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Getting Started on the Web

Getting Started on the Web: Choosing the Right Website Building Platform for Your New Business

When starting an online brand or business you might be wondering one simple question that has a complex answer, “Where do I get started?”

There’s several parts to the answer of this question, but one of them is to start building your presence online in the shape of a website.

Back in the early days of website development and really even today, you had to have some tech prowess to do it on your own. However, I’d say that using digital devices in general takes a little bit of tech “can-do” attitude.

I think what it really breaks down into is this. What level are your own tech abilities? How much are you willing to pay to make up the difference between what you can make on your own vs what you visually see your site doing? The bigger and more functional the website, the more likely you’re going to have to hire some outside help.

Basic Techie Skills Needed:

I think the first thing to consider when you’re wanting to start your own online business is to ask yourself “how techie” am I? Because really, you’re going to be putting content onto something that REALLY is still based off of techie work. The internet is built on nerd power. Period.

Whether you have those techie skills yourself, or you have to hire them out is going to be a big question in what hats you’re going to be wearing in the early formation of your business.

So let’s look at some of the traits I think that you need possess in order to build a website:

Can See the Big Picture:

Have you seen a site that you really want to emulate? Perhaps you’ve seen a few that have different parts that you’d like to include into your own?

Unlike where you might have last worked, it’s up to you to think how you’re going to from nothing to something.

What’s that path look like? Have you created a roadmap for yourself? I’m strictly speaking about your site here.

You have to think with the end in mind. So, know what that ending looks for you.

Got it? Good.

Moving on…

Online Searching Skills:

Now that you have the target in front of you, you’ll have to figure out how to get there. In the world of the modern day entrepreneur, no one is going to tell you exactly what you need next as you’re getting your business off ground. That’s going to be up to you.

Personally, I didn’t have much of a reason to have website creation skills when I was in school. In fact, everything that I have ever learned about doing website stuff, I didn’t know at one time. Most of what I know now about website development I’ve learned as I’ve needed it since I graduated from college in late 2009.

How did I learn all this is such short of time? Well, for one, I had to utilize the skill set that I had going through school. Using Google and YouTube to find answers I had questions for. I also followed Pat Flynn as he built SPI to what it is today. I remember when he was still working on the site when he was holed up into the side of his apartment.

Figure out the Details:

Pat and people like him (including more recently the squad over at Fizzle) have helped me shape my roadmap. However, it’s up to me to figure out how I’m going to get from Point A to Point B. Can I walk? Can I take a car? Or do I need a plane?

As you build your roadmap back from the final target, you’ll need to figure out the mode of transportation that works best for you:

Highly detailed work – Mostly everyone can walk. But it’s going to be slowest option. Details that are at this level are usually reserved for those that are highly analytical and want control over every little piece of their project.

Detailed Work – Why walk when you can drive? This is about as fast as you can go on your own. However, just because you can drive doesn’t necessarily mean you should all the time.

Hire Someone Else – Most people can’t fly a plane – but you need a result faster than you could do it! In this case, you can call in a specialist to do the heavy lifting for you. But it’s going to cost you.

 

What type of “transportation” you’re going to use will be based off the next two traits…

Fortitude:

This trait is essential when working out the details on your own. You must realize that going into a project you’ve never done before will result in something that isn’t perfect. There’s a good chance you’re probably going to break something as you learn how to use it. The thing with software and most hardware, these days, is that you can always reset things if you start going in the wrong direction.

Also, as you learn from past attempts in doing something, you get a larger and larger picture of what it is that you need to do to make something do what you want it to do.

From something as complex as coding all the way up to something as simple as dropping in graphics to your site, all of these things need some amount of “I’ll try again if I screw this up” thinking.

 

Patience:

I think one the of biggest traits that goes hand in hand with fortitude is patience. Not only with the process, but with yourself. If you’ve never been a technical person, you have to give yourself the time to become one… at least to the level that your site is going to need you to be.

 

Take Consistent Action:

As your site starts to take form, you’ll need to keep working on it until it’s done. For me, it took me about a month or so to get New Inceptions exactly where I wanted it to before I started writing.

Likewise, if you’ve never touched the backend of a website, then you’re not going to know what you’re looking at. It’s going to take some time to figure out what you need to know versus what’s just extra. If you’re familiar with Cpanel, most of the things that are in there I haven’t touched. However, there are a few things that I’ve used plenty of times and know what they do.

Your ability to how much you can work on the site initially (and when things come up) along with the other traits listed above are the factors that you need to consider when choosing an actual solution to what you’re going to build your site’s foundation on.

Remember when choosing one of these solutions, you’re essentially going to have on one side a ton of flexibility to other side, a simple solution that you can simply just plug things into and call it a day.

 

Let’s look at some of those solutions real quick.

