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mlm network marketing

The Truth About Network Marketing: Should Your First Business be with a Multi-Level Marketing Company?

As many of you might know, I officially started my journey into entrepreneurship through Amway and LTD. It was where I had the opportunity to learn the true entrepreneurial mindset, learn more about what freedom really is, and even more about what this country is all about. I also got to meet great go-getters that I plan on bringing onto the podcast from time to time.

While I might not have gotten great financial results from being in it, I’m glad that I was able to absorb the knowledge and influence. Without that experience, I really don’t know where I’d be today. Maybe a teacher or engineer somewhere. I’m really not quite sure.

What I do know is that what I’m doing today allows me to utilize what I found out about myself when I was active in Amway. I realized that I do like to teach, coach, and work on a team.

However, I also realized some of the things that I wasn’t so great at as well. One of those things was to scrape off the negative connotation that comes with the industry. I just found it too difficult to constantly fight through that stigma. I hated being in “one of those things”.

So in this post, I’m going to utilize a list of Pro and Cons that was inspired from the Fizzle forums and give them my personal touch. They are items that the original author (Tony Rush – who’s earned well over $100k in a single month) and I have learned about through working in our groups (and what I’ve found out since I was active) and hopefully it will allow you to make a better choice if joining a group and company is good for you!

Pros:

Build on a Shoestring Budget / Low Barrier to Entry:

As with an online business, you really don’t have to have that much money to start. Of course the more skills you bring to the table (sales skills specifically), the better off you’ll do from the get go. (In the online business world, the more technical skills you have, the more things you don’t have to pay others to do.)

Can (Should?) be a Part Time Endeavour:

While starting a traditional business is definitely time intensive, doing an MLM isn’t nearly as bad. In fact, because they’re designed for you to bring more people into the group as opposed to just sales, it’s almost foolish to not have a job as you’re getting started. Building your army of distributors takes time!

Team Game:

The more people you bring into your team, the more you’ll win. Period. That said, don’t rely on one person that you bring into your team to do all the recruiting. You won’t get rewarded for that. It’s not how it works.

Personal Development:

Your “Upline” has your best interest at heart. If you do well, they do well. So they’re going to want you to be as great as you can in all areas of your life – not just in bringing in money. The more stable your life is in the business, the more stable their life is. The more business skills you have, the less work they have to do in your line of sponsorship (LoS).

Learn about Real Freedom:

Somewhere in your upline there will be people who have really made it. These people live celebrity lifestyles without the worry of having to dodge paparazzi. With the ability to see and learn from these folks directly or from team events, this is often the first time that many people honestly see that they don’t have to work a 9 to 5. For many people who might be familiar with online business, they might also realize that they have better skills to perform in the MLM arena because they don’t have to have “technical” skills to do the work there.

True Passive Income:

Real Freedom comes from being paid over and over for work you did once. That’s the whole idea of passive income. If you become a sponsoring machine in your first two years in business and you do well in your own personal circle of sales (selling to people you know), you have really the main ingredients to be successful at any MLM. You build your group and help others build theirs. It’s really that simple. If you can’t do these two main activities, you’re going to have problems in having true success. (If building courses and creating other content is more your thing, then I HIGHLY recommend going the online route. This is definitely more my strong suit!)

Don’t have to handle Customer Support:

Again, your job is twofold: selling and coaching. You sell the idea of the business to prospects and the products to customers. You coach downline to do the same thing.

What your job doesn’t consist of is having to worry about invoices, returns, shipping, and other merchant issues. Totally the opposite of having your own online retail store.

Built-in Community:

There was a saying that I learned in my LTD days that I still use with online business making. You’re in business for yourself, but you’re not by yourself. In an MLM, this is particularly true. Again, you’re upline and downline both want you to succeed. When you succeed, they look good and are more likely to have success.

However, you can find plenty of community to help your online business as well these days. There’s plenty of Mega Groups on Facebook as well as paid membership sites like Fizzle. Heck, many courses that are out there these days have a group as part of the bonus for enrolling!

