A Simple Tip To Raise Your Profile And Get You Lots Of Attention

by Paul Joseph July 18, 2011 Featured

Last week, I was asked a series of very interesting and valid questions by one our readers, Malik Mirza . Malik wanted to know about ways to deal with continuity and consistency , marketing and competition in blogging . Because there’s such a wealth of experience among the different writers on this blog, I suggested asking some of the other writers the same questions to get a variety of answers and options for tackling these issues. One thing I know for sure, is that what works for one person, doesn’t always work for another, but there’s always a way to get what you want if you keep looking. In this blog post, I’m going to look at some of the things I’ve learned from my own experience of marketing and attracting attention to my work. Success By Association Marketing is interesting… from my experience so far, one of the most effective kinds of marketing seems to come through association with someone who is high profile in my niche. Even if they aren’t in my niche, but are somewhat related to my work, this still works. Leveraging my profile by association is something I would never have paid any attention to before it consistently proved to be a great generator of interest and attention. When people associate me with someone they already hold in high esteem, then they start to take more notice of me. It consistently shows up that being associated with a “big name” or recognized “authority” generates more interest and attention even though I’m the same person sharing the same information as before. I Always Thought This Was Weird This has been a very weird thing for me to reconcile with. I never used to get photos of myself with well-known people I met, and I didn’t understand why other people did. I used to think, “ Why do people do that? Having a photo of yourself next to someone important doesn’t change who you are – having them next to you in a picture doesn’t make you any more valuable than you already are.” But having seen how effective it is for leveraging my own profile or even just to get people’s attention, I’ve started doing it as well. Why Does It Work? Malik wanted to know why this works, it seems that both of us can be somewhat perplexed by this phenomenon. Reason 1: One of the reasons leveraging profile by association works is that people are so bombarded with so much information fighting for attention, I think they just can’t give an in depth appraisal of everyone’s work. Taking a recognized authority’s reference is just faster & easier. Reason 2 : Another reason is that people do generally want to be seen as part of the “pack”, we’re wired to want to fit in as part of a survival mechanism. So if person “A” is a trusted authority, and person “A” says person “B” is worth listening to, people will agree if it looks like that’s the general consensus. Reason 3: A third reason is related to your values and filters. You have a unique set of values through which you filter the world and these same values direct your actions in life. You’re constantly screening people and events through these filters. Recognized and trusted authorities have already been passed through the filters and you trust them because they align with your own value system and have demonstrated their value. Because the trusted authority has your stamp of approval, people who are associated with them are given a more streamlined passage through your filters. Profile leverage by association gives you a jump-start on everyone else who is vie-ing for attention. It’s important to note, just because you associate with a high profile person, it doesn’t mean you are immediately accepted as someone who has something valuable and valid to share. What You Need To Do To Make It Work It’s completely pointless to run around getting associated with high profile people unless you’re doing something that adds value to them and gives value to others. High profile people have massive demands on their attention and the key is to focus on how you can help them rather than what they can do for you. I’ve found that my writing skills are a highly valuable resource . I can offer them to add value to people I want to be associated with and give value to others as well. Writing for Yaro is a great example of this. I’m also getting to spend a day interviewing one of my favorite businessmen in August. Nobody gets to spend a day with this man for free, he is flat out and in great demand. I offered to take transcripts of the interviews, write up some articles for his PR team to use, and depending on what content we uncover, I may be able to put together a few chapters to go in a book for him. If you want to make use of leveraging your profile by association, the golden rule is look at how you can add value to the person you want to be associated with, and how you can give value to others . Two More Ways To Get Extra Attention There’s a myriad other ways to generate interest and draw attention to what you’re doing. Before I sign off, I’ll mention a couple more things I know have worked. I have two friends, Fran and Gideon who have found YouTube videos to be the holy grail for building business. Another friend, Leonie , was recently featured on the Word Press Freshly Pressed page. Leonie was on day 4 of a 30 day writing challenge when her blog was selected for the Freshly Pressed page. This generated around 3000 page views and nearly 90 comments, very exciting traffic for a newbie blogger! I’d better buzz and get some other work done! Hope this has been useful and I’d love to hear your comments at the end. Cheers, Neroli Get your bonus copy of my book “How To Start An Internet Business & Make Your First $1,000 Online” Download Here

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5 Effective Reading Strategies For The Busy Entrepreneur

