4 Difficult Discussions
That Increase Conversions
How School Ruined You For Business
The One Thing Holding You Back from Success
Exclusive Interview an online marketer who is arguably one of the most prolific publishers of information in the world today. KEVIN FAHEY
IN THIS ISSUE
Business Happens In Cycles
Dear Valued Subscriber, Welcome to my second edition of "Skills for Freedom" Newsletter.
Throughout our history there have been many movements and revolutions. Changes and growth happen within these times and they often cycle round again.
The obvious example are wars throughout history. There have been many (for different justifications), be it a “land grab”, oil, religious beliefs, the reasons are almost endless. But then they pass for a while until they come around yet again. When regimes are forced to change, it’s called a revolution, but often we forget that this is also the latest in a long line of similar actions over history.
World War One became World War Two, which became the Korean war, which became Vietnam, which became Afghanistan and the gulf wars and the wars on terror.
We still have not learnt enough from those mistakes to break free from the loop of those iterations.
Similarly, business happens in cycles, trends rotate around and come back to the forefront, all it takes is a slight reimagination of an old idea to give it a whole new lease of life. But here’s an interesting thought: what would happen, what could our businesses and even our world become if we, instead of repeating the past, learn and do something new? Something we have never done before. What heights could our businesses soar to if we chose for once to not repeat the past.
Our histories tell us that a little revolution every now and then is a good thing, they make changes for the better, and this is true, but only if we choose to learn from the ones that came before. The lessons are always there we just need to see and accept them, and then move on.
If your business has made mistakes in the past, face those demons head on and do something innovative to overcome those past blocks.
I am sure that you will find immense value in this edition of "Skills For Freedom" Newsletter.
PS. If you think that others can benefit from "Skills For Freedom" Newsletter, please send them to skillsforfreedom.com. It's free for anyone to join.
News, Tips Tools & Trends
Facebook Kills '20% text in image’ Rule
Facebook has removed the 20% text limit on ad images. The long-standing rule had been shifted to less stringent over the years, with this week marking their complete abandonment of the 20% text rule.
Media buyers in Facebook’s platform began to notice recently a big change: their images were no longer being disapproved for a lot of text.
Facebook Launches ‘Facebook Business Suite’
This is an all-in-one Facebook and Instagram management tool, focused on making it easier for you to manage your Facebook and Instagram presences from a single platform.
Ryan Reynolds has 7 Marketing Lessons for You. Seriously.
Ryan Reynolds, the famous actor and creative guy behind some of the most memorable ads in the past couple of years, shares some of his insights with Adweek’s creativity and innovation editor David Griner during their Brandweek digital event.
The 7 lessons, summarized, are:
• Less bureaucracy allows for more creativity.
• To be a good marketer, be a consumer first.
• Authenticity always triumphs.
• Speed is good, too.
• Accountability matters.
• Celebrity status isn’t everything.
• Consumers are tiring of endorsers.
How a Simple “Thank You” Payed $30,000 in one Afternoon
I have a client who has done fairly well building his online business. He’s got a funnel set up that is totally automated and makes a decent income, and it works like this:
He runs ads to send traffic to a squeeze page where visitors opt in to get a freebie. Then the autoresponder sequence kicks in and sends people to various sales pages where he makes money.
The whole thing is automated so that he never has to personally contact a customer.
And because of that, he was losing a ton of money. In fact, I just about had to wrestle him to the floor to convince him to take the next step…
…personal contact. I instructed him to personally contact each person who purchased any product over $95 and thank them.
He was to also casually mention his coaching program, too. Actually, he didn’t yet have a coaching program, so I first had to convince him to add a coaching program and then convince him to contact customers to say thank you.
I instructed him to be super nice and not at all salesy on the phone. He was to thank them profusely for their purchase, let them know how important they are and gently inquire about their goals. And he was to tell them about his coaching course just so they were aware of it for a later date when they were ready to move to the next level.
I told him to be warm and kind, to be genuine and to not sell.
The entire idea was to make his customers feel valued and to offer personal help should they need it.
The first time he finally did this and much to his total and complete shock, he signed up 5 team members the same day at $1,000 apiece.
That was almost a year ago. Today he called and said he was doing his weekly ‘thank you’s’ to his best customers and he signed up 6 clients to his coaching program.
By the way, did I mention that he now charges $5,000 for the program? Yup, that’s right - $30,000 in one afternoon just for saying “thank you.”
9 Stats to Remind You Why Content Marketing WORKS
Paid advertising is great because once you’ve got ads and a funnel that works, you can turn on the switch anytime you’re willing to spend money to make money.
But content marketing is still important, and some would argue that in the long run it’s far more valuable than paid advertising.
1. When you compare content marketing with paid search, content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent. This is huge, but remember to factor in your time when creating content.
2. Effective content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and yet it costs 62% less. Of course, a proven outbound campaign is generally easier and less work intensive to run, so you’ve got to weigh your options.
3. In 1984, a person saw an average 2,000 ads/day. By 2019, they saw around 5,000. Which means they actually pay attention to very few ads, thanks to ad overload. Content marketing is the ultimate work-around, coming in under their radar and building trust in a way that no advertising can.
4. Almost half of 18- to 49-year-old people get their news and information online – and those numbers are growing. People 50 and older are no slouches when it comes to the internet, either. Think of how many people you know who aren’t online. Personally, I know of one. Just ONE. And her husband is online, so even she is reachable if you can get his attention.
5. Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without. You can teach businesses how to blog, or even set up a blogging service for them.
6. After reading recommendations on a blog, 61% of U.S. online consumers made a purchase. Have you got a blog yet?
7. Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods. SIX times. That’s hard to even fathom.
8. The most effective SEO technique? Content creation. This is real content that helps people. “Have you got a leaky roof? Here are 10 reasons your roof might be leaking and 5 ways to repair a leaky roof yourself. Would you like help finding the leak? Call us for a free inspection because we’re here to help.” It’s no wonder why content like that will be more effective than an ad screaming, “BUY YOUR NEXT ROOF FROM US!”
9. Businesses publishing 16-plus posts a month get almost 3.5 times more traffic than businesses publishing zero to four articles. Publish or perish, they say, and it’s true.
Paid advertising has its place. But if you also have a continuous stream of quality content to share with your audience, you’ll build trust and gain business that simply cannot be achieved in any other manner..