Website Development Solutions

HTML 5 Website Development:

“From scratch” sites (using HTML 5 , CSS, and PHP). This is definitely highly detailed work. To get a finished result, this is going to take a ton of all of the above traits. You’ll have to learn how to code or learn how to use a program like Dreamweaver (or something else) to do precisely what you have in mind. While this might give you all kinds of flexibility and is the backbone of today’s internet, it’s probably not going to be useful for you – unless your business is making websites for other people. Then you might want to get familiar with some of this.

Wix.com: If you want to use more of a drag and drop approach to building your website, I’d check out Wix. While I wasn’t a big fan of it back in 2008 when it was still using Flash, they’ve moved over to using HTML 5 as their base platform.

I will mention that Wix is a freemium solution, but you’ll have to pay for many of the features that you’d get free in CMS Solutions – such as WordPress.

Here’s the Wix Wikipedia page for more info.

 

Content Management System (CMS) Solutions:

WordPress: Ok, so you’re totally happy with giving up some flexibility so you don’t have to start from scratch. Cool. There’s plenty of solutions that will still give you tons of flexibility. Most of the time what you’ll find out there is in the realm of content management systems. Here’s a list of all the solutions that are out there.

Out of all of these, WordPress is by far and away the most used one out there. This is the option I chose. There are several reasons why:

  • Opensource
  • Flexible
  • Inexpensive
  • There’s information all over the net in how to use it.

That said, you’ll probably have to have a high level of all the previously mentioned traits to be successful at using WordPress. I will say that you’re interested in going down this path, it’ll take a bit of detailed work to get things done. In fact, it might take a month’s worth of time to design, create and master your site. If you have that kind of time, I highly recommend it. If you don’t, you’re in a rush, and have some money to spend, then I’d go to another solution.

 

Squarespace and Kajabi

Squarespace and Kajabi are also popular CMS solutions. However, I haven’t had the opportunity to play with them too much.

Both are much more expensive than WordPress in the long run (especially for business) and they might not have as much flexibility as you like. That said, if you want to get rolling quickly or are already making some kind of income doing what you’re planning to use them for, they might be good solutions for you to “just get on the web”.

For more info on Squarespace, you can check out this Wikipedia entry.

And here’s the entry for Kajabi.

 

Action Steps:

For you to figure out what you want for your website, you’re going to have to have a true conversation with yourself. If money is an issue, I’d go with WordPress and learn what you need to to get a basic site up.

If time is an issue and you want something up, but you don’t have the resources for something custom, I’d go with Kajabi, Wix, or Squarespace. (If you’re in the information industry, I’d go with Kajabi.)

If you’re wanting the cream of the crop, want something custom, or simply don’t have the time to build your own site, then you’re going to hire someone. If you don’t know a developer personally, the best place to do that is over at Upwork.com

If you already have a website up and going, let me know how you made the process in choosing the platform you’re using and some of the pros and cons of using it!

 

backup a wordpress site

UpdraftPlus: A Simple Tool to Backup A WordPress Site

One of the things that people struggle with all the time when it comes to hosting their own site is backups. How do you backup a WordPress site? Why do you need to? The simple answer is that for one reason or another, data can be lost or corrupted – even on big hosts.

In New Inceptions’ lifetime (which officially has been since 2010), I’ve had malware installed on the same server as mine before. That malware can affect everything and everyone on the storage space of the server.

I was reminded of this in the past week.

You might have noticed that I didn’t have a blog post last week. However, I did write one. It was 2000 words of awesomeness about the things I’ve been learning and relearning about email marketing.

Obviously, it wasn’t posted – and here’s why: after I made the post, I saved it as a draft. Well, something didn’t go right on my particular install at the time. So just as my screen was coming up from “saving”, I scrolled through to see if there wasn’t anything else that might need changed. As I did this, I realized that two-thirds of my post had disappeared!

Needless to say, I was somewhat furious.

I’ll probably eventually redo the post as I get more results from what I’ve been learning. However, in the meantime I’m just going to tell you that it’s going to become a primary focus of mine in the foreseeable future. Up to my first 10k Subscribers – at least!

Long Story Short

I don’t know if this has anything to do with with it, but the install of one of my clients had been hacked into last weekend. No traffic was getting to their site and that meant no revenue for me. Bad times!

In the meantime, I didn’t realize that this was going on. And the next thing I knew, malware started causing issues on my site as well. I didn’t have any idea that this was possible. I always thought that if it was a different install of WordPress, then we wouldn’t have that issue. Not so.

The particular issue that this malware was causing me was CRAZY amounts of traffic – at least for my site. This ended up being bot traffic, and to make matters worse, it was causing my site to call for a ton of Cron jobs. These particular kind of jobs eat at the number of how many “processes” that your host provides you. Hostgator usually limits each shared host customer to 25. Not bad – mainly because you can typically keep it under 10 if your site is humming along without any problems.