Cons:

So now that we’ve looked at the things that I think are great about MLM’s, let’s look at the issues that I saw when I was active.

Low Barrier of Entry:

This is on both lists because there are simply some folks who shouldn’t be in business – period. They don’t know how to invest in themselves and/or their business. They’re consumers through and through and only take. You don’t want these kinds of people on your team and taking up your time as a coach.

Little or no Autonomy: Remember how I was talking about Freedom up above? Well, there is a catch to that. When it comes to your business, you usually have very little or no freedom when it comes to prices of products, what your online portal (“website”) looks like, marketing materials, and how customers are interacted with from the customer support side. You’re essentially a freelance salesperson/coach. Unless you make the board of one of these companies (which is possible in Amway), your thoughts on the business are not going to be anything more than feedback.

This personally drives me CRAZY.

Stigma of being in “one of those things” or a Pyramid Scheme: Yeah, I hate having to fight this. So many people believe that MLM’s are pyramid schemes. Heck, I’ve known a few people that would even go out of their way and tell others that I was in a pyramid scheme. Simply this aspect of being in an MLM can make life and the work you’re trying to do uncomfortable – even if you have all the best intentions in the world.

Not all MLM’s are created equal:

Some MLM’s like Amway have been around for awhile. Amway, itself, has been around for 50+ years. However, most MLM’s come and go as quickly as a summer storm. So one of the things that you’ll want to make sure you do is kick the tires if you’re thinking of joining a particular group and/or company. Find out how long they’ve been around. If they’ve been around for awhile, then you should be good. If they’ve only been around a handful of years or less, then check out the fruit on the trees. Are the leaders where you want to be? Do they have high morals or do they give you a feeling of being used car salesfolk?

This is a really important thing you check out!!

Commitment Levels Vary:

You might be completely jacked to start your new business. However, not everyone is going to be as excited as you are. You might sponsor some people who simply get started because you’re the most confident people they know. There might be people you sponsor who put more work into building this thing right away and then vanish all of a sudden. It’s probably because they’ve found the next shiny object project.

A Cult-like Experience:

Again, for many people, this might be the first time that many people have ever been exposed to self improvement material. At first, it feels unnatural that all of these people are constantly talking positively about life. For me, it was just weird.

Once you get past this, though, and you realize that there are all kinds of people in the group, you’ll find that there’s not many places like this in the rest of the world. In our perspective, this is great! It solidifies our interest in the group because we feel that it was the group that gave us this new understanding of the world.

In the perspective of the people that we’ve been around up until we joined the group, we might be changing in a way that they’re not comfortable with.

So, when those people, who might be life long friends or spouses, criticize the MLM, trouble might be brewing. The folks who are on the outside “just don’t understand” from the perspective on the member. From the outside, the member is drifting further away.

From what I’ve found out, this is entirely from a lack of communication. It’s completely unnecessary for relationships to get to this point. However, they do and I think you should be aware of it.

Wrap-Up:

It might sound that I’m being ungrateful of my experience. However, it’s the contrary. I really enjoyed my active years and it really helped me change for the better.

The thing is that I don’t think many people see both sides of MLM like I do. Once you get in it, and if it’s really the only thing you’ve experienced, you might find it hard to leave. Or, if you’re like people I know that have built their fortune on it alone, then you can’t explore things outside of it due to risk of losing what you’ve built.

Ultimately, these are some of the reasons why I ultimately focused more on building New Inceptions.

However, not everyone minds these limitations. If what you’re passionate isn’t going to bring in the resources for you to continue to pursue it, then perhaps you should consider being involved with a MLM company. Simply think of them as a vehicle for you to bring in income that allows you to engage in your passion more.

Action Steps:

If you’re interested in getting into Amway, checking it out, and being shown the ropes, I’d be more than happy to sponsor you. The products are great and there’s plenty of people who aren’t Independent Business Owners (IBOs) and want to use the products as well. The last I checked, the buy in is around $63. However, you can get larger starter packages that have sample products at a discounted rate.