Searching for Usable Images on Google Just Got Tricky
Google quietly removed the “labeled for reuse” and “labeled for reuse with modifications” options from Image Search. While the filter options and subsequent images are now gone from search, Google has added a Creative Commons license option.
As a reminder, Creative Commons images are free to use, provided that you credit the user and link back to them — a change from “labeled for reuse” licenses which could be used without attribution.
Many digital marketers relied on that little tag to find images eligible for legal use in marketing content efficiently. Now, we have to go through more effort to properly find and source images for our content. On top of that, you may see some fluctuations in your rankings as this new change goes into effect. Read more
Innovation in a Crisis: Why it is More Critical Than Ever
Despite the pandemic’s economic consequences, McKinsey & Co. research suggests that most leaders think this time of change and reinvention can be a boon to their businesses.
More than three-quarters of business owners told the research giant the crisis will create “significant” new opportunities for growth.
Revealing that blessing in disguise boils down to meeting the market’s changing needs. Read more
THE BIG SECTION
Are you ready for our big section? Articles, case study, audio interview, quotes, and more that will develop the skills that you need to be a successful web entrepreneur! Hope you enjoy!
4 Difficult Discussions That Increase Conversions
You know… things like cost, problems, competition and lousy reviews.
And yet, if we get up the guts to have these conversations with our prospects, we get to take control of the situation and more often than not we can make sales that otherwise never would have happened.
Lousy Reviews: Let’s say your prospect is on the verge of buying but still has a little bit of hesitation.
As marketers we like to talk about all the good stuff while hoping prospects don’t think about or see the ‘bad’ stuff.
They decide to check your reviews, and lo and behold there’s a negative one left by a hideous troll intent on ruining your business.
Okay, maybe the troll was sincere in what they said, which of course is even worse.
Your ‘almost customer’ reads the review and marvels at how close they came to making a mistake by buying your product, and you’re out a sale.
But what if you had done two things prior to this point in the sales process? What if you had taken care of that upset customer, made whatever was wrong, right again, and turned them into one of your best advocates? If an angry customer is sincere in their disgruntlement and not just playing you, then this is your chance to go above and beyond and turn them into your best friend, or at least someone who removes negative reviews and brags about your stellar customer service.
Once you’ve accomplished that, here’s what you do next: Write about it. From start to finish, from bad to good, tell the story of what happened that made the customer unhappy and how you fixed it. Yes, this is uncomfortable, but it also shows prospects that when something goes wrong, you make it right.
That prospect who would otherwise have found the negative review now finds a review extolling how you fix problems or she reads your post on what happened. Either way, you’ve saved an untold number of future sales.
Cost: Your product costs twice as much as anything else on the market. As soon as prospects comparison shop, you’re dead in the water unless you take action before this happens.
The best option is to position your product in such a way that you have NO competition. You are in a class of your very own and there is nothing else out there that compares.
If you can’t do this, then at least write a post or two on why your product is light years better than anything else.
The point is to deal with the price issue head on. Do not hope upon hope that your prospects will never look around to see what other options they might have. If you stick your head in the sand on the price issue, you will miss out of sales.
Competition: Setting price aside, there’s also the comparison of your product versus your competitor’s product. Instinct might tell you to either NEVER talk about the competition, or to trash them if you do. Both options are wrong and will cost you sales.
Instead, praise your competition whenever possible while making it clear that as good as they are – and they are good – you and your product are even better for ‘X’ number of reasons. A great way to illustrate this is a chart showing everything that you provide versus what the competition provides.
If you can’t make a chart that shows how you provide far more value than anything else on the market, it might be time to rethink your product. If you can’t add features and benefits, maybe you can focus on targeting one certain market and doing it incredibly well. For example, your competition helps small business owners with marketing. You, on the other hand, are THE expert on flooding restaurants with new and repeat business. They’re the ‘every business’ guy, and you’re the restaurant guy. Who is a restaurant owner going to trust more? And for that matter, who will the restaurant owner pay more for their services, the restaurant expert or the jack of all businesses?
Problems: I guarantee there are not just problems you solve, but also problems you create.
I’m sure you’re already talking about the customer’s problems and how your product solves those problems. That’s marketing 101. But you also need to address the problems of your product as well.
Let’s say you’ve got a terrific software program that does everything the customer could possibly want, but the interface looks completely outdated and clunky.
Yes, that is the next thing on your list to update, but you’re afraid that if you show prospects a demo of your software, they will think your entire system is outdated based on appearance.
This is something you need to talk about right up front. Go ahead and tell them that yours is the best software out there with the ugliest interface because you have spent all your time and resources where it counts and not on window dressing.
Let them know you’ll be jazzing up the interface in the next quarter, and once you do, new subscribers will be paying more for it. But when they subscribe to the software now they get the BEST solution to fix their problems at a discount just because it hasn’t gone through its beautification cycle yet.
Not covering these uncomfortable topics can erode trust and bite into your sales. But speaking openly and upfront about things like price, competition, poor reviews and challenges can save your sales and make you the provider people like and trust.
How One Little Notebook Can Double Your Income
Anytime and every time you do anything in your business, write it down.
Found a new resource? A new shortcut? A new market? Had a brilliant idea? Or even a crazy idea? Write it all down.
If you try something and it works, write it down. If it didn’t work, write that down, too.
It doesn’t matter what your niche is. The point is to keep track of everything you do in your business.
Then when something pays off big, you have three options:
1. Follow the steps in your notebook to duplicate your success over and over again.
2. Hire an outsourcer to follow the steps to duplicate your success for you while you focus on building even more income streams.
3. Use your notes to create teachings (books, courses, membership sites, etc.) to duplicate your success. This is an entirely new income stream to go with the other income you’re making.
If you’re teaching others how to duplicate your success, be sure to also tell them what didn’t work so they can learn from your mistakes instead of making their own.
Do you already have a solid method that’s working for you, but you didn’t take notes? You can still go back and do some investigation to recreate what you did that’s working so well.
Your payment processor records your income. Cross check that with emails you’ve sent out and campaigns you’ve run to see what worked best.
Check the Wayback Machine to find out what copy you were using on which site on any particular date. Check your Clickbank, JVZoo and other accounts to see when things were working really well and investigate to find out what you were doing.