Well, as soon as I realized how many processes these jobs were taking up and in how slow my site was acting, I figured that it had been corrupted and I needed to take it offline. I did and thought to myself “well, looks like I’ll have to build the website back up from scratch”. Why? Because that’s what I had to do the last time my site got hacked. In fact, that was when I thought it was a great time to buy Enfold as my theme.

If you’ve never had that feeling, it’s a bad feeling to have. Hopefully what I’m about to say next will prevent you from having to feel that too many times yourself!

One Last Shot

It’s funny, but my engineering training always shows up one way or another. Especially when I have problems with technical things. Where many people might start panicking, my brain just flips to a logical step by step troubleshooting mode.

In this particular instance, when I realized I was going to have to shut down the site, I dropped in a maintenance plugin – actually one that collected emails to let people know when it was back up.

As soon as I activated that plugin, I noticed that the Cron Jobs were dropping and I was able to actually navigate around my site. (Even if this wasn’t the case I know that I can manually cancel processes by going into Cpanel and manually stopping each one. (This is why it’s good to have a large monitor or in my case, multiple monitors. You can do multiple things at once. In grad school it was research on one monitor and write on the other. In this case it was stop one process in Cpanel, and then move to another page. Stop a couple more and move to another page.)

Not too long ago, I had to move my site from its previous installation to where it is now on Hostgator. You’d think this would be somewhat easy. Just like people copy videos on YouTube or Facebook – download from one account and upload on another.

It’s not that simple when transferring a WordPress install.

What you have to do is actually download another plugin that will download all the pieces of WordPress. This includes the files that you upload, but it also takes in account the database (that keeps track of your posts and any links you have on them), the theme, AND the plugins.

Well, I knew I didn’t want to backup all that information. I wanted something that could save just the files I wanted. My old plugin put everything into one archive folder. That simply wasn’t going to do.

I wanted something that could separate the files apart. Because more than likely the affected files were going to be in the theme OR in the plugins.

I eventually found a solution that was going to give me this option.

My Solution for Malware

UpdraftPlus was the backup software that allowed me to separate all these files into compartments. Here’s how the restore went down.

  1. Installed UpdraftPlus.
  2. Create New Backups.
  3. Download the parts that I want. In my case it was the Database and Uploads parts. (FYI: Uploads houses the information for Enfold – so technically I’m keeping my theme settings!)
  4. Write down list of plugins being used.
  5. Create a new install of WordPress.
  6. Re-install UpdraftPlus.
  7. Restore (upload) the Database and Uploads which I just downloaded.
  8. Reinstall the theme and each plugin that was on my list.

And there you go.

This process took me a matter of 2+ hours with a site that part of the time was fighting me. However, I’d rather put in that time compared to having to redo the site again.

Action Steps

So that you’re prepared when your site gets hacked, install UpdraftPlus in your site right now. It’s free for what I used it for. You can have it save your backups on a number of remote servers – I’m pretty sure Dropbox and Google Drive are part of that selection. Not sure what the premium version does.

Also, make sure you install the plugin from McAfee so that your site is being scanned on a regular basis for malware. Even though it didn’t show up this particular time with McAfee, the last time I was hacked, McAfee saw it. Having the plugin installed alerts McAfee right away instead of them having to randomly access your site.

business website

AoL 029: How to Make Your Website Work for You! with Jon Thompson

When doing business in today’s world, one of the basic things that we have to have is a website. It’s the central hub to all of our social media and it’s where we own EVERYTHING that’s on it. It’s not rented space (meaning that if we have content elsewhere, if that company were to ever break ties with us or that they just bellied up, we would lose our business from there). When you have your own site, you protect yourself from these issues.

However, once you have that website up, there’s always going to be all kinds of maintenance that you have to do to keep it relevant. One of the easiest ways to drive Search Engines to your site is to produce content on a regular basis (just like this!). Other things that you can do include SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing – if you’ve never heard of SEM, you might have heard of backlinking which is part of it.)

Like many people who do online marketing for a living, I know a thing or two about making websites. Once you do it once or twice and you’re used to running your site, then you can help others get there. However, that’s really just scratching the surface. There’s so much more that goes into having a successful website, it’s not even funny.

This session’s guest has made helping people do all those other things that make a successful website his business. From getting one up from scratch to helping simply with SEO and SEM, Jon has his clients covered. Working in an efficient, transparent, and very communication centric manner, he doesn’t try to sell people and small companies a one size fits all solution. He’s all about customer service. Which in the online world can be somewhat rare – especially since a lot of hosting companies are moving towards easy one size for everyone solution methods.

In this particular chat with Jon, we discuss how he lined himself up for success, why you should be aware of what SEO and SEM are, the importance of knowing keywords when creating your website, and why he believes customer service is so important – today more than ever. We also touch on how he got into the work he does and what kind of clients he likes to have.

