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!”

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!

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!

Three Sheets of Paper That Can Help You Make Money Online

Ok, I will be the first to admit, I get distra….ok, I am back (see what I mean?). Anyway, much like a lot of people who do Internet Marketing or try to make money online, sometimes I start getting distracted by the small stuff.

For example, I love doing stuff in Photoshop. Banners, images, logos, whatever.

The problem is much of that stuff will not really make me more money. I might see an “older” banner on one of my sites and think, “hey, I can improve that!” – An hour later I have a much better looking banner, but did it really get me more income?

Have you ever worked your butt off for an entire day and not have anything, monetarily, to show for it?

My guess is you are like me and have a focus issue.

You mean well. You are a hard worker. You are just not focusing on the right stuff! Yes, talking to you chase-every-shiny-object-guy (or girl)!

So, here is the secret of how I stay focused throughout the day.

I have three large sheets of paper on the wall. You know, the kind you can get at Office Depot or Staples; they are pretty much large Post-it notes.

Here is the breakdown of what goes on each one…

Sheet One: ONLY items that will directly effect getting income.

This can be anything from sending out an email (selling a product, affiliate link, or launching a program) to creating a website that has some sort of immediate income associated with it.

Sheet Two: Items that will, at some point in the near future, make money online.

This is where I like to have sites that are “marinating.” They will be used at some point in the near future but not currently full time. They need a theme, content, and to begin building a list (but not yet selling anything).

This is where some a/b testing might go (although some people would argue it needs to be on sheet one – and that is fair assuming the project is already up and making some money).

Sheet Three: The kitchen sink.

This is where I have a million ideas that need a lot of work. Frankly, my banner example should be in here.

For existing items I can ask myself, “Is it good enough?” – if yes, it stays on sheet three with no chance of parole – there are just more important things to work on.

So how does the day go?

Look at Sheet One. Is everything checked off as “done?” If not, you don’t get to leave that sheet.

Don’t start your day on Sheet Three or Sheet Two – Those things don’t make money online – at least not right now.

Yes, there is always an exception…

Exception: Hey, I believe in taking a break and that you can only spend so many hours “working.” I hope you love what you are doing. If not, you should probably be doing something else. So, on “weekends” or a “lunch break” play with the items on Sheet Three – they are your future – just don’t live you entire work career in the future – you will never make it without getting real stuff done today!

Find an empty wall somewhere (visible from where you sit) and try it out. You may be amazed how three sheets of paper and a little awareness to your workflow might just bring you to the next level!

[I originally did this as a guest post, with video, for a fellow Internet Marketer named Joey Kissimmee. Thought it was worth sharing here – enjoy and feel free to ask questions or leave comments]

Making Money Online – Should You Quit Your Day Job?

If you are scanning the Internet in search of making money online ideas, you will no doubt find more opportunities than Elvis impersonators in Vegas.

And, like Elvis, we can argue for days of the existence of real opportunities. You know, the ones that actually have money coming IN to your back account as opposed to you lighting up PayPal by purchasing a non-stop wave of shiny objects guaranteed to make you money while you sleep.

You may be tempted to quit everything and jump all in. I respect that, but let’s get you set up correctly before starting your own business.

Quit your day job to start your online empire? – Look, I am thrilled that you saw The Social Network and were amazed at Mark Zuckerberg’s success but here is the deal. He was lucky, smart, and willing to steal part of someone else’s idea. You are not (or at least not all three!).

Start Part-Time. I can’t emphasize this enough. You don’t want full-time income pressure to make money online when you have not even got off the ground yet and learned the rules. Plan on plenty of nights and weekends before you walk into work and deliver that “Take this job and shove it” speech you have been rehearsing for the last 10 years.

Be prepared to learn. – When I say be prepared to “learn” I don’t mean prepare to learn which corners to cut. Sure, there are some things you can do to speed up your success, but there are others that you cannot skip. Many of the top Gurus are scrambling to re-build their business because they took too many shortcuts over the years – some of them are not going to be much ahead of you in starting a “legitimate” online business.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – but it may have fell in one. Hey, you are in it for the long haul (at least I hope). Sure if you have the new hot selling Pet Rock than buy some PPC and hope that you sell all your inventory before you run out of advertising dollars. Till then, build something that will last.

Quit your day job? No. Learn what you can from those that are not trying to sell you stuff every five minutes (by the way, we call that “glitter”).

Now, I am not saying don’t buy anything and I am not saying there is anything wrong with people selling stuff (yes, even I have stuff that I will probably offer you at some point).

But the important part is are you getting valuable free information as well? Is the person passing on info you can use? Do they seem to pass on “real world” info or are they saying you will “make $3,398.23 a day with just a click of a button?”

Anyway, keep your day job until you are making enough money online to then go tell your boss to take a hike! Trust me, it will feel much better when that day comes!

Starting Your Own Business? Work What Matters!

When starting your own business, time is of the essence.

Time is fixed.

Time is fleeting.

Time is the biggest enemy against the entrepreneur.

It is so easy to finish the day, tired, sit back and enjoy a glass of wine – all the while congratulating yourself on the “amount” of work that got done.

It wasn’t until I began evaluating the work completed that I realized that I was falling into the trap of doing busy work and not creating enough meaningful output.

I work from home online and now have four whiteboards in my office. On the first board are projects or tasks that directly impact income. Anything on that board must specifically make extra money. It is the most important board in the room.

