything, and they are notorious for having so – so support even though you are paying them a premium.

The hosting provider that I use is Siteground, and get their $3.95 / month package they offer.

You get 1 site, which allows for up to 10,000 visits a month, 10 gb of ssd space, free daily backups (this is a HUGE plus), and a bunch of other goodies hidden behind the more info icon…I Use Website Hosting Provider Siteground

Couple other things to note. Though I’ve never used blue host and host gator before, I’ve never really had a need.

Once I started using Siteground and namecheap to register my domain names and then point them to my WordPress websites, I’ve found that siteground just does such a great job that I don’t want to change to anyone else.

And since they have great customer service, super fast SSD servers, and they allow you to hook up to Cloudfair I just haven’t needed anything else.

That doesn’t mean that Bluehost and Hostgator aren’t great, I just have never needed to use them. I do know a few folks who do use them though and have told me that they have had no issue with running their online businesses from these other hosting providers.

What about Free “blogging” websites?

Other websites like blogger and Tumblr are totally free; however, the biggest downside to this option is that you don’t actually own the site.

You certainly own the ‘content’ on the site, but you don’t own the site, and what that means is that if google makes a big change in the way they serve up website information to potential searchers, then you’re “FREE” blog could definately take a hit.

Also I don’t know a lot of folks that use free blogs to really build online businesses or build websites for offline businesses. 

Besides just not performing well in the search results I think they look a little ammeture when it comes down to it, but that’s just opinion. They also usually lack the customizations that most clients prefer which is another draw back.

Lastly, should you ever choose to move over to a platform like WordPress to gain more functionality and have it all in one platform, then you will need to migrate your content.

Not a big deal if you have 10-25 pages, but if you have 25-100+ pages of content or you have a lot of customizations on the platform (google blogger) then you will be frustrated with the pending redesign and migration fees and or time that is needing to be invested when you are ready to move over. 

Siteground may be able to help with the migration of blogger websites since they are written in HTML, totally freebie blogs like tumblr and wordpress.com blogs they won’t migrate.

What about doing e-commerce websites?

For e-commerce I strongly recommend looking at shopify instead, it’s plug and play and a whole lot easier to setup than trying to get up and running with blogger.com or a free website.

Some folks may be familiar with WordPress’ e-commerce plugin woo-commerce, but personally I haven’t set it up on my own websites.

I’ve heard that it requires quite a bit of knowledge to make it look good. Can you do it? sure. But why deal with the headache when you have a platform designed as a store like Shopify?

Shopify has TONS of integrations, is designed to function just like a brick and mortar store, only online, and allows you to just the simple marketplace to find apps that you need like accounting integrations such as quickbooks or xero, marketing apps like Mailchimp and facebook marketing kits, inventory management, dropshipping, pinterest integrations and so much more.

Shopify is an easy to use all in one content and store. It’s very flexible and is a great way to start an online business.

You can start a 14 day free trial of shopify at https://www.shopify.com , it’s near the bottom. 

But this post isn’t about e-commerce, I can go into that in another post, what I wanted to focus on here was if you were wanting to start up an informative, or content based, site.

For content driven websites, WordPress is still the best option out there.

2. Support For Your Website

With a lot of “Free” site hosting, you don’t get support, mostly because you don’t really need it. Users that go with FREE often aren’t really interested in starting a business, or rather, “focused” on starting a business… Sometimes these hobbies turn into full fledged businesses, but many times they don’t. 

In this case, going with free is not a bad thing because it requires little to no upfront investment and sometimes can be converted later into a business.

Note: the best “free” websites to start writing as a hobby on are wordpress.com and blogger, they are the easiest to transition to paid for, but if you know that you are going to start a business or are focused on that you might as well just start hosting your own site from day one to get familiar with how to setup and edit the site in WordPress rather than have to convert it over and then re-learn the dashboard (i’m guilty of this…)

Another key thing to note is that with many of the ‘done for you’ services out there, they included some level of support but often it’s limited in nature or the support staff really has no idea what they are talking about…

Things that you could use support for:

you need help pointing a domain to another domain…

you need help with putting a video into your site…

you need help migrating your site from one site host to your new site host…

you need to speak to a human…

A good support staff can help you with this. This is why I love siteground, because this is part of their hosting, not some premium add on…

Siteground has free migration assistance and support from their team with optional paid for backups, oh yeah, they backup all their servers so that if your site crashes one day or you screw up the code by pushing a button you aren’t supposed to then they can help you recover it. That’s $19 bucks if you do that, so don’t go touching buttons until you know what they do, but it’s nice to know that is there for you when you need it.

3. Backing Up One’s Website

This is so absolutely critical, unless you want all your hard work to go away you need a backup of your site.

