The Greatest Hitter of All Time

A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a ball and bat.

“I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced.

Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed. “Strike One!” he yelled.

Undaunted, he picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”

He tossed the ball into the air. When it came down he swung again and missed. “Strike Two!” he cried.

The boy then paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together.

He straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!”

Again he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed.

“Strike Three! Wow!” he exclaimed. “I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”

How To Make Money Online For Free

So, you want to make money online for free? And by “free” I mean you don’t really want to buy the latest money-making-shiny-object out there that is promising to make you money over night; you want to start a business on nothing!

Although there are some great resources out there you might want to consider someday, let’s focus on what is not going to cost you any money out of the gate.

Just follow these three steps…

Step One – Have Someplace for People To Go.

When you need a free website, turn to WordPress.com. The dot com WordPress is free. Although you will be somewhat limited to what you can do with it (revenue wise vs self-hosted) it will get you off the ground and we are suppose to be sticking to “free” methods in this article.

You can build a site and they host it. There are also plenty of free websites themes to choose from so you are bound to find something that fits your business model.

Pick a topic and try to make it very specific. A site about fishing, ok. But still too broad. A site about fly-fishing the Pacific Northwest Rivers. Even better.

You can’t write to everyone. So don’t make your topic too broad. You are just looking for a group of people (readers) that will be passionate enough to read your stuff.

Step Two – Content and Promote

  1. Write Unique Content – Stay away from those article spinners out there. Just write something that comes from the heart in your own voice. Don’t hold anything back when it comes to revealing your true personality to your readers – some will hate your for it…but the bulk will love it.
  2. Promote on Social Media – Get a Facebook Fan Page. Get a Twitter account. Whenever you provide something of value, link to your website. Don’t pitch anything. That comes later. Try and connect with others that are doing the same thing or have the same hobby (those will be future buyers or cross promoters).
  3. Get a Name – You have to collect names. It is about building a list of people that like and trust you. There are a couple decent ways to gain followers on the .com version but this is where you will start wanting the .org version. You may have some luck integrating mail systems like MailChimp (free) but it will require a little bit of coding. You want people to opt-in to your list (so they can get a bribe or some free updates later). This will be your best method when it comes to selling later.

Step Three – Make Some Money

NEVER try and sell stuff right out of the gate. The biggest mistake I see people make is that they have banners and affiliate links immediately…so much in fact I don’t even know what the site is about.

You don’t have permission to sell people yet. When people come to the site mentioned above, they leave. They get the game. You only provided a minimum amount of content to try and sell them something.

However…

Once you have opened up the dialogue (lots of posts, comments, conversations) you know have permission to sell using these methods….

  1. Affiliate links (usually good when you do some sort of review of the item).
  2. Banner advertisements (if you have enough traffic)
  3. eMail Marketing

The last one is my favorite.

This is how you can keep the big G happy and still make money. Think of it this way…

People sign up for content….they don’t sign up to buy things.

Give them content.  They will love you for it. They opt-in to your mailing list because they want to stay in touch. You then send them, every so often, solid content they can use (in your niche of course).

If you keep sending them solid content, after every 3-4 communications, you get to drop in a sale.

So, there you have it. The “FREE” make money on the Internet model.

Do I think it is the best model? To some extent. I do think you really need to host your own site, which opens up a lot of sales options (the .org version of WordPress).

In the end, as long as you follow these three steps to making money online free, you have a real shot doing well and building an online business.

Steve Jobs Crazy iPod Marketing Idea That Worked

Here is a neat trick. Want to own your market? Well aside from the fact that you better have some extra cash lying around, you better be right! Then again, Steve Jobs didn’t make a lot of missteps so perhaps there is something else we can learn from this?

One noticeable aspect of Apple’s iPod advertising were the sheer number of iPod ads on television and in billboards. At the time, it seemed as if Apple was just being particularly aggressive with their adverting, but Steve Jobs’ Biography revealed that those ubiquitous iPod ads were actually being subsidized by the Mac.

“I had this crazy idea that we could sell just as many Macs by advertising the iPod. In addition, the iPod would position Apple as evoking innovation and youth. So I moved $75 million of advertising money to the iPod, even though the category didn’t justify one hundreth of that. That meant that we completely dominated the market for music players. We outspent everybody by a factor of about a hundred.”

So, the so-called iPod “halo” effect resulting in more Mac sales was something that Jobs relied upon. In fact, it allowed them to outspend all their competitors for a large factor which further cemented the iPod’s lead in the MP3 market.

