What’s Right For Your Online Business?

There’s a ton of advice as to what your online business should look like. You should have your website set up a certain way. You should be speaking or coaching. You should have products.

VacationWhen I started and was growing my online business I studied all of this advice. I followed what the A-Listers said and created all the things they said you should create.

Was all that advice right? Maybe. I can’t tell you if it necessarily worked for me or will work for you. What I can tell you is that you have to figure out what’s right for your online business. No A-lister or anyone else can figure out what’s right for you, only YOU can.

An example

I can’t speak for you but let me tell you about how I learned this lesson in my online business.

When I studied I was told I should create passive income from products I created. I should have a low-priced, medium priced, and high-priced product. I went on to create products, many of them. Some sold some didn’t. Today I only have one product.

I read that you start off with one-on-one coaching but eventually you want to move into group coaching and then only the high-priced products. I started one-on-one coaching and quickly built up my practice.

As I built it I started to think about and even attempted some group coaching. I started to think about how to take what I did in coaching and create my own high-end product.  (more…)

How To Deal With Jealousy

Before I get into the post… In addition to the Huffington Post I’m very honored to be a contributing writer for the Good Men ProjectTheir website gets 2 million visitors a week and they’re doing some incredible work helping men. Here is my first article for them. Shares, comments and likes are greatly appreciated!

Have you ever read a social media status update by a friend or someone you know talking about something great they did or that happened to them? You’re happy for them and what they accomplished but there’s something gnawing deep inside you.

Maybe only to yourself you think “why couldn’t that be me?” Why aren’t you the one that landed that guest post? Why10295699_619637361455038_8421978434653785327_n aren’t you the one that got accepted to speak at that conference? Why don’t you have a “freedom date?”

I’ve accomplished a lot in this last year. I’ve lost 160 pounds, I’ve moved from Wisconsin to Maui, Hawaii. I’m fully supported by my writing, speaking, and coaching. Even still I see these updates and I get jealous.

My pride reads a guest post on a blog I want to guest post on and says “I write better than that person.” I get that rejection email from a conference a friend gets chosen for and I get jealous.

Jealousy is a part of our human nature and I’m guessing you’ve been there too. We want to be happy when people do amazing things but we want it to be us. We might even want that attention.

Jealousy may be human nature but that doesn’t mean it’s right or healthy. Click to Tweet (more…)

It Sucks Getting Rejected

Before I get into todays post…. I accomplished a HUGE dream of mine this week. I’m now writing for the Huffington Post. This is my first article. Shares and comments are greatly appreciated :)

We’ve all dealt with rejection our whole lives. Whether it was not getting picked for the sports team or not getting that promotion you wanted. It especially hurts when you get rejected while building your online business.

IWhat's your why?n late 2011 I started to figure out a few things about building an online business. One strategy that worked (and still works) well was guest-posting.

You write an article for a website that has a strong following. In exchange for your great content the website owner lets you put three links back to your website. Typically it’s two links to your website and one link to one of your social media profiles.

The very first guest-post I sent out was to the Huffington Post. I wrote them a post about the everyday working man. Someone probably got the post and laughed.

After that I focused on websites I already read. I sent out a few posts to my hero’s only to get a kind rejection. The kind part helped but at the end of the day I was crushed.

Today I’ve guest-posted on over 30 websites. I’ve guest-posted for heroes like Michael Hyatt, Dan Miller, Jon Acuff, Jeff Goins, and many more. Guest-posting got this website 500,000 visitors in 2012 and over 6,000 email subscribers that year. The traffic is still coming from those guest-posts.

How did I go from getting rejected to landing these posts? There are three ways that I could have dealt with the rejection.  You have this choice also. (more…)

Do People Really Want To Hear This?

You start out excited to share your message with the world. You write, do podcasts, and produce videos on your website. It’s all very exciting in the beginning until that hater or your doubts question your credentials.

You get questioned as to whether you’re qualified to talk about your topic. It may even be family or friends. You alreadyBarnes and Nobles have doubts and when these questions come it solidifies the doubt in your mind.

I’ve talked about it several times and if you’ve been following me you know I have a few haters. I was blogging away spreading a message of hope. My eyes were opened and I wanted the whole world to see that you should live and not simply exist.

The message was being well received when I started getting questioned. I had so many doubts and the questions made me wonder if my doubt was correct. Who was I to teach people? What great thing had I done that warranted people’s attention?

This doubt held be back from getting to where I am today. This doubt is probably holding someone back that’s reading this right now. You wonder what credentials you have or need to talk about your topic.

Do people really want to hear your message? YES! More than that, they need it whether or not they realize it. There are so many messages these days and many of them are negative.