Also, Maria is in various ones herself. Each group has it’s own products. One is insurance focused, another is jewelry based, and yet another is health food based.

Connect with us if you’re interested to see if any of the lines that we’re involved with might be a solution for you!

For further information about MLM’s and network marketing, there’s a great podcast session with Michael O’Neal that I think you might want to listen to. The MLM he’s involved with is Isagenix. This particular interview features him in a conversation with David Wood at a dinner table at Joe’s Crab Shack. David is a multi-multi-millionaire in Isagenix and you can get connected with his brand here.

They talk more than just MLM, however. They also talk real estate and the entrepreneurial mindset as well. A well rounded great talk. The best advice towards MLM starts just after the 57 mark. However, the conversation is great after the 34 minute mark.

Also, David mentions an interview of Tony Robbins in there as well talking about Network Marketing. Here’s that interview:

So, I think that’s a good start. Let me know if you have any further questions regarding this topic below. Those of you who have seen some success in an MLM in the past – whether financial or not – let me know about your experience too!

AoL 038: Yoga, How to Measure Creativity, and Being a Better Human with David Rachford

Being in business for yourself has many different labels. Solopreneur, Expert, Entrepreneur… the list goes on. Many times we’ve found out that these particular names might not necessarily mean anything other than you have a passion for what you do and you happen to make income doing it.

Most of us go the long way of doing that. Going to school for one thing and then making our business from something else.

I frequently ask myself, could I have learned what I know today about online business without going to school? Would I have been able to help people they way I do today?

While I think that I might have been able to shortcut the process, the truth of the matter is simply this: I wouldn’t have the experience to be able to help people at the LEVEL that I help people today.

The same goes for today’s guest, David Rachford.

David started his career in the military after being an athlete for years in several sports. After getting out of the military, he went to college to become an accountant. Growing tired of that world in 10 years, he found himself at a position that he could do something that utilized those accounting skills, but at the same time, he didn’t want to make that his whole career.

That’s where his interest in teaching others about Yoga and starting the Better Human Show came from.

In this session, we’ll learn exactly how a kid who was too husky to be in youth football started playing all kinds of sports, How his yoga journey started, how he “measures creativity”, and why he started doing his podcast.

Listen to this episode if you’ve ever found yourself bouncing from one thing in your career to the next, thinking about starting a business, or you’re simply curious in what it takes to sit with “strong determination” like monks do in meditation.

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • What kind of sports David played growing up despite being too big to play football. (10:04)
  • How David got into Meditation, Yoga, and eventually learned how to sit in “strong determination”. (13:48)
  • David’s advice to someone who says they get migraines when meditating. (20:42)
  • Why he left the accounting world after doing it for 10 years. (22:50)
  • How Dave measures creativity. (26:22)
  • Why Dave focuses on established entrepreneurs for his ideal clients (29:00)
  • How the Better Human show came into being. (34:38)
  • Which talks on his podcast have stuck in his mind the most. (38:18)
  • What’s an occurring theme that he’s gotten from his guests. (42:20)
  • David’s thoughts on falling back on a safe job (45:07)
  • What purchase $100 or less has most affected David’s life. (50:43)
  • What are three truths that he wants to share with others (53:10)
  • Who are David’s three favorite teachers (56:55)
  • What Dave recommends in spreading your message into the world (1:03:34)
  • … 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:

Installing a Retargeting Pixel on Your Website:

Travel Yoga Poses on KKFX News:

Couple Yoga Poses on KKFX News:

David’s Norwegian Lundehund, Nikolina checking out a T-Rex!

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.

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

Cheers!

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!

 

Ways to Become More Disciplined

4 Ways to Become More Disciplined

Have you ever struggled to get things done? To finish what you have started before moving on to something else?

Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve found yourself motivated to do something at one point, do it a few times, and possibly even come to a point where it’s a habit. However, you eventually you lose your ability to muster up the strength to do it again.

You’re definitely not alone. Time and again, I’ve seen this issue in several groups I’ve belonged to in the past. The number one problem that I see people struggle with is consistency. Or really, just the lack of focus. Things get jumbled up in their priorities and they’re really never able to finish what they’ve begun.

Becoming More Disciplined:

The term disciplined has such a negative connotation to it. When I think of the word, I think of someone getting scolded by a coach or parent. Or perhaps a dog getting yelled at for doing their business in the house.

However, the term has two meanings. What I just gave examples for is one definition. The other definition is a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.

In effect, when someone becomes more disciplined, they’re essentially becoming more masterful at something.

Also, I should mention that a 2014 study showed that “engaging in personally interesting activities not only improves performance, but also creates an energized experience that allows people to persist when persisting would otherwise cause them to burn out.”

So instead of thinking of being more disciplined as a bad thing, let’s look at it from a skill building perspective. The more disciplined you are, the better you are at a particular task or type of work that you enjoy doing.

Now that we have that definition, let’s look at the 4 ways of gaining mastery at something.

 

Method #1 – Build Accountability:

There’s a few ways that we can build accountability. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of accountability buddies. These are people who are on the same or similar path to you. You’re both working for the same goal.

In my personal development circles, a group of this kind of person that meets regularly is a Mastermind.

This past year, I’ve been hosting a mastermind that is based on business building. Not only does this group provide a place for people to talk about what they’ve done in the past week, but it also gives them a place to discuss any problems they’re having and help with any decisions they’re having problems with.

Another way of building accountability outside of people that have similar goals in a mastermind is just learn how to celebrate small wins. This was always something I struggled with – especially in college. What I’ve come to realize since then, though, is that the more you celebrate your small wins, the more incentive you’ll have to stay on track in achieving bigger and better things!

If you’re looking for a way of building accountability that isn’t done with other people is to use a journal. In the past, I’ve talked about using The Five Minute Journal. There are similar ones out there. But this is the one that I’d recommend. After going through my first physical one, I’m now waiting on an Android version! 🙂 However if you have an iOS device, you can get that version already.

 

Method #2 – Remove Distractions:

This one is probably one of the hardest ones to deal with in today’s world. We are programmed by the world to want to interact with everything that is shiney, vibrates, makes a notification sound, or is annoying.

How much work could you get done if you could eliminate everything from your life that did those things?

So if you’re really wanting to focus on something, turn off or lower the volume on the TV, listen to music that’s lyrics don’t get you too hyped, and keep away from social media when you’re actually doing work. (If you have trouble with that last one, there’s actually some plugins for your browser that will help you with that.)

If you’re in a position where you’re constantly getting bombarded with emails, here’s a thought: don’t pay attention to them until you’re ready. And when you are ready, check it once and then turn it off for the evening. Personally, I do a couple of things in the morning that I have to do before I ever check my email.

As someone that’s trying to do your own thing, you need to spend unbroken time on your projects. Don’t let email become your new boss.

 

Method #3 – Focus On One Thing

A book that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading yet is called The One Thing, Many of the podcasters and bloggers that I follow love this book. So I have a good understanding of what it’s about.
One of the quotes that I’ve heard a couple of times from it is this:

The path of mastering something is the combination of not only doing the best you can do at it, but also doing it the best it can be done. – Gary Keller

 

The gist here is simple. Don’t try to multitask. No one is really good at it. Get into a zone and focus on using a superpower of yours.

Pat Flynn, who I think talks about the book the most, says that the way he does this is by block scheduling his day. In fact, he did a recent write up that goes step by step in what his schedule looks like right now.

However, just having certain things due each day is only part of the equation. You might be running a little late in a given day. Does that give you permission to stop early?