It’s like being your own Big Brother, only this way you get to profit yet again by duplicating your successes and teaching others to do the same.
So You DON’T Want Me To Read Your Page?
Today when I visited a website for the first time, a pop-up offered me a cool freebie. Once I entered my email address, the page rolled over to an offer for a $7 product.
Pretty normal funnel so far, right?
But here’s the thing – the sales page for the $7 offer consisted of white text on a hideous, eye-injuring yellow background.
They did an EXCELLENT job of ensuring I would click away from the page as fast as possible.
And I bet they wonder why their conversions are so lousy.
Have you taken a look at your pages from your visitor’s point of view? If they’re not pleasing to the eye and super easy to read, then it’s time to make some changes.
I see artsy-fartsy looking sites all the time. Medium grey font on a light grey background because someone said it’s in style. Light grey font on a white background. Tiny font that makes me squint. Blaring colors and little videos that follow me around the page and won’t let me focus on the content. Pop-ups with no clear way to get rid of them. Social media buttons that cover the first inch of text on the left margin. Headers that take up half the page.
I could understand if these mistakes were being made in 1995, but we’ve now had over two decades to get these things right.
Any time you have to decide between being artsy and making your site easy for your visitor to navigate and engage, I suggest you error on the side of the visitor.
How School Ruined You For Business
In a traditional education you are taught there is ONE right answer.
Remember multiple choice tests? You were told that “C” was the right answer and “A” “B” and “D” were wrong.
But what if there is a “E”, an “F” or even several hundred different possibilities?
Nope. According to school, there is always ONE right answer.
It makes grading tests a whole lot easier, plus it trains people to follow orders from bosses who always know the one right answer.
And it’s all bullshit.
In business there can be MANY right answers. But since we are trained to think there is only one, we stop looking when we find the first answer that can work.
Never mind that there are another hundred solutions out there, and more than half of them are far better than the first one we found.
Just because you think you have the right answer doesn’t make it the best solution. Keep looking. KEEP LOOKING. Be open to solutions that are even better than the first one you discovered, because they are out there.
You use the same membership software that 80% of other marketers use. You stop looking for membership software because you already have the solution.
But another gal keeps looking for something better, and she finds a membership software that works twice as good at retaining subscribers. Not content to simply use it, she buys the fledgling little company for peanuts, teams up with a programmer and relaunches the software under their new name, making a fortune.
You’ve been told that emailing your list too often is bad and pisses people off and makes them unsubscribe. So you email once a week and you earn an okay living, never questioning if there is a better solution.
Some young kid hears the ‘rules’ about emailing too often but he wants money to come to him faster. He wants a better solution. So he sends out an email every six hours, 7 days per week. That’s 28 emails per week. 20% of his subscribers get mad and leave. 70% buy something every once in awhile. And 10% buy every single thing he promotes because they love him and trust him. In three years he’s made enough money to buy a castle in Scotland. He found a better solution.
Business is ambiguous and even illogical. Rules aren’t just made to be broke; oftentimes they don’t even apply.
For example, you follow all the ‘rules’ to create a viral campaign that costs you a small fortune and it fails miserably. Someone else creates a stupid 20 second video that follows no rules of marketing or business, and they get a million hits in two days and sell $100,000 in product.
Here’s something they don’t teach you in school: Rules don’t apply to everyone. In fact, they only apply to those who choose to follow them.
When you think in a certain way or when you grab the first solution you find, you are putting constraints on yourself that don’t need to be there.
If you have a hard time with the concept that there are no rules (we’re not talking laws here – that’s something else) then try this:
Rules are MEANT to be broken.
Read a handbook on how to do anything. Realize that the person who wrote it is giving you the rules they followed, the rules that worked for THEM. These rules may or may not work for you. You are a different person, likely in a different niche, having a different set of priorities and ideas and products and customers.
Their rules might be helpful but they are not gospel.
Rules are meant to be broken. I’m going to keep telling you that until it starts to sink in, because I realize I’m going against everything your teachers taught you.
Even your rules are mean to be broken. Your own rules, including ones you’re not even aware of, are a weird mash of your own experiences and beliefs. They come from your schooling, your parents, your friends, your beliefs and your experiences.
Break your own rules and see what happens. Contrary to what Sunday school teachers told you, the world will not stop spinning and the earth won’t swallow you in a fiery pit of sulfur.
You’ve been holding yourself back your entire life and it’s time to just STOP it. Question everything. Question why you do what you do, question your choices, question your methods, question your beliefs.
It’s a major shift in thinking that can take you from mediocre to massive success in a very short time.
And at the very least, it’s a whole lot more fun when you remove the constraints and start acting like rules are merely suggestions and not law.
Remember this and even tattoo it on the back of your hand: First solutions are seldom best solutions and rules are meant to be broken.
7 Simple Sales Generating Videos You Can Make in One Day
Any one of these videos can be made in as little as a few minutes if you already know what to say into the camera.
Yet every single one of these can produce massive results when you incorporate them into your websites and sales funnels.
1. The ‘Questions-You-Get-Over-and-Over’ Video
Guaranteed your customers have questions, and most of the time they are the same questions over and over again.
Take a look at what prospects ask you about a product. Choose the questions that you get on a regular basis and then make a short video answering these questions. Place it on your sales page and your Q and A page.
This video is also a great chance to let your prospect see that you are real person who is there to help them make a good decision.
2. The ‘Who-the-Heck-is-This-Person’ Video
Your affiliate just sent a boatload of traffic to your site but these people don’t know you.
Make a short video detailing your bio or anything else pertinent that allows prospects to see, hear and get to know you. This builds familiarity and trust with you, your brand and your website.
3. The ‘Why-I-Love-This-Product’ Video
Here’s where you face the camera and tell your prospects why you personally love your product. Talk about how it’s changed your life or the lives of your customers, what you’ve gone through to bring this product to them, and how it can revolutionize their life, too.
4. The ‘Gimme-Your-Email’ Video
This is the video you place on your squeeze page as your convincer that handing over their email address to you is a good idea.
Before someone fills out a form - even one that asks for just an email address - they have doubts. They’re wondering if they should fill out the form, is someone going to contact them, will my email address be sent to that Nigerian prince or the male enhancement dude… so many worries.
