Category Archives: Advice

I’ve hit on perhaps the most important aspect of success in life and business.  In order to really accomplish your goals you need two things:

  1. To know what to do.
  2. To get stuff done.

Getting started in business requires a change in your daily routines. Changing from the mentality of working for someone else to working for yourself is not as simple as it seems. That change is a big part of what many people get hung up on.

The book “Change or Die” really introduced me to the complexities involved with truly changing your behaviors and mindset. It involves more than just deciding that you want to take on something new. Think about how many people make New Years Resolutions and then never follow through. All the best intentions in the world is not enough to stick with a change. Even the threat of death isn’t enough to get people to make permanent change. The surprising thing is that no matter how much you think that you’re different, that you can change, the statistics tell a different story.

The other thing to note is the importance of good rituals. A ritual is a special type of habit that is designed with a logical purpose to accomplish a goal. Rituals free us from the decision making that we would otherwise have to make on a daily basis. Here’s the kicker. Psychology studies have shown that after taxing your mind with the stresses of decision making, your ability to complete intellectual problems is actually significantly reduced.

A good ritual allows you to get more done with less thinking.

So the real crux of the problem is: how do you make a new ritual stick?

Here are some tips:

  1. Be as specific as possible in what your ritual entails (how it will be done)
  2. Include transition time to allow time to deal with getting ready or changing your mindset.
  3. Ask yourself when and where you’ll do the ritual. (be very specific)
  4. Don’t take on too much at a time.  One new ritual per month is more than enough.
  5. Be prepared for the mental resistance you’ll get for the first 2-3 weeks.
  6. If you’re having a particularly hard time it could be that by adding the new ritual you’ve had to remove something that was a valuable part of your life.
  7. The support of friends and family is very important.  Someone that will really hold you to your commitments can be a real help.
  8. Visualize, and mentally rehearse everything you can.  Doing something mentally is sometimes better than actually doing it.
  9. Create smaller rituals that help you center yourself. Something as simple as closing your eyes and breathing could trigger you to disconnect from stress and focus on what’s important.
  10. Ensure that there is flow and reduce the chances that you have any reason to think during your ritual.  Leaving things in the right places so that you don’t have to go looking for them for example.  When you have to start thinking you’ll be more likely to get sidetracked.

In the last few months I have started changing my rituals and have noticed HUGE improvements in the amount of stuff I get done.  Hopefully these tips will help you create your own rituals.

At just $10 this book this book is perhaps one of the best investments you can make.  Tony Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement is a brilliant piece of work.

The ability to focus could be one of the most important determinants of success. Something that I’ve come to learn in recent weeks is that it’s possible to get amazing things done when you take time to remove distractions and focus on a single goal.

There is a huge problem these days with people trying to get too much done. We pile lots of work up and then try to tackle it all at the same time. It leaves us feeling stressed. But it also doesn’t allow us to get the momentum we need on any specific task to really succeed.

There are two aspects of focus to keep in mind. Quantity and Quality. Quantity is the amount of continuous focus you put into something. It takes practice to learn how to be good at focusing on a single thing for an extended period of time. It’s worth practicing to build your endurance. The quality of your focus is about what you choose to focus on. If you focus on the things that give you the most leverage in you business you’ll get the most progress done.

How do you know what to focus on? It should be things that will lead you towards your long term goals.

If there’s a secret it is to use a countdown timer. Set it for 50 minutes, turn off everything that could interrupt you and don’t do anything other than the one thing you need to get done until the alarm goes off.

If you want to learn more about how to really put your productivity on afterburners check out this amazing book, The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

This guy has made a huge impact on my life about 5 years ago. Eben Pagan is an internet marketer like none other. He has built a $20 million empire selling information products. The most high profile of which is the “Double your Dating” brand where he operates under the pen name David DeAngelo.

I learned about the Double your Dating program before I was really into the internet marketing stuff. I’ll admit that his program sucked me in as a university student and it was probably the first thing I had ever bought online.

David DeAngelo introduced me to many new concepts in the series of products that I bought from him. His depth and breadth of knowledge about, not only dating, but also psychology, health, and some more esoteric things like hypnosis, and NLP had me hooked to learn more from this guy.

Recently he’s started to open up into the world of Internet Marketing. And will soon be launching a new program called the Guru Mastermind.

I highly recommend that you sign up for the email list, and watch some of the videos that he’s doing to promote his new program. Check out the always interesting and always well dressed Eben Pagan at Guru Mastermind

I’ve been learning a lot about copywriting lately by listening to some of the world’s best copywriters namely John Carlton, and Gary Halbert. I’ve read a number of books on the subject of sales and selling and marketing. Though I wouldn’t consider myself to be a good copywriter I have developed a sense of what qualifies as good.