Nope! It means that you’re staying and getting stuff done until you get it done OR if you have kids that you make time for, you play with them until they go to bed and then you start cranking the midnight oil. Finish Strong!!

 

Method #4 – Be Aware of the Negative, but Don’t Act of It:

I was just listening to a podcast (it might have been this one?) where the guest that was being interviewed said that we shouldn’t spend energy trying to avoid negative in our lives. We are designed to be problem solvers, so, therefore, our brains our naturally looking for things that they can fix. That’s just what we’re made of.

However, there are times when you need to ignore the negative that comes into your life – especially if it doesn’t come in the form of constructive criticism. There are some people out there that their way of building themselves up is by being critical of other people.

These are trolls. Don’t feed them. Don’t let them get to you. They call you “dumb” or “weird”, then they’re probably “weird” themselves. Don’t let the one bad review shadow over all your compliments!

Many people are not going to get ahead today simply because they don’t know how to ignore other’s thoughts. John Cleese explains in this video:

Also, don’t let yourself be your own worst enemy. If you find yourself coming up with more and more excuses on why you can’t do something (it’s not the right time, someone else has more luck than you, or you don’t have the right skill set), FIGURE IT OUT. Actually let that brain do its job of putting the pieces together! Heck, you might even find a way to collaborate with someone who needs your skillset.

 

Action Steps:

Now that you have a few tools that you can use to get more skillful at your work, pick a few to start implementing as soon as possible. Which is one that you can start today? How about in 15 days? Perhaps a month?

For those of you who do use some of the discipline techniques above, what are some of your results of using them? Do you have any suggestions that I missed?

Will It Fly book summary

Pat Flynn’s Beginner’s Guide: Will It Fly Book Summary

Before we get started, I just wanted to say how useful this book has been. I wanted to give it a little bit more justice than what I’ve seen from other reviews. It’s my goal for you, the reader, to get some value from what I got out of the book as well as get an interest in reading it yourself. I hope that this review helps you make that decision! – JC


 


How does the business idea you have in your head right now fit into your future self, if at all?

The Riches are in the Niches

Products and services we create as entrepreneurs are like elixirs.

Will It Fly? In One Sentence: The true Entrepreneur knows their superpowers, knows more about their client’s pains more than they do, & is not afraid to help. (Click to Tweet)

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The Big Ideas:

  • Start with Where You Want to Go
  • Know the Kind of Work You Like
  • Know Your Strengths
  • Get an Idea of What Your Basic Business Idea Will Look Like
  • Market Research: Who’s already doing something similar? (Places, People, Products)
  • Getting into the Head of Your Potential Clients, Customers, and Audience (Customer P.L.A.N.)
  • Validation of Your Elixirs
  • Case Studies

Start with Where You Want to Go

Entrepreneurs are notorious for “idea churn” – starting something new, only to abandon it for another idea. Sometimes this churn is fast, and sometimes it’s slow, but our goal here is to reduce the chances of churn happening at all.

One thing I learned in engineering that goes hand in hand with many of the success books that are out there is this simple phrase “Start with the End in Mind”.

Starting a business is no different. You need to have a valid idea of what that looks like. Ask yourself: If I had a successful business, what kind of lifestyle would it afford me? Would you be working it all the time from your computer in your home office (once in awhile on a beach?) or would you be traveling around the country or world, giving speeches? Would you be working one on one with your clients? Or, maybe, just maybe, you’d be in a third world country helping kids and their families build better lives?

Pat Flynn has done all of these things at one point in his business. As an architect, he knows what it’s like to think what the end of his project is going to look like. He then works his way backward from that goal and divides his work up into the pieces that need to be done. Same with an engineer. If weren’t trained that way, many things that we take for granted today would not exist.

In this session, Pat helps us determine what we really want in the future in 4 categories that he helps us choose.

Know The Kind of Work You Like

By creating a chronological roadmap of your past work experience, you’ll be able to discover some very interesting patterns about who you are and what works best for you.