5. The ‘This-Costs-Too-Darn-Much’ Video
This one is also known as the What-the-Heck-Does-it-Cost video, too. Prospects do NOT like having to search, scroll, dig, backtrack, click and so forth to find the price.
And unless your sales technique is to be the lowest priced product on the market, they’re also going to want to know why they should be spending more with you.
This video covers both of these items – how much does it cost and why is it a total bargain in terms of what they get back in exchange for their money.
6. The ‘These-Guys-Love-It-So-It-Must-Be-Good’ Video
This is where you offer your social proof including testimonials, endorsements, well-known customers and so forth.
You can have several of these videos on one page if you like. Better yet, create one video which you narrate that includes clips of customers extolling your virtues. In between clips you can also mention other reviews you’ve received, endorsements and so forth.
7. The “You-Better-Back-Up-What-You-Say” Video
Everyone says they have the best, fastest, biggest and prettiest product. So what? No one believes it until you back it up with proof.
Are your people the best? Give me some examples to prove it. Is your customer services world-class? How do I know that unless you tell me a couple of above-and-beyond customer service stories? Does your course teach me more or does it use a better method than any other course? Great, but I’m not going to believe it until you show me.
For every claim you make, try to find at least one example that proves it, and put your best ones in video form.
With rare exception all of these videos should be short – 2-5 minutes. The idea is to add to the content already on the page, not to replace that content. Make it super clear what the video is about and why they want to watch it. Be concise and interesting and never ever ramble. Get to your point quickly with a smile. Be charming and fun. All of this might sound like a tall order, but basically if you imagine the camera is your favorite person, you’ll find these videos are remarkably easy to make.
And best of all, they can build trust and generate more sales.
Access our past issues now
and get our newest publication in you mailbox every Wednesday
How To Lose a Customer Forever
I bought something this month from an Ebay style of website called Mercari. I expected to get what I saw in the photos of the listing – pretty reasonable expectation, right?
It was supposed to be 3 identical items, which was exactly what I wanted and needed. Yet when I received them, there was one of the items I ordered and two that were similar but different. I was not pleased.
I left a review gently pointing out this discrepancy and stating that maybe the seller simply made a mistake. Certainly, it wasn’t intentional, right? I errored on the side of being nice and understanding.
That was a mistake.
The seller promptly sent me a scathing message letting me know that it was MY FAULT that I did not ASK them ahead of time if they were going to do something devious like switch out 2 of the 3 products.
Yup. You read that right. According to them it was my job to interrogate them on their intentions prior to buying, rather than assume they were upstanding business people who would do the right thing.
I found a couple of lessons here that I can use, and maybe you’ll find them helpful, too.
First, is there something I should be telling my prospects before they buy? Since I never want my customers to have a bad experience, what else do I need to tell them so that they’re not blindsided?
Second, how I respond to a customer’s complaint is everything. Had this person simply acknowledged they screwed up and apologized, I would still have felt fine about it. Stuff happens.
But to turn around and say it’s the customer’s fault for not catching them in a lie prior to the transaction, well…
Needless to say I have blacklisted them forever
How to Increase Conversions by Subliminally Reassuring Your Customers
You’re driving through strange new lands to a destination you’ve never seen. Sometimes you go for miles without seeing anything that indicates you’re even on the right road. Then finally a sign appears, telling you that your destination is up ahead. If you’re like most people, when you see this sign you immediately relax. You feel better because you’ve been reassured that you’re traveling in the right direction and your reward is close.
If you think of the internet as a system of highways and roads, and your prospects as people in their cars trying to navigate to your product download page, then it’s easy to see we need to place signs along the way that reassure them they’re headed in the right direction.
It’s all about flow. Maintaining this flow throughout your entire sales funnel will increase your conversions by reassuring your prospects they are on the right path.
Think of the last time you read an email that offered a free gift you really wanted, only to click over to the squeeze page and find an entirely different headline. Disconcerting, right? You don’t even know if you’re in the right place.
Or you read an article talking about the great benefit of having a particular product, only to click over to the sales page and find an entirely different benefit being extolled in the headline. Is this the same product? Are you even on the right page?
When the next step in the funnel – whatever that step might be – seems to have no connection whatsoever with what you were promised on the previous page, it stops you dead in your tracks. You think twice before continuing forward, and more often than not you close the page rather than try to figure out what the heck is going on.
It’s not the customer’s job to be a detective and investigate if the product on the page they’re on does what the last page said it would.
I know affiliates mean well when they make this mistake. They think that digging deep into a product to find another big benefit that isn’t advertised on the sales page will cause more people to buy the product. But instead, it just confuses the heck out of them.
Here’s how to never confuse your prospects: Copy and paste the actual headline from the sales page into your email, your blog post, or ad or whatever you’re using to drive people to the sales page.
Make sure you include that line in every message your prospect sees until they reach the sales page.
It doesn’t have to be the main headline on your pages, but it does need to be there and it should be highly visible to everyone. For example, if the product’s headline is, “How to Build a List of 2,000 in 48 Hours” and you want to send an email talking about how this system drives super targeted traffic, you might write…
My Eureka Moment: This Will Drive Massive Traffic My Website
I just bought John Smith’s new product, “How to Build a List of 2,000 in 48 Hours,” and halfway in I realized this method can be used to drive targeted traffic to ANY page you choose, not just a squeeze page.
That’s right – you can send traffic straight to your sales page, your Facebook Group Page or anyplace you like and then do a lead capture on exit for those who don’t sign up or purchase right away.
Talk more about it, then remind them to… Check out “How to Build a List of 2,000 in 48 Hours.”
You’ve talked about your favorite benefit, but you’ve also made it super clear what they should expect to see when they hit the sales page, thereby reassuring them they are in the right place.
I saw a sci-fi movie years ago where prisoners where held captive inside invisible bubbles. While it appeared the prisoners could move freely, when they tried to venture outside the bounds of their bubble they ran into an invisible wall that could not be penetrated by anything.
These people looked free to anyone watching, yet they were stuck. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t go anywhere.
Learned helplessness occurs when an individual continuously faces a negative, uncontrollable situation and stops trying to change their circumstance…
…even when they have the ability to do so.
For example, a student is repeatedly told they’re terrible at math, and so they give up trying because they believe it’s hopeless.
A smoker repeatedly tries to quit smoking, but after several failures he no longer believes it’s even possible to quit.