Reported by MacRumors.com

What can the average online marketer learn from this endeavor? Just move $75 million in advertising to your secondary product line today!

Seriously though…

Sometimes it is not your lead product that you need to focus attention on.

Jawbone UP Review: Fitness Band Worn By A Real User

Update: 12/8/11 at bottom of this post – I have to say; when I looked at doing a Jawbone UP review I expected something pretty common.

We have all seen a seemingly endless supply of new tech gadgets that are meant to work with your phone in an effort to make day-to-day living more exciting (or at least more efficient). Most of these items end up on eBay or in the back of a drawer somewhere.

The Jawbone Up could have easily fit into this category – especially in the hands of a techno geek. Anyway, here is what I found with the Jawbone UP.

Wearability

Ok, maybe not the most exciting thing to start with, but what good is a wrist worn tech gadget if it is not at least comfortable? The Jawbone UP is meant to be worn all day and all night. It is water resistant to 1 meter – so that means showers and swimming laps is just fine.

If you check the retail packaging, you will find a size cart on the back. It looked like a medium might work but after trying one on, I clearly needed to go with the Large. At this time Jawbone does not offer an XL. I suspect given the amount of complaints they will offer one soon.

The band is comfortable to wear. Although the “plastic” texture might take a bit of getting use to – if you can handle a watch, you can handle the Jawbone UP just fine.

Unplugged

One thing to realize is that the wristband does not actually “talk” to your mobile device. At least not wirelessly (which is a surprise coming from one of the top Bluetooth headset players). The Jawbone Up runs a fine line between on board tech and syncing with the phone.

Any syncing with the phone is done by the headphone jack. This initially seems like it might be a pain, but in the end, you realize that you don’t really need to sync the info that often. I do hope Jawbone is able to create a Bluetooth sync function on a future version. If the Bluetooth is only active during the sync process the battery drain would be minimum.

I have an iPhone, so that is what I use for the App portion.

The Jawbone UP App is where some functions exist – exclusively. For example, the feature that allows you to take a snapshot of your meal and have UP check with later to see how you feel is all within the App.

You can also use the App for your run or walk by utilizing the GPS function – no band needed. [Although at this point the GPS has yet to find my location]

The battery on the wristband reportedly lasts for 10 days (I am seeing more like 7-9). It will not charge when syncing with the phone so to charge you use the headset plug – USB adapter (provided).

Features – The Quick List

So, how does the Jawbone Up fit into your fitness goals?

The wristband will track your movement throughout the day via “Steps.” You can set goals for your self to move more each day or check out Jawbone’s community of people creating challenges for one another.

Frankly, I think a whole lot of movement gets confused as “steps.” Flop around enough or drink a beer and I am pretty sure you are going to get credit for a couple hundred steps. So, if you are like me, you will find yourself bumping up your overall activity challenge to compensate. [Update…full “lab” test coming to prove this theory].

Another cool feature is the ability for the wristband to “remind” you to move. You can set the vibration alarm to alert you when you have sedentary for a specific period of time.

I set mine for 45 minutes. At that point a gentle vibration tells me, “get your butt off the chair for a few minutes” (at least that is what I think it is saying). You can also set it to only do these reminders during a specific time every day (say 9-5).

Although Jawbone is very silent when it comes to describing the whole “sleep cycle” process, it is pretty cool. Basically the Jawbone Up monitors your movements. Reporting awake vs deep sleep vs light sleep.

You can even set an alarm and the wristband will wake you up within 30 minutes of your desired time (reportedly when it knows the best part of your cycle for you to wake). I will have to report back on this part – so far I have awakened before the wristband.

The Final Word

So, is the Jawbone Up worth it?

Well, it comes in several colors (I picked black to go with my tux or match my shoes).

If you are looking for a great device to help you monitor several different areas (food intake, movement, sleep patterns) it is probably worth it. I suspect this is the future of companion devices for smart phones. If you already use the variety of Apps out there for these features, you might want to hold out for the next version.

At $99 it does not break the bank. The challenges are fun and I will take any excuse (even from a wristband) that it is time to get up and walk away from the computer for a bit.

Now, if it could just help you make more money.

Update: 12/8/11 – At this point Jawbone is having some problems with some UP units. So much so, they have offered an unprecedented refund – and keep the band. Here is the open letter from Jawbone…

To the UP Community:

Earlier this year, we unveiled Jawbone’s vision to help people live a healthier life with UP. We’ve been thrilled by the passionate response to this product. We heard from tens of thousands of you through emails, tweets, blog posts and on our forums about how you’re changing your lifestyle and becoming consumers of your own health. In just four weeks, UP users have collectively taken over three billion steps, gotten more than 300 years of sleep and captured hundreds of thousands of meals.