by Paul Joseph July 13, 2011 Featured

Entrepreneurs are often curious, passionate workaholics. Yes, that’s a generalization – but often true. We want to learn more about things – our business, our world, our customers, our industry, our marketplace, our technology and other stuff. And we each have our preferred ways of staying up to date. Watching TV. Listening to the radio. Reading books. Subscribing to magazines. Surfing the Web. Even getting an assistant or professional service to summarize the most relevant information for you. One thing you cannot afford to do is fall behind. Information is indeed power , especially in today’s “knowledge economy”. And that’s why the staggering fact that the average American reads ONE book per year is so shocking. (I don’t know how different this figure is for other countries, but it’s probably representative). I average between 2 and 5 books every week , and my bookshelf is loaded with reading material, both professional and entertainment. Indeed, my taste in books ranges widely, with spiritual guides and business reviews rubbing covers with medical texts, the latest pulp fiction or copywriting tutorials in my bookshelf. And this isn’t all that I read. Online, I browse forums, blogs, news sources, article collections and social networks to stay on top of things. Studying so much material has given me a serious competitive edge over others in my market. And many entrepreneurs would agree that “ applied information ” is one of the secrets of their success too. Why Does Reading Matter? There are many benefits to studying new material regularly: Course correction – Learning something new helps you measure your progress against benchmarks and allows you to make changes that will power you ahead more surely and steadily. Keeping up with trends – Shifts and changes have devastated some industries. The unwary and uninformed were those crushed in those turbulent times. Being aware of trends helps your business adapt and stay competitive. In-depth knowledge – Expertise takes time to acquire. Study any subject for 10,000 hours and you’ll become one of the world’s leading experts. And there are some areas where detailed knowledge sets you apart from competition. 1. Read Longer I recently polled my contacts on social networks to ask how much time they spend reading every week. Not surprisingly, the answers were all over the place. The most frequent response was 2 hours a day . Maybe you’re surprised at that. Maybe you think there’s no way you can find two hours every day to read. Well, if you are serious about keeping up with your business world and remaining competitive, it’s time you started trying. Despite a hectic schedule, I manage to squeeze in 3 to 4 hours of reading every day , often early in the morning or late at night. It may not always be ‘easy’ and you might have to make small sacrifices – but the pay-off is rich and well worth the struggle. Here are some ideas to find reading time: Give up (or cut down) watching TV Wake up a half hour earlier Go to bed a half hour later Carry around a book and make use of ‘down time’ (waiting for a meeting, flight or client) 2. Read Faster I’ve been an avid and voracious reader since childhood. And a key factor in reading so much has been my reading speed. As I wrote this, I tested my reading speed using an online test and it says my speed is “504 words per minute” . For material that I enjoy reading, my actual speed could be double. When you consider that the average full-length book is between 50,000 and 300,000 words, I can zoom through it in 1.6 to 10 hours of reading time. And by reading faster, I’ll save 10 hours in comparison to another reader who can only read half as fast! When it comes to speed reading, practice indeed makes perfect. Concentration impacts your reading speed, as does the absence of external distractions. If you’re serious about improving your reading speed, you can try: Attending a speed reading seminar or course Buying a speed reading book and studying the techniques Using speed reading software to train yourself to go faster No matter which learning method you follow, the improvement in your reading speed will benefit you massively – for the rest of your life. 3. Read Smart What type of books (or other material) you read impacts your overall benefit from reading in a very significant way. A powerful mental image that I use frequently to highlight similar concepts is one that I first read in a book by Stephen Covey called “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” . It was about a man who scrambled quickly up a very tall tree, reached the top, and looked around… only to discover that he was in the wrong jungle! Doing things fast is not always more effective. Doing them right matters more . And that applies to reading as well. When you focus on the right kind of things to read, you get greater advantage from every minute invested into the activity than if the greater part of your reading time is spent weeding through junk. That’s what makes ‘Top 10′ lists and ‘expert recommendations’ so powerful and valuable. Some tips that may help you read smart: Look at ‘best-seller’ or ‘recommended’ lists (if many others thought it was good, it probably is) Seek peer group suggestions about the best sources of reading material Keep a critical watch on what you read, and be quick to abandon wasteful drivel (How often have you plugged on with a book just because you started reading it? Stop doing that – it’s not worthwhile!) Skim the highlights and dig deeper only where you feel you need more detail Make it convenient to access quality material (buy or borrow books to keep by you for whenever you are free to read, bookmark favorite online resources, subscribe to great blogs in your RSS feed). If you click here you’ll see one of my 4 bookshelves – with titles I’ve bought so that I’ll be able to refer to them quickly whenever needed! 4. Read More Everything else being equal, the entrepreneur who reads more (and applies the information effectively) will steal a march over another who doesn’t. As the reading habit grows on you, keep exercising it like a muscle . You’ll be amazed at how much more information you’re able to consume, process and apply in a relatively short time. In biographies of business icons like Donald Trump , Bill Gates , Richard Branson and many others, one common theme is the prodigious volume of information they have access to, and stay updated about, on a regular basis. At his busiest, Gates is said to have personally overseen the progress of almost 900 different projects – on a weekly basis! (And you thought it was EASY being the world’s richest man, huh?!) That sounds impossible – until you start pushing yourself as you gain facility at consuming and applying new information in your business and life. When you find a helpful resource, you’ll often come across references in it to other related information and material that will enhance your understanding about the topic that it covers. Following these links to explore new content sources will broaden and deepen your level of expertise. Before you know it, you’ll be a widely regarded subject specialist – and it all comes from reading more. 5. Read With Purpose Simply reading more books without doing anything purposeful with the knowledge you have acquired is as wasteful as not reading at all! Knowing what you hope to get from reading is the best way to maximize your time. In very broad terms, you may be reading for: Information – This comes from studying how-to guides, news updates, technical manuals, polls, surveys, research reports and similar content. Inspiration – When you study success stories, case reports, biographies and histories of famous companies, you feel energized and excited about replicating their models and successes. Insight – Editorial commentary, opinion pieces, guest columns and special reports or whitepapers can sometimes spark a breakthrough idea, fuel innovation or provide a flash of illumination that creates revolutionary impact. No matter what you’re reading for, be sure that you get value from your time and effort – by having a plan . Record the big (or small) lessons you gained from what you read Jot down ideas you intend trying out in your business or life Highlight passages that you liked very much – and scrapbook them for later Share relevant books and magazines with others in your team or mastermind group for discussion and debate Set deadlines and targets for any actionable steps you plan to implement based on whatever you read All of this will enhance the value you get from reading – and act as a positive feedback loop to encourage you to read even more. Then apply that learning towards further growth. So get passionate about reading more. Start today. Find some time to read. Learn and practice reading faster. Read as much as you can. Do it the smart way. And have a purpose to your reading. Oh, and let me know if you read any great books that I should look at too! Dr. Mani Get your bonus copy of my book “How To Start An Internet Business & Make Your First $1,000 Online” Download Here

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6 Fundamental Traits of Great Small Biz Managers