A would-be marketer or entrepreneur fails repeatedly and learns to believe they cannot be successful in their own business.
If you’re not making as much money as you would like in your endeavors, ask yourself if you believe that success is even possible for you.
It could be that you’ve ‘learned’ there is a ceiling on your income.
Or perhaps you’ve ‘learned’ that you can’t successfully start a business, much less make it work.
If you’ve been planning to start or expand your business but you ‘haven’t gotten around to it yet’, then maybe what’s really holding you back is your own learned helplessness.
But the best thing about learned helplessness is that it can be unlearned.
First, realize that it’s not your fault. You did not volunteer to feel hopeless or helpless.
Second, it is your responsibility to change your thinking in order to unlearn learned helplessness.
The reason we feel helpless is because of how we explain good and bad events to ourselves.
If you find temporary and specific causes for misfortune, your helplessness will be limited in time and you’ll have hope for the future.
But if you attribute permanent causes to misfortune, you’ll feel helpless in your endeavors. If this gets bad enough, it can lead to depression and even despair.
Here are a few examples of what NOT to say to yourself when something goes wrong, and what to say instead.
Instead of, “I’m always anxious and stressed out,” say, “I feel stress when I start something new, but once I get going I’m fine.”
Instead of, “Online marketing is horrible,” say, “I really hate building websites, so I’m going to hire someone to do it for me.”
Let’s say you’re quitting smoking, but then you bum a cigarette from a friend. Instead of beating yourself up like this: “I’ll never quit. I’m too weak, I’m too addicted, I can’t keep commitments and these things are gonna kill me.” Tell yourself, “I went two whole days without a cigarette+ and then I only had one. I’m doing really well at beating temptation and I know I’m getting better and better at resisting cigarettes.”
Of all the people who speak to you, no one has the power you do to influence your life for the better. It’s simply a matter of what you tell yourself on a habitual basis that will determine your future success.
What’s happened before doesn’t need to affect what will happen in your future. Now that you’re aware of learned helplessness and how to avoid it and even overcome it, you’ve got the foundation to accomplish new things that previously were unreachable to you.
This is what they mean by failure being a stepping stone. When you tell yourself that each failure is getting you closer to the goal, you’ll never be afraid to fail. Nor will you feel helpless. You’ll simply pick yourself up, tell yourself that the setback is temporary and that you already have what it takes to build your online business or do anything else you set your mind to.
How To Write Your First Kindle Book in 30 Days or Less
Everyone's got a book inside of them, just waiting to get out. And some people have dozens of books that can each be earning them a monthly income… if only they could just get started.
Kindle books can mean true passive income. You write each book once and Amazon sells it for years. Completely unknown aspiring authors have gone on to write dozens of Kindle books and earn themselves a monthly income that rivals most people's annual income. Those same people can then take months and even years off from writing and simply watch the money flow in.
Others write just one or two books, not because they're after passive income, but to show their authority in their niche. For example, someone who runs his own agency helping local businesses with their marketing writes 'the' book on small business marketing.
He sends this book to each new business he would like to work with, much like sending a calling card. When he shows up for the meeting, the business owner is not only friendly, open and receptive to hear what the author has to say - the owner is also ready to say yes to getting help from this expert.
Or maybe you'd like to be a coach. I know of one aspiring personal life coach who struggled to get $100 a month clients. Then she wrote a book, and now clients come to her and gladly pay not $100 a month for her help, but $1,000 a month.
No matter what your business or area of expertise, odds are writing and publishing at least one Kindle book will help you tremendously.
And yet, if you're like 99% of most people who want to write a book, you still haven't done it.
Today all that changes because we're going to overcome every excuse you have for not getting started with your Kindle publishing.
And in fact, I'm going to show you how to write your own Kindle book in just 30 days. Set aside an hour or two per day, follow these steps and in a month you'll have a bare minimum of a first draft ready for the editor, or even a finished book ready to be published.
Choosing your topic
Even if you already have a topic in mind, it's still a good idea to do some brainstorming using one of these methods to determine if you have the BEST topic.
Brain dumping - empty your mind of all your ideas by setting a timer and then writing non-stop until the timer goes off. Try doing this for three 10 minute intervals spaced out over the course of a day or two. Write down EVERYTHING you can think of, regardless of what it might be.
Topic grouping - look at what you've written in the brain dump, and then group like topics together to see what naturally fits. For example, group all of your weight loss ideas together, group your make money ideas together and so forth. If you find you have several groups, choose the five groups that resonate with you.
Rating each idea group - rate your idea groups based upon how much passion you have for each group, how much experience and knowledge you have on that topic and how much you would enjoy researching the topic further. Which idea group comes to the top?
Repurposing - the Ultimate Shortcut
Maybe you'd like a fast shortcut to this entire system, so here it is: If you already have a lot of content you've personally written on a subject, then that might be the best idea for your new book. For example, maybe you have a year's worth of blogposts about dog training - you can repurpose those posts into your first book.
Places you can find content for repurposing might include:
Your blog as well as guest blog posts you've made
Your podcast transcripts
Articles you've written for magazines, newspapers, etc.
Power Point presentations, tele-seminar transcripts, webinar transcripts
Interviews, including interviewing others as well as being interviewed yourself
Emails you've written. Did you answer people's question in depth? Did you provide instruction or other useful content via email? Some marketers can practically copy and paste the contents of their autoresponder into book form because they do a great job of sharing useful info with their subscribers.
Blog and social media comments. These can sometimes be an outstanding jumping off point for a book, especially if they were highly engaging.
Series? Or Not?
The time to decide if you want to write a series rather than just one book is before you start on the first book. The advantages of writing a series are clear: You have more books to sell, thus creating more profit potential. Each book can act as a sales agent for your other books. And when someone reads one of your books and likes it, you'll have more books they can buy.
Your series title is going to be different than your book title. Think of the series title as an umbrella, with all of the books falling underneath this umbrella.
For example, your series could be about maximizing health after the age of 50, and your individual books could be on nutrition, exercise, weight loss, stress, diabetes, heart health and so forth.
When choosing a series title, keep in mind that while you cannot copyright a series or book title, you can trademark the series title. That's why you can't write a book "For Dummies" or use "The Everything Guide". If you see a trademark symbol next to a series name, then you know you can't use it.