Have you’ve ever had a computer crash, lost all your data, gone to the repair store or the Apple store only to be told that it’s truly dead, and realized that you never made a backup and all your family photos are gone?

Then you know what this would feel like and how painful this can be.

Having a quality backup of your site is like having a copy of every family photo on your computer, or every photo you’ve ever uploaded to your computer, backed up on another computer. 

If your computer was lost or stolen it would be ok, manageable rather, because you had a second one that you could still get all the photos from.

If you backup your site you are protecting yourself from that “oh shit” moment when you realize that everything is gone.

Some reasons to backup your site: 

your site gets hacked and you need to revert to a backup…

your site host servers go down…

you make a change to your site and want to revert it…

you accidentally make a change to the site’s root directory and screw up your search in google…

So without much else being said, this is a must.

I don’t know if free websites do this, but most of them make it really difficult to move your site if you ever choose to, and some even charge you (wordpress dot com) to do it for you. Which if you are moving over a 5 page site you don’t need to pay for, but if you’re moving a 100+ page site you might as well. You wouldn’t try to do your own dentistry, even if you had a certificate to do so, so just leave it to the experts – $129

4) Tools For The Website

For Keyword Research

If you are starting a business online, and not just blogging for a hobby, then you will likely need a keyword research tool to help you understand your SEO potential for your site. 

Some common tools associated with running an online blog or business include SemrushMoz, Ahrefs.com, and google keyword planner.

All of these tools allow you to get monthly searches and gather the data behind the terms that people are using to find information and products online. Some with varying degrees of accuracy. 

Moz, Semrush and Ahrefs charge you for access to their databases with documented backlinks, search terms, and crawled pages to give you an idea of search volume for certain terms.

Why this is relevant is if you are writing about wedding photography and you want to find out the best title to put in your article, then you can go to these websites and type in terms like “wedding photography” and see other search terms that people are using to find wedding photography items, supplies, designs, local wedding photographers, etc. You can see estimated search volume and how many other websites are competing for this word, so that you can focus on the words with less competition and get traction sooner.

It’s pretty invaluable information to have.

Google Keyword planner does the same thing, with less accuracy, in hopes that you will use the data to make purchases for advertising. They allow you to setup a free account with Adwords and see similar data, only backwards.

They show you the amount of search in ranges (not very accurate but gives you an idea) and then the cost per click of that term. This is a good enough indicator that a term is highly relevant (or at least that you can charge advertisers for that word) and that there is enough search volume. 

All these tools essentially teach you the same thing about estimated searches.

For SEO – Optimizing Your Website With Search

You will want to download and use Yoast’s Free plugin because it’s great for basic blogs and for beginners with WordPress.

They do have a premium plan that offers support from their team, in addition to more focused on page keywords, and an interlinking tool to help with SEO.

For Email followup

There are so many free email marketing tools that this could deserve it’s own site, but I’ll keep it short.

Use Aweber for the best auto responder, delivery rates, and if you can afford the $19 a month you will also get awesome US based support.

If you are trying to go no budget or low budget get Mailchimp is free to setup and run up to the first 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails delivered monthly, and then after that you can pay per use.

Another thing to note is that Mailchimp now has auto follow ups you can use, there is tagging and A/B testing available so you can run two different headlines against one another, and you can test out different wording and you can integrate it pretty much anywhere.

And keep in mind there are a ton of paid for services out there as well, but you can pretty much ignore them until you get to at least a 10,000+ person list.

There are many other tools out there on the market and I certainly don’t have experience with them all; however, if you are already running a successful business offline and simply need an online presence and need help ranking then I suggest you check out an SEO agency or hire someone with SEO skills like the folks at rainmakerdigital.com.

Hiring someone who knows SEO, and is an experienced practitioner who plans to stay up to date on all the rules and regulations, can save you time and earn your more business more customers.

5. Time

This is the biggest cost, and the most overlooked in my opinion, especially if you have a successful business already.

If you are reading this and you have a business earning you $100+ an hour already, then you would be wasting money if you didn’t hire an experienced SEO or Webdesigner who can do all of this for you.

It’s literally taken me weeks to learn everything that I have about design, SEO, keyword research, and I’ve invested thousands of dollars in my education to learn about online marketing and business.

If you are not yet running a business and looking to start one and have the time to “learn by doing” then by all means, but if you already have obligations with your business and don’t have time to waste then consider hiring a professional to help you with setting up and maintaining your online portions of your business. 

Keep in mind, if you have the free time to do so, then by all means learn through trial and error, there’s nothing wrong with losing $48 on a hosting plan if you decide that blogging as a business isn’t for you, or you don’t like the site design and or wordpress in general. 