by Paul Joseph July 7, 2011 Featured

Being a successful business manager is not always as easy as it may seem. Effective management requires the ability to blend a technical understanding of your business, excellent people skills, effective decision making abilities, and more. For many entrepreneurs, ideas, planning, and big-picture tasks might come naturally, but being a manager might be a different story. But even though being a good manager isn’t easy, it is simple. In other words, it only takes a few skills to heighten your effectiveness as a manager. To significantly improve your performance as a manager, work on demonstrating the following managerial traits. A great manager is… 1. An amazing communicator. One of the most important managerial skills to possess is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely. Whether written or verbal, having outstanding communication skills is a requirement of any good manager. If you have the ability to compose well written documents and engage in motivating discussions with employees, you’re already on the right track! 2. Enthusiastic and optimistic. Have you ever noticed that when one person in a group has a negative attitude, the attitude of the entire group tends to follow?  As a manager, you need to remain enthusiastic and optimistic so the people you’re managing will reflect the same positive energy. Your customers will pick up on this positive attitude, and will be more likely to not only spend their money with you, but also bring you repeat business. 3. Confident in his or her area of expertise. All successful business managers are masters in their areas of expertise. Learn from managers in your field who have proven themselves to be very successful, and try to find one or more mentors to follow. By doing so, you’re not only given a terrific example of success to refer to, but you’ll significantly shorten your learning curve and avoid some of the mistakes they might have made early on. 4. Able to delegate effectively and efficiently. Having the ability to delegate tasks properly does not mean placing crucial tasks on the other members of your team and trusting them to follow through. Instead, discover which members of your team are best suited for particular tasks, provide guidance, and follow up with your team members to make sure that everyone‘s got a thorough understanding of the tasks at hand. In other words, don’t simply bark out orders to your team members. Make sure you’re not just the leader, but truly a member of the team. 5. Always calm and collected. No matter how hard you work and how well thought-out your plans are, problems will present themselves. When a challenging situation arises, handle it in a very calm and collected way. By remaining level-headed, a solution to the problem will become evident more quickly and simply than if you fly off the handle. More importantly, you’ll earn the respect of your team members and set an example of how to handle tough problems. 6. Their team’s biggest fan. Make sure that you present yourself in an encouraging way to your team. A team can only be as good as its leader, so you need to have an understanding of what will be required in order to motivate your team members so they’ll be at their very best at all times. Be encouraging and recognize any and all successes of the team as well as each individual member. By offering this type of encouragement and motivation, your team members will be much more likely to strive for success within the business. No one said that being a manager was easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. The six traits above take practice to master, and few people demonstrate all of them as new managers, but working on each one is the important thing. As with so many areas in business, it’s progress that matters most and will lead you, eventually, to mastery.

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How To Beat Procrastination When You Don’t Know What To Do Next

by Paul Joseph June 29, 2011 Featured

This is part one of a two part series where I want to address some of the common issues that are faced by many Internet marketers. This article will focus on an obstacle I feel is stopping many people from getting started with Internet marketing. The second article will focus on proper business strategies for an online business. A growing part of my work is private consulting where I help other people with the “sticking points” of developing and growing a profitable online business. The common issues that I help people with are many of the topics I have shared with you here previously such as market research , narrowing your niche and creating a USP . Other areas I commonly help with can include developing customer relationships , product creation ideas , and strategizing . Recently I had a consult with a young man and it really brought home a few of the main points where I see online marketers failing. I thought I would share the story with you. The Story Of Tom Tom (not his real name) is a smart person and he has been dabbling in Internet marketing for a couple of years now. He does not make near enough to quit his day job, but he is spurred on by the small returns his online ventures do make and the success stories of others he reads about. After chatting with Tom for awhile, a few issues became apparent as to why he was maybe struggling with his online efforts. Like most people trying to make money online, Tom had immersed himself in the vast amount of knowledge available. He was constantly reading, researching and learning. We all know there is no shortage of information on the Internet and sometimes a bit of research can really lead to going down the rabbit hole, so to speak. I am all for learning and researching. But I am also all for acting upon that information and actually doing something with it. Sound Familiar? For example, one of Tom’s websites had very little content on it and I quizzed him why that was the case, and he told me the reason was because he wasn’t sure about what traffic source he was going to focus on. He told me he was thinking of doing some videos and putting them on video sites, he also had thought about doing some article marketing to the article directories, and lastly he was contemplating creating a Facebook fanpage. The end result? He did nothing . He just thought about what he should do or could do. It was like Tom was suffering from a term some people joke about called “ analysis paralysis ” – where so much thinking is going on that nothing actually gets done. I’m certainly not saying that some thought and planning into your actions isn’t necessary, I’m saying excessive thought and planning that prevents action is not a way to build a business. The Decision Making Rule Successful Internet marketer Jason Fladlien is known for his expertise in time management (he is the author of Double Your Productivity for Life ) and one of his key principles relates to decision making. Jason says that the ability to make decisions is like a muscle and can be trained and strengthened. If you always labor and hesitate over decisions you have to make, then your decision making muscle will be weak. If you are assertive and take action quickly, then you will build that into your decision making ability, and you will feel comfortable and confident making quick decisions. Like anything it takes practice. Once great principle Jason has is the 30 second decision making rule . This is something he implements to strengthen the decision making muscle . Jason does have some other rules related to business decisions but he says that this is a great way to get started on making decisions that you can use in everyday situations. He recalls going out to lunch with some fellow Internet marketers during a seminar and how it took ten minutes to decide where to eat. Jason highlights if the 30 second rule had been applied then they would probably already have been seated at a restaurant and already ordered their meals in this time. Break Through The Stagnation It is much easier to correct a wrong decision once it’s made then to make the right decision in the first place. I know the above statement sounds a little irresponsible or maybe even a bit crazy. But people often say the first step is the hardest. And sometimes that first step is just making a decision about what to do. Just make a start, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I told Tom that he just needed to do something . The fact is all those previously mentioned traffic avenues work. Many people have had success using each of those content methods. Obviously it depends on your market, for example Facebook may not be an appropriate choice depending on your demographic. All you can do is give it a go. Trial And Error Is A Good Thing With regards to traffic mediums, you may find you or your audience tends to gravitate towards one of the mediums. But you will never know if you don’t try . That is what is great about an online business, there can be some trial and error involved and that is OK. And while a lot of learning can be gained from researching and reading, the best learning is actually applying the information and giving it a go. So I told Tom that he needed to pick article marketing, video or Facebook and decide which one he was going to use (I didn’t mind if he used all three, as long as he did something!), and to make a start on getting some good quality content out. And now he could spend all the time he was researching, which was the best avenue, and dedicate that time to content creation and helping his customer base by providing them with some great information. Just Making A Start Can Be A Relief Well, Tom felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He told me later that the decision had been weighing him down. And it can. Decisions can go around and around in our head and wear us out. However, once we make a choice it can relieve a lot of that anxiety and give us a sense of peace of mind . Conclusion There can be many obstacles to starting a successful online business. Knowing what to do can certainly be one of them. Most of us have a general idea of what we have been procrastinating on. So hopefully this article will give you some motivation to make a decision and get started on something you have been putting off. Unfortunately, the act of not doing wasn’t the only obstacle facing my client Tom. His overall mindset and approach to his online businesses was also letting him down. But I don’t think he is the only one suffering from an ineffective online business strategy. But more about that next week. Leevi Romanik Get your bonus copy of my book “How To Start An Internet Business & Make Your First $1,000 Online” Download Here