Whether you’re looking to get your website noticed in an ocean of websites, or you’re simply thinking about being a freelancer that does similar things, this is a good talk for you.

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • Why VeerDigital’s service description is somewhat vague.
  • How he lined himself up for success in the field that he eventually started a business in.
  • Why he believes that people need to stick with their strengths with anything that they do.
  • What he got out of his first experience in a startup.
  • How mentors have set him up for success.
  • What SEO and SEM are and why it’s important to know what they are and how they work.
  • Why you should still have your own website.
  • The importance of knowing keywords when creating your website (and maintaining it in the future).
  • Why customer service is so important today.
  • Why it’s important for service providers to be highly transparent and be proactive with their clients.
  • What kind of quality Jon looks for in the clients that he chooses to work with.
  • Where Jon’s drop shipping company came from.
  • Where Jon sees his business being in a few years.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Search Engine Optimization Crash Course

SEO Tutorial 2016: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

How Can Small Sites Become Popular?

How does Google Search Work?

SEO for startups in under 10 minutes

BONUS: Creating Great Content that performs well in Google Search Results

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, and/or Podbean. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

niche marketing

How to Use Niche Products and Marketing In Developing Your Brand and Business

As creators who are wanting to start a business from our passions and interests, we are told from many marketing experts that choosing a niche audience is how you start a profitable business. They say you have to niche so deep that when you find an avatar – a representation of your perfect audience member – which will consider anything you make for them a must have. An example of an avatar might be a 25-34 year old, married, woman who finds herself stuck in middle management and wants to start making crafts for a living. (That’s an example, not my avatar!)

Basically, from this perspective, you make products for this one avatar. This type of business building is based on having a Niche Product.

The best way to get a niche product is to question anywhere from 5 to 20 of people who fit your avatar, find out what they want, how much they’d want it for, make it, and sell it to them.

Are you familiar with this method? If you’re a Fizzle member, you should be. If you’re a Foundation graduate you definitely should be. Both suggest that this is a relatively foolproof way of selling products.

Essentially, if you go this route, your recommended elevator sentence goes something like this: “We make ______ for _______ so that they can _______.”

I have no question that this model works… and it works well.

However, it seems to me that this might be missing the mark for some folks. If you’re like me, you might want to put your time into something that has a little more meaning for you in it. Something that you have a definite “Why” in doing. And to be honest, if you niche too far down, you might lose that Why. (We’ll talk about what that “Why” actually is in a second.)

To make it easier on themselves, some solopreneurs make their niche fit who they used to be. They make products and platforms for their old selves. Pat Flynn, Tim Ferris, and Lewis Howes are great examples of this. This seems like a straight forward solution. However, if you choose something outside of that, you might grow tired of working with that group. This fear of growing bored or even unwilling to work with a certain industry has given me issues in the past. The deeper I niched down, the further I got away from what I wanted to do. I have so many interests that all relate to each other that I couldn’t stick to one thing.

However, over the weekend, as I was listening to Brendon Burchard’s Thought Leaders Roadmap training and I had a eureka moment. Everything was made clear by a small section he discussed and I want to share it with you guys.

Definition of Niche Marketing

One of the things that Brendon touched on was a piece where he talked about Niche Marketing. He said that it wasn’t actually initially designed as I described niche product building above. I can see how many people use the terms interchangeably and it can become confusing. So let’s clear it up.

Niche Marketing is simply defined as

targeting a product or service to a small portion of a market that is not being readily served by the mainstream product or service marketers.

You might be wondering what the difference is. Well, for one, there’s no mention of an avatar. And, there’s no mention of building a product based on what that avatar wants.

It just simply says that you market based on the niche… not make the product itself based on the niche.

Example of Niche Marketing at Work

Can you think of any companies that use niche marketing? For me, Apple comes to mind. In his TEDx talk, Simon Sinek gives a perfect example of what separates their marketing practices from other companies. He talks about the Why factor being key in why they build what they build.

Let’s look at this elevator sentence: “We’re Apple. Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making sure our products are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make computers. Want to buy one?”

Now, let’s look at the first commercial series for the iPhone:

All you have to do with this is recognize that Simon’s message fits perfectly with these ads. Also, realize that it’s one product but multiple niches are messaged to through the various ads:

  • The first ad (after the intro ad) is for people already using an iPod. It shows how the iPhone is like an iPod – but better.
  • The second ad is geared more for a general demographic – maybe a little technology friendly..
  • The third ad is designed for the “on the go” type.
  • The fourth ad is designed for people who only browsed the web on their computers because they don’t like mobile versions of the web.
  • The fifth ad was designed possibly for those who might not know about the current trends in tech.
  • The last ad was for the busy on the go executive who needs things for their business.