If you think your series could be super profitable, it might be worth it to get your own series name trademarked. Avoid anything that sounds too generic and choose something memorable or that speaks to your audience.
Keep your book title short. You want your book title to be readable when your cover is just a thumbnail. The same goes for sub-titles. If your subtitle is longer than 12 words, see if you can shorten it.
Use the title and subtitle to make it crystal clear what your book can do for the reader. This isn't the time to be vague or mysterious.
Spend some time on the best seller lists looking at titles. At this point you want to have a working title, but you might find an even better option comes to light as you're putting your book together.
Organizing Your Ideas
Mind mapping is a great tool for organizing ideas around your central topic. Write your topic or your title in the center of the page and then brainstorm ideas for the book's content.
Ideally you want to have 5 to 10 chapters. Since this is a Kindle book, you don't need to add filler to make it 200 pages. You do need, however, to provide great content that delivers on the promise of your title and subtitle.
Kindle's minimum word count for a book is just 2500 words, which is the length of 5 short articles or one in-depth article. That's right - you can publish a book with just 2500 words. Odds are once you get started you'll realize your book will be longer than the minimum, but it's good to know you don't have to write an encyclopedia-length book to be published.
The sweet spot for Kindle books is 6,000 to 10,000 words. This is enough to give readers what they need and have them coming back for more… hence the idea of doing a series of books in your niche.
Once you have a rough idea of what your chapter topics will be, do a mind map for each topic for the content of each chapter.
Then organize your chapter titles and content of each chapter into an outline.
Be sure to write in the style your ideal reader is accustomed to. If you're writing a book for mechanical engineers, it's going to read differently than a book on how to bake the perfect flourless desserts or how to meditate like a master in only 5 minutes a day.
Creating Content Without Typing
Not everyone likes to sit at a keyboard and bang out their next book. Fortunately, you don't have to.
You can record yourself talking your book, hire a transcription service and edit the transcription into your book.
You can also have someone interview you if you find that method to be easier, and again get it transcribed.
Or you can use software to type as you speak. Dragon Naturally Speaking software is perhaps the best option for this.
Perhaps you would like others to create your content for you. You might get 10 different experts to each write a chapter on one aspect of your topic, giving them full credit and a link back to their website so they can capture leads.
You can even ask bloggers if you can use one of their posts, again giving them credit. You compile these posts, making sure they are on target to your topic, and write an introduction. Using this method, you could easily produce a book per week if you're motivated.
Regardless of which word processing program you're using, you may find it easier to write and stay on track if you use one or more of the following productivity tools:
CalmlyWriter.com - this is an add-on for Google Chrome. It opens a new tab in your browser with a plain white background with no buttons or distractions.
FocusWriter.com - timers and alarms that force you to write during the allotted time, with optional daily word count goals. When you're finished, copy and paste your text into your book writing program.
Ilys.com - this lets you set a word count goal for yourself each time you write to help propel you forward. You can also set it to 'ninja mode' which hides your words as you type, forcing you to move forward with your writing rather than going back to edit.
KeepWriting.boxjar.com - helps you to break the habit of editing as you write by not allowing you to delete or correct mistakes.
WriteBoxApps.com - syncs all of your devices together so that you can seamlessly switch from working on your computer at home to working on your phone or device at the coffee shop or while waiting for appointments.
Tips for Writing More in Less Time
Turn off spell check. Editing while writing is a distraction that will only slow you down and make it more difficult to slog your way through your writing. If you can stop editing as you write, you'll find your writing flows more easily and you get more done in less time with less effort.
Close your door and turn off your phone. Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Tell others you're not to be disturbed during your writing time.
Schedule your writing time for when you're at your best. For some people this is first thing in the morning, while others do their best writing in the afternoon or possibly the evening. Find the time when writing works for you, and then make that time a habit.
Change your work environment when possible. Sitting in the same place can put you in a rut. If possible, work outside when weather permits. Set up an outdoor office on your deck, use a picnic table in the park or find a coffee shop with outdoor seating. If the world is no longer in pandemic mode when you read this, restaurants and the inside of coffee shops can work well, too.
Use your outline but don't marry it. Do you want to start with the second section of chapter 3? Go for it. There's nothing that says you have to write your book in order. If you decide later that chapter 5 would work better as chapter 1, then make the change.
Place your outline on your wall where you can see it. Every day, write one section of a chapter. For example, if you have 7 chapters and each chapter has 3 sections, that's 21 elements to write plus your introduction and conclusion, making 23. When you finish the first draft of a section, cross it off your outline. It can be incredibly motivating to see your progress in this way, plus it reminds you of what is left to write.
Before you go to bed, decide which section you will write tomorrow and then let it go. You might be surprised by what your subconscious does with this information overnight.
Every time you finish one section of the book, write a few paragraphs for the next section. This could be as little as 100 words. The idea here is to simply get a small start on it, but sometimes you will surprise yourself and finish that section as well.
Organizing Your Book
Here's how you will typically organize your non-fiction Kindle book:
Acknowledgements, but only if they boost your credibility. For example, if a well-known expert helped you in any way, here's where you'll thank them. Otherwise, place the acknowledgements at the back of the book.
Table of contents
Free opt-in. This is the invitation to readers to join your list and get your freebie. Yes, you should always be building your list through your books. Perhaps the best freebie to offer is a free copy of your next book before it's published. This is also an awesome way to garner reviews.
Introduction. This shouldn't be just any old introduction. When a potential buyer is using the 'see inside' feature on Amazon, they will see this introduction before the first chapter. This is an excellent opportunity to state the benefits of reading your book and make them salivate in anticipation of the contents.
The main body of the book. The first pages of your first chapter should again grab their attention and make them want to keep reading more.
Thank you page
Glossary of terms
Legalities and permissions
About the author page. Don't take yourself too seriously on this page. Feel free to talk about your credentials and experience, but also insert some humor and a personal glimpse of who you are.
Other books by… This is where you remind them that you have other books for them to buy.
What To Include On Your Copyright Page:
© Year and your name (© 2020 Jane Jones)
Publishing company name, address, website and email. If you're self-publishing, then this is your company. You must have an email address in case media wants to contact you to quote your book or interview you.