We need more people who can show people there’s more than the bad news traditional media feeds us every day. We need you to stand up and say I’ve been there and can help you. We need your experience!

Experience

Have you ever been through a rough break-up? Have you had to file bankruptcy? Have you had children? Do you know how to fix cars? There is something people ask you about and that you have experience with.

Sure you can learn this stuff in a textbook or classroom somewhere but book knowledge will only take you so far. In 2012 I was seeing success with self-publishing. I was selling thousands of books. I had people left and right asking me how I was doing it and asking me to coach them. Coach them? (more…)

How To Get Over Online Overwhelm

Last post we talked about where to start with your online business. We talked about getting very clear about who you most want to help. We also talked about information overload online.

What's your why?Even today I still deal with information overload. At first you’re just trying to figure this out. After you make some progress you’re trying to figure out how to grow. In researching you end up taking in a ton of information.

Several times throughout the last three years I wanted to scream! Yes I wanted to make progress but learning all this stuff was just too much. Not only learning, but what to learn and from whom.

We all know the problem but what’s the solution? If you’re dealing with information overload there are two things you can start doing today that can help.

What’s important right now

Instead of learning anything and everything focus. Last post we talked about your target audience. After you’ve figured out who you most want to serve the next thing you should focus on is your foundation.

If your business is online your foundation is your website and message. When we come to your website is it clear who you’re speaking to? If it’s not clear who you are speaking to people will subscribe to your email list only to be disappointed. (more…)

Where Do I Even Start Online?

The hardest part of an online business is knowing where to start. When you start to research online business you could end up with information overload. There’s a ton of information out there and a lot of it is contradictory. 10428500_641796282572479_4772372918346920256_nThis is where I found myself at the end of 2011. I had just written a book and was trying to figure out how to turn my dream into a business that supports our family. I started researching and was overwhelmed.

I read about guest-posting, SEO, social media and a ton of other topics. I was already working 50-60 hours a week. Where would I find the time to do all this stuff? All the information actually held me back because I just didn’t know where to start.

When I did figure it out and started to make some progress I realized I still had a ton to learn and missed a key step in creating an online business. Here I am in June of 2014 with an online business that now supports our family.

I can tell you that even after this thing supports you there is still a ton to learn. I can also tell you that the freedom an online business brings is priceless. To be able to wake up every day and know you get to help people is amazing.

Having the freedom to spend the precious time we have on this earth doing what’s important to you is incredible. You get to live life on your terms, not the systems. If you’re on this journey struggling stay encouraged because the struggles will be worth it once you get here.

Start here

So where do you start? It all starts with who you want to serve. When I say “serve” I mean who in this world do you most want to help? Is it single women? Married men? Male teenagers? Single mothers? Single fathers? Men with disabilities?

The best way to stand out from the other 900 million websites is to get specific. When you think you’re there get even more specific. Nine times out of ten most of us start out too general. Laura Roeder breaks this down amazingly in this interview with my friend Gene.

Let’s say you’re passionate about single parents and write to single fathers AND mothers. How can you help them both? Single mothers and fathers have two totally different things going on in their lives. (more…)

Online Business Ideas

Starting an online business is hard work, especially when you don’t know what business you want to start. When you do have an idea it’s probably too general. That’s exactly how I started out.

It was a good business coach (thanks Gene) that helped me get some clarity and narrow in. From the time I started my onlineIMG_6016 business until the time it actually supported our family was about two years.

I know I could have gotten here quicker if I had been specific from the start. If I could have figured out my target audience and helped them with their biggest struggles.

Getting specific online is the key to standing out. Today I’d like to give you a few specific ideas that you could use to start a killer online business. You may have started something already but maybe these can help you get a little more specific.

These could also touch a chord because you may have experience in one of the areas. Take that experience and combine it with research to create a killer online business.

Interview prep

As I write this there are people all over the world interviewing for jobs. Four years ago I had to hire people for my business and it was a nightmare at times. You may know how to interview well but many people don’t.

A little guidance could help so many people look good in interviews and actually get jobs. You could be that person giving them guidance and create a killer business out of it.

Think about all the things you could offer:

  • Interview prep through one on one/ group coaching.
  • An online course on the interview process.
  • A PDF checklist of what to do before and after an interview.
  • An audio guide of some commonly asked questions in interviews. 

The ideas area limitless. You could then create a ton of free content specifically talking about interviewing at jobs. You can also interview human resource professionals and start the “Job Prep” podcast.  (more…)

Never Give Up on Your Dream (You’re Closer Than You Realize)

Hey all! I’m excited to have my friend Dave Arnold writing for us today. Dave is a husband, father, writer, speaker, coach, and advocate for the displaced. You can connect with him on Twitter  or Facebook

I wanted to bring Dave on because he is in a unique position and has an amazing story. I think we all can relate with Dave’s efforts to build his business. When you’re done reading the post head over to Dave’s site and check out what he has going on. I’m a huge fan of his and love how he’s helping people. Take it away Dave!