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Identifying Your Best Customers – and What to do with Them

by Paul Joseph June 28, 2011 Featured

Who are your best customers? Are they the ones who spend the most? Are they the people who you enjoy dealing with? You might think this is a subjective question, but there is a methodical way to identify the customers that are doing your company the most good. At a conference in Phoenix a while back, author Steve Wilkinghoff presented a very interesting process for this. The method outlined below isn’t necessarily easy – especially if you have a large customer base – but if you want to truly maximize your profitability, it’s essential to evaluate what you’re selling to whom and how. Customer Impact on Your Business It’s important to understand how your customers affect your business. Many business owners will say that every customer is just as important as any other, and all should be treated the same. While delivering great service to everyone is clearly a good idea, it isn’t true that all customers are the same. Obviously anyone who spends money with your company can be considered a customer, and they affect your revenue every time they make a purchase. There are other ways in which a customer can have an impact on your business though, and they can vary greatly from one customer to another. For example, which products or services they buy can make a big difference. Also, how you acquired the customer, how they interact with your company, and the level of service they require after the sale can all make significant impacts. If you want to increase you company’s profitability and experience considerable growth in a short time, a great place to start is by evaluating your customers and making adjustments based on your findings. The numbers side of the evaluation is the easy part, but just as important is customer resonance (how positive or negative interactions with the customer generally are). The best way to determine this vital factor is to go to any and all staff members who interact with the customer and ask them to give each customer a rating from 1 to 10. Their score will often be determined by what some companies refer to as the PITA factor (we’ll let you figure out what the acronym stands for), but it’s important to keep this a positive exercise. You aren’t trying to create an ‘us vs. them’ mentality within your organization. This evaluation can be part objective and part subjective. The objective part is anything like the number of hours of service provided, number of calls into technical support, the length of any particular customer’s sales cycle. The subjective part really comes down to how the customer treats employees.  This type of evaluation is an easier task within a sales and service organization, but even in the most basic retail setting, your employees will know which customers they look forward to seeing, and which ones they dread. Plotting for Success Once you have an evaluation of each customer complete, and each has been assigned a resonance score of 1 to 10, it’s time to create some graphs. Don’t worry – no math is involved. Generally you want to create three separate graphs: one for profitability, one for cash flow, and one for ROI (Return On Investment). They’ll look something like this: Now What? Now that you have your customers plotted on your graph, you have a visual representation of how each group of customers is affecting your business. In the top left quadrant , you have high profitability customers who are hard to deal with. These customers might just be grumpy or picky people, or they might be unhappy with your company. Either way, they are not likely to be loyal, and they are at risk. Depending on how low they are on the resonance scale, you might or might not want to work harder to keep their business. The bottom left quadrant represents customers who are difficult to deal with and result in low profitability to boot. Some say drop these customers immediately. The problem with that is they are bringing in some revenue, and if you dump them, you’d better have a plan for replacing it, or your cash flow might suffer. At the top right quadrant , you find the customers you wish you could clone. These are the folks who are helping your business not only by being profitable, but by requiring less maintenance and just being generally good for morale. This is the only quadrant where a higher cost of acquisition makes sense. Study these customers. Where did they come from? What’s their demographic? Go out and find more of them! Last, but certainly not least is the bottom right quadrant . This is an exciting group, because they represent great opportunity. They might not be buying the products or services you would want them to buy, but they are probably loyal and could be moved into the top right with the right kind of attention. If you want to make a significant impact on your bottom line, pay a lot of attention to these folks and find out what it will take to get them buying what you wish they’d buy. Is this a lot of work? It can be. But it’s well worth it. If you have a large customer base, take them a chunk at a time. As long as you’re working on it and willing to make some adjustments in your methods where necessary, you’ll see a bigger number in your bank account before you know it.

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Eccentric Canadian Shares How To Profit Using His Simple Story Telling Method