You can see the same message being displayed in the next generation of ads. The difference is that they just added video:

And finally, here’s an example of an ad that shows their message for the Macbook Pro.

They didn’t even talk about the computer’s capabilities here! But why should they? They have brand recognition that it’s going to be easy to use because the iPhone was. What they did illustrate is that it was beautifully designed to drop weight down even more. This is part of their Why!

My Big Eureka Moment

The message that I’m getting across here is that there are two ways to market to a niche. We can take the advice of many of the popular marketing experts out there and make a product for a particular niche and get a definite sale. But we’ll be limited to our overall scope of how many people we’ll be able to sell to.

Or…, and here’s the big eureka moment, we can do both. We find out what several markets want, make one solution for all of them, then market it out to all of those markets like Apple has done with its products. (Apple may very well do this already. However, I know that part of what makes them who they are is that they build products that a lot of people don’t even realize they wanted. Most recent example is the Watch.)

I think that’s what Brendon does and that’s why he’s been able to grow so quickly in recent years. 4 Million Facebook likes of this writing. I think he knows what he’s talking about. 🙂

This Week’s Challenge:

Think long and hard about what you want from your future business. Do you want to create quick seller products? Or do you want to become an expert in your field – offering products that are not only meaningful to your brand, have a lasting impression, but also match your Why? If your answer is the second, think about what modality you’d prefer to provide your services in first and also think of a couple of possible complimentary products as well. In other words:

  • Create “high level” niche products and sell them through niche marketing.
  • Make sure that these products fascinate you (and you can talk about for 3+ years)
  • They’re in the modality you LOVE first. (Book, audio, video, or … etc.)
  • There are 3 products per “brand topic”. Then Stop. (Book, audio, and video, then … etc.)

If you’ve already started creating products, I’m curious – did you start with a Why? What kind of products have you sold that match that Why?

Good to Great: Learning How to Generate Greatness

What is greatness? Lewis Howes in his new book, School of Greatness, suggests that

“Greatness is the result of visionaries who persevere, focus, believe, and prepare. It is a habit, not a birthright.

As creators, a lot of us wonder what the difference is between people like Lewis and ourselves. We say things like, “Oh, it’s his good looks.” or maybe “It’s because he’s well connected as an athlete”. However, I think these are more of excuses of why we aren’t doing better ourselves vs why he’s doing so well. Yes, he has those things working for him. However, that isn’t the whole story.

The truth is that he’s gone from good to great… and he continues to do that daily.

When I first wanted to strike out on my own, I wondered about how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got to where they’re at. Mind you, this is back in high school and early college before I became too influenced by formal education. I seriously thought that they were capable of doing this because of their elite tech making powers. However, as I later would come to find out, this simply is just a part of the recipe.

The truth of the matter is, we all have this greatness in us. It’s simply the fact that many don’t know how to tap into this greatness. And it’s really not as simple as just saying “Oh, you need to try something out of your comfort zone.” Again, that’s only part of the recipe too.

At the end of this post, I think you’ll get a good grasp on what it entails to be a successful big name creator.

It’s All About Leadership

When we think about the differences between success stories like Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss, and Gary Vaynerchuk, we might have various thoughts about why they’ve all been able to get to the various levels of success that they have. Perhaps we simply say they were lucky. Or perhaps we realize that they’ve been able to follow a plan (knowingly or unknowingly) that has taken them to where they are.

 

When you think about these individuals, we realize that they have something in common besides simply being successful. It’s that when called to step up, they all have. Pat Flynn got over his speaking issues and has become not only a podcaster, but a successful conference speaker. Lewis literally got off the couch and started doing webinars. Tim didn’t end with just his one book, he did three. And Gary didn’t stop at doing liquor related projects, he’s actually grown Vaynermedia.

All of these acts could simply be described as them Stepping Up. They could have easily backed up and just done what they were comfortable with, but instead they’ve risen to the challenge again and again.

They have gone from Good to Great.

And, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert), doing that is going to take a little bit of Leadership.

How Do You Compare?

To become someone that’s great, we need to realize that there are 5 levels of leadership. Here’s a brief description of each:

Level 1: A highly capable person who is able to give to others through their knowledge, skills, and other good work habits.

Level 2: A contributing team member who uses their talents for the success of the group.

Level 3: A competent manager who understands basic organization of people and resources and is able to meet objectives and goals.

Level 4: An effective leader that is able to stimulate his followers to achieving a particular vision. However, they tend to do so for personal gains.

Level 5: An effective leader who not only gets his followers to achieve, but does so through humility and professional will. They care about the team and their followers.

Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s think about our examples again: Pat, Lewis, Tim, and Gary.

They all have been able to achieve themselves. They’ve all helped thousands of other people achieve. And, I would say that most of them honestly care about their fan base. So… yeah, they’re all Level 5 Leaders.