But if you are already in business and you understand how important your time is, then you can see why hiring someone to do all of this is a smart investment. 

So Realistically What Should All This Cost Me?

Well if you are starting and running your own blog as a business, and you have little to no knowledge of SEO, SEM, Email Marketing or online advertising then you may be able to get a site up and running for only a few hundred dollars. I’ve outlined some common scenarios for folks who could benefit from starting up an online presence: 

For the Budget Bloggers or the “Dabbler”

I suggest you start with a free service like Blogger or Tumblr, then eventually if you start to like writing or documenting your chosen topic, consider transitioning it to one of the hosting providers that I mentioned.

 

For the Ready to Get Started Blogger

$48 for a year of hosting on siteground or bluehost / hostgator

+ $11 for a domain on namecheap (free if you setup with sitegroundbluehost, or hostgator)

+ Moz, Semrush or Ahrefs

+ Free Email marketing with Mailchimp or you can sign up for Aweber and get awesome support, help with campaigns, and unlimited deliverable emails.

+ Free Yoast Plugin for SEO

= $59 plus time.

You can realistically expect to make a few hundred a month after 6-12 months of serious blogging in your niche and promoting a course or affiliate links on your site.

The big focus should be delivering valuable content to your readers each week, every 2 weeks, or every month (however frequent you choose to blog).

For the Just Getting Started Small Business Owner

If you already run a business and you are looking to get your business online it would look more like:

$250 for a logo design (unless you have your logo design already)

+ WordPress design ($500 – $2500)

+ $35 – $290 a month for hosting on high end servers such as WP engine

+ hire your own copy writer and designer (varies but expect to pay $20-100 a post or page – expect to need anywhere from 10 – 100 pages for your site depending on your services)

+ Email marketing (varies depending on who you use)

= $1610 – $8230 for the first year (fixed costs like logo design, wp design, and copy are constant the first year, other ongoing costs include hosting, email marketing follow up and ongoing SEO – which are factored into the first year of service estimate).

For a more detailed estimate reach out by contacting me.

For The Established Business Owner

If you are a multi-location business, or you run a franchise, you will want to hire an agency or a company with copy writers, SEO on staff, or work with a full service suite like Rain Maker Digital where you can get all the services done for you with measurable ROI metrics and KPI’s or consider hiring your own staff who can be on the clock working for you to help dominate your SEO and SEM efforts, social media marketing, and your client touch points. 

 

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3 Reasons To Host Your Own Website

I’m going to share with you 3 primary reasons why I no longer use the free website builder sites like blogger, Tumblr, and wix and instead my own Website Hosting for only $4 bucks a month (which is the same as what I was paying wordpress{dot}come for their “personal plan”).

When you are first starting out in business, whether online or off, you don’t really know anything. In fact, you don’t even know what you don’t know… Cliche, I know, but it’s true.

Which makes it extremely hard to know the difference between the different resources and what they do.

So here are Three Lessons I had To Learn the Hard Way about website hosting

  1. Nothing is free: You will either pay with money now or time later. If you haven’t had to deal with site migrations or downtime on your site then you don’t understand what it’s like. Most hosting companies offer an extremely low rate and a la cart options followed by a bunch of additional services as optional buy ups. This is not only annoying but can start to add up if you don’t know what you are doing.
  2. SEO Out of the box: I learned this later but none of these “free” sites allow for you to use SEO monitoring tools besides the built in monitoring items.
  3. Your content isn’t really yours. Sure you can download it at any time but what happens if they decide to boot you from their servers or the server crashes. Good luck trying to backup something that crashed. It’s not veryl likely but it’s posisble. so in order to prevent losing your online asset I suggest you don’t do the freemium models and instead you host and backup your own site.

Nothing is Free

I would still choose to use wordpress.com over other free site builders such as wix, blogger, tumbler and instagram for the following reasons:

  1. You own the content and it’s easy to transfer (though not free if you want someone to do it for you)
  2. It’s the same framework: think languages Chinese -> Chinese; or Spanish -> Spanish, not Spanish -> Russian.
  3. Once you start to learn to use wordpress you won’t want to use anything else. The framework is very much like using apple or android, you begin to get used to the platform and then you don’t want to change.

So What gives, why can’t I use these free sites?

I’m not saying to not use them if you are just starting out, or you are still in highschool or college and don’t have a steady income just yet, I think starting out and testing the waters with some of these “freemium” sites are great. Just understand that if you decide to really shift gears and start to build your presense out online that you will want to consider moving from the renter to the owner position.

What’s the ‘renter’ vs the ‘owner’ position?

You can think about these “free” websites like rental units.