I personally think this goes without saying. If you want be a recognized thought leader, car mechanic, or even a landscape architect, you’re going to need to love doing it. Doesn’t matter whether or not you are an entrepreneur or not – Everyone needs to figure out what kind of work they like to do.

When I first rebooted New Inceptions a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to focus on. I simply wanted to help millennials get better at life. However, as time moved on, I realized what part of life and what kind of life I wanted to help, not only millennials, but all kinds of people with – doing work that matters to do them that gives them a lifestyle that they want. Most often than not, this is usually working for yourself. Only through your own business can you get the best things from life, and frankly, I ask – why limit yourself to a job when you might have so much more potential than that?

In this section of the book, Pat talks about listing past jobs you’ve had. He helps us list what you like about them, even what you don’t like about them – and give them an overall rating in how well they match you as a person. You’ll be using those experiences to craft a business based on activities you naturally do.

Know Your Strengths

It doesn’t matter whether or not you plan on becoming a public face to your company, we have to learn what it is about you that you will bring and incorporate into your future business.

This is typically where I tend to start with coaching clients of mine in the past. Pat starts with where you’re going, I start with who you are. Both are equally as important.

Why?

Well, imagine that you’re trying to get to someone’s house in your car and you get lost because for whatever reason, the GPS can’t seem to match their address with their actual location. Believe me, it happens. So you call them and say “Hey, how do I get where you’re at? My GPS isn’t working right.”

What do you think is going to be their response?

“Where are you?” “I’m on Lost Avenue. Hold on, let me find out.” and you proceed to talk until you navigate to where you need to get to.

In business, just like in life, we need to know who we are. What our strengths are, or as Pat puts it, our Superpowers.

In the book, Pat has us do an exercise to find out from others what our Superpowers are. However, there are a few books that I’ve mentioned in the past that will help you find out even more about your strengths if you don’t want to learn about your strengths from the people you’ll be asking. Those books are StrengthFinder 2.0 and StandOut. (Make sure you get new copies as they will come with a 1 time use code that you’ll need to use for your assessment.)

However, I will say that you should still do this exercise because it’s good to know how others see you and perhaps why they see you that way.

Get an Idea of What Your Basic Business Idea Will Look Like

I’ve been using mind maps ever since I started my own business. I created one to start my first online product, and then later I started to incorporate mind maps into everything else that I did.

Mind maps are essential to doing anything creatively in my book. Whether you use post it notes like Pat does, or use an application (I use MindNode for Mac), they’re very important in getting your idea together for things you want to create. Much better than lists, in my opinion!

That said, Pat suggests that you work in two ways when you’re making your mind map. The Creative phase – where you’re just brainstorming related subjects. And then the second phase where you play the editor. The editor collects, adds context, and prunes out extra to get things all sorted out.

If you’re unfamiliar with mind maps, Pat has made a great video for you to check out in how he uses them to make books here:

Market Research: Who’s already doing something similar? (Places, People, Products)

If you find that others have already done what you’re planning to do, that’s a great thing! Someone else has already done the heavy lifting for you. They’ve taken the time and have spent the money to serve the audience, or attempt to do so, and by following their lead you can determine what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your business accordingly.

Very simply idea. If there’s already people doing what you’re going to do, that’s actually a good thing. It means that you’re not having to recreate the wheel and build an audience for it. Remember, being creative isn’t about being original, it’s about doing things in a way that has your uniqueness stamped on it.

As you find websites, people, and products that are already in your niche, list them in a spread sheet. In the book, Pat mentions a ton of ways to find resources that might otherwise take several weeks, months, or years to naturally bump into.

Eventually you’ll end up with a spread sheet that looks similar to mine:

JC's Will It Fly Master Spreadsheet

Yeah, I know it’s not all filled out! If you’re in my niche, let me know. I’ll share it with you and we can work on it together!

More Market Research: Getting into the Head of Your Potential Clients, Customers, and Audience (Customer P.L.A.N.)