Why is it that telemarketers have the lamest scripts of all. Someone must be the professional copywriter that pens those things before handing them to the people that actually do the calls. It’s as if they’ve broken every rule about good marketing. I hope they get fired.

The last telemarketing call I got was for an identity protection program that costs $15/month. The script was lame, uninteresting, and felt like they were taking my attention and wasting it. It was 5 long minutes that I’ll never get back.

If I were writing the copy for such a sale it would go something like this:

Hello, I’m looking for [First name]


Hi Mr/Ms [Lastname] I’m [callers first name] calling on behalf of [business name]. Have you heard of Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a growing threat that many of our customers are worried about and I want to share with you some FREE TIPS that you can do right now to help protect yourself against identity theft. We value you as a customer and it’s in our best interest as well as yours to prevent identity theft. I have FOUR really simple things that you can start doing today to reduce your risks.

First, when you’re throwing bills, receipts and invoices in the garbage, make sure you use a paper shredder. Identity theives can get a lot of information about you from your garbage, names, addresses, phone numbers, and bank account information found in the garbage could be used to create fake documents and steal your identity.

Second, only buy things online from reputable sites. Ensure that the page you punch your credit card information into is encrypted and that you trust the site to be able to keep your information safe. Hackers have on several occasions over the last years broken into website databases and downloaded hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers. Making many accounts vulnerable to fraudulent charges.

Third, use cash. Recently sophisticated criminals have been swapping out point of sale keypads for ones that have been modified to record all the card information that gets swiped. Make sure that credit card and bank card keypads are either fixed to the counter or have another way that would prevent someone from switching keypads.

Lastly, [business name] is offering its GOOD customers a program that will actively search for fraudulent charges, and newly issued credit cards under your name among other things in order to keep your identity under your control. Since starting this program we’ve identified [insert number] identity thefts in progress before any damage was done to our customers. We’ll also throw in a copy of your credit report and give you a consulting call with a credit expert so you can ask questions about improving your credit score, or anything else regarding your credit score or report. We’re offering this today FREE for the first 60 days and after that we’ll have to charge you $14.95 per month because it’s not easy to stay one step ahead of the criminals and we have an excellent team devoted to keeping you safe. If you’re interested, I’ll just have to confirm your address so we can send you your free information package in the mail which should arrive by [5 business days from today]

Can I confirm your mailing address and get this sent out to you today?

Hell, I might have bought it with that script.

endeavour.jpgIn my last post I mentioned that I was thinking about the difference in investing in stocks vs investing in assets you can sell online. That thinking has evolved over the last week into deciding what is the best way to bootstrap a new online business.

You see the internet business that I started last year has been languishing since the beginning of the year without making any sales. Now I’m thinking of a re-launch, but this time I want to do it right from the start. A proper start that will create not just a small number of sales, but something that will be a real business.

The problem is that I’m basically starting from scratch again. I have the website set up but it’s getting no traffic. I have no email list, no connections, and no product. I’ve found a niche that which has made me $600 and I want to explore further. My next thing to do is to plan the creation of a real business from scratch.

Different internet marketers are all selling different approaches but the one thing that is hard to find is exactly where to start. If you have an email list there are tons of good products and ideas out there that you can just drop in to quickly make a huge impact in sales. If you’re already getting good traffic to a website then there is tons of stuff out there for tips on how to increase your conversions and how to leverage that traffic into collecting emails. If you have a product then there are ways to find other people to help with selling it.

But what do you do if you don’t have any of that to start with?

There are a couple of ideas that I’ve been spinning around in my mind. I’ve been weighing the benefits of different approaches. Launching a business properly is no easy task.

I still haven’t figured out the entire approach that I’m going to use, but stay tuned to this site as I reveal my business launch plan over the next few weeks.

I’ve been thinking about investing.

With the upset in the markets over the last few months due to the credit crisis, and a looming recession in the US which has led to record low interest rates as a last ditch effort to keep the economy growing. With many stocks taking a nose dive, I’m weary about putting more money into my stock investing account until we hit the bottom.

I’ve been trying to think of good alternate places to invest. To diversify my investments to something that has the potential returns of the stock market but isn’t as susceptible to market swings.

After reading a couple of blog posts (such as Why Do So Few Bloggers Sell Their Own Products? by Yaro Starak) and doing some pondering. I’ve come to the conclusion that investing in assets which you can turn around and sell could prove far more lucrative of an investment.