Furthermore, I’d say that the following could describe them even more:

  • They talk about their team, their company, their fan base more than they talk about themselves.
  • Not only do they set high standards for themselves, they set high standards for everyone around them.
  • They all would rather stretch themselves and those around them when it comes to challenges vs complaining about challenges.
  • They have ambition for their company and fan base. They want their fans and friends to help contribute to what they’ve started. (However, they’re not completely upset if they don’t want to come for the ride.)

How to go from Good to Great

Well, first off, we should remember that we’re not automatically Great. Again, it’s something that takes dedication and work to achieve. However, if you are wanting to have mass affect on your followers and get to a Level 5 Leader, here are some tactics to help you get there:

People are first, strategy is second. If we’re talking about customers and fans, it’s important to deliver what they want. Don’t produce something that isn’t wanted. You’d simply be wasting your own time. Once you have a viable product and have some people interested in your work, think about how you can promote some of your biggest fans to help work the machine. As you give off jobs that you once had to do yourself (based on your help’s strengths, of course) then you can add more products and/or ways of reaching more potential fans.

Facts and Faith. Simply be aware that as creators, we naturally have great imaginations. We’re always wondering “what if?”. However, that doesn’t lend us much to be a leader. I mean, it could help us be great motivational speakers, and if that’s all we’re wanting to be, that’s fine. However, true Level 5 Leaders have followers that have the same results and to help those people get results, we need to feet on the ground as well as our heads in the sky. (I think Pat does a great job of this one by showing his Monthly Income Report.)

Build Up to Break Through. It’s important to know that as a creator, the beginning is always going to be difficult and labor intensive on our parts. But, as we continue to meet the needs of our small team, customers, and our fans, then we’re building momentum. (If you have an online presence, traffic is a good indicator of this momentum.) Other momentum makers are improving ourselves (so we can stay on the cutting edge of our industry), and actually succeeding. When we have these things and show how well we’re doing, we create more belief with our followers.

Choose Simple Over Complex. Find out what you do well and play to those strengths. If you can’t do something, don’t try to do it until you find or hire help for it. If you’re jack of many trades like myself, then only focus on things that you really enjoy doing. Stay to your strengths, as we can work on our weaknesses but we’ll never get much with them. It’s all about eliminating what you don’t do well and concentrating on what you do. (If we use Gary Vee as an example, we know that he could be doing all of his social media stuff like a champ – but he’s hired people to do that stuff so he can focus on business development.)

An easy way to remember how to keep things simple is to focus on on three things:

  1. Is it what I’m good at.
  2. Does it make economical sense to do this?
  3. Will it excite my followers? Will it stir their passion?

If you’re able to answer yes for all three things, then it’s something you should consider doing.

Strategically Use Technology. As a creator, we want to limit ourselves as consumers. We all know how technology gives us the opportunity to consume information at a faster and faster rate every day. However, we need to learn how to leverage that same technology to get our message out there. It’s ok to be a first user if you think a technology is going to be widely used. (In fact, Gary Vee does exactly this. He believes that the sooner you get on a new technology, the less noise you have to deal with.) However, on the other hand, you can’t go from tech to tech to tech and expect your followers to be able to do the same. Pick something, stick with it, and test new technology out before you commit to it.

Develop a Culture of Discipline. Finally, a Level  5 leader wants to develop a culture of discipline simply because he or she doesn’t want to have to baby sit their fans and/or team. If you’re teaching people to do something, you want them to be able to do things and have their own results. If you have a team that is self disciplined, then you won’t have to redo their work over.

On top of having disciplined people around us, we also want to make sure that we have disciplined thought. Meaning, we need to be thinking continually about the right things. Once we have a product(s), customers, and perhaps a team, we want to make sure that our thoughts are based on helping them be the best that they can be in what they’re doing. On top of that, we also need to be thinking about other ways of building our influence.

Only when we have disciplined thought can we have disciplined action. Do things that help you and your business grow. Don’t do things that don’t.

Homework:

Hopefully this will help you focus on what you need to do to get to a higher level with your work. Remember, it wasn’t luck that got the big names where they were. It was focusing on the big picture and making sure that what they did positively affected those around them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about any strategies you’ve used to be more influential with your fans, customers, and/or team members. Do you see this strategy as being part of a Level 5 Leader? If it isn’t, can you think of anything you could do with that strategy to make it more impactful? (If you don’t know, feel free to ask.) Chime in below!

Top 10 Podcasts You Could Be Listening To (and 5 You Can Start On!)

Inspired by Cam’s video above, I thought I’d share with you all the podcasts that yours truly listens to as well. I mean, one of the things that we want to do in the newly created New Inceptions Masterminder group on Facebook is feature other people’s work. Not only does it build community when you promote others, but it also helps people find things they might not have known about in the past.