You don’t own them, and for many folks that’s fine you don’t really want to own a $1M home if you have $30k in student loan debt.

But, if you are effectively running business, or planning on starting a business, which will have the potential to cashflow more than the cost of your mortgage each month would you rather own that property or rent it?

And I know a lot of Dave Ramsey fans are out there screaming RENT! RENT!

But in the long term, what does Dave say? You want to own the property, of course he says you want to pay cash for the whole thing, which is kind of in line with the saving for retirement mentality… but still, the idea of ownership is great because it becomes your asset and not simply a liabilty or expense.

See, the secret to wealth, as I understand it, is to aquire assets and minimize liabilities. So rather than spend all my time, money, and energy building someone else’s wealth, I would much rather own the asset, and the cashflow, and the equity such that later I can sell it for X times what it’s worth.

In real estate we follow the same principles, buy with other peoples money, minimize the downside, and have other people live there to pay the rent to build your asset which later cash flows for you.

In the digital world these same principles apply.

We either own or we rent. It’s ok to rent for a while until you have proven a concept and it makes sense to begin to build ownership. Later, properties which you own and control, become assets which not only pay in cash flow each month but can be sold for a profit.

Social profiles are in line with the “renting” philosophy, you are essentially using their servers to host your “digital property” but if they decide to evict you or shut down the power you are done, and often times you have to pickup and lug all your crap to the next place or they just throw it out in the dumpster.

SEO Out the Box

WordPress.com has limited features for free, they brand their site with their logo (which no one really cares about), and you are limited to having a “follow this blog” option, no email lists building, or facebook popup building, and you don’t get google analytics.

With the free version of wordpress you don’t get any support from their staff, and going to WordPress meet ups and Wordcamps you won’t be able to learn much about how to adapt and change your wordpress site.

Ownership

Unfortunately, I’ve had to pay quite a bit for my mistakes over the years with site building and business starting. To date I’ve invested over $7700 in my personal education and learning about how to effectively run a profitable business, which is a whole lot less than what I paid to get an education and job after college, but still it wasn’t cheap and heres why.

It’s cost me just around $300 to setup and run websites, which if you think about it isn’t all that much in the long run. Why has it cost this much you ask? Well it comes with learning through trial and error. I’ve wasted quite a bit of money on domain names that really aren’t that smart, on sites that were doomed to begin with, and testing quite a number of different solutions to problems that I had and others had too.

What I can say is that it’s always best to start small and scale bigger over time, and running a site online it can come with costs which you are going to pay with either time, money or energy.

There are 3 common scenarios people find themselves in reading this post
(A) just starting out and have little money to invest in your business then a free word wordpress.com site or another free platform could be a great option to test some ideas before you sink $3000 into site development.
(B) you have money to invest in your business, $1000-3000 and you are willing to learn about site hosting, site development, or other aspects of business online/offline
(C) you have money and you just want to pay someone to do it for you to save you time.

So what’s the cost of renting vs. the cost of ownership?

Rent:
wordpress.com I spent
$59 on Premium themes which don’t transfer
$52 on Domains
$48 a year for The “Personal” Hosting Plan on WordPress ( removes ads and wordpress.com branding)
$129 for Site Transfer

Own:
On my own managed wordpress site with SiteGround I get SSD servers (fast & little to no site down time), free migration, free email support, a domain name for 1 year all for $159.
I can install google analytics
I can customize my site with unlimited plugins
I have up to 10,000 visitors a month traffic
All this costs the same per month as the “personal” plan with the rent service without having to upgrade through the freemium levels.

Blogger is the same structure, free to start with and then you pay more to get more.

The one plus to blogger, which is googles free blogging service, is that it comes out of the box with google analytics in the site. The only problem is that you don’t own the site, ie. If you need to pick up your crap and move it then you literally have to chuck everything in a box and move. There isn’t any “organizing it” or site transfering. All the formatting on your site will be gone when you move. Many of the photos could be broken. You could have some “lost in translation” stuff.

Moving sites sucks, and most of the time It makes total sense to pay someone to do it and not bother with doing It yourself.

In Conclusion

If I could do it over again, and save myself time money and headache, I would simply start with a single idea for a wp hosted site and then go to siteground.com  and get the basic wordpress hosted package for only $4 bucks a month and reserve my domain name for $10 bucks over at namecheap.com

This includes the wordpress.org open source software installed on super fast Solid state drives, which have little to no down time, and comes with email support and a very responsive support staff. This is super easy to setup and you can run as many names as you want.

Alternatively you could checkout hostgator.com or bluehost.com which can be cheaper but ultimately are all pretty much the same, but I do think they try and up sell more and i’m not so certain about their support staff.