One of the things that I’ve done for this website and my online business ventures is to set aside some money automatically from my bank account into a savings account. This money is to be used to get HalOtis profitable and increase the cash flow. In the past I’ve used this money to pay for Google Adwords campaigns and pay for hosting of sites.

The missing part of the picture has been lack of products and business assets that I own and can resell over and over to continue to make a profit passively.

Lets compare the potential costs and returns from an investment in product creation vs. the stock market over a one year investment period.

Case 1

$1000 could be used to outsource the creation of an ebook and marketing material that would sell for $25. If you add in about 20 hours work to do some videos for youtube, find some affiliates or jv partners, create some webpages and link to those site with the social sites. The sale of just 40 copies of the book is the break even point. Lets say you have a fairly terrible launch and over the course of the year manage to sell just 50 copies. That works out to a total income of $1250 subtract the $1000 cost gives $250 profit or 25% return on investment for the year.

Case 2

$1000 invested in the market during an average year should return about 8% if invested in a market wide ETF. Of course, you’re at the mercy of the market the only thing you have control over is when you buy and when you sell. Market timing is notoriously difficult. Still, lets assume you had an average year and you’ve made your 8%. That’s $80 minus trading costs.

What’s the biggest difference between these two scenarios? In case one, you’re in control you decide what the ebook will be about after testing the market, you build the anticipation, you control the quality of the product and can do what ever it takes to create something that people want and then convince them to buy it. In case two you’re at the whim of the market, and of macro economic trends. There’s very little if anything you can do to influence your chances of beating the market.

Furthermore, it’s possible to leverage the exposure you get with this first product in case 1 for subsequent products. There’s the chance to create an email list, build authority, make connections to other sites, get more exposure in the search engines etc which can be leveraged time after time to get a bigger and bigger return each time. Not to mention that you can sell other peoples stuff at no cost for even more income!

When looking at these two scenarios side by side it’s easy to see that investing in your own product creation is a very effective way to invest your money.

Over the past four or five years I’ve tried to run websites monetized with advertising. In all of those years my biggest pay day was probably the one day that I made almost $4 from advertising clicks. At the time I was pretty ecstatic about the $4 payday. If I could just double the traffic to the site I could be making $4 everyday and maybe have a couple of $8 or $10 days. That would start to add up and I’d be able to put the money towards a new computer or something.

That never happened.

After years and years of having various websites my total income from Google Adsense is currently just $55. All those many hours of work over the years I was effectively making just pennies per hour. I don’t want to knock the idea of writing for a passion and you just happen to make money on the side. But the only way I can see to start really making some serious money online is to actually get closer to the actual sales part.

Affiliate Marketing is really a step closer to the business. Rather than just offering some space for a business to advertise you’re actively help make that business some income. They’ll reward you for that extra effort.

If you have a website right now consider adding a real product to the site to sell. Here’s how:

  1. Open a ClickBank account and find some products that are related to your niche in the marketplace.
  2. Get the hoplink for anything that might be of interest to your readers.
  3. Do up some advertisements and display them prominently on your site, like you would with Google Ads.
  4. Test test test.

Some more advanced things you might consider is to split test different ads or different products. That’s possible with something like OpenAds or just do some click counting with my url re-direction code.

Consider that for many Clickbank products you’ll make more on one sale than you’d make in a year with Google Ads. Give it a try!

Note I realize that this I use Google Ads, but that’s just because I want to hit the payout threshold so I can finally get paid for all those clicks over the years.

Today I wanted to get my desktop set up for doing some python programming. The process couldn’t have been easier and was way better than anything possible on Windows.

On Ubuntu, I opened the package manager and did a search for python. went down through the list that it brought up to find a good IDE to develop in. I found the python plugin for eclipse listed.

That was it. I checked it to be installed and it automatically selected all the requirements. Press install, and it started to download all 42 required packages. No hunting around.

So I didn’t have to go to Python.org to get the python runtime or development libraries, or Eclipse.org to download eclipse, then use Google to find the python plugin for eclipse and figure out how to install that.

It might take a full day to set up a development environment for python on a windows box. I did it with 1 click, and 5 minutes of download time.

Package management used to be the worst part about linux. In the old days you’d have to use a site like rpmfind.net to search for each package you’d need, then try to install it only to find that you needed more packages. Before that it was even worse, you’d have to download and compile the source, which would break and you’d have to search through the error messages and then find another thing that provides the particular file it was missing.

These days installing software on Linux is a dream.