by Paul Joseph June 27, 2011 Featured

Hello again, this week we’ve got part two of the Shaune Clarke interview, and I promise it’s just as packed with unusual and insightful tips for business as part one: Why Keeping It Real Is Your Best Selling Tactic In fact, this week, we get to cover something I’ve made a fuss about a few times in previous posts . Some of you might remember me waxing lyrical about the power of story , Shaune explains how it creates connection and builds relationship with your audience, and it’s application for sales and marketing. He also explains the art of story and it’s role in graceful persuasion , overcoming unwarranted sales resistance and creating resonance with your audience. Shaune speaks about the role of intuition in his business, and how his work has lead him to help other people find their purpose and understand their unique giftedness . So settle in for another adventure exploring topics that cover the core of successful business, and morph into the esoteric realm of our human experience. How To Build Credibility Through Story Shaune begins by stating that resonance is key when it comes to creating a connection and building trust with our clients. He then tells us a story to illustrate the power of resonance , and reminds us that our customers are going to come to some conclusion about us on their own before spending money. Shaune’s a big advocate of being strategic when it comes to communicating and presenting, but even with all the strategy in the world, you can’t know exactly how your clients are filtering the information they receive, so they will come to some conclusion that doesn’t necessarily relate to your strategy. This is the gift of stories, they build resonance unlike all the other things your clients are expecting, like testimonials and credentials. Customers have preconceived notions about, and unwarranted sales resistance to the things they expect . Resonance through story is not only under the radar , it’s a very elegant way of conveying the same information that we do in testimonials or displays of credentials. Testimonials and credentials are still valuable and valid, but clients expect them and what’s more, they can get very bored and resistant to them. How To Overcome Unwarranted Sales Resistance Through Story You know that glazed over looked and feeling you get with the same old blah ? I know I get it and I’ve actually seen on this blog when a reader responded with annoyance to a writer listing off their credentials. The writer wasn’t doing anything wrong or different to what we all do, and what is espoused the world over for building credibility. The problem is, we’re all so used to this drill that we get that glazed over, jaded response to it, which of course, is the last thing you want happening in your customers’ minds. Part of Shaune’s training helps people learn to relay a story in bullet points , the aim is to get the story across quickly, clearly and concisely , so you don’t lose your audience. It’s key to impart what’s in it for them, that’s what your customers are thinking, and they don’t have time to waste on you if you don’t give them value for their time spent listening and learning from you. He explains that: A story needs to be a well articulated metaphor that brings a lesson . Story As A Multi Faceted Approach To Securing Sales The beauty of story is that you can bring so many layers to it, resonance is just one layer. Story has a huge trust building element . For Shaune, story is the art of graceful persuasion, creating resonance and demonstrating value . A well defined and succinct story can build trust, establish credibility and create an awareness of your value to your clients. Shaune gives a demonstration of himself telling a story and breaks it down for us. He uses it to display his credentials in a way that builds resonance and doesn’t land on us like he’s trying to impress us with his credentials. Trusting Your Instincts I ask Shaune about intuition and the role it plays in what he does. Shaune explains that our intuition is the first thing that gets sacrificed because we don’t listen to it if we don’t believe in ourselves. Unfortunately, this is a common challenge for people the world over. Shaune has spent 20 years doing extensive work on dissolving his emotional blocks . All of us have these and have a choice to work through them in the way we see fit. He says this has played a big role in him being able to believe in himself enough to trust his instincts or intuition . Shaune’s adamant that we are all intuitive beings, but he believes we may have different types of intuition. Shaune’s specific intuition is around seeing the value that people can bring to the world. He is inspired by helping people find their purpose and he’s been trying to do this his whole life. It’s one of the reasons he loves speaker training, because he finds the clients that come to him for speaker training are wanting to awaken to their giftedness and are ready to take the next step. Finding Your Purpose And Unique Gifts He’s been through a few different methods to try to help people find their purpose, but speaker training has proved to be the most effective method to accomplish this. He is inspired by the awareness that we all have a unique purpose and giftedness , he knows this instinctually and has been on his own quest to find how this is demonstrated in life. Shaune believes there are different types of instinct and intuition related to the different types of giftedness in individuals, and the only thing that stops us from listening to our unique intuitive knowing is not having a level of trust in ourselves to allow ourselves to listen to this inner voice. My experience of learning from Shaune in his presentations, speaker training and doing this interview has been invaluable . I honestly love being around someone with a mind like this, who shares such unique insights into business and human behavior. I’m going back to his one day training on July 30th. I’ve attended this training twice before, but there are so many layers of understanding and so many dimensions and applications for my business that it’s crucial for me to keep discovering the next level. If anyone reading or watching these interviews is interested in seeing Shaune presenting live, you can click here to see when and where he’s speaking. Unfortunately for international readers, his days of traveling the world and presenting are on hold, and those of us in Australia are extremely lucky he’s living here so we get to learn from him. Fingers crossed he might take to the skies for some international appearances again in the future. Once again, thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your comments at the end. Cheers, Neroli. Get your bonus copy of my book “How To Start An Internet Business & Make Your First $1,000 Online” Download Here

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Young Entrepreneur Interview: Divya Gugnani of Behind the Burner

by Paul Joseph June 23, 2011 Featured

For anyone working in an industry that isn’t their true passion, inspiration can be found in our talk with Divya Gugnani, entrepreneur, TV personality, author, and founder & CEO of culinary media brand Behind the Burner as well as Send the Trend . Having created a successful career in the world of investment banking (a career with which many professionals in that industry would have been perfectly content), Divya never forgot her love for the culinary arts and finally left the finance world behind to pursue her true passion. Now, she’s doing what she loves, and doing it well. She and her company have been featured on MSNBC, American Express OPEN, CBS News, The Huffington Post, and Tech Crunch, just to name a few. She’s a shining example of what an entrepreneur can accomplish when they’re doing what they love. Enjoy the interview, and share your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page ! You are the CEO of Behind the Burner, CEO of Send the Trend, and the author of the book, Sexy Women Eat: Secrets to Eating What You Want and Still Looking Fabulous . You’re also on the board of New York Entrepreneur Week and appear regularly in all forms of media. How do you balance it all? Sleep is an indulgence! I also have a great team. At the end of the day, every successful endeavor comes down to people, and I surround myself with smart people. When you’re the dumbest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. You refer to Behind the Burner as a “culinary media brand.” For our readers who aren’t familiar with Behind the Burner, can you give us a quick overview? Behind the Burner is a culinary media brand that focuses on tips, tricks and techniques for food, wine, mixology and nutrition. We create videos that can be seen on NBC NONSTOP network across the US as well as recipes, blogs, and interviews with chefs, sommeliers, nutritionists, and winemakers that can be viewed on the site.

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How to Recover, Rebrand, and Revive Your Business

by Paul Joseph June 13, 2011 Featured

As a brand strategy consultant for a few small companies, I’ve recently seen a worrisome trend growing progressively worse: business stratification . Typically businesses stratify for two reasons – sometimes they stratify for growth, but more commonly to prevent a collapse. Both have their dangers and both can be risky and pose detrimental side affects on a businesses. By and large though, stratification is a common action taken to diversify services, marketing efforts, and image, in order to attract more clients or sell more products. Stratification is often poorly achieved by creating off-shoot brands either separate or under one business. Stratification often tries to lead potential customers in an inward flow back to a central service or product output. For example, creating three websites for three new experimental services that a businesses owner thinks his company may be able to deliver through existing resources and then waiting to see if one of them catches in order to supplement lost revenue. Unfortunately, if the ship is leaking, plugging small holes while the hull has an iceberg in it won’t help in the long term. Most often a serious overhaul is needed if sales have declined by over 40%. Markets change, customer demand changes, and sometimes we fail to be preemptive in adapting.