Two months ago I received a letter in the mail. It was one of those letters that you read and think, Gulp. Now what am I going to do?

10341748_390463401092465_5791640489830104279_nWhat did the letter say? I knew you’d ask.

The letter was from the district superintendent – i.e. the main boss – of the church-based organization I work for, and indicated that unfortunately funds have dried up and therefore they can no longer afford to pay me a salary or health benefits.

To their credit, this action is not immediate; it will happen down the road. Nevertheless it will happen.

The gulp came because I have two small children – one who was just born this past March – and we will lose our health benefits.

All that to say, however, I wasn’t scared or even that disappointed.

Why is that?

I’ll get to that in a minute. (more…)

Sleazy Marketing Tactics You Should Avoid

Sometimes the Internet can be the wild west. There’s some amazing information out there but a ton of information that you should run far, far away from.

Starting out I researched what was working and how I could implement those tactics so I could actually start making1654206_590770424341732_923208221_n money. Back then I was desperate for money.

We were living paycheck to paycheck and even if my online business only made $100 a month that could have made an impact on our lives. I’m not going to lie, I was desperate.

Desperation made me do things that common sense should have steered me away from. It also made me consume more information than I could have possibly acted on.

At the height of the madness I was signed up for 87 different blogs. I would follow the SEO guys, the analytic guys, the MLM guys and so on. I read everything and tried a bunch of stuff but honestly I never reached that $100 a month mark.

If you’re starting out or haven’t seen any progress with your online business I know how you feel. You put your blood, sweat and tears into this thing and you just want to see results (I can help).

Even though it’s frustrating there are some marketing tactics that you should never turn to in an attempt to make a couple of dollars. Here are a few major ones.

1. Lying

If you told me you made $1,000 yesterday selling your book there’s really not a way to prove it. Online you can lie your teeth out. You should never lie or exaggerate the truth.

I’m a Christian and I firmly believe the truth always comes out. If you’re not you might believe in karma. If you’re faking it the truth will come out and especially if you’re a coach. If people hire you and don’t get results it won’t be long before your business dries up.

Life is too short to live a lie. Be you and be proud of who you are and the action you’re taking. If you’re not there yet that’s ok. You will get there but until then be honest about where you’re at.

2. Over promising

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Websites that claim this product will increase sales by 200% or get you “these” amazing results. Again, run far away.

Not every product or service will make millions or cure cancer. When you’re writing copy for your product or service clearly state what it does and the real life benefits.

I’m guessing if you release a product it’s something you have personal experience with. What results did your product or service get for you? Tell me about that. Get personal and tell me how it’s helped your life and I’ll buy it. Get some testimonials from people who have gotten value from it. (more…)

I Know Where You’re Wasting Time

Building your dream on the side is hard. You have a day job and a family. You have other responsibilities and the general craziness of life. Finding time to build your dream seems impossible at times.

10429503_633257923426315_3047392232346591980_nIt’s a dilemma because you don’t have time but if you don’t make the time your dream will never happen. I remember this dilemma clearly as I was building this business.

I worked 50 to 60 hours a week delivering bread. I have a wife and three growing children and I had responsibilities at church. I slept three to five hours a night for twelve years but still dreamed of being a writer.

Despite all the craziness I did find time to write two books, create several products, speak all over the world and build an online business that supports our family.

It might seem like a lot but it wasn’t half as much as I could have accomplished if I was focused. I could have done a lot more and gotten here faster with two major tips.

If you’re chasing a dream on the side you’re going to have to use every minute wisely. With two simple tips you can make your dream happen a lot quicker.

Cut out the distractions

As you’re reading this you’re probably thinking “duh” but as you think that how many tabs do you have open right now? Are your email and social media notifications turned on? Are you getting calls that really aren’t that important?

Every minute is precious and when you use those minutes catering to distractions that’s one less minute you can spend on your dream. Those little distractions are time killers and if you added up the time you would be shocked.

Dan Miller is the multi-millionaire NY Times best-selling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love. Last year he had a challenge to create one new product every month. He created those products and wrote a book. He also reads one book a week. Read that paragraph over again and say WOW!

One thing that I’ve heard Dan say over and over again is that he works in uninterrupted blocks of time. He completely eliminates the distractions, especially the ones I mentioned above. He uses that time to focus and just work.

Can we all be superstars like Dan Miller? 100% YES! You may not get as much accomplished in the same amount of time but you can get more accomplished than you ever thought possible.  (more…)