When you serve you get paid back in return, but only if you give those you serve a way to pay you back in some way, shape, or form.

Problems:

If you don’t know your target customers problems, how can you ever help them with a solution? You can guess what they are, which might not be the best idea – especially if you’re product is going to cost a lot of time or money to produce! Or you can learn how to ask important questions. (This is where my time in The Foundation has really paid off!)

Essentially you want to get to know their pains so well that when you ask them later, they assume that you already have a product. This is typically done through one on one contact with your target clients, as well as through surveys and, if you don’t know how to get in touch with your target customers, you can use paid traffic to get them to surveys.

Language:

We have a feeling of what kind of problems are out there, but how are the masses describing it? Now it’s time to use Google to search forums and other websites to check for questions that come up again and again. He also uses Google to check related searches to a topic. Ideally going for Questions, Keywords, and Complaints that people have in regards to the problem.

Anecdotes: 

Nothing beats a good story! Especially when you’re going to be using said stories to help get your messages to your audience in a better fashion. Not only putting yourself in their seat, but also using these stories later when you’re offering a solution. Again, forums are a great place to search for these stories – but so are interview based podcasts! One of Pat’s most relatable interviews was with Shane and Jocelyn Sams. Check out that conversation here and tell me that that conversation doesn’t make you think you can build a functional online business! (Also, just an FYI on where Shane and Jocelyn are currently at – they’ve recently started a site here.)

Needs:

After going through P, L, and A – here’s N. Fairly simple step. What has the other 3 parts told you about your target customer? What do they really need? Do they need information updated from older websites? Do they need you to get them specifically what they want from all the material that’s out there on the web? Perhaps they have a specific vehicle that you can tell them if they can fix it on their own or not (yeah, that one is a little too descriptive. But it’s an idea for a mechanic wanting to go online!) It’s up to you to figure out what possible solutions might be.

Elixirs:

…the products and services we create as entrepreneurs are like elixirs – remedies or cures for certain “diseases” that are plaguing our target market.

For each need, you might think of one or a couple of ways to fix that issue.

However, you can only focus on one solution at a time. So pick one, sit on it for a day, and think about it.

After that day, Pat suggests to make another mind map about that new idea for a solution.

Personally, I say, if it fits within your original business idea – that’s great! Your business can be a theme of products. Not a problem there – many businesses have that model. However, you want to start with one main project.

Validation of Your Elixirs

…validation is not based on someone telling you they would buy, like, read, consume, watch, or listen to something you create. Validation is based on certain actions they take.

Essentially that validation is whether or not they want it so bad that they purchase it before it’s even made. Think Kickstarter.

For this process to occur, you need to do 4 things:

  1. Get in front of an audience.
  2. Hyper-target (Make them self identify that they’re interested.)
  3. Interact and share your solution.
  4. Ask for the transaction.

There are a ton of points that I’m skipping here that Pat makes in the book about how to go about actually doing this. He talks about strategies in how to do all of these.

Personally I call this a typical launch sequence. So if you’ve been in any webinar, or are going to be in one soon, see if they’re doing these steps.

Case Studies

In each of the case studies below, which range between all different kids of businesses across all different markets, you’ll get a breakdown of how each person moved forward during each phase of the process.

In this particular section, Pat gives an account of several people in his network (Joey Korenman, Bryan Harris, Jennifer Barcelos, Jarrod Robinson, and Noah Kagan) that went through the validation process.

To me, this part right here makes the entire book. However, you have to read the entire book for these to have the effect that they should when you get here.

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Closing Thoughts

As we close out my first book summary, I want to say thank you for checking it out. I hope it helps you in a little way in getting your business started. If you’d like to know more, of course order the book (Amazon link). However, you should order the book just so you have a “quick” reference in what you should be doing next if you are already an entrepreneur.

Also, if you’d like me to do future summaries of other books in the future, let me know in the comments below. I did this one partly because I was part of Pat’s launch team and never fully did a “review”. I hope that this provides more value than what I’ve seen around the web constitute as “a review”.