One of the things that LTD talked about all the time and that you might have heard is the phrase Leaders are Readers.

And I think that phrase has it’s merit. I believe to be a leader that you constantly have to be learning. When you’re learning, you’re moving forward. Likewise, if you’re not learning, you’re moving backwards.

However I believe that in today’s age many people don’t read as much as they used to. For example, while Facebook is full of text, it’s the videos that tend to go viral – not posts. For me, I’m naturally an audio person. I feel that videos and books must have your full attention to leave an impression. However, with audio (radio, podcasts, books on tape) I feel that you can be doing something (driving, walking, working out) and still be somewhat engaged in the material that you’re listening to.

So audio, I believe, is the one medium that every expert or online business person should be utilizing to build their audience. I’d imagine that podcasters would agree with this.

 

If you’ve never listened to a podcast, it’s never too late to start. Podcasts are generally free and can range in all kinds of topics, as Cam mentioned in the video above. I’ve been aware of them since I first had an iPod (2007’ish) but I believe they’ve been around longer than that. The reason you might not have heard too much about them is because they’ve been in somewhat of a rollercoaster of popularity over the years, but I think this current swing is a fairly large one.

So to help you get started (or maybe to just give you some more options), I’m going to share with you 10 podcasts that I’m currently listening to on a regular basis. And then, I’m going to give you my top 5 that I recommend that you should definitely add to your list whether or not you currently listen to them or are a newbie listener.

I will point out that I don’t expect you to listen to all of these all the time. Unless you commute daily and consider your car to be a mobile university, my recommendation would to pick topics that interest you.

The Top 10 Podcasts I’m Currently Listening To:

Smart Passive Income (Average Run Time [ART]: 45 minutes) – This is the first podcast that I ever started listening to. Over the years, Pat has done remarkably well with it. While I don’t visit his blog as much as I once did and don’t find myself regularly checking out his other material (which includes 2 more podcasts, a regular programmed YouTube channel, and “playing” around on Periscope), I do keep coming back to the original podcast. I think the main reason is his wide scope of guests that he has on the show. While he does manage to get big names on there from time to time (Gary Vee and Tim Ferris to name a couple), I think his real bread and butter is highlighting normal people who have successfully built an online business.

Solopreneur Hour (ART: 1 hour+) – Michael and his show recently came on the radar a couple of months ago when he was interview by Pat. I completely love his style of talking with people very casually. Just in the little bit of time that I’ve been listening, there have been HUGE bombs of wisdom dropped that I’ve used in either mindset or just getting things done. His background is definitely interesting in that he’s had big swings in his success. He’s killed it recently in the MLM world, but before that he moved from one place to another, struggling as he went. Oh and he loves his dog.

Joel Osteen Podcast (ART: 25 minutes)- This particular “podcast” helped me quite a bit when I lost my mom back in 2011. I was going through a transitional time in my life and having her pass just added to all the emotions of leaving college and entering “the real world”. While Joel might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I do think that certain people that are on hard times can be picked up by his inspirational message. Generally Maria and I will listen to this one together. (Also, there’s a video version of it as well as it’s simply the recording of his weekly televised show.)

The Charged Life (ART: 12 minutes) – Not as spiritual as Joel’s podcast, Brendon’s podcast is a quick message that he delivers about certain topics related to getting his listeners out of what he calls the “Caged” and “Comfortable” life. Like Joel’s podcast, there’s a video version of this one too which you can find on YouTube.

The Way I Heard It (ART: 5 – 7 minutes) – As being a fan of Mike Rowe since he started Dirty Jobs, I feel like I’m kind of in the same boat as him. Especially when it comes to how he is amazed by interesting people who do interesting things. This particular podcast was talked about during his interview with Tim Ferriss, and I thought I’d give it a go. Really glad I did! If you liked Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story, then you’ll love this – which is done in the same fashion.

Unmistakable Creative (ART: 55 minutes) – This show originally started out as the Blogcastfm.com show which was geared pretty much towards to what Pat talks about. In fact, Pat had Srinivas, the host, on his show back in 2013. However, around the time that Srini was on Glenn Beck’s show, was when the podcast was changed to it’s current form. At any rate, I’m still a fan of Srini’s and love the guests that he has on here.

The Fizzle Show (ART: 1 hour) – Another podcast and group I heard about from Pat’s podcast. While I love Pat, having three hosts on a podcast sounded very unique to me. While this format works well on the radio, not many people have used it for pure podcasting – at least not with the ones I’m familiar with. It’s because of this show that we decided to go with format that we did for the Angles of Lattitude Podcast. (Also, remember, that you can get your first month of being a Fizzler for free by going through this link here.)