While many of you continue to enjoy the UP experience, we know that some of you have experienced issues with your UP band. Given our commitment to delivering the highest quality products, this is unacceptable and you have our deepest apologies. We’ve been working around the clock to identify the root causes and we’d like to thank everyone who has provided us with information and returned their bands to us for troubleshooting. With your help, we’ve found an issue with two specific capacitors in the power system that affects the ability to hold a charge in some of our bands. We’re also fixing an issue with syncing related to the band hardware. Typically, these issues surface within the first seven to ten days of use. The glitches are purely performance related and do not pose any safety risk.

We’ve also received helpful feedback on the application experience, including bug reports, ways to make signup and finding friends easier, user interface suggestions and new feature requests. Your comments are invaluable as we continue to improve, so please keep them coming and check back frequently for updates to ensure you’re always enjoying the latest features and enhancements.

We recognize that this product has not yet lived up to everyone’s expectations – including our own – so we’re taking action:

The UP No Questions Asked Guarantee

This means that for whatever reason, or no reason at all, you can receive a full refund for UP. This is true even if you decide to keep your UP band. We are so committed to this product that we’re offering you the option of using it for free.

The program starts December 9th and full details can be found at http://www.jawbone.com/uprefund.

For most of you, this program is simply meant to offer peace of mind. Please continue to enjoy your UP band and keep sharing your experience with us. If you encounter any problems with your UP band, contact Jawbone directly for your choice of a replacement and/or refund under this program. It’s that simple.

Jawbone remains deeply committed to addressing all issues with UP, investing in the category and giving our customers the tools to live a healthier life. We’ve temporarily paused production of UP bands and will begin taking new orders once these issues have been sorted out. In the meantime, we’ll continue to release app updates for existing users.

We regret any disappointment we’ve created for our community of users and appreciate the trust you’ve put in us. The fact that you’ve taken the time to talk with us and help us make a better product is simply phenomenal. Our customers have always been part of our team and we’re incredibly grateful for that.

Please know that we’re doing – and will continue to do – everything we can to make things right. This is just the beginning for UP and we are excited to keep improving until we realize the powerful vision of what this category can be.

If there is absolutely anything else we can do for you, please let us know.

Hosain Rahman
CEO
Jawbone

Making Money Online Starts With Build a Better Blog

How can you make money online through a website or blog?

I get asked that a lot. Sometimes it is just easier to point someone to some reading material and see if they come back.

I don’t mean to be rude, it is just that some people are really hoping for an easy answer. You know, like “hit this button and cash will pour out of your @#$!”

That is just not real.

Don’t get me wrong. I am on a mission to separate the BS from the real stuff and pass on my findings. We all have to start somewhere and I have made my share of mistakes in the process. So, I try to give people a bit of homework first.

The fact of the matter is that I really have a short list of people I recommend. Frankly, there are just too many people out there that, at some point, start selling crap.

Sure, there is money to be made, but you have to do things right…no short cuts.

I think anyone intersted in making money online should read Darren Rowse’s book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Why?

Because if you are not willing to do the work, you will save your time by not starting down an agrevating road of always buying the next shiny object or looking for a magic bullet.

Check out Darren’s book here…you will be glad you did!

Click here to view more details

Should You Work For Yourself?

There are two kinds of people in this world; those that can work for themselves, those that can’t, and those that don’t pay attention to details.

Some people are meant to work for themselves and others are not. There is no wrong or right – we are wired differently. So, which one are you?

People that can work for themselves…

You need to be driven, focused, and unwavering.

You also need to be a little “thick skinned.” Many people will often shoot at your opinions or goals. You need to be able to shrug it off and believe in your vision.

That may sound easy, but the criticism is not limited to strangers. Oftentimes your closest loved ones may doubt your vision (especially if it is not profitable yet).

If you are going to work for yourself, you need to be able to adapt…and quickly. A good friend of mine told me one time when one of my business models was drying up, “Fred, sometimes you just need to get a new horse.”

He was right.

When you work for yourself you need to always be on the look out for better ways to do something. Just don’t prematurely abandon a plan because you are over antsy and “need” something to happen fast – you will never see anything to the end in that case.

People that shouldn’t work for themselves…

If you are the kind of person that loses…*squirrel*…focus easily, that may be a problem.

Hey, there is nothing wrong with working for someone else. I don’t care what people say, it doesn’t make you any less of an “entrepreneur.”