That said, I’d love to do more “summaries” if you’d like of other books and products if you’d think that would add some value.

Also, on a side note – I’m actually very proud of Pat for writing this. You can tell he put a ton of work into it. I think it will continue to get his name out there for years to come. Not only that, but it will validate what many of us new solopreneurs have to put up on a regular basis.

Thanks, Pat, for leading the way!

Action Steps (Didn’t think I’d leave this out, did you?)

Go buy the book. It’s right up there with Rich Dad, Poor Dad. You can get it for free with Audible as a audio version if you need to!

mind of an entrepreneur

AoL 030: The Importance of Having the Mind of an Entrepreneur with Joe Albano

The economy changed as we knew it in 2008 after the recession hit. It made jobs much harder to find. No longer was just a resume going to cut it – especially if you wanted a job that paid more than minimum wage.

2008 was also the year that Pat Flynn lost his job and started his long journey to making SPI what it is today. Personally, I’m glad that he made that decision because without him, there would be one less voice out there promoting entrepreneurship – especially lifestyle entrepreneurship and passive income.

I graduated grad school a year later in 2009. The only jobs I knew at the time were internships and teaching in grad school. That’s why, when I got out, I was sort of lost. I knew I what I didn’t want (to be in a large corporation or a dead end job), but I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted.

It eventually occurred to me within a month or so after graduation that I wanted to get my career started with a startup because I had gotten my focus in Entrepreneurship.

That eventually happened (a couple of times) and now I’m finally doing what I went to grad school for! 🙂

However, not everyone can make that transition as easy as many of us millennials can. There are some people that are still struggling with making the transition from the plan they had before the recession. Some lost all their retirement and are forced to do menial jobs to get by. Others have just kept pushing along in a job that might no longer be providing for them at a level they were used to.

Even I questioned what was going through people’s heads when they couldn’t see the writing on the wall when I started networking in late 2009 and early 2010. Why not just start their own thing instead of waiting for someone to give them something better?

That’s also what this session’s guest, Dr. Joe Albano, thought when he started running into people who were trying to run a business with the thought process of an employee. They were waiting for their business to be given to them. Long story short, he ended up switching the focus of working with large businesses to small and medium sized ones just because he knew how much of an impact he and his company could make if he helped from the ground up.

In this discussion, we chat about that passion about working with small businesses, what it takes to make a successful startup, what’s the difference between an employee mindset and entrepreneurial one, and why new entrepreneurs don’t need advice as much as they need support.

If you’re the type of entrepreneur who’s struggling to find success with your business, or just want to know why your peers don’t understand why you’d want to pursue a business in the first place, I think that this chat will help you straighten a few things out.

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How Joe’s older brother played an influence in Joe being interested in starting his own business.
  • Why he feels that, as a Baby Boomer, it was a good decision to embrace entrepreneurship early in his career.
  • Why he made the transition from working with big companies to working with small to medium sized businesses.
  • Why he loves helping people look more at the human side of companies vs the management side.
  • What Joe’s definition of an entrepreneur really is.
  • Why he believes that the employee mindset no longer works in today’s world.
  • What’s the first steps he recommends for your new startup.
  • What Joe suggests to those who are running out of time to do all the different jobs to get their business started.
  • Why he believes that many new entrepreneurs need less advice and more support.
  • What Joe’s capacity is when working with college students.
  • An update in what happened career-wise to one of our early hosts, Jonathan Ridge.
  • Why it’s important that you learn to manage your own career.
  • …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:

Become an Entrepreneur by a guy that’s new to me by the name of Aleksander Vitkin

How to be an Entrepreneur by The School of Life

A Day in The Life of an Entrepreneur by Aleksander Vitkin

Career Advice on Becoming an Entrepreneur by Richard Branson

The Top 10 Mistakes of Entrepreneurs by Guy Kawasaki:

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!

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!