Ultimately though, anything is better than being at the mercy of the freemium services and their slow, slow, loading times and restrictions.

Steps for Starting a Small Business From Your Garage, Apartment or House

It doesn’t take much to start a small business, you can literally start one from your garage or a spare bedroom and it can be done for less than $100. Also, and this is a main sticking point that most folks get held up on when they are trying to start their own small businesses, you don’t need business cards or a fancy website. I will repeat, you do not need business cards or a website to start a small business. 

What you need is a problem.

Solve a problem and then you get customers. With customers, you get business cards and a pretty logo on them. But if you ain’t got a problem to solve then you don’t need the business cards.

In the next couple sentences you will learn the 5 step framework you can use to start your own Small Business, on or offline, even if you just want to earn a little extra side income.

Step 1: Brain Storm Problems

The first step is to look for problems to solve. Is there a problem you are having or someone else you know is having which you know of or have a solution for?

There are literally endless problems needing to be solved and you can be the one to provide a solution for this.

I’ll give you an example, your mother is elderly and she is in a wheel chair thus she is not able to take stairs nor get in and out of cars easily.

Her issue is mobility, so cooking and taking care of chores would be a bit of a challenge for her. You, and the rest of her family, live in other states and are unable to move back because of your job.

So the problem, as we have defined it, is that your mother’s health is limiting her ability to move and thus do simple tasks like shop for groceries, go to the bingo parlor, go to the bank, or even just move around outdoors.

Just with this alone I can think of at least 3-4 possible solutions, and thus small business ideas that you could start, to help her and women like her.

  1. Personal Shopper
  2. Personal Assistant
  3. Task rabbit, ride share, Instacart
  4. Assisted living – some people are open to this and others are not
  5. Products like an electric wheel chair, a health button, or a set of supportive apparatuses that assist her with moving.

There’s always “more than one way to skin a cat” and no one solution is best for this problem, it’s very much so dependent on the individual and their situation. Some costing more than others monetarily, while others cost more in time spent, but as you can see there are options.

I’ll give you another example, in the health and Fitness Market.

What are people’s problems? Here are just a few:

  • Need to lose weight (physical need)
  • Want to lose weight (emotional need)
  • Limited mobility and range of motion (physical need)
  • Not strong enough to move body (physical need)
  • Want to “look skinny” (emotional need)
  • Want to look not “skinny” (emotional need)
  • Spouse doesn’t find me sexy any more (emotional need)
  • Have a physical limitation such as injured limb or limited mobility (physical need)

None of these is “right” or “wrong” in the market, they are just different needs and wants. Thus there are many ways of solving some of these problems. 

If you now look at “how does my solution address this need and solve this problem they are having?”

Once you Identify a problem that you can solve, you can begin formulating a benefits statement. Some Examples:

Need: I need to lose weight

Solution: Get this fat blasting workout program so that you can LEARN how to eliminate pesky body fat, get strong lean muscles, and develop habits which will lead to lifetime fitness, in a matter of just a few sessions. 

Notice the selling proposition is in terms of the benefit for the person trying to solve a problem.

Another example:

Need: Elderly person needing to have a part time helper to assist them with lifting heavy things like groceries, and maybe moving furniture.

Solution: Are you sick and tired of your kids begging you to move into a home only for you to remind them that you aren’t broke, you just need help with the heavy stuff? Get help only when you need it with on demand help from (Insert service name). We send out a service helper to assist you with not only lifting your groceries, but shopping for them and delivering them right to your door. Save time and energy with this convenient service. Get your service helper today!

Now you don’t have to sound like an infomercial, but you get the idea. The benefit is in the service and the “what” it does for them. If you are helping little old ladies with their shopping, or busy executives with their shopping, somehow you need to answer the question “what’s in it for me?”.

Step 2: Research Your Market

Now that You’ve identified a problem, find out what other people are saying about that problem.

You can go to sites like Quora, Pinterest, Reddit,  and start to see what questions people asking, what subjects people are talking about, and what problems people are trying to solve. Avoid social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, twitter and Linkedin for the first couple weeks of your business. They will distract in the beginning, though they are a great way to develop an ongoing conversation with your customers once you’ve identified a problem. 

The reason I like Quora, Pinterest, and Reddit is that these sites it’s not about social approval. These are more search focused, where as your “Social media sites” are focused on funny, fun, and entertaining stuff. It’s there to make you want to click deeper into the rabbit hole and not focus on problem identification. Facebook has a “feed” for a reason, they want to feed you so that you are constantly gobbling up their information and thus staying on their site not others… thus wasting time.

So go elsewhere for problem identification.

Other good ideas are Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Craigslist (check out the help wanted section and community), and sites like stumble upon and ask the public.