Oftentimes people joke about my having a bit of A.D.D. – Admittedly it is not a great quality when working for yourself. I think everyone that starts a business has a bit of it. It is what keeps us coming up with the really good work for yourself  ideas. But great ideas  alone are not the foundation for starting your own business.

Working for someone allows you to have a buffer. Sure, you have a “boss” who is telling you what to do but, theoretically, if you do it, you are in good shape. In some cases the boss can stay between you and some corporate B.S. – allowing you to actually get work done.

You also, for the most part, don’t have to take work home.

I am not talking about some Month End thing, or needing to work a weekend once in awhile. When you work for yourself you will always be working.

Don’t believe the self-employment brochures…the flexibility is nice, but know that the self-employed puts in way more hours than those that work for someone else.

Short on cash? If you need to pay rent next month, this is not the time for your full time venture.

The pressure of needing money can be a good thing. It can also cause you to take unnecessary risks or cut corners. Keep the safety of a paycheck and try your venture part-time.

Think you pay attention to details?

Did you catch the very first paragraph when I said there were “two kinds” of people in this world…but then proceeded to mention three?

If you caught the “error,” good for you!  You are pretty detailed oriented (now get back to work). If you didn’t, no big deal, it doesn’t make you any less of a quality person. It does mean however you are  going to need to surround yourself with some detail-oriented people.

Bottom line…

Working for yourself is a great feeling but it is not for everyone. Take a good look at your resources, time, and personality. Those three will tell you which direction to take.

How to Pick a Domain Name When Starting Your Online Business

So you are starting your own online business and want to know how to pick a domain name? Well, it is a combination of Science, Luck, and Art (not the Garfunkel kind).

Here is the short list of things to pay attention to when selecting your new domain name.

Shorter is Better

Forget the ads on television and the SPAM emails. People really do, when it comes to domains, want it as short as possible.

My very first URL was a great name…but way too long. I have been married to it for so long and every time I type it in the browser I cringe. Since then I have always sought to keep my URL’s as short as possible.

Easy to Spell

Can you believe that poisedpatientplatypus.com is not taken? At least until I publish this article and someone in Tasmania jumps all over it.

Make sure when you pick a domain name; you start with something easy for people to spell.

Keywords

From an SEO point of view it is helpful if the topic of your site is also included in your URL.

If for example you were doing a site on reviewing cameras, you might start with www.camerareviewsXXXX.com [the XXXX would have to replaced with some other word(s) like “Now” or “ForMe” if camerareviews.com was already in use].

I realize when you start to incorporate Keywords into your domain name you start to run the risk of longer URLs – there is a trade off. If you really want to make money online, and you are in a competitive field, you are going to want to start with Keywords.

Unique

Let’s face it, unique domain names get attention. Would you go to LearnToPlayTennisReallyWell.com or FuzzyYellowBalls.com (yes, that is a real tennis site).

People want a name they can remember and tell their friends – course in this case, you might only want to share the URL with other tennis players or start getting some really weird looks from strangers – BUT, you will remember it!

Avoid Duplicate Letters

If you use more than one word in your URL (and you will) then try and make sure the last letter of the first word and the first letter of the second word are not the same).

For example. Eagleearners. (Eagle Earners). The two “e’s” get lost when typing.

You can cheat when you put this type of domain name in your marketing materials buy capping the second one in print…EagleEarners.com but I would avoid it whenever possible.

Common Words

Try to stick with common words. Just because you own a Thesaurus and watch Jeopardy reruns doesn’t mean you need to use your braniac vocabulary it when it comes to picking out a URL.

When it doubt…go back to “is it a word everyone can spell?” If you ask 6 random people to spell it, and they can’t, then the word is not common enough.

Go for it!

Stick to the above few rules and you will be well on your way to building a great site for your online business– that starts with a great URL!

How To Get Siri and the iPhone 4S To Post On Twitter

Ready to get Siri and the iPhone 4S to work overtime and post to Twitter using only your voice?

As the Amazing Mumford said, “A la peanut butter sandwiches”…Here you go…

Frankly, this really should have been an iPhone 4S Siri feature…but the easy “hack” is just as fun.

Here is all you need…

1. Twitter Account (if you don’t have that, why the hell are you reading this?)

2. iPhone 4S (with your faithful Siri assistant of course).

The key to the whole set up is pretty easy and just two steps.

STEP ONE

On your twitter account there is already a setting to be able to “text” your tweets from a phone number.

You register your phone with Twitter and it knows which account you have (sorry, no multiple twitter accounts yet).