Any disclaimers (especially for financial, medical or legal niches)
Cover design credit, photo credits and illustration credits (if applicable). Don't skip this. It is standard practice and copyright law to give credit to your graphic artist and illustrator.
An 'All Rights Reserved' clause
Making Your Book Super 'Sticky'
Think back to the last time you read something dry, dull and boring. What did you do? You stopped reading, of course. No one - NO ONE - wants be bored.
Some writers and would-be publishers might think, "So what? They've already purchased my book, so if they don't like it, what does it matter?"
That's short-sighted thinking and will ensure the author stays broke for a couple of reasons.
First, if your book is boring then you're going to get poor reviews. Even if the content is good or great, your reviews will still be less than stellar because readers won't be able to finish something that works better than a sleeping pill.
Second, your customers will not be back. They won't be back to buy more books, or products and services, or even to read your blog or follow you on social media. You will have blown your one chance to make a great impression.
But take heart because keeping a reader engaged isn't all the difficult.
Talk Over Coffee. Don't write like you're trying to impress your writing professor. Your goal isn't to be a modern day Shakespeare; it's to communicate in a friendly voice, much like how you talk to a good friend.
Do research. Read reviews of similar books. If they are less than 5 star, what are the reviews complaining about? Find the gaps and fill them.
Use stories. When possible, use case studies, examples, stories and so forth to engage and liven up your writing.
Keep it personal. You're not talking to 'them', you're speaking to one reader. Instead of writing, "When they do this, they find they are much more likely to…" go ahead and say, "When you do this, you'll find you're much more likely to…"
If possible, engage the senses. Talk about feel, touch, sounds, smells, sights and scents. Imagine how you'll feel when you've got a steady 5 figure income just from your books. Can't you just see the look on admirers' faces when they realize you are a best-selling author? The sweet perfume of success will permeate everything you do, and so forth.
Make your book evergreen. It's great to have a book that is a hot best seller today because it's timely, but it really hurts when your fad is yesterday's news and your book plummets to the bottom basement of Amazon. Not to mention the fact that by the time you get a faddish type of book on the market, the trend may have already passed you by.
The exception to this rule is if the trend is big enough and you can get your book written and published fast enough to make it pay. It's a calculated risk but it does sometimes pay off in a big way.
However, the safest bet is to create content that will be as relevant in 5 years as it is today. You may need to occasionally update it to keep current with new trends and research, but that will be an excellent excuse to 'relaunch' the book with each update, thereby creating even more sales.
Keep your content concise. I once knew a guy who would restate the same point half a dozen different ways which is exactly why I started ducking his calls and avoiding him at every turn.
Make your chapter titles enticing. The worst thing you can do is get lazy and not name your chapters or name them in a dry manner. I've seen authors do this and it drives me crazy.
Your table of contents is prime real estate in the 'search inside' feature on Amazon. Each title should make the potential reader curious to know more. Do some research on Amazon by clicking on the "see inside" feature of books and reading the table of contents.
More short chapters are better than fewer long chapters. Short chapters are easier to read. They give the reader a greater sense of accomplishment because they can read the chapters faster.
It's easier for your readers to master your topic when it's broken up into bite sized pieces. It makes for a larger, more interesting table of contents, making your book look more comprehensive.
And since each chapter title is a teaser for the content to come, it does a better job of selling your book. And yes, it's perfectly okay to have a table of contents that takes up more than one page.
Editing Your Book
This is the part where I will lose a lot of you.
Yes, editing can be pure drudgery. Many writers hate editing as much as they love writing, but it's a necessary part of the process that must be done.
Here's my number one suggestion for editing: Get someone else to do it for you.
If you can afford it, hire a professional editor to go over your book with a fine tooth comb. They can spot areas that need work, things that are out of order, places where you dropped the ball and forgot something and so forth. They can point these out to you for you to fix, or you can pay them to do it for you.
They can also fix your typos and your word choices.
But you might be thinking… why do you even need to edit? A few typos are no big deal, right?
First, it's not just about typos. You live in your brain but your readers don't. Just because you know what you intended to say doesn't mean your readers understand it. Bad writing can kill your book faster than anything else.
And yes, typos are a problem, too. It's jarring for the reader to suddenly be confronted with a typo, especially if it changes the meaning. Some readers become upset when they find typos and they aren't afraid to give negative reviews for those typos, even when they liked the content.
Here's a little trick I learned about typos when you're not using a professional editor: In the beginning of your book before the first chapter, mention that you have tried your darndest to find every typo, but you may have missed a few. If someone is the first to email you and tell you exactly where they found a typo, you will gladly send them a thank you gift for their efforts.
This appeases the 'typo police' and puts them on your side. They find a typo, they tell you, you thank them for their good work and you fix the mistake. Now you've got your entire readership helping you with your editing. Please note, this is NOT a substitute for doing your own editing. Before you place your book on Kindle it needs to be as good as you can possibly make it without trying to achieve perfection.
Remember, your reputation is at stake. You want to put out the very best version of your book you can without spending the rest of your life trying to get it perfect. That's why hiring someone to act as your editor can be so helpful. They can look at your work with fresh eyes and see the things you are blind to.
And while you might feel you are handing over total control to your editor, you are not. If they use MS Word's Track Changes, you can easily see all of the changes they made. If you don't like a change, you can simply change it back.
Here's how to get your editing done for the lowest rate possible:
First, do your own editing. Refine your voice, double check your facts, make sure everything is readable, plausible and flows. Eliminate every typo you find.
Second, give your manuscript to a couple of beta testers and get their input. Use their feedback to improve it. Don't get freaked out when they say a section is unclear or you forgot something. They aren't attacking you, they are simply helping to make your book as good as possible.
Finally, hire an editor to check grammar, spelling and punctuation and to point out any areas that are lacking, repetitive or need work. Fix those areas yourself and then pass it back to the editor for one last read through.
It's also possible to get a free editor. For example, college students will sometimes do book editing for resume experience. Or maybe you can barter a service of your own in exchange for editing, such as coaching. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who is qualified to help you edit your manuscript. A local high school teacher might have free time in the summer and want to support local talent.
Beta readers or book reviewers can be found on social media within your niche.
Local writers' groups are a good place to find other writers who can act as editors. You might edit each other's books, for example.
Whoever helps you in any manner with your editing, be sure to thank them by name inside your book.