Art of Charm (ART: 15 minutes to 1 hour) – Jordan Harbinger and his pals started the Art of Charm as a coaching service to guys who wanted to be better men. For a long time, that was the focus of the show. However, as soon as I started listening to the show regularly in 2012-2013, they started changing the focus a little more on just finding out how interesting guests became their current successful self. I will say that if you’re anyone who needs to work on your self image or confidence, that this might be a show worth your time to listen to. Guests on the show include upper tier successes.

StarTalk Radio (ART: 50 minutes) – I think this was the 2nd podcast I started listening to. It’s funny, but Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my favorite popular scientists in today’s pop culture. He was the 1st host of the recent Cosmos (there might be future seasons from what I hear) and he’s also known for his phrase “We have a badass over here”. So it seems fitting that he hosts a show (typically with a comedian co-host) where they talk with guests about pop culture and science.

The School of Greatness (ART: 5 minutes to 1 hour+) – Like many other podcasts that release multiple times a week, the School of Greatness by Lewis Howes has long shows and a short show on Friday. Personally, I picked his podcast up in 2013 when I heard that he had started it. Being familiar with him by him being Pat’s podcast (where else?) and talking about webinars and LinkedIn, I thought he might be interesting to listen to as well. Fast forward a couple of years and I think he’s more known for doing the show now than he was with those previous topics. Types of guests that he has on the show typically are pretty successful, but a lot of the time he tends to mix in some pretty good topic editions (those are normally his short ones).

My Recommended Top 5 Podcasts for the Podcast Newbie

If you’re just getting into podcasts, I wouldn’t recommend subscribing on iTunes to all of these just yet. Honestly, there’s a crap load of information coming from these folks and I don’t want you to get hammered with too much all at once. If you’re finding my list, there’s a good chance you have an interest in improving your career. So, what I’ll do for you is give you the ones I think would help you out the most in that quest. Then later on, you can come back and subscribe to the other ones I listen to for edutainment.

These are in order of how relevant they are based on where you might be in your career. The first three are for anyone while the latter two are geared more towards people who want to be experts in their field.

  1. Art of Charm – Basically just teaches people how to crush it all around – in their jobs, in their relationships, and in life. Jordan is very engaged with his guests which is interesting. You can tell he does his homework. He comes across as a fan of everyone he talks to.
  2. School of Greatness – Like the Art of Charm, however, Lewis lets the guest talk way more which definitely makes it a different show.
  3. The Charged Life – I think more people need to be aware of Brendon and what he offers. Ideally, at New Inceptions, we’re trying to help you move from a Caged or Comfortable life to a Charged Life as well.
  4. Smart Passive Income – I think it’s important that people know that there’s a way that you can make an income on the side using the skills that you already use day in and day out. While Brendon does that for a premium (he can, too – he shows you EVERYTHING you need to do to be a success in expert space) Pat shows you how to do it all for free. He’s also exposed so much of the world to me in general, that I couldn’t not post his show.
  5. Solopreneur Hour – I like his technique. It’s hard to say how much he actually researches his guests, but I think that adds to his style. He and Pat say that they don’t research their guests too much because they want to sound more authentic when finding things out. However, he does seem to know a lot about most of them. I like the conversation effect that this gives his show.

Homework:

I’d love for you to check these out and let us know what you think. If you’re a podcast newbie, take a listen to my recommended top 5 and let us know which one sounds the most interesting to you. What did you like about them? What didn’t you like about them? If you were to make a podcast, what would you focus on? If you’re already a host, please let us know about your podcast below. Be sure to tell us why you started it and what your focus is. Let yourself be heard!

Innovation in Indiana 001: Techpoint Innovation Summit 2010

In the past year that I’ve been in Indianapolis, one of the groups that I’m glad to be plugging in with is Techpoint. Essentially Techpoint’s goal is to help foster up-and-coming companies from around the state. Also, they act as a podium to bring together speakers from various backgrounds to come and give their two cents on given topics.

On a yearly basis, Techpoint holds two large events that recognize entrepreneurship in Indiana. One, the Mira Awards, features companies from around the state that have done well in their respective field. It is generally sponsored by several schools including Purdue, Indiana, and Ivy Tech as well as several other key names within the state such as Indiana Business Journal, Barnes and Thornburgh, and ExactTarget. While seeing the companies being recognized for their achievements is great, the networking opportunities are awesome. And considering that this is a site dedicated for helping you with your new path(s) in life, if you are in Indiana and specifically Indianapolis, don’t pass up next years Mira Awards!

Secondly, the Innovation Summit is a place where a collection of speakers and business owners can get together and share ideas. In a way, you could think of it as Indiana’s Innovation TED. While I have not attended the Summit, I am looking forward to attending it next week on October 27th. Here’s a video for you to get a glimpse as to why I’m looking forward to it!

Link to the full story via their Blog.

If you’re an Indiana based Entrepreneur/business owner who would like to mix with some of the best minds in the area, I would say it’s in your best interest to make it to a Techpoint meeting in the near future!