First off, look for this screen in your settings…


Add your phone number and Twitter will text you a code.

Once you input that code, your phone is registered.

STEP TWO

Add “Twitter” to your contact list with the phone number 40404 (for US, other countries, check here). The iPhone will convert to 404-04 but that is ok.

YOU ARE DONE!

Now when you turn on Siri and say “Text Twitter” she will take the message like any other text. But, when she sends it, it goes to the already text enabled Twitter and posts to your account!

Got any other cool Siri hacks? Feel free to share them here!

 

The Secret to Not Getting to Page 1 On Google Search.

I couldn’t resist divulging the secrets to making money online and making it to number one on Google – or, more specifically, NOT to number one.

I mean, it is one of the most asked questions, “how can I get on the first page of a Google search. Yet, no one really wants to hear the answer – there are just too many appealing shortcuts.

So, instead of focusing on all the things that you need to do to get some Google love and show up higher in the rankings, let’s talk about what WON’T get you very high up in Google…

Stealing Other People’s Stuff

You can call it a fancy “Article Spinner” all you want. Did you write the material? Nope. Is it anywhere near your voice or style? Nope. Can Google see right through the four words you changed and tried to make it your own? Yep.

They sure sound like a good idea, but you may find it quicker, and much more effective if you just write the stuff yourself.

Writing Crap Content

You know who you are. One day you write about the latest shiny object, the next day you write about…well, another shiny object. All the while loading it up with some affiliate links in hopes of the big payday someone told you about.

Load up a site with nothing more than links to affiliate sites and you will not have to worry about being burdened by staying on page one of Google….you will never make it there for more than a day, if that.

“Flash” Should be Left to the Superheroes

If you are loading up Flash type files on your site, don’t worry; Google has made some big improvements in finding you (and reading your SWF file). Course, most people on your site have probably already moved on.

If someone wanted movies they would have been on Netflix. Save the Flash Programming for the Spike Lee awards.

Take My PLR…Please

PLR, or Private Label Rights, have some awfully tempting shortcuts. I mean who can resist buying 7 bazillion ready-to-go articles for your website? Two Words…Duplicate Content.

Yea, some people will tell you that it is no big deal and that there is duplicate content all over the web – and that is true. But it certainly will not help you get any closer to the first page of Google.  Get some original content already – you know, the kind people want to read.

Cheap Backlinks

Sure, you have seen it. Maybe even purchased them off Fiverr or Odesk. “We will deliver you 10 Gazillion Backlinks to your website for $2.00.” The fact of the matter is that Google doesn’t hate these as much as you just wasted the $2.00 you could have saved for a McRib sandwich.

Look, it is the quality of the backlinks that matter. A single (real) backlink from a quality site is worth thousands of craplinks (is that a word?…is now!).

Now what?

Well, at least now you have a choice. Stick to the plan above and maybe you can make it to the last page of Google.

Start putting into play some real content geared towards really helping readers…well, maybe, just maybe, you will be on page one with the big boys.

 

Should You Start an Offline or Online Business?

Maybe the idea of being a Wal-Mart greeter or living in a cubicle for the rest of your work career was not part of your plan in high school. Back then you had wings and were ready to fly.

You were ready to take the bull by the horns and not in a rodeo clown sort of way. Heck you may have even thought you could work from home and be your own boss.

Then, you ended up missing a turn somewhere along the career path (surely someone should have sent out a search party). You ended up not quite where you thought you would.

Hey, maybe you have a cool car, or a closet full of the latest fashions – but you are still missing that elusive freedom that comes from working for yourself.

It is not too late!

Starting your own online business is possible.

Let’s get you on track!

So you want to start your own business but not sure whether to go with the standard brick and mortar building or jump on the Internet wave and attempt an online business.

For starters, how do you want to interact with people? Do you want to meet face-to-face or would you prefer to hide behind a computer?

Don’t worry; there is no right or wrong answer. However if you really don’t want to deal with people face-to-face, then an offline brick and mortar empire just might not be for you.

Hey, there are a host of reasons people are attracted to an online home based business. The fact that you can live anywhere and work from home is just a start. Oftentimes you are in control of you work hours. If you are a morning person, you can get up and 5:00am and start knocking out work – no waiting for “traditional” store hours.

But starting your own online business is not for everyone so think carefully if you have the focus to pull it off.

Also remember, in either case, there are no shortcuts (despite what your friends might tell you). There is no quick buck. But, with enough planning and more importantly execution, you can work for yourself one day.

Thinking about an online home based business? Be sure to read Making Money Online for three important steps!