Find out what these people want.

Are they asking about the right food to eat?

Are they asking about healthiest recipes to make for a family of 4?

Are they asking about how to double their income or get out of debt?

Are they asking about how to invest $50,000 for a $12,000 a year payout (difficult but possible)

These are all surface questions, but surface level questions will point you in the right direction. The other question you need to ask is, what are they really trying to say? What problem are they trying to solve? 

Here’s an example conversation:

P1: What is the best way to lose weight? (public forum)

P2: Great question, are you trying to lose weight or build muscle?

P1: Lose weight, I want to get a six pack.

P2: Ok, in order to lose fat you need to build muscle. It helps to burn fat.

P1: Really? How do I do that?

P2: Well about 70% of it is your diet and lifestyle choices. I would start out with a couple questions first to help determine your best path. Would that be ok? 

P1: Sure! 

P2: Ok. First off, are you consuming, if any, junk food (ie. packaged food, chips, frozen dinners, candy?) and if so, how often? How often are you eating per day? Are you exercising much right now or not at all? How much water are you drinking per day? Are you consuming any caffine? 

P1: I do eat a little junk food, sometimes I eat out. I buy frozen Amy’s dinners and some candy every now and then. I eat at my work, they have a cafeteria. I usually eat 1-2 times per day. I don’t exercise. I drink water a couple times per day, maybe 3 cups. I drink coffee in the mornings but not after 12 pm.

P2: Ok so it sounds like you are not doing too bad.

Now at this point you have an opportunity to provide a solution, this can be in the form of a service, a book, a youtube video on the subject, a link to your website for an article you wrote about this matter, or just straight advice.

You have to consider online relationships like in person relationships, only slower to form. Don’t spam them with offers before providing value.

You send them an article answering their question, or a blog post you wrote, or a video which talks about building muscle through diet and exercise. Proper nutrition and rest are the quickest ways of building lean muscle. If you curate great content then they will be interested.

Now that you’ve answered some of their questions you can ask them follow up questions like:

P2: Just out of curiosity why are you trying to lose weight?

P1: “I’ve been told by my doctor that I have to or I risk having a (heart attack, diabetes, lung failure, further pain in my joints) etc.” or “I just want to get in shape and not look fat”

(not all strangers are this open, this is an example, but I’ve had people tell me some personal stuff only having met them a few minutes prior).

P2: Ok, so start making your meals at home the night before. You will save more money, start to lose weight and feel more energize throughout the day. Just pack yourself more food than you can actually stomach to eat, and make sure there are lots of fruits, apples, bananas, pears, and veggies, carrots, broccoli, with hummus. And make some healthy meals (include Link to blog article on healthy meal prep).

P1: Wow thank you, I’m going to try it.

P2: Great, commit to doing it for 2 weeks and then re-assess how you feel.

P1: Ok thank you so much!

Now you have validated that there is a need and you’ve provided value. write down or document somewhere the questions that you asked and the answers that you got because this is what we in the business and marketing world call “market research”. 

Step 3: Make An Offer To Solve Their Problem

Facebook Market place is a great place to begin making an offer.

You can also start out with a small following on instagram, or Pinterest, or your own website, or going over to the reddit community. But a word of caution, make sure you have engaged with this group for at least a week and provided ACTUAL VALUE through human interaction and asking / answering questions before offering anything.

Again, If you don’t follow the…

Provide value > Provide Value > Ask Questions > Provide Value > Make an offer

…format then you risk being a pariah and being outcast because you are “salesy”.

You don’t want to get kicked out of your own Cool Kids Club…

Now, when you make an offer, make sure that it addresses a perceived need, not just fulfill your wants to make money.

Of course you can’t do it for free but you want to be offering something that provides value to your potential customers.

Here’s an example of a business I’m starting with my girlfriend and we’ve actually been following this process for our small business launch.

She Posted this in the Facebook Market Place:

“I was noticing that a lot of folks are having problems with eating right and meal prep. I was thinking, what if I came to your house and helped you with meal prep? Would anyone be interested in that? Cost would be around $100 – 240 per week”

The obvious answer from health seekers who are just starting is…? YES!

So with that, anyone that was interested and asking questions we told them that we needed to put together a recipe list first, and get feedback to make sure that we provide the best possible experience, and that we would notify them once we had the meals ready.

Some questions to ask your clients who may be interested:

“Great question, Just out of curiosity why were you interest in X?”

“Great question, if you are interested in learning more about ____ and would like information sent to you on the program please send me your email. I promise to never spam you.”

Customers that were interested we asked them politely for their email address to notify them when we had a recipe outline.

Next, we sent out a simple survey using google forms which explained a little bit about the service and the though process behind it:

Then it asked a few basic questions:

Name, zip code, would you be interested in healthy made meals?