The last board has “other stuff.” These items are, for the most part, busy tasks or future online business ideas. For example, redo a banner, websites I want to start, books to write, etc.

The other two boards are dedicated to projects in progress. Maybe not bringing in income today, but the expectation of a good return is in the near future.

Items get added and deleted off boards almost daily. Most of the week I never get past working on tasks on the first board. That is also the way it should be.

Think of it as a fancy “to do” or “priority list.”

For example, I love playing around with website coding and design. Sure I can outsource many of those tasks (and I often do) but I enjoy it. The problem is that it is often not worth my time.

When I am working on something that I feel needs to be tweaked a bit, I have to look at how long it will take me and will it make an [income] difference? If not, I should probably be working on something else.

If you are not using some sort of “priority list” I suggest you start now. Your number one priority should be items that directly affect income. Adding a product, testing a new sales page, writing a sales email, fulfilling customer expectations, building a list, and finding a JV partner.

Everything else should be below that. I mean everything. If you run out of items on your “impact income” list – you better find something…fast.

Why You Failed in 2010 and 7 Ways to Make 2011 Different.

Sure, 2010 sucked. The economy sucked. The housing market was lousy. And jobs became tougher to find.

You thought 2010 was your year to break out on your own. Create your own business – an online empire that would yield you income and financial freedom.

But then American Idol had a special, you had to find out what happened on the last season of Lost (and blog about it), and, what is that?… Sarah Palin has a reality show?

Frankly, you blew the year with distractions.

It is easy to do…I mean…distractions are so…well… distracting.

It is so much easier to chat about how Obama is some secret plant by the Soviets sent to destroy America or how Starbucks is adding stuff to their coffee to make people want to buy an accompanying muffin.

Hey, those are much better topics because, frankly, who the hell wants to look within for reasons of not accomplishing your goals?

Dare to peek into the looking glass? Then read on…

Here are the Top 7 reasons 2010 sucked and how you can change all that for 2011.

1.     Get Real – Quit cutting corners looking for some get-rich-quick program or new money-making shiny object with instant riches. There are plenty of ways to be successful but, guess what, they all will take work. Plan on learning about something in 2011. I mean really doing your homework – not just buy some box of CD’s that will sit by your front door until you sell them on eBay six months later.

2.     Email Sucks – If someone sends you any email that says, “Make $1293.23 in two days,” delete it….FAST. Stop reading that crap. Those guys make money by selling the concept of making money. Period. That is it. Do you REALLY think some seven-year-old discovered the secrets of Google and made $10 million dollars on Adsense in her sleep? Get Real and just stick to reading emails from your kid (unless that is who is sending them to you).

3.     Stop doing “work” and start getting results. It is easy to do busy work. Lots of stuff that, at the end of the day, didn’t earn you a dime but feels like you did something. Pretty logo’s, business cards, cute names for your company, color-perfect websites. Before any task, ask yourself, “Will this make me money?” If you can’t answer a big “yes,” in the short term…move on to something that will.

4.     Set a real deadline already. Quit saying something is “in the works” or it will forever be in the works.  When will it be done? Set a deadline (and actual date and time) and tell friends to kick you in the ass if you don’t meet it.

5.     Quit Bitching You Big Baby– The world owes you nothing. Life Sucks…get a helmet. Either do something or don’t do something. But don’t make up a million excuses “why” you couldn’t do something. Some people spend more time making excuses than it would have taken to use that same amount of time to just do the damn thing. Just do it already or quit whining about it.

6.     Stop Twittering, Facebooking, and playing Farmville. – That huge sucking sound in the background when you fire up Facebook is the sound of your life going down the drain. You are not a real farmer and you are not “keeping in touch with your friends” – you are maintaining a narcissistic website all about you (and that is ok if you are a Diva with nothing better to do). Don’t make excuses that social media is anything other than that. Want to talk to a friend? Pick up the frigging phone and call them – it probably automatically forwards to their Facebook account anyway.

7.     Admit that several of these things apply to YOU. I did. It is easy to read this and say, “heck yes, those people are idiots!” In reality, you are probably one of them. Hell, we all are.

So… the best advice I could give that would be all encompassing and get 2011 back on track to your goals…. “Stop it already.”

I hope you have a great 2011. If you don’t, it is probably your own fault.

Can Lemonade Help When Starting Your Own Business?

It’s not a pink slip. It’s a blank page.

If you never actually saw the movie Lemonade but did catch the poster, you might get an idea of what is in store for you.

The opportunity to be your own boss.

But perhaps more importantly, follow your passion and control your own financial future.

Some people have the benefit of being able to slowly work into becoming their own boss. Careful planning, years of preparations, and saving up money for the building process.

Then again, that is also the downside.

Many people take too much time planning. They try to read all about starting your own business. So much in fact, they never actually do it. Let me make this very clear…

Your ducks will never be all in a row, the stars are never fully in line, and there’s never a “right time.”

Lemonade documents the layoffs of numerous individuals. All going through the same disbelief and all asking themselves, “What next?”  It is the “next” part that most people will find hopeful and inspiring.

Forget about financial freedom, these people are just looking for a way to survive.

Can you be in survival mode and still follow your passion? Can you be your own boss?

Can you start your own business in an area that is completely new to you?

I think anyone that watches this movie will see that you can.