If you want to hire a professional editor, you might go to any one these sites to find them:
Working with your editor will improve not just your current book, but also make you a better writer for your next book, too.
If you keep writing books, then by the time you get to book #5 or #6 your writing will have improved to the point where you might be a little horrified by the job you did in Book 1. That's okay. It doesn't mean that your first book was bad. It simply means you've improved greatly.
Writing Your Book in 30 Days
It's time now to stop reading this and get busy. Put in the time each day and in a month or less you will have your very first book.
In my last issue I covered "Publishing your first Kindle Book in 30 days or less".
"Case studies are stories that are used as a teaching tool to show the application of a theory or concept to real situations - so that you can implement it in your business with confidence." - Martha Cherian
Here’s a simple little case study that you can employ in almost any niche.
This gal I know (I am not allowed to reveal her identity, sorry) writes simple little reports that are evergreen.
Example topics might be:
How to build a sales funnel using other people’s products
How to build a Facebook Group of 3,000 in 60 days and earn $10,000 a month
How to build a simple membership site and get 25 new members every month, regardless of price
You get the picture, but again, this could work in almost any niche. The reports are purposely generic when she writes them and the content is evergreen, meaning it doesn’t need a lot of updating in months and years to come.
Then she watches to see what’s happening in the news. Maybe Google has an SEO update, or there is a huge launch for a list building product, or it’s reported that Facebook fan pages aren’t working as well as they used to… it doesn’t really matter.
When she sees a news item she wants to capitalize on, she pulls out the appropriate report and customizes it to the situation. For example, it’s reported that Facebook advertising is becoming more difficult or expensive, so she updates her report on Bing advertising. Some big name is launching a $1000 product on building funnels, so she gets out her funnel report and so forth.
She changes the title to suit the situation. Google is acting up and marketers are afraid their incomes are in jeopardy? She’ll retitle her traffic report to something like, “How to Dump Google and Build a Steady Stream of Buyers from Instagram.” Then she’ll tailor the report to sell a $500 Instagram marketing course. She’ll sell the report or give it away, depending on her goal.
Often the reports are relaunched to go with a major product launch, and other times it’s to help people with a change in marketing.
In some cases she’s deployed essentially the same reports a half dozen times with different headlines and different end goals.
Sometimes she’s just list building, sometimes promoting a specific product (and list building) and sometimes she’s simply selling the report (and list building.)
I could try to make this sound more complicated, but that’s really all there is to it. The key is to watch the news and figure out how you want to monetize whatever change or ‘crisis’ is in the air. Speed is paramount, and since 95% of the writing is already done, she can see the first report of some new development on Monday evening and have the new report out Tuesday morning.
All you need is a stack of generic reports that can be tweaked and adapted to generate income on the back of the latest hot topic or industry change.
Case Study: 3 Step Profits: Watch News - Deploy Report - Make Money!
Kevin Fahey. Joining us today is an online marketer who is arguably one of the most prolific publishers of information in the world today. Kevin Fahey is originally from Kildare in Ireland, but these days he lives in Mallorca, the largest, and arguably most famous, of the Balearic Islands just off the coast of Spain. I guess, you could say Kevin genuinely does live the internet marketer lifestyle, working from a laptop on a beach. LISTEN
“Focus on the core problem your business solves and put out lots of content and enthusiasm and ideas about how to solve that problem.”
– Laura Fitton
“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.”
– Wendy Piersall
“Does your content lead readers on a journey, or does it merely stuff them as leads into a pipeline?”
– Ann Handley
“Content builds relationships. Relationship are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”
“Create content that reaches your audience’s audience.”
– Marketing Profs
“These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”
– Brian Clark
“The only way to win at content marketing is for the reader to say ‘This was written specifically for me.”
– Jamie Turner
“People shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction”
– Brian Halligan
Riches & Wishes
If you had one wish, what would it be for?
Would you wish for wealth? Happiness? Success? Immortality? Would you wish for yourself or would you use that wish for someone else?
Its an interesting ethical question: if given one wish, would we choose a selfless or a selfish path?
The dilemma is this: could wishing for wealth enable you to fulfil someone else anyway? Would it give you the opportunity to be happy and to spread that happiness to others? In truth only you can know what you would do with it, each of us has our own destiny to fulfil, our own road to walk, and there is no point in judging what people want. It would be a very dull world if all our wishes wre the same anyway.
The point is: rich or happy, selfish or selfless, are these options mutually exclusive or can they coexist together? As you approach your customers and suppliers or marketing strategies, don’t be thinking solely about what it is that you want to achieve. Think about what it is you are trying to provide and how that can aid or assist the people you are trying to provide it to. Realise that you can do both if you want to. It is not you vs. them out there. Obviously, the aim is to sell products, but to sell them by extolling its virtues, so don’t try to invent a problem that the customer needs to have your product solve it. Show them why and how you are already solving a need with your product that they didn’t even know they had. Ensure that it is genuine, so that you can feel good about yourself and they can get benefits too.
Remember that your hopes for a product, services etc. are implied, you are hoping to generate a sale, that is part of the natural sales and marketing process, we all know this. So, forget about that and instead concentrate on building your rapport with your prospective customer. You often have one chance to get and keep a customer and it’s in that very first interaction. Do you want them to see you as the person that is just out for a quick buck through a sale? Or do you want them to see you as an expert in your field, a person or company that has products and services that can help them? Be someone that is more interested in building a successful relationship with them, than just taking their money and getting off at the next stop. I promise it works.
When I look at something I’m considering buying, I know which option I always look for… How about you?
Thank you for taking the time to read this episode. I would love to hear what you think about this issue, may email.
PS. You can support this newsletter by checking out our sponsors below.
SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!
NOT SUBSCRIBED YET? SUBSCRIBE
Advertise On Skills For Freedom
Skills For Freedom Newsletter has 1382 fans and readers and growing. This newsletter is targeted to Web Entrepreneurs.
Do you have a product or service that will help our readers? Would you like to have your offer shown in our sponsor section?
Connect with us and let's discuss how we can help you get your message out to our readers.
Copying the content of this newsletter is a sin paid back in full automatically by nature in due time with an interest.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
All content © Abe Cherian, Webpreneurmedia.com & SkillsforFreedom.com. All rights reserved worldwide. Extraction of images and text from this publication and/or any other use of them is strictly prohibited.