Would you be interested in delivery?

Which of the following 3 is most important to you: saving time, getting healthier, saving money?

Which meals of the day are you most interested in?

Which meals would you pick for breakfast? (3 options for each)

Which meals would you pick for Lunch? (3 options for each)

Which meals would you pick for dinner? (3 options for each)

What is your biggest challenge during the day?

How many meals a week would you be interested in?

How much would you expect to pay?

Any other thoughts or questions?

Step 4: Build a Prototype

This is where you create a working model or mockup of your solution.

For us, it was prepping meals for ourselves for the whole week, then our room mate, then doing it for friends and so on.

What this does is it shows you estimated costs for costs of goods sold, labor hours involved and any other expenses like containers and such.

Without knowing your costs you don’t know if you stand to make a profit or not (which you need if you want to be able to do this for the long term).

Starting out small and growing over time allows you to risk less and scale over time so that you don’t have to deal with sudden growing pains or sudden loss of everything.

Imagine a child growing 16 inches in a month… Owch!

When you are starting a business, it is your child, don’t try to make it grow too fast or you could hurt it or worse…

So once we figured out our costs, and all the other costs involved, we had a minimum viable product and the next step was to begin offering it to our customers.

Step 5: Offer your Prototype to clients and see if it sells

You can now take that group of interested prospects or potential clients and offer them the good or service and offer them a sample rate.

Basically start taking orders.

First thing we needed to do was take some photos of the product, and then share it with our potential customers, making them an offer of what we could do, where we could deliver to, and how much it would be. Cap the initial orders at a limit we thought we could produce, then wait for response.

Oh, and collect payment before you start doing all the work. It just makes it easier for everyone.

Once you sell out, repeat the process:

Ask for feedback > Make it better > sell out > repeat

In Summary

There you have it, my 5 step framework to starting a small business, online or offline, and a case study (me and my girlfriend), to share with you how it’s working.

If you have a problem chances are someone else does too and if you take the time to create a solution, then chances are you can sell that too.

So go out and find out where these people are hanging out and ask them what they think, feel and need.

Build a minim viable product, something with not a lot of bells and whistles but delivers on your promise, and ask your customers to try it or use it.

Once you collect feedback, improve the product, order or build a small batch, and then try selling it.

Once you’ve sold out of the product ask your clients for feedback on the product and make changes based on the feedback.

Reinvest the products and repeat the first 4 steps.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment below and share this article with your network if you found this article useful.

How To Move Past Paralysis By Analysis

Are you feeling stuck? Are you struggling to make progress towards your goals? Have you felt information overwhelm?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then listen up. This little nugget of wisdom will help you break free and make progress

Are you feeling stuck? Are you struggling to make progress towards your goals? Have you felt information overwhelm?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then listen up. This little nugget of wisdom will help you break free and make progress

Don’t Over Analyze Things Before You Start

One of the biggest challenges to getting started with you know paying off your debt starting up your own business starting to develop a lifestyle that you choose to have is overthinking.

I remember that I tend to think a lot about things and have a very analytical mindset or so I’ve been told.

I tend to analyze things and I’ve actually noticed that I have paralysis by analysis by not “doing”.

Something that I’ve found it’s not just a struggle I have, it’s a struggle that a lot of people have and the only solution that I can think of that can help solve this is to take action. 

I know, you hear it all the time in self-help circles and internet marketing circles and in online business circles like Amazon and eBay. You always hear “just take action, take action, take action” and it’s like alright I right I get it I’m supposed to take action but you’ve given me eight 18 hours of content how am I supposed to take action whenever i’ve I’ve got 17 days worth of videos to watch?

The simple truth is that you are not supposed to have all the answers when you start. If you continue to research and research and “think” before you act then you are going to get stuck in that “paralysis by analysis stage”. 

So the simple solution is to take small actions and small steps, small commitments, and then grow those small steps and actions into bigger ones. 

Now if you’ve got only $400 to your name, or even just $200 to your name, right we’re HECK! Seth from Just One Dime  had literally “Just One Dime” to his name he grew a business to the $1MM + mark

In the beginning he was working for someone else and was making his money to only be able to pay his bills and stuff but his actual startup capital was a dime, as in a single coin.

He just went down to downtown Austin and kept asking people to double his dime until he got to $400 and then once he got up to about $400 and he re-invested in products he could sell online

A simple example of you how you don’t have to have much to get started. You could start with only 50 bucks, going out to garage sales on the weekend and find some stuff to sell on ebay and amazon. You could also start up a blog, or start up a Shopify site and learn how to get traffic to your Shopify site. 