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How To Conduct A Quality Podcast Interview In 7 Steps

by Paul Joseph June 6, 2011 Featured

Six months after starting this blog back in 2005 I purchased what at the time was a cutting edge MP3 player, called an iRiver. It was a 20GB HDD MP3 player, a principal competitor to the dominant iPod. I didn’t get an iPod because I wasn’t a mac user yet. I wasn’t a fan of itunes (I’m still not a fan) and I hated the way iPods were “jailed” to itunes. My iRiver was essentially a portable hard drive that I could stick any file on and carry with me. If it was a music file it would play it, no questions asked. I Discover A Microphone One of the features of my iRiver, which initially I ignored, was a tiny little microphone. It didn’t look like more than a dot cut out of the plastic case. That dot would be my doorway into the world of podcasting . If you are not familiar with what exactly podcasting is, I recommend you start by reading the introduction I wrote a few years ago here – What is a Podcast and How Can I Use One? Using my iRiver I recorded spoken audio – just me talking into the mic – that I uploaded and distributed on my blog. If you want to hear how much of a novice I really was, you can find my early recordings listed on the Podcast page right at the bottom of the sidebar. Fast forward to today and I have recorded more than 70 episodes of my show, most of which are interviews with other entrepreneurs. I stopped using the iRiver a long time ago, however podcasting remains one of my favorite methods to produce content on my blog. It’s a great tool for meeting other experts, learning from them and providing value to your audience. Podcasting is also a fantastic marketing technique . My podcasts are often shared between friends and sometimes when I interview someone prominent they link back to my site to inform their readers about it. It’s quick, relatively easy, makes for fantastic content and brings traffic to you. Of course all of this rests on your ability to produce a great podcast interview, so let’s take a look at how you can do that next… 7 Steps To A Successful Podcast Interview I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts from my industry and I’ve noticed that many of them, although providing some value, are often let down by the quality of the questions asked by the interviewer. I’ve compiled the following seven steps to help if you are considering running a podcast and interviewing people. These tips represent what I have learned as the best techniques for you to get the most out of the people you interview. The better an interviewer you are, the better the quality of your podcast, and thus your audience will really benefit from the content and share it with others. Here we go… 1. Equipment: What software and hardware I use I’ll cover this first since people always want to know what tools I use to record my podcast interviews. I have a Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch Laptop . I have a fantastic mic, Snowball USB Microphone by Blue Microphones , which slots into any USB port and should instantly be available in any software you use (you may have to select it in the audio options). I usually plug in a standard set of iphone/ipod headphones when conducting interviews so I can block out the ambient noise. That’s all I need for hardware. For software I use Skype to call the person. Sometimes I use the SkypeOut function (you can call any phone with SkypeOut, but you will need Skype credit to do so), but most of my interviews are Skype-to-Skype. I just ask for the Skype username of my interviewee, we arrange a time and then connect. The benefit of Skype-to-Skype is the digital connection makes for better sound quality. You can also use Skype video to record video interviews. To record the call I use Call Recorder , which is a Mac only program for recording skype. Before switching to Mac I used Skype and the software Pamela to record my interviews using PC. Today for efficiency I record my calls and will say an intro and outtro at the start and end of the interview to remind people that they can get more podcasts from my blog. By doing this I don’t need to edit any of the interview post call, I can just take the raw .MOV file, convert it to MP3 using iTunes ( here is how to do this ) or any MP3 converter (I sometimes use Garage Band ) and upload it directly to my server. If something goes wrong during the call and I need to stitch two files together, or edit in an intro (I used to add theme music to my earlier podcast episodes), I use Garage Band that comes with Mac. When I was a PC user I used Audacity to do all my post-production editing, which is a free download. Currently I set my MP3s to MONO at 128kbps during the conversion process, which results in a high quality sound at about one megabit per minute in size (60 minute podcast is roughly 60meg download). If you are worried about filesize you can drop this to 64kbps or 32kbps and still retain quality. I upload the MP3 to my Amazon S3 account for streaming media using Bucket Explorer , set the permissions to public, generate a download link and then take that link and place it into my blog post. I use the Audio Player plugin for WordPress to generate a streaming file version that looks like this – I also link the URL to a plain hypertext download link so people can save the file to their computer. I write a little description of the person I interviewed, highlight the best parts of the interview, add a photo and click publish. Done! Now let’s talk about how you can convince people to come on your podcast as a featured interview… 2. How To Convince Famous People To Come On Your Podcast The first piece of advice I recommend when it comes to convincing people to be your next interview victim is to simply ask them . Nine times out of ten this has resulted in a “yes” for me. If you approach really really famous people obviously you will face more resistance. It’s a smart idea to not approach the big players until you have some history behind you. This gives you the opportunity to practice, and also build some audience. It’s easier to convince someone to come on your podcast when you can say certain other respected people have already come on and you have X number of listeners. I also find referrals are a great doorway into the world of certain people. If you can’t reach someone directly, get to know a friend of theirs and ask for an intro. The more well known you are, the easier it is to convince people to join you for an interview. Networking works. Most of the people I interview either I meet in person at networking events. I’m introduced to through networking online, or I approach them after reading about them on another blog or website. Some, like Tim Ferriss , come to me when they have something to promote, and if I think their story is interesting enough I will record an interview with them. 3. Focus On Your Audience There is one thing I want you to keep in mind the entire time you are on the call with your subject: Who are your audience? Just like when marketing your products and services in your business, you need to have a strong understanding of what your customers needs and wants are, where they come from and what language/style they use to describe their problems, when conducting a podcast. You need to consider all these things when interviewing. The better a job you do of this, the more popular your podcast will become. One of the key mindset shifts I make while conducting an interview is to get into the shoes of the “avatar” of my target audience. The avatar is an example of the typical person who listens to my calls , and in my case I always focus on beginners who want to learn how to start a business and make money online. While interviewing I think about whether the questions are being answered in enough detail for a beginner to understand. If the steps aren’t explained, or no examples are given, I ask the person I am interviewing to break these things down. This works particularly well when I am personally curious because I want clarity too. For example, when conducting an interview recently with Scott Valdez , he explained how within two weeks of starting his business he had more customers asking to buy his service than he could handle, so he had to create a waiting list. Naturally I asked him how this happened and he said the story behind his business (Virtual Dating Assistants) was picked up by various media outlets, including television coverage in the USA. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering exactly HOW Scott managed to get this much press coverage. So that’s exactly what I asked him. He then proceeded to break down the process of how he went online and found the contact details for 150 journalists and emailed them all a template about his story. He even explained how he found the contact details, giving enough detail that a listener could replicate what he did. This level of detail is important, and most people you interview won’t automatically break things down for you. You need to ask them and keep asking them until you have the specifics. To help you do this, drop your presumptions and knowledge about the person you are interviewing and become your target audience . Then you will know what level of detail you need to dig out of the person you are interviewing. 4. Begin The Story: Find Out Where They Came From A key lesson I learned about conducting quality podcast interviews is to see the person you are interviewing as a story . You are there to help facilitate the revealing of their story to your audience. To begin this process I always ask my subjects to go back in time and take us through their lives to bring us up to date on their current project. Everyone I interview has some kind of key theme, something that makes them special and a real success story. Revealing how they became successful is important, and discovering how they came to the place of success by digging into their past is a great way to begin a story. I usually ask my interview guests questions like this at the start of the interview – Where they were born What schooling they had and if they did any university studies If they had any jobs before becoming entrepreneurs How they developed whatever skill or speciality they are know for If the had any businesses/websites before the current project You can use these questions as is or adapt them for your interviews. They should lead you to the next step, talking about their current success. 5. Find Out The Secrets To Success Once you break down the history of your interview subject you can move on to the core reason you brought the person on the call. This part of the interview focuses on whatever successful project or reason that person is famous (or infamous). I find every person I interview usually has two “secrets” to reveal when it comes to whatever they are successful at. What practical steps they did and in what order to get the result they achieved What mindset/strategy sets them apart and was responsible for their success You have to be careful to cover BOTH aspects, not just one. Talking strategy is great, but often it’s more inspirational than practical. It gives people hope and motivation, but they don’t have anything they can actually take away and do. The practical steps make your podcast a training tool as well as a source of inspiration and ideas. 6. Wrap Up The Story And End With A Summary Once you have broken down the entire process your interview guest went through for their current success and revealed their life story leading up to that success, you can begin to wrap up the interview. I like my interviews to go for 30 minutes to an hour at most , so I always keep an eye on the clock to see how things are progressing. Towards the end of the interview once I have everything about the core story explained, I use the remaining time to fill in any gaps I may have picked up on while the interview progressed. Often I’ll pick up on something that wasn’t fully explained but it wasn’t appropriate to stop them at that point. For example, I might ask them to explain their marketing technique in more practical detail, or talk about how they found their business partner, or even simple things like who built their website and how they found the people who work for them. Having run a business myself I’m naturally curious about certain key things that I consider the major challenges, things like – Technology Marketing How to find good people and what to pay them How to find good partners and structure partnerships Exit strategies, including finding buyers and completing a sale Obviously these questions are relevant to the entrepreneurship industry. You should consider what are the major challenges in your subject area or you have personally experienced and whenever they come up during an interview, make sure you ask your guest to explain how they dealt with the issue. Once you reach the end of the interview or at any point where the guest has explained multiple processes and experiences, I like to reflect back a summary . This serves a few purposes: It helps recap, sequence and clarify the points for the audience (and yourself – it makes you an active learner while doing the interview) It may trigger further explanation points for you to ask or your guest to bring up It ends the story-telling loop , meaning you can move on to the next chapter in the story or move to conclude the interview I end all my interviews by asking my subject to list any websites or resources of their own they want to promote. I sometimes ask them to explain what they are doing next (plans for the future), or talk about what a day in their life currently is like (again focusing on specifics) or ask if they have anything to say to a person listening to them who is at the start of the process they just went through. That last question is a great ending point because it’s always motivational and speaks directly to the listener . It’s nice to end on a high that leaves the listener eager to get out there and take action. 7. Ask How As Often As You Can The final piece of advice I have for you is to always ask “ how ” whenever you don’t understand how something was done during the interview. This one tip on some levels is all you really need to be a good interviewer. If you keep asking how , drilling things down, you will keep opening new doors to ask how about. Most people are vague or very generic when they say they did something. Some of my guests have initially been very brief when answering my questions. I might ask how they did something and they will respond with one or two sentences… Me : So how exactly did you come up with the idea for your blog? Guest : I realized I liked sowing so I started a sowing blog. Answers like that do not make for a long interview and don’t really give your listener anything to benefit from. In this example I would ask them more about how they learned to sow and what skills in particular are most challenging to learn. I’d then ask them how they built their blog, what platform they used, how often they publish articles, what sort of subjects are most popular, how they come up with ideas for content, where they found readers, etc etc. Every answer opens doors for more questions, it’s just up to you to decide which doors are the best to open. If you ever really struggle with a guest who just doesn’t give you in-depth answers I recommend you focus on one thing – get personal . All people, even shy people who don’t like being in the limelight still enjoy their own lives as a subject. Ask questions that flatter and show direct interest in the subjects that person cares about the most. Ask them to talk about where they were born, what they enjoyed growing up, what they are good at, what books they read, or anything specifically about them. A quick trip down nostalgia lane is a great way to get a person interested in opening up to you. You Can Ask Why Too For more on the concept of always thinking about asking questions, here’s a similar take but this time on asking “ why ” – How To Develop A Crystal Clear Understanding Of Your Customer How Do I Prepare For Interviews? I’m often asked if I do any preparation for my interviews, including whether I have questions ready to go in advance. The answer is no, I don’t . The only preparation I do is some brief research into the person I am interviewing so I know what they are most famous for and what websites they own. To be honest though, I don’t even need this info. You can begin an interview with anyone and deliver a great podcast without knowing a single thing about them simply by asking the right questions and follow-up questions. Right now I could ask you – “ What are you most known for? ” – and that would take us down a path to learn a lot about you, and make for a great interview, no matter how boring you think your life is. I’m naturally curious about people and I’m good at coming from the angle of a beginner, so I find conducting interviews on the fly is my preferred style. I feed off the answers of my guests and probe any subjects I feel are relevant or interesting. This works well for me and always results in a good interview. However don’t assume this is something you can do immediately. Interviewing is not a skill everyone is naturally good at, and until you get some practice your own nerves may stop you from being relaxed and in the flow with your guest. If you need a cheat sheet of questions to help you conduct your interview, that’s perfectly acceptable. I sometimes take notes myself so I don’t forget to ask something. You can prepare these questions in advance or even run off a template you use for all interviews. A word of warning though – using questions can lead to a disjointed interview. If you rely on prepared questions so much that your mind isn’t open to diverging down different paths based on how your interview guest responds, your podcast can feel quite stunted. Being relaxed and enjoying the interview like a good conversation, engaging with what your subject is saying and showing real curiosity, is the key to a natural interview style. It’s Not About You One final reminder that’s important for all you people out there who love to talk – the interview is not about you . You can add to the interview, briefly, by offering your own reinforcing story , or relevant comment, but don’t start interviewing yourself. I like to focus on two things as my role as the interviewer – Asking the questions Summarizing the answers That’s all I do. Even when I tell my own stories I usually do so only as a means to summarize or repeat what was just said by my guest. If you find yourself dealing with awkward silence , don’t use that as an excuse to start filling the interview with your own voice. Keep asking questions. Follow the idea that you can never ask “how” too many times. I hope these tips have given you some insight into how to conduct a quality podcast interview . The next step is to just get out there and do it. One of the most important skills to develop is comfort in front of the microphone when interviewing people. When you first do this it feels like you have a massive audience in front of you, even though it’s just you and your guest, so there will be nerves present. The only way to get past this is to do more interviews. Practice breeds comfort and a comfortable host makes for a better podcast. Get busy interviewing. Yaro Starak Podcasting Get your bonus copy of my book “How To Start An Internet Business & Make Your First $1,000 Online” Download Here

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How To Find Your Inner Genius

by Paul Joseph June 2, 2011 Featured

I’ve been considering lately the way each of us already has a unique inner genius and how this can be found and bought to the surface. This thread of contemplation has led me to a creativity enhancing technique we have discussed previously, called mental priming . How this works in relation to our unique genius is that each one of us is already mentally primed to look for things, to know things and to store information as it relates to our highest values . What Is A Value? Dr. John Demartini says values are defined as the things we most highly prize in life, whether it’s related to personal, family, business, social, intimate relationship, physical, mental or spiritual quests. Our values arise out of perceived voids in our lives , so if we perceive that we are lacking financial wealth, then creating wealth rates high on our list of values. If we perceive that we are lacking in an intimate relationship, then finding a partner rates high on our list of values, etc. How Do We Know What Our Values Are? The way we know what our highest values are, is by paying attention to what we predominantly think about, talk about, spend our money on and fill our space with .  This means we are already mentally primed in whatever relates to our hierarchy of values. If you remember last week’s interview with John Assaraf , he referred to the way we look for things in our physical environment that connect to what we’re thinking about. That’s an example of how we’re gathering information as it relates to our highest values. Because we’ve been amassing an incredible amount of information and generating insights related to our highest values for most of our life, this is where our genius lies . In much the same way we each have a unique fingerprint, each person has a unique hierarchy of values. Dr. Stuart Brown says we can move between our different play personalities, but will usually favor one or two through out our life, we also do this with our values. We have core values that remain the same for life, and then certain values come and go at different stages. Because we have been filtering and storing information as it relates to our unique hierarchy of values, we have created a resource that no one else on this planet has. Why Aren’t We Using Our Resource Of Unique Information? There is, unfortunately, a fairly big spanner in the works, as there often appears to be when it comes to the human condition, and as usual, it’s related to our mind, perception and thought processes . If we’re already brilliantly gifted in a way that no one else on the planet is, then how come we’re not aware of this and accessing it to make our lives so much more fulfilling? There are two reasons I can find immediately. Pale In Imitation The first is that most of us are not aware of our core values, and instead of living according to our highest values, we try to live according to the values of other people, like those in our family, peer group or society. When we’re not crystal clear about our values, and don’t live according to them, we diminish our ability to impact the world through our creative expression. Whenever you hear yourself saying or thinking, “I should be doing this or that…” is an example of trying to live according to someone else’s values. If it’s related to your highest values, you just do it , there’s never an element of “should” or having to force yourself. Dr. Demartini has spent decades traveling the world, working with millions of people. I heard him speaking two days ago, and he said that he has only ever found one woman on this entire planet who was truly congruent – living according to her highest values . He said this woman was doing extraordinary things for children and children’s education around the world as a result of this. That’s a pretty eye-opening revelation isn’t it? Out of the millions of people Dr. Demartini has met and worked with across the planet, only one has ever been truly congruent. At least we know we’re not alone on this journey of self-discovery and learning how to access and express our genius. Unconscious Competence Means We Give It Away For Free The second thing that affects our ability to make use of these gifts is that we can’t articulate easily what they are, and how they relate to our values. The reason it’s important to get clear and articulate about this, is that once we do, we can place a financial value on our gifts . Then they become a valuable and marketable resource. Currently, you may be doing certain things in your business or personal life that you are unconsciously competent at. That means, you’re so good at it, you just do it and don’t even know that it’s a gift. As long as this is the case, you’re most probably giving away something that could be a highly lucrative and marketable resource for free. If we are not clear about our hierarchy of values and how this has developed a unique combination of skills and information for us, then it’s most probably being underutilized and undervalued. So we can’t be rewarded for this potentially brilliant resource. After contemplating this problem I’ve decided to do some more work on my creative character survey . I’m going to need to put in quite a bit more thought, research and structure to make it so people can find out about their hierarchy of values, and uncover the resource of information and skills they’ve been gathering over a lifetime. I’ll keep you tuned on its development. If you want to find out your hierarchy of values right now, the easiest way is to list what you think about, what you talk about, how you spend your money and how you fill your space . The things that keep showing up again and again in your list will show you what you truly value in life, and therefore it ranks highly in your hierarchy of values. Once again, thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your comments at the end. Cheers, Neroli. Get your bonus copy of my book “How To Start An Internet Business & Make Your First $1,000 Online” Download Here

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