The point is, you can get started with a small amount of investment capital and scale things up really big.

Don’t Over Commit and Allocate All Your Resources to Just One Venture

Don’t commit 100% of your finances to starting a business that isn’t proven yet.

Don’t commit your mortgage, don’t take a second mortgage on your home in order to get a loan to start a business that you don’t have experience in

If you had experience you’d have cash flow coming in from your business you could then use to fund another venture. 

Don’t commit a hundred percent of your money, don’t commit a hundred percent of your finances unless you’ve only got 400 bucks to your name.

Test small at first and buy stuff for ten bucks or something. Once you start turning a profit then you can reinvest that into bigger purchases.

If you are just starting out, you can afford to gamble more of what you have and lose it all, but if you can manage to gamble less than 10% of your total investment capital then do that and test small. By lower cost items at first or start up something free like social media and learn how to provide value first and get paid to do so.

Once you have some capital to reinvest then begin spending more and aim for lower cost investments where you can maximize your return first.

How To Getting Started Selling Online In 3 Easy Steps

MSOL_Ebay_AmazonHow To Getting Started Selling Online In 3 Easy Steps

If you think that you have to have a bunch of capital to start up a business then you’re wrong. You can start selling online with just a couple dollars and start flipping for a profit.

If you get setup with a free craigslist account and a free facebook account you can start flipping products you find on craigslist to facebook for NOTHING, nothing but time that is… or if you have a few dollars to spare you can start with finding stuff locally and selling it on ebay and amazon.

Heck! You can even start selling things from around the home.

STEP 1: Learn Where To Sell

If you aren’t already familiar with the different market places then selling online can be rather tricky as you won’t know where to sell what.

The first step to selling online is to familiarize yourself with some of the common market places such as eBay, Facebook, craigslist, Etsy, and of course probably the biggest one Amazon.

Once you’ve become familiar with what is listed on these different market places and what is common to sell you will start to understand where you can offer different items.

For example, craigslist is a good resource to find local sales, garage sales where you can find inexpensive near new items, and free stuff give aways.

You can then turn and sell the garage sale items (such as used books and toys that are open box) on amazon and ebay, and the free stuff on facebook market place (usually items too big to ship like tv’s and speakers).

STEP 2: Learn How To Find Products That Are Already Selling

Next, you will need to find out what is already selling. The best way to do this is to download two free selling apps, ebay and amazon.

With Amazon, the sales rank will help you understand which items are selling best and which ones are flops.

If a book has a sales rank under 500,000 then it is a solid book, but be careful of having too low of a sales rank because it can be too competitive and then become non-profitable.

One of the best courses on selling books is the ProvenBookSourcingCourse.com. In that course Bryan goes over everything that you need to get started sourcing books and what to look for, how to scan, scanning technology, and some other common resources.

Really though, the trick is just to get started, and one of the easiest places to get started in my opinion is finding and listing stuff on eBay.

I love going out to garage sales and using my eBay app to search for toys and for other items that I can flip on amazon or eBay just by checking the “sold” tab under filter.

The Ebay Garage Sale Research Method

  1. Open the ebay app and do a search with the text field or the camera app and select “filter” in upper right.

ebay_Screenshot_text_031318

2. Select “sold items”

ebay_sold_selected

3. Go back to the search results

ebay_sold_results.jpg

Now you should be able to tell if an item is profitable while you are out and about at garage sales. You can use the recent sold prices to get an estimate as to what you can sell various items online for. Often times I find items that some people are selling for only a couple dollars but one person has sold for 5x as much within the last month and I end up selling it for that as well. So don’t go based on the low price go based on a blended average and look for the last time something sold.

The Amazon Research Method:

Now you can also go ahead and start listing stuff on Amazon as well, and here’s a video on how to get started doing that:

 

The best things that sell on Amazon from garage sales and thrift stores are opened box items that haven’t been used or damaged (you can close the box and send them in but check to make sure it has all the parts), brand-new items that are discounted at local stores, clearance items, and used books.

There are of course more advanced strategies for selling online out there but this is the basics, finding local inventory and listing it online for the whole world to be able to purchase.

For a more comprehensive course on selling online I recommend you get the proven amazon course. It’s constantly updated and being refreshed with new courses every year for how to run an online business.

STEP 3: If You Are Struggling, Get Help

Like most people, I struggled for a long time on my own before I decided to get help, but once I did everything got easier.

If you prefer to work on your own, and learn from each and everyone of your own mistakes then by all means, do it on your own.

It’s definitely a slower growth process than some would prefer, but if you are starting from 0 then this is the place to begin.

Buying books for Pennys and flipping them for $100 bills is a great way to have some small wins and roll